Businesses in Merritt and the Nicola Valley

Restaurants in Merritt BC – Crystal Gardens

Places to eat in Merritt

Great Chinese Food

There are plenty of different restaurants in Merritt BC Crystal Gardens Chinese cuisine is one of my favorite to go. Located at 2226 Nicola Ave in Merritt BC Canada. Crystal Gardens is easy to find and easy to access. 

If you are looking for a great Chinese food buffet then Crystal Gardens in Merritt BC is a great choice. As soon as you walk in the door you are hit by the amazing aroma of Chinese food. The dining room is very spacious with plenty of booths and seats to choose from. The restaurant is very clean and welcoming. Walk in and choose a place to seat yourself. Nice clean tables and booths throughout the restaurant. Servers are always friendly and will help you out in any way they can.

Chinese food Merritt BC

Crystal Gardens Chinese cuisine Merritt BC

Have a look at the buffet. With so many items to choose from your palette is not left wanting. One of the best parts about this restaurants in Merritt, BC is that fact that it is the only one that allows you to take the buffet as take out. Yes that’s right. In a hurry but would love to have a choice of all those delicious menu items, including the soup. Well, look no farther. You get a container for your choice of buffet items and a bowl you can put more in or soup. Its such a great thing to be able to just go in and choose items that you love. All for a great lunch or dinner buffet price.

Buffet

The buffet includes all the usual menu items like chow main, rice, spring rolls. There are also items like deep fried prawns, chicken or pork with veggies in black bean sauce, sweet and sour pork. And don’t forget the mixed veggies, dry garlic ribs, deep fried chicken wings and egg foo young. Some of my favorites are ginger beef and breaded almond chicken. Furthermore you can’t forget about the won ton soup. It’s always a nice light addition to any meal.

chinese buffet table good good

Buffet Table

Desert

Desert is also on the buffet menu. There is jello, home made cakes fresh vegetables as well as fruit. I have also seen different types of tarts on different occasions. With so many different items to choose from. How can one decide? Unfortunately I am usually so full from the amazing lunch or dinner items that I rarely have a chance to have any of the deserts.

Chinese food Merritt BC

Desert buffet at Crystal Gardens in Merritt BC

Not up for the Buffet

There are so many wonderful and tasty items on the menu you don’t have to choose to have the buffet. Crystal Gardens offers combination meals, family meals as well as single entrees’. Weather you want to eat in or take out Crystal Gardens Chinese Restaurant is an excellent choice.

A few of the menu items

Combo A – $11.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

 

Combo B – $13.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Prawns

Combo C – 15.99

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Prawns

Sesame Chicken

Children Combo – $10.99

French Fries

Chicken Nuggets (5 Pc)

 

 

Dinner for 2 – $34.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

 

Dinner for 3 – $47.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Dinner for 4 – $63.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

 

Dinner for 5 – $76.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Dinner for 6 – $89.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Almond Chicken

 

 

Dinner for 8 – $125.99

Spring Rolls

Sweet and Sour Pork

Chicken Chow Mein

Beef Chop Suey

House Special Fried Rice

Deep Fried Chicken Wings

Deep Fried Prawns

Almond Chicken

Sesame Chicken

Dry Garlic Ribs

For more information on places to eat and stay in Merritt BC Canada check out the blogs on Experience Nicola Valley. We are all volunteer bloggers that enjoy sharing our experiences about this amazing little City. Thank you for reading, please share for others to enjoy as well.

Places to eat in Merritt – Crystal Gardens

Experience Nicola Valley Community Website

Your Community. Your Voice. Its Time Merritt.

Unveiling and launch party April 15, 2019

MERRITT, BC. APRIL 15, 2019 – Tourism Nicola Valley will be hosting the unveiling and red-carpet launch party for a new interactive and digital community tourism website called Experience Nicola Valley. The event will take place on April 15, 2019 at the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame . There are  appys, entertainment, door prizes and an unveiling. 

The hall is located at 2025 Quilchena Avenue in Merritt BC.  Most importantly, the event is open to Nicola Valley businesses, non profits, clubs, societies, associations and events. Above all, look for your invitation in your email inbox or get one hand delivered (invitation below)

Tourism Nicola Valley presents the Experience Nicola Valley Website

Tourism Nicola Valley presents the Experience Nicola Valley Website Launch Gala

Travel Merritt BC In Real Time

The digital platforms, which are the first of their kind in Canada, is in partnership with tourism marketing consultants Greg and Colin Girard from ‘eh Canada Travel’. More over, the new Experience Nicola Valley Blog and Website platforms use state of the art technology and content writing techniques to publish in real time. In short, authentic content is created and developed by community members in the form of informational pages and blogs.

In addition, the Nicola Valley website will feature tourism related information about events, activities, restaurants, hotels, as well as, other tourist related businesses. Best yet, the new interactive website is an opportunity for local businesses, non profits, clubs, associations and events to participate too. It is an opportunity to educate, self market, as well as, generate awareness in real time. 

Merritt BC Website Launch

Travelers want it now and in real time

“ Firstly, 74% of travelers plan their trips on the Internet. Secondly, 89% of millennials plan travel activities based on authentic content. Travelers of today and tomorrow research prior to visiting a destination. To clarify, they want it now and in real time”, states Greg Girard. “Most importantly, these people are looking for authentic stories and experiences from their peers. They are not looking for “corporate speak”.

Community and Technology Working Together in Merritt BC

The Experience Nicola Valley platforms create authentic content covering everything that visitors want to do in Merritt BC & the Nicola Valley including fishing, snowmobiling, mountain biking, and cultural events.

Experience Nicola Valley – New Merritt BC Website Launch

The “Experience Nicola Valley” Blogging Program hosted by “Tourism Nicola Valley” and led by the brother team of Greg and Colin Girard from “eh Canada Travel” is one of the most satisfying programs I have ever been involved with. The program commands your thoughts, inspires your hopes, as well as, creates faith in yourself and your abilities. The stories and experiences are positive, inspirational and motivating. Furthermore, the feeling of watching your blog position on the first page of searches is exhilarating. I would recommend everyone give this program a try and see for themselves.”, Melvina White (Merritt City Counselor)

Merritt BC Canada

Meet the Experience Nicola Valley Bloggers.

Proud to be working with eh Canada Travel

“Tourism Nicola Valley (TNV) is proud to be working with ehCanadaTravel in presenting this new and exciting venture for smaller communities. TNV is impressed with the quality and speed eh Canada implemented the program and with the support they have provided. The volunteer Bloggers are a huge asset to the community and we look forward to seeing them flourish further under the guidance of ehCandaTravel.” Anoop Sehon (President – Tourism Nicola Valley)

Showcases and supports local Merritt BC businesses

“We are very excited about this project and specifically how it showcases and supports local businesses here in Merritt. Tourism dollars are such a huge source of income for so many of Merritt’s business owners, but the work that Tourism Nicola Valley and Eh Canada Travel have done on building this “Experience Nicola Valley” brand is also keeping people here to shop local and renewing interest in exploring their own back yards, which is amazing.” Meagan Preston (Merritt Chamber of Commerce)

Excited about the future

“I am really excited about the future of tourism in the Merritt and the Nicola Valley area. A strong team of bloggers are writing almost daily about the many opportunities and adventures we have to offer in this area. In short, the opportunity to tell the world about our hidden gem by local residents is, to me, priceless.” Tony Luck (Merritt City Counselor)

Proud of the successes of Experience Nicola Valley

“I am very proud of the successes of Experience Nicola Valley team. They continue to share positive stories and experiences about all that is good in the Nicola Valley. Furthermore, the new interactive website is going to add to this “feel good” story,” Greg Girard (cofounder of ehCanadaTravel.com / Small and Rural Community Tourism Consultant – Top Ranked Canadian Travel Blogger).

Tourism Nicola Valley – Merritt BC Community Website 

Merritt BC Restaurant Pub 

Game On Sports Bar & Grill

“Game On Sports Bar and Grill, a Merritt BC restaurant pub, is widely known for it’s amazing home-style meals, great ambiance and daily food specials.

There are a few Merritt BC restaurant pubs to select from when visiting the Nicola Valley. But there is little like Game On Sports for food, service, ambiance and location. 

Merritt BC Restaurant Pub Scene

Many Merritt locals have made Game On Sports Bar & Grill one of their favourite places to eat, meet, and greet family & friends. In other words it is a popular choice for many locals when one seeks big meals, refreshments and a lively atmosphere.  

Experience Merritt’s Game On Sports Bar & Grill.

Game On In The Nicola Valley

In addition to enjoying a delicious home-style meal while taking in the beautiful views of  the Nicola Valley, you will be treated to some of the best service I have ever encountered since I have lived in the Nicola Valley. From the time I walked in the door, I was instantly welcomed by Lona. Lona shared with me how much she values customer’s opinions and feedback. 

I arrived at Game On around 4:30 PM, thinking that the dinner rush wouldn’t start for an hour. There were about 5 tables occupied all-ready. However as I sat there deciding what to order, I noticed how quickly the room began to fill.

Consequently by 5:15 there were 3 to 4 peopled seated at seven different tables. Being Tuesday,  I thought I would be able to sit with Lona uninterrupted for my little interview. Instead I had to ask her questions every time she came by my table due to how busy she was.

Meet Game On Sports Bar & Grill Manager Lona.

Menu To Die For in Merritt BC 

The menu at Game On Sports provides a wide assortment pub food, beverages and appetizers. But it is not limited to what is on the menu.  Game On is well known in the valley for “going above and beyond” for its regular clientele. For example they have ordered in specific wines and spirits. Secondly they take pre-orders for clientele who are on lunch breaks or have limited time.  

“You need to work with your clientele, because they will bring in more clientele,  there are people who come in 2 to 3 times a week for a meal.”

Furthermore Lona shared that the continuing success of Game On Sports Bar & Grill’s has a lot to do with teamwork and dedication. A culture supported by the owner – Jim Cooley.   

Restaurant pub in Merritt BC Canada

Cooking to please – the kitchen

Start With An Appetizer Was First On My List 

When visiting this restaurant pub in Merritt BC Canada there is a generous selection of appetizers on the menu including such popular items as calamari, chicken wings and prawns. However,  I highly recommend the Zucchini sticks! It is a personal favourite of mine.

Zucchini Sticks Appetizer

Merritt’s Game On Sports Bar & Grill

The  main menu was a bit more of a challenge as the selection is big… and then there is always the daily special’s. Good news! Whatever you decide on, I can tell you one thing, the meals are very generous. If unsure on what to order, ask your server. I guarantee you will not be steered wrong. 

Big servings at Game On Sports

Big servings at Game On Sports A Perfect Meal!

The Game on Sports Bar & Grill Beverages

While waiting for your appy or starter dish, why not enjoy one of the many alcohol beverages available from the wine, special coffee, and ale lists. Try a Bellini, if you so dare. Non-alcohol beverages are also available.

With such an impressive list, I opted for a cold one. And what a great choice it was.

 

Thirst Quencher!

Wine List Anyone?

Game On Sports Bar & Grill in The Nicola Valley

  • Seating capacity is up to 85 patrons.
  • Large outdoor patio open at the end of May (weather permitting)
  • Special functions such as Christmas Parties,  reserved up to 40 people
  • Take-out orders available. 
  • To reserve or book ahead you can call 250-315-1022
  • Outdoor patio

Restaurant Pub in Merritt BC

View from Merritt’s Game On Sports Bar & Grill. Beautiful!

Sports Memorabilia

Along with its fantastic atmosphere and ambiance, Game On Sports Bar & Grill is full of genuine sports memorabilia. Sports fans will love this place. The walls are full of sports memorabilia, some even signed. Then there are the 9 large T.V’s. with various sporting events playing for all to enjoy. 

Can You Guess Who These 2 Are?

Game On Sports Bar ad Grill

George and his lovely wife Terri frequent Game On 4-5 times a month year round.

Local Merritt Couple Who Love To Dine At Game On Sports Bar & Grill

During my culinary bliss, I was fortunate to meet George & Terri who were also dinning at Game On Sports Bar & Grill. Being that they were very friendly Merrittonians, they graciously shared with me how much they love eating at this particular restaurant pub in Merritt BC. 

The quality of the food,  great service and its welcoming atmosphere makes this one of their favourite places to dine in the Nicola Valley.  

A Great Place to Dine “Merritt’s Game On Sports Bar & Grill”

In conclusion I was very impressed with the friendly service, ambiance, and the quality of the food. The atmosphere was perfect. 

The Merritt BC restaurant is just one easy-access exit off of the Coquihalla Highway. Just look for all the gas stations on your right and turn in there and follow that road to the end.  

Merritt’s Game On Sports Bar & Grill has ample parking space. Parking is allowed on the street in front. There is also parking just down the road for trailers and motorhomes. 

Game On Sports Bar & Grill Contact Information :

3701 Dewolf Way,
Merritt BC
V1K 1C4
Phone: 250-315-1022
Website

Game On Sports Bar and Grill, a proud Merritt BC restaurant pub, is widely known for it’s amazing home-style meals, great Ambiance and daily food specials.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe, Merritt, BC

“Don’t panic….we have bannock”

One of the best places to eat in Merritt is Kekuli Cafe. “Don’t panic… we have Bannock” is the official slogan of Kekuli Cafe in Merritt BC. A wonderful place to enjoy a number of indigenous foods.

Before we dive into the amazing food I’d like to treat you to a look at the amazing skor bannock. You have got to try one.

skor bannock kekuli cafe merritt bc

Ohhh so yummy Skor bannock from Kekuli Cafe

How Kekuli was born?

It all started when for many years Sharon Bond wanted to own her own restaurant. Having a passion for cooking, baking and making people feel welcome. Sharon also had a passion for helping and pleasing people.

With all the other places to eat in Merritt Sharon knew she wanted to create a place like no other. Therefore that’s exactly what she did.

The Cafe

Sharon wanted a traditional cultural aboriginal ambiance. Low light pow wow music, aboriginal art, jewelry and of course aboriginal cuisine. She wanted a place where everyone would feel welcome and acknowledged. Along with her husband Darren Hogg they created one of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe.

You definitely feel welcomed from the moment you walk in the doors of Kekuli Cafe.

The Name Kekuli.

It was quite interesting to find out where the name Kekuli came from. Sharon was looking for a unique name that would have an aboriginal flair to it. While reading a book by James Teit she came across the word “kekuli” which means house. Right away she knew that was the name and sent in paperwork to have it registered that day. 

The Thompson Indians used to live in these pit house( Kekuli’s)  hundreds of years ago.  These houses are build into the ground with logs, tule, dirt and grass. They were a safe, warm and happy place. That also protected the people from the elements during harsh winters.

You can still find Kekuli’s throughout the Thompson/Okanagan areas.

Kekuli Cafe pit house bannock

Photo Credit: Kekuli Cafe

Now however you can also find that warm inviting feeling of home in every Kekuli Café.

Franchise

The next step in Sharon and Darren’s endeavor was to start creating franchises. With the first being sold in December of 2018.

On Dec 1, 2018 Elijah Mack, just 22 years old, started living his dream by becoming the very first Kekuli franchise owner.  When asked what he wanted to be in 10 years he would say “I want to be my own boss.” Now Elijah is the proud owner of one of the best places to eat in Merritt.

Kekuli Cafe franchise owner

Photo credit Kekuli Cafe

Saskatoon ice tea is wonderful and refreshing treat any time of year. I love the flavor. Makes me want another one just thinking about it. My daughters favorite it the saskatoon berry smoothie.

Kekuli Cafe saskatoon ice tea

Saskatoon berry ice tea. It was so refreshing.

They have a variety of Bannock available and some amazing lunches. Fry bread tipi tacos, grilled Bannock flatbread, bannowiches, and a variety of salads. Check out their menu here.

Lunch

Oh my goodness, look at this amazing meal. So nice to have a place where everything is made fresh with fresh ingredients.

bannock blt

BLT Bannock with cran apple feta salad

BLT bannock fresh

BLT bannock at Kekuli

This BLT bannock was so amazing. The bannock was soft and warm, lettuce and tomato were fresh and no skimping on the bacon which was cooked to perfection. Must say this was the best BLT I have had in a very long time. Along with my BLT I chose to have the cranberry, apple and feta salad. It was so crisp and fresh. Accompanying the salad was a saskatoon vinaigrette dressing made in house.  Perfect for this salad. 

salad cranberry apple feta

Cranberry, apple and feta salad.

Desert I had a skor bannock. It was so fresh and I have to say better than any doughnut I have ever had. I was very tempted to buy a whole bunch of them to take home. 

Happy customers

While I was visiting there were a group from White Rock who stopped in for lunch. They were extremely thrilled with the service. One lady spoke of how Kurt, chief at Kekuli Cafe, resonated such happy vibes. They really appreciated it and would come back again for sure.

Look at these happy faces.

kekuli cafe great food eat merritt

Guests from Whiterock having lunch at Kekuli in Merritt, BC

 The Staff

When you walk into Kekuli Cafe you are greeted by the amazing staff.  They always have a smile on their faces and are ready to help you any way they can.

staff kekuli cafe

Amanda and Kurt staff at Kekuli Cafe

Kekuli Cafe isn’t just on of the best places to eat in Merritt. Friday nights they have open mic night where patrons can come and express themselves over the mic. They have had people sing, tell stories or say a poem. It’s a great way to spend some time with friends, enjoy the local talent and of course have some coffee and bannock.

So far I have tried the traditional, cinnamon sugar and skor. What kinds have you tried?

Art work

Something else you will find a Kekuli Cafe is some art from a local artist Wyatt Collins. Wyatt has such a flair for life and creates some wonderful artwork which is featured on the walls of Kekuli Cafe. There are also greeting cards with Wyatt’s artwork on them. 

local art merritt bc kekuli cafe

Art work by local artist Wyatt Collins

Other aboriginal products

There are a number of aboriginal items for sale at Kekuli Café. Some of them include Jams, jellies, coffee, pottery and cards. Stop in and have a look.

Kekuli Cafe Merritt BC

Some other offerings from Kekuli Cafe

If you are interested in having a blog showcasing your business please feel free to contact me at Experience Nicola Valley.  I would love to chat.

One of the best places to eat in Merritt – Kekuli Cafe

Mark Nendicks Story

Mark running a race in 2018

 

Local Merritt resident Mark Nendick is the owner/operator of PFN Coaching (Priority Fitness Nutrition). A successful Merritt based company that focus’s on helping people reach their greatest potential through diet and exercise.  

       While working a full time job at Highland Valley Copper and raising 3 kids, Mark has still managed to find the time to start and maintain his business. Showing that hard work, dedication and passion really do bring results. 

        Today he is in the best shape of his life but most importantly he is enjoying life on his terms, but it wasn’t an easy journey. I had the opportunity to meet up with Mark at a local coffee shop and ask him a few questions.  Below is Marks story:

The Transition

In 2007 Mark found himself weighing 260 pounds. Standing at the starting line of a 5 km run, his daughter strapped in her stroller, with a Venti Java Chip Frapuccino in his hand. He thought this race was an easy feat. However, unable to finish the race, and with no energy or self esteem he was fed up with how he felt both physically and mentally. So it was at this moment he realized he needed to make some drastic lifestyle changes.

        In 2010, he embarked on a health and wellness journey. Overweight and riddled with anxiety he knew there had to be a better way to live and feel.  Therefore he committed himself to learning as much as he could about making healthy choices and personal well being. Realizing he was not alone with these struggles, he created PFN Coaching to support others in achieving their lifestyle goals as well.

PFN coaching founder Mark Nendick

 

COACHING

 Mark began eating a healthier diet to lose some weight and started running to help his cardio, he also incorporated strength training to offset muscle loss. In 2016 he became a Certified Personal Trainer and took on his first client who had an amazing results. Converting his basement into a gym he holds 4-6 classes per week and now has over 100 clients.

Mark is 55 pounds lighter today and feels amazing. However, he had to constantly reach out of his comfort zone so he could achieve the goals he did. The end result was definitely worth it. PFN Coaching is growing stronger as are the people who are apart of it. It took a lot of hard work and dedication, this is a great example of how hard work truly pays off. 

 

Corporate Health

In 2018, Mark joined with a friend of his from Austria and became a senior partner in a Corporate Health Business. The goal of the program is to teach employers and their employees how to create a healthy atmosphere. While boosting morale and improving productivity, the employees felt more valued and the companies also noticed a reduction in sick time. It only makes sense to maintain a healthy lifestyle at home and at our workplace.

 

       Mark is currently training for this year’s 2019 Los Angeles Marathon. When he meets the qualifying time in L.A he will then be eligible to run in the 2020 Boston Marathon. Which has been a dream of his for years. Knowing Marks focus and dedication I have no doubt he will make the qualifying time in LA, setting a target time for him to beat in Boston I’m sure. PFN Coaching is more than a local business. It is a lifestyle transition for those wanting to improve their physical health and well being. 

 

 Merritt BC Bakery-Confessions Of A Baker 

Confessions of a Baker, Merritt, BC Bound!

Dessert Tray made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

Confessions Of A Baker-Merritt BC Bakery

When I was a little girl, living in Merritt, BC. I was always in the kitchen helping my Grandma, my mom, and even my Foster mom cook or bake. Whether it be adding ingredients for them or mixing it up for them.

Even-though I was always in the Kitchen helping didn’t mean that baking was my passion, I just enjoyed helping and learning at all costs. I felt if I was not helping then I was not accomplishing anything, or contributing my part in the house hold.

Back in those days though; we were not asked to come in the kitchen, we were told not to get in the way, or not to play around the stove! I guess those rules are still in play with families today!

If we wanted to learn or even to be apart of the crowd so to speak, we would have to ask! Even show a little interest to learn what or how they made everything taste so good.

Confessions of a Baker# 1: I was more interested in playing and exploring the outdoors getting into trouble so to speak! The street lights were our window to curfew! Dinner Time!

First Attempt To Cook!

I was 7 years old, when I first used a stove on my own! Paying attention, or being observant paid for a great cause!

Both parents were working and the babysitter didn’t show up! We, (my sister, and I), were home alone. It was  late, and my sister was on a schedule, due to her medications she had to take. 

Anyway, my mom had made extra meat pot pies! First time I ever had to used a stove or oven, I was scared shitless! But someone had to feed us right?

 Can you imagine what was going through my mind at that time? That was a lot of pressure for a 7 year old, but I was determined to succeed!

My main concern was to feed my sister because she had to take her medicine. She has epilepsy! Guaranteed, her having a seizure was more scary to me than burning a house down, trust me!

Although, the countless things going through my head at the time was overwhelming, I did get it done. My sister was fed, she got her medications, and I was quite proud of myself in the end!

Confessions of a Baker# 2: I did get into a lot of trouble when my mother found out! I got grounded! But on the other hand, she was proud of me. Knowing that no matter what, I did what I had to do!

Chocolate Brownies, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

First Time Following a Recipe!

At the time, I was 10 years old. I was living with my Foster Mom, Joan Lawrence. This was the time I first learned how to bake! Joan was baking some bread and buns that day, and I has asked if I could help.

“Not with the bread!” she said, ” But how would you like to learn to make some cookies?”

Joan saw the interest in my eyes, at the time I was not sure how she did it, but she knew. However, she opened a cook book and gave it to me. She told me that all I had to do was follow the instructions.

 All we had to do now was place the cookies on to the baking sheet and bake. I was pretty excited that I actually followed the recipe step by step, well… at least I thought I had. 

Confessions of a Baker# 3: She told me they were very good! But they were hard as a rock! She didn’t know that I knew, Baking disaster….. What a Kind Soul She Had Though! I had forgot the baking soda!

Baking Was History!

A little bit of History of the first time I started to bake! There you have it, I lost interest after the last Confession. I took for granted how much work baking would be, thinking it was easy.Who was I kidding!

From then on, I enjoyed every moment of eating the baking everyone else did.

 

Confessions of a Baker# 4: I never started to bake again until… Until I became a mother myself. Of course it was not on a regular basis either!

When My Passion Came To Light!

The first time, I ever decided to try and be creative, when it came to baking, was is 2009! I was living in Kelowna, BC.  That was when I created a recipe, no cook book, no instructions, just the idea that flowed through my head. The idea came to light, and I even searched it, online, in every dessert cookbook out there! Could not find not one recipe that even came close to this idea.

My very first Creation! That was when everything changed for me. From then on, I dedicated, all my spare time I had baking and creating.

Edible Bouquets, By Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

That is also when The realization came to me as well. Every time I felt alone, sad, angry, and disappointed; my go to thing was baking! Yes Baking! I felt so much better after losing myself in creating new recipes,and baking up a storm. So much so that at the end of the day I started to give it away because I had too much, haha! Go figure!

Confessions of a Baker# 5: At first I was convinced I was going crazy, or thinking I had some kind of Compulsive disorder, or even a never ending baking frenzy! HAHA! Baking more than needed or necessary!

Therefore, this is how it was going for a few more years!

My First Business Was Created!

So after years of baking and creating, I thought what if…. Well that what if if, lead to getting a business setup! Such as a Business name, a business number (through Revenue Canada). Then finding the clientele, because first step, clients! Who else right? It takes a lot of work to get a business set up, it takes time and a lot of time. Learning all the rules and regulations, the laws, the city bylaws, and well you get the picture I am sure!

The most important though…. is you have to be completely committed…..you have to believe in yourself as well as your faithful clients! It all takes time, effort, and passion to be completely successful.

Learn as much as you can, put your heart and soul into your work, because if you don’t then you really are setting yourself up for failure and disappointment.

Confessions of a Baker# 6: I have made this very Mistake. I had to Learn the hard way! My First Business failed because I did not put a lot into my business. I actually lost Faith in myself, NOT A GOOD THING TO DO!

Therefore I learned that before you get yourself into a loaded ship, and before you sail, make sure you put 110% into it all! Lesson Learned!

Success Of A Baker And Her Confessions

Today! Not only Have I succeeded, I have more experience, more Faith, and more clients! As the years go on, it only gets better! Although it is a lot easier now than it has been, the pride I have now is worth every moment this path has taken me thus far!

 Today I get more request, more happy clients, and it feels so good to see that thinks can only get better with each passing day! As along as I keep working on not just what I love, but constantly working on improvements and feed back from my customers.

Confessions of a Baker# 7: Never be afraid to ask for help! I learned this lesson along the way, and believe me the help and support from other bakers whom are more experienced is the best way to help you succeed!

Marie’s Sweet Shoppe did several Cakes in the past few Months!

Merritt

Cake made by Marie’s Sweet Shoppe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC

Where friends meet to eat.

You have to try a piece of the homemade pies.

Tucked around the corner from the Adelphi Hotel is this quaint little Cafe called Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC. Because it’s so busy you know it’s got to be good. Some of the locals seem to be there all the time. And don’t let the location fool you, this is a very popular little cafe. Which I found out upon my arrival. 

I honestly never expected this little cafe to be as busy as it was. I have been here a couple times and it’s always full. That has to tell you something. When you find a good cafe, you keep coming back. Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC won’t disappoint.

Feeling Privileged

Being a blogger for Experience Nicola Valley makes me feel very privileged. I enjoy being able to share this cafe with you all. Please go, enjoy sharing a meal and having a few laughs along the way. Then share with your friends and family.

The Owner

Taking time to chat is very limited for Lynda as people are always coming and going. The whole time I was there the tables were full and at one point I thought that people were going to have to wait for a table. But, the customers are great and a couple that were finished promptly got up and allowed the new customers to have their seats. The food and service were wonderful.

Walking in.

As you walk into Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC you will find the atmosphere warm and welcoming.  Lynda will always be behind the counter or serving and joking with the regulars and other customers. It was such a great feeling, I was half expecting someone to yell “Norm” lol. The cafe has a real home town feeling where all the locals hangout and you make some great new friends. Which will eventually be thought of as family by coming back more often.

Merritt, BC, Lynda's Cafe

Lynda getting supplies ready for tables.

There are a lot of great choices on the menu and one of my favorite menu items is served all day, bacon and eggs. There is something about being able to have breakfast any time of the day or night. And after spying a meal from one of the other customers having burgers and fries, I will defiantly be having that on my next visit. It looked so good, almost made me wish I had ordered it this time. But, that just makes it better for my returning visit.

burger fries, lynda's cafe

Burger from Lynda’s Cafe

Bacon and eggs are not always easy to have made exactly how you like them. The cook did and amazing job. Eggs over easy and bacon cooked a little on the crispy side is how I like it done. It was perfect, I couldn’t have been happier with my meal. I also had a glass of ice tea which was not to tart, nor to sweet. Something anyone can enjoy over and over.

Lynda's Cafe in Merritt BC

Bacon and Eggs for breakfast.

Pies

When you have a look at the homemade pies it’s hard not to want to dig right in. Pies made at Lynda’s Cafe are all made from scratch, including the pastry. Just take a look at that strawberry custard pie, yummy.  Although you may be full from your meal, I would suggest taking a piece or two home to try late. Although I had to take my piece of pie home it didn’t last too long. Let me know what you think of the pie on your next visit, I would love to hear.

pie, home made, strawberry custard

Completely home made strawberry custard pie.

One of the first thing you will notice is on the walls are some gorgeous wildlife paintings. There is a beautiful wagon wheel hanging from the ceiling that has been turned into a light fixture. And the window sills are full of the signature bobble heads. Take a look as you walk up. 

What’s the story behind the bobble heads? You’ll have to head into the cafe to find out by asking Lynda.

bobble head, cafe, merritt, bc

Bobble heads line the window sills.

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC opened in Oct of 2013. Lynda has never looked back since opening. She thoroughly enjoys serving people, seeing them leave with full bellies and a smile on their faces. Joking around is another great thing about this cafe. There are always people smiling and laughing. This cafe has that home town, down to earth, family feeling while your here.

Lynda's Cafe, Lynda, Michelle, Merritt, BC

Lynda and I enjoying a laugh.

Room service

Lynda’s Cafe also offers room service for the attached Adelphi Hotel. Lynda delivered a number of meals to the hotel while I was there. Lynda’s Cafe serves meals at regular intervals throughout the day to the Adelphi Hotel.

Catering

Another service offered here at Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC is catering. To find out more about what Lynda offers with her catering service please contact her at the restaurant.

Lynda's Cafe, merritt BC

Outside Lynda’s Cafe

Hours of operation

Linda’s Cafe in Merritt, BC is open 7 days a week. Monday-Tues 7 am to 3 pm, Wed-Friday 7 pm to 7 pm, Saturday 7 pm to 2 pm and Sunday 9 am to 2 pm

Location

Lynda’s Cafe is located at 2101 Quilchena Ave, Merritt, BC

For bigger groups call 1-250-378-0331 to make a reservation with Lynda’s Cafe. 

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt BC made me feel very welcome and Lynda was so easy to talk to as well. I would recommend this little cafe any day of the week. The food and atmosphere are top notch in my opinion. And I will be back many times in the future.

Lynda’s Cafe in Merritt B.C.

Shopping local in the Nicola Valley

Sometimes easier said than done when you live in a small town.

“Shop for the experience that you get locally.”

Shopping Local. Sometimes easier said than done when you live in a small town. I think most people would rather drive down the road to get something they need instead of heading out to a larger town. This is very true for Merritt, where you have to go “up and over the mountains” on a highway to go somewhere. But if we are honest, that isn’t always an option. Especially when what we are looking for is a specialized product, or the projects we are taking on are larger, more difficult or a one off endeavor. And sometimes, we simply “need it now” and can’t wait for something to be ordered.

I was recently approached by a lady, Shirley Reynolds, is a long-time resident of Merritt who likes to shop local. She started to tell me her story about how a local business, Home Hardware, had gone above and beyond for her and asked if I could share it. It is a perfect example of why so many really try to shop local in Merritt.

This is her story:

Going Above and Beyond

Shirley Reynolds at Merritt Home Hardware

“This summer I had a project that I wanted to complete. I had some thick, plastic greenery stems that needed to be cut, and tried scissors, wire cutters etc. to no avail.

I popped down to Merritt Home Hardware near closing time, and asked if they could help me out. Larry and Dea at the service centre were up to the challenge. They tried scissors, then medium sized bolt cutters, but the stems were very thick and defied cutting. Finally, they brought out the big guns, a giant sized set of bolt cutters.

When they used this tool, the stems went flying. Luckily, the store had closed and no one was in the line of fire. They happily finished the task until success was achieved, even though their work day had technically ended. On top of that, they didn’t even charge me for the use of the tools!

 

Awesome Merritt Home Hardware Staff

Great service and helpful advice is what I have experienced and received over and over again from the staff at our local hardware store. You can be sure that I will continue to give them my business. If you are new to town, shop local, give them a try, you won’t be disappointed!”

The truth is, that was one of the first things I noticed even before I moved to Merritt.

Going the Extra Mile

My shop local story is a little different. I drove up to see my parents for a few days when I lived at the Coast. My parents live off the beaten path 15 minutes outside town and 5 kms up a very well maintained gravel road on top of a local mountain. When I pulled up the garage and got out of my car I noticed a loud hissing, and looked down to see one of my front tires rapidly losing air. I had driven over a large sharp piece of shale which had punctured my tire. Darn!

Knowing I only had a small donut spare, I pulled the tire off, put it in my parents truck and my Mom and I headed for town. There is a Kal Tire just as you come in to town, so we proceeded to head there in hopes they could fix it. It was getting late in the day and close to closing time, but I arrived and explained I was from the Coast and had to head home the next day. The gentleman behind the counter quickly said “no problem, come back in 15 minutes”!

A Quick Fix

We left, only to return 15 minutes later to a fully repaired tire ready to go. I pulled out my wallet to pay but was quickly told “no charge, have a safe trip home”. I could only reply “what??” followed by “are you sure”? These people didn’t know me, and I had disclosed I was from the Coast. Shouldn’t they be charging me through the nose for my bad luck? Apparently not, the man smiled and told me to tell my parents to come in if they needed anything in the future. My parents reply was “yep, we will be back” and they were, again and again, they too choose to shop local.

I never forgot that day. And of course, when you have a good experience you tell everyone who will listen. Not only did I tell everyone at home, but my parents happily spread the word in Merritt. Even when I moved here 5 years ago (and probably 15 years after this experience) I remembered the kindness I experienced that day. Although I am sure staff has changed many times in the last 15+ years, my perception of the business never did.

There’s No Place Like Home

These two experiences, while different, are what shopping local are about. I am constantly reminding people that even the large franchises here are owned by families, not just the small businesses downtown. The fact is that often the vast majority of businesses here in Merritt, are owned by the person next door. The parent you see at hockey, the kid who plays with yours, people on the PTA, the people you curl with, etc. When you support local, you support people in your community who just happen to have businesses that add to your life conveniences.

I encourage everyone, to consider where you shop. Support your neighbors. Allow local business the opportunity to price match. Consider the gas and time to shop elsewhere, is it really cheaper? What if you were a business owner? But more than that, shop for the experience that you get locally.

 

Bees in the environment

The Future of bees

“Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bees are on the decline.”

There are a number of different species of bees in the environment across Canada. These bees can be divided into two different categories, social and solitary. Social bees share the work of building and taking care of the nest while solitary bees have a very short lifespan in the air consisting of only 2-3 weeks.

There are over 450 species of native bees in BC and over 800 confirmed species of wild native bees in Canada. I am going to share a little info on two of the ones I like and will be adding to or helping on my little homestead.

Bees in the environment Nicola Valley BC Canada

Bees in the environment are so important – Photo credit Michelle Lea’s Photography

Most people already know about honey bees in the environment. I myself am not going to talk to much about them in this blog. I am more interested in a couple of the native species of bees. The mason bee and the bumble bee.

What I was looking for

I live just outside Merritt, BC on a 10 acre farm and enjoy all kinds of wildlife. Not many people take the time to notice the little things like bees.

I always thought if I wanted bees to pollinate my flowers, fruits and vegetables that I would need to get some honey bees and learn how to keep them and produce honey for my family. While I was researching about different bees in the environment and one we know the most about (the honey bees), I came across some information on mason bees. This intrigued me because I didn’t have to do near as much work to keep them.

bee collecting pollen in the environment Merritt BC

Bee with a load of pollen- Photo Michelle Lea’s Photography

Mason Bees

These little creatures are quite amazing. They are a solitary bee but do so much in such a little amount of time they are here.

Life Stages of the Mason Bee

Mason bees go through four stages of life egg, larva, pupa and adult. The first stage of life is spent inside the cell of the nest. The nest looks like a long straw divided into cell’s. Each cell has an egg and food left by the mother.

When the egg hatches the larva will have food inside the cell in which to eat. There is a rapid growth spurt during the larva stage. Once the larva goes into the pupa stage it can lay dormant for eight to nine months as it turns into the adult bee.

Once they emerge from the pupa stage they are ready to feed, mate and repeat the cycle. I am not sure if I have ever seen mason bees around Merritt or the Nicola Valley but, I will soon because I am getting some this spring.

The houses are so neat looking and they seem very easy to keep. The most common types of Mason Bees in the environment in the North West is Osmia Lignaria; Orchard or blue orchard mason bee.

Tips for Keeping Mason Bees

  • Don’t be afraid of mason bees. Male orchard bees do not have a stinger and they are not aggressive because all the females are fertile so there is no fighting over mates.
  • Make sure you have enough pollen. If there is not enough the bees will move on to other areas.

Nesting

  • Nesting boxes. Keep them facing south on the walls of a garden shed, garage or other building. Make food available from with in about 300 ft of the nest. 
  • Mud. Mud is very important for bees in the environment as they use it to block the eggs into individual chambers. You or your little ones can make some mud pies. Keep them moist but not soupy and keep them away from the openings of the nests because the newly emerging bees are weak and you don’t want them falling in.
  • Nesting material. Nesting material can be drilled out holes in logs (replace each year). You can purchase houses that have tubes in them or you can use pull apart wooden blocks. These can be great because they are easy to clean and sanitize. They are porous allowing moisture to escape
mason bee home and guide

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt BC

Watch your bees

  • They are fascinating, seeing all the different stages and watching them build their nests. Coming back with pollen. Watch her finish the last mud plug, use a flash light at night and see the bees peaking out of the chambers at you.
  • Keep your eyes open for predators. When they emerge from their nest birds like to go for the easy meals. They are like sweet little candy to them. You can try to avoid this by putting chicken wire over the tubes so birds can’t pull them out and eat the contents. You can also move them into a shed or garage once the busy season is over.

When to get ready

  • Get your materials ready for spring. Keep the units in an area that will protect them from the wind and rain. Secure them well and on a bit of an angle outwards so the rain will drain off and keep the tubes from molding. Set nesting material out mid to late March.
  • Don’t put it out to early or all your progeny could be mostly male. Make sure its on the South facing side as the bees need to warm up to 80 degrees for their wings to function.  Exposure to direct sun is very important as they can  soak up the sun even it’s only 58-64 degrees.

Harvesting your bees

  • Remove the tubes when the bee tunnels are all sealed up. You can leave them out until the end of summer but run the risk of loosing them to predators.
  • Give your cocoons a cool water bath 1/4 cup of bleach added. This will kill any fungus spores. Stir the cocoons for about 2 min and remove with slotted spoon and allow to dry.
  • Select the best cocoons. Cocoons that sink in the cool water bath are not good. C-shaped cocoons can be a sign of fungal infection. Holes in the cocoon can be a sign of parasitic wasp infestation. Discard all of these.
  • Refrigerate your cocoons. Store them in the fridge between 30-40 degrees F and about 60-70% humidity. By placing them in a plastic storage container with some small holes for ventilation and a damp sponge you should achieve no problem. Check now and again to make sure the sponge is still damp.
  • Store this way until the outside temperature is a constant 50 degrees F.
  • Nests need to be cleaned once all your bees in the environment have emerged. You don’t want to run the risk of pests, mites or fungus growing when the queens start to lay their eggs again. 

Releasing your Bees

  • Place the cocoons near the bee house you have set up. Putting them on top of the tubes inside the house until the bees emerge. This is a good way to protect them.

Attracting bees in the environment

  • Attract different bees in the environment. Fruit trees, and native flowers with a variety of colors like blue, yellow, purple. Dandelions and clovers are great. 
native wildflowers bees pollinators

Photo credit Miller’s Farm Merritt, BC

How to make sure they have what they need.

Keep an eye out on which flowers and plants they frequent to learn which ones they like the best. Although they look like house flies you can distinguish them by looking for their antennae. The males you can tell apart from the females by the white hairs on the males’ heads.

Bees in the environment are very important. They are considered the best pollinators and help to grow our crops for food that we eat and feed to our animals. You can help by planting flowers that help the bees. 

Bumble bees

Here in the Nicola Valley and all over Canada bumble bees are on the decline. But there are things that we can do to help. Plant a flowering garden with native plants. Use pesticides sparingly or better yet not at all. Look for and use natural ways to get rid of unwanted pests.

Bumble bees are the only truly social native bees. And to my surprise, the only native bee species that make honey.

The main difference between the bumble bee and the European honey bee is that the only one that survives to hibernate through the winter is the fertilized queens. Come spring she will find a new nest that may grow to include dozens of individuals and occasionally a couple hundred.

Bumble bees in the Spring

In the spring the queen will search out a suitable place to make her hive. Usually it will be underground in an old mouse burrow. She will lay around six eggs and when they hatch she will encase the larva in a cell with some food she has created from a mixture of pollen and wax.

Once the larva pupate she creates a cocoon. After a few days the Pupa emerge from the cocoon fully grown worker bees. They are ready to create a colony with their queen. The queen will keep laying eggs and repeating the process until the colony is the size she wants.

Summer

Summer the queen will start laying eggs that are intended to become worker bees and queens for next year. Once they hatch and become adults the worker bees will leave the nest in search of young queens to mate with.

The young bumble bee queens however will continue to live and work in the colony through the rest of summer and fall.

Fall

Once fall hits the young fertilized bumblebee queens will find a safe place to hibernate for the winter. Only these fertilized queens will survive for the winter.

Some interesting facts; Bumblebee’s don’t have a barbed stinger so they can sting a number of times. Male bumblebees don’t have a stinger at all.

Future of Bees

We can play our part in helping bees in the environment. The future of bees depends on what we do. Plant flowers, stop using pesticides that will kill them and make some places around your homes that will be inviting and safe for them to nest and reproduce. 

There are so many species of bees in the environment, research and find a species that you can connect with. Do what you can to help that species. Above all, have fun. They are quite fascinating to study and watch.

How can you find out More?

There is a Bumble bee watch group where you can record and report when you have seen a bumble bee. The group is Friends of the Earth The Bee Cause. There is also a chart so you can identify the type of bumble bee you have seen. This will be very helpful with statistics and keep records of how many of the different species of bees in the environment there are.

Here is another way you can find out more information on bees.  Ellen Miller from Miller’s Farm in Lower Nicola, BC is wonderful and so helpful. They hold a number of different bee keeping workshops. You can also purchase bee supplies and bees from Miller’s Farm when available. They will be reopening March 13, 2019

“We are having a free seminar on all types of bees, attracting them to your yard,on Sat April 27 from 1-2:30 pm. Also on May 4 from 1-2:30 we have a free seminar on honey bees for kids age 8 and up. Must be accompanied by a parent.. Our 6 week bee keeping course starts on Feb 19th and is $240.” Ellen Miller

Keep your eyes open for my upcoming blog from Miller’s Farm on the bee seminars and bee keeping course

In the mean time, I would love to hear what types of bees interest you, comment below. What are you doing to help the bees in the environment? You can also follow us on Experience Nicola Valley.

Bees in the environment

Businesses in Merritt

Interview with Diane Lavoie – D&D Emporium

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!”

There are some really unique businesses in Merritt. D&D Emporium is definitely one of them. Walking into the shop is an adventure – your eyes are roaming everywhere and there are treasures everywhere! As they say “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”!

I took this opportunity to find out more about the shop and it’s owner Diane Lavoie.

Businesses in Merritt

Diane and one of her little treasures

When did you come to Merritt?

“I came to Merritt in 2006.”

Where did you come from?

“From Burnaby were I have lived all my life.”

Why did you come to Merritt?

“I wanted to experience life in a small town – completely away from an urban centre where I grew up and lived all my life. 60 years I spent there.”

What inspired you to open a business?

“I wanted to live in Merritt and I soon realized that if I liquidated all my assets I still needed to work. The problem with that was there were no jobs in the field that I worked. So I took a good look around and consulted with Community Futures, the City and the Chamber of Commerce and I found that one of the things I liked to do most was haunting second stores. And that Merritt had no second hand stores. So it hit me there was my niche. I opened up a second hand store.”

Why did you want to open a second hand store?

“I choice a second hand store because I hate seeing things go to the dump that are perfectly good. Refurbishing, repurposing and repainting can transform an object from a throw away to a precious keeper. From an old lady’s wardrobe a young persons delight, with just a coat of paint.”

Businesses in Merritt

D&D Emporium Merritt BC

What do you like most about running your store?

“I enjoy the people that come in. They are so interesting and creative. It is nice to hear their ideas. It makes it fun for me.”

What do you like about Merritt?

“Pretty much everything. The people are great. I was very surprised when I came here that people help you without being asked and I was at first taken aback. The friendliness of the people totally changed my street behaviour. In a city you don’t look at the people coming towards you – it is considered rude and intrusive. In Merritt it is the opposite – if you don’t look at people you might be snubbing somebody. I would never go back to live on the coast. The people are great and I have made a lot of friends here. Besides, the weather and the climate suite my old bones –nothing aches.””

What are your future plans?

“I plan to continue with the blogging for Experience Nicola Valley. Something I enjoy and that I can be useful doing. And sometime during this year I may consider sharing the store – to give someone the opportunity to set up on a small scale.”

What are your hobbies?

“What I am into right now is writing. I am currently working on short stories that I want to publish. Also art –watercolour and drawing which I learned here in Merritt. I plan to continue with that.”

Businesses in Merritt BC

One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure.

About D&D Emporium

If you are looking for a bit of whimsy this is the place to find it! This store has things from the past and ideas on how to use them. Lamps of uncertain vintage, both sophisticated and cute, pictures old and new and even used books all have a place here. Look carefully. There is something tucked away in every hole and corner!

Visit D & D Emporium at 2070 Quilchena Ave. in downtown Merritt!

Businesses in Merritt