Thursday, July 28, 2011

The America of Old Wins Every Time.

This hamburger spot on the highway heading south of Seattle almost brought me to tears. It has happened once before - in Passadena, where the burgers are so old school, so cooked with care, and so little, (and fatty) and complete.  Its the Pick Quick Burger Stop, (since 1949, and fortunately it doesn't look like anything has changed)!
The post to the right has a USA flag on it.  And check out the people at 12pm on a Thursday!

The small box of a kitchen is wo-manned by at least 7 women fliipping da burgers...
 And here is the double cheese, with a fresh strawberry shake on the side (as it is strawberry season and all you know)!  We ate in an immaculate picnic lawn with impatients flowers and the most manicured lawn you've ever seen.
Junk food perfection.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Back in NZ - Digby is learning about snow...

Last Stop - Victoria B.C.

For a first time festival, Victoria had it going on! 

 A nice pitch in front of the Empress Hotel...
 Where we found ourselves having the best high tea eva!
 Royal Dulton China made especially for the Empress Hotel...and nice wooden tables.
 Sweets (Cheesecake set in white chocolate case was my preferred)
 Traditional scones - brilliant!
 The savoury plate included cucumber and horseradish sandwiches, lightly curried chicken sandwiches, an expert salmon pin wheel and a porc terrine.  It was all sublime.  All extra fresh.
 The Parliament buildings in the background of the pretty town on Vancouver Island...
 Aurora Borelis - (camera didn't pick up the faint prism colours coming through). Not usually seen this 'far south' it was a treat. Reminded me of the light in Antarctica.
Victoria is the city of killer whale!
 And it claims it is the most English of Cities outside England. This Royalist was in heaven at this breakfast and tea store.
 Royals everywhere...
And then some sanity looking out to America at the Olympic Mountains.... No where in this country are you far from looking at mountains - be they American or Canadian. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Montreal in Summer...

Montreal was light relief after my first observations of Canada - very clean and polite!  It was gritty, pulsing, slightly arrogant and had kind of latino vibe going on.  Loads of diversity and the craziest dichotomy of Nthn American culture vs staunch French culture.  Think chain stores set aside independent boutiques.  Starbucks set next to independent cafes and bolangeries!  With 35 degrees and 75% humidity, it was an absolute pleasure to experience Montreal in summer...

 An 'urban forest' installation...

 Quite a few 'statements' around on buildings (and parking meters)...
 Mix of French, Scottish and very modern architecture...

 Most of the theatres we visited were off the beaten track in residential streets...
This installation pays hommage to their world class Jazz Festival
Above are the icons of the Just for Laughs Fest...

And  those are the Just for Laugh's festival's horns on their main auditorium, accompanied by a playful park of oddities, music and outdoor theatre..

On ete bien amusee!  (there are supposed to be accents on that sentence...

Montreal Lightening Storm

Yesterday it was 35 degrees in Montreal but with humidity registered over 50 degrees, and it felt like 50.  Crazy, sweaty times.  See the lightening in the cloud.  It was a show that went on for hours, with thunder, yet it never broke.  And today it remains as hot.  We are off to Victroia B.C. (13 degrees)!. More Montreal pics coming...

Monday, July 18, 2011

Niceness at Kingston Buskers Rendezvous

A nice town, a nice small festival, a 40 degree day, and a Town Crier!  Kingston on Lake Ontario was nice. Off to Montreal by train today.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Bear Hunt Continued...

Voila another attempt to find the Grizzly took place just outside of Banff, on a ski field at Lake Louise. It was magnificent.  Dreamy, touristy, wonderful times...

 Stuffed bears, and bear poo (maybe)? was all that we found. 

 Plus the wonderful views, glaciers, and Lake Louise.  Bear hunting candy for the eyes!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Ace Hotel - Portland

Here's a look at the Ace Hotel in Portland - well, mainly our room.  It was as great as everyone said:  great value, simplicity everwhere, the best european breakfast on offer anywhere (including Europe I reckon!), Stumpdown Coffee in the foyer, the city's best restaurant next door, and NYC style delicatesson on the other side.  And it just spoke 'cool' like no other place I've ever stayed.  But no pretension. Nice recipe!
 Heaps of their signs were embroided like this on in the elevator. Even the room evacuations signs are in cloth.
 The room mini bars were spot on: lots of nice and local old school choices - and most things from Oregon.
 The bathroom.
 Our room. No two rooms are the same. Ours had an old dictionary pasted and varnished as wall paper.  We don't think their fit out was hugely expensive. Just clever. And it may have taken some time to collect all the individual 'props' like those suitcases as side table.
Customised Pendleton wool blankets from Oregon of course!  They had a great army canvas thing going on throughout the hotel.  Some great custom furnishings.
 Detail everywhere. These cut outs are on the bannister at each landing. We were Level 3.  2 1/2 was just a landing on the way to 3.  (they still felt the need to sign that).
All in all - the greatest place to have a holiday. Quiet, situated opposite an amazing cinema that had huge individual sofas and chairs, and you could bring your meal in.  Interesting shopping close by - but it wasn't 'down town', bikes to take out...very relaxing to be holidaying without heaps of tourist things to do, in a very livebale city.  Go there.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thought of the day: Tea

With coffee machines and coffee creamer everywhere we stay in North America  - I never realised just how much English- style tea is part of my daily life.  God I miss it.   Bring on a brewed pot!

Native Canada

Culture is not just isolated to crazy cowboy heritage at the Calgary Stampede.