Friday, August 21, 2020

Forest Fires


It is real, it is dangerous it is a continuous threat to the wineries of the Okanagan and the people who live there. (We can not write this blog without praying for those in California who have suffered greatly from forest fires.)

Hubertus Estate Winery which was built in the 1930's, is the Okanagan's most resilient winery.   The Okanagan Mountain forest fire ripped through the property on August 22  2003, destroying the winery and a 1932 house that was the home of Leo Gebert and wife Barbara, one of the families that own St Hubertus. The winery recovered with the help of neighbours, nearby wineries and friends.

17 years the threat of fire still exists for the Okanagan wineries. Today, Aug 21, 2020, as I write this blog a fire rages along the east side of Lake Shaka between Penticton and Okanagan Falls.

Numerous homes are endangered, one already lost, evacuations necessary in an already troubled time. Wineries such as Painted Rock and Blasted Church are closed taking a safety-first approach. Owner John Skinner says he will stay closed for a few more days as the road leading to the winery is used by emergency vehicles and fire truck fighting the fires.

Sadly 68% of all fires in the region are reported to be started by humans. 

The wine region under threat at Skaha Lake is the Skaha Sub Gi

Currently, the winds are not blowing the smoke towards the vineyards.

A tip of the hat to all forest firefighters!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The Dudes Coffee House

 The Dudes Coffee House

Don't let the name, the size, or the racks full of bamboo clothing fool you, step inside and experience culinary delights that will have you coming back for more. Barbara noticed a post by our White Rock friend Corry about a coffee house she had enjoyed visiting in Ocean Park. Once the COVID-19 rules were relaxed we decided to make it a mission to visit the White Rock-Ocean Park-Crescent Beach coffee houses.  On August 4th after a pleasant walk on the sandbars in White Rock I suggested that we see if we could find Dudes, Barbara was all for it.

We were a bit confused by the storefront; when you first look at the building you see what looks like a clothing retail store with a couple of wood tables outside. But thanks to Corry we knew a coffee shop lurked somewhere in the interior.

Barbara headed for a clothing sales rack just outside the door. I continued on inside to be greeted with a smile and a friendly hello. I soon found myself sipping coffee and chatting with the owners Kerry and Larry Kristof while my lovely wife browsed.  When Barb joined me I learned I was the recipient of a bamboo shirt, I have hemp lounge wear but nothing in the bamboo line.

The hospitality was delightful and the coffee good, so good, we had second cups and purchased a bag to take home. I spotted a sign advertising Beef Dip , those of you who know me, know my fondness for beef dips; I am considered an expert on them. Larry boldly stated his prime rib beef dip is the absolute best but only served on Friday and Saturdays.

We returned Saturday to test Larry's bold claim! Once again we were warmly greeted by Kelly, Larry and staff. We settled in a window table with freshly brewed coffee, waiting with anticipation for Larry's famous (according to him) Beep Dip; I was convinced that no-one could knock my favourite  Beef Dip restaurant off the top of the list.

Wow, supercalifragilisticexpialidocious amazing! Mouthwatering flavours proved Larry's bold claims to be true! Barbara (who can take them or leave them) said it was the best beef dip she ever tasted and became a convert. I offered no argument!

Larry came by our table to see what we thought of the meal, during the course of the conversation he mentioned he had received a delivery of White Rock crab the night before, and Crab Benedicts were going to be on Sunday's menu. Barbara almost fell off her chair, and immediately requested a table reservation for Sunday; she grew up in White Rock and remembers vividly walking out at low tide with her sisters to pick them up for her mother to use.

Sunday morning found us back at The Dudes Coffee House chatting with other customers while we waited for our meals.  Not a seafood lover, I went for the Brunch Omelette.

Once again Larry did not disappoint, he actually surpassed expectations! My omelette was simply the best ever, sorry Grandma. Barbara definitely enjoyed her Crab Benny, and will be back for more of the same before the season for crab is over.

So let me summarize this little hidden gem located at 1558 128 Street, Ocean Park It's unique, owner owned and operated, hospitality is top-notch, and the food amazing, check it out! BTW the bamboo shirt purchased on our first visit is A+

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Early Supper at Jan's on the Beach

On a hot day in July, Barbara and I decided to take a walk along the beach in White Rock. The small city where we live borders on Semiahmoo Bay and the 49th parallel,  a short distance away lies the United States mainland.

After strolling along the shoreline we ventured along Marine Drive with its numerous restaurants and shops. We walked past Jan's on the Beach which is one of Barbara's favourite restaurants and where she takes friends who are celebrating birthdays.  I spotted a sign that said Wednesday wine bottles half price, that was more than enough to get me in the door!

We chose a table on the patio with a view of the bay and pier. Jan's is well-known for it's glutton-free fish and chips and onion rings, and what is Barb's favourite, beet salad. This time she went for a caesar  salad with a skewer of shrimp, (the special of the day,) I settled on the fish and chips.

Our server was cheerful and very mindful with the health rules of the times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  We were socially distanced and she wore a mask.

Time to make the major decision of the day, what wine will we have? There was a good selection of both reds and whites.  Barb, normally a red wine fancier came over to my side this time.

We decided upon the Saxon Pinot Grigio 2019. Saxon is located in Summerland a small town in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. It was refreshing, smooth and full of nice citrus and honeydew flavours.

We enjoyed our early supper, sipped the wine and watched the foot traffic on the Drive.  A lovely finish to a lovely day in paradise!