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French toast in the comfort of your country kitchen · 26.10.14 by colin newell

French Toast at home - better than ever

I have this thing… about French toast… and I am not even French.

I have searched nation wide and out into the Pacific for the perfect serving of French toast – and I have found it in places like Hawaii, on the Big Island… like the Holualoa Cafe .

But here in Victoria? Not so much. There are promises of a great French toast. Hints of a French toast. I have been promised French toast, but the truth is, it is rarely delivered. I feel that on some menus here in the city, that they should have a French toast offered at one price… as is… and $5 more for French toast prepared lovingly or with a little passion. Because that is what it takes. It’s not rocket science but you need to pay attention to get this item right.

Normally what I get around town is French toast prepared by people clearly angry with the French people for some inexplicable reason. I don’t get it.
All I want is French toast prepared well and tasting like it should; fluffy like a cumulus cloud or a souffle and not drier and chewier than the soles of an army boot.

So here is Andrea’s and my home country kitchen French toast recipe.

Buy one loaf of braided egg bread or a loaf of Challah bread from your local bakery.
It should be bread on the white side – fluffy and fresh to begin with with enough density to absorb the egg batter thoroughly.

Anyway – here goes…

Mix together your egg mixture which consists of:

2 Eggs
2/3 Cup milk (which would be a blend of 1/4 cup half-half and the rest skim)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla

Put a frying pan onto medium-high heat.

Pour your egg mixture into a shallow pan (like a lasagna pan…)
Take 6 thickly sliced pieces of the bread and place them in the egg mixture – for 10 minutes soaking on each side… that is 20 minutes of soaking!

Put a large dollop of butter into the hot frying – about a tablespoon (heaping)

Put three of the soaked slices of bread into the pan.
Cover loosely with a lid that is slightly ajar – and cook for around 2 minutes each side… until each side is golden brown.

Note: Using a pan cover helps keep the toast from being undercooked or soggy in the middle.

Served with butter, maple syrup, Hawaiian coconut syrup, fresh fruit or sauteed apples in simple syrup – only limited by your imagination!

Oh yes. This toast goes great with a darn fine cup of hot black coffee!

8 years ago I wrote this blog about dairy free waffles. It turned out to be the most popular blog entry here. You can find that recipe over here – enjoy.


Kick starting a new cup of coffee - on the net · 24.10.14 by colin newell

Bruvelo Kickstarter Project

Have you ever noticed the dramatic difference between the delicious coffee you get at a fine coffeehouse and the mediocre coffee you often drink at home when you don’t pay attention to all the critical details?

Click on the photo for the big view!

Amazing coffee is the result when fresh roasted beans are brewed to perfection, with keen attention paid to every step – water quality, grinding, measuring, blooming, heating and steeping… and if you have any energy left over, you get to enjoy the fruits of your effort.

Me, I do it all by hand. I measure the water and the beans and I grind the coffee precisely to fit the method that I am using. But what if there was a coffee machine that would force me to think less about the details and let me concentrate on the great taste of my java jolt?

Inspired by the timeless tradition of handcrafted coffee and modeled after the skills of a well-trained barista, Bruvelo was built to be simple, smart, and to do one thing – extremely well.

Whether you want to easily brew an amazing cup of coffee with a push of a button or want complete control over every detail, Bruvelo will allow you to enjoy fine, handcrafted, pour-over coffee in the comfort of your own home.

But wait! There is more! The Bruvelo is WiFi enabled and you can access it from your smart phone – saving and setting all your favorite preferences – so that great cup of mud is ready to greet you at your door.

So says this exciting new kickstarter project that you can check out over here.

Colin Newell is a long time Victoria resident and coffee expert – when he is not out looking for a better coffee experience, he is looking for better coffee for you!


Daylight Mind coffee flies Alaska from Kona Hawaii · 2.09.14 by colin newell

Daylight Mind Coffee in Alaska Airlines

Starting October 2014, Kona, Hawaii-based Daylight Mind Coffee Company will supply locally sourced, tropically inspired desserts on all Alaska Airlines flights departing from Kona, Hawaii

Kona, Hawaii September 2, 2014 —Island Thyme Gourmet, caterers to Alaska Airlines, introduces a new line of desserts from Daylight Mind Coffee Company, a Kona artisan coffee roaster.

We are thrilled to partner with a local company that creates the quality of desserts we want to serve on Alaska Airlines,” says Clare Bobo, owner of Island Thyme Gourmet based in Hawaii.

Daylight Mind’s locally sourced desserts will tempt Alaska Airlines’ first-class passengers and complement Island Thyme Gourmet’s meals. Desserts include their award-winning Kona Coffee Espresso Opera Cake, a gluten-free, flourless, chocolate sponge cake with coffee buttercream and dark chocolate ganache, and a Sacher cake, made with local Macadamia nuts, chocolate butter cream, raspberry marmalade and ganache.

Fodor’s Travel and The Huffington Post list Daylight Mind Coffee Company as one of America’s 25 Best Coffee Shops. Located on the Kona waterfront, this company includes a farm-to-table restaurant, bakery, coffee roastery, coffee school, event space and a coffee house.

Nowhere else on earth can you find a business that teaches you about growing coffee, trains you to taste that coffee, feeds you a meal that incorporates that same coffee, and then offers you an ocean-side seat to a spectacular sunset while drinking that coffee,” says Shawn Steiman, co-owner of Daylight Mind. Steiman, who has a Ph.D. in coffee science, is the author of The Hawai‘i Coffee Book (Watermark Press, 2008), and co-editor of Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013). Daylight Mind Coffee Company’s Founder and CEO, Colin Finn, has extensive expertise in designing and operating coffee houses and restaurants in numerous countries, most recently in Australia.

Alaska Airlines offers the lowest fares from the West Coast to the Hawaiian Islands. The carrier has 30 weekly, peak-season flight to Kona from Anchorage, Alaska, Seattle, Washington, Portland, Oregon; and Oakland and San Jose, California.

And from yours truly: I know: In 8 consecutive years flying to Kona, Hawaii in the Winter time, Alaska has been the number one choice of the team.

About Daylight Mind Coffee Company

Daylight Mind, open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, takes its name from the literal translation of the Hawaiian word for enlightenment, na‘auao. By weaving a love of scientific exploration together with a deep respect for the wisdom and depth of its Hawaiian roots, Daylight Mind is the place to learn more about the art of all things coffee.

For information on Daylight Mind Coffee Company, visit us online at or in person at 75-5770 Ali’i Drive, Kailua-Kona, Hawaii


Living in Victoria - Fernwood Bites · 4.06.14 by colin newell

Fernwood Bites - you have to eat here!

Fernwood’s tastiest event, Fernwood Bites, is back for the fifth year in a row. In partnership with Cook Culture & local restaurateurs, Fernwood NRG is offering food-&-drink-lovers a chance to sample Victoria’s finest fare at its annual tasting event and fundraiser.

Happening in Fernwood Square on Sunday, June 22nd, the event will feature an evening of food and drink sampling, live jazz, and a silent auction of items donated by local artists and businesses. Proceeds will help fund Fernwood’s sustainable food initiatives including the Good Food Box, Fernwood Neighborhood Orchard, and Kitchen Garden Pilot Project.

Participants in Fernwood Bites include 10 Acres Bistro + Bar + Farm, AJ’s Organic Cafe, Aubergine Specialty Foods, Be Love, Bon Macaron Patisserie, Bona Vini Wines Co., Cascadia Bakery, Charelli’s Cheese Shop and Delicatessen, Choux Choux Charcuterie, Cook Culture, Discovery Coffee, Fernwood Inn, The Hot & Cold Cafe, Hoyne Brewing Co., Lonetree Cider, Olive The Senses, Origin Bakery, Padella Italian Bistro, Phillips Brewing Co., Renaissance Wine Merchants, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse, Silk Road Tea, Spinnakers, Stage Wine Bar, Stir It Up, Wildfire Bakery, Yates Street Taphouse, and Yonni’s Doughnuts.

Fernwood Bites 2014

Fernwood Bites will run from 5:30-8pm on Sunday, June 22nd in Fernwood Square (Gladstone at Fernwood). Tickets for this 19+ event are $50 and include all samples. Tickets are available online at

About Fernwood NRG
Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group is a charitable organization that offers programs and services to the neighbourhood of Fernwood, including childcare, affordable housing, family support services, parenting groups, community recreation and celebration. Led by a membership of neighbourhood residents, Fernwood NRG sets as its highest goal social, environmental, and economic sustainability. Fernwood NRG believes that a neighbourhood society should be responsive, active, engaging and fun. For more information about Fernwood NRG, please visit

For some more yummy looking photos of Fernwood Bites from last year – head over here

Colin Newell is a Victoria area resident and freelance food and drink writer – active in the Victoria area and Canada since 1995!

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Buying a house in Victoria B.C. Canada - the series · 27.05.14 by colin newell

House - found and bought... finally

Andrea and I, after over a decade of searching for the perfect place…

Have found a new home. And we will be taking possession and moving in later on in July.

This is a culmination of over a decades worth of effort. And I know what some of you are thinking…

“What took you so long? Ten years!? Your realtor must have died of shock or exhaustion. Think of all your lost time…”

And so on.

Picture – Standing in front of the house that Colin (and Andrea) bought!

Truth be told, we have been in a really nice suite in a great neighborhood with great water views and high above everything… but a kitchen the size of a large cardboard box – a galley kitchen… and this is what has been dragging us down for quite a few years. Lack of a decent kitchen and a guest ready 2nd bedroom has curtailed our life in ways that, yea, we will never get back… but now is a time for celebration and moving forward…

And a great opportunity to kick this blog back into gear and get some readers back.

So there it is – I will be talking about the joys of the search. The upside and downside of house hunting in some of the richest neighborhoods in North America (with a limited budget…) and
the necessity of buckling down and spending over 20 years saving for the house of our dreams…

Coming up. On the Coffeecrew blog.

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