August 19, 2016

Vic’s Diner in Abbotsford


To see a diner next to a standard hotel is odd and foreboding.  Diners are usually near or within gas stations to cater to hungry truckers and drivers looking for filling affordable good-portion meals.  Or they can be on their own in a low-rent area in town, or along the highway.

Vic’s Diner is on Clearbrook Road, Exit 87 TransCanada Highway 1 in Abbotsford BC  - 69 km (43 miles) southeast of Vancouver BC Canada.  Right in front of the westward ramp, attached to the greyish Abbotsford Hotel, with a bit of uncertainty, I pulled in around 9 am in front of Vic’s Diner.  Will it be really a diner or more like a hotel facility?  Seeing a silver-haired couple walking in, my trepidations were a bit assuaged.  When I got in, saw the newish diner booths, and more silver-haired couples, I said “maybe it won’t be that disappointing.”

A solicitous server Maria showed me a table.  “Let me just clean it”, she said.
M: Do you want coffee?
Ice-cold water please
M: Are you in the hotel?
M; Here for the Abbotsford Air Show?

I asked for the special listed on the white board “Klondike Special” 3 eggs, ham, choice of chorizo or Farmer’s sausage, cubed potatoes, onions and toast.”  CAD$13.00 though the sign says CAD$13.99.  plus tax plus tip

Do you poach your eggs?
M: Yes, do you want it soft, medium, or hard?
This is truly Canadian – in Canada whether poach, basted, or fried – they can make it soft, medium or hard.
Medium please
M: For toast, multi-grain, white, wheat or sourdough?
Multi-grain please

It was very quick.  Within 8 minutes, the plate was set.  The poached eggs were perfectly round all in one ramekin.  The ham, chorizo sausages were the commercial packaged variety for restaurants – but they were tasty and rightly heated.  The almost identical mass-produced potato cubes were crunchy and blended well with the inch-long white onion strips.

The toast surprisingly had no butter.  Maria – do you have butter?
Maria, who is Vic?
M: There is no Vic.  This place used to be a Ricky’s (restaurant chain) and they were planning to call it Ric’s.  We said, no it can’t be Ric’s, so Vic’s it became.

Mid-way the appealing breakfast, silver-haired Phyllis took over who came over and asked If I need anything.

Maria (left) and Phyllis

Vic’s Diner, although a menu that emanates from package to pan, is worth recommending.  Truly Canadiana

Address:  2073 Clearbrook Rd, Abbotsford, BC V2T 2X1  It is next to the Chevron gas station.  Tel 604 859 6789  Open 7 am till 3 pm everyday

August 12, 2016

Somewhere Else Café Diner Truly Canadiana

It happened on two occasions.   I was asking myself  “Is it worth it?  The time.  The gas.  It was out of my way, about 14.2 km, a 12 minute drive from the town of Hope on TransCanada Highway 1 towards Yale and Boston Bar.  

Twice, hesitatingly I decided I should.  And you know what, twice (so far) I was glad I took the detour.

Somewhere Else Café is one of the best diners, truly Canadiana, in British Columbia.

Run by Gail Marlatt, and assisted by her 90ish mom Louise, they make and serve their food with that special touch that makes you want to go back again and again.  No wonder the truckers love them.

Once you see on your west side (if coming from Hope) a very nondescript (and I mean NonDescript) red and white building/gas station, veer left towards the potholed spacious parking lot.

Somewhere Else Cafe used to be at the trucker’s gas station on TC 1 Flood Hope Road Exit on the way from Hope to Vancouver.  But the owners of the refilling stop had other business plans.  And Gail and mom had to move their popular diner somewhere else.  Hence the name.  That place was in the Dogwood Valley between Hope’s town center and hamlet Yale proper.  They took over what used to be the Dogwood Cafe with its 1960s retro diner booths.

The Farmer’s Breakfast with Perogies CAD$ 12.49 was for a hungry man who has a discerning palate.  Those perogies were good.  And in my most recent quest, the Swedish meatballs with gravy carpeting a sumptuous bed of spiral pasta had a twang that made the special of the day special.  The meal came with choice of soup, crackers, biscuit, green salad, garlic toast plus dessert (a tasty butterscotch pie with ice cream) for  CAD $12.99.  That is a deal, a delicious dsteal.

Grandma Louise hand makes the pie crust – so you are really getting home-made pies.  There are a set of pies made by a local – Mary is her name.  I didn’t  get to try Mary’s.  But Gail and Louise’s apple crumble pie (which I had a slice to go) was like being transported to a farm in the 1800s: lumpy, crumbly, voluminous like a hilltop, and downright Johnny Apple.  With cold vanilla ice cream – it was home sweet home.

Somewhere Else Cafe has a facebook that intermittently tells the special of the day.  See

If only I live 14.2 kilometers away.

Contact Details:  7 am – 8 pm every day except some holidays
27153 Dogwood Valley Road
                                Hope BC V0X 1L3
                                Tel: 604 869 7082

July 31, 2016

Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival Rotary Beef Barbeque

The above is a long title but I have to for the sake of SEO.

Anyway,  Canada’s premier Squamish Days Loggers Sports Festival, this July 31st, a tradition since 1958 is the Rotary Beef Barbecue.  The festival will celebrate its 60th in 2017.


So I had to have one.  It is a Barbecue sandwich close to the pulled pork style, but this time it’s beef.  One of the barbecue-ers said they used Bottom Round last year but this year it is Outside Round.  But based on research, I found out the terms refer to the same thing, see

The gentleman said they order 1500 – 1700lbs from Save-On for the 2 day event.  Each barbecue bun costs CAD$7.00.  For condiments, I was advised to add horseradish a deviation from the usual catsup and mustard.  In addition I was offered caramelized sliced white onion strips.  The horseradish does give the barbecue a different twang.  But I wouldn’t tell others that it is a great discovery.  So-so.

I was told the barbequing of the meat, more like a gigantic outdoor rotisserie, takes three hours over a bed of alder wood,  Sometime before the final hour, the slabs of round beef are brushed with their unique sauce composed of horseradish (no wonder), red wine, mustard and undivulged spices.

I got another barbecue bun midway the lumberjack games.  I can wait for it next year.