This was supposed to be a week-long golf trip with Jay to Vernon/Kelowna in the Okanagan, but Jay got a new job and couldn’t get away. So, I took the dogs for a very short trip, and very long drive. I hoped to get some exposure to new restaurants, etc. but again, time was limited and the priority was spending time with friends and family. But, I made sure to pull off the main drag and walk the dogs through a Revelstoke neighbourhood so I could get myself some decent coffee and a good lunch on the way to my destination.
The Modern Bakeshop & Cafe in downtown Revelstoke is awesome! It was constantly busy – there was only ever a few minutes at a time when any given table was empty. It was hard to get a shot of the display case because there was always people standing in the way. I ordered a drip coffee to go, a generically named meat focaccia (basically a ham, pineapple and veggie pizza made on a focaccia) and a berry crumble square. It took a while for the focaccia to arrive, even though all they did was nuke it to heat it up. But, it was super tasty and I could have eaten another one, for sure. The berry square was just as it should be, with a dense base and sweet and tasty berries and a perfect amount of crumble on top. It was a huge piece and I was rather full after eating it. I was going to save it for the car but I really didn’t want to make a mess on my beige leather! The bakery and cafe sells home baked bread – many different types of loaves, pre-made wraps, granola, cakes, cookies, squares, muffins, cupcakes, chocolates, and on and on. Really, it had enough of a selection to make everyone happy. I would 100% recommend you stop here instead of at a big fast food chain on the main drag. Totally work the extra 5 minute drive from the highway.
On this Good Friday I traveled from Calgary to Kelowna to have dinner with good friends from high school, then back to Vernon to spend the night. The friends house where I stayed in Vernon overlooks the Spallumcheen Golf and Country Club – what a view!! I spent one summer of my university days living out of a tent, trapping and tagging small mammals (mice and voles mostly) and documenting snake locations in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park in Vernon, so the place holds a special place in my heart. I also drove myself to the hospital in Vernon for an emergency appendectomy (apparently, my appendix was gangrenous), and I missed the first month of that job because of it. I told my dogs the story as I drove by the hospital!
For dinner in Kelowna we ordered pick-up from a local Greek restaurant in Rutland so that we could easily visit and deal with 3 dogs, a toddler and the 3 of us adults. Unfortunately one of my pups was grumpy and tired and took it out on my friends’ dog. Bad Reuben! For $21, the calamari dinner from Olympia Greek Taverna was awesome. So much calamari and so much food! Rice, potatoes, pita, tzadziki, greek salad, and veggies, piled high with calamari – I couldn’t eat it all. A dish like this in Calgary would have been a lot more money. The food was really good but I still tasted the garlic the next day!
Whenever I travel with my dogs, Reuben finds a way to make sure I can’t leave without him. He’ll sleep on my shoes, my purse, our luggage – whatever he can find that is mine and near a door. He’s pretty adorable; albeit, his whining at these new locations was a new annoyance. I guess when you’re pushing 10 years old (as a dog), you’re allowed to be a bit grumpy… But, Kingsley travelled really well though – I was really impressed with him!
The next leg of the journey was onto Oliver and Osoyoos. I spent my high school years in Oliver – other than a new, fancy high school (mine burned down a few years ago), and a new shopping area with a Canadian Tire, Mark’s, Tim Horton’s, a new grocery store and some other things, it was pretty much the same small town with the same look and feel. It’s not a place I would ever move back to. My brother and his girlfriend are in Osoyoos. Again – a town that is too small for me, and way too touristy in the summer. Between the fruit pickers who venture across the country to work and the flush of tourists in the summer, I actually disliked living in the Okanagan. That being said, I now have a greater appreciation for the wine that is made here (yay!!) and the fruits and vegetables that come out of the fertile land. Albeit, I’m sure the herbicides and pesticides that flow down the valley into the lakes in the south are nasty for the environment. I personally wouldn’t swim in the southern Okanagan lakes!
I stopped in Penticton to have breakfast with two friends from high school. We went to the Nest and Nectar, a cute locally owned restaurant that links to the theatre company next door. On this Easter Saturday the regular breakfast menu wasn’t an option – we had the buffet breakfast with choices like waffles made to order with fresh fruit, flavoured whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and local syrups, eggs benny, bread pudding, various potatoes, sausage, bacon, a Ukranian cottage cheese wrapped thing, and I can’t even remember what else. I stuffed my face for $18.95 and ate so much! I had asked for a strong latte and it was one of the best I’ve had in Canada. With a bit of vanilla syrup it wasn’t too sweet nor too strong – I was actually really impressed! Another local gem, I would recommend you stop in.
I changed my travel plans for the trip home and decided to make it all in one trip. The drive from Osoyoos to Calgary isn’t actually that bad, even though it should be about 9 hours (no, it didn’t take me that long…). Yes, it’s a long drive, but at least it’s interesting. There were great vistas to see and lots of crazy turns to keep me occupied. I stopped in Golden for supper at the Island Restaurant – a cute wood building on the island, just as you head into downtown. I told the server I was in a hurry so she let me know what would be quick menu items and she got the food out to me quickly, and my bill to me as soon as I was done. For that, I was very appreciative. I really wasn’t impressed with the food though. The soup of the day was a curry butternut squash I think. It was a runny butternut squash base, with a mushy chunk of zucchini and a mushy chunk of red pepper floating in it. The flavour was ok, but I could have made better at home. The Ciabatta Club with bacon, in-house smoked turkey, real cheddar, tomato and lettuce sounds good in theory. But, they also added caramelized onions (they’re hidden under the turkey)… I have to remember that caramelized onions have their place (on heavy, rich things) – not on light turkey sandwiches. The onions overpowered everything else on the sandwich and I couldn’t taste the bacon or the smoked turkey. Caramelized onions do not go with tomatoes either. So in short – not a fan. I would go back to the restaurant but I think I’d stick with a burger and fries.
All in all it was a great trip. I got to see friends and family I haven’t seen in a long time, and I got to see my brother’s house (even though he’s sold it). I’m glad I went off the main drag to try new restaurants – and doing so on my own was something outside of my comfort zone, but in the end, not that bad!
Born and raised there, I really do miss beautiful B.C.