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Posted by on Dec 15, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Liquids & Solids | Comments Off on PLUM RUM COMPOTE

















This recipe came about when my homie Craig, my Nephew and I decided to climb the plum tree outside my Neph’s house and gather up as much of the ripe fruit as we could.  This would go perfectly on a scone or fresh homemade biscuit.  ~ Prevail.


Recipe by: CDJ.


3 cups ripe red plums – diced
1 1/3 cups brown sugar – divided
2 cinnamon sticks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 oz Appleton (or other dark) rum


1. Combine plums (and pits to intensify flavor), 1 cup brown sugar, and cinnamon sticks in large saucepan.

2. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean and rum.

3. Stir often over low heat, for approximately 45 minutes – uncovered; until plums are tender and compote thickens (add in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar if desired/required).

4. Remove from heat, discard pits, vanilla bean, and cinnamon sticks and allow to cool completely.

5. Serve (warm or cool) over yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream, pancakes, crepes, rice pudding, cakes, toast, etc…

Refrigerate up to 3 days in glass jar or covered container. Makes 8 servings.


Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Contributors, Health & Wealth, Highlighted Features | 1 comment

Drink Me (Explored)
louis courtney1 / / CC BY-NC-ND

Written by: D.S.

I read a story the other day about a powerful Shaman and his two apprentices.  One apprentice was extremely clever, the other always acting the fool.  The magician spent years working with these two individuals schooling them in the ways of the healing arts, but neither ever really mastered the true power of a healer.

There eventually came a time for the two apprentices to under go a test.  The Shaman called for his two young students and told them of dismay.  That though he had worked with them for years and, they had learned the ways of the Shaman, that neither of them had truly impressed him in the arts of magic and healing. It was then and there that he placed in front of the two shocked apprentices a sealed bottle and offered them a chance, the gift of power.  He explained that in the bottle before them was a liquid, that if drunk, would bestow the ultimate power, ever lasting.

Of course the fool hardy student was the first to step up and declare that he must be the one to drink the potion.  The smarter student said nothing.  The wise and powerful Shaman then told them the price attached to the elixir in the shiny little vessel.  If one drinks whats inside with even the slightest essence of fear, they will instantly be poisoned and die.  With that he left the two young men with the bottle on the table to make their decision.

Well, the foolish apprentice began a dialogue with himself almost immediately – he reminds me of me.  Surely he could not chance this, surely if he was to drink what was in the bottle he would die.  After a few minutes of debating with the chatter in his mind he stood up and he left – he walked out on truly knowing his potential, his power.

Only the clever apprentice remained.  Without hesitation he opened the vessel and swallowed in one swift gulp its contents.  It was not but a second that had passed before he was filled with power beyond belief.

When the wise old Shaman returned to find but one apprentice still standing he asked him why he had decided to drink the elixir.  The student explained that “In one life there is but one death. I saw that I could no longer fear what is assured.”  It was then the sound of the wise old Shaman’s laughter that flooded the room…and he asked his young student “then, did you enjoy the tea?”

This story marks the beginning of a journey for me and a new understanding – When faced, fear becomes power.

Like many others I have a long laundry list of fears.  There are a few I am thinking of now that happen to stand out more than others. My fears have kept me hidden, and I like many others must come to the understanding that hiding keeps us from ever knowing our greatest power.

To be frank, life is what life is.  We are born, we live, we die.  It is filled with things like eating and breathing, walking and talking etc…but all in all, this is the same sort of energy.  The difference lies in our human mind and how we choose to filter these things into  categories of positive or negative, good or bad etc…ultimately the key then to dealing with fear is truth.  The reality is that life is not always a bowl of cherries.  Death is inevitable and so is danger, destruction, uncertainty and basic misfortune.  People who hide from their fears hide from their power and I have been one of them.

Acting in ways that you believe will protect and shelter you from living is like hiding in a hole.  In short it is avoiding the truth, reality, yourself and life itself.  There are no safe choices and it is actually not the safe choices that are problematic, it is the perspective and the motive behind them.

I am working with the concept of losing this buffer between myself and my experience of this life I am living.  It is the hardest thing I have ever attempted to do – because I have to drop the story.  Lose the dialogue.  But I have already found that once the story gets dropped it is possible for you to take back your power.  Negative chatter is the commotion that’s inside the mind of a powerless person. That commotion is simply just that, backwash that talks you out of fully living. Power is claimed in the unknown, in the mystery of life, off the beaten track, far away from the hole that you and I have been living in.

I have begun the journey out of the hole.  I am working minute by minute to find empowerment and limitlessness where I may have found a great struggle before.  I am beginning to understand a life lived under the oppression of fear is not a life worth living.

So…I leave you where we started.  The story of the Shaman’s apprentices –  The fool walked away from facing his fears and thus forever went without knowing his true potential.   The clever one had to go beyond the fear to understand his power.  And so can you.

“It is better to thrust yourself onto the sword rather than go into the realm of spirit with fear in your heart.”



Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Contributors, happy hour, Highlighted Features, Liquids & Solids | Comments Off on KEEP ON TRUCKIN’

bubble infinity
bitzi ☂ ion-bogdan dumitrescu / / CC BY-NC


Written by: Joe Leary.

We’ve seen unsurpassed growth in the Craft Beer industry in British Columbia and one of the surest signs can be witnessed with Red Truck.

Formed in 2005 and offering draft, the burgeoning brewer with the distinctive flavor is now on the verge of expansion few could have expected some less than a decade ago.

The company started with draught beer only and still is a draught beer only company until our new brewery is completed in the spring of 2014,” says Red Truck Beer Company General Manager Jim Dodds.
“The mandate all along was to find a good location for the brewery and to continue to grow the current brands – Red Truck Lager, Red Truck Ale and a selection of seasonal beers known as “Limited” brands throughout the year.
The mandate was to grow these brands and eventually we would build a new brewery, eventually add bottling and canning lines.”

And grow they will. Red Truck has a new location for their signature brewery at 295 E1st Avenue in Vancouver, in the heart of Mount Pleasant in an area known as “Brewery Creek”.
“We’re moving from our current location in North Vancouver into a new building built specifically for the brewery with the ability to expand and will be able to add more tanks for future volume,” he adds.
“With the Craft Beer industry taking off in the Vancouver market along with other parts of BC, now is the best time to expand.
Along with a significant investment come jobs to the local area as well.  Apart from all the construction, Red Truck Beer Company will employ up to 24 employees within our first year.

But there’s more. The new location will also feature the “Red Truck Stop Diner” which will be open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and provide craft beer enthusiasts an opportunity to tour the brewery and sample our current, seasonal and new craft beers.

“The Red Truck Brewery will also feature a retail store where purchases can be made on Growlers, Keg and Package sales for private functions or parties,” says Dodds, “and of course all of the favourite Red Truck Beer merchandise. These two investments will also create fifteen jobs to the local economy.”

The future is bright indeed for the entire beer industry and consumers throughout British Columbia and beyond are the real benefactors.

“Today’s beer market is changing rapidly with more consumers drinking flavourful craft beers,” Dodds adds.
“The consumer is willing to try the seasonal beers produced by the ever-increasing local craft beer companies. This bodes well for all as the industry continues to shift to more flavourful beer styles.”

Definitely an exciting time for Local Craft Breweries!!


Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Contributors, happy hour, Highlighted Features, Liquids & Solids | Comments Off on LIQUID SUNSHINE

248/365 - Two Fingers of the Water of Life







“Whisky is liquid sunshine.”
George Bernard Shaw.



Written by: Dustin Sepkowski.


Whisk(e)y. – Short form of Whiskybae – Gaelic origins, translated to “Water of Life.”
Def. – an alcoholic liquor distilled from a fermented mash of grain.

Just as different areas of the world have developed their own unique tastes for food, their own languages and dialects, and even their own fashion, they have also found their own ways of making Whisk(e)y.  Let’s make this a history lesson, and break down this wonderful spirit to it’s various types from around the world.  But first, I’m sure you’re wondering, “What’s with the “e” in parentheses?”. Well, to put it simply, as some areas of the world have developed their own taste of whisk(e)y, they have also developed their own grammatical structure of the word.  The Irish like to use an “e”.  The Scottish think it’s blasphemy.  Mystery solved.


Scotland – Scotch Whisky

Here, we break Scotland into regions of typical characteristics found in the spirit.  They’re also geographical, and can be explained better in the future.  6 major regions are all you need to remember.  The Highlands, Lowlands, Campbelltown, Speyside, Islay and The Islands.  There are all sorts of fun rules as to why Islay isn’t included with the Islands, and Campbelltown isn’t included with the Lowlands… But that’s for another day.

Scotch Whisky is a purists drink.  100% malted barley is not required, but is traditional in this mash.  A minimum age of 3 years in oak barrels is a must, and used barrels tend to add interesting new flavours into the mix.  When you have a bottle of 15 year old Highland Park Scotch, that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily 15 years old.  What it does mean is that the youngest spirit used in this blend is 15 years old.  To obtain amazing flavours and consistency with product, in house blending is used to create a brilliant Single Malt masterpiece.  If you were to use a spirit from multiple distilleries, you get what is called a “Vatted Malt” or “Blended Whisky”.


Ireland – Irish Whiskey

Irish Whiskey has similar rules to that of their close relatives in Scotland.  It is a distilled spirit that is aged for a minimum of 3 years in oak barrels.  Where it starts to become a different story, is that Irish Whiskey has much more relaxed rules on the labelling and composition of their whiskeys.  You don’t typically see a “Single Malt” Irish Whiskey.  Instead you will see a “Pure Pot Still” which can be made with a blend of single grain and single malt, or a “Pot Still” which is more likely to be a single malt.


United States of America – Bourbon Whiskey

Throw a monkeywrench in the gears.  A whiskey composed mostly of adjunct?  Yes, here it is. With a requirement of at least 51% corn, to be aged in 1st use charred oak barrels, and to be distilled to no more than 80%abv.  Unlike it’s brothers, Bourbon does not have a minimum date for aging, but for best flavours a few years does this spirit many favours.  To be called Bourbon, this spirit must be stilled, aged, and bottled within the Bourbon County of Kentucky.  No exceptions.  Look at the next Jack Daniels bottle you see, and look for the word Bourbon.  You won’t find it, as it’s distilled in Tennessee.


Canada – Canadian Whiskey
Just when you thought the Americans were skipping traditional rules, Canada has even less.  There is no real style guideline in Canada, but more of a trend.  We tend to make lighter and smoother spirits than others, and only require that the spirit is mashed, stilled, and aged in Canada.  There is a minimum of 3 years in oak to call this Whisky.  As for the myth that Rye belongs in this product… it’s not true.  Yes, it’s common as in history it was a way to add flavour to our lighter spirit.  Over time, and due to demand, it became a regular occurrence to add rye to the mash to produce the popular flavour profile and body.



Posted by on Nov 28, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Out & About | Comments Off on LOCALLY GROWN pt.2 – EVENING LIFE IN SANTA MONICA

Santa Monica Pier
Neil Kremer / / CC BY-ND

Written by: Derrick Bealer.

After a day of exploring what Santa Monica has to offer via beach cruiser, here are a few local spots that will keep the adventure going:

THE OTHER ROOM: Located on Abbot Kinney in Venice it’s a beer and wine bar only, but the vibe of this place is matched by their stellar selection.  It’s very dark inside which only adds to the mystery of this amazing place.  If you are in need of a cocktail you can walk 2 blocks down to…

THE BRIG:  It has a pool table, DJ and, on Tuesdays they have a funk band that will blow your funking mind.  It’s a younger crowd but it is definitely entertaining.

VENICE BEACH WINES: A perfect spot to start off your night, this little gem is located on Rose Ave, which is one of the new up and coming streets in Venice that offers hip restaurants, organic coffee houses, and newly constructed modern condos.  Venice Beach Wines is a small establishment, but don’t let that deter you from checking it out.  It displays the coolest of cool crowds, a wine selection for any and everyone’s taste and, first class service.

THE BASEMENT TAVERN: Located in the basement of the Victorian (Historic 19th century Victorian home) this has to be one of my favorite spots, it gets cracking almost any day of the week.  One of the best parts of The Basement is that not everyone knows about it, it is located in the basement of the Victorian which is also a bar/hangout.  So when you get there you might think the Victorian is the Basement….Wrong!  To get to the basement you have to enter from the back parking lot, once inside you pass the kitchen for the Victorian (make sure to give a shout out to the chef’s on your way down.)  Head down to the dark stairway until you reach “The Basement”.  You will notice its low ceilings, chalk board walls that are laced with patron’s scribbles, drunken banter, or some cool artwork.  If you are lucky there might be a local band playing that night, one of my favorites, Dust Bowl Revival, has a residency over the summer and they tear it up when it comes to blue grass.  Don’t let the crowded bar discourage your thirst, the bartenders here sure know how to crank out drinks at lightning speed. When last call hits and you resurface to Main Street, you will now know why this place is kept somewhat a secret.

TOWNHOUSE & THE DEL MONTE SPEAKEASY: Located on Winward Ave about 100 yards from the beach.  Townhouse has been open since 1915, originally called Menotti’s.  Nearly a century later it’s still open and drawing in crowds. During prohibition shipments of whiskey and rum were smuggled to the city of Los Angeles via underground caves and catacombs which led from the former Abbott Kinney Pier straight to the Townhouse, making Townhouse and The Del Monte Speakeasy Los Angeles’ original and most ‘legitimate’ operating bar and speakeasy.   This bar is a real Venice local bar, prices are low and the people are there to get there drink on with good friends.  One of the very few bars that I know that you can order a tall boy ( 24 oz of Canned beer).  No need to dress up here, you can find surfers in flip flops, punkers in leather, and California girls in every color imaginable.  There is also a downstairs that hosts live music, but the dj’s upstairs know where its at, so bring your dancing shoes and your drinking shirt and let loose.

There are plenty more evening live spots to check out, but this is Santa Monica and at this pace these places should leave you with a smile on your face, belly full of beer, and a lifetime of stories to tell.   In my next article I will introduce you to the Maker/inventor of Mom’s Tequila,  a new California based Tequila.  I will also introduce you to some local artists, some local music festivals, and a whole lotta local love- Stay tuned!


Posted by on Nov 27, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Sights & Sounds | 1 comment


July 7 2009 Extravaganza - Prediction = True
Pilottage / / CC BY


By: Tobin Wait.


Every now and then, a book comes along which forces us to examine ourselves and question our assumptions.  Every now and then, a book comes along which challenges conventional wisdom, and in doing so creates controversy and gets people talking.  And this is generally a good thing.  Sex at Dawn is such a book.


Written by the husband and wife team of Christopher Ryan and Cacilda Jetha, and subtitled How We Mate, Why We Stray, and What It Means for Modern Relationships, Sex at Dawn is a provocative look at human sexuality – its origins, its myths, its genetics. It uses a combination of science, psychology, history, biology, sociology and anthropology (along with a healthy dollop of humour) to argue against the “standard narrative” of human sexual evolution, which (if you will pardon the pun) puts men on top and women on the bottom.  The book basically argues that, contrary to popular belief, humans are not naturally monogamous, that humans are one of the few species who have sex for reasons other than reproduction, that monogamy has made us a rather miserable species, and that our patriarchal view of sexuality is a myth.


Through fastidious research and analysis of the prehistoric roots of human sexuality, and the sexual behaviours and habits of Bonobos (our closest primate relative), Ryan and Jetha make a very convincing argument, and it’s an argument I suspect will ring true for many people who read the book.  Their arguments may be controversial, but they explain a lot of what is wrong in our society and our relationships: infidelity, divorce, depression, conflict.  Looked at objectively, it just makes sense.


The book also tackles the issue of female sexuality and the often troubling depiction of females in our sexual evolution.  It smashes the myth of the subservient female and argues that women, as much as men, are strong sexual beings.  It is truly eye-opening.


It is an empowering read, for members of both genders, for it allows us to feel OK about our natural desires.  Ryan and Jetha do not offer any advice, but they make it clear that it is time for a more open-minded, liberal view of human sexuality; it is time for all of us to come out of our sexual closets; it is time for more honest communication.  It is time to be ourselves.



Posted by on Nov 22, 2013 in Contributors, happy hour, Highlighted Features | Comments Off on A VACATION IN A GLASS – THE DAIQUIRI

My Daiquiri en el Floridita, par Franck Vervial












When the weather goes into full on winter mode and a few days in the sun and warmth aren’t available, revisit this classic for an instant dose of good cheer!


Written by: Jacob Sweetapple.


It was the turn of the century when the daiquiri was thought to be first invented using what was readily available all over Cuba – Rum, limes & cane sugar.  The tale of the daiquiri gets a little lost through time as many a recipe is published and the tale twisted.  This much is for sure, Ernest Hemingway loved to drink daiquiris and he loved to drink them at the El Florida Bar in Havana, Cuba.


Let me begin…..

Stepping off the plane in Cuba is the exact moment you feel that you have arrived somewhere magical, lost and full of stories.  As the humid wet air fills your lungs and the rundown architecture captures your attention you suddenly relies your initial thought was not far off.  Old American cars slowly drift by offering you a tour of the city as street hustlers try and sell you anything from their portable curb side stores.  There is always music being played around the next corner and the sweet smell of cigars fill the air all of which make you want to rest your feet and literally watch the world go by.

It didn’t take me long to find the place that so many travel to in search of one of the most famous cocktails around.  El Floridita has the charm and charisma of what you would expect with the busy hustle and loud chatter of locals and tourists filling the main room, a brass statue in the corner leaning against the bar of Mr. Hemingway brings the experience to life.  As I wait anxiously for my drink to arrive I scan the room watching the enjoyment of people’s faces as they sip there half frozen daiquiri  through a bright pink straw, when mine arrives it is the final piece of the puzzle to this adventure and it fits perfectly!




2 oz. white rum
1 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup (1:1)
Ice cubes
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: cocktail


Shake ingredients and strain into a chilled glass.


Posted by on Nov 19, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Sights & Sounds | Comments Off on THE ESSENCE OF CHILL

Art of Subee 5 (1280x853)

Photos and Article by: Brittany Bjorndal.

If you’re looking for a chill evening in an eccentric setting surrounding by conversation inducing works of art, Subeez in Vancouver is the place to be.  Find a good spot and once your settled in, the creativity of the art makes its way into your red glass of wine.


When you begin to take a minute to wonder at the paintings, it’s like walking into a soothing surrealist mind trip as you begin to decipher and appreciate an array of art that hints to cubism with a Picasso-esque edge.  Specifically, the paintings by Renato Simoes could perhaps be described as finely calculated portrayals of the chaos of emotions, cast into everyday characters.  A distorted face, for example, edges of it chipped into the time of the piece, becomes alive as the onlooker perhaps puts the pieces back together in their own minds. Some pieces such as “Scarf 1” and “Rebirth” from Renato Simoes will undoubtedly leave you questioning perception itself.  An engineer, Simoes uses his training in his art, creating a nonchalant cubist feel to his art.


What proved to further suspend attention was the ever creative “iron” piece, which held irons hanging from a metal bar, each one at their own height, each holding their own weight, and each as distinct as its equal other.  With the plugs molded into their wired routes, only the top iron held distinction, seemingly desiring to be all it could be, simply, an iron.  Maybe the piece was mocking our own obsession with perfection, or maybe it was simply respect for such the invention, besides who doesn’t love an ironed shirt?


The décor of Subeez itself becomes a piece of art, yet tastefully every piece has its place.  Statues of melted and cooled candle wax, which have been steadily formed for 18 years, create a romantic atmosphere.  The infamous “blue man” and the candles, the bathrooms themselves filled with tiled art of mermaids and a seemingly underwater world, all create a distinct “culture of Subeez,” as the owner Ali Beach quotes, escaping the corporate world outside the doors.


The art at Subeez does continually change, featuring new artists from Canada and other parts of the world on a regular basis, keeping it fresh and welcoming to its guests.


Not only is the art visually stimulating, but also the food is guaranteed to be fresh and organic.  The team of servers and bartenders carry sincere smiles and their own artistic styles, adding to the overall experience of Subeez.


Spin all that up with a slick D.J, and you’re in for a subtle art show that will leave you with inspiration in more than just your palette.


Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in Contributors, Highlighted Features, Liquids & Solids | Comments Off on THE WORLD FAMOUS JAMES FAMILY CARROT CAKE RECIPE!

oh dear god yes








Usually you get a recipe like this from Mom or Grandma, but this one is SO good, they copied it from me!


– CDJ –


Carrot Cake:

1 1/3 cup brown sugar
¾ cup canola or sunflower oil
4 eggs
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ginger
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp nutmeg
4 cups grated carrots
1 cup raisins (washed and plumped)

Maple Frosting:

1 cup cream cheese
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup butter
¾ cup icing sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Cake Directions:

– Using electric mixer beat together sugar, oil and eggs until well blended.

– Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then stir into egg mixture until blended.

– Stir in carrots and raisins.

– Pour batter into a greased Bundt pan.

– Bake at 350 for 65 to 70 minutes.

– Cool in pan on a rack.

Icing Directions:

– Using electric mixer beat together cream cheese and butter until fluffy.

– Beat in icing sugar.

– Add syrup and vanilla and beat until blended.

– Spread frosting evenly.


Posted by on Nov 13, 2013 in Contributors, Health & Wealth, Highlighted Features | Comments Off on TOUGH MUDDER FUDDER



Written by: Scott Hurst.


I am barely holding on.  My grip is starting to slip and to make matters worse my fingertips feel like sandpaper from all of the mud and dirt that has now dried and started to crack.  It is taking every last bit of strength just to keep myself from slipping… and then I fall.


Tough Mudder is not for everyone, yet I keep finding myself craving the punishment.  Billed as “Probably the Toughest Event on the Planet”, it is paradise for ‘weekend warriors’ and I seem to fit that description all too perfectly.  For a man who wears a suit and tie and sometimes makeup at work, I am more than happy to trade in the loafers for sneakers and test my toughness. 


At the start of the 17-kilometre obstacle course you feel like a minnow that is about to swim through a gauntlet of sharks.  What lies ahead is a buffet of mud pits, barbed wire, cages, walls and electrified probes.  You have to find a way to go over them, under them and sometimes straight through them. 


It seems daunting but this is not a race, it is an accomplishment.  Teamwork is more important than time and helping your fellow “mudder” is strongly encouraged.


Speaking of team, my band of misfits is an eclectic bunch.  There are two of us, my buddy and I, who thought at one point in our lives we were going to be pro athletes but it never panned out. There are also three young mothers and a grandfather in his sixties.  There is no doubt we’re all different, but we are in this together.  When you are face down in the mud, centimetres away from barbed wire, there is nothing more comforting than the helping hand of a teammate ready to pull you through.


So, if there are no winners why do hundreds of thousands of “mudders” from all across the world flock to this event every year, like a pilgrimage of pain? You’ll have to find that out for yourself, but it will likely become clear when you wipe mud from your eyes using the last piece of clean material on your shirt and you see people of all shapes and sizes helping each other… just finish.  Oh, I almost forgot, at the finish line there is an army of volunteers ready to crown you with a bright orange headband and hand you a well-deserved beer!


And then I fall… but I pop back up from the freezing cold water and realize I was just one rung away from finishing an obstacle that took every bit of upper body strength I could muster.  I am mad, yet pleased.  This is the second time I am taking part in the obstacle course and I did a lot better than I did the first time.  But I am not satisfied; I know I can do better.


The Tough Mudder returns to B.C. next June.  Are you tough enough?