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Mary’s Corner Cafe Merritt, BC Canada

Unique Places to eat in Merritt, BC Canada

Mary’s Corner Cafe, Merritt BC, Canada

“There’s something special about good home cooking”.

When I am out of town I just love to find little “out of the way” gems such as cute little boutiques that scream unique and places to eat that offer a dining experience that I can take away with me. I am so proud to showcase one of these little gem’s in my very own hometown. Mary’s Corner Cafe. 

Chick Chat in a Merritt BC Coffee Shop

Today I had the pleasure of having a “Chick-Chat” with Mary Holgate, owner and creator of Mary’s Corner Cafe in Merritt, BC Canada. It was an easy interview style conversation as I have known Mary Holgate personally for over 55 years. Mary and I started grade 1 together in the little school just outside of Merritt. I asked Mary about her love and food and cooking and this was her reply, ” My mom was a big influence but I did go to school and get my red seal. I love cooking comfort food there’s something special about good home cooking”.

Mary loves to share her home cooked recipes

Mary loves to share her home cooked recipes

Cafe in Merritt BC Canada does Catering

It was my mother’s 80th Birthday and Mary was happy and excited to cater to the event. When I say Mary Holgate does “CATERING” that means she actually “CATERS to YOU”! Mary does so much more than provide the food to large events. Mary will cater home cooked meals for your families CHRISTMAS DINNER, or any other special event happening. One or 1000 Mary is fully capable of pleasing everyone, including the budget. 

Mary's Corner Cafe Merritt BC Canada

Being Creative with your food

Mary has always been creative, you can see by the special touch she adds to her meals. If she is catering to an event she makes custom styles and plate designs to fit the ocassion. Even her restaurant meals are each prepared in Mary Style, which means you get “alot” of food. https://www.facebook.com/maryscateringandpies/

Mary’s Corner Cafe in Merritt, BC Canada

“Burger and Fries with your Cheese Please”

While I was interviewing Mary Holgate I saw a meal being delivered to the table sitting next to us. The man had ordered a burger, and WOW, what a burger he got. My mouth was watering as it went by our table, and believe me, you could smell the onions and the bacon, it made me think I needed to order a hamburger and fries. At Mary’s Corner Cafe you can order EAT IN and enjoy the pretty DINER STYLE atmosphere, or you can TAKE OUT and enjoy your meal on the run. 

Mary's Corner Cafe Merritt BC Canada

Mary’s Corner Cafe, Merritt BC Canada Hamburger and Fries

Oh la la Coffee Shop Style

It’s not just the great meals that have put Mary’s Corner Cafe on the map, the desserts are piled over the top with whipping cream and frosting, and the portion sizes, “oh la la”, that is all I can say. You can bring along a friend and share an afternoon brunch, or order one to take out for your family dessert at home, just make sure you ask for a spoon so you can “dip in” on the way home. 

Mary's Corner Cafe Dessert

Mary’s Corner Cafe, Merritt BC Canada dessert

Every day from 11:00 am to 2:00 Pm Mary’s Corner Cafe will host a Buffet Lunch, you create and build your own sandwich, choose from a mouth watering “soup of the day”, and of course you will want to save room for the dessert selection which is offered in the buffet cost. 

Mary’s Corner Cafe is famous for her catering of outside events. No event is too big or too small, Mary will feed a family of 1 or a wedding of 300. Every single customer is special and important, that is why they keep coming back for more. 

Mary's Corner Cafe, Merritt BC Canada

Catering events of all sizes from Mary’s Corner Cafe Merritt BC Canada

We ended our interview with this quote from Mary which shows me that everyone who visits Mary’s Corner Cafe will go away with a full belly and a full heart…

“everything in the cafe is homemade with love”

Cafe in Merritt BC Canada

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Indian Restaurants in Merritt, BC – Mughal Gardens

Indian Restaurants in Merritt, BC

chicken korma mughal gardens merritt BC

Mild Chicken Korma at Mughal Gardens in Merritt Desert Inn

Mughal Gardens Indian Food Restaurant in Merritt, Canada

The Merritt Desert Inn is now home to a brand new Indian Food Restaurant!

This is great news for me because over the last few years I’ve really developed a taste for South Asian cuisine. Up until recently, there was nowhere in town for me to try new dishes and old favourites, so I was excited to go in for a meal at the new Indian Restaurant in Merritt.

I had eaten at the previous restaurant in the building many times, and I noticed that the dining area had been given a facelift, with new paint and centerpieces – it was bright and clean and attractive. The Christmas tree in the lobby was a nice touch. I was seated quickly by a friendly waitress who passed me a menu and brought me a glass of water.

mughal gardens restaurant merritt bc canada

Newly Painted Dining Room at Mughal Gardens Indian Restaurant

The menu selection is on par with food in larger cities like Kamloops or Kelowna

I love having a variety of food to choose from, and Mughal Gardens has an extensive menu. There are all sorts of dishes listed: chicken, pork, seafood, lamb, goat, paneer, korma… There is so much to try you could go back over and over again and not have the same thing twice.

veggie samosas indian food mughal gardens merritt bc

Delicious Veggie Samosas a Mughal Gardens specialty

I decided to try a veggie samosa – which was the special for just 99 cents! Golden, crispy and not oily at all. One of my absolute favourites is the Paneer Pakora – paneer is a firm and mild cheese, in this case coated and fried. It comes with a chutney dipping sauce that is just the right combination of sweet and spicy.

paneer pakora at mughal gardens indian restaurant merritt bc canada

Paneer Pakora at Mughal Gardens, Merritt BC

The waitress was very helpful, which makes a big difference to me, I like staff to be friendly and approachable, especially when I’m not familiar with the menu or what makes up a particular dish. With her help, I decided on the chicken korma. I wasn’t quite brave enough to try the traditional goat dishes, thinking of my little herd at home in the barn, no doubt snoozing peacefully without visions of curry dancing in their heads.

When eating at an Indian Restaurant with spicy cuisine, it’s a good idea to have a drink handy, and what better than a traditional Mango Lassi? Which I originally thought was a dessert, ha! I love mango in all forms, so how could I not order one?

mango lassi mughal gardens merritt desert inn merritt bc canada

A delicious Mango Lassi at Mughal Gardens

The waitress told me they would make it any way I liked, spicy or mild

Now, once I ordered from an Indian Restaurant and – feeling brave – I specified my dish be “medium spicy”. Oh, how foolish I was. If you do not have a high tolerance for spicy foods, always order “mild”. Because I’m quite certain that Indian chefs have a different standard of “spicy” than any other! I joke to this day about how my waiter at that restaurant must have laughed all the way to the kitchen and back about little blonde me (she who cuts back the taco seasoning to cool it down) and my order of “medium” butter chicken!

menu at mughal gardens indian food restaurant merritt bc canada

Browsing the Menu at Mughal Gardens

Not wanting to make that mistake again (because I don’t want to cry onion cutting tears at the table) I asked if my chicken korma could be made mild. The waitress told me they would make it any way I liked! Perfect! Anything from “very mild” to “very spicy” in just about every dish, so everyone can dine happily.

The food is quickly prepared, hot and tasty

Although the restaurant itself was quiet on a Tuesday night, there’s a nice atmosphere. You can tell by the way the waitress jokes and laughs with the cooks and how they converse with the owner, that there’s a great rapport among everyone. And the enthusiasm for this new venture shows in the way the food is quickly prepared and comes to the table with the chef eager to know how you’ve enjoyed your dish. As for me, I enjoyed it immensely! Tasty and hot with hardly any wait is a win in my books. And I enjoy a night out and a meal without the radio blaring or three different TV screens broadcasting baseball, hockey and football.

Dine In, Take Out and Catering

Of all places to eat in Merritt, Mughal Gardens has some of the most flexibility. You can eat in the restaurant or the pub or order your meal to go. They also offer catering (including a buffet!) They will bring the food to you, or if you need a venue they have a banquet/dining hall capable of seating 100 people, and the pub seats up to 254.

Hours and Location

Mughal Gardens is located in the Merritt Desert Inn at 2350 Voght Street and is also easily accessible from Merritt Ave.

They are open everyday 11:00am – 9:30pm

On your next visit to Merritt, plan to include some authentic Indian cuisine!

 

owner of mughal gardens restaurant merritt desert inn

Feeling Festive with the new owner of Mughal Gardens Restaurant

 

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Sushi in Merritt BC

Sushi in Merritt BC – NEW Town Sushi

“Japanese food can be fancy and affordable”.🍴

That is what James, the owner and chef told me about offering his specialties; Japanese cuisine and Sushi in Merritt BC.  Oh yes, also James’s cuisine has his signature “style” and a “European twist”.  He may be the new kid on the block however he is  anything but new when it comes to preparing and delivering food. It is an experience at New Town Sushi that you will not want to miss.

If you live in Merritt, travelling through or a regular visitor to Merritt, you will want to make sure to take some time and make a stop at the newly opened New Town Sushi for an unforgettable meal. 

Exterior at New Town Sushi In Merritt BC

NOW OPEN at the Quality Inn In Merritt BC NEW TOWN SUSHI

 opened in October 2018 Don’t get this “New Town Sushi” confused with the previous restaurant at that location with a similiar name. Because it is NOT the same at all!  I think many are saying much better! Still in the process of branding New Town Sushi In Merritt BC, the goal is to offer  a dining experience in Merritt that brings  “Newer City Trends and Tastes to the Country”. There is plans for new and upgraded decor with a “classy” up-town environment. I was happy to see that James and his Family are doing what I thought was a great idea for Merritt. Something new and different, with a perfect balance of Quality and Price. I am pretty sure they will rock this!

The menu is full of choices that  offer authentic Sushi to creative rolls like the one called “let’s Go Merritt”, to a really good steak dinner! Yes they offer Western style food as well. I am told that whenever possible they will use fresh and local, like the beef  I had for my  delicious steak dinner. “Top quality ingredients are always used for all meals”.

 

 

 

 

 

“My Food is my Fashion, It changes over time”

James is a professionally trained and  practiced as a General Manager for over 20 years at a variety of restaurants where he acquired his knowledge, skills, experience and expertise from  all of the best. Being a General Manager in the restaurant business is not only about the cooking. It is about creating, teaching and delivering. He teaches everything about HOW TO prepare and serve Japanese Food. And he is good at it!

He spent many years learning and working at a variety of restaurants in Vancouver BC, Alberta and Kelowna. Including most recently Blue Tail Sushi In Kelowna BC. Now here in Merritt, he and his Wife Jessica intend to set the bar high! A motivator so to speak. Having Sushi in Merritt BC at New Town Sushi, is a game changer. 

You may be surprised to find that the word “sushi” doesn’t mean raw fish; it is an outdated Japanese term that literally means “it’s sour.” It refers to vinegared rice, commonly topped or mixed with fish or vegetables.

Eat In or order out.

New Town Sushi in Merritt BC is an 80 seat restaurant with a very inviting and comfortable dining room. group tables or comfortable booths. Alternatively, you can order for take out. Changes are being made for both experiences as the interior, although very nice is going to get nicer! Online ordering is available as well! That’s innovative. Although James says there is no expense spared in his food, the prices on the menu are impressive. There is a special on right now, 10% off on take out over $30 until February 29 2019

The first time I went to New Town Sushi, I went with my friend Jared. He introduced me and this is what he has to say about them; “As someone who has come from the coast and is a big fan of Sushi, it was a pleasure to find New Town Sushi here in Merritt. Having experienced dining in the city, I can confirm that New Town Sushi has brought the trends and quality that you would find in the bigger cities. Their Quality and attention to detail is what you would expect to find in cities like Kelowna, Kamloops or Vancouver.

 

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I Love the names for the rolls, and I loved the rolls too! Cool names and delicious too! Consider the steak dinner, I did!

  • Red Dragon Roll
  • Spider
  • Rainbow
  • Green Dragon
  • White Dragon
  • Quality Green

Hungry? Get in touch.

Call or just stop in! They are easy to find! 

OPENING HOURS

Mon – Sat: 11:30 am – 9 pm

Call (250) 378-0855  4025 Walters Avenue. Super easy to find on the main road into Merritt, Voght Street, call them 6, soon to be 7 days a week. Or connect with them on FaceBook.

Go Ahead and order online RIGHT HERE

Do you have a favorite Sushi Restaurant? If you stop in at New Town Sushi in Merritt BC, I would love to hear your thoughts.

 

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Chinese Food in Merritt BC

Chinese Food in Merritt BC 

Chinese food Merritt BC

Located in the Heart of Historic downtown Merritt

Chinese Food in Merritt BC Canada, CANADA CAFE

Serving Merritt for over 50 years!

Canada Cafe is famous for it’s delicious Chinese Food in Merritt BC. Because of that, it is not the least bit suprising, after 50 years in the restaurant business in Merritt, they have earned their reputation by serving up some of the best to found in the Nicola Valley! I love Chinese food.  I love Chinese food dining and love chatting with Dennis when I dine in or on occasion ordering take out at Canada Cafe. “Hot and Fresh” Guaranteed! 

                 Chinese Food Merritt BC Canada Cafe Dining roomCanada Cafe Chinese Food in Merritt BC

                 Restaurant dining room Canada CafeDining area in the Canada Cafe

 

Meet Dennis and his family at Canada Cafe in Merritt BC

Canada Cafe is a family run restaurant located in the heart of downtown Merritt. Dennis and his family took over September 15 2015 and Dennis can count the days! He tells me how much his family LOVES Merritt and the Nicola Valley! They Love Canada Cafe!   Dennis would be by any chef’s standards an expert in the kitchen! He has over 20 years experience cooking in a Chinese food restaurant in Chilliwack. It is a journey, a family life sharing their passion for cooking and serving the public! Merritt is lucky to have them!

Dennis was excited to share all of the attention to detail that makes Canada Cafe top of the list for choosing  Chinese food in Merritt BC. He sat with me and shared with pride how his restaurants food is “hot and Fresh”. I have to agree with that! He showed me around the restaurant and I could not help but notice and admire the pride he showed me.  So, when your hungry for Chinese Food in Merritt BC, stop in. You will not be disappointed.

Eat In. Take out. Catering. book a group. Cater an Event Canada Cafe has you covered!

Going into the Canada Cafe to dine is just great, in addition you have options to order out for free delivery, plan a group party and have a custom buffet, Cater out to any special event or meeting for groups of 10 or more. Dennis will promise you a great deal and Chinese food in Merritt that will be cooked up “Fresh and Hot”  

Chinese Food Canada Cafe Merritt BC Menu

More than just Chinese Food

Canada Cafe not only serves up some of the best Chinese food in the Valley, you can also dine on the classic western food like chicken strips, grilled cheese or deluxe burgers and fries! Canada Cafe is also fully licenced.

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Locals  Love the fresh food and Service

On my last visit, I talked to Kay who was waiting for her take out order. She has lived in Merritt for six years and has been going to the Canada Cafe in Merritt for six years!  Kay said she doesn’t have a favourite choice because, “It’s all good”!  She has tried other restaurants but says she “always comes back”!  Her favorites to order here is the Hot and Sour Soup, along with Chow Mein,  Sweet and Sour Pork and the Prawns. 

Canada CAfe boasts being awarded with Merritt Heralds People Choice Award 2018 for BEST CHINESE FOOD. you can see the award proudly displayed in the front window as you walk by. 

Best Chinese food Merritt BC award

NO MSG

There is no MSG at all, whatsoever, used in any of the food at Canada Cafe. That is good news for people that mat have allergies to it. 

Contact Canada Cafe is as simple as checking out their Facebook Page or calling 250-378-5551. They are open seven days a week and are easy to get to located at 2055 Quilchena Avenue, Merritt BC. (across the street from Fields)

After all this talking about their food, I’m hungry! I think this time, I will try the Hot and Sour Soup! 

Chinese food in Merritt BC

Canada Cafe Chinese and Western Cuisine In Merritt BC

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Things To Do In Merritt, B.C.

Things To Do In Merritt, B.C. 

Spring, summer, fall or winter you will find many things to do in Merritt, B.C.

Seek out new stores

New and different “Things to do in Merritt, B.C.” just has to include new and different places to go. There are some new businesses in town and it took me less than 10 minutes to find two of them.

Both “The Bee’s Knees” and “Petals and Plants” are new shops on Quilchena Avenue in the downtown core and several more will be up and running by the time you read this blog. Seek them out and enjoy something different!

The Bee’s Knees

Owner Amanda loves her job! She started out with the idea of selling clothes from home but that idea sure mushroomed! So she  began “The Bee’s Knees” in March 2018 but outgrew that tiny space almost immediately!  Next, Amanda moved to her present location in the 1900 block of Quilchena Avenue in July, taking all her great ideas (and clothes) with her! 

This lady knows how to dress her clients! Amanda will offer you ideas and combinations you probably would never have thought of yourself. She is one creative business  owner and if you are an old doll like me, her advice will help you update your wardrobe, or at least bring it into the 21st century!And, bless her, the woman carries plus sizes too! Don’t be embarrassed. Ask Amanda! Shop here at The Bee’s Knees where you won’t be all alone!

Check out “The Bee’s Knees” for great event clothes, vintage looks and up-to-the-minute designs too!

Amanda will even do your nails to match your outfit! At the Bee’s Knees you will certainly leave happy, even if you just go to look! Check out Bees Knees Boutique on facebook.

Petals & Plants

The next new place I came across when I was hunting for “things to do in Merritt, B.C.” was Petals & Plants. I heard more than one person say “Finally, a flower shop in Merritt!”

Yes, it is a flower shop- and more! Vicki, the owner, started her shop because, as she puts it, “I’m not great at retiring. I missed the people.” She won’t miss them here! The place has been full of customers and visitors every time I’ve stopped by! In addition to flowers, of course, Vicky carries lots of constantly changing items that make great gifts, so the place is likely to be full of people as well as petals & plants no matter when you go. So check it out!

Enjoy a mini spa day

For a list of “things to do in Merritt, B.C.” why not include a mini spa day! Start by going to the Aquatic Centre for a workout, followed by a swim, sauna and whirlpool. Then, take a hot shower, scrub with an exfoliant, pat down with a soft towel and use plenty of body cream. There. Now you are all soft and energized! Feels good, doesn’t it?

Afterwards? Keep your prearranged appointment at one of Merritt’s several hair salons for a wash, trim and blow dry. Then have a complete mani-pedi since many salons do both. And while you are there, try some new makeup too!

Now, you feel as fantastic as you look, so treat yourself to a nice lunch! Also, why not enjoy the rest of the day shopping?

 Return home happy, relaxed and revitalized, a new you!

Things to do in merritt, B.C.

Seniors aquafit

Take a Walk

Among the best and easiest “things to do in Merritt, B.C.” is to take a walk! Enjoy some of our gorgeous scenery and beautiful parks! Check out the possibilities in my blogs Walking Around Merritt” and “Parks in Merritt”and have some fun in any season. Incidentally, if you have kids with you, winter is a great time to walk in the park! Make snow angels, snow forts, snow people or snow pets! In addition to this, you can pack a snow picnic and add thermoses of hot soup and hot cocoa! Yum! You will have just as much fun as the kids!

Things to do in Merritt, B.C. -Parks

Ready for a picnic after a walk in one of Merritt’s parks

Check Out the Library

These days the library goes way beyond a simple place to read and borrow books. There are many “things to do in Merritt, B.C.” right in our library!  Yes, we all know about borrowing cd’s, dvd’s, and audio books. In addition to these standbys, there are also many children’s reading programs, crafting classes, story times, adult literacy programs and art classes. Besides all this, there are computer classes (and computers to use), knitting, crocheting, gardening, painting, food preserving and various discussion groups that meet at the library. Surprised?

Add to this list some very interesting lectures and guest authors who do readings. Or, if you want a quiet, peaceful day, pick out a book, sit on the comfy sofa by the fireplace and just read!

With all this available, I’m sure you will find many “things to do in Merritt, B.C.” that will entertain you at any time of the year!

Have a Pub Lunch

Well, we all like to eat, don’t we? So of course I include food in my “things to do in Merritt, B.C.”  blog. Not the regular restaurants this time, though. The pubs!

A few years ago a friend dragged me, kicking and screaming I’ll admit, to a local pub for lunch. What a revelation! I actually had fun and a good lunch- at a reasonable price! Also, the lunch crowd was lively and fun. I could hardly believe it! I enjoyed myself!

Most pubs in Merritt have daily lunch and dinner specials. Try one! You will be surprised at how good pub food can be! And no, you don’t have to order alcohol with your meal if you would rather have coffee! However, a burger and a beer can go down nicely when you are in the mood.

Bonus- no one will give you a “look” if you laugh a little loudly with your friends!  

 Look at the seniors programs

If you are a senior, or know one, check out the goings-on at the Seniors Centre. This group certainly adds a lot to the “things to do in Merritt, B.C.” list. Try some of the following programs:

  • Vinyasa Yoga @ the Civic Centre
  • Seniors Free Swim @ the Aquatic Centre
  • Stretch & Stability @ the Aquatic Centre
  • Noon Hour Aqua Fit @ the Aquatic Centre
  • Stand Tall, Don’t Fall @ the Seniors Centre
  • Cribbage
  • Bingo 
    Things to do in Merritt, B.C.

    swinging seniors

                                                                           
  • Duplicate Bridge
  • Carpet Bowling .                                                           
  • Court Whist
  • Physically Challenged Floor Curling                                 
  • Floor Curling
  • Floor & Table Shuffleboard
  • Drop-in Lunch
  • Drop-in Activities, Fridays
  • Rummoli & Games
  • Drop-in Activities, Saturdays
  • General Meeting
  • Potluck

Wow! And some people think seniors aren’t active!  Compared to what? Test out some things from this list and see if you can keep up!

Go bowling

How long has it been since you got a group of friends together and went bowling? Have most of us bowled regularly (we’re talking 5 pins here) since we were kids? Or maybe not bowled regularly since we were kids! If you’re looking for “things to do in Merritt, B.C.”, bowling is a fun one with the bonus of being genuine exercise! Check out Merritt Bowling Centre.  Enjoy noise, laughter, exercise and yes, food! Bring back some of the good times of yesteryear. Repeat often.

What Else Can You Come Up With?

 While there must be dozens more ideas that I haven’t even touched on, these are a few to get you started. What new ideas can you and your friends come up with?

Your senior blogger signing off for now.

Diane 

 

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Parks in Merritt

Parks in Merritt

Think picnicking is only for summer?

Parks

Ready for a picnic!

This senior does parks and picnics all year round- even during thunderstorms and in the snow! And Merritt is a great place to do it.

Autumn is a perfect time for parks and picnics! Think picnicking is only for summer? This senior does parks and picnics all year round- even during thunderstorms and in the snow! And Merritt is a great place to do it.

Park and picnic prep

Start by getting a few friends as well as some play gear together- baseball, bat and gloves, soccer ball etc.  Or maybe a deck of cards or a few board games is more your style.

If you want a super easy picnic lunch before you head for your park of choice, most of the restaurants in Merritt will be happy to do a boxed lunch for your group, just give them a bit of a heads up.

Now take your gear, lunch and friends to one of the following places. ..

Rotary Park, Merritt 

Parks

Rotary Park

A fun park for everyone, kids and adults alike. The Nicola River runs along its south side. There are picnic tables scattered along the river and throughout the park or if you prefer, spread a blanket under a friendly tree. During hot weather, the spray park is operating and kids of all ages will love it! Settle that lunch with a gentle walk along paths lined with flower gardens while the young ones play. Or join them if you want some real exercise                   

Rotary Park Thunderstorm                                                                                                                                                          

Would you like the adventure of picnicking during a thunderstorm?  In addition to all the regular good park stuff, Rotary Park has a band shell that offers shelter and a great view of the flash bangs too. I had a blast doing this with some young kids. There was lots of laughing and shrieking- from all of us. They pronounced it “The best picnic EVER!”

         Rotary Park is washroom equipped.

Lion’s Memorial Park, Merritt

Parks

Lions Memorial Park

Here is a pocket park that not only has gorgeous flowerbeds but also riverside picnic tables as well as a picturesque bridge.  In addition to these, it has a surprise. As you stare up at the green and yellow structure, you may well ask, “What is that?”

Lions Memorial Park Wind Onion                                                                                                                                    

Known as the Wild Wind Onion, this helical windmill is the invention of Merritt’s Heinz Lange, a teacher who became fascinated with wind power in the 1960s. He developed a wind-powered ice fishing machine and later moved to building wind-powered “lake Aerators”, which were installed on several lakes in the area.

 

Parks

Lion’s Memorial Park Wind Onion

Merritt’s “Wind Onion”, built in the 1990s shows these features clearly in its outer blades. Take a little time to look at this unusual structure. After all, we Merrittonians are pretty proud of it!

The Lange family donated the wind onion and archival materials to the Nicola Valley Museum and the City of Merritt in 2014.                                                 

Central Park, Merritt

Here is a perfect park for letting off steam! There is plenty of room for soccer or any other game that needs space. Let the kids or grandkids  run around freely. Watch a game, or play one. Choose a big, shady “picnic tree” to kick back and relax under. Spread out the goodies and enjoy a family feast! Or walk the path at the park’s edge and just soak up the sun.

Fairley Park, Merritt

This may not be the kind of  park you expect as a picnic spot, but it is perfect for little kids! Small and fenced, it is a safe place for them to play. And the bright toy-like jungle gym is sure to be a big hit. Also, they can play in plain sight while you sit at the picnic table, chat with friends and set up the food. Or go join the kids and eat later!

Lions Bike Park, Merritt

While not a picnicking kind of park, this sure is a fun place for bike-riding kids. There are lots of dips and jumps to challenge even the skilled. If you have the grandkid’s bikes and helmets along, they can  also burn off some excess energy here.

It will benefit the adults too. You will hear fewer “Are we there yet?” questions after a stop at Lions Bike Park!

Parks

Picnics and Parks in Merritt

Centennial Park, Merritt

The Coldwater River runs along the north side of this park. There are great picnic spots here with tables overlooking the river. Trees offer both shade and also gorgeous colours at this time of year. Not only is the park edged with flowerbeds, but also the park itself is a large green space just ripe for laughter and play. So picnic, laugh, play and enjoy, then come back another day and do it all over again!

Read more about Merritt’s parks….

Spirit Square, Merritt

Definitely non-conventional, this little city park is designed as a gathering place. It makes a good picnic spot too. Bring cushions and  lawn chairs to sit on because the built-in benches are concrete. Not only does the park’s water feature add a gurgle of interest but also the pretty gardens are filled with flowers and ornamental grasses.

Notice the stage? Not only is it a good place to belt out a tune with your friends, but also its shelter makes this park another thunderstorm picnic spot!

Can anyone in your group play the piano? There is a painted piano at Spirit Square that everyone is welcome to use. So go for it! Get the people around you up and dancing! I dare you! Start some big fun in the heart of our little city.

Merritt’s Parks – what do you think?

In my last blog, I talked about Merritt’s great walks for seniors.  

Now, it’s autumn. Leaves are turning and the colours are stunning! How long has it been since you treated yourself to the beauty that is all around us? Don’t waste a minute more! Call a friend, toss your favorite goodies into a basket and go picnic in one of Merritt’s parks. See you there!

Your senior blogger,

Diane 

Parks

     

        

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Food Adventure, Vancouver Style

Food Adventure, Vancouver Style

Journey through fascinating West End Neighbourhoods

“...I did ask them to please open a location in the Nicola Valley!”

Mid-summer, I enjoyed a trip to the Coast to take in “Bard on the Beach” with good friends. I also participated in a most fabulous Food Adventure, Vancouver Style, with one of my besties. 

 
Maureen, an old pal from high school on Saltspring Island, joined me for a whirlwind 24 hours. We spent the first afternoon/evening enjoying my favourite Vancouver walkabout. Starting at the Rosedale on Robson Hotel, we ambled up Robson to Denman, across Denman to Davie, up Davie to Granville, and across Granville back to Robson.
 
This is a great way to journey through fascinating West End neighbourhoods, each with its own special vibe. It is also a grand way to experience an abundance of fine food and bevies, if you go about it in the way we did.
 
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Up to the Garden Patio of the Gallery Cafe

We started our personal Food-Fest at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Gallery Cafe. One of my best-loved Vancouver eateries, this cafeteria offers local, organic choices.
 
Their website states it well: “An established tradition in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the Gallery Café…offers a classic, yet casual dining experience. Enjoy a wide range of delicacies from elegant entrees and tasty soups and salads to sinfully decadent desserts. Classical music, breathtaking floral arrangements and one of the best outdoor patios in the city complete the experience.”  
 

 

Sit outside on the garden patio in the sunshine 

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

A fruitful salad

It is a treat to sit outside on the garden patio in the sunshine, enjoying strains of classical music. It is also fun to watch people in the courtyard below and on Robson Street.
 
I ordered my favourite rare ahi tuna salad with its delightful sesame dressing. Maureen chose a gorgeous salad of greens, strawberries, peaches & nasturtium flowers with a tangy citrus dressing. 
 
We then shared an order of tiramisu, a rare treat for me, as I can’t handle the espresso content after noon. Both salads were delightful, and the tiramisu exquisite.  If you
 
Definitely try the Gallery Cafe!

 

 

Everything on the Forage menu looked amazing

Next stop was the farm-to-table Forage in the Listel Hotel, further up Robson Street. We bellied up to their glitzy bar and chose from a great selection of BC Craft beers & ciders. Maureen went for Yellow Dog ‘Go Fetch’ Lime Ginger Sour from Port Moody. I decided on a Dry Pear Cider from the Naramata
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Naramata Dry Pear Cider

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Dry Pear Cider

Cider Company. Both were refreshing, dry and pleasing.
 
Everything on the Forage food menu looked amazing, but we chose to share “the Vietnamese style bison carpaccio, sweet soy, crispy shallot, hazelnut” from the SNACK section. Now, perhaps raw buffalo meat doesn’t appeal, but this was a perfect share plate with a tantalizing combination of textures and flavours. YUMMY!
 
Forage offers a number of intriguing-looking food events, so I will return for the full meal deal, next time I am looking for a Food Adventure, Vancouver Style.  
 
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Bison Carpaccio, Vietnamese Style

This appetizer was a true winner

From Robson, we turned onto Denman Street, where I somehow managed to miss the original Banana Leaf Restaurant, one of my all-time faves. We found ourselves at The Cactus Club, English Bay, chosen primarily for its location on the beach. But we were dazzled by their ceviche.  Made with “Ocean Wise™ Lois Lake Steelhead, sustainably harvested prawns, red onions, thai basil, mint, cilantro, & nuoc cham”, this appetizer was a true winner. It was the first time either of us had enjoyed trout/salmon in ceviche, usually prepared with white fish. Yum Yum!
 
Wanting to stick with bubbly, I opted for the 200 ml bottle of Codorniu Brut Clasico Cava.  I have been absolutely mad for Cava since I visited Spain, where it is inexpensive and plentiful. Maureen tried a Flat Rock Cellars’ Limestone Ridge Riesling, light, a little fruity and a happy choice from nearby her current home in Ontario.
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Ol’ buddies, ol’ pals

 
Next was a small detour to sit upon a log in English Bay to watch the sun sink into the sea.  Then a wee side trip down memory lane to our old ‘hood of Harwood near Beach, where we were roommates in the mid-’70’s.

A remarkable Appetizer Sampler for Two comprised of many Malaysian favourites

Walking up Davie Street, I was tickled pink to find another Banana Leaf Restaurant. It was after 8 pm on a Monday, and there was a special offering of bottles of wine half price, so we ordered a smooth Jackson Triggs Merlot, knowing we would have enough left over to take back to our room.
 
We discovered a remarkable Appetizer Sampler for Two comprised of many Malaysian favourites: papaya and pineapple green asian salad, chicken satay skewers, spring rolls, calamari and roti canai. Oh, roti canai, I love you so! The sauces and dips that accompanied this selection were stellar.
 
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Roti Canai

Buddha Bar music, playing in the background, so very cool

The Banana Leaf  truly serves “Mouth-watering dishes with authentic flavor which will transport you to the heart of Malaysia.” I adore the varied and delightful flavours of their Malaysian Cuisine. As well, lovely ambiance is created by “Buddha Bar” music playing in the background, so very cool. 
 
The Banana Leaf was the perfect end to our Food Adventure, Vancouver Style.  We were satiated and perfectly happy to pass by other tempting treats on our walk back to the hotel.
 
Of all the foods we savoured on our personal Food-Fest, Maureen and I both found Banana Leaf THE BEST. I know from experience that they consistently serve affordable, fabulous, fresh food. In fact, before I left Vancouver, I stopped at their Broadway location to order my faves to bring back to the Nicola Valley. 
 
And, yes, I did ask them to please open a location in the Nicola Valley!
 
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Malaysian seafood

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Jasmine Rice

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Sambal green beans with shrimp and tomato

One could plan an entire Food Adventure, Vancouver Style by visiting all five locations of the Banana Leaf. It would be fun to eat a different course at each one. Walking from one to the next would be a great way to make room in the belly for more things on the menu!

Yes! Next time!

And read more here for a taste of our own Nicola Food Adventures!

Cheers!

JGS

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Mexican Food in our Canadian Desert

Mexican Food in our Canadian Desert

Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden and UniTea Cafe, Ashcroft, BC

“… a Mexican Fiesta of luscious fresh produce!”

There are many kinds of food adventures, and yesterday I had a particularly delightful one, involving not only ogling, handling and buying fresh, ripe, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, but also eating some with a dear, old friend! I fetched her for a journey from Merritt to Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden in Ashcroft. It was a grand day for a drive, not too hot, and the smoke had receded, revealing blue sky. Who knew we would find Mexican Food in our Canadian desert?
 
Just over an hour’s drive northwest of Merritt, through gorgeous sagebrush hills, Ashcroft is a delightful village whose Gold Rush historic downtown is couched between the railway tracks and the emerald Thompson River.  The town of Ashcroft straddles the Thompson, and Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden can be found on the west side of the bridge.
 

An Oasis in the Desert!

Driving through some of the Ranch’s gorgeous green fields, my first thought was, “Zowie! An oasis in the desert!”
Mexican Food in the Canadian Desert
 
Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden is aptly named because Ashcroft is found in a unique desert setting. According to Wikipedia, is “the driest place in Canada, south of the high arctic”!  According to Desert Hills Ranch’s website, “early in the 20th century, settlers of Ashcroft found that its rich volcanic soil produced some of the best produce in the world. They found that, as long as you added water to the fertile soil, it would grow nearly anything.”

 
Ashcroft BC

Painting of Ashcroft by E.J.Hughes, 1965

BC & Canada’s Hot Spot

Often the official hot spot for both BC and all of Canada, Ashcroft’s plentiful heat, soil and water helped its settlers become major producers of potatoes and tomatoes in the early 20th Century. Now potatoes and tomatoes represent only a small fraction of the huge variety of vegetables and fruits now grown at Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden. Family owned and operated since 1983, it draws folk from all over.

A Mexican Fiesta of Luscious Fresh Produce! 

Mexican Food

Pick a peck of perfect peppers

Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden is a feast for the senses. Outside, huge hanging floral baskets scent the air, while pots and pots and pots of kale, in their purples, greens and blues, line the outside of the packing shed. Walking toward the Market, we find boxes of fruit stacked high and ready for transport, their contents colourful and inviting. My friend grabs a grocery cart to assist her walking, I opt for a red wagon, and we head indoors to shop.

Mexican Food in the Canadian Desert

A harvest of many colours

Inside, a Mexican Fiesta of luscious fresh produce! Scores of large cardboard bins contain gorgeous fresh-picked fruits and vegetables in a multitude of colours: dark green cucumbers, jalapeños, watermelon, beans, broccoli and zucchini; purple peppers, plums, onions, cabbage and eggplant; orange peppers, nectarines & peaches; yellow peppers & melons; light green pears, cabbage and honeydew melons; white potatoes, onions, and garlic; red sweet & hot peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes.
 
I can tell that the peaches and nectarines have been ripened on the tree by the telltale branch mark near the stem.  The watermelons ring with that perfect hollow sound when knocked.
 

Seedless sweet watermelon

 
Mexican music streams from the speakers in deference to the many Mexican workers who work here, imported each spring & summer to assist with the planting, tending, picking, hauling & packing. It was fun to be able to practice my meagre Spanish on a few of the staff. They were so ready and available to help!
 

Mexican Food in our Canadian Desert!

Imported as well, are many Mexican grocery items. Facing one wall, with strains of Mexican music playing in the background, I felt as if I had been transported to my favourite grocery store in Puerto Escondido! Here I was, finding Mexican Food in our Canadian Desert: canned salsas & peppers, hot sauces, drinks, and spices galore, including my favourite, Chili con Limon! 
 
I find all I need to make a fresh Pico de Gallo – roma tomatoes, jalapenos, gigantic 2 pound sweet onions and cilantro. Finally, our carts bursting with fabulous, inexpensive produce, we head to the busy checkout. I can only begin to imagine how many mouths this farm feeds, with markets in both Ashcroft and Cache Creek. They are currently open seven days a week, from 9 am to 5 pm.
 
Getting peckish, we inquire about lunch. We had heard that Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden also served terrific tacos, and we were eager to enjoy their authenticity.  Turns out tacos are available only on weekends. Next time, we will be sure to visit on a Saturday or Sunday.  There is a shady picnic area on the hillside, where you can enjoy your tacos, or a picnic of your own making, or a Foothills Creamery ice cream cone from the Market.
 
All watered up for Mexican food, and simply not able to let it go, I search online, and find that the UniTea Cafe in Ashcroft serves some Mex! We head downtown, doing a wee circle tour to enjoy the historical sights and lovely mosaics that abound.
 

More Mexican Food in our Canadian Desert

Nadine busy in the kitchen at the UniTea Cafe

UniTea Cafe

The UniTea Cafe is a groovy little tea room, serving comfort foods, a wide variety of drinks, coffee and, of course, perfectly brewed full-leaf teas. Also, quesadillas and, lucky for us, on that day, the special was burritos! Stuffed with many good things and cheesy-messy as they should be, and including a side of tomatoes and cucumbers from Desert Hills Ranch Market Garden. Both were delicious!  
 
 
 
Oh, and the UniTea Cafe is licensed, so I enjoyed a cold Corona with lime and, my companion, a chilled Chardonnay. All this, accompanied by a lovely collection of Spanish
tunes, and we were, again, transported, enjoying Mexican Food in our Canadian Desert!
 
The UniTea Cafe often hosts musicians, so check out their Facebook Page for upcoming concerts.
(For other coffee house music opportunities in the area check out Coffee House Music in Merritt, Canada.)
 
Satiated and happy, my dear friend and I continued our circle tour, back through Spences Bridge, along the Nicola River, through the beautiful Nicola Valley and home.
What a treat to discover the tastes, sounds, smells and colours of Mexico, so close to home!
 
JGS
August 23, 2018
 
 
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Smoked Trout at Harmon Lake

Smoked Trout at Harmon Lake

Making smoked trout while camping is easy and fun.

So, would you like to know the secret to great Smoked Trout?

A secret about how to make the best smoked trout in all of the world? OK, at least the best in Nicola Valley? I am about to share it here! Keep reading!

Preparing for Smoked Trout

The Process

Teresa and Brad, camping friends I met last year here at Harmon Lake, have graciously shared their tips and techniques with me to share with you, the world!

Not only is this amazing to the tastebuds, it is a fun thing to do together with friends and family!

To make our Harmon Lake Smoked Trout you need…

  • nice fresh trout that you had fun catching.4-6
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 6-8 C water
  • 2-3 C ice cubes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup non iodized coarse salt, kosher salt, or just salt
  • paper towels
  • rubber gloves
  • cutting board
  • one strong large knife
  • 1-2 fillet knives
  • a good set of fishing bone tweezers!
  • containers and/or ziploc bags for brining.
  • Smoker
  • smoker chips
  • tray for air drying
  • plastic wrap

The Trout

First things first!  To make Smoked Trout, you need them! Catch them, buy them, ask your friends for theirs, it doesn’t matter. But you need fish! We happened to catch ours the day before! It doesn’t matter what size as you will fillet them and place them on the rack by size for best and even results.

The Process – Preparing the Trout

Filleting the Trout! Have the right tools to make this important part easy.  Having the right tools from the get-go will make your learning easier and you fillets clean cut and “pretty”.

I watched  as my friend masterfully filleted the trout and deboned them. She used a tool she purchased  specifically for deboning fish, and it worked great. You could use pliers, but she said this tool was worth every cent! 

Get started

Cut the head off first. then make a straight cut, across the fish, down to the bone near the tail. Starting at the cut. angle the knife on the fish and also angle the blade slightly up over the backbone and fillet away. Once you start to fillet keep the knife blade on the  angle above the bone. With a clean smooth motion, filet the fish, keeping the blade just above the bone.

Keep going!

It may take some practice but when I did it it just took a few times and I was sliding the blade right up to the end. It really wasn’t that hard, just practice and a feel for it.

I learned that there is a technique and once you get the hang of it it becomes pretty easy!

Once both sides are filleted, you can fillet out the inner bones.  This is a bit tricky to explain but I will try!  Take the tip of the blade and cut lightly under the bones about 1/2 inch in. Start over and repeat with smooth motions. Three or so cuts should do it. Cut that piece off the fish. Clean up the edges with a clean swipe down the edges. Voila! A Fillet!

Tips for preparing the Trout

  • A good filleting knife will make the task easy and make your fillets look PRO!
  • Use  a paper towel under the trout on the cutting board to help stop it from slipping & sliding.
  • Don’t leave your fish in water (in the cooler where they could sit in water for example) after they have been cleaned. they will get soggy.
  • Keep the knife at an angle about 45 degrees with the fish.
  • Once you start to fillet keep the knife blade on a slight angle above the bone on with a clean smooth motion, filet the fish, keeping the blade just above the bone.
  • Leave whole or cut into proportions that you would give away.
  • Practice.

The Process for Brining the Trout

This is simple yet tricky, the right mixture of the the salt (and what kind of salt), brown sugar, along with the right amount of water and then the brining time! My friends  secret sauce is 1 part salt to 2 parts sugar.

Dissolve the brown sugar and salt in 2 cups of water. Add about an additional 4-5 cups of water after you have dissolved salt and sugar. Taste test the brine. If you go “Echhhh! Too much salt!”, add more water and you could add some more brown sugar. You do want it to taste salty like the sea, but not so much that you can’t swallow it!

We used two extra large ziplock bags and and split the brine mixture in 1/2. Put the fillets into the bags. Seal the bags and refrigerate 2-3 hours. More time for larger fillets!

Tips for brining

  • You can experiment with different kinds of salt.
  • The brine should be ice cold to work the best so add some ice cubes about 2-3 cups.
  • Trout do not need to brine as long as other fish.
  • Put the fillets in ziploc bags to brine and make sure the bags are sealed. Get as much air out as you can.
  • Put the bags into a container that will fit in your fridge in case the bag leaks.
  • Do NOT brine in a metal container! Use glass or plastic.
  • The brine mixture proportions is the most important part and it will be different every time.

The Process – Smoking the Trout

Air dry the fillets on a surface of parchment paper or plastic wrap (never use metal) for about an hour.

Smoking time varies as does our weather! So you have to vary it each time. Wind and rain are not your friend for smoking fish. So let’s say its 70 degrees and no wind. Your smaller fillets should be ready in about 90 minutes. You can leave on the bigger fillets for an additional 1/2 hour.

We are using a Little Chief Smoker with alder chips, which pair well with trout!

The smoker is running from a 12 V battery and an inverter. We charged the battery with two 75 Watt solar panels. A generator works great too!

Tips for smoking the Trout

  • Keep the smoker out of the wind.
  • Keep the smoker off the grass as in the summer it can be too dry and dangerous.
  • Line the bottom tray of the smoker with foil. 
  • Use non stick spray on the racks.
  • Wipe the trout skin with a paper towel before putting on the racks for “less stickage”.
  • Do not over fill the racks as you need the smoke to get in-between each fillet
  •  If you’re smoking some glazed with brown sugar, put the glazed ones on the bottom racks.
  • Put the thicker fillets on the outside edges as the smoke comes mostly up the sides.
  • Start timing from the time you see smoke.
  • No 2 batches are the same ever!

How would you like your fish smoked? Mild, medium or well done?

  • 2 hours for mild
  • 3-4 hours for medium
  • 5 hours for well done

The more fish on the trays the longer it will take.

When the Trout has smoked enough

Air dry for about an hour before removing the skin and refrigerating. Make sure the fillets have cooled down first. Best to place them on a paper towel and in a container or ziplock bag The paper towel is there to absorb any excess moisture. So, if you take them out of the smoker and they seem a little too dry, don’t set them on paper towels.

Teresa and Brad’s Philosophy: Keep it simple for best results! Particularly with trout as trout is so delicate!

Share and enjoy!

Moister or dryer, it’s up to you! When the trout fillets are smoked the way you like them, loosen from the rack right away or they will get stick to the rack. Take a picture and share! You earned the right to brag!

Then quickly put them away or they may just go missing. AKA, eaten all up!

That is how to make the best smoked trout in the Nicola Valley.

Trout, and other fish, have been smoked throughout history. Click here for some more information

 

Do you have special tips and techniques you want to share?

I would love to hear them! And see you at Harmon Lake!

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Merritt Restaurants – Brambles Bakery & Cafe

Merritt Restaurants – Brambles Bakery & Cafe

Brambles Bakery & Cafe – A Dream Come True

“Brambles is a true delight for all your senses.”

There is nothing I love better than dreaming up a great idea and then bringing it to life! From a simple thought shared with others, then planned and executed, there is nothing that tickles my fancy more than creation and production! Well…except, perhaps, for listening to someone else’s idea and watching them bring it to fruition. I’ve discovered over the years that the latter saves me a whole heckuva lot of work! Brambles Bakery & Cafe – evolved from just such a brainchild, many moons ago. 
 
The idea came to my pal, Dorothy Molnar. I remember her saying, “I’d love to have a little cafe where we make great soups from our own home-made stocks and maybe sell them for people to take home…” 
 

Ideas Percolating…

 
The idea percolated for many years while Dorothy, or Dodo, as her growing gaggle of grandchildren and friends call her, attended TRU for basic culinary training and sourdough bread-making classes at San Francisco Baking Institute. Her four beautiful children grew and flew. Then, finally, oldest daughter Sarah, equally ambitious and creative and a lover of baking, expressed a desire to share and expand upon her mother’s dream.
 
That dream is now a marvellous Merritt Restaurant – Brambles Bakery & Cafe – located downtown at 2151 Quilchena Avenue! Since its manifestation in 2009, it has quickly become a community hub for not only splendid soups created from fabulous home-made stocks, but brilliant breads and tantalizing treats made from the finest ingredients, one being a whole lotta love!
 

Brambles Bakery & Cafe

 
Brambles Bakery & Cafe is accurately described on its website:
“As soon as you walk through the door, you can feel the relaxing atmosphere, hear the laughter and chatter of our guests; you smell delicious food just before you see our exquisite treats and want to taste them – Brambles is a true delight for all your senses. 

A busy Community hub

Of course there is also the fun and friendly staff, a space for the kids to play, the eclectic menu with real, healthy food made from scratch, daily lunch specials, and a feeling of community.

Did we mention that our food is delicious?”

All of this is true, but there is more! 

The vibe at Brambles is laid-back, save the bustling staff, working hard to ensure that your order comes out quickly and accurately.

A selection of “Old World” breads

And there is no doubt that their home-crafted breads are brilliant! All of the breads, buns and focaccia are perfect for dipping in your soup du jour or for enclosing your favourite sandwich ingredients. They are made in the “Old World” way, using pre-fermented doughs with long, slow fermenting times, providing many health benefits. Brambles is a member of the Bread Bakers Guild of America, and Dorothy and Sarah often travel to symposiums to hone their bread-making skills. You’ll find sourdough, Alsatian rye, Country, and Multi-Grain-Seed breads daily, while extra-special ones are baked on certain days of the week. Have you ever tried sour cherry chocolate or sourdough cranberry bread? Oh, you must! 

And when they say “Best Buns”, you’d better believe it! 

Focaccia Breads

Never disappointing!

Brambles’ Brownies

You know how sometimes you choose something that looks amazing from the showcase in a bakery, but when you bite into it, it doesn’t come close to tasting as good as it looks? I cannot count the number of times that happened to me in the past.  It is darned disappointing! That never happens at Brambles Bakery & Cafe! Everything is made from scratch with real butter and fresh local ingredients where possible, and everything is truly fabulous.  My personal favourites include: Hazelnut Roulade, Rhubarb Torte Squares, Coconut Tarts, Lemon Squares, and Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Buns.

Oh, Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Buns, I love you so!

A Merritt Restaurant - Brambles Bakery & Cafe

Sticky cinnamon buns with pecans

It is also one of the few places in the Nicola Valley where you can find gluten-free and vegan options, with those options continually expanding.  The soups are gluten-free. You can have your sandwiches made with gluten-free bread, and you can also enjoy tantalizing GF treats such as Black Bean Brownies, Hazelnut Date Bars, Almond Lemon Cake with Raspberry Filling, and you can take home bags of gluten-free Granola.

Dodo serving sandwiches

Vegan Tuesdays

Today was “Vegan Tuesday”. I enjoyed the daily special, a delicious chickpea salad with apricots cashew sauce and greens with a side of home-made rhubarb chutney and a cup of bean soup!

Of course I had to have a treat to take home to enjoy with my afternoon tea, so I chose GF Carrot Cake. Cake is something this waistline does not need, but, oh, it wanted it so badly! I thought it might be a tad dry, as some GF baking tends to be, but no! It was Yum!

Brambles also serves healthful salads with a wide variety of dressing choices, and they have a liquor license, to boot!  You will find a selection of local Left Field Cider Company Ciders and near-local beer and wines.

Any Coffee in this Cafe?

Oh, dear! How can it be a Cafe without coffee? Espresso? Yes! Flavours? Yes! Drip? Yes! You can even get an added liqueur shot! Also a wide selection of teas, hot or iced!

Nicola Valley Honey

And, as if all that is not enough, there are shelves where you can browse for food and gifts to take away. You’ll find Brambles’ own packaged food items, local Nicola Valley Honey, as well as local food gifts. They also sell sturdy, colourful African Market Baskets, whose purchase helps to support humanitarian projects in the villages of Ghana. Methinks they would make a perfect picnic basket, loaded up with Brambles’ food to take up into the hills for a Food Adventure! Or to take home to a loved one! Any woman I know would think that was the best gift EVER!

Brambles Bakery and Cafe – A Dream Come True

Not only was this Merritt Restaurant – Brambles Bakery & Cafe – a dream-come-true for Dorothy and Sarah, it was a dream-come-true for the entire Valley.  At the time they opened their doors, there was little in the way of this special kind of place, and no bake-from-scratch bakery. It was an instant success and continues to thrive. Many out-of-towners have discovered this treasure, and stop in during their travels.

Sarah and Dorothy

Thank you, Dorothy and Sarah! I had my great idea of “the Quilchena Street Cafe” back in the day, but I am so happy that you saved me all that hard work!

And, never could I have pulled it off with such incredible panache!

JGS

PS Did you read my blog on the Quilchena Hotel One Eleven Bar and Grill meals? Pop over now and catch up!