30 days until I take off for New Zealand

The countdown officially begins today. WFLNZ starts in 1 month with a flight to San Francisco and a short layover before heading for Auckland. I’ve had some interesting responses from people regarding this trip. A lot (and I mean A LOT) of men have asked me how I’m able to go on a trip like this without my family. Well that’s an easy one to answer, it’s because we don’t control each other. There will be lots of trips with the family in years to come. Hayley and I travel around BC a bit now and the three of us have been away a few times. We’re thinking of going to Europe in the spring, who knows. Besides, Lyndsey’s been to Bali without me so I guess I’m due for an adventure of my own.

This is pretty much how I envision my trip,

This is pretty much how I envision my trip, except bigger beer glasses. 

I have switched up my camera gear a bit from the post I wrote about going mirrorless for travel. I traded my Fujifilm X-E1 for a Fujifilm X-T10 which is the latest X series camera and I am pretty darn happy about it. It’s fast, compact, produces fantastic images, and it looks pretty sexy. The rest of my set-up is the same, X-A1 body as a spare, kit lens, 35mm prime lens, and 50-230mm zoom, iPad Mini Retina, Samsung Chromebook, and an LG G4. Everything is small, light, and very handy for social media and blogging on the road.

Piha Beach. Photo credit - lastminute.com

Piha Beach. Photo credit – lastminute.com

I’ll be checking out the transit system in Auckland. The ATHop card looks similar to Translink’s Compass card system. Yes, you have to tap on AND off buses there too. I’m a little apprehensive about renting a car but I want to get out of the city a bit if I can. We’ll see how I feel about it when I get there. If I rent a car I can see things like Cathedral Cove and Piha Beach. I’m only in Wellington for 3 days so I’ll most likely be staying pretty central.

Cathedral Cove. Photo credit amazingplacesonearth.com

Cathedral Cove. Photo credit amazingplacesonearth.com

I have a busy little October to get to before I go though. A couple of Whitecaps games, Swinefest at The Hog Shack, Brett Taylor’s Koi 2.0 art show, Monster Ball for Surrey Hospital at Big Ridge Brewing, Hey Rosetta and Yukon Blonde at The Vogue the night before I leave… Not to mention soccer with Hayley, work, life etc. I’ll suffer through.

1 month, I can almost feel it.


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Monster Ball For Surrey Memorial at Big Ridge Brewing

It’s time for a fundraiser! The Surrey Hospital and Outpatient Centre Foundation is building a kids mental health unit and they need our support. Join us at Big Ridge Brewing in Surrey on Thursday October 29th for a Halloween themed Monster Ball!


There will be casks from Big Ridge, Central City Brewing, and Russell Brewing with proceeds going to the SH&OC Foundation. There will also be a 50/50 draw and a prize for best costume so break out your costume A-game. Casks will be tapped at 6pm sharp.

Surrey needs a kids mental health unit, and it needs it as soon as possible. Come out, have some tasty beers, build up some karma points, and make a difference.

Here’s a link to the Facebook event page, invite all of your friends!


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Hops, Hops, So Many Hops. Cellared Sartori and BC Hop Fest.

It’s fresh hop season, the time of year when beer enthusiasts clamour to get their sweaty hands on the latest limited release from a bunch of local breweries. It’s also the time of year when local hop farms are cleaning up after the harvest. I love hop season, it’s where I do my best trolling on Twitter. This year I’ve decided to use my powers for good though, sorry.

The experiment.

The experiment.

There are some wonderful fresh hop beers hitting the shelves of your favourite local beer shop this week. Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest is the King and it’s already sold out except for a couple of kegs here and there. Some of you might remember last year when I accidentally aged a bottle of Satori (I forgot about it in the back of my beer fridge). Turns out it wasn’t half bad when I drank it and that inspired fellow beer enthusiast Andrew, aka @silversurfs, to do a little experiment with a few bottles of last year’s Sartori. BLASPHEMY! Calm down everyone, it’s just beer and science is cool.

Sartori with a hop RIGHT IN THE GLASS.

Sartori with a hop RIGHT IN THE GLASS.

3 bottles, one left in the fridge for a year, one left in the cupboard, and one properly cellared. The cellared bottle was the clear winner, it was actually quite good. The hops had obviously mellowed but we were all surprised how well it stood up to cellaring. The bottle from the fridge had the best hop preservation but it wasn’t as balanced. The bottle from the cupboard… let’s say you tried to hide a bottle from your thieving roommate so you stuck it behind a mason jar full of organic quinoa and somehow forgot it was there. Fear not forgetful hippie, your beer is still drinkable! It’s the worst of the bunch but ya, you can drink it. Should you cellar a fresh hopped beer? Only if you want people to call you mean things on social media.

All the hops.

All the hops.

That brings us to the inaugural BC Hop Fest, held at the BC Hop Company‘s farm in Abbotsford, 15 breweries all pouring fresh hopped beer, some already in stores, some hitting the shelves this week, and some that you can’t get anywhere else. Great location, solid entertainment, well run with tons of helpful volunteers, for a first effort it was impressive. They could’ve used more portable toilets but that’s a pretty common issue for first year beer festivals.

BC Hop Fest

BC Hop Fest

There it is, fresh hops rule. I’ll end this with my usual “Sartori is a bit overrated” statement. It’s good, but there are other fresh hop releases that deserve to be lusted after as much as if not more than the golden child. Get some Hoyne Wolf Vine, some Philip’s Green Reaper, or really anything that says wet hop or fresh hop on the label.



Thanks to Andrew for inviting me to the Great Sartori Experiment of 2015 and thanks to Donna and the BC Hop Fest for having me as their guest. Good times were had by all.

Work work work...

Work work work…


BC Hop Fest Is Coming To The Fraser Valley


There’s a nice little beer festival coming to Abbotsford. BC Hop Fest takes place on October 3rd at Kinloch Farms. Here’s the press release;

“The inaugural BC Hop Fest is Canada’s FIRST Fresh Beer Festival and will be held October 3, 2015 on the fertile Sumas Prairie where sun, water, and gentle breezes contribute to one of the best hops growing environments in the Pacific Northwest. Join us as we celebrate the hop harvest, the resurgence of BC’s hop growing industry and fresh hopped beer produced by over 15 spectacular BC craft breweries. Fresh beer tastings, hop farm tours, food trucks, entertainment, and main stage presentations highlighting “all the things you can do with hops” will provide a fun filled afternoon to start off Craft Beer Month in British Columbia.”

Tickets are $25 and you can purchase them here.

The hop growing industry in BC is expanding and this event will be a great showcase for local hops and local brewmasters alike.

For more info visit BCHopFest.ca

I hope to see you there!


What World Photography Day Means To Me

A couple of people tagged me in a Facebook post because it was apparently World Photography Day. I had no idea but there’s a “day” for everything so it makes sense. Socks and Sandals Day is April 21st, mark your calendars. Being tagged in those posts made me think about photography and what it means to me. Turns out it means a lot.

My kid is my favourite subject

My kid is my favourite subject

I’ve become the person who always has a camera with them . Not a smartphone, a REAL CAMERA. My smartphone has an amazing camera for a phone but it can’t come close to the image quality of a proper camera. This has made it possible to capture wonderful moments with my daughter as she grows and learns. She even has her own camera and we go on photography adventures together.

This is a family heirloom. I spend a lot of time letting it teach me how to shoot.

This is a family heirloom. I spend a lot of time letting it teach me how to shoot

Photography has given me a chance to reconnect with my Grandpa who I lost when I was a teenager. The Pentax SP1000 pictured above was his and I’ve recently restored it using a parts camera a found on a local auction site. Shooting with film teaches me how to use light in a way digital just figures out for you. Using those skills with a digital camera has made me a better photographer.

I love long exposure photography

I love long exposure photography

Long exposure photography is awesome. You’re capturing light over a long period of time creating dramatic photographs. You can use long exposure to capture light streaks, light painting/writing, stellar photography. It’s given me somewhere to be at night that isn’t a bar.

Street photography, balancing art and not getting punched in the face

Street photography, balancing art and not getting punched in the face

Street photography can be a little intimidating but it’s given me a reason to get off the couch and explore the world around me. Not everyone wants their picture taken so it can be tricky. I switch between prime lenses and long zooms depending on what neighbourhood I’m in… You know?

Editing is not my thing but sometimes I make it work

Editing is not my thing but sometimes I make it work

Post processing isn’t my favourite part of photography. My editing (outside of Instagram…) is usually just cropping and straightening. Every now and then I dive into Lightroom to play around and I’ve come out with a few keepers. Overall though I like to take pictures that stand on their own and don’t need hours of work after the fact.

Better than a selfie

Better than a selfie

Portraits are so much cooler than selfies, that’s a fact. The only problem I have with portraits is how critical people are of their own appearance. It makes me turn away a lot of paid work because I don’t like hearing people pick themselves apart over the way they look. You’re hot, I’m hot, let’s take some pictures.

I love film

I love film

I know I’ve already talked about film but it really is a wonderful thing to use. You don’t get to take 300 pictures to get 10 good ones. It forces you to compose better, to be picky about your subject, and to understand the basic functions of a camera. Film cameras are very inexpensive these days because no one likes to do anything themselves anymore. Pick one up and shoot a few rolls of film. It’ll make you a better photographer.


Fuji X-E1

I shoot with Fujifilm X Series cameras for most of my digital work. I was given an X-A1 which got me hooked on this great camera system. I picked up a used X-E1 body at a local camera shop a few months ago and I have 3 X-mount lenses along with some adapters to use some old glass I have. I also have a Pentax DSLR but it’s too big for most things I like to shoot. It’s a great camera though and Pentax uses a lens mount that gives you thousands of options.

Black and white is worth the fight

Black and white is worth the fight

What does World Photography Day mean to me? Well, nothing really. What does Photography mean to me? I’ll try to keep this short. It means I have a hobby that gets me outdoors, a hobby I can share with my family, a hobby that isn’t drinking beer or eating food in the name of “blogging”. It allows me to be creative, to be sensitive, to show the world the things that make my brain tick. Photography has changed the way I look at the world, it has changed the way I interact with people. When I take a picture I am stopping time.

There it is. You may now set your alarms for Socks and Sandals Day 2016.


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ONE20 Public House – Consider Me Impressed

About a month ago I was invited to ONE20 Public House for a brewmaster’s dinner featuring Steel and Oak Brewing. Having never been to ONE20 I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was one of the best beer pairing dinners I’ve ever been to. Fantastic dishes, good pairings, great pacing, and top shelf service. I knew Steel and Oak was a fantastic brewery but the level of the food presented by ONE20 was above every other beer dinner I’ve been to except one. I would put this dinner on par with the now defunct Ensemble Tap and the Beerthirst dinner they put on a few years ago.



But here’s the thing. Beer pairing dinners aren’t usually a good indication of what the bar/restaurant does on a nightly basis. It’s a showcase for the chef and quite often the food is way above what is on the regular menu. So in the interest of accuracy I went back to ONE20 on my own time with my own money to see if reality matched a fantastic one night stand.

Albacore Tuna Tartare with house made BBQ chips

Albacore Tuna Tartare with house made BBQ chips

I started with Albacore Tuna Tartare with house made BBQ chips. The tuna was fresh, light, and properly seasoned. The BBQ chips were great. House made BBQ chips… That’s an easy way to make something simple become something people want to come back for.

Braised shortrib with horseradish mash, grilled scallions, and red wine demi-glace

Braised Shortrib with horseradish mash, grilled scallions, and red wine demi-glace

For my main I had Braised Shortrib with horseradish mash, grilled scallions, and red wine demi-glace. The portion is BIG. The beef was tender, juicy, flavourful, everything you can get out of a relatively low grade cut of meat. Shortrib done properly is magic and this was just right. The mash and scallions paired up well with the beef and the demi-glace tied everything together. This dish wouldn’t be out of place in Yaletown or Coal Harbour for 50% more money and you can get it at a pub on Scott Road in Delta!

The beer list is very good, 15 craft taps, and it’s overseen by Cicerone Ben Treen. Their wine list is extensive and their cocktail menu is equally deep. Executive Chef Ryan Praskey, who arrived at ONE20 in 2014 after stints at Momofuku, Terra, and Ferrovia, has brought a farm to table approach to the menu embracing local producers and fresh ingredients.

One20 Public House is a pretty special place in a sea of suburban mediocrity. You should go check it out for yourself.

I’ve posted a few pictures from the Steel and Oak dinner at the bottom of this post.

Twitter – @120publichouse

Instagram – one20publichouse

Facebook – One20Pub

Interwebz – one20pub.com


Beer dinner - Chicken and smoked hefeweizen consumme, mushroom, chorizo, chicken dumpling, parmesan tuile, herb oil

Beer dinner – Chicken and smoked hefeweizen consumme, mushroom, chorizo, chicken dumpling, parmesan tuile, herb oil

Beer dinner - Red pilsner beer battered Halibut, sauce gribiche,  haystack potatoes

Beer dinner – Red pilsner beer battered Halibut, sauce gribiche, haystack potatoes

Beer dinner - Plated oyster

Beer dinner – Plated oyster

Beer dinner - Fried queso and crispy sausage

Beer dinner – Fried queso and crispy sausage

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Quick Bite – The Sugar Shack in 70 Mile House

Ah 70 Mile House, the gateway to Green Lake and a place you’d probably miss if you blinked while driving through it on Highway 97. 70 Mile House isn’t known for much but that is about to change. There’s a new spot about a mile past the general store that feels like a slice of Quebec in the middle of rural BC. The Sugar Shack has everything your inner Quebecois desires. Tourtière du Lac-St-Jean, Poutine, Montreal Smoked Meat, Maple baked beans, Cretons, Maple syrup, Maple toffee, Maple bacon… They also do some kick-ass breakfasts and make maple sweetened coffee.


I stopped in to check out their smoked meat sandwich and poutine. The poutine is very good. hand cut fries, house made gravy, and real cheese curds. It’s up there with anything you can get in Vancouver and wouldn’t be out of place in Quebec. The smoked meat sandwich was just ok. The meat is very salty and a bit dry.

The maple sweetened coffee and poutine make The Sugar Shack a “must visit” kind of place if you ever find yourself in this picturesque part of BC.

Facebook – The Sugar Shack

World wide web – thesugarshack.sfobc.com


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The Taphouse Guildford. Craft Beer And Good Eats In Surrey

The craft beer scene in Surrey is at an interesting point in its evolution. You can find craft beer at most pubs and restaurants but you’d be lucky to find more than 3 taps and a couple of bottles to choose from. There’s Big Ridge and Central City, both are fantastic but you’re limited to their beers. That’s not a bad thing but it’s always nice to have a little more choice. The Taphouse offers 20+ taps, 12-15 of which are craft with local and non local options. Is there another spot in Surrey with that kind of craft selection? No, not even close, and don’t bring up Hawthorne because that place is terrible.

Hot wings

Hot wings

I’ve been to The Taphouse before but this was the first time I was there to eat. We started out with some classic Hot Wings ($10/pound). Hot but not too hot, nice flavour, good mix of drummies and flatties (ya, I said it). Good stuff.

Brisket beef dip

Brisket beef dip

Sticking with classic pub food I opted for The Beef Dip ($13), slow roasted house smoked brisket on a garlic baguette with light horseradish mayo and a side of jus. The meat was tender, juicy, and full of flavour. The smoke and the horseradish mayo work well together and I may have detected a hint of liquid smoke in the jus but I might be wrong. This is a tasty example of a pub food staple. The fries were good too, fresh cut kosher salted Kennebec potatoes,

Mmmmm brisket

Mmmmm brisket

If you were a Bar Star in the 90’s you already know where The Taphouse is. It lives where The Mirage night club used to take all my money on $1 drink night… 15330 102a Ave in beautiful Guildford.

The only word of caution I have is that a lot of the servers seem new so service can be inconsistent.

Twitter – @taphouse_pub

Facebook – taphouseguildford

Instagram – Not that I can find…

World wide web – thetaphouse.ca


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Mission Kitsilano – Grand Opening

There’s a new restaurant on West 4th. That statement is something that’s probably true on a monthly basis but this one feels a cut above. Mission has moved into the space formerly occupied by the short lived August Jack. The space has been transformed from a dark dungeon-like room into a bright, welcoming environment. Mission also comes with a few well respected names attached to it. Sommelier Chase McLeod and Chef Curtis Luk have teamed up to launch their first restaurant. Chase was formerly the GM at Fable and Curtis has worked as a chef at Fable, Bambudda, and The Parker as well as competing on Top Chef Canada.

Mission Kits - 2042 W 4th

Mission Kits – 2042 W 4th

The menu hits all the right notes. Farm to table, nose to tail, affordably priced prix fixe options along with a la carte dishes and great vegetarian choices.

Chef Curtis Luk

Chef Curtis Luk

Behind the bar you’ll find Justin Darnes, formerly of Pidgin, mixing some fantastic old school cocktails to compliment the finely tuned wine and beer selections.


Justin is the blurry guy in the background…


There’s a lot of talent at Mission and I can’t wait to check out one of their tasting menus in the near future.


The footrest at the bar is a train track… That’s cool.



Twitter – @missionkits

Facebook – Mission Kitsilano

Instagram – @missionkits

Interweb – missionkits.ca



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WFLBC Goes To New Zealand – A Mirrorless Adventure

Ya, I made a logo and a hashtag for my trip...

Ya, I made a logo and a hashtag for my trip…

As most of you know I’m off to New Zealand in November. As a photography enthusiast I’ve been having a hard time deciding what kind of gear I want to bring along. Film was out right away because that’s too much work. It was down to my Pentax DSLRs or my Fujifilm X-series mirrorless cameras. When I really thought about what I wanted to accomplish in New Zealand the choice was easy, mirrorless all the way.

What's in my bag?

What’s in my bag?

My X-series cameras offer the same sensor size and resolution as my DSLRs but take up a lot less space which is a big consideration for air travel. A DSLR body, a prime and a zoom lens take up the same space as 2 mirrorless bodies, a prime, and 2 zooms. That means a smaller camera bag that can be your secondary piece of carry-on baggage. My editing/sharing tools are an iPad mini and a Chromebook. Both are light and compact and if they get lost, stolen, or damaged they’re not worth a ton of money.

The Fujifilm X-series is a fantastic camera platform. My little X-A1 (now replaced by the X-A2), the black camera pictured above, is a perfect starter camera for anyone who wants to get better shots than a smartphone or a point and shoot can produce. My X-E1 (now replaced by the X-E2) is aimed at more advanced shooters with greater manual control and a slick electronic viewfinder. I have 3 X-series lenses. A 35mm prime lens for portraits or street photography, a 16-50mm zoom for wide angle and general shooting, and a 50-230mm zoom for wildlife and telephoto shots.

Most days I’ll just carry the X-E1 with either the 35mm or the 16-50mm on it. I don’t want to pack a bag around unless I think I’ll want more options depending on my destination. I’ll pack a tripod in my checked bag just incase. Taking 2 bodies isn’t 100% necessary but if one body breaks of malfunctions I have a backup.

Mirrorless in New Zealand, That’s what’s for lunch.


Editors note – My flag logo will be out of date soon as New Zealand is currently in the public consultation phase of picking a new flag.

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