Skip to content
Advertisements

Welcome!

You'll find over 435 of my favorite recipes here, including ideas for Quick meals, Cooking for 2, Feasting on Leftovers, and cooking with 5 Ingredients or Less. I'm adding new posts regularly; you can subscribe by email or RSS feed if you'd like to receive the latest recipes. Bon appétit!

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

November 18, 2018

By Kath Dedon

.

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish is my take on a Mark Bittman recipe. It is indeed simple, but is it the best? I don’t know about that, but it certainly is good enough that I made it twice in one week. Bittman calls it a Spanish tapa-style dish and says that everyone he’s served it to has loved it. Perhaps it is the Best!

The most time-consuming part of this recipe is peeling the shrimp, but even that doesn’t take too long. And if you buy shrimp that’s already peeled and deveined, the recipe is even simpler!

Be sure to have all of the ingredients ready to go (mise en place) because the cooking goes really quickly.

Bob and I really did enjoy this Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish! Just writing about it is making me crave it. The first time I made it I just served it by itself on a plate. The second time I served it with cauliflower rice. It would be great served over rice or by itself with a good bread to sop up the flavorful sauce. I’ll be making this again soon; it’s sure to be part of our regular rotation.

.

Served with cauliflower rice

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

.

The Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

(Adapted, barely, from Mark Bittman’s recipe on his website and in How to Cook Everything)

.

(print the recipe)

n

Serves 4

.

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1½ pounds shrimp

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1½ teaspoons hot smoked paprika (Look for the word “picante” on the label.)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

.

Ingredients for the Simplest and Best Shrimp Dish

Ingredients

.

cumin and smoked hot paprika

.

 

  1. If the shrimp aren’t already peeled and deveined, do that first and set aside.
  2. Slice the garlic into thin slivers. Measure out the cumin and paprika. (You can put them both in the same dish.) Prep the parsley, if using.

.

Ingredients “mise en place” (ready to go)

Ingredients mise en place

.

3. Heat a large skillet over low heat. When hot, add the olive oil and let it heat up.

oil in pan

 

4. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until it is starting to brown.

garlic

 

5. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add the shrimp, the cumin and paprika, and a bit of salt and pepper.

shrimp and spices added

 

6. Stir to distribute the spices.

Shrimp cooking

 

7. Cook, stirring often, until the shrimp are done. It will take 5 -10 minutes. (Timing will depend on the size of your shrimp and the heat of the pan.)

8. Serve, garnished with parsley, if desired.

.

The Simplest and Best Shrimp

.

Advertisements

Instant Pot Apple Butter

October 12, 2018

By Kath Dedon

.

We had a big crop of Akane apples this year. I decided to use some of them to make Ashley Singh Thomas’ recipe for Instant Pot Apple Butter. I found the recipe on her blog, My Heart Beets. I had had my eye on her recipe for a while. When Carrie told me she made it with some of the apples we gave her and how fabulous it is, I had to make it!

I love the fact that Ashley leaves the peels on. That really simplifies the prep work. I treated myself to a Cuisipro Apple Corer which worked great. I had 4½ pounds of apples prepped in under 30 minutes.

Ashley said she used 5½ pounds of apples in her 6-quart Instant Pot, but mine was looking pretty full with just 4½ pounds so that’s what I used. I did not reduce the other ingredients.

I put the finished apple butter in half-pint jars. I have one jar in the refrigerator to eat now and the others are in the freezer. I understand that apple butter freezes really well. We can look forward to enjoying Instant Pot Apple Butter over the next few months.

If you have an abundance of apples and an Instant Pot, I highly recommend this recipe!

.

A couple of Akane apples from our tree and Instant Pot Apple Butter

Instant Pot Apple Butter

.

Instant Pot Apple Butter

(Adapted from Ashley Singh Thomas’ recipe on My Heart Beets)

.

(print the recipe)

.

The final quantity will depend on how much you cook it down in the last step. I ended up with a little over 5 cups of apple butter.

 .

You may wonder why this recipe only uses ¼ cup of water when Instant Pot recommends at least 1 cup of liquid. Amy + Jacky, in the comments on their version of Instant Pot Apple Butter, say that the apples release a lot of juice as they’re heated, so ¼ cup of water is enough. Indeed, it worked fine for me.

4½ pounds of apples

¼ cup water

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of ground cloves

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg, optional (I didn’t use it.)

Sugar, optional (I used 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar, but I think it would have been great without any sweetener.)

  1. Wash, core, and quarter the apples.
  2. Put the apples in the Instant Pot and add ¼ cup water.

.

4.5 pounds apples

.

3. Put the lid on the pot, and turn the pressure regulator to Sealing. Use Manual, High Pressure and select 20 minutes of cooking time.

.

Instant Pot set.jpg

.

4. When the time is up let the pressure release naturally.

5. Use a high speed blender or an immersion blender to puree the apples. (If using a blender, put the apple puree back in the Instant Pot.)

.

Cooked apples, just before I blended them

Cooked apples just before blending

.

6. Stir the spices and sugar into the apple puree.

7. Press Sauté and set it to Low. Cook for 30 minutes, without the lid on, stirring occasionally.

.

Simmering on Low, without the lid

Apple Butter cooking on Saute

.

8. When the 30 minutes are up the Instant Pot will turn off. You’ll probably want to cook it down a bit more, so Press Sauté to cook for another 30 minutes.

.

Tips:

  • The apple butter will sputter when it’s cooking down. I used a splatter screen to keep it from splattering all over.
  • If you want to freeze the apple butter in jars, be sure to leave about ½ inch of space to allow for expansion.

.

Instant Pot Apple Butter - Copy

.

Purple Plum Torte

October 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

.

I adapted Deb Perelman’s recipe for a Purple Plum Torte to make an almost sugar-free version. Deb wrote in her Smitten Kitchen blog post that her recipe was an adaptation of the very popular version made famous by Marian Burros.

Amanda Hesser, author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook, says the Marian Burros recipe is the most often requested and published recipe in the New York Times. When she was looking for recipes to include in her book, she had 265 people rave about the Purple Plum Torte. So now it can be forever found in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.

Both Deb and Amanda point out that you can really use any fruit for this torte, but purple Italian plums are especially good when they’re in season.

This Purple Plum Torte is best made the day before you serve it, making it a perfect dessert for entertaining.

(Be sure to check out Deb’s photos of her Purple Plum Torte to see how lovely it can be when it’s baked in a springform pan instead of a pie plate.)

.

Italian Plum Torte

.

Purple Plum Torte

(Adapted from the Smitten Kitchen version, which is adapted from the Marian Burros recipe. Amanda Hesser included the Marian Burros recipe in The Essential New York Times Cookbook.)

 .

(print the recipe)

.

I used granulated Swerve sweetener in the cake batter and maple sugar to sprinkle on the top. Substitute regular sugar if you wish.

A 9-inch springform pan is recommended for this recipe. I used my 9½-inch pie plate. It worked fine, although the presentation would be better if a springform pan were used.

 .

13 purple Italian plums (I could only fit 11 on my cake)

Italian prune plums

.

1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

Large pinch of salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup granulated Swerve sweetener (or ¾ – 1 cup sugar)

2 large eggs

11 – 12 smallish purple Italian plums, halved and pitted

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons of maple sugar (or 1 tablespoon sugar)

.

  1. Heat the oven to 350°.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl.
  3. Cream the butter and sweetener (or sugar) together with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes, until it is fluffy and light.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing after each one.
  5. Add the flour mixture and beat until it is just combined.
  6. Spread the cake batter into an ungreased 9½-inch pie pan (or ungreased 9-inch springform pan) and smooth out the top.
  7. Put the plums, skin-side up all over the cake.
  8. Sprinkle the cake with the lemon juice, and then the cinnamon and maple sugar (or sugar).

Ready to bake

Sprinkled with maple sugar and cinnamon.jpg

.

9. Bake the cake for 45 – 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with no cake batter. (If you have an instant-read thermometer, the cake’s temperature will be 210° when it’s done.)

10. Cool the cake on a rack and then cover it and leave it overnight at room temperature before serving the next day.

.

Baked and cooling on a rack.jpg

.

Italian Plum Torte - Copy.jpg

.

Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers

September 13, 2018

By Kath Dedon

.

I recently made this Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers for a potluck party. I loved it, and several people commented on how much they enjoyed it.

The recipe is adapted, barely, from a recipe by Kalyn Denny on her Kalyn’s Kitchen blog. It’s a very easy recipe to make, and it’s perfect when you need a recipe that you can make ahead of time.

Kalyn used canned black olives. I used a jar of pitted Kalamata olives instead and liked the swap.

Next time you need an easy salad for entertaining, give this Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers a try.

Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers

.

Tapas Salad with Grilled Bell Peppers, Olives, and Capers

(Adapted from Kalyn Denny’s recipe on her Kalyn’s Kitchen blog.)

 .

(print the recipe)

.

Serves 4 – 6 (You could easily double it for more servings.)

.

1 large red bell pepper

1 large yellow bell pepper

1 large orange bell pepper

1 jar pitted Kalamata olives (6 – 6.5 oz., drained)

2 Tablespoons capers, rinsed and drained

.

Dressing

2 Tablespoons + 2 teaspoons olive oil

1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar (or substitute white wine or white balsamic vinegar)

1 teaspoon caper brine

2 – 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh marjoram (or substitute fresh basil or oregano)

½ teaspoon minced garlic

Salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

.

  1. Preheat your grill with the burners on high.
  2. Wash and dry the peppers. Cut the peppers into fourths, removing the seeds and large pieces of white membrane.

peppers

.

3. Put the peppers, skin side down, on the hot grill. Grill for 15 – 20 minutes until they are charred. As they get finished, remove them to a large bowl.

peppers on the grill

.

4. When all of the peppers are done, cover the bowl with plastic wrap so they can steam for at least 15 minutes.

covered in a bowl

.

5. Put the olives in a strainer to drain.

6. Whisk the dressing ingredients together.

7. After the peppers have steamed for at least 15 minutes, remove the charred skins. Cut the peppers crosswise into bite-size strips.

8. Put all of the salad ingredients in a bowl.

Peppers, olives, and capers in the bowl

.

9. Add the dressing and toss well. Taste and season with salt and pepper to taste. (The olives and capers are salty, so you may not need much salt.)

10. The salad can be kept at room temperature until you’re ready to serve.

 

Tapas Salad

.

Tapas Salad with Olives

.

 

The Ultimate BLT Sandwich

September 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

.

A few weeks ago I saw J. Kenji López-Alt’s video about The Ultimate BLT Sandwich. I challenge you to watch the video and not want to make that sandwich right away!

The thing that really puts this sandwich over the top is toasting the bread in bacon grease. Bob thought it was AMAZING! I never would have thought of doing that!

Kenji says that the most important ingredient, though, in a BLT is the tomato. He says not to bother with standard, flavorless supermarket tomatoes. This is the time of year when great tomatoes are available, maybe from your own garden. If you don’t have great homegrown tomatoes, beautiful and delicious heirloom tomatoes are available at grocery stores right now. Those are the ones to use; they’re juicy and full of real tomato flavor.

If you read the article closely, you’ll see that his favorite BLT bread is Oroweat/Arnold Country Buttermilk, unless you can get your hands on, or make, Japanese-style shokupan bread. I wasn’t going to make homemade bread, so I got a loaf of Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread.

Kenji recommends immersion-cured bacon, like Nueske’s or Wright. They may be especially good, but I found that Farmland Thick Cut bacon worked fine.

When I make one of Kenji’s recipes for the first time, I like to follow it pretty closely. After all, he’s the expert. So I used shredded iceberg lettuce on the bottom slice of toast. Bob declared that the Ultimate BLT was outstanding, but he did say that the bottom piece of toast got a bit soggy.

I’m wondering if it got soggy because it took me a while to put it all together since I was taking photos. I think next time it will fare better when I can get the sandwich put together more quickly.

I’m also wondering if the shredded lettuce allowed more of the tomato juices to soak through. Next time I would use several large leafs of lettuce, thoroughly dried, on the bottom slice of toast, and perhaps shredded iceberg on the top. I’m looking forward to giving that a try.

In the end, Kenji’s Ultimate BLT Sandwich is a thing of beauty and a great sandwich! It’s definitely a diet splurge, but it’s worth it to have a treat now and then.

Update 9/19/18 

I made this a second time for Bob last weekend, using whole lettuce leaves and working quickly to put it together. He still thought it was soggy. He declared that he prefers BLTs that are made on regular toasted bread. And with more bacon. He thinks 4 thick slices would be perfect. If you make Kenji’s Ultimate BLT Sandwich and have any insight for us, please share in the Comments. 😉

.

Ultimate BLT

.

The Ultimate BLT Sandwich

(Adapted from J. Kenji López-Alt’s recipe on Serious Eats)

 

(print the recipe)

 

Serves 1

 

3 strips thick cut bacon (I used Farmland.)

2 slices high-quality sandwich bread (I used Oroweat Country Buttermilk bread.)

4 tablespoons mayonnaise*

1½ cups finely shredded iceberg lettuce (or large crispy lettuce leaves, washed and thoroughly dried)

4 thick slices ripe tomato

Coarse sea salt, such as fleur de sel or Maldon

Freshly ground pepper

 

* Kenji’s recipe says to use total of 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise, but if you watch his video you’ll see that he recommends a generous amount of mayonnaise. He clearly uses more than a tablespoon on each slice. I used 4 tablespoons, about 2 on each slice, and it seemed just right.

.

The ingredients, except for the bacon and pepper

Ingredients for BLTs

.

.

  1. Turn the oven on Warm. Place the bacon in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook, turning often, until the bacon is crisp and that fat has rendered.

Bacon

 

2. While the bacon is cooking, prep the lettuce. Shred the iceberg lettuce or wash and dry leaf lettuce if you’re using that.

3. Slice the tomato and get the mayonnaise and salt and pepper ready to go.

4. Place the cooked bacon on a paper towel on a piece of aluminum foil. Wrap the foil around the bacon and put it in the oven to keep warm while you finish the sandwich.

5. Keep the skillet on medium-low and add the bread to the bacon grease. Toast until it is browned on the first side and then turn it over to brown the second side.

toasting bread in bacon grease

.

6. Remove the toast from the skillet. Spread the mayonnaise on both slices.

Mayo on bread

 

7. Add the shredded (or leaf) lettuce to one slice of bread. Top the lettuce with the tomato slices. Generously sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and pepper.

Lettuce added

 

8. Break the bacon slices in half and lay them over the tomato slices.

tomato slices and bacon

 

9. Top the bacon with shredded lettuce.

More lettuce added

 

10. Put the second piece of toast over the sandwich. Cut in half on the diagonal and serve immediately.

cut in half diagonally

.

The Ultimate BLT

.

.

The Ultimate BLT Sandwich.jpg

.

 

 

 

Vegan Potato Salad

August 14, 2018

By Kath Dedon

.

A couple of weeks ago I used my Instant Pot to cook potatoes for a Vegan Potato Salad. Using the Instant Pot made it so quick and easy! We took the potato salad to a potluck party and brought back an empty bowl. Bob and I both loved it!

I doubled the ingredients in my All-American Potato Salad for Two, omitted the hard-cooked eggs, and used vegan mayonnaise to make it vegan. (I like Just Mayo vegan mayonnaise, which I can find at QFC and Safeway.)

Bob has mentioned at least a couple of times how much he liked the Vegan Potato Salad since I made it. I guess I’ll have to make it again soon. 😉

.

Vegan All-American Potato Salad.jpg

.

Vegan Potato Salad

(Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for All-American Potato Salad for Two)

.

(print the recipe)

.

Serves 6 – 8

 

Most of the ingredients for the dressing

IMG_4195.JPG

.

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch pieces

1 cup water

2 tablespoons dill pickle juice

2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar

½ cup vegan mayonnaise

2 small celery ribs, minced (about 2/3 cup)

3 tablespoons dill pickle relish

1 shallot, minced (about 4 tablespoons)

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 teaspoon celery seeds

½ teaspoon fine sea salt (or table salt)

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

 

  1. Put the potatoes in a steamer basket in the Instant Pot. (A steamer basket makes it much easier to remove the cooked potatoes and to drain them, but if you don’t have one just put the potatoes in the pot.)

.

potatoes in the Instant Pot.jpg

.

2. Add the 1 cup of water to the Instant Pot; put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

3. Select Manual. Set the time for 4 minutes at high pressure.

.

4 minutes - High pressure

.

4. When the 4 minutes of cooking time are up, use the Quick Release method to let the steam out.

5. Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Immediately pour the pickle juice and the vinegar over the warm potatoes. Stir gently and set them aside for about 20 minutes.

.

Pouring the pickle juice and vinegar over the warm potatoes

Vinegar and pickle juice

.

6. Make the dressing while the potatoes are cooling. Stir the mayonnaise, minced celery, pickle relish, minced shallot, minced parsley, dry mustard, celery seeds, salt, and pepper together.

.

Ready to mix.jpg

.

Dressing for vegan potato salad

..

7. After the potatoes have cooled for about 20 minutes, gently stir the dressing into the potatoes. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

.

Vegan All-American Potato Salad 2.jpg

.

Vegan All-American Potato Salad - Copy

.

Beautiful Victoria, British Columbia

August 3, 2018

By Kath Dedon

,

I know. It’s been a while since I’ve posted. It’s been kind of hot so most of our dinners have been grilled protein and a salad. Simple! I just haven’t made anything “blog worthy” until just last weekend. That recipe will be posted soon. In the meantime, here’s a recap of our quick trip to Victoria (where it was beautiful – sunny, and 15 degrees cooler than Seattle!)

***

Last week we made a very enjoyable quick trip to Victoria, British Columbia, and we stayed at a fantastic new Airbnb that I want to tell you about.

.

The view of “The Gorge” from the deck of our cottage – so peaceful!

Peaceful view.jpg

.

GMC Projects, Inc. is a family business owned by our friends, the Milne family. One of their latest projects is Portage West which is located right on the Gorge Waterway, known as “The Gorge” in Victoria. The property was an Econo Lodge when GMC bought it. The company has done a magnificent job turning an old motel into beautiful, modern studio and 1-bedroom apartments. One of the buildings is finished and is renting up. The other two will be done soon.

The property also includes 10 cottages that GMC has transformed into beautiful vacation rentals. Each cottage has a living room, dining area, fully equipped kitchen, bedroom (with the most comfortable bed!), bathroom and a private deck with a full view of The Gorge.

We rented one of the cottages, the Nomad, for our two nights in Victoria. It was one of the best places we have ever stayed. The Milnes have thought of every little detail to make the cottages very comfortable. Things like: the bedside table lamps have an electric outlet – perfect for charging a cell phone overnight; there were more than enough hangers in the closet to hang our clothes; I needed a pair of scissors and, sure enough, there were a couple of pairs of scissors in the utensils drawer in the kitchen. Besides the bath towels, there are towels available to take to the beautiful pool.

.

The living room in the Nomad cabin

 

The dining area

.

The kitchen

.

We loved sitting in the comfortable Adirondack chairs on the deck with coffee in the morning or a glass of wine in the evening. It is SO peaceful! There are Canada geese and ducks on the water. We even saw a sea otter sauntering along on the beach on the other side of The Gorge!

.

The view from the kitchen

View from the kitchen

.

Lots of Canada geese!

Canada geese

 

I highly recommend Portage West if you’re ever looking for a peaceful place to stay in Victoria!

***

There are several ways to get to Victoria from Seattle. The fastest, and most fun, way is to fly Kenmore Air from Lake Union to Victoria’s Inner Harbor. Bob and I took Kenmore Air on our last trip to Victoria. The 45-minute flight is absolutely gorgeous; the flight path is over Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Beautiful!

The Victoria Clipper is a high-speed catamaran that takes 2½ hours to go from Seattle’s waterfront to Victoria. Bob took it years ago when he went to Victoria to be a crewmember on a friend’s sailboat in the Swiftsure Race. He said it’s “okay”. It is kind of pricey. I’d like to try it sometime, just for the experience.

If you want to take your car, you’ll have to take a ferry but you still have options.

You can drive across the border at Blaine, WA, to enter Canada. From there, it’s about a 40-minute drive to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal. The crossing to the Swartz Bay terminal in Sidney (just north of Victoria) takes about 1 hour and 35 minutes. It’s a beautiful crossing and the BC ferries are MUCH nicer than the Washington State ferries. They feel like little cruise ships. Once in Sidney, it’s about a 30-minute drive to Victoria.

You can also drive 2 hours north to Anacortes, WA, to take a Washington State ferry to Victoria. It’s a beautiful ride that takes a little over two hours cruising between the San Juan Islands. The ferry is comfortable, but not as nice as the BC ferries.

A third ferry you can take is the Black Ball Coho ferry that operates between Port Angeles, WA, and Victoria. Reservations are highly recommended for your car if you’re traveling during the high tourist season in the summer.

Reservations are not required if you walk on. You can pay a daily rate to park your car in one of the parking lots that are near the ferry terminal. That’s exactly what we did last week.

As of this writing (2018), you need cash to pay for parking. The rates that we saw ranged from $10 – $15 dollars a day. The “day” begins and ends at midnight. If you park at noon, that’s the first day. The second day starts at midnight. If you come back on the third day at noon, that’s the third full day. We chose a $12 lot. So our 2 nights away was 3 full days for parking. We owed $36, but we didn’t have the right change so we ended up putting two $20 bills in the envelope to pay.

So how did we get to Port Angeles? We started out on a Washington State ferry.

The Fauntleroy ferry dock to Vashon Island and Southworth is about a mile from our house. We wanted to catch the 8:45 ferry to Southworth to have ample time to get to Port Angeles in time for the 12:45 Coho ferry to Victoria. Sometimes there are long waits for the ferries, so we got to the dock at 8:00 which turned out to be way too early. But you never know.

.

On the dock, waiting to drive aboard the ferry

Ready to board the ferry for Southworth.jpg

.

The ferry ride to Southworth is about 30 minutes (on the ones that don’t make a stop at Vashon Island). Without any traffic issues, it’s about a 2 hour drive to Port Angeles from Southworth. Traffic was surprisingly heavy but we didn’t encounter any slowdowns so we got to Port Angeles at a little after 11:00. We parked the car and then walked to the ferry terminal to buy our roundtrip tickets.

After getting our tickets we walked to Kokopelli Grill for lunch. Bob had halibut fish and chips and I had fish tacos. The restaurant was nice; our lunches were okay. I would order something different or try a different restaurant next time.

The Coho was quite crowded. We found some seats inside. Bob went exploring and found better seats on the aft deck. It was a great place to sit on a beautiful day. There was a cover for shelter from the sun and a great view.

Arriving in Victoria on the Coho

Arriving in Victoria

.

The sailing time to Victoria is 90 minutes so we were at the dock in Victoria at 3:15. Lorne had said he would send one of the GMC employees, Bill, to pick us up. (Thanks, Bill!) So after going through customs we were off to Portage West.

After putting our luggage in the cottage, we headed to the poolside party hosted by GMC. They were celebrating the promotion of one of Lorne and Muggs’ sons, Jordan, to CEO. It was a wonderful party; it was catered with plenty of delicious passed hors oeuvres and there was a delightful Cuban band. It was great to see Lorne, Muggs, most of their grown children (the 4th one, a son, was working on a movie in Vancouver) and their grandchildren.

It was still light after the party. We took a short walk to a nearby Rexall to buy a couple of things. I paid in cash to get $10 Canadian for a bus ride the next day.

***

Our plan for the next morning was to catch a city bus across the street and go into the “Inner Harbor” area of Victoria. You can pay the bus driver $5 Canadian to get an all-day bus pass. We thought we’d go to the harbor area, find some breakfast, and then take another bus to Butchart Gardens.

However, before we left, Bob ran into David Milne who offered to give us a ride. (Thank you, David!) We asked him to take us to Blue Fox Café which sounded like a great place for breakfast. Well, apparently it is good and very popular. The line stretched way down the street to get in. Moving on…

David drove us to a nearby place, Jam Café. Its line was just as long as the one at Blue Fox.

I asked David to just drive us to the Inner Harbor and drop us off and we would find a place. While we were stopped at a stop light, Bob spotted Swans Brewery and Pub and asked David about it. David said it’s good; at night it’s a popular place to hear music. It looked like it was open so we thanked David, hopped out and went in.

Swans had just opened for lunch and we were the first customers so we got a great table in their glass-covered sidewalk seating area. The windows were open and it was very pleasant. The menu offers a lot of great-sounding choices. Bob had the “peameal(a type of Canadian bacon) sandwich and I had an especially good burger without the bun.

By the time we were finished with lunch we decided that we didn’t have enough time to do justice to Butchart Gardens. The bus ride was about an hour each way and it would probably be insanely crowded midafternoon on a beautiful summer day. We had dinner plans with Lorne and Muggs, so we couldn’t plan on staying into the evening.

We decided to walk over to the Royal BC Museum. We have been there many times, but they always have different featured exhibits.

Our first stop was at Thunderbird Park, the museum’s collection of totem poles that is just outside the museum. Bob feels that no visit to Victoria is complete without a visit to Thunderbird Park. It is spectacular!

.

At the Royal BC Museum

Another totem pole.jpg

.

We then went to the current exhibit, Egypt: The Time of Pharaohs. Wow! It is a fascinating exhibit. Some of the artifacts are 4,500 years old! We spent at least 2 hours in it. We really enjoyed it, but when we were done we felt that we were “museumed-out”. We didn’t go to any of the other excellent exhibits. I spent my Canadian $10 on a board book for Laura and Byron’s baby boy, due in November!  

 

We walked down to the dock to see the Duen, a tall ship that’s available for 3-hour cruises in the summer. We enjoyed talking to a young woman who is one of the crew members. She invited us aboard to look around. It would probably be fun to cruise on it sometime.

.

In this photo the Duen is at the end of the dock. There are a couple of water taxis (“L’il Toots”) at the dock in the foreground.

Inner harbor of Victoria

.

.

From the Duen we walked over to catch a Victoria Harbor Ferry (We call it “L’il Toot”.) to go across the harbor to the Delta Ocean Pointe Resort. It was easy to get a cab from there to go back to Portage West.

Lorne picked us up and took us to their new home, the penthouse of a beautiful apartment building in Victoria. Their home is spectacular! It has outdoor balconies with seating that goes all around the outside with a view of the Inner Harbor that is way more than 180°. They can watch the ships coming and going and other activity in the harbor, but they are up high enough that it is really quiet.

After visiting on their balcony with glasses of wine, it was time for dinner. We went to one of their favorite restaurants, Glo.

I can see why they like Glo so much. It’s a waterfront restaurant and it has a great menu with a lot of variety. It’s also very popular so it was crowded, but Lorne had made a reservation so we got right in. I really enjoyed the Tan Tan City Salad (“Moroccan inspired salad with blackened sockeye salmon, chopped dates, roasted almonds, avocado, goat cheese, seasonal mixed greens, orange segments + fresh mint in a key lime dressing”!)

Lorne gave us a ride back to Portage West and we enjoyed sitting on the deck before calling it a night.

***

Saturday morning we took a cab to Hotel Grand Pacific to have breakfast before catching the Coho ferry across the street. It was lovely sitting outside on a beautiful morning.

Bob enjoyed his eggs benedict!

Bob's eggs benedict at Hotel Grand Pacific

.

We were one of the first to board the Coho and were able to get a front row seat inside.

Front row seats on the ferry

.

Once we got into the Strait we didn’t have the clear weather we had had on Thursday. It was cool and a bit foggy. The fog got thicker as we approached Port Angeles. The people who were outside on the bow were ushered inside. A crew member went to the bow to watch for other boats and the Coho blew its fog horn at regular intervals.

.

Bob supervising the loading of the cars on the Coho

Bob supervising the loading of the cars

.

Bob on the bow

Bob on the bow as we leave Victoria

.

Lone crew member on watch as we approached Port Angeles in the fog

Lone crewman on watch in the fog

.

We were at the dock right on schedule. As we were walking in to the terminal, we spotted a gull with a little fuzzy chick on the pier. I had never seen a baby gull before!

.

Can you see the fuzzy chick just to the left of the gull’s tail? Talk about camouflage!

Gull chick on the Port Angeles dock

.

After a quick pass through customs, we got our car to head home.

We had lunch at a great little Thai restaurant in Sequim, Sawadee Thai Cuisine. We had eaten there years ago and it was just as good as I remembered. Bob thought it was right off the highway, but it’s a short drive from the highway and easy to find. It’s obviously very popular and was packed with people. We were able to get a table and the food was worth the moderate wait.

Sawadee Thai Cuisine in Sequim

..

After lunch we continued home. We stopped at the 7 Cedars Casino because Bob wanted to get a closer look at the totem poles and other carvings there. They were interesting to see and it was a good little break in the trip. We had heard that you can watch artists carving totem poles. That turned out to be true, but they aren’t there on the weekends.

 

At Seven Cedars Casino

.

Some of the totem poles at Seven Cedars Casino

.

Seen at Seven Cedars Casino

.

The rest of the drive to the Southworth ferry dock was uneventful. Again, traffic was heavy but we moved along at the speed limit the whole way.

Of course, when we reached the dock we found we just missed getting on the ferry that was loading. But the best attitude to have about catching the Vashon/Southworth ferry is to realize you’re going to get on the “whatever” ferry. The schedules are sometimes a bit “loose”. It was a pleasant afternoon to sit on the dock for 45 minutes waiting for the next boat.

We were home again by about 6:30 after two lovely nights in Victoria!

.

Victoria

.

.