#7 - Old World Bakery – August 7, 2017
$12.81 After tax, before tip
It feels a tad strange goin’ for burgers between 10:30 – 11:00am in the morning. As I am just getting off work though, having started just after 2:00am, I look at it like that is the evening in a time equivalent, so I figure it is OK.
I wasn’t too sure if I was really up for a burger today. I decided to go for it just to kinda get on with things. I did a few quick chores when I got off work, then I was gonna go for a bite. I wasn’t too sure where I wanted to go. I decided I didn’t want to go back into downtown, so I was leaning towards the Old World Bakery. When I was almost there I started thinking about Amanda’s across the bridge. I went with my first instinct.
The Old World Bakery wasn’t a place that was on my radar even a little bit until a friend suggested it. “What the hell, might as well give ‘er a shot,” said the voice in my head.
I had no idea what to expect when I pulled in there. I had never been in there since they moved into the building they’re in across from the Hume School. When I walked inside it started giving me the feeling of one of those seasonal burger stands even though it is a year ‘round place.
I looked at the menu board just to make sure they had burgers as was suggested to me. Sure enough they did. Perfect!
I asked for my usual thing, a burger with bacon, cheese and jalapenos. The girl told me she wasn’t sure if they had jalapenos, but would check, and offered me alternative suggestions if they didn’t. I couldn’t order a ginger ale of any kind as they didn’t have fountain drinks, nor did they have it in a can, so I just got a can of coke. I wasn’t overly psyched on that as it is pretty hard on me. I pretty much reserve cola to have with popcorn at movie theatres.
After I put in my order, she rang me in. The total came to $12.81. Having just spent $21.91 for a burger, fries, and soda two days ago, I was happy about that. The price indicated a different thought of expectation though…café style vs full restaurant. I was OK with that. I just like a good burger.
When I paid for my order I went into the little side room that had more tables and the tunes were the loudest. Right when I walked in Uncle John’s Band came on the stereo. Of course that was the perfect thing because it is the Grateful Dead and I am me. The better part of that on this particular day though was that I was just thinking of the studio version of that song a few hours earlier at work
I worked at Whitewater for fun during the 2008-2009 ski season as the night cleaner. As soon as most of the guests were gone I would roast a spliff with the last of the staff, and some of the regular skiers. I brought in a small cd player and always played the Grateful Dead every day. It was a routine thing to do.
On one day, after we roasted and I got to work, rather than a show, I put on the Workingman’s Dead studio record of theirs. When the last bit of staff were leaving, Tasha got all psyched that I had that tune on. Ever since then I have remembered that moment with an image of Tasha’s excitement every time I have heard the studio version of Uncle John’s Band.
That thought went through my head randomly through the night at work, and it painted a smile on my face when I thought about Tasha. She’s a pretty kick-ass girl from Vermont. (Her twin sister, Dusty, is just as kick-ass! Amazing sisters!)
With that thought fresh on my mind, it only seemed fitting that as soon as I went to sit down close to the speakers, that Uncle John’s Band came on. The same smile painted all over my face again with that image of Tasha. Sweeeeet!
After that, The Beatles tune, “Something” came on. I was diggin’ it. That made me think of a new friend who digs The Beatles like mad which also made me smile. After that, “Shelter From the Storm” by Bob Dylan came on. When it did I immediately grabbed a napkin, pulled out a pen and wrote this:
“Shelter From the Storm. Easy way to trigger a flood of emotion within me. Bob Dylan maaaan! A security blanket of the most glorious kind. The guy that turned the world on its head with a pen, two chords & a beautifully raunchy voice. Too many riveting songs to count. This is one of those that when you hear it it just rings out something special.”
Bob Dylan does something to me and takes me to that place. It made me glad to stroll into the bakery in this moment on this morning. Bobby D & Jerry G…Hot Daaamn maaaaan!
Right when I was done writing that on the napkin my food arrived. It came in a burger stand kind of basket, which made it match up to the burger stand essence I was already kinda feeling. I like those places. They have a certain charm to them.
The first thing I noticed wasn’t the burger, but rather the fries. They had a rich colour to them and were fatties for sure. I took a bite of one quickly, and then got up to go ask for a steak knife so I could cut it in half.
I sat down, pulled out my camera and took a few photos. When I cut the burger in half, and opened it up, I loved how gooey the cheese was as it stretched across the gap and the two halves seemed to to refuse to separate from each other. Totally kick-ass! You can see that in one of the photos I took.
The burger was a smaller one, but that was to be expected if the price was any indication. The fries almost overshadowed the burger itself, but it still looked pretty good.
It was nicely cooked. I didn’t overly inspect it or anything, I just got at it. It seemed more like it was cooked on a flattop rather than a grill. It was juicy kind, not dry or soggy. I could taste the heat from the peppers nicely too. There didn't seem to be any fancy spicing to the patty, but it was still good. (The fries were the place with the nice spicing to them.)
With the size of it, needless to say, it disappeared quite quickly. It kinda felt like it was gone before I had a chance to savor it, and inspect it with my taste buds. That didn’t bother me ‘cause I liked it, and that’s all that mattered. I guess that is a good sign though as if it was a shitty burger I would likely have somewhat struggled with it and taken a bit longer to get through.
It was good value for what it was. It was like a deluxe backyard burger or something, with some fatty spiced fries. A comforting burger. Happy stuff.
I didn’t have anything bad to say about it. If you’re lookin’ for a quick, cheap, but yummy burger stand type bite to eat I say go for it. It was simple, yet stylin’.
**In the quick amount of time it took me to fly through my food, I did take several moments to reflect on the only other time I was in that building. It was July of last year when I met Dylann at her casual show she played there. She was pretty hilarious…pregnant with baby-brain as she put it. Gorgeous voice and talented on the guitar! I was happy to have gone to that and to have developed a friendship with Dylann and her mama, Kendall. Both are truly kind people…the kind of people you feel fortunate to be able to know.
Mike’s Place Pub – August 5, 2017
$21.91 after tax, before tip
I had a surprise trip to work on my day off to do a couple things. At one point I needed to talk on the phone with one of my co-workers who wasn’t gonna be available for an hour, so I decided to punch out, and go to the next stop on my burger tour.
I started walking along Baker Street not knowing where I was gonna go. I thought about Jackson’s Hole, but after quick consideration I passed because of what a couple people had said about it recently. I was gonna save it for another time. I decided on the Hume Hotel, so when I go to Ward Street, I took a left and headed down.
When I was about to walk around the corner to go into the main entrance of the building I decided I felt like staring at sports on TV on a Saturday, so I turned around and went into Mike’s Place Pub. I was pretty sure they had the same menu from the same kitchen, so it didn’t really matter to me.
It was minutes before 11:00am, so I walked straight to the bar and asked the girl behind it if it was too early to get a burger and fries. She smiled and said, “It’s never too early to get a burger.” In my mind that made me want to test that notion of rolling in as soon as they open and orderin’ one up. I was sure that was the case with the pub, but possibly not with the restaurant as it is open earlier, but I wasn’t in the restaurant, so I passed on my own silly challenge to myself.
She asked me if I wanted to see a menu to decide on what burger. I said, “Nope. I just want whatever your regular burger is in whatever way you serve it, but can I please have jalapenos, cheese and bacon on it?” She smiled again and assured me that I could absolutely have that. I responded simply with, “Excellent! May I also have a ginger ale too please?” Then, with a smile on my face, I asked for the ginger ale to be brought with the food. She smiled again, and said, “Of course.”
I’ve never liked when drinks are brought way before food. Even since I was a little, little kid, it has never made sense to me…especially with shakes. I guess that’s a restaurant’s way of trying to get you to order more drinks, because by bringing them before food, of course you’re gonna dig into ‘em, and inevitably not have enough to ride out your meal. It’s either that, or you wait and they end up goin’ flat, watery, and warm. (Those sneaky restaurant fucks! :) )
After I ordered, she asked me where I was gonna sit. I did a quick scan for where table’s vs TV’s were, and pointed at the first level up, and said, “Probably right there. Thank you.”
I went to that first little level up, and I picked the table and my chair so I could best see the big-ass screen and the smaller screen to its left without really having to move my head. The Cubs – Nationals game at Wrigley was on the giant screen and the smaller screen had a NASCAR race on it.
Typically I couldn’t care less about cars driving around in a circle as I find that some boring-ass shit, but over the past few days I had picked the movie ‘Talladega Nights – The Ballad of Ricky Bobby’ as the movie I pass out to, so I didn’t mind at all. It actually made me giggly thinkin’ ‘bout Ricky Bobby. (The reason I pass out to movies is directly related to my pain…one more story for another time.)
The NASCAR race wasn’t the typical oval track though. It was one that was more like an Indy or F-1 track. That reminded me of when I was a little kid and watched Formula-1 on the limited TV available on the weekend. My favourite guy was Alain Prost. That guy dominated like a mutha-fucka! The along comes Ayrton Senna and started whuppin’ everyone’s asses. Tragically, Senna died in a crash, and thinking about that today at Mike’s Place, even all these years later, I still took pause to acknowledge his passing.
The NASCAR was still all about Ricky Bobby though. I mean, how could it not be?! Ricky Bobby is freakin’ amazing! If you don’t like him you definitely have problems.
When I saw some of the baseball game I started feeling like the biggest armchair athlete loser on the planet again. This of course derives from being a die-hard Toronto Maple Leaf, Philadelphia Eagles, and team England in world football sports team’s guy.
Until last fall, I always had the Cubs to make me feel better about my loser-ass self, but not-no-freakin’-more dammit! Those fuckers just had to go and win a World Series after 108 years…reaffirming that I am, in fact, the biggest loser on the planet!
I do have a close connection to Chicago though. I have only been there a few times, but every time has been a magikal experience with some really great people. (Well…the last time I was there was totally fucked, but it wasn’t Chicago’s fault. ;) )
When I sat down I realized that it was the same table Chibby and I sat at when we had lunch at Mike’s. It was the last time I was there, and was quite some time ago. …Haven’t seen Chibby in awhile, so it was good to think about him.
The song, ‘The Muse’ by the Wood Brothers rang out through the speakers. I had never heard it before, but as acoustic music is what really speaks to me, the feel of it kind of struck me, so I wrote down some of the lyrics to try to figure it out what it was when I got home. After that it seemed like a string of 80’s Depeche Mode crossed with Talking Heads tunes came on. Not really my thing, but was easy enough to block out with Ricky Bobby chargin’ around my imagination while watching the NASCAR on TV.
Three different servers were takin’ care of me. That’s like ultra service. Saying that leads me to the thought that I don’t really like the term ‘server’ though. Something doesn’t feel right about that to me. It seems waitress isn’t the right one either apparently, as that is sometimes looked at like calling a flight attendant a stewardess, or a massage therapist a masseuse…one of those stupid politically correct things these days. (The term ‘server’ makes me think of rich pricks with servants who they look down on, and I don’t think anyone deserves to be looked down on.) They are serving your food to you though, so I guess that’s the term to use.
It was like rapid fire service with three of them all over it. When one of them walked past me I asked if I could have a steak knife with my food. She said, “No problem!”
When she brought my food and placed it in front of me, she asked if I wanted some ketchup. I said, “Yes please,” so she left to go get some for me.
It was the first burger on my little tour that was served open faced. It gave me a better look at what I was about to get into. At first glance you could tell it was playing at a whole different level than the last one I had at the Prestige when I took the top off of that one to put on the side jalapeno.
Just from the sight of this burger, we were talking the difference from big-league top player compared to minor league grinder. There is a certain romance in the minor league grinder, but when it comes time to throw down, you want the big-league bad-ass on your crew. That’s what Mike’s was in a visual battle with the Prestige. No contest!
I gave it a bit of a visual inspection, and it looked good. The bacon slices were nice ones, and the jalapenos were ample too. There weren't many, but I was happy for raw onions over caramelized ones for that crunch and pop-splash of flavour when I bite into ‘em.
I don't really like those style of pickles...the accordion cut lookin' round ones. Lengthwise slices of dills are where it's at. Of course, just like every other burger, it came with mayo. Gawd damned maaan! As per usual though, I was more into getting’ down to business rather than just looking at my burger, so I took out my camera and started taking some photos of how it was served, so I could get on with it.
After my server dropped off the ketchup, and left, I went to grab some salt to put on my fries. I looked where I thought the S&P were behind the little display thing on the table advertising drinks or whatever, but nothing was there. In a way I was kinda surprised by that as it always seemed automatic that S&P shakers would be on a table, or at least offered…especially when having something like French fries. I thought about asking for some, but then I felt that I’d just roll with what was simply offered. I didn’t really mind though ‘cause it is kind of a crazy notion to have something that is deep fried, and then feel the need to add salt to it. It’s actually quite freakin’ insane if you understand anything about health. I was hopin’, that rather than not offering what every other restaurant/bar does with fries, that they were just trying to save us from ourselves regarding extra salt.
One of my servers walked by and giggled when she saw me takin’ photos of my food, and then asked me, “Did it come the way you wanted?” I told her I’d let her know after I started eating it.
I know the whole deal with the presentation of food, and eating first with your eyes. I can really appreciate a beautifully plated serving of food for sure. Even having said what I did about the difference between the visual look of Mike’s vs the Prestige, when it gets down to it, and comes to a burger, I don’t really care. Pick it up…stuff that fucker in my face, and let the burger do the talkin’ from there.
As it was served open faced, it had to be put together to be able to be eaten properly. As I was doing that it kinda seemed a bit odd to me to take an open faced burger, put it together, and then cut it in half to eat. (I really don’t like this cuttin’ a burger in half shit. I can’t wait for my burger tour to be over just for that reason alone.)
It took a moment to balance the thing once put together so it would stand on its own without toppling over so I could take a photo of it. I got it sorted by positioning some fries and propping it up against them. I took my quick few photos, and then grabbed my knife to slice ‘er up. When I did that I had to open it up and then balance it again for a few more photos of the inside. I got that sorted too though.
The one thing I do like about cutting a burger in half is seeing what’s inside. The reveal!
When I picked it up, I could feel the freshness of the bun. Nice and soft! As the patty was cooked properly the bun wasn’t soggy at all. Score another point. I like sesame seeded buns, so I was happy about that too.
Aside from looking at it, when I bit into it I could tell right away that there was a healthy amount of bacon and jalapenos. Saying that though, is there really such a thing as a healthy amount of bacon? I know many in the chefing world have referred to bacon as the perfect food, and anyone I know who eats meat loves the shit outta that stuff, but let’s face it, bacon is like some little flat slippery heart destroyin’ missiles…that just happen to taste yummy as fuck! Let’s not kid ourselves though…there ain’t nothin’ healthy about bacon. Bacon is possibly the ultimate betrayal of your taste buds to the well being of one’s body. You tasty lil’ bastids!
(Personally, I much prefer turkey bacon on top of baked boneless skinless chicken breast with smashed up avocado smeared on a bun as my choice of burger-ish food.)
Just as a burger should have, it had a nice sear on the outside of the patty, but not burnt. You could tell it was done properly because even though it had the nice sear and char lines on the outside, it was still moist and juicy on the inside. At the same time, while holding its nice moisture it wasn’t greasy. The easiest, straight ahead way to say it was that it was a burger done right. As simple as that!
It was good too. I didn’t want any bite to end. The bun, the patty, the right amount of bacon, jalapenos & cheese, raw onions rather than caramelized…it was some yummy-ass shit!
It was a tad below the average size of the string of burgers I have had so far, but each bite made me want to have more. Unlike the burgers where they stack that mountain of salad between the buns, making it kind of a pain in the ass, and uneven to eat, the Mike’s Place burger had that balance of being eatable with every bite having some of everything.
Back to the fries…they were a nice size side of fries simply served on the plate. That’s definitely become my much preferred way for fries to be served rather than a chintzy amount of fries disguised to look good in one of those awkward upright containers. The fries were pretty good ones too, so that was OK. Yes fries are an afterthought next to the burger, but they still count for what they are, and these weren’t too bad.
Overall, it was really great…fuckin’ awesome even! The only drawback was that it was that tad bit below average size. I was happy, and that was the feeling I was leaving with.
I got up and walked down to the bar to get my bill and pay for it. When I got rung in and handed my bill my happiness quickly took a turn. It was nearly $2 more than the most expensive burger so far. Now, considering that it was a tad under size of average, and that it was by far the most expensive, the cost vs size didn’t overly do it for me.
I do recognize and appreciate that it is hormone-free grass fed local beef, and a local organic sesame bun, and really fuckin’ good; but the thought that a burger, fries, and a fountain drink could cost 9 cents below $22.00 before you drop a tip is kinda crazy. (As far as I'm concerned, local ingredients should never cost more than far away ones.) That’s really my only hesitation with it as far as a repeat visit goes, but it was really done well and very tasty.
West Coast Grill at the Prestige Lakeside Resort
August 2, 2017
$17.85 after tax, before tip
This was a spontaneous one today. One of my friends has mentioned a couple times that she wants in on one of my burger tour stops…aiming towards the Dam Inn because she lives not too far from the Organic Mechanic in the no man’s land where Krestova and Pass Creek collide. I only say it is no man’s land because it doesn’t really seem to fully be one or the other places.
Rather than my usual off work time of somewhere between 10-11am, I felt lazy today and had a short day, so I started it a bit later around 6am rather than 2:30am, and was gonna work til 12:00-12:30ish.
Since I was in town a bit later, and she works close to the lake, I asked if she wanted to go to the Prestige to have a spontaneous burger with me. Totally into it…100%!
As I was pulling into the parking lot I saw her walking towards the entrance, so I pulled up beside her, rolled down my passenger window and with a big smile I yelled out, “Hey mutha-fucka!,” and then I kept drivin’ to park. She definitely saw me, but I’m not sure if she heard me. I know for sure she’d’ve dug me sayin’ that. She’s just that bad-ass! I parked my van, got out and she was walking toward me.
(I’m not saying her name ‘cause she didn’t wanna be posted on the internet…shouldda seen her when I faked that I was gonna take her photo. Totally excellent! I‘m tellin’ yuh…she’s just a bad-ass cool chick! She was the first person I met when I moved as she lived in the cabin I was moving into on May 1, 1999. She took me on a tour of the place and told me some shit. We were instant friends, and have stayed that way.)
We went inside and stood at the “Wait here you fucks!” sign at the front entrance. (Because of so many whiners these days, I feel I must mention that it didn't actually say that, but it is how those signs have always made me feel.) Our server was super nice. She asked if we wanted to be inside or out on the patio. My friend deferred every decision to me ‘cause it was my little tour she was hitchin’ a ride on for the day. I said patio…100%!
Nothing comes close to the patio at the Prestige Lakeside Resort in Nelson. Literally nothing! It’s right on the water. No traffic. Nice and mellow. Spectacularly beautiful! The patio at The Savoy Hotel (The Falls Music Lounge and Farm Fresh Café) is by far the best downtown. Nothing touches it, but when you are on the patio at the Prestige looking up or down the lake, or simply at the mountains across the water it is like a little oasis, even in this gorgeous town.
The three of us walked out onto the patio and our server asked us where we would like to be seated. I suggested the corner. The patio was busy, but the corner felt like our own little slice of the place, so we sat there.
The service was a bit slow, but the patio was very busy…especially for a Wednesday at 1pm. None of the patios downtown are busy like that at that time of day in the middle of the week…none that I have seen when walking along Baker Street. The speed of service didn’t matter ‘cause it wasn’t that bad. I’m not that much of an idiot either…I know if a place is kickin’ off busy, things won’t be necessarily as fast…that’s only common sense. Our server was super nice, so everything was all good.
(I’m sick of saying, “my friend” here so I am gonna call her Tazzy)
A bit after we were seated and chillin’, our server came back to take our order. Tazzy went first. I don’t know what kinda burger she ordered, but she absolutely despises ketchup and wanted it nowhere near plate or food. She told our server as much.
When it was my time to order I said I feel the same way about mayo that Tazzy does about ketchup. I fuckin’ haaate that shit! Our server asked me if I wanted her to take it off the burger I ordered. I said, “No…I want it however you guys make and serve them, except I would like it to have cheese, bacon and jalapenos as well if possible, please.” I ordered a ginger ale to come with the food…and a water to start, and also asked if she could bring a steak knife as well.
Tazzy looked at me and said she could never do what I did with the mayo in regards to how she feels about ketchup…just eat it anyway ‘cause it was served with it. I told her I wanted an even playing field for every place I go to. I don’t look at the menu, I just ask for a burger with bacon, cheese and jalapenos…fries and a ginger ale. Same thing every time! I figure that is the only way that is fair.
Once we put our order in, Tazzy and I just blabbed about whatever. We’ve always had easy conversation about anything…where time just becomes a non-factor. Most everything is always light and casual, but we did take a moment to both come completely unglued about the pieces of shit who stole the fire hoses and pumps at the Harrop firefighter’s site.
With all the fires raging, and smoke filling the air, even the stupidest piece of shit out there would know that is a wrong thing to do when the gawd damned mountain is burning down. That leaves one wondering what level their dumb-fuck brain is on. (That’s the kinda shit that makes you think mankind is doomed and deserves to go down in a ball of flames. Who in their right freakin’ mind does something like that?!) Other than that rant we shared, everything else was light and fluffy…cotton candy-ish.
Despite all the smoke, it was a beauty day. It was the first time in all the smoky days in all the years that I have lived here that the smoke messed with my eyes a bit. That wasn’t a big deal. Our conversation distracted me from really noticing or caring about what the smoke was doing to my eyes.
Tazzy and I watched helicopters continuously fly by with their water bomber bags hanging on the long lines beneath them. (Hence the rant about those hose thieving bastids!) Even watching that, you still can’t help but to get sucked into the beauty of this place. We talked about the redwoods in California, and the Oregon Coast, as well as the Sunshine Coast here in BC, and other places. As amazing as they all are I still think the West Kootenay is the best place ever. I never forget how lucky I am to be able to call it home. (Yup…we talked about that too.)
It’s easy to get lost in good conversation and forget about what you’re doin’, which is kinda where I was at when our food arrived. “Oh yeah…sweet…burgers!”
I’m starting to get interested in how each place presents their burgers. I mean, it’s a fuckin’ burger and fries maaaan, how different can it really be? Well, the West Coast Grill is the first place on my burger tour to serve theirs on a wooden cutting board, so that was a little different. Outside of that, though it was pretty straight forward.
Three of the five places so far have served their fries in a little round upright metal container. When I see those it seems like it is a restaurant’s way of trying to distract you with a sense of fanciness so they can chintz out on amount of fries they give you. I don’t understand that ‘cause fries are just potatoes…which are cheap-ass for a shitload! (That’s if they even use hand cut fries…boxed ones from suppliers are even cheaper). Tazzy was with me on that too.
The amount of fries was definitely on the short side. Although they are supposed to accent the burger, they are just the afterthought at best. Even if they’re shitty I don’t overly care ‘cause it is the burger that matters. The burger was the smallest so far…by quite a bit.
When our server handed Tazzy hers, with a smile she said, “No ketchup.” Then she placed mine down on the table in front of me. She told me she put the jalapenos on the bottom, but took off the tomatoes and pickles. As an instant reaction, the same way you would jerk your hand back if you burnt it on a flame somehow, I blurted out, “Why’d you do that?” I wasn’t shitty about it, but I wasn’t subtle about it either.
We were all gigglin’…me, Tazzy, and our server, so it wasn’t a harsh thing at all. Our server said because I asked for cheese, jalapenos and bacon. I said, that’s great, but I just meant all that on top of what you regularly serve on a burger. When I said that, she said she was gonna go get some for me. I told her she didn’t have to. She was awesome though and brought me a plate of sliced pickles and tomatoes with my ginger ale. She was a total sweetheart.
After she left, Tazzy started diggin’ in and I busted out my shitty camera to start takin’ a few photos. Just because I’m a jack-ass, the first photo I took was of one of the chairs at our table that we weren’t using. That was because it had a tiny splat of bird shit on it and made me think of my battle with some little fucker birds that get my deck chairs. (Haha…yuh lil’ bastids!)
The top of the bun was pretty shiny greasy. That did not escape my eye, nor Tazzy’s either. Since there were two of us, who are both lil’ fuckers, it did turn into a giggly conversation. I had her laughing when I said it was nothing like the chorizo burger from Louie’s ‘cause “…that thing made my throat to my belly feel like a freakin’ Slip-N-Slide!"
After I took a few photos I picked up the knife to cut the burger in half. (Tazzy distracted me as I forgot to film the video of it that I know I would never watch :) ) That led to the short conversation of how much I didn’t like cutting a burger in half and her agreeing that it is a wrong thing to do. Once again, we both agreed on our own stupid meaningless burger policies…outside of our polar opposite black and white different takes on shit-ass mayo and kick-ass ketchup. (Haha…suck it Tazzy!)
Our server said she put jalapenos on the bottom, but I couldn’t really taste them, so I took the bun off the first half to put some on it. I was kinda hesitant though because I wanted to eat it as served and no different.
The first thing I noticed when I took the burger off was the lack of an obvious bacon presence. I had to kinda search for it, and found a tiny bit of it tucked under the lettuce. It was definitely a stark contrast to Louie’s, who definitely had every restaurant so far crushed with quality and amount of bacon.
It was a weird conflicting thing. I hate wasting food, but for my little tour I wanted to be fair to all restaurants and give the straight take on the burger they put in front of me…not having to add things in the aftermath. Because of that I only put one tiny slice of jalapeno and the smallest tomato slice on my burger.
Before I put the bun on, Tazzy and I started talking about caramelized onions. She freakin’ loves them, but I am the opposite. I love raw onions…the crunch, and the little pop of juiciness while it is grabbing you with some bite. I will always prefer raw onions over cooked ones. (How we liked our onions was our only other disagreement of the day!)
As I have stated, for me a burger is all about the patty. It is the showcase of the event. (When I was a kid, so often of the time I would eat a burger with absolutely nothing on it…plain as fuck…and loved it. I remember Gavin McLeod crushing down plain burgers too way back in the day at ours, or our dad’s hockey tournaments.) Despite the mayo, caramelized onions, and removed pickles and tomatoes, I bunned up and dug in.
I always look forward to the first bite of a burger the most. It’s like pulling back the curtain and seeing the prize hiding behind. The first bite of this burger was pretty good. I liked the spice and seasoning to the point where I was consciously aware of it. After a couple more bites I was still kinda waiting to taste the little burn that jalapenos typically bring. That never came though.
I flew through the first half because it was quite small in comparison to all the other burgers so far. I chose not to put any of the side toppings on the second half…just eating it completely as is. I was flying through the second half too, only to stop to nourish my suspicion that the patty was somewhat dry. As I slowed down to think about that, I mentioned it to Tazzy after I swallowed the bite I was on. She was in 100% agreement that hers was dry too.
We were done our food pretty quickly after that. When we were, we had our quick little recap. The size of the burger was smaller than your usual restaurant quality burger. Despite that the bun was quite greasy on top, and the patty was a tad dry, it was pretty good. Hit and miss I’d say. I mentally scored it at a lone number three on my list of five so far. It was far ahead of the bottom two, but far behind the top two. A solid average little burger on a fuckin’ kick-ass gorgeous patio!
As the side note that they are, the fries were dry, kinda tasteless, and there were a very small amount of them. They earned their title of afterthought. As I was eating I started noticing I kept moving the little container of fries around. The way they are presented like that they always seemed to be in the way, and posed the risk of being knocked over. Tazzy observed the same thing. We both came to the conclusion that serving a tiny amount of fries in a little upright container is a shitty way to do it.
The ginger ale was ok. So far, the ginger ales at all places haven’t had the crispness in the fizz you like…a tad flatty-dull. This ain’t a ginger ale tour though…this is a burger tour.
It was the cheapest by $2.00 so far, so that was good. I felt that fell in line with the size of it.
On a nice sunny day, when you want a simple, cheaper, yet solid burger, the patio at the Prestige Lakeside Resort is a good place to kick back. It was a nice little spontaneous lunch break with a kind old friend. Yaaay for that!
701 Lakeside Drive
Finley’s – July 28, 2017
($19.75 after tax, B4 tip)
Before I start...July 28th is Watkins Glen Day to me... In 1973 The Grateful Dead played a show at the Watkins Glen Speedway with The Allman Brothers to a crowd of something like 600,000 people before that shit really happened (outside of Woodstock of course). Together they played 23 minute Mountain Jam at the end of the show...the only time The Grateful Dead played it. Daaaamn! :)
I went into work at around 9pm last night and put in a grind shift til just before 10am or some shit. I was gonna get some groceries before I left town for the weekend. Despite it being the mid-morning, to me it was end of long-ass day, and I had been thinkin’ about Finley’s burger all night because of the massive letdown in the Adventure Hotel building at Louie’s and The Uptown Tavern. I needed to get back on track on this freakin’ burger thing, so I said, “Fuck it…I’m goin’ to Finley’s to see if they’re firin’ up their burgers!”
It was about 10:45 when I rolled up. Their door was open and their open sign was lit up. “Fuck yeah! This is encouraging.” Step one…check!
I only plugged one quarter in our newly “even-shittier –parking-scene-in-Nelson-meter.”
(The chintzy fucks at the city decided to drop the time that those things are good for. First they get rid of dimes and nickels, and now a quarter ain’t even worth 15 fuckin’ minutes! Daaaaamn! They’re like hawks with those things too. Parking meters are literally the only thing that gets enforced by Bi-Law officers around here, and as far as I’m concerned we should call Bi-Law Officers for what they really are: ‘Meter Maids.’)
I walked across the street and straight up to the bar inside their door. I asked the girl behind the counter if they were serving burgers yet. She said they were, and I said, “Sweet…Can I have one of those please?” She said, “Of course.” I asked if I could get jalapenos, cheese, and bacon. She smiled more and said, “Of course-er,” only in her words of that sentiment. :)
I ordered that with a ginger ale to come with the food. She set me up, and then I went back across the street to feed that hungry bastard meter I was parked at.
When I went back inside Finley’s I wandered around. For some reason, every time I have been in there I still think about The Civic. I saw some great music there back in the day, but it always seemed dingy in there. It’s why each time I have been in Finley’s over the years I get a little more impressed. You can tell they’re puttin’ some love into the place…breathing new life into it.
I know it has been Finley’s for a bunch of years now, but even still, when I was walking around the back patio area while waiting for my food I was kinda taken aback. Admittedly, I hadn’t been back there in a long time, but I was like, “Shiiit maaan…it’s fuckin’ nice back here! They did a great job.” It made me happy for some reason, even though I don’t go there too often. I guess I like when you see people who care about what they do and then seeing it show through the way they carry themselves. That’s kinda the best way I can describe why I’d feel happy about the patio the way I did.
I wandered around lookin’ for a spot to sit. There were only maybe two other people in there at that time, and I was still wanderin’ in circles trying to find the spot I felt like sitting at. I recognized I was bein’ a bit of an idiot makin’ that big of a decision out of sitting down to eat a burger, but you know…we can’t always hide from who we are. I chose to sit in the middle facing out to Juice FM, or whatever they call their radio station now. (It has changed a few times and I don’t listen to the radio, so I never know what it’s actually called.) A good friend of mine works there, so it made me think of her and painted a smile on my face.
The Uptown Tavern and Louie’s were such a let down for my burger tour, but it felt like everything was goin’ in the right direction to make this train get back on track this morning.
I was watching a bit of golf for the last little bit of my short wait. It made me think of the comedian Bill Burr. He and I share the same opinion on one aspect of sport…unless someone’s trying to stop you, it’s not a real sport, it’s just an activity. I mean, look at elite athletes in other sports like hockey, basketball, football, MMA...they’re ripped in shape; but in golfing you can be obese while smokin’ cigarettes or cigars while you’re playing and still be crushing it. Activity!
(I had some hilarious conversations about that with my friend I worked with up the lake who lives and breathes golfing. Anyone who knows Reg Clarkson in the Balfour area knows how that conversational debate would go. :) )
I was kinda staring into space bouncing back and forth between thinkin’ of the Bill Burr/Reg Clarkson thought, and my friend who works at the Name of Many FM radio station. It was a smiley moment.
My server brought a burger & fries tool kit to my table. It was a wooden mini handled crate thing that had ketchup, HP Sauce, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and vinegar. No other place had done that yet. I even thought that was a nice touch, ‘cause they just bring you everything you need in a tight little set-up.
I asked for a steak knife so I could cut through the burger to open it up. She grabbed the knife and dropped it off, and then my burger & fries were up, so she got those too.
I got right at it. Busted out my shitty camera and took a few photos of the burger as served. Then I clicked on video to take the video of cutting it open. (I’m not sure why I do that ‘cause I doubt I’ll ever care to look at a video of me cutting a burger in half, but I do it anyway.)
While I was slicing through I started looking forward to whenever I finish this little tour so I didn’t have to cut these bastards in half anymore. Burgers aren’t meant to be cut in half. You’re just supposed to pick ‘em up and cram ‘em in your face. I think it’s insulting to the burger to cut it in half.
Still tainted by the grease from Louie's, I was conscious to look at the plate after I sliced 'er in half and opened it up kinda like a Pac-Man the way I do. Clean plate! See for yourself! I was psyched! I then licked the little burger shrapnel off my finger before I picked up my camera again.
Daaaaamn…there was a mini little flavour rush just from licking my finger. It had a bit of a peppery bite. That made me psyched. Just had to take the freakin’ photos first! After getting that taste I felt time was of the essence even though it was anything but that.
I put the camera down, made sure the long toothpick thing was stuck through the bigger half so it wouldn’t fall apart, then I picked the small half and shoved that fucker in my face.
Inside my head: “Ooooooh Shiiiiiiiit!!!”
Outside: calm, casual and engaged in ultra face stuffin’!
This thing was fuckin’ good. The patty was perfectly cooked without asking for it to be cooked any particular way. It was moist and juicy. (All you dumb bastards who don’t like the word ‘moist’ for some reason…that shit is critical for so much properly done food in the culinary world, so you can suck it! :) ) The spicing was amazing too.
Just as impressive as the patty was the bun. It was the perfect bun. Perfect texture and size! It wasn’t crunchy like a grilled bun, but the softness didn’t turn into a soggy piece of undesirable mess like some soft buns can do when holding a burger.
The size of it was perfect too. It was a big fatty, but not over the top so it was a pain in the ass to eat. I don’t like when some restaurants try to be fancy by piling so many toppings that it’s virtually impossible to eat as a whole burger…you kinda have to eat it in stages. To me, that doesn’t make much sense. Every bite is supposed to have a bit of everything. Also, the patty is supposed to be the showcase of a burger…not a salad between the buns where the patty disappears as a little meat disk on the bottom.
(LOOKKIT THAT FUCKERRR!!!)
Everything was right with this Finley’s burger. The way I knew that was the reason alone… I didn’t even make it through the small half before I had the term, “The Perfect Burger” floating consciously through my mind. Once the thought was there it played over and over. I don’t really know what else to say about it. I mean, what more can you say than that?!
The second half seemed even better. Maybe that was because the smaller half brought me to a place of happy perfection, and now I got to eat the bigger half. Fuck yeah!
As yummy as it was I didn’t take time to savor it or anything, it was still business as usual…shove that shit in my face! It felt like I was cramming happy in my face. (Things like burgers, tacos, burritos, pizza, etc are designed specifically to be eaten in a face stuffing fashion. :) )
When I was done, I got up, grabbed my camera, and walked to the bar to pay my tab. It was $19.75 after tax and before tip. “Sweet…not only the best, but they squeaked in to be the cheapest so far too…Daaaamn Finley’s!”
I left with the term, “The Perfect Burger” rattling through my head. On my walk back across the street to my van I immediately started scrolling through the rolodex of burgers in my life in the same way you see so much of your life in a flash when you get launched over the handle bars while chargin’ on your bike. That whole, “flying through the air in slow motion feeling but is really a split second when you have enough pause to contemplate the thought, ‘Shit maaan…this is gonna hurt,’ while you watch a quick movie on your life” moment. I saw a life of burgers like that: “Webers” going to the Muskoka country as a kid, some place in Chicago the morning after the final Grateful Dead show ever, “Harvey’s” double burgers for fast food, more recently…”Zetsky’s” by the Toronto airport, and even some turkey burgers Todd brought over to Joe & Al’s many years ago…fuckin’ nice ones bro! ;)
I literally put that much thought into something that would stand up to the burger I just ate at Finley’s, and I couldn’t find any…nothing close!
Burger tour back on track? Shit maaaan…that was the Usain-9.58-Bolt ass-whuppin’ smackdown version of back on track…where second place crushes the current world record but still gets its ass handed to it! Daaaaamn!
That Finley’s burger definitely both crushed and raised the standard for what a burger should and could be in this town. The ginger ale could use a bit of lovin’, but who gives a shit, this was about the burger and it was the mutha-fucka!
705 Vernon Street, Nelson BC V1L 4G3
PHONE: 250 352 5121
FAX: 250 352 5174
Louie's Steakhouse - July 27, 2017
$19.95 after tax B4 tip
I came into town because I wanted to do some late work to catch up from some lost time because of the power outage yesterday. Decided to do another stop on my burger tour. I walked into Finley's and looked around, but I didn't feel like being in a bar tonight, so I crossed the street. Wasn't sure about either Jackson's Hole or Louie's Steakhouse. Since I was just at Uptown Tavern I decided to go to Louie's because it's the same building and I wanted to see the difference...so Louie's it was...
I went inside and looked around, but decided to go out on the deck out front. As usual, I didn't need to see a menu, I just asked for a burger that hopefully would have jalapenos, bacon and cheese. (I wanna keep the playing field as level as I can.) I was told they can't order from the pub menu. Considering the disaster burger from the other night I was definitely not interested in that, and said I didn't want to order from there.
Louie's has two options for burgers...
Option one is their Chorizo Burger, which is a smoked chorizo patty with peppered gouda, apple slaw, maple bacon, and wild mushrooms.
Option two is their Daniel Rickaby Burger. It is essentially a steak in a bun.
I went for the chorizo burger 'cause I just wanted a burger and not a steak on a bun. I wasn't thrilled to have a chorizo one 'cause I just wanted a straight up burger, but it was the closest thing, that's what I ordered. Also ordered a ginger ale too that I want to come with the food.
I was brought a water as a starting drink. It had one grape or cherry lookin' piece of fruit floating in it. After looking at it for a bit I finally picked it outta my water and ate it. It wasn't a grape, but rather a cranberry. I don't have those on the rolodex in my mind because I can't freakin' stand them, and therefore block them out.
It was sour as fuck and I wasn't into it. It made me think of the different things people put in water: mint, lemon, cucumber, strawberry/kiwi...and apparently cranberries that are sour as fuck too. I simply prefer water with nothing, but if I have to choose a fruit option (or vegetable in case of cucumber) I prefer lemon for sure.
I don't get it when a restaurant puts fruit in water they bring though. Water in its nakedness is perfection. It is pure vitality in liquid form. Why screw with that?! I also don't like that a restaurant feels they should decide for you what you would want to drink. Fruit in water should always be offered as an option aside from water on its own. Water in its beautiful simplicity should be the foundation.
The service was pretty quick which is always good. At first glance it looked like the Uptown Tavern Burger. That is because they used the same bun. I thought that was a tad lame and seemed kinda low rent for the burger it was. A skinny cheesy bun. The fries were in the same chintzy little container too.
Having just eaten the Uptown Burger, and then being told you can't order off the pub menu, but seeing that they share some of the same shit, it seemed a little odd to me. More aptly...it seemed lazy as fuck!
I was truly surprised by this as Louie's has always been amazing. When I worked in hotels in and around town for years, Louie's was always the first place I sent everyone who asked me where a good place to eat was. (I'll write more about this another time.) It is much more higher end than the pub, so I definitely wasn't expecting them to use some of the same stuff.
The bun and same fries dish was a strike against it before I even got into it; but that wouldn't be the case had I not eaten at the Uptown earlier in the week. The patty was a nice size when I cut it in half though which is an important measuring stick for me.
Throw away the bun issue and it was pretty good at first. They didn't chintz on the bacon, which is quite common when getting bacon on a burger. (I hardly ever have bacon...the rare occasion that I have a burger is predominantly when I have bacon) The chorizo patty was good too. I was diggin' it.
It started going downhill kinda quickly though. It got quite greasy as I went on. It also seemed really salty. The salt taste seemed to amplify bit by bit with each new bite.
By the time I was onto my second half the bottom bun seemed almost non-existent...like it was devoured by the grease. It was super soggy. (For the record...I never cut a burger in half, I actually think it is stupid to do that, but I have been for this little Nelson burger tour just to be able to show what the inside between the buns look like.)
The more I ate the more I could feel a grease slick get thicker and shittier down my throat. It was like my throat was a Slip-N-Slide of grease, all coming to rest in my stomach and it felt really shitty! Salty grease. Yaaaay!!
I was a bit bummed 'cause it started off so nicely, but then didn't take too long to feel like it kinda just tumbled down a hill and rattled my belly. My throat was like a greasy slip n slide. Part of me was wondering if it was me just imagining the grease and saltiness, but when I was done my last bite and looked at the plate there was a big orange oily slick on it. I thought it could be ketchup from the fries, but that never hit the plate as it was served in a little container of its own and I just dipped the fries in it.
So...although the concept of a chorizo burger was unique and different from a regular burger, it wasn't totally fulfilling...whether from the replicated skinny cheese bun, or the grease and saltiness. Although every other thing I have had there has been incredible, the Louie's Steakhouse Chorizo Burger is not the burger for me.
Louie's Steakhouse at The Adventure Hotel
616 Vernon Street
Uptown Tavern - July 24, 2017
$20.?? after tax, before tip (I forgot to keep bill. I think it was $20.25)
On the second stop of my little Nelson Burger Tour I went to the Uptown Tavern at the Adventure Hotel. I think that's what it's called...I still think of it as The Lord Nelson from years ago.
It was later in the night and so I didn't have as much choice, so I went there. Although I have eaten at Louie's Steakhouse a few times (in the same building) it was the first time I had ever eaten there.
It was pretty empty in there and I was cool with that. I don't like loud-ass restaurants. I just walked up to the bar and ordered a burger and ginger ale. Same toppings when possible: Jalapeno's, cheese, and bacon. I figure if I'm gonna have a burger, I'm gonna have a fuckin' BURGER!
I picked a seat that had straight view of two of the zillions of TV's all over the walls. I sat down and watched the TSN top 10 of sport kicks...like a NASCAR driver who ran and did a double leg kick into another guy's car, and a baseball hitter who kicked the catcher. Those kinds of kicks. 🙂 On the other TV was American Ninja Warrior. Not really my thing, but a way to stare while waiting for food.
When the burger came it looked a little strange to me. The bun was like a thin little cheese or pizza lookin' bun. There was a pitiful amount of fries too.
I asked my server for a steak knife so I could cut it in half and take a photo of it. The Baker Street Grill at The Best Western brings them automatically.
It was kinda dark in there, so I couldn't really see too much of what it looked like. As I have decided to do on this little tour, I took a few photos, and a video of me cutting it in half, so maybe they will reveal something more when I see them.
Once I did that I picked 'er up and dug in. First bit was OK, but also kinda gross. It just tasted burnt...like I was eating charcoal. I took another bite and the same thing happened. I took a schwill of my ginger ale to try and wash away the charcoal-y taste in my mouth. That made shit worse though as the ginger ale was flat and watery tasting. Not a good start.
I don't like cutting burgers in half 'cause they are more apt to fall apart in your hand that way it seems. Oh well, just gotta pay more attention to holding onto it.
I kept going through the burger. Nothing changed though. Bite after bite was charcoal after charcoal. Grosser and grosser. The ginger ale only seemed to get worse. It didn't seem possible to get flatter and flatter, but it sure found its way to the land of worst ginger ale perhaps of all time.
So, there I was chewing on shitty charcoal and sipping flat-ass watery ginger ale. I always have had the opinion that a burger is the easiest thing to make for a restaurant and should tell you everything you need to know about the standard of the place. Well, based on this burger...I am never eating there again. Ultra burger fail. The one plus is that although it was gross as fuck, it didn't make me sick, so yes, I will give it that.
After living in Nelson for many years, I have found my little spots for different things I have an affinity for. I don't eat out too often, but I could say this notion is most evident through the world of restaurant meals.
With my life being centred around this great town for the past 18 years, I have seen a bunch of changes...as is inevitable with time. I still find myself in mourning over the loss of my favourite dish from the very place that introduced me to it: Pad Thai from the long disappeared Rice Bowl. I was sad when that place closed down, and still am. Bummer!
I only go out for a burger once every 2 or 3 months...probably less than that. When I do, I go to one place: The Baker Street Grill at The Best Western. The simple reason for that is that it is the only place in town that you can get a burger, onion rings and a chocolate shake that isn't A&W. Their burger is solid and consistent too.
Since the annual burger week thing in November, or whenever it was, I kinda thought about doing my own little tour. I don't really think too highly of the burger week here because I don't think there is an honest burger in the bunch. All the restaurants go over the top, prettying everything up so it is picture perfect to impress judges. It's like the fix is in. I want the real truth. The regular every day burger served to the regular every day person.
As a burger is the most common threaded menu item for most restaurants outside of ethnic foods, I spontaneously decided to go for it...to go on my own little burger tour of Nelson to see what our town has to offer.
To be completely fair, I will be thoroughly honest, and won't hold back with my thoughts. I don't send food back if I don't like it because I don't believe in wasting food; and when you send it back it gets thrown out. I eat it all. When it comes to a restaurant wants me to buy their food with my money I look at it very simply:
If you want a good review, put out good food!
If you put out shitty food, expect a shitty review!
I'm no classically trained food guy...just a regular schmuck...the kind of person who is the lifeblood of restaurants. I am a call it as I see it kinda guy though, so I am curious to see how this unfolds...
August 1, 2017 (Photo: Me at 2007 Nelson Triathlon; by www.bestphotos.ca)
I haven't done as much floating lately. The water is too nice not to be swimming in, so rather than sittin' there floatin' on top of it, I am spending all my time inside of it. There is no feeling in the world like water all over your body. It's the most embracing thing ever. Liquid wonder caressing every part of you!
I am down to my river a few times a day. If I am too tired I will take a siesta on a floaty raft for sure, but as soon as I wake up though, I head to shore to get rid of the floaty so I can get to business...kiss the water with the depth of my soul.
I swim. I tread a lot of water. I float on my back. I bob up and down. I splash. I laugh and giggle. I take the time to appreciate it on my body.
I love the coolness of our water in the West Kootenay. It is so refreshing. If you toughen yourself up enough you can stay in for a long time and really drop your core temperature to make the hot sun a non-existent factor.
A definite other plus of the coolness of the water is that it has a soothing effect on my sore body. It just feels so damned good. Even if I have stayed in long enough that I am freezing, I can never get out on my first try. I always end up turning around and charging back in for at least another dive and glide...usually a few though.
I never don't take the time to consciously appreciate how much I love being in the water, and how it feels on my body when I am in it. Every time! I can’t help it. I am too full of gratitude to ignore taking in that appreciation.
In 2015, when I was doing all those fall time triathlons in the lake with no wetsuit, it was still the same. That is almost a contradiction in terms when you consider the level of anxiety I would get when I would simply be walking to the water's edge before getting in. So many times I even felt sick to my stomach before getting in. I even lost sleep over it. I was doing those for Sierra though, so I didn't mind one bit.
Getting in was so hard, but I always knew if I did it yesterday that I could do it again the next day. The toughest was probably when it was +2 degrees out and pouring down wet snowy-rain. Stripping down and making the seemingly impossible long walk from my van to the water took a lot of mental strength. I had to deal with both the physical side of things as well as the torrid head games my mind was trying to play. None of that was the hard part though. The hard part was when my first foot hit the water. Things started out bad and only got worse.
Maybe it was routine, or maybe it was something else, but it always played out the same. Although it was a gingerly wade, I could easily walk in up to my waist. Once to my waist I always had to pause. My anxiety levels surpassed all the maximum's I knew...even if it had only been since the previous day that I was in the same water. Each day was a clean slate of horrified-ness!
I would stand there kind of rubbing the water on my arms like suntan lotion or some shit. Then I would rub some on my chest and belly. It inevitably felt like I was just putting off getting right in. It was then that I would see a photo in my mind of Sierra skiing in Switzerland, and I would think of the promise I made to her. (Story for another time.) I would get mad at myself for bein' such a lil' Nancy-Boy piece of shit and then charge the rest of the way in.
As soon as I started swimming it felt like thousands of little razor blades were slicing these little slits all over me. It burned. It hurt. It caused my body to tighten up, and feel like my lungs were collapsing in on themselves. Despite all of that, none of it could touch how good it felt to have the water all over me.
The water seemed to be doing its best to tear me to shreds, but truthfully it was having the opposite effect. It made my spirit soar, and I most definitely took the time to appreciate it. The first 10-20 strokes were always special in regards to initializing the embrace of the moment. After that I started to fall into my gruuuve and the meditation within it all took over.
It always seemed inevitable that around the 3/4 way point of my swim, out deep in the cold lake on my way back towards the oat launch where I got in, that my body would completely give out. Instead of swimming across/through the water I would start sinking and my version of a freestyle stroke was reaching up to the water's surface to pull my sinking self up for air.
I felt like lead, and once I pulled my head to the surface I had to convince my burning lungs that they needed to work for one more breath. At that point it was all one stroke and one breath at a time. The ones after that didn't matter if I couldn't get through the ones in the moment. That was the fine line I brought myself to.
My muscles all throughout my body...especially my arms...would start ceasing up and pulling too. The shut-down button had definitely tried to press itself. Despite everything conspiring to work against me and bring me down, my resolve always was the champion of the moment. My deep rooted love and passion for the water rose me above all adversity...that and the burning image of not allowing myself to let down Sierra. I just couldn't live with that. I’d see her face in my mind, and also an image of her skiing the Swiss glacier, and any thought of giving up disgusted me.
When I got out of the water I was so cold that I could barely stand up or walk. It was like I was drunk as fuck on a shit ton of rye n’ ginger’s. My legs just did not want to work. I could barely talk either. I was shivering far too violently to string words together.
One would think that it would take all my mental strength to pull myself through that, but as much of that that strength I used, I still had more in reserve. This I know because even when I was coughing and choking on water trying to gasp for air with my sinking violently shivering body, I still had the capacity to enjoy the feel of the water. I even took the time to enjoy the sound of it splashing on my frozen ears. The refreshing wetness in my mouth and stabbing sharp pains on my eyes! (No wetsuit, no goggles, no swim cap…old-school bad-ass!) The fact that I had the entire lake all to myself didn't escape me either. I really loved that.
I love being in the water and swimming so much that the depth of that passion can easily take over all sense of logic and reason. That's why I gave up lounging in a floaty for the most part this summer when the water became tolerable for me. Sitting/laying on a floaty on top of the water under the hot sun feels like such a waste of time when I could be in the water instead. (It's like sitting in the ski lodge rather than charging the hill. You're just wasting runs and might as well go home.) Obviously swimming time in the lakes in the mountains in Canada is very limited, so I don't like to waste it. I feel that gratitude derived from that frame of thought every time I get in the water.
I hit that meditative state yesterday when I was treading water for a long time. I've been wanting to do something epic again, but have had no idea what that meant. It has been really eating at me and driving me half insane though. (I have had a couple attempts a bunch of months ago, but they got derailed because of much more important things.)
As with all the big stuff I dream up, I don't really think about it...things just kinda come to me from outta nowhere. Yesterday was that epiphany time again. I was happy about that. A picture of a nice big swim for myself came into mind. It is one that I don't know if my shitty body will let me do, but I know it is one that my mind will pester me to go for, and will destroy me over if I don’t at least take a shot at it.
I'd like to try to swim from Balfour down to Nelson. That is a 35km drive on the shoreline tracing road, so I guess the swim wouldn't be too far off of that.
I don't really see that as a big deal, nor do I see it as epic, but it would be a fun challenge. I can tell my body is in extreme objection and revolt even though it has no idea what that kind of a swim will mean. My left shoulder is the first point of extreme collapse that I can think of. My wrists are next. Then my ankles…and on and on…
The real shitty thing is that I have only had this idea now on the last day of July. There is no way I could be ready for that this year. Who knows how long it would take me, but it will easily be over 24 hour straight hours.
Aside from all the physical preparation for such a thing, being in our chilly water for that long, even in the height of summer, I would definitely need to swim in my wetsuit. That simply cannot be avoided. I am a long way from fitting into that right now. The current Nelson Burger Tour I have been doing does not help with that either…it is definitely pushing me in the other direction. (Giggle, giggle)
I think I could pull it off in a month of time as far as physically being ready to at least try the swim because I have been building some good muscle under my fat, but I couldn't fit into my wetsuit that fast. I am about 50 pounds above my ripped race weight that my wetsuit is sized for. Fifty pounds isn’t that big of a deal to lose, but in month it can’t really be done in a healthy way.
This all means that I would have to wait until next summer. That seems so far away. I also have to consider that, if my body history is any indication, my body is going to collapse again sooner or later...possibly with in the next year. When it does I will lose a fat chunk of time again. I can only hope that it holds on til after the end of next summer.
(2007 Nelson Triathlon - www.bestphotos.ca)
Aside from my part in that kind of swim, as far as the physical endurance, exhaustion, and hunger, etc, I also have logistics to think about. The big part of that would be needing someone to come with me in a kayak or rowboat or something. Being more than 24 hours, I imagine I would need a couple people to take shifts.
All this is neither here nor there, because I know for sure if I'm gonna go for something like this I will be able to find people to support me. It would be like in this photo my friend Phil Best took of me and the firefighter kayaker guy during the 2007 Nelson Triathlon…paddlin’ beside me while I do my thing.
I also had another long shot mini idea on top of all this. By next summer I will have lived here for 19 years. In all that time I have yet to hike up to Pulpit Rock. I have the image burned in my mind of swimming to the property right below the trailhead leading up there, and then go from the swim to hike to the lookout. That’d be the little cherry-on-top nice touch to the journey if I am able to pull it off. (If I get ‘er all done, I have a feeling someone’ll have to scrape me off the rock, and then drag my busted up self down the hill. It’d be worth it though.)
I already have a picture in my mind of a trial run from the 6 mile beach into town with a target date of July 9th. (That is the date of the final Grateful Dead show ever as well as the day I did my first trial run triathlon for myself in 2003.) Even that short swim will likely tear the hell outta my body, but it would be a good way to catch a glimpse into how my body is going to function. The only way I will find out the truth within any of it though is to just fuckin’ go for it. I can only hope and pray that my body somewhat holds up until the end of next summer. I will be crushed otherwise.
Although swimming from Balfour to Nelson isn't really an epic thing to do, it would still be little step in the direction of a tad bad-ass. Now that it is in my head I am actually really psyched on it. Waiting until next summer is a huge problem though. A huge one! My desire to really bring out the animal in me is burning too deep right now, and with each passing day I get a bit more frustrated; so even with this swim on my mind, I find myself lost in thought about something seriously bad-ass I could do. Until that reveals itself to me, the desire is gonna burn a hole in me.
This is another time I find myself teetering on the thin line between patience and horribly impatient.
**I just went back down for another swim when I finished writing this. On my way down to the water I had the thought that the best time to do the swim if my body is functional is the pinnacle night of the annual meteor shower around August 11-12. In 2001, I did the 40km kayak down from Queens Bay to Nelson at night during the meteor shower. It was phenomenal! The sky was falling down all around me while I paddled and felt the rhythms of the water. (I very highly recommend that to everyone) As the sun was coming up fish started jumping all around my boat! Daaaaamn!
I think that would be a great time to take a shot at this, not just for me, but also for my spotter. I think they would really enjoy the paddle under a sky full of shooting stars.
I really hope I have this in me…
Stuff Writin' About Kinda Guy
I am a simple guy who likes to dream of the impossible and go after it. I have found fun in writing about my journey as well as other things that inspire me too.