September 14, 2005

On to Nanaimo and Telegraph Cove

Hi Everyone,

After heading south to reach the sunshine, we finally found it in Vancouver...at least part of the time. We had been moving every few days so it felt good to settle in for a bit.

We stayed at False Creek Yacht Club in Vancouver for a week and would have stayed longer if it was possible. All their slips are occupied by yacht club members. So it is only when someone is traveling that there are slips open for visitors. This is located in False Creek on the city side, at the second bridge. It is directly across from Granville Island, so we just had a short dingy ride to the shops and restaurants, (and West Marine) on Granville Island. Oh yes, we had to check out the tour and tasting at the Granville Brewery.

While we were there the Fringe Fair started. This fair's purpose was "to ward off mediocrity". Those wishing to be part of this entered their names in the lottery. Once picked, they could perform any sort of entertainment, without censure for an hour and a half. It was good to see reviews of the presentations. There was quite a range of style and quality, with a few listed as recommended.

We enjoyed the Yacht Club and their quite reasonable dinner selections. Rack of lamb...that works for us! Unlike the YC's that we are used to, which are busiest during the weekend, False Creek Yacht Club is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and are closed over the weekend. There are many places close by to cruise to, so members leave on the weekends.

The cruising season is pretty well over now. The members are all back in their slips so we had to leave or stay in the one remaining spot under the Granville Island Bridge.... and get bombed by the perching sea gulls...

We did have a great time during the week in Vancouver, taking lots of long walks, going to the Maritime Museum, exploring different parts of the city and enjoying new restaurants. But of course we had to return to Chinatown for some yummy Dim Sum. The city is actually small enough that we could walk to most places we wished to go.

During this week we did have one night of over 35 knot winds. The most exciting part of that was the Coast Guard boat going full throttle past the marina on the way to a boat fire. We definitely rocked on that wake. At least one 30 foot powerboat bounced onto the dock and back into the water, suffering some damage. We were fine, nothing more than a bit of rocking.

Our next stop was Nanaimo. I'm not sure if the folks who recommended this town did so because they have a sweet tooth. One of Nanaimo's claim to fame is a sweet convection named after the town, the Nanaimo Bar. I suppose that we must at least try one (we did, see below).

Again, we are getting lots of exercise walking. It's a good thing. On Monday, Sept 12th, we stopped at Armani's Restaurant and ordered his mushroom burger. It was very tasty but huge. We had to take at least a pound of the mushrooms in a doggy bag. They'll be great on our
mushroom pizza later. Since we had it for a late lunch, we didn't need dinner that night - in spite of a 5+ mile walk on Monday.

We also really liked Acme Restaurant (no relation to where Wily Coyote buys his stuff). Sort of a West coast eclectic fusion cuisine, but not at all pricey. They have a selection of dishes from
creative soups and salads to sushi. Quite good. We went there twice - once dinner on Sunday and once for lunch on Tuesday.

One thing that is noticeable is the greater number of sail boats in Nanaimo compared to elsewhere in the North West. Open water and wind is more accessible. The Straights of Georgia are just a mile or two away.

Right now, Wednesday, Sept 14th, we've stopped in Telegraph Cove for One Night. Tomorrow, we're off to Chemainus for two nights, followed by Maple Bay on Saturday.

Warmest Regards,
Mary and Bill

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The Original Nanaimo Bar recipe:

The Nanaimo bar has a notable thermal significance. During Nanaimo's heyday as a major coal mining area, families of miners sent care packages which often included this sweet treat. Dubbed a "Nanaimo Bar" the cake travelled well on the journey from the miners' families homes in the UK and brightened the spirits of the workers underground.

The Nanaimo Bar consists of three layers and looks a bit like a brownie, except for the cream colored middle layer.

These guys are tasty, but very sweet, rich and calorie packed. We shared one between us (over 4 days!).

For 16 - 2x2 inch Nanaimo Bars:

Bottom Layer:

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter (pref. Euro-Style cultured)
1/4 Cup Sugar
5 Tbsp Cocoa
1 Egg, Beaten
1 3/4 Cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
1/2 Cup Finely Chopped Almonds
1 Cup Shredded Coconut

Melt the butter, sugar and cocoa in the top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken (don't stop whisking or you end up with lumps of scrambled egg!). Remove from heat. Stir in crumbs, coconut and almonds. Press firmly in an 8x8 inch baking pan.

Middle Layer:

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
2 Tbsp + 2 Tsp Cream
2 Tbsp Vanilla Custard Powder
2 Cup Icing Sugar

Cream butter, cream, custard powder and icing sugar together well. Beat until light. Spread over bottom layer.

Top Layer:

4 Oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter

Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler. Cool. When cool, but still liquid, pour over middle layer and chill the pan in the refrigerator until the bars set.

Cut into 2 inch squares and enjoy!
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