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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

[Editor’s Note: Sorry we took a writing break, but it’s good to be back!]

When I was contacted by our friends at Ford Canada that I’d have a Ford Focus for a week, the hopeful boy racer in Mr. asked, “is it an ST? Is it a hatchback?”

As it turns out, it was neither. It was a fully loaded (Titanium) sedan with a pretty blue paint job.

Ford Focus Titanium 2017

It also happened to be the same week as we threw a surprise birthday weekend in Whistler for CL, one of Mr.‘s close friends. So we gave the Focus a thorough test on a 36-hour trip.

Ford Focus Titanium 2017

36 Hours in Whistler

We kicked off the weekend at Stonesedge Kitchen, where we surprised CL with a birthday brunch.

Stonesedge Kitchen Whistler

There were 6 of us – and there were 5 orders of Breakfast Poutine. Except for me, the adventurous one. I ordered the Woodsman’s Bowl, with pulled venison and roasted butternut squash. Let me just say, I was happy with my choice. There was a good combination of flavours and texture. The slightly gamey venison made the dish more interesting than the maple sausage in the Breakfast Poutine.

Breakfast Poutine, Stonesedge Kitchen WhistlerWoodsman's Bowl, Stonesedge Kitchen Whistler

Then, a stopover at Whistler Brewing.

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During the Christmas Break, Mr. and I went to the States to check out some holiday light displays. We drove through various neighbourhoods in the Seattle area and were amazed by how the houses came together to put on some fabulous displays.

The highlight of our trip was visiting the Lights of Christmas in Stanwood, at the Warm Beach Camp. With more than one million Christmas lights spread over 15 acres, this is known to be the largest holiday light display in the Pacific Northwest. I’m always fascinated by lights, the more the merrier, so I wasn’t going to miss it.

The Lights of Christmas

And it didn’t disappoint. There were 6 themed areas, each with its own unique lights. Some of my favourites include the light tunnels, a light maze (although not as elaborate as what Enchant offered here in Vancouver), the Fireball Tree (that looks like fireworks itself), the Cascade mountains, Christmas Tree Island, the angels, the snow-capped mountain, and the waterfall.

The Lights of Christmas

The Lights of Christmas (more…)

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Recently, we had the opportunity to test out a 2017 Ford Fusion Energi for a week. We thought it would be fun to see what it’s like to live with an Electric Vehicle.

There’s no denying that EVs are the future. Every year, there are more offerings popping up in this segment. They range from econoboxs to high end luxury cars. The Fusion Energi falls somewhere in the middle.

Ford Fusion Energi 2017

The Energi is a plug-in hybrid. Simply put, it’s a hybrid with the ability to drive on electric only mode for extended periods of time, and the ability to charge the larger battery pack by plugging in.

So what did Mr. like most about this Plug-in Hybrid? (more…)

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While we were in the Okanagan, of course Hester Creek wasn’t the only winery we visited. On this trip, we ventured out to Summerland, specifically the Bottleneck Drive area, and we discovered Evolve Cellars.

Evolve Cellars was open in 2015 and above the tasting room is e, its dining room. Simple decor – white wall, white table cloth, with big window panes overlooking a gorgeous view of its vineyard and Lake Okanagan. Bryan, Kathryn, Mr. and I made a lunch reservation prior to getting there, and we’re patting our back for making a good choice.

View of Evolve Cellars

Food

e’s lunch menu is quite interesting. I like that they incorporate their wine into many of the dishes. We shared a few appies, including the Seared Scallops. There was nice caramelization on one side of the scallops, the scallops were cooked to the right temperature, tender and sweet. The roasted corn salsa gave it some smokey flavours and crunch. For us, they were served on a spoon and it made a perfect bite (Mr. really liked it, because he always wants “a bit of everything in each bite”).

Seared Scallops

The Bruschetta was probably my least favourite appetizer. Don’t get me wrong, it was quite good.

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For the Canada Day long weekend, Mr. and I went to the Okanagan with Bryan and Kathryn. Last year, we received a certificate for a two-night stay at The Villa at Hester Creek Estate Winery, so we took the opportunity to spoil ourselves on this getaway.

Terrafina Restaurant

During our stay, Mr. and I also had dinner at the Terrafina Restaurant at Hester Creek.

Terrafina RestaurantTerrafina Restaurant

To start, we shared the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio. There was so much on the plate you can barely see the thinly sliced wagyu beef. The flavour combination was quite typical — capers, parmesan, arugula, aioli — what came as a pleasant surprise was the little sprouts sprinkled on top. They gave a slight crunch, an earthy note, which brought a new dimension of flavour.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

Mr. ordered the Ricotta & Confit Duck Pizza. It’s, interesting.

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My job sometimes takes me to places, and when it does, I could be treated to some pretty cool experiences that I otherwise may not plan for myself. Last month I went to Campbell River for a conference, and we were taken to visit a local distillery.

The Shelter Point Distillery is BC’s only pot distilled single malt whisky distillery and the second one in Canada. Single malt whisky, as suggested by the name, means the whisky is only distilled at a single location and not blended with whisky from any other distillery. The whisky is produced from 100% malted barley.

Pot stills at Shelter Point Distillery

The pot stills at Shelter Point are hand made and shipped from Northern Scotland. They are are 18ft tall, 1/4 inch thick, and according to the staff, the use of copper (vs. stainless steel, aluminum, brass or other material) helps pull the sulfur from the product, which may otherwise taste bitter and not be as smooth.

Fermentation Tanks at Shelter Point Distillery

While the whisky is being aged in the American oak bourbon barrels, Shelter Point is also producing some single malt, triple distilled vodka. (more…)

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While we were in Toronto, our friend BD and JG took us to a Middle Eastern restaurant called Fat Pasha. Looking at its website, it has some interesting items, including meat options for the carnivore in Mr. and I, and many vegetarian options for BD and JG.

Food

We ordered a bunch of things to share, plus a couple meat dishes that Mr. and I got to enjoy all by ourselves.

First of all, a Salatim Platter. You can order 3 things for $14, or 5 for $23 or 7 for $32. We chose the Beetroot Relish, Cranberry Bean and Chopped Eggplant. We ate with our eyes first as the platter had such beautiful colour combination and it’s quite pretty to look at. The beetroot relish had a nice pink hue, a little bit acidic, quite refreshing on the palate. The cranberry bean was slightly spiced, but you can still taste the tartness in cranberry. The chopped eggplant was meaty, had the most savoury mouthfeel to it. I liked the addition of chopped nuts and oil drizzle and a dash of sea salt on top of the spread, to add some texture and depth of flavours. The accompanying pita bread was hot to the touch, seasoned and we kept on ordering more to finish the spread.

Salatim Platter

The Chopped Liver and Onions was a tasty take on liver mousse. When the plate arrived, we had to mix in the liver with onions and a hard boiled egg. It came with slices of grilled bread and pickled horseradish. I’m usually not a horseradish fan but this was quite mild and the peppery note really helped with the liver taste. This was quite a generous portion of liver mousse and Mr. and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Chopped Liver and Onions

The Fried Crushed Potatoes was really good! It didn’t feel like a side at all. (more…)

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