R.I.P. Mr Tom Petty

I remember a summer sometime around 1989 when my Dad and I and a couple friends went to a festival in the alpine part of the Stein River valley.

The festival was fun and all that, but I remember that trip as a kind of a “coming of age”.

On that trip my father and I drove up to Lillooet or wherever we hiked into the festival from in my vehicle. Back then I had a 1987 Jeep YJ – somewhat derisively referred to as a Yuppie Jeep.

I remember the trip as a coming of age sort of experience because it was the first time that we had gone somewhere as two adults. And the fact that my Dad and rode up in my Jeep, with me driving, well, it was me being responsible for something my dad was typically responsible for.

How’s this connected to Tom Petty? Well the only cassette tape we had with us on that trip was a Traveling Wilbury’s tape! And we just let it play as we bombed along in my Jeep with the top off and the sun shining down on us.

Rest In Peace Tom Petty.

Posted in Life Musings | Tagged | Comments Off on R.I.P. Mr Tom Petty

Back to the Royal Columbian Hospital – Again

Unfortunately I experienced another partial blockage of my bowels which lead me to be hospitalized again barely two months after my previous stay in the Royal Columbian Hospital.

A positive from this stay in the hospital is that I did not require surgery to get my guts functioning again. Another positive is that I had an opportunity to see the x-rays of my abdomen and I am very proud to say that, in spite of what my school mates said about me when I wouldn’t swing on the rope and jump into the lake, I do have guts. I’m not gutless!

As well, I noticed in my x-ray that I also have a spine. So clearly I’m also not spineless.

Now for a couple observations about how to survive staying in a hospital.

I figure a hospital is like a cross between a night in a frat house and a stay in prison.

Royal Columbian Hospital

It is like a frat house because there are people sleeping or lying down every where and there is a lot of vomiting. There are also a lot of very attractive females in hospitals and frat houses who you have no chance of sleeping with.

A hospital stay is also similar to a stay in prison (not that I know anything more about being in prison other than what I learned from the tv show Prison Break).

First, the nurses, all wonderful and caring people are the guards of the institution. They “control” your daily activity and are the ones who can and do bring you the small pleasures in life – things like an extra package of sugar or an extra little creamer.

Royal Columbian Hospital

And even if you don’t need that creamer or little thing of milk, you stash it away just in case you might need it later or are able to trade it later for something else you need or want.

And as the nurses are the guards, the doctors are the wardens. They are the ones who will issue your pardon or tell you that today is the day you can go home.

On a sad note, I have to report that on my last stint in the RCH I shared a room with a very sweet elderly lady. During this stay I saw her husband and we had a moment to chat. Sadly, in the weeks after I left the RCH this summer her cancer came back with a vengeance and she very quickly passed away. Her husband was/is one of the kindest people I have ever had the chance to meet.

He sat in a chair beside her bed for day after night after day just to keep her comfortable and make her feel safe. Dedication. Pure love.

Out of respect for their privacy I’m not using their names.

But to end on a positive note, again I am happy to report that virtually every single person I have encountered during my stint in the RCH big house has been kind and caring.

From the people who sweep the floors and clean the toilets to the people who bring the meals to us to the nurses and doctors – every person I have encountered has treated me like I’m the most important person they’ve seen that day.

That may sound odd, but rather than just treating me like a person on their case load, an operation they need to do, or a patient they are responsible for, everyone has been kind and caring.

And, after being on a “nothing by mouth” diet for five days, the food they served me in the hospital was pretty darn good. If you like puréed purée.

I will end by making a quick comment about the bunk mates I had on this stay at the RCH. Honestly, I could not have asked for a nicer set of room mates. The old days of rooms being segregated for men or women only is a long gone and on this stay I had two women and another man to share a room with.

I hate to admit this but I was probably noisiest one in the room! I often woke up in the night and I couldn’t hear a single snort, snorfle, or snore from my room mates. I am assuming then that I was the noisy one in the room.

Overall, even though there are some similarities between being in the hospital and a prison, I am very grateful once again for the care I received from the people who choose to take care of the sick and vulnerable people.

And I love the way they say good bye to you when you leave the hospital – “I hope to not see you again!” To be honest, I would love to see any one of those hospital workers again but only in a coffee shop where I can buy them a treat.

Royal Columbian Hospital

And my first meal after my release – a big bowl of Wonton Soup. Which I only ate half of. More on my new diet later.

That’s it.

Posted in Life Musings | Tagged | 2 Comments

Nathaniel Rateliff; I Never Need Grow Old

I was laying in my hospital bed yesterday afternoon just feeling sorry for myself and the rest of the world so I decided to check my FacePlant page (you can check it out as well @adadintheburbs). Oh, and tomorrow I’ll tell you more about my stay in the Royal Columbian Hospital. 

On the FaceBook I discovered one of my colleagues had put a link to a Nathaniel Rateliff song. I hit play and the pure, beautiful raw energy of the music got me up and out of my bed and feeling the power of LOVE and LIFE.

Of course my hospital room mates may have wondered what was possessing me but…

I’m not saying Nathaniel Rateliff saved my life. I’m just saying he got me out of my funk.

Have a listen.

Posted in Life Musings | Tagged | Comments Off on Nathaniel Rateliff; I Never Need Grow Old

Chicken Holic in Coquitlam 

I recently tried a funky new chicken place on Austin Ave in Coquitlam. It truly is a cultural mash-up.

Chicken Holic

Chicken Holic is run by a Korean family and while there, I had a Butter Chicken Poutine. French Canadian food with an Indian twist made by a Korean. The food was truly delicious and I will be returning to Chicken Holic again soon.

  • Chicken Holic is located at 1104 Austin Ave in Coquitlam.

 

Posted in Food and Drink | Tagged | 2 Comments

New Westminster’s Wild Thyme

I had heard great things about Wild Thyme, the New Westminster restaurant that serves Lebanese food so this week for a lunch meeting a colleague and I popped in to give Wild Thyme on 12th Street in New Westminster a try.

Wow. No wonder there is such a buzz about this place! Incredible flavours.

Wild Thyme

We each started with a green salad. And no word of exaggeration, I was basically full after the salad! It was massive. And full of amazing flavours of balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

I have to admit that we made a strategic error when we ordered. We did not realize that the lunch “mains” were so large. Honestly, we should have ordered one lunch entree. Instead we ordered two.

Wild Thyme

After we finished our salads another plate arrived at the table – four dips and a massive piece of bread fresh out of the brick oven in the restaurant.

Wild Thyme

The bread was still puffy and full of delicious heat from the oven.

Wild Thyme

Then our entrees arrived! You would think that I would know how to take a better picture of food than the one above. The problem is that the restaurant is so small I could barely move back from the table to try and capture an image!!

My lunch entree was the cauliflower bowl. Except it wasn’t a bowl but a dinner plate loaded with smoky roasted cauliflower and heaps of unknown deliciousness. I actually took more than half of it home.

My lunch companion ordered the 1/2 meat, 1/2 chicken “bowl” which came in a full sized frying pan! There was enough food in that dish to feed four people! And the flavours…out of this world!!

I will definitely be returning to Wild Thyme but we will be sharing a lunch or dinner entree next time. I have no hesitation recommending Wild Thyme.

  • Wild Thyme is located at 705 12th Street, New Westminster

 

Posted in Food and Drink | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Whistler to The Burbs Via Electric Vehicle 

Yesterday we returned in the Nissan Leaf from Whistler to our homes in the burbs of Vancouver.

When we left Whistler we had almost 100% charge on the batteries after the car being plugged into a 110 volt standard electrical outlet overnight. The guess-o-meter suggested we had about 140 km of range in the batteries.

We left the car in a parking lot and toured around the village for a couple of hours. When we left Whistler village the rain was really coming down and it had cooled off significantly – we were using the electric car seat heaters and the defroster was blowing air to keep the windows clear.


When we got into Squamish we were relieved to see that the owner of the white Nissan Leaf had finally moved their car so we could pull in and charge our Leaf. We charged for 12 minutes which topped the batteries up from approximately 50% to 84%.


After an EV’s batteries are charged to 80% the chargers slow the charging down (it is a safety and battery protection thing) so it is not an efficient use of a level 3 charger to keep charging once you are at 80%. We were checking our social media accounts so we didn’t notice that we were at 84%. That gave us an approximate range of 150 kms. But after driving an EV you start to be aware of road conditions and you pay more attention to the road.

For example, we knew that it was cool and wet so we would be using the heaters. We also knew that the road from Squamish to Burnaby would be driven at highway speed and we would be going up some big hills. Of course we would also be coming down some hills so that’s an opportunity to recharge as driving. Bottom line, just because the car says 150 kms, don’t rely on that 100%. Be aware of the battery percentage as well as where and how you are driving.


We got back to Burnaby and the batteries had 16% charge left. That’s good for about 30 kms. The owner of the car wasn’t worried because he had a meeting scheduled for the next day less than 12 kms from his home and he knows there is a charger he can plug into.

It is a little more work owning and driving an electric vehicle. You need to think about where you are going and where you can get “fuel” for your vehicle but overall, it is a very liberating feeling to be able to drive from the burbs of Vancouver to Whistler and back without burning a drop of gasoline.

Posted in Vehicles | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Whistler Beer Festival Via Nissan Leaf

My EV road trip is now in progress. I am in a Nissan Leaf headed to Whistler to take part in the beer festival.

I will update as we progress. For now, here is the data as we leave home:

That is 139 km of range in the batteries as we leave. And 83% charged.

Update – we are now in Squamish at a level 3 charger. We should be able to boost our batteries to 80% in 20 minutes.

We traveled from Burnaby to here in Squamish, a total of 77 kms and dropped from 83% to 37%. The “guess-o-meter” says we still have another 75+ kms of range.

However, someone else is charging at this time. So we wait until they come back. A goofy thing about charging at a level 3 charger is that after you reach 80% charge, the charging slows down to a trickle charge and so it could take another 35 minutes for his battery to be charged to 100%. That’s not an efficient use of the charging station.

Something that the EV community is still working out is the etiquette around whether an EV charging station is a parking spot or a CHARGING spot.

You wouldn’t park in front of a gas pump! Why Park your EV in front of the level 3 charger and then walk away making it so other EV owners can’t use it? It is about etiquette.

So we unplugged the poor etiquette Leaf, plugged ours in for 20 minutes and we’re back up to 86% battery level. That’s more than enough to get to Whistler AND back here to Squamish.

Arrived in Whistler after what I would describe as a spirited drive from Squamish to Whistler – nobody passed us.

The reality is that from Squamish to Whistler is a pretty significant climb in elevation. So although we used a lot of battery to get here, even if we didn’t charge here we would have more than enough to get back to Squamish because the Leaf would be charging all down the downhill section.

Oh, and that Leaf that was parked in the charging station? When we left Squamish it was still parked in the charging and another EV owner was charging their car while double parked beside the Leaf. Etiquette!!

Posted in Vehicles | Tagged | 3 Comments

Farm Town Meats; Steak for Dinner

I have been crazy busy this week with work and making plans to head off to Whistler for the Beer Festival so I haven’t had a chance to sit down and tickle the keyboard. I have to admit, I have also been out with my kids riding our bicycles -soaking up the last few days of warm, sunny weather.

Anyway, yesterday I slowed down a little and cooked up a nice little steak from Farm Town Meats in Burnaby, just a couple blocks north of 10th Ave on 6th Street. Grass fed, grass finished New York strip loin for $15 a pound? Okay.

Farm Town Meats

I gave the steak a little rub with some extra virgin olive and then I shook on a healthy helping of the rub I got from Re-up barbecue and I let it sit on the counter at room temperature while I got the grill ready.

Farm Town Meats

I got the grill good and hot before flopping the steak on it.

Farm Town Meats

Five minutes – timed to the second on one side and then I flipped the steak over and let it cook for another four minutes. After that it was onto a plate to rest.

Farm Town Meats

After rest time was over I sliced the steak into strips and proceeded to eat.

 

A perfect dinner at the end of a very long week.

Now, I’m off to Whistler to get paid to drink beer!

  • Farm Town Meats is located at 7832 6th St, Burnaby. Ask for Josh, he is the owner/butcher of Farm Town Meats.
Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | Comments Off on Farm Town Meats; Steak for Dinner

Just Some Hot Lunches

A few pictures from some of the lunches I enjoyed this past summer.

Lunch

First, a bowl of ramen from Kamamarui on Royal Oak Ave in Burnaby. Good. Not the flavour punch to the taste buds that I was hoping for.

Lunch

Next up, a lunch platter at Dunn’s Famous downtown Vancouver. The fries at Dunn’s Famous are outstanding. Even better? Their egg rolls with smoked meat inside them!!

Lunch

Of course my burger from Five Guys Burgers was also an flavour sensation. The Five Guys have perfected the meat to bun ratio. The slice of tomato adds just enough “vegetable matter” to make it feel almost healthy. Again, awesome fries. Don’t be fooled by them – unless you are going into Five Guys with a hungry football team, just go for the regular size fries. They are very generous with the fries.

Lunch

Then there is Spacca Napoli Pizzeria in Port Moody. A real wood fired pizza oven!

Lunch

The pizza at Spacca Napoli is totally different than any other pizza I have ever had. First thing, they give you a massive pair of shears (scissors) to cut the ultra-thin crust pizza. And then once it is cut, you sort of need to roll up the slice of pizza to eat it.

It is nothing like the pizza you get from most other pizza places. I will definitely be returning to sample more of their menu – hopefully some of their pasta dishes!

That’s it. Just a few random pics of food from my lunches from this summer.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Food and Drink | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Just Some Hot Lunches

Scrambled Eggs Gordon Ramsay Style

Here is a “shot-by-shot” breakdown of my video of the Gordon Ramsay style eggs that I cooked a few weeks ago.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

I start with eggs – I like free range, farm fresh eggs bought from a farmer. I refuse to pay the silly price that grocery stores demand for free range, farm fresh eggs so I cut the grocery store out of the action and buy from a farmer. Easy to do on my way up to my cabin. Not as easy in the city.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

First, I use a good quality non-stick frying pan. Sure I love my cast iron frying pans but for doing eggs, I like a very good quality non-stick for doing eggs.

I get the pan hot on a medium heat and melt a dollop of butter in that pan.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

Once the butter is melted, I crack the eggs into that pan. When doing scrambled eggs, for two people, I use three eggs, four people, I use four eggs.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

Get the eggs stirred up. Let them cook a bit. And THEN lift the pan of cooking eggs off the heat and keep stirring. I lift the pan off the heat until I hear the sizzling slow to a stop.

After a short while (30 seconds-ish) I put the pan back on the heat.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

Then, I add a dollop of sour cream. Sure, Gordon Ramsay uses crème fraîche . I’ve actually never known anyone who has crème fraîche  in their home kitchen. So I use sour cream. In the picture above I have a heavily loaded teaspoon of sour cream in place of crème fraîche.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

I get the eggs and sour cream mixed together and get it cooking again.

Gordon Ramsay Style Eggs

I typically lift the pan off the heat once more to slow the cooking before I let the cooking complete. The drier you want the eggs to be, the longer you need to let them cook. I prefer creamier scrambled eggs.

That’s basically it. Scrambled eggs Gordon Ramsay style.

 

Posted in In the Kitchen | Tagged | Comments Off on Scrambled Eggs Gordon Ramsay Style