Montreal – 2016 F1 Canadian Grand Prix

The Canadian Grand Prix is a bucket list item that I have now checked off. The 7th race of the 21 race 2016 Formula 1 calendar took place from June 10th to 13th on Isle Notre Dame at the Circuit Gilles Villineuve. My dad and I took in all three days of racing in varying amounts with Sunday being our longest day at the track. In our off track time we tried to explore as much of Montreal as possible on foot.

Turn 8 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

The race itself was as enjoyable as I’d hoped. Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes took the top spot after a race long battle with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. My favourite driver and team, Jenson Button and McLaren Honda, didn’t make it to the end suffering an engine failure bu the MP4-31 looks and sounds great.

The Biosphere from Expo ’67

Getting to the track was a breeze on the Metro. We stayed a few blocks from Berri-UQAM, the central Metro station. From there it’s a short one stop trip under the river to Jean Drapeau Station and a short walk to the track. We bought 3 day Metro passes for $18 and had little trouble navigating the system.

Mural Festival

There are free festivals that coincide with the GP weekend. Mural Festival, a massive street festival on Saint-Laurent Boulevard, and Francofolies, a 6 stage music festival centered around the Place Des Arts along Rue Sainte-Catherine. They’d be reason enough to visit Montreal on their own let alone the Grand Prix.

Old Montreal

Old Montreal was my favourite part of town. The Saint-Sulpice Seminary being the oldest building dating back to 1687 and the Notre-Dame Basilica (1829)… I have no words to describe how beautiful and grand it is. Narrow cobblestone streets lined by old buildings give a European charm to the area. One could be forgiven for thinking they were in Prague or Paris. Restaurants, shops, bars, the area has a great vibe and was in full swing over the race weekend. Make sure to check out the Old Port of Montreal while you’re in the area.

The Old Port of Montreal

There are 2 places you simply have to go if you want an authentic, old school Montreal meal. First is Schwartz’s Deli, the quintessential spot for Montreal Smoked Meat and Poutine. It’s been serving the hits at 3895 Saint-Laurent Boulevard since 1928. Be prepared to line up and wait, which is totally worth it.

The second place is Bar-B-Barn, a chicken and rib joint that has been frozen in time since 1967. Dark wood, dim lighting, amazing ribs and chicken, and all the nostalgia you can handle. Come hungry or be prepared to leave with a doggy bag.

Bar B Barn

Street art, both visual and performance, are everywhere in Montreal. Epic murals, street performers, musicians. Buskers in Metro stations have dedicated spots and seemed to be doing quite well playing for the massive GP crowds that swept through the stations daily.

A few tips. Try to speak French, even if you’re terrible. Everyone we dealt with, minus our airport bus driver, spoke fluent English but we noticed a marked improvement in service if we attempted to speak French. A simple Bonjour or Merci will get you a long way. That being said, service in Montreal was disappointing on all fronts. It was a busy weekend but I was surprised that things took as long as they did in restaurants and bars, some not full at all.

Learn the Montreal Metro system before you go. It uses a tap system similar to a lot of major transit systems but only requires you to tap in, not out. Learn where the stations are, where you can get to, look up the 747 Airport Bus, a cheap and decent way to get from Trudeau Airport to Downtown Montreal.

Montreal is a wonderful place that I am anxious to return to. So much history, so much culture, so much potential. I’ve only scratched the surface and I can’t wait to return.

Thanks to my wife Lyndsey for arranging the Grand Prix tickets and my dad for arranging our flights. All photos in this post (minus the food photos) we taking using Fujifilm X series cameras and lenses. Thanks to Fujifilm for their continued support (they let me borrow stuff, it’s awesome).

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Piha Beach With Oh Yeah! Tours – WFLNZ

Tours… They usually suck. Hop on/hop off bus tours suck. Tours with meals included suck. Tours run by cruise ship companies suck. You end up paying a highly inflated price for something locals usually do for very little money (or no money at all). I was hesitant to book any tours in New Zealand, but I was also hesitant to drive on the other side of the road. Enter Oh Yeah! Tours.

Kare Kare waterfall
Kare Kare waterfall

I had seen pictures of Piha Beach during my pre trip planning and I had to go there. The only problem was public transportation couldn’t get me there, a taxi would’ve been $$$$$$, and the whole driving on the left thing. I found Oh Yeah! Tours through a quick Google search. $55 NZD for a half day tour from Auckland’s Central Business District (CBD) to Piha and back with stops at Kare Kare waterfall, the north side of Piha Beach, optional drop off at the Kite Kite track to Kite Kite waterfall, then a few hours to explore Piha Beach on your own.

Kite Kite waterfall. A 30 minute hike on the Hillary Trail through a gorgeous forest. Totally worth the sweat.
Kite Kite waterfall. A 30 minute hike on the Hillary Trail through a gorgeous forest. Totally worth the sweat.

The day of my tour was rainy and windy. A couple of hours before my pickup time I received a text from Oh Yeah that advised me the weather in Piha was even worse than the weather in Auckland. They asked if I wanted to delay my tour until the next day which I did. WFLBC travel tip, unlock your smartphone and get a local SIM card when you travel. It makes life a lot easier abroad.

The black sands of Piha Beach
The black sands of Piha Beach

The next day Oh Yeah! picked me up on time in a spot that worked for me. They’ll pick you up at your hotel anywhere in the CBD. The bus was full that day so I was picked up by a guy in a Prius and there was no one else with us. A private tour? Nice! My guide was from Chile but had lived in New Zealand for 10 years. He was friendly, easy to talk to, very knowledgeable, a fantastic tour guide.

Taitomo Island from Tasman Lookout.
Taitomo Island from Tasman Lookout.

After seeing both waterfalls, checking out Tasman Lookout, Lion Rock, taking a ton of photos, dipping my toes in the Tasman Sea, and grabbing Lunch at Adey’s Place it was time to head back. My guide arrived on time in the place we had agreed upon. On the drive out we had chatted about beer and when I hopped in the car there was a cold Tui IPA waiting for me. Best tour ever? I know that my experience isn’t typical and most people won’t get the kind of personalised service I did. That being said Oh Yeah! went out of their way to make sure I was looked after following a weather cancellation. I can’t say enough good things about the service.

Crashing waves with Lion Rock in the distance
Crashing waves with Lion Rock in the distance

Oy Yeah! offers tours to some must see locations on the North Island as well as tours in Bali if you’re headed that way. I highly recommend Oy Yeah! Tours, so much so that I wrote my very first Tripadvisor review about them. Piha is a must see location and Oh Yeah! Tours is a great way to see it.

You can do Piha surfing tours too
You can do Piha surfing tours too

Twitter – @ohyeahtours

Instagram – ohyeahtours

Facebook – Oh Yeah Tours New Zealand

Web –


Where I Ate In Auckland – Part Three – WFLNZ

The third an final instalment of “Where I Ate In Auckland” will be as hipster as beard glitter. Actually it won’t but that beard glitter stuff is making me consider shaving. I’ve already told you about Dogmatic and Federal Delicatessen which might as well be wearing a denim vest with patches sewn on. Let’s find some more hipster hot spots.

Brothers Juke Joint BBQ

I didn’t expect to find real southern BBQ in New Zealand. Juke Joint is located in Auckland’s Mount Eden neighbourhood a few blocks from the actual Mount Eden. It’s also super close to the train station making it easy to get to from most places around the city. The pulled pork sandwich and tater tots could’ve been right out of South Carolina. The mustard based sauce was fantastic and the pork was on par with anything I’ve had back home. I also tried their other meats, brisket, chicken, ribs, mutton, all solid. The mutton was incredible. Add the fact that Juke Joint is attached to Brother’s Brewery and I’m surprised I ever left.

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Pulled Pork Sandwich

Best Ugly Bagels

Located in the City Works Depot in Auckland, Best Ugly Bagels is another spot operated by Al Brown (of Federal Delicatessen and Depot Eatery). Montreal style bagels and damn good coffee, that’s what Best Ugly does. I had the Yodi, pastrami, habanero mustard, grilled swiss, and a pickle. bagel perfection.


The Yodi.
The Yodi.

Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar

Depot Eatery is known for oysters and wine so of course I went there for breakfast. A simple breakfast sandwich with eggs and bacon on a grilled bun and another outstanding cup of coffee.

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Mexico Food and Liquor

With 7 locations around Auckland and beyond I was expecting a chain restaurant feel at Mexico Food and Liquor. It didn’t turn out that way though. The Takapuna location, in North Shore City across Waitemata Harbour from downtown Auckland, felt like an independant Tex Mex place. It’s a tapas style spot with smaller share plates. I shared with myself. I had Mexican Fried Chicken, with Central American/Tex Mex spices in the seasoned batter. It was boneless but it was still good (fried chicken should have bones though…).

Mmmmmm chicken.
Mmmmmm chicken.

The Black Bean and Smokey Bacon dip came with plantain chips. I wish more places here did that, tortilla chips are boring. There was also some cumin, orange, and queso to and some flair. A solid recommendation from the staff.

Black Bean Dip
Black Bean Dip

Last was the daily taco special. A fish taco! Chimichuri stewed fish (Hoki I think?), muscles, bacon, lettuce, mayo, and pickled green tomatoes. A very nice fish taco, good enough for me to order another.


Auckland’s food scene has something for everyone, even hipsters. Just don’t order sushi, anywhere, ever. It’s absolutely terrible.




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 -
Piha Beach. Photo credit –

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
Cathedral Cove. Photo credit

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.


New Zealand, here I come.

Today is the 5 year anniversary of this blog, I honestly had no idea until I fired up the Chromebook to write this post. 5 years ago my micro preemie daughter had just come home from the hospital and now she’s a few months from kindergarten and I’m planning a trip to New Zealand. Time flies.

I don’t know what it is about New Zealand that intrigues me. I’m not a Lord Of The Rings guy or an Extreme Sports fan, probably the 2 most common reasons to visit. I’m also not very interested in the South Island, everyone says it looks exactly like BC and I live here so… North Island only for me. My flights and hotels are booked, I’ll give you a quick rundown of my journey.

Photo - Tourism New Zealand
Auckland Skyline. Photo – Tourism New Zealand

I’m flying to Auckland from YVR with a quick stop in San Francisco. 16+ hours including the stopover. I leave Vancouver early Saturday afternoon and arrive in Auckland just before 6am on Monday. Time zones are crazy. I’m there in mid November which is late Spring and the weather is pretty similar to Vancouver. I’ll be staying 9 nights at The Albion of Auckland, a 4 story walk up built in 1873. It’s cheap, the location is awesome, and it sounds like it’s a little rough around the edges, which suits me just fine.

Silo Park. Photo -
Silo Park. Photo –
Mount Eden. Photo - Wikipedia
Mount Eden. Photo – Wikipedia
Silo Park, a section of reclaimed industrial waterfront, and Mount Eden are 2 places that I plan to photograph. Photographic opportunities seem to be everywhere you look in Auckland, I’m excited to hit the streets, meet some people, and burn through some megapixels.

Downtown Wellington - Photo - Andy Radka
Downtown Wellington – Photo – Andy Radka
I’ll be flying to Wellington, which is at the south end of the North Island, for 3 nights. A return flight with a carry-on AND a checked bag was just over $200CAD. I’m staying at The Setup On Manners, a hotel that used to be an office building. It too is cheap, located right downtown, and looks pretty cool. I’m too old for hostels, but if you’re into it they are plentiful and very affordable in Wellington as well as Auckland. I’m planning to take in a soccer game while I’m in New Zealand, I’m even bringing my Whitecaps kit and a Southsiders scarf. I haven’t decided if it’ll be Auckland City FC or Wellington Phoenix.

Takapuna Beach. Photo -
Takapuna Beach. Photo –
I fly back to Auckland for 1 night before I head back to Vancouver. I decided to spoil myself a little so I booked 4.5 star hotel in Takapuna, a swanky suburb of North Shore City which sits just north of Auckland. The Spencer On Byron Hotel is one of the tallest buildings in Takapuna and has some great views. Fun Fact, Shania Twain’s “When You Kiss Me” video was filmed on Takapuna Beach. Thanks Wikipedia! My flight home is non-stop. I leave at 8pm on a Sunday and arrive at lunchtime on the same Sunday in Vancouver. It’s time travel, pretty much.

There are a ton of craft breweries in New Zealand, a country known for its beautiful hop varieties. I’ll be using the Beer Tourist New Zealand interactive maps a lot.

Have any tips? Let me know on Twitter or Instagram @wflbc or you can email me at

Five and a half months until I take off, I can’t wait to share my journey with you!


The Old Spaghetti Factory, A Culinary Dinosaur.

It’s been years since I’ve eaten at The Old Spaghetti Factory (OSF for short, I’m lazy and that’s a long name…). I remember fresh sour dough bread, reasonably good American/Italian pasta dishes, and spumoni (Italian ice cream). Hayley and I had dinner at the OSF in Richmond during a recent “Awesome Dads” outing with my pal Allan and his daughter. The place was packed and there was a 30-40 minute wait for a table. Thankfully there’s a bowling alley next door with an arcade so the wait passed quickly.

"Bacon" Caesar
“Bacon” Caesar

Once seated we received our ubiquitous loaf of sour dough bread that comes with regular and garlic whipped butter. The only problem I found with the sour dough bread was that it was not sour dough… When did this happen?! It’s a loaf of white bread, not particularly fresh either. That’s fairly disappointing. I ordered a Bacon Caesar from their drink menu. Where do I start. The bacon garnish was of the “McCain Readycrisp” variety and had been sitting out a LONG time. It was pale, floppy, and disgusting. My straw kept getting clogged by something which, after some digging, turned out to be artificial bacon bits. Seriously, just a bunch of soy based crunchy garbage added to a drink for flavour? No thanks.

Caesar Salad
Caesar Salad

Next up was an appetizer sized Caesar Salad. Other than a few bits of brown Romaine the salad was ok. Store bought croutons, dressing not dissimilar to The Keg’s Caesar dressing you can buy at a grocery store. To be honest this is what most people would bring to a pot-luck/picnic.

Spaghetti with spicy meat sauce
Spaghetti with spicy meat sauce

My entrée was Spaghetti with Spicy Meat Sauce. You would think that having a restaurant with the word Spaghetti in the name would mean they would know how to cook spaghetti. You would be wrong. Mark, aka @TheLowerCrust on Twitter, provided that insight for me and added this gem when I asked my followers what they thought of OSF and their pasta;

The noodles seem like they were made days ago and reheated. The sauce is ok, slightly oily and not much spice for “spicy meat sauce”. The random parsley is almost pointless and looks as if it was put there by mistake.

For dessert I had spumoni that tasted like ice cream.

There you have it. No entrées over $13 might be the only thing that would get me to recommend this place. I apologise in advance to all of the tourists who end up at the OSF in Gastown because they don’t know any better. It’s not your fault.

Twitter – @OSFCanada

Facebook – Old Spaghetti Factory Canada

World Wide Web –


Local 360 – WFLBC in Seattle

Finding great restaurants is one of my favourite things about travelling. A few weeks before I went to Seattle I asked my Twitter followers for some restaurant recommendations in Seattle. The awesome bearded dudes at Hired Guns Creative recommended Local 360 in Belltown, a few blocks from my hotel.


Local 360, 1st and Bell.
Local 360, 1st and Bell.

An Emerson quote on their sandwich board? I approve. Local 360 uses locally sourced ingredients found within 360 miles of Seattle whenever possible. Their website has a sourcing page that outlines their philosophy. So, is the food any good?

Fried chicken* Bacon mousse chicken roulade, cheesy grits, collard greens, sunny-side up egg
Fried chicken*
Bacon mousse chicken roulade, cheesy grits, collard greens, sunny-side up egg

The “Fried Chicken” is actually a roulade made with chicken and bacon mousse. The chicken is tender and juicy, the seasoning of the batter is awesome, We don’t see a lot of collard greens or grits in Canada but they’re both great. The egg was a little over cooked but the yolk was still runny. All in all a tasty dish.

Butcher's grind house burger.
Butcher’s grind house burger.

The Butcher’s Grind House Burger was the Hired Guns recommended dish and it didn’t disappoint. I ordered it medium with bacon and cheese (obviously). The patty was delicious, you could really taste and feel how fresh the beef was. It was seasoned perfectly and came on a fresh bun with the usual burger accoutrements,  lettuce, tomato, onion, etc. I’d put this burger in my all time top 3. The fries are good too, hand cut and nicely salted.

If you find yourself in Seattle and want a good meal you can feel good about eating check out Local 360.

Web –

Twitter – @Local360Seattle

Facebook – Local 360 Seattle



Vancouver and Victoria circa 1935 – A short film from MGM

This eight and a half minute glance into our past is amazing. Thanks so much to Don Elliott (@RealDonElliott) for sharing it on Twitter.

I hope you enjoy it as much as  do. The Empress, the Provincial Legislature and the Marine Building are all fantastic landmarks to compare to our time. The world has changed a lot in 78 years but it’s nice to see some familiar places.



1 night in Whistler, a WFLBC guide!

Let’s start by saying there will be no skiing in this guide, no snowboarding either  This is a guide for those who love Whistler for everything it has to offer that doesn’t require strapping things to your feet and trying to avoid doing a Sonny Bono impression. This is for people who like good food and drinks with great people in an awesome setting.

If you’re like me you’ll most likely want to head up early to avoid traffic. Leaving early means you arrive in Whistler for early check in at your hotel which frees you up for lunch! Staying in the Village is recommended, the Upper Village is ok too but for me Creekside is too far away from the action. Hotel choices are very personal but you can’t go wrong with the high end chains in Whistler. The Four Seasons, the Pan Pacific, the Westin and the Fairmont are all REALLY nice but very expensive. Keep in mind it’s just one night and ask if there’s a corporate discount attached to the company you work for. I do it everywhere and it saves lots of $$’s. There are some more affordable hotels in the Village, the Aava, the Pinnacle, the Delta ect. They’re all very adequate and the corporate discount usually works as well.

5 Rings IPA
5 Rings IPA

So, you’re all checked in, you’re enjoying the snow covered mountain views and you start to think about lunch. Whistler is all about walking around which is great. Leave your car parked until tomorrow and hit the Village on foot! First stop, The Whistler Brewhouse! The Brewhouse is a Mark James Group restaurant so anyone from Vancouver who’s familiar with Yaletown Brewing Co, Big Ridge Brewing Co or The Flying Beaver will feel right at home here. The menu is casual and the restaurant side accommodates families and has a kids menu. Try their award winning 5 Rings IPA! The Brewhouse is located right next to the Whistler Olympic Plaza in the Village.

Assuming you don’t end up spending hours at the Brewhouse you’ll probably have time for a nice walk around the village. There are lots of cool little shops all over Whistler but one of the most unique and my personal favourite is Rocks and Gems Canada. Filled with fossils, gemstones and all kinds of custom jewellery  there’s something for everyone. I’m trying to figure out  how to convince Lyndsey that I need a $10,000 fossilized Cave Bear skull.

Charcuterie plate
Charcuterie plate

Dinner time in Whistler always brings me to one place. Whether I’m there for a day, a week or a month Alta Bistro is always my first choice. Located under the Pinnacle Hotel, Alta Bistro serves up modern French bistro cuisine focused on locally sourced sustainable dishes, hand crafted cocktails, an impressive list of fine spirits and craft beer and a world class wine list featuring Whistler’s first Enomatic machine. I put Alta Bistro in my top 5 restaurants, anywhere at any budget. This year I was lucky enough to return to judge their second annual cocktail competition, this time as part of the Cornucopia Festival, Alta’s own Scot Curry walked away with the title beating some of Vancouver and Whistler’s finest cocktail technicians. The value to quality ratio of Alta’s food is not found anywhere else in Whistler with 3 course menus starting at the same price of one entrée in most comparable Whistler eateries. If they still have the pork and pickled veal tongue terrine when you visit I highly recommend it. Reservations are accepted and encouraged.

Pork and pickled veal tongue terrine.
Pork and pickled veal tongue terrine.

So by now you’re probably ready for bed. If you’re a reader of this blog I would hope that you’d be quite intoxicated by this point. Wander back to your hotel, try to avoid the main entrance as it’s always embarrassing when you fall over in front of the late night desk staff. Get a good night of shut eye, you deserve it. When you wake up you’re probably going to need a good breakfast. My favourite spot is Wildwood Bistro. Located alongside the Whistler Tennis Club, Wildwood has won “Whistler’s Best Breakfast” every year since 2002. The Benny’s are amazing and the prices are what you’d expect to pay at a big breakfast chain in the city.

I usually spend some time walking the Village before heading home but if you’re looking for something unique and have some disposable income grab a gondola ticket and head up the mountain. The views are gorgeous no matter the season and you can take a ride in the Peak to Peak gondola. Try and get one with a glass floor, it’s fun to watch people freak out that didn’t know it was there before they got in.

On your way back to the city you HAVE to stop in at the Campfire Grill in Squamish. They’ve moved from their super cool but very seasonal outdoor location to a real restaurant space in downtown Squamish. They are open for breakfast but you’ll probably roll through town around lunch time. Their potato salad is insanely good and their slow smoked meats are fantastic. They don’t follow a traditional style of southern BBQ which I love, it gives them the freedom to do whatever tastes good.

Whistler is a world class resort and it’s right in our backyard. If you haven’t been there in awhile I recommend you make some time, even if it’s just one night!




Steveston Photo Walk and lunch at Hogshack Cookhouse

Steveston, home of the worlds tamest Seagulls…

Steveston is a beautiful little corner of Richmond, tucked right along side the Pacific Ocean it is still an active fishing community as well as a popular tourist destination. Home to beautiful parks, a national historic site (The Gulf Of Georgia Cannery), a bustling fisherman’s wharf where you can buy fresh seafood right off the fishing boats and many shops and restaurants all within a very walkable old fashioned town centre.

Hog Shack Cook House

I had lunch at Hog Shack Cook House, a southern BBQ joint and one of my favourite restaurants in Greater Vancouver. Chef/Co-owner John and Co-owner Alan are great guys with a serious knack for making your restaurant visit a great one. I usually order the Smoke Lover’s Combo, So good. Hog Shack also has a terrific craft beer selection.

Smoke Lover;s Combo, Pulled Pork, Brisket coleslaw and fries, Mmmm!

After our tasty lunch Hayley an I went for a walk around this pretty ocean side village and snapped some photos, enjoy!