Okanagan What’s What: Summer Wrap-Up 2012

Between toiling in the kitchenette and eating all the food I made (leaving my bf Mike somewhat in the dust in this regard), I did manage to get out and take in a few of the local sights beyond the gates of the trailer park this summer. And I’m not just talking about my bi-weekly walks to the farmers market, although those did take up a significant chunk of my time. I thought I’d take a little break from the recipes and present a bit of what piqued my interest in the area since we arrived here at the end of July.

Armstrong IPE – Interior Provincial Exhibition

Located about 45 minutes north of Lake Country, the Armstrong IPE – the sister event to Vancouver’s PNE – offered up everything a decent fair should: mini donuts, a bevy of non-ironic mullets (on both men and women), a beer garden with two pre-poured drink options (Coors Light and Growers Cider), plenty of deathtrap-like rides, bad attitude carnies, and a psychic.  It also offered up something not so cool: a torrential rain shower. Thankfully we were inside checking out the baking contest submissions and steam mop displays when the rain came down. I took this photo moments after the shower stopped and the sun came out. Not bad as far as cell phone photography goes.

Hunter was too tiny to take in any of the rides (just as well, IMO; as an eternal worrier I’m skeptical of their mechanical soundness and the mental soundness of the people who operate them), but as the photo below shows he still managed to get some kicks. This wasn’t so much the case a half hour earlier when we held him up in front of a cage containing a prize-winning goose and he started to scream 😦

Lake Country Coffee House 

All hail this place. If you’ve poked around my blog at all you’ll know – and it bears repeating – that there is a direct causal relationship between good coffee and my ability to function normally. Stated another way, no coffee ==> full blown psychopathic behaviour. This is hardly a recent development, or even one resulting from having a baby who has yet to sleep through the night; ever since I tasted coffee as a mopey tween I’ve been hooked. I was worried when we moved from Vancouver, where the local economy basically hinges on the caffeine consumption of its residents, that I’d be stuck making shots of espresso for myself in the RV. This certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world, but sometimes I like to have someone else do my dirty work. The Lake Country Coffee House may be one of the only games in town, but it’s a good one. Their lattes are always the right temperature (i.e. HOT, unlike some lattes I know), their drip coffee is smooth, and their food – all organic and made in-house – is great across the board, too. You can find me there at least once a week, Hunter in tow. http://lakecountrycoffee.com

Whiskey Cove

What an improbably luxury it is to go to the beach on a beautiful, hot day and be the only people there! Whiskey Cove is located on the east side of Okanagan Lake, and considering we’ve only ever seen a maximum of two other people there at the same time as us, it seems to be one of the area’s hidden gems. I’m not sure where everyone else goes when the weather is good – maybe to the larger beaches on Wood Lake – but I’m definitely not complaining. Compare this to beach-going in Vancouver, where rollerblading Barbie and volleyball Ken run the show and you’re lucky if you make it through the afternoon without being struck by an errant frisbee, given the stink eye by a chihuahua or having your ears and sanity assaulted by David Guetta blasting forth from someone’s iPod dock. And there you can’t even pull out a beer to numb the pain, lest you attract the attention of the municipal police who would happily write you a ticket for such an infraction (never mind the open crack and intravenous drug use that goes on with impunity across town). Anyway, if a low-key time at the beach is your scene, Whiskey Cove is where it’s at.

Here’s our mini beach bum taking a break from his favourite activity (sucking on rocks).

Peachland Wild Fire

I don’t want to describe the Peachland wild fire earlier this month as ‘cool,’ because a bunch of people lost their homes and a vineyard was also severely damaged (such a major waste of would-be wine, yikes), but it did make for an excellent photo-taking opportunity. Mike and I had  just left a bookstore in downtown Kelowna when we noticed smoke billowing into the sky in the distance and sirens heading in the same direction. We jumped in the truck and headed to a beach on the shore of Okanagan Lake, where I took this photo. Pretty dramatic.

Dinner at Gray Monk Winery

A few weeks ago a good friend of mine was in town from Vancouver for work, and as part of my effort to convince her to move to the Okanagan, I took her for dinner at Gray Monk Winery. Not only is the food amazing at Gray Monk, but the winery itself probably has the most spectacular panoramic view in the area.

But really, the cheese wheel pictured below should have been more than enough to convince her to move, right? That’s wine jelly in the ceramic ramekin in the middle and those lovely papery-looking things to the right of the flower are slices of dried fruit. I nearly wept when the waitress brought the platter to the table. And that wasn’t just the two glasses of wine I’d drank talking; I’m a sucker for cheese and good presentation.

So that’s my distillation of our first couple months in the Okanagan! Onward to the Fall and more of my favourite thing, FOOD. I hope you keep following my culinary exploits in the Gypsy Roller! From the trailer park with love…




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