Dining out in Victoria - Vis-a-vis - Oak Bay Avenue · 3.09.11 by colin newell
There are fewer things finer than dropping what you are doing (in my case blogging…) and grabbing the car keys, camera bag and my hungry wife to pop out for some spontaneous dining.
In this case – Vis a vis Wine Bar on Oak Bay Avenue.
One of our favorite local places is Stages in Fernwood – and this place is a little like Stages; charcuterie, small plates and lots of wines to sample in small glasses – or large glasses if you are so inclined.
Vis a vis is a partnership with The Penny Farthing pub next door on Oak Bay Avenue – but that is where the similarity ends. While sitting on the sidewalk patio, many many people walked by and turned into The Farthing… and that is OK. This is a completely different place. A great place. We came curious and hungry.
And we left satisfied with a new place to take ourselves… and friends.
Menu items below: Squid with squid-ink fettucini, Pork belly, grapefruit, endive, maple & onion caramel, Beef fennel salami & Juliet brie.
Summer about Victoria 2011 On the water around Vancouver Island · 13.08.11 by colin newell
Heading out on the water tomorrow – not walking on it mind you…
But going out for a ride on a 43’ Hanse
I spent four years in the 80’s (as a civilian) trundling around on everything from destroyer escorts (battleships) to mine-sweepers, gate vessels, tugs and the occasional submarine… learning how to be an marine electronics expert.
This will be fun. Sailing the old way… the better way… with the wind.
Click on the pic at left for the big view…
And relaxing while someone who really knows what they are doing takes the wheel. My brother-in-law is a ships pilot, instructor and all around great mariner – and his wife (my sister) knows her stuff too.
A bit more on the Hanse 43 over here
Summer meeting and non-guided meditation flash mob for Jack Layton · 27.07.11 by colin newell
Imagine a 3 minute non-guided meditation.
It will be marked to begin with the ringing of a gong.
Beacon Hill Park – Saturday July 30th – 1 PM Pacific Time – Just below the parking lot there is a stone circle.
At around 12:30 to 12:40 pm coordinators will arrive to place a bamboo pole with a gauzy piece of fabric at the top to blow in the wind as a central marker.
People can just come and sit and be still and send their thoughts – spread out over the hill and just feel one with the purpose. Find your private space. This is entirely not about us – this is about Jack.
The Meditation Mob For Jack Click on image at left for map.
1:00 pm to 1:03 pm Pacific Time
Gather on the slope of Beacon Hill Park below the
parking lot that looks out over Dallas Road.
If you are joining us across Canada, note the following meditation times: 2:00PM to 2:03 PM Mountain Time, 3:00PM to 3:03PM Central, 4:00PM to 4:03PM Eastern, 5:00 to 5:03PM Atlantic Time and 5:30PM to 5:33PM in Newfoundland.
Help Jack Layton fight that cancer. Zap it with our love. Think about Jack for 3 minutes.
Listen for the gong to start together. Where ever you might be in Canada, schedule the 3 minutes. Plan a few minutes ahead. Center and ground yourself. Clear your mind. Send a positive stream of energy to Jack.
Updates – July 28, 2011 – Alternate locations: Cannot make it to Beacon Hill Park? Safe gathering areas include Centennial Square in Victoria and others… Create your own event. If you are shopping in the Bay Center downtown or one of Victoria’s many fine retail venues, consider putting down your shopping bags (if it is safe to do so) for 1 – 3 minutes commencing at 1300 hours Pacific time.
Currently looking for an incidental percussionist with a large bell or gong. Failing that, I will find something suitable.
Joan Athey and Colin Newell met at the Friends of the Empress Wine and Bubble event on July 26th and came up with this idea. Join us for 3 minutes of quiet meditation for Jack Layton. We encourage other groups to join us in meditation across Canada in your respective time zones. Our motto: “Think about Jack!”
Victoria Summer 2011 About Victoria - Kicking it old school with Yoka · 10.07.11 by colin newell
I am a big advocate for buying your coffee whole bean – recently roasted and ideally direct from the roaster.
That way you know what you are getting, you are supporting local business and getting a product that is fresh and ideal for immediate consumption.
Photo left – Yoka keeps it old school at #5- 1046 Mason Street in the historic North Park neighborhood – High Cook near Wellburns Grocery
Here is the thing about coffee. It is a food product and like many others, has a freshness sweet spot. And to put this into perspective, whole bean or ground coffee is not like a bowl of rice or lentils or flour that can sit in a fairly air tight container indefinitely.
It is more like a bowl of fruit or a head of lettuce. And we all know that these food items are fairly fragile and only consumable for X number of days.
So how long is freshly roasted coffee good for? Opinions vary but it generally accepted that whole bean coffee is most ideal between 3 and 11 days off the roast day. Some folks extend this a bit but here is the thing. The moment coffee is roasted, it starts to give off carbon dioxide and this degassing process protects the coffee from the inevitable incursion of oxygen (the oxidizer) which stales coffee. Coffees degas at different rates but it is a given that whole bean coffee has the best and freshest flavor to offer between 3 and 7 days off roast. Between 7 to 12 days, the beans are running out of CO2 to release – and after that, the oxygen makes swift work of robbing the coffee of its great taste.
Yoka and her partner Tristan have been running a coffee roaster and shop since 1983 in Vancouver and recently moved their operation to Victoria for a change of pace. In addition to a wide selection of darker roast old origin coffees, they offer whole Belgian chocolate and local honey. There is a seating area for sipping on of their brews and they have a single group Rancilio for an espresso, latte or cappuccino.
Yoka runs a neat operation in that it is somewhat old school – fresh roast coffee in glass bins, old style weighing scales and a roaster in the main room. They event won a Hallmark heritage nod on the update and redesigns to the building on Mason.
Their roast profiles tend to roll towards the darker of the spectrum and get this, they have 3 different roast profiles on the Swiss Water organic decaf – the best decaf in the World… that is produced in Burnaby of all places.
Yoka’s shop is open Tuesday to Saturday 9AM til late in the afternoon – come on by and make sure you tell them that Colin sent you!
Victoria Spring 2011 - What Spring · 14.05.11 by colin newell
I am not alone in making this declaration:
Here in Victoria B.C. (YYJ for you twitter types), the weather has been utterly kicking my ass. And I am pretty sure that unless you live in a cave and you are used to sleeping with bats under dripping stalagmites, then you too are suffering the effects of the Victoria Winter of 2011 that will never fucking end.
The Sun has come out for about 7 days (not in a row or even in any sequence) over the last 4 months. We have not had 2 days of clear skies. We have had week after week or gray. Light gray. Dark gray. Green gray and several shades of blue gray.
Seasonally effected? I have had the luxury of cranking my lab light up to a cataract inducing 50,000 LUX or so… and even a touch more if I need it. And if you don’t know the significance of these numbers… Google it. Not quite Super Nova levels but pretty damn bright. I pity people that work in near windowless offices or spaces that have heavily filtered light. We go to Hawaii once a year for an infusion of Sunny goodness and it usually lasts a couple of months – well that sweet nugget of goodness ran out months ago – and it has been entirely miserable since January.
So, trying something different. Popping Omega-3 Fish oil and 1000 unit Vitamin D tabs twice a day – and thankfully I have a buddy who is a family doctor who said “OK” to this – because it does say on the bottle – “Medical supervision…” Thanks Doc.
So. How are the rest of you coping with the shitty Victoria weather?
Growing it for Cancer research - Movember - Pledge please! · 1.11.10 by colin newell
Fine facial hair and immaculate grooming doesn’t grow on trees. It grows on my face if I neglect it long enough.
And I have never been big on whiskers – hard enough keeping them follicles brewing on my head. But for the benefit of taking one for the team – and taking steps to promote Men’s Health – I have joined the UVic Systems Movember Team.
Photo right: A picture of my rugged mug from last year before an asteroid from the Van Allen belt rendered me hideous…
Cool. Finally an excuse to give up daily grooming and give prostate cancer a solid wallop in the nether regions.
So. If you are a fan of the Coffeecrew blog and want to keep the love coming… dig deep and toss a couple of sheckles in the direction of my chin dreads.
Please, please… pretty please?
Please donate to My Movember Team
The boys and I will be glad you did!