Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Simple pleasures, kayak dining...and a recipe, guaranteed to impress.

In our forty-two years of marriage, I have never been drawn to "fine dining", in the traditional sense. After all, those Michelin "stars" mean a lot of money is probably going to change hands. The starched and ironed linen table cloths simply call out to spill something - and it's usually "red". Impeccably-mannered staff can be annoying. Fancy presentation...well, it should really about eating a meal, not looking at it. I know, I'm not much of a bon vivant.

Besides, eating out cannot possibly begin to compare to eating...outside.

Now, having said all of that, dress code is very important. So...having promised Joan yet another gourmet meal in a five star-equivalent, southern Gulf Island venue, I suggested we both wear our "suits" to go out...dry suits. After all, driving or being driven to dinner is counter-productive. In order to fully enjoy a meal, one needs to significantly "spark" the appetite. Nothing does that better than self-propelled transportation. We would make the 14 kilometre round trip for brunch in our kayaks. Yes, Joan is one heck of a good sport about these things.

Under heavily overcast skies and on an ocean as eerily calm as a giant mill pond, we left the shore for the yet-unannounced location - it would be a surprise. See, always the romantic! :)

A low cloud cover kissed the tops of the hills on Saltspring Island...the mood was set. As I paused to take a picture, Joan pulled ahead...still not knowing exactly where she would be enjoying this very special treat I would soon prepare for her.

Arriving on the isolated gulf island shore, arbutus trees seemed to glow their rich colour against the back drop of the dark forest. A log, thrown up on the shore by the recent winds, pointed the the "secret beach".

In what seemed like no time at all, we were there...peacefulness reigned.

It doesn't get much better...ocean view, no need for reservations, perfect ambiance, ample parking, AND full on kitchen facilities.

The table was set, freshly-squeezed orange juice served, and the tiny stove quickly had today's simple, gastronomic pleasure taking shape inside the pot. 

I could tell Joan was pretty excited...spoon at the ready!

Today's featured treat? Scrambled tofu "eggs", with a delicate garnish of parsley and chives, and a carefully measured dash of hot pepper flakes. Classical haute cuisine would suggest serving this delicacy in a deep silver dish...but the camping bowls did just fine, adding a further touch of simplicity.

How did it taste?

It was simply amazing.

Yep, I was pretty darn proud, chuffed in fact.

So you see guys, you too can be an incurable romantic and offer that someone special an incomparable dining experience without spending hardly anything at all. Tip: To guarantee complete success and maximize dining pleasure, simply ensure that transportation to the venue is a self-propelled, high calorie-burning activity. 

Easy peasy. ;)


  1. What a great dining location D & J....every seat at a window table too! The menu sounds pretty good - BUT - the big question is........ was this second breakfast or first luncheon?!

    Warm wishes

  2. Ah, a VERY good question, Ian. Hmmm...a fine distinction, indeed. I would have to say that given the particular food choice, it would be classed as second breakfast. That, I think, would be in keeping with the official Johnston / Wilcox Kayak Meal Classification Schedule (JWKMCS). We're yearning, of course, to get to the baked potatoes, the true main course of the day. :) Warm wishes from us both. Duncan.

  3. Well Douglas, I will admit that the success of this meal was "partially" ensured by the calorie-burning paddle to the venue. The relatively small "first breakfast", was another tactical measure employed to enhance my partner's appetite. ;) Many thanks and warm wishes. Duncan.

  4. Looks like a beautiful day, calming and peaceful. I think this is your most "romantic" meal'll get there someday Duncan! Haha

  5. Ah, thank you, Linda for your vote of confidence! I will ensure Joan reads your will give her hope. ;) I think the delicate sprinkle of parsley and chives made for excellent "presentation", and that, admittedly, appears to be important in certified fine dining and gastronomic ambiance. Haha! Warm wishes to you. Duncan.

  6. Well done Duncan, as I have told you before "You can take the man out of Scotland, but you can't take Scotland out of the man"( how to be romantic on the cheap). Jamie Oliver would be proud of your culinary skills.

  7. Right you are, Mike. :) "Fine dining" on a budget and transportation with significantly better mileage than even our cherished Scottish Ford Focus! Yes, I must give Jamie a call. ;) Many thanks and warm wishes. Duncan.