Food Pics From the Victoria Day Weekend 

Just a selection of food pics from my Victoria Day long weekend.

Romer's Burgers

To begin, a little ribeye steak from Romer’s Burgers in Port Moody. Very good.

Romer's Burgers

And you can’t have a steak without dessert. Drunken Donuts and a very lovely, very light cheesecake from Romer’s Burgers. And no, those are not ants on the cheesecake, they are chocolate flecks.

293 Wallace

On Friday night I headed up the Fraser Canyon to install a new countertop and a new-to-me range in the cabin. Of course dinner was at 293 Wallace St. Smoked salmon on risotto with a little chard greens. Rich, rich, rich flavours.

293 Wallace

And the new stove. Yep, it needs to be dusted off before I start running the test kitchen.

Trattoria

And then Saturday afternoon was spent at Trattoria on Kingsway, in Burnaby. I had the breakfast pizza which was pretty good. The service was pretty disappointing.

Free Bird Chicken

Sunday I went to New Westminster’s Rivermarket where I had a bowl of pho made with dark chicken broth. It was a fabulous bowl of soup.

Free Bird Chicken

To go with the pho, I had a small plate of fried brussel sprouts and cauliflower. Wowzer. Flavour-flavour. Salty, sweet, sour, and spicy in every bite.

That’s it. Just some food pics.

 

The DIYZ app: A Kind and Confident Guiding Hand

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration with the DIYZ® app. As always, all opinions of apps and companies that help me complete DIY projects are my own.

In the past, if I needed to do a home repair, I would turn to my grandfather for the how-to on any DIY issues I may have run into. Unfortunately, my grandfather has now passed away and I can no longer turn to him for DIY advice.

And there is a saying,

“If they don’t find you handsome, at least they can find you handy.”

Well, the truth is, I’m much more handsome than I am handy, so I still need a steady and confident guiding hand when I try to DIY. I don’t mean someone who will grab the tools out of my hand, but someone who will offer a kind word of advice or demonstrate a technique who is then willing to step back, hand me the tools, and let my DIY skills develop.

I decided that since May is National Home Improvement Month, I would complete a DIY project that I’ve been putting off for quite a while – replacing the stainless steel sink in my kitchen.

Since my grandfather is no longer available as a mentor for developing my DIY skills, what’s the next best thing? Well, I figured there’s probably an app that could guide me through my DIY project. And there is!

It is the free DIYZ app.

The DIYZ app is free from the Apple App Store for iPhone and Google Play for Android and for a limited time, the video-chat feature is also FREE!

The DIYZ app features a large library of DIY projects – providing DIYers of all skill levels with step-by-step guides and segmented videos to tackle home improvement projects – even the installation of a stainless steel sink.

Yes, segmented videos. This is brilliant because when your hands are covered in grim, gunk or glue, you don’t want to have to fumble around to pause or rewind a tutorial. Pure brilliance.

Also, if you find yourself getting in over your head and you want (need?) a kind, non-judgmental word of advice, the DIYZ app allows users to speak directly with a Pro Advisor at the touch of a button via the video-chat feature.

However, users also have the option to disable video if they feel more comfortable. You can engage with a Pro Advisor over the phone, or send them photos in real-time, which the advisors can send back with their added notes or helpful hints to help keep your projects moving along.

#DIYZGuys

And similar to my grandfather, the DIYZ App can recommend the proper tools and materials to complete each project.

Seeing as I can no longer just borrow tools from my grandfather, I appreciate how the DIYZ app provides the option to easily purchase tools or additional materials directly in the app via Amazon.

Of course, perhaps the most important benefit of doing your own home repair, other than the feeling of empowerment you get from being able to do things yourself, is the savings you get from doing your own home improvement.

The DIYZ app demonstrates the value of rolling up your sleeves by comparing the cost to do-it-yourself, versus hiring a professional. And if you can save money by doing something yourself, with the support of a thoroughly vetted and experienced professional, why not?!

So I dove in, with the help of the step-by-step instructions provided in the DIYZ app and did it – I successfully replaced the stainless steel sink!

#DIYZGuys

Of course the first step, a step even I knew to do, was to shut off the water, disconnected the water supply tubes and then disconnect the drain.

#DIYZGuys

As I continued through the steps, once I got to step four I was grateful to be able to watch the short video of how to find the clips and screws that hold the sink in place. That made it easier when I when I climbed under our sink.

Once the sink was out, I then cleaned up the edge of the countertop where the old sink had been. I prepped the sink and counter for installation with the caulking.

I tend to hurry things along more than I should, so the reminder to use painter’s tape around the opening was a helpful tip and kept me from making a mess. Being proactive and eliminating the need for a major clean up later is the smarter way to work – a helpful reminder from the #DIYZGuys.

#DIYZGuys

Lower the sink into place, apply the little clips (supplied with the sink) to tighten the sink into place, wipe up any caulking that oozed out from the line between the sink and the countertop and, there I was, with a new sink in place!

Honestly, the clear and concise instructions outlined for each step on the DIYZ app – in a font even I can read – along with the short instructional videos for each step of the process, made my DIY project a snap.

Best of all, everyone is happy in our home, because we have a new, leak-free kitchen sink installed.

The Soft Opening of Pepper Lunch Canada

I saw a note on Instagram about a new location of the Pepper Lunch restaurant having a “soft opening” event on Saturday and knowing that I was going to be dropping my family off at YVR that morning, I added a comment to say that I would attend the soft opening.

When I walked in, the woman behind the till (one of the owners) recognized me from my Instagram account on her feed and thanked me for commenting on her Instagram post and for coming to visit their new restaurant location.

Pepper Lunch

The concept behind Pepper Lunch is pretty cool. Or rather, it is pretty hot because what they do is bring you a tray with a smoking hot cast iron dish on it with your food – almost raw. And then you let it cook as long, or as short as you like. I ordered the Kobe burger and sliced Angus steak so I didn’t want it over done.

Pepper Lunch

I like beef on the rare side of medium rare so I barely had to turn over the slices of Angus steak and they were done. Once they are cooked to the level you want, you take the tongs that come on the tray and move the beef off the heat by placing it on the side of sprouts and veggies on the cast iron dish.

Pepper Lunch

I chose to add an egg to my lunch – you know steak and eggs. But back to the ordering procedure. When you come in, you go up to the cashier and tell them what you want. Then you pay, they give you a receipt, and on the receipt is your table number where you go and wait. On the day of my visit they were bringing out trays very quickly. I don’t think I waited more than 5 minutes before my tray was on my table. Admittedly, they don’t have to cook the food –  that’s the customer’s job!

As for taste, the Kobe burger was outrageous. Such a flavour explosion; a perfect balance of salty and fatty beef. I would definitely return to have their Kobe beef again. The slices of Angus steak were also very tasty, and I might add, cooked perfectly.

My only complaint was that I paid for green tea and I got a mug of hot water and a green tea bag. I would prefer if they had a pot of tea to fill my mug from. Also, for the soft opening they didn’t yet have their fountain drink or coffee machine installed. That’ll be done very soon. Same as the sign for out front – hopefully before their official grand opening this Tuesday.

  • My lunch order of Kobe beef and sliced Angus steak with an egg, miso soup, and a green tea was just under $20
  • The bottom line, I have no hesitation recommending Pepper Lunch and I will definitely be returning. 
  • The newest location of Pepper Lunch is located in unit 1625-4791 McClelland Rd in Richmond – right near the massive new Walmart located on Alderbridge.

Port Moody’s Sushi & Roll

Sushi & Roll

We needed a quick snack to tide us over until we got home for dinner so we stopped at Sushi & Roll.

Yep. A sushi joint sandwiched between a hookah shop and a McDonald’s and right across the road from a motorcycle and boat sales shop on the non-descript strip of St Johns between Moody and Thermal.

Sushi & Roll

Decent food. The rolled sushi was tight and smoothly cut while the nigiri sushi had an attractive flair to the presentation but …. the rice had a bit of a crunch to it and you know that feeling when you bite into sushi and when you pull it away from your teeth all that stringy stuff holds on? Yeah.

Sushi & Roll

And even though there was only one other table with people, the server didn’t once offer to refill my tea or check in to see if we needed anything like napkins and chopsticks.

Overall, I rate Sushi & Roll a 3/5. The food was decent enough quality with friendly enough service that I would return to try them again.

  • Two California Rolls and a Salmon-Tuna Combo all for just under $20.
  • I’m not going to recommend yet but I will be returning to try them again.
  • Sushi & Roll is located at 3017 St Johns Street, Port Moody.

 

 

Happy Hour at Vancouver Fish Company

I was in Vancouver near Granville Island the other day for a meeting so I took the opportunity to drive down onto Granville Island and … gasp … I got A PARKING SPOT!!

After my meeting, my daughter and I wandered around the market a little and visited The Lobsterman. Daughter was intrigued by the scallops they had for sale there so we asked where we could go to try eating them. They recommended The Vancouver Fish Company, which is located right near the entrance to Granville Island.

Vancouver Fish Company

I have to admit that I had a pretty solid case of sticker shock when I saw their menu. All we wanted to do was try scallops but everything on the menu was in the $25-35 range – and not what I would call “kid friendly”.

Did I want to buy an entree for thirty bucks and have a kid not like it? Yikes. Fortunately the server said, “Do you know it is happy hour here between 3 and 6pm?” And then she presented me with the menu (as pictured above).

Vancouver Fish Company

We started with the Rock Fish Fritters. Six bucks? What a steal of a deal!! They were light and flavourful and not greasy at all. Great balance of fish to batter. Daughter and I both loved these and would definitely order these again.

Vancouver Fish Company

And the scallops. They only have them as a side “add-on” dish on the main menu for $19 so that is what we got. The server said they come on a skewer but they didn’t. And I was glad they didn’t. They had a beautiful presentation on a bed of braised kale.

The texture and the flavour? 100% on point. Out of this world amazingly delicious. They melted between my teeth with a minimal bite.

Perhaps the best part? Although these were the scallops my daughter really wanted to try, she admitted that they weren’t to her liking – so I got to eat them all. My lucky day.

Vancouver Fish Company

To finish off our happy hour meal, we had a $9 bowl of mussels cooked in a chipotle coconut lime sauce. We opted for the side of fries and not the garlic bread.

The mussels were excellent. Plump and juicy. I particularly enjoyed the chipotle coconut lime sauce/broth that they were cooked in. I was almost ready to lick the bowl to get the last drops of it.

The fries were also very nice.

I am not sure I can afford to take my family to The Vancouver Fish Company and order off the regular menu but I will certainly be returning to eat from their happy hour menu again.

  • Our bill was around $40 for the two of us with a glass of fresh lemonade and no alcohol.
  • Definitely recommended and we will be returning – between 3 and 6 pm during their Happy Hour. 
  • The Vancouver Fish Company is located at; 1517 Anderson Street, Granville Island, Vancouver, BC

Email Phishing Scam

**I am reposting this blog because there is another pretty effective phishing scam going around.

The bottom line is…if you are already logged into your account, Google, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace (just kidding)…DO NOT log in again if you click on a link that asks you to do so again. It is probably a scam.

There is a pretty effective phishing scam going on over the last little while that primarily targets Gmail users. However, in this blog post there is advice that can be applied to basically any of the Internet tools we use, including Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace (just kidding).

In case you don’t know, phishing is a way for nefarious characters (people up to bad things) to try and get access and control of your email or Internet tool without you knowing. Once they have access and control, they can send out more scammy-spammy-phishing emails under your name.

In the phishing scam that I have recently heard about, essentially what happens is that you receive an email from somebody in your contact list. Totally normal looking email from someone you know. In that email is an attachment, typically a picture or what looks like a PDF.

As Google mail normally does, the attachment is a small image in the bottom left hand corner of the email. When you se the attachment, you can choose to download the attachment, view it, or save to Google Drive. The key to this phishing scam is that the photo/attachment looks absolutely realistic.

Because the photo/attachment looks VERY legit, you click on it. The next thing that happens is that a new screen or tab will open up saying that in order to view the photo you need to log into your Google account.

This is where the problems begin because if you do as the new page suggests and you log into your account the second time, then your account is virtually immediately compromised. Or as we say, you’ve been hacked.

As a rule of thumb, whenever you see a screen asking you to log into a tool like Gmail or Facebook when you are already logged into your account, that is typically when bad things begin to happen.

With the phishing scam that’s going around Gmail right now it is often within minutes that your account is compromised. And then once your account is compromised, the hackers are able to send out more phishing scam emails from your account to all the people on your contact list.

The best way to protect yourself from these sort of scams is to realize that if you were already logged into your account whether it’s your Google account your Facebook account or your MySpace account, it is extremely unlikely that you need to log into your account again.

phishing scam
The Green HTTPS

Another thing to keep in mind is that in the address bar at the top of the page, the text should say something like “https://…” and that text will be in green letters. And, just in case you didn’t know, the “s” at the end of “https” means “secure”.

If it is some nefarious character who is sent out the phishing scam email then it may be that the “http” text is in black. Or worst-case it is red.

Red means stop.

phishing scams
phishing scams

Another thing you might notice is that the address on the second screeen, the scam-phishing screen, the web address or the URL is preceded by the prefix “data:text/html.” That is NEVER the case with the authentic Google login page.

These are all pretty small things that you have to be aware of. But that is how you can protect yourself online – pay attention to the details!!

So, in conclusion, there are three things you can do to prevent your email account from getting hacked:

  1. Don’t log into your account if you already logged into your account.
  2. If you see red or black font in the address bar stop and check; ask yourself if this seems safe.
  3. If you see odd looking text between the https:// and the words “account, pause and double check. It may be a phishing scam.

Paying attention to the details is the best protection to keep you from being hacked.

#liveyourbestlife; If You Can

Have you heard of the CBC Radio One show called “This Is That“? It is a radio show similar to the blog called The Onion. It is a satire.

An example from the show is when they “interviewed” an employee from Canadian border services who was going to teach border guards to be friendlier. Except that during the interview the guy who was going to do the training became increasingly aggressive with the interviewer. The Beaverton does a similar thing. Great entertainment. But you have to keep in mind that it is entertainment. Not news.

In the last little while I was listening to CBC radio and I heard a guest talking about people using the hashtag #liveyourbestlife. While I was listening all I could think was that I was suddenly listening to an encore edition of “This Is That”.

Anyway, apparently this #liveyourbestlife is a thing that yoga people use.

For example, someone will post a picture on Instagram of their perfectly toasted artisan bread with a perfectly ripe avocado perfectly sliced and perfectly spread across that precious piece of toast. And they’ll add the hashtag #liveyourbestlife

This is a thing. Huh.

The funny thing about what I heard from the guest on the radio was that the term ” live your best life” was beginning to make her uncomfortable. It was making her question her life!

Remember what I said about the show called “This Is That”? Seriously, I assumed I was listening to an episode of that show. But I wasn’t. She was for real.

She said that there is a backlash against saying or using the term “live your best life” because it was making people unhappy. She said how when she heard that phrase or read it online she would begin to question her life and the choices and she had made. She wondered if in fact she actually was “living her best life”.

What? Seriously, was she concerned that she wasn’t getting fair trade organic avocados for her precious toast?

Her comments stuck with me and made me think; did she have the same reaction when people told her to have a nice day? Did she question if she was actually having a nice day? Does the term “have a nice day” make her question her choices from the day?

Did she have the same reaction when people would say “take care”? Did she question how much care she was taking?

Seriously, get over it. Stop the over analyzing? Do your yoga. Eat your precious avocado toast. And accept the encouragement from people to be your best and do your best. This is not that so feel free to #liveyourbestlife

Vlog #8; Beautyrest Sleeptracker

My eighth vlog entry with some of that fancy editing like my friend Michael over on Beyond the Rhetoric does.

In this vlog post I discuss my favourite pastime – SLEEP – and how the Beautyrest Sleeptracker is making me more aware of the factors that influence my sleep.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign, but my opinions about my sleep, my wife being a princess (or not) and the efficacy of the Beautyrest Sleeptracker are all my own.

I Sleep To Be The Best Family Man I Can Be

Some people say that, “Not all that gets measured matters. However, “sleep” is something that can be measured and trust me, sleep really does matter.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

It was not until I had children that I realized how important it was to “measure” and “manage” my sleep and my sleep habits.

In the first two years of my children’s lives I was so sleep deprived that there were times I had to pull off the road and sleep for a few minutes in my car. I was so sleep deprived that I saw meetings and sporting events as opportunities to sleep.

My sleeping in staff meetings got so out of control that my colleagues held a vote while I was sleeping and elected me chair of the meetings; and trust me, being chair of the meetings is an “honor” nobody wants.

I was so sleep deprived that I didn’t even wake up when they changed the constitution of our organization so that I was elected chair for two years without a break.

After getting elected chair of the staff meetings I began to realize just how bad my sleep “hygiene” had become and I was reminded of Peter Drucker’s words, “What gets measured gets managed.”

Now that I am chair of the meetings I sleep to be alert and in control of myself and the meetings I attend – and chair. I sleep to be the best person I can possibly be for my work and perhaps more importantly, for when I am at home with my family.

Although my work is very important to me, the really important part of my life is my family: my wife, my children and my mother and my sister are my inspiration to be the best person I can be. And now I sleep to be best person I can be and to do that, I need to better manage my sleep.

To be brutally honest with myself, when I do not get a good night’s sleep, I am not a pleasant person to be around. I am snippy and … well, unpleasant.

So what can I do to manage myself better? Like other parts of life, I can now use technology to measure and manage my sleep.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

I recently received a Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor which has a powerful processor, highly accurate sensors, and an intuitive app that has integrated seamlessly with my bed – leaving my arms free of any gadgets so I can sleep in comfort while the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitors my heart rate and respiration rate to share a minute-by-minute snapshot of my time in deep sleep, light sleep and R.E.M. sleep.

Beautyrest Sleeptracker

Beautyrest Sleeptracker generates data, personalized coaching tips and the individual sleep score for up to two people simultaneously, based on a variety of key sleep metrics – including sleep efficiency, progress toward sleep goals, how long it takes to fall asleep, how long users spend in each sleep cycle and how many times they were awake throughout the night.

Remember Peter Drucker’s words, “What gets measured gets managed.”

To that end the user-friendly app translates precise data into smart, actionable coaching tips designed to help you unlock a better night’s sleep and a more productive next day.

I am very much looking forward to seeing how my attitude during my “awake” hours change as I learn more about my sleep patterns from the data provided by the Beautyrest Sleeptracker monitor. Because as I said, #ISleepTo be the best person I can be for my family, and so that I can be the best chair my staff has ever had!!

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Beautyrest for this campaign, but my opinions on my sleep and the Beautyrest Sleeptracker are entirely my own.

Traveling and Eating Through the Fraser Canyon

I am back into my driving the Fraser Canyon routine and wow, the food choices in the Canyon have never been so good.

First up, breakfast from Chef Todd at Fat Jack’s Diner just north of Boston Bar. A Swiss cheese, kale, and sausage omelette. Delicious. The hashbrown potatoes  are too under-cooked for my liking, but the overall breakfast experience is very positive.

Fraser Canyon

And of course a drive through the Fraser Canyon does not happen without a stop at 293 Wallace Street.

Although chef Hiro Takeda is now working in Copenhagen Denmark with the people from the world renowned Noma Restaurant, he has left his restaurant in the hands of Brent (who’s last name I regretfully have forgotten). Chef Hiro trained Brent so I trust the restaurant is in good hands.

 

Fraser Canyon

My travel companion and I started with what I would call a very unusual appetizer – fresh pork rinds. Yep. Pork rinds.

They arrived at the table hot and snapping as they continued to pop and expand. I would definitely order these again.

Fraser Canyon

For my main course I went with the Crispy Pork Belly. The little pool of green stuff on the plate is a green tomato and jalapeno jam. There could have been more jalapeno in the jam.

To balance the fattiness of the pork belly there is a a good selection of of house pickled vegetables – yellow beets, carrots, and yes, mushrooms. Very cool.

The roasted Brussels sprouts were awesome. I will now only eat Brussels sprouts if they are roasted.

My travel companion being a much less adventurous diner than me, he opted for the 293 Wallace Street signature burger. He reported that it was a “very good” burger. He did admit that he prefers less meat in his burger than this one had.

Fraser Canyon

For dessert I asked the server to get the kitchen to make something for me. Lemon cheesecake with a graham crumb and a berry sauce. With ants.

As I have said before, if you get beyond thinking about eating the ants, they add a very strong citrus flavour to the cheesecake. I seriously encourage you to try the ants on their dessert. It is a flavour sensation.

Fraser Canyon

And finally, after drinking I can’t count how many crappy cups of coffee from that place started by a hockey player, I have discovered The Blue Moose coffee shop in Hope.

Awesome coffee. Pricey pastries and sandwiches but they certainly looked good!

Traveling the Fraser Canyon has never before been such a good time for foodies.