June 12, 2016

Cape Roger Shore Walk

Saturday was mostly rain, so when the clouds opened up Sunday morning, it paved the way for a morning hike at Cape Roger Shore Walk, also called the Roger Curtis Sea Walk, on the southwest corner of Bowen Island – about a 15 minute drive from Snug Cove – where the ferry berths.

It was actually my first hike for the summer where I was wearing a pair of Tevas.  It did pay later to take a windbreaker cause any beach can be chillingly windy no matter how sunny, especially in Canadian latitudes.

How to get there if you don’t have your own wheels.  Once you land in Bowen Island (a mere 20 minutes sail from Horseshoe Bay Ferry terminal in West Vancouver), take the bus to Bluewater (call 604-947-0229 for schedule information).  The bus always wait for the BC Ferry no matter how late.  Your Compass bus pass will work.

Get off at Whitesails Drive and Reef Street , walk south on Whitesails till you hit Cape Drive – veer right – then turn right on Collingwood Lane.  Keep on walking till you see the water and the end of the road - a small parking lot.  The start of the trail is at your left.  There is an unofficial short trail on the right side which affords good views of Keats Island and a mossy knoll perfect for a relaxing stream of thoughts.

Back to the left - it is an easy hike with footbridges breaking off to a winding earth path - always hugging the shore.  Towards Cape Roger Curtis Lighthouse, at a leisurely pace, it will take you 30 minutes – at a regular stroll perhaps 15 minutes.  Midway there is the pebbly Pebbly Beach, officially named Roger Curtis Beach, which even at the height of summer has refrigerator cold water.

One can spot deers, and if you are lucky a slithering garter snake making a dash across the trail, or simply nonchalantly sunbathing.  Don’t worry, they are not venomous.  But they can strike and bite if you get too friendly.  They prefer to be ignored.  Snotty sort ...

Finally, after 10 minutes, land’s end with a white tower – ette ? ?

The lighthouse does not appear to be one.  In fact it looks like a 15 foot white gas propane tank standing upright at the end of a 20 meter narrow rocky strip.  

There is a makeshift bench good for a cozy two, quite comfortable actually, at the start of the strip, next to a tree (leftmost in above image).

 A bit disappointing

The best thing about the Cape Roger Shore Walk is it is still quiet – not much foot or dog traffic.  It is scenic in spite of the meh meh lighthouse and the occasional jarring aluminum boat gangways.  And one can plan on a day trip to and from Vancouver.  Just bring your own food and drinks.

There are those pesky bee-like yellow wasps that rudely hangs around your food - so beware - they can sting.  Best way to avoid these gatecrashers - set up their own meal a few feet away - but  a few can't be fooled.

For a map of Bowen Island Trails, see http://bowentrails.ca/
For everything Bowen, including Bus and Ferry schedules, see https://www.tourismbowenisland.com/

June 11, 2016

Strawberry Shortcake, Tea, Sandwiches and Betty Crocker

One of my mom’s treasured books is her red Betty Crocker Cookbook with its red spoon logo.  I grew up with it.  I wonder where it is now.  

Well why bring up Betty Crocker?  

This Saturday morning, the Red (painted) Church in Bowen Island, also known as United Church, was having its annual Strawberry Shortcake and Tea weekend.  For CAD$12.00, I got a classic North American strawberry shortcake with a cup of tea, and a small plate of triangle and square sandwiches: egg salad, tuna, ham, and salmon.  There is something special about holding and nibbling two-small bite sandwiches without a crust.  

The tea was served on real bone china made by Royal Albert in England.  There is something special about sipping tea on bone china.  Here is somewhat of a reason why http://hojotea.com/en/posts-32/.  Midway, I requested a second cup.  What is it?  I am enjoying it.  The kindly lady told me it was a Tetley’s orange pekoe.

But back to Betty Crocker.  The fictitious cook was first commissioned in 1936, to project flour manufacturer General Mills' idea of the typical American homemaker — motherly, knowledgeable, and caring.  The Red Church women serving and wearing summery kitchen aprons exuded that Betty Crockerish vibes – in looks and in demeanor.  In front of her friends, one lady told me to go ahead and use the women’s toilet since the men’s was occupied.  Most unusual for women to suggest, especially to a stranger.  I saw her leave the church hall later, stopped my meal, ran after her, and thanked her.  To my pleasant surprise, she gave me a hug – and she doesn’t even know me .

The Strawberry Shortcake served was in classic North American style – a 5 inch in diameter biscuit (baked by the ladies) with a whipped cream filling, loaded with thinly-sliced fresh strawberries, and topped with more of both.  The other presentation is to use round sponge cakes instead of biscuits.  

Today’s June 11th Strawberry Shortcake is timely because National Strawberry Shortcake Day is celebrated annually on June 14th.

On my way out, I thanked the lady who was serving tea.  She asked if I wanted  a couple of Tetley’s tea bags for home.  

“How thoughtful and caring”, I whispered to myself.  “Just one please.  Thank you!”  

She handed me a small white paper pouch.   Once I got back to my retreat centre’s quarters that afternoon, I saw four tea bags inside. 


Pasta Joey

While hiking around Bowen Island, I would envisage my day’s end reward of pasta.  What I had in mind became a reality nine hours later.  Yes I hiked a lot, up and down hills, with a few breaks now and then.

So here it goes:
Cooked linguini (or a pasta of your own choosing) with less water than usual, see http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/05/how-to-cook-pasta-salt-water-boiling-tips-the-food-lab.html 

In a separate pan, heat round bacon by itself till it oozes with sizzling fat – slicing into as small as you want pieces.  I prefer round bacon because it is less greasy than the common bacon strips.  You will see why.

When pasta is cooked beyond al dente – I like my pasta tender – with water reduced quite a bit because we started with less – use a pair of tongs to airlift the noodles to the pan of bacon still shrinking with its fat.  Now you see why.  Mix the duo, add garlic powder to taste, and keep warm in very low heat, occasionally swirling.

Now here is the critical element – hammer a bag of pork rind, also called Chicharron, into granular bits.  You can use a rolling pin while the rind is still in the unsealed plastic packet.  Choose a pork rind that has no added spices or flavors – the classic Filipino Chicharron works best (with the fat layer still intact) – in particular the U.S. brand Lapid’s Choice (Old Fashioned style).  Sprinkle the chicharron over the noodles.  Plate the pasta.  Shower with more Chicharron and grated Parmesan cheese or Romano.  Optional: ground black pepper

Pair with buttered toast – I had a spectacular cranberry studded sourdough (from West Lynn Bakery in North Vancouver).   

The outcome I named Pasta Joey rejuvenated my tired physique.  Sarap!