Days are getting longer, we are seeing more sunshine in February. There is definitely a brighter future to be looking towards to. Our blog is dedicated to discovering new places and activities around Okanagan, and we will be covering just that.
There is Dine Around Interior BC event is going till March 7, 2021. Participating Dine Around restaurants will offer three course menus costing $15, $25, $35, $45 or $55 per person giving locals and visitors the chance to channel their inner foodie, try new menu items and new restaurants! With COVID-19 still much apart of our lives, some restaurants will be offering the option to ‘take-out’ their Dine Around menu.
Places that we can recommend: Summerhill Winery Bistro, The Lookout at Gray Monk, Browns Social House.
We went to Blu Saffron Bistro at Volcanic Hills Winery. Due to COVID-19 safety protocols it is recommended to make a reservation prior to visiting. This allows restaurant to plan seating and not to turn away customers when they reach capacity.
Blu Saffron Bistro is located on the right hand side of the Volcanic Hills Winery and customers have to enter through a painted metal door. We even questioned ourselves if this is the actual entrance, not a back door of the bistro. Once we opened the door, we saw lit up bistro entrance. The hostess greeted us, confirmed our reservation and welcomed to a window table. Blu Saffron Bistro isn't big inside, about 6 tables all together. It has an atmosphere of a high school cafeteria with the radio music in the background.
We ordered Falafel Sub, Truffle Parmesan Fries, Chicken Pappardelle.
The chef nailed Truffle Parmesan Fries -so delicious, there was not a fry left behind. The service was prompt and friendly.
Chicken Papardelle was good too. I guess I should add that we did not order wine, maybe it was our mistake.
Falafel Club in GF option showed up as two falafels with a creamy sauce. Falafels were fresh made and tasty. This would be a good choice for people who don't want to eat too much.
Overall positive experience dining at blu Saffron.
We have followed the Provincial Health Officer guidelines and stayed inside for almost a year. Now that British Columbia announces it is flattening the curb this week -Jan 28, 2021, we can be cautiously optimistic and reintroduce some of the fun activities.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery has fondue Thursday nights, which is a fun activity to do with your loved ones. It is by reservation only for $ 24.95 per person. The price includes a cheese fondue with a plate of pretzels, grilled pears, cauliflower, dried bread, sausage. The servers would be able to recommend he pairing wine based on your preference.
Fondue is a tasty, cheesy goodness that is fun to have once in while on a cold winter night. Having it regularly would only ensure extra pounds gained for good, but once in a while it is a sensory delight.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery also offers good wines and deserts.
Highly effective way to release tension in just 15 min-anywhere, anytime!
I recently discovered Korean brand RiRe, which utilizes pure goat milk in it's skin care products. At first I was skeptical about the claim and efficacy of the product, having many skin care disappointments throughout my life. Many brands use various marketing tools to sell customers their product. Expecting yet another disappointment, I ordered Rire Premium Goat Milk cream. The packaging is gorgeous (marketing tool): diamond shaped cream container with golden lid. However the cream surpassed all my expectations: it has milky-white sticky consistency with barely there sweet scent. Ingredients start with 75% goat milk. The cream is completely absorbed by skin within 3 minutes, leaving it plump and nourished. I was so impressed by cream that I ordered accompanying Bifida Ampoule and Goat milk Serum for best results. Three products work in tandem: skin texture is improved, skin tone appears even, skin feels rejuvenated and well hydrated.
Another great find- Lush cosmetics Dream Cream body lotion and R&B hair moisturizer. Both products replenish moisture 100%, which is so necessary during winter months. And scent is magical, it uplifts instantly.
Another great find this fall was a baking soda based deodorant, that actually works! It has very subtle scent of black pepper, doesn't irritate sensitive skin and provides freshness for 12 hours. It is sold in Save On foods.
Due to current situation and restrictions on travel, social interactions, we are forced to look within. Fall 2020 was about finding inner strength, piece and beauty. Fall also was about finding more and looking deeper into usual, routine activities and rituals. This journey was different for each one us, but equally beneficial.
November was a darker month, with COVID-19 cases rising daily and daylight hours diminishing. Despite that we know there is light in the end of the tunnel and there is hope.
Everyday brings grim news about exponentially growing COVUD-19 cases, added on top juggling work, family, other responsibilities. Let's be honest, it is hard.
We feel like we need a long nice vacation. In current circumstances vacation means being outside more often, enjoying our own backyard. Luckily, Okanagan has many beautiful provincial parks, offering refuge from grey reality. Literally, there is green grass, orange, yellow and red foliage. There is fresh and crisp air, enough for everyone.
Back to the nature we go! Scientists proven that regular walks among evergreen trees (pine, fir) strengthens immune system. Even 2 hours a week in a place that has pine trees boosts immune system. Everyone can do this!
North Vancouver is a settled neighborhood with gorgeous running/biking trails, parks, restaurants. It is missing the hustle and bustle of downtown Vancouver, but still has all the amenities of a big megapolis.
Since local tourism is the only option in the next little while it is worth to explore hidden gems in Beautiful British Columbia.
The positive thing is that prices for hotel stay definitely went down in Vancouver area, additionally we entered into low season.
As we officially are taken by a second wave of COVID-19, we would not recommend to travel till mid December 2020. It was predicted that peak of pandemic and panic associated with it will happen around November 20, 2020.
However it is important to keep positive outlook, build plans, do the research, look at various places for future visits.
North Vancouver has beautiful Burrard Dry Dock Pier to visit, Waterfront Park, Polygon Art Gallery. If you follow along the walking path from Shipyards to Lonsdale-Quay Market and further to Waterfront Park, next will be the waterfront community pictured above.
Tap and Barrel restaurant offers remarkable service and tasty food. It was nice to see how they adopted to COVID-19 reality, still maintaining the atmosphere and full menu.
North Vancouver has many flavors to offer- Yaas Grill House, located 1629 Lonsdale Ave is a family owned restaurant offering Persian style meals.
As someone who enjoys kebabs and travelled enough to know the difference between a good kebab and never again kebab, truly enjoyed Yaas Grill House Saffron Kebab and Chicken Kebab.
Saffron kebab dish - juicy tender meat grilled to perfection, basmati rice with saffron, charred tomato, onions and cucumber yogurt to balance out the flavors. This was amazing dining experience.
Chicken Kebab dish- freshly marinated chicken pieces charred to perfection, so flavorful and juicy! I want to eat these dishes every day.
Summer is officially over, kids went back to school despite rising COVID-19 cases, days are getting shorter and colder. It seems like too much to take in after the slow spring and sunny mellow summer. We had to learn how to live and cope with new environment, adjusting the way we handle things on a day to day basis in a short period of time. It is just normal to feel like we all need a break.
Instead we are getting into next adjusting period - fall. It becomes super important to stay positive and engage in activities that help us to stay positive. That includes staying socially and physically active, eat well, drink enough water.
I wanted to share my favorite desert: Tres Leches. It is a Mexican desert that translates as three milk cake. It is nutritious, as it has good amount of milk and eggs.
120 g sugar
120 g flour
1 tsp. baking powder, 1 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. freshly grated orange zest
200 ml 3.25% milk
200 ml coconut milk
150 ml boiled 2 hours sweet condensed milk
300 ml 30% cream
150 g mascarpone
Preheat oven to 350F, line cake form. Using mixer beat eggs with sugar for 8 min. till doubled in size. Slowly add flour, baking powder, zest, vanilla and mix with spatula. The key word- gently, to keep the volume. Bake for 35-40 min.
My version of the cake is served in tall glasses-see picture above, so I let the cake cool down and tear apart in bite size pieces.
Milk soak-mix three milk ingredients in a saucepan and bring almost to boil. Boiled condensed milk aka dulche leche gives the soak burnt toffee note.
Next we prepare cream by beating together mascarpone with fatty cream.
Now it is time to combine ingredients: soak cake pieces in milk mixture and layer them in a glass (or if you have serving size glass jars) with cream.
The dessert would need to cool off in the fridge for about one hour, the cake will completely absorb milk soak and some cream.
The only problem with Tres Leches- it does not last more than a day.
If you have not visited Victoria, BC at least once, you have no idea what "Beautiful British Columbia" motto published on each BC licence plate really means. Our trip to Victoria started from Tsawwassen terminal via BC Ferries.
It was a pleasure to see how well organized traffic was within the ferry. Sitting was taped off to allow for physical distancing, washrooms were marked for entry-exit routs, kid's playground was closed. All passengers were asked to wear a mask while on the boat.
Ferries arrive and depart on time and there is something magical about a ferry ride.
We stayed at Delta Ocean Pointe Resort in Victoria: nice hotel, conveniently located alongside inner harbour, close to downtown.
What is different during pandemic situation: everyone is required to wear a mask in the hotel hallways and there is no room service during stay. We have requested fresh towels and those were dropped off by our room door.
First place we visited upon arrival: Fisherman's Wharf. It is located across the Harbour from Delta hotel and we took a water taxi (it was fun!). There are many interesting places to eat and visit at Fisherman's Wharf, but we love Barb's Fish and Chips. This is a treat once in a few years, so tastes delicious. There was a pet seagull asking for food walking between tables. Sometimes there are sea lions asking for attention on a wharf, but there was none when we were there.
Next place we visited was Chinatown with famous Fan Tan Alley and souvenir shops. Always intriguing and mysterious.
We did a lot of walking around downtown and found interesting places:
1. Dutch Bakery-traditional bakery with roots going back 100 years ago. They make super delicious cakes, cookies, chocolate. I can honestly say their baking is the best in British Columbia. They also serve breakfast for dine in. Highly recommend for a visit.
2. The DOTS- interesting store for a visit.
3. Royal British Columbia Museum- you can no longer walk in, buy tickets and go for a guided/non-guided tour. Due to COVID-19 it is recommended to purchase tickets online in advance. Due to spacing requirements the amount of tickets is limited.
4. Butterfly garden- there is quite a drive from Victoria downtown, but totally worth it.
Character houses are charming, couldn't stop myself from taking a picture.
I am enchanted by Victoria and want to visit again. There are more reviews under Reviews Tab.