I just got myself a rowing machine. I've been wanting one for a long time. I messaged this quickly to my friend, Jo, about it...
"can only do short spurts on my rowing machine. hurts my lower spine and kidneys like mad, so i am on it 3-5 times a day instead of less times for longer durations"
She asked me,
"Do you know why it hurts your lower spine and kidneys?"
This was my response,
"yes. 'cause my body is shitty. in a way, i am not at all looking forward to triathlons again because of how much it hurts me to sit on a bike. it just gets worse and worse. even though we have brand new paved roads in my community, I put off riding this summer til next spring because it hurts too much. I'm saving riding til next year. i have to re-think the way I ride a bike and find a new one that suits how I have to ride. sitting is just so bad. rowing machine hurts in different way. as i eluded to, it gets my lower spine and kidneys. i just gotta stop whining and toughen up...and get through it bit by bit...try to keep extending sessions, you know, go a little bit further into the pain each time to where it will eventually either melt away because it is so bad, or i just stop giving a fuck. either one is inevitable."
All this is kind of a strange thing for me. I don't really like that I always have to charge straight into pain to do simple things. At the same time, it's all I know, and I like being defiant...in this case, against my pain and my body.
I separate myself from my body. There's my body and my pain within it, and then there's me...who I am. The 'who I am' part...
I love stickin' it to the man!
I love fuckery!
I am no stranger to defiance!
In my own case, my body/pain is the man, and I am in defiance of its own comfort every time I charge into the thick of shit. When my body screams at me to stop, it usually makes me want to dig in harder...shove the pain right back in its own face and kinda make fun of it.
I love being in defiance of my own self. There is something quite satisfying about that. To find that unintentional defiance, I have to wade through the sea of excruciation. That is always fun, but it is also very tiring because it is always a slug-fest all out brawl. That shit can wear a guy out.
My problem is that I am always thinking about goin' for it. It's never not on my mind. Every day! That is not going to change. My desire drives me into madness, and the only way to fend off that insanity is to dive into the pain.
As much as I have to restructure the whole realm of triathlons just to be able to do them again, and knowing how much it is going to hurt me to do so, the madness in my mind leaves me no alternative. I have to embrace what lie ahead within it all. So, I'm stuck! I have no choice but to make myself hurt more just to ease the chaos in my mind. It turns out that I am lucky that I am a defiant little fucker 'cause it makes it much easier to stick it to the hurt.
Jo-Ann is an animal. Kept chargin' through two different ankle surgeries.
I was greeted with a super kind surprise when I walked through the door and saw Natalie behind the bar. Maaan, that's the kind of welcoming you're lookin' for when you walk into any room. She's such a wonderful person, and she has that job dialed. Because I don't feel like I worded that right, I'm gonna share the message I sent to her when I got home...
"Maaan, shiiiit...It was so good to see you. You made me realize something I really miss...
Seeing you work a bar!
You're so freakin' good at it. There's just a naturalness to the way you move and interact with people. I had come to love watching it just from paying attention.
Do you remember when I used to come into The Falls after shift, grab a ginger ale, and then lean against the wall at the entrance to the washroom hallway? I'd chill out for a bit watching the music, but in doing that repeatedly, I inevitably saw you do what you do. I like watching people do things they're good at, and you're good at being a human, and that translates into the way you interact with people at your work...or anywhere, but I'm not talkin' about anywhere right now. 🙂 You're somethin' alright. Pretty good stuff Natalie."
Greeted by some wonderful
The reason why I say this about Natalie is because that's who you're dealing with as a customer at Yum Son...just this fantastic person who crushes at her job because of her awesomeness.
Me to myself: "Alright, off to a great start!"
Then I look to the left of her to see Brian leaning against the other side of the bar!
Also, me to myself: "Shiiit, lookkit this!"
So my dining experience started at great, and then immediately added in some more awesome, which brought the whole situation to totally stylin'!
Because I am a deadbeat without a phone, I had to get a real menu 'cause I couldn't do the scan thing for an internet menu.
Natalie knows alcohol isn't really my thing, but asked me if I wanted some other kind of fancy drink. I said, "sure." When she asked me what kind I wanted, I said that I didn't care, and that she can just surprise me.
Bring on the awesome! She gets to work, and starts breezing through the drink with her kind summery finesse. (That's when I realized I missed watching her in action.)
Natalie having some fun while whipping up a fancy drink surprise
Dalat Market Soda
Natalie whipped me up a Dalat Market Soda, and when she brought it to me, Brian was up on his little stage perch getting ready to play some tunes. Perfect timing!
He is a musical monument around our community. Brain is always in the thick of things to bring kind melodies to our ears and hearts with his ukulele. Whether solo, duo, trio, or whatever, Brian pops up everywhere...at weddings, festivals, markets, restaurants and pubs, and he even books music for places too. He starts to feel like a piece of home for the amount you see him at all these things you do in the area. It just so happens that he's an excellent guy too, so that's pretty good.
Of course he had to bust into a Ripple by the Grateful Dead for his second tune of the night. Not sure if that was for me, but I was more than happy to be self centred and selfish for a moment and say that he totally played that for me, even though he didn't!
There are a few things that have my number in the food world, and Lemongrass is one of them, so I ordered the Yum Son Noodle Bowl with a Spring Roll (Plant Based) add on. While I was waiting for that, I dove into my fancy-pants Natalie drink, and watched Brian lay down some tunes.
I like that they serve their drinks with a reusable metal straw rather than a disposable plastic one. Nice touch! (The little things, you know?!) The Dalat Market Soda gives a push and pull flavour. I can only describe it as though a tropical rainforest was in unison with a temperate forest in our local BC mountains...the sharp bitterness of the temperate coniferous crossed with the sweet fruitiness of the tropical. (From the forest scent point of view.)
I described the only sip of a mojito I ever had as, "this tastes like what it smells like in a cedar forest immediately after a rainfall." When I said that, the girls I was with were kinda surprised by that reaction, and then all said together that that was an amazing analogy. I don't know if it is, but that is how I described it. This Dalat Market Soda was similar in that context to me, as I could only define it to myself in terms like that of the different rainforests.
The diversity in flavouring came from the sweetness of pureed strawberry combined with the bitterness of grapefruit, and then add in some mint layered throughout. It was yummy and very refreshing!
I saw some of my guests from my hotel who I recommended to come here to see Brian play some music, and eat some good food. They were a real sweet couple. It was nice to see them.
**A side note is that it was so kind to have some live music during this bizarre time of inching our way through post-quarantine while still in the midst of this whole COVID craziness. A little slice of what was once normal...I dig it! (There's those little things again.)
Yum Son Noodle Bowl
The food came in on a vibrant wave. Enticing to the eyes. A nice light looking meal. I find Yum Son to be that way overall though. Their food tends to be light and not overbearing, but also plays to the theatre of one's eyes.
The Yum Son Noodle Bowl is pretty simple in the ingredients offered, but comes together to be completely satisfying. The bed of rice noodles lay that foundational canvass that allows the rest of the colours to come to life. I like the way it sang its own song in front of me before I got into it. It foretold to me of something wonderful about to come while also conveying to my belly not to worry about a heavy load because it was a dish not of that nature.
Lemongrass Grilled Pork Loin...yup, I'm into that! Chicken too?! Alright, that's not bad! For a seemingly simple dish, there was a nice mix of textures on the plate. From the soft rice noodles that melt away quite effortlessly, and the moist pork and chicken, to the differing crunches that the carrot and lettuce offered in comparison to the subtly creamy sweet crunch of the peanuts, you get taken for a nice stroll down Textural Avenue. (Why did I suddenly say that to myself in the beat of Electric Avenue by Eddie Grant?!) I must say, I rather liked the way it came together. I also liked the way the cilantro snuck up from behind like a beautiful little whisper that spoke to the metaphorical listening ear of my tasting senses.
Spring Roll (Plant Based) add on
I admit it, I drizzled the remaining garlic and chili vinaigrette from the spring rolls all over my food upon finishing those little beauties. I really liked the way the spring rolls were done. They had a different interpretation of crunch while not to compromise the freshness of their ingredients inside. Not bad Yum Son, not too bad at all.
Garlic & Chili Vinaigrette
I went back about a week later to get some wings. How could I not do that?! They are known to have the best wings in town by many a local, so it just had to be done. To tell you the truth though, I barely paid attention to them. They were just so good that I shoved them into my face one after another with kind of a reckless abandon. I was quite shameless about it, and was vividly aware of such, but I think it's more than OK to every-so-often completely dive into something eyeballs deep when it is as kind as those wings are that they bring out of their kitchen.
Sweet Soy Chili Pepper Lime Crispy Chicken Wings
Shameless bliss?! I'm totally into that for sure!
Understanding why Yum Son has positioned itself among the top food in Nelson is not a hard proposition to grasp. Next on my list from there are their Bao Buns that I have heard so much about. Sounds yummy!
522 Victoria Street
Hours: 11:30am til late (usually 9:00pm) Daily
Phone: (778) 463-2234
Quite simply, Pitchfork has cemented itself as the top restaurant in Nelson. It isn't even close. This has been an easy conclusion to reach after having very in depth conversations about food in our town with hundreds of people this summer.
They have over half of the vote from all the guests at my hotel. It's to the point where I have started finding it quite fascinating listening to stories of the food and service upon my guests' return. Personally, I've never had anything but absolutely fantastic food when I have eaten there myself, so I already know what they're trying to convey of their experience, but it enables us to go really deep into the conversation. Those conversations unanimously lean heavily in one direction, that Pitchfork is absolutely crushing it!
Whether I have a reservation, or just drop-in, after I get settled at my table, inside or out on the patio, I will usually go stand just inside the entrance door, lean against the wall, and watch executive chef, Josh (Mateschitz), at the pass. His pass is inside an open doorway just off of the front entrance to the restaurant.
Watching Josh is great. I love it! He has full command of his kitchen, while simultaneously plating up exquisite food. It is easy to see why he is the three time defending champ of our town's annual burger competition.
He has a very high integrity, and that can easily be seen through the words of the overly impressive feedback from so many of my guests. It is impossible to get that kind of continuous high praise if the integrity is not there, so it's just implied!
Laser focus from the three time defending Nelson Burger Month champion, but that's only the beginning of what executive chef Josh Mateschitz has to offer at Pitchfork Eatery
I must say, I love the intensity in his eyes while moving through a dinner rush. He just oozes focus, and the results of that speak for themselves. As much as I enjoy watching him at his craft, I can't stand there forever being a total creepshow, so I go back to my nice little peaceful table to sit down and wait for my food.
I just went to Pitchfork twice recently...once on the patio, and once inside. On the first occasion, I had the Braised Duck Leg. That was inside. One of the first things I noticed while I was waiting was the music, and how it seemed to hold the perfect rhythmic flow to go with everything within the restaurant. For some reason, I notice little things like that too...how the music fits in with everything. After all, it is the soundtrack that narrates the journey into the food experience that a restaurant delivers.
Pitchfork music = Check!
The duck might as well have been a club that Josh slapped me upside the head with, because when it was delivered to my table it knocked me right in the senses.
The duck wasn't the first thing I went for though, that was the Yam Puree. I didn't even think about anything else when my eye caught that. It had tractor beam-like powers the way it grabbed me and drew me in. I've become very selective of my first bite at a restaurant because that's when the palate is a clean canvass to explore the highs and lows of flavour.
The easy thing to say is, maaaan, did that puree ever not disappoint, but that's just short changing the truth. Its texture was so velvety smooth, and flawlessly harmonious in the flavour, that it literally made me gasp aloud as soon as it touched my tongue. I've never done that before, and truthfully, I never knew that could even be a thing, but I didn't hesitate to embrace the reaction that puree evoked! It was insanely good.
Braised Duck Leg with Yam Puree
I feel like art is meant to draw out emotion, and the art of food does that in a way unlike all other art because of the way it engages the senses. This yam puree was an artistic masterpiece, and it set the tone for the entire dish. Holy smokes! It forced me into some quick pondering...
"Do I even need to eat anything else on my plate here? Perfection has already been attained!"
Of course the answer was yes, but I went back for more of the puree before tasting anything else. I savoured that second round before I went into the duck. Mmmmmmmmm!!!
I wondered to myself some more, "did the puree just steal the show before the headlining star even got a chance to perform?"
A valid question!
The duck had something pretty strong to say about that though! It was beautifully tender and rich inside. It had a nice crunch on the skin from the perfect char. I have no choice, I have to say it again...
It was cooked perfectly!
The meat was moist, and it just slid off the bone so effortlessly. That's the moment when you see the skill in technique where you can take a meat and cook it so perfectly that it just melts. (There's that word again.)
So, it would appear that in the challenge of perfection, where the puree laid the benchmark on the dish, the duck refused to be upstaged, and announced loud and clear why it was the star of the show, and left me sitting in the audience with only one word to say,
The dish as a whole was a subtle hearty, but richly elegant knockout. Absolutely spectacular! That was the kind of dish that all backyard BBQ'r's strive to achieve, but never reach. It also shows exactly the merit in why one would go out for dinner, whether as a traveling tourist, or a local looking to embark into a finely executed culinary experience.
Dynamite patio that is backed onto park space and away from traffic
The next time I went to Pitchfork, I sat out on the patio with a friend. I took a total different direction for my order. Instead of the heartiness that is delivered through the duck, I went for the lighter Ahi Tuna Poke Salad.
Celline... I actually do have the odd friend.
Ahi Tuna Poke Salad
It was a nice refreshing style dish. I felt that the visual contrast from the tuna against the greens was something I needed to see because an inner whatever told me that it would be visually stunning. I'm also a sucker for avocado, so my intrigue was peaked from the allure of how the crispy avocado would present itself with the greens.
The result?! I mean, what can I really say?! The only way it need be expressed is that it was on par with the Braised Duck Leg from my first visit, and that left me with one word...
Onto the dessert. I wasn't really listening to what our server said they had, I just went with whatever the chocolate one was. I heard, 'chocolate,' and I said, "OK!" As simple as that.
Josh, you silly bastard!
Maaan, when it was plopped in front of me, and I saw that raspberry coulis like an almost motionless thick waterfall exploding in vibrancy against the contrasting chocolate torte, my taste buds kinda forced their will upon me to immediately start salivating.
Raw Vegan Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Torte
Sometimes the most complex thing can draw the simplest explanation. Digging into that dessert...
I actually didn't look at what it was til several days later...
"Raw Vegan Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Torte."
Celline chose the Hibiscus Creme Brulee for her dessert.
Hibiscus Creme Brulee
There's nothing else to say about the food at Pitchfork. There is, however, one thing left to address: The Homemade Ginger Ale!
Oh my freakin' goodness! It is like nectar from the gods! I had that at my first ever trip to Pitchfork, and it's the first thing I order before even looking at what food to get each time I have returned. Their ginger ale is completely out of this world! (Yes, they will gladly put rum in it for you.)
The quality of food I have had at Pitchfork Eatery, the consistency within it, add in the fact that Josh is the three time defending champ of the annual Nelson Burger Month, despite everyone gunning for him, and then take into account that over half of my guests all have it as the best joint in town leaves me with a full rounded understanding of its prominence.
I really shouldn't say anything other than that executive chef Josh Mateschitz and Pitchfork Eatery have lit this town ablaze in its magnificence!
Reservations recommended (for inside)
518 Hall Street
Hours: 11:00am - 9:00pm Daily (closed from 3:00pm - 4:30pm most days)
Brunch: 11:00am - 2:00pm Daily
Phone: (250) 352-2744
Set into an old downtown heritage building right on Baker Street, the Dominion Cafe oozes of a rustic history.
When you walk into a place that is filled with plants and the overflowing scents of a variety of fresh baked muffins, you can't help but to feel an intrinsic sense of hominess. It permeates within you, and sets you at ease while immediately instilling a depth of natural relaxation.
I arrived right before they unlocked their door at opening in the morning. It was before any muffins had yet to be put out. Sitting down, it sure didn't take long for me to want to start eating the air though. It smelled so good that it wound my senses into a frenzied overload. I felt similar to being a kid trying to sleep on Christmas Eve because the anticipation was almost unbearable. It smelled so good that it was torturous.
I couldn't take the wait, so I had to get something else to keep me occupied til the muffins came out. I went with a Chai with almond milk. I don't have those too often, but I really like 'em. They're super sweet with a tiny little subtle bite that kinda sneaks up on you. Man, are they ever good! Chai Latte for the win!
A chai was the perfect thing to keep my mind off the muffins, and it almost worked...almost! You see, the problem was that the muffins' Kung Fu was strong, and they whupped my chai's ass all up over the place...and then put a death grip on my senses! Neither me nor my hot drink stood a chance!
Straight back to torturous!
It was a rough couple minutes at that point as time was standing still in my moment of suffering. When you walk into a place and you wanna eat the air, it's like walking into a wall of anticipation. The payoff in the moment of truth though is so worth it! Sooo worth it!
As soon as the muffins were put out, I rolled right up to the front. Looking at them in the display was like watching an angelic choir sing angelic harmonies! I was instantly drifting away!
I picked the raspberry pecan muffin as well as the vegan muffin of the day. I also got the their Chunky Monkey smoothie to wash 'em down with. It's not your typical sweet fruit smoothie, so I had to try it.
I went for the Raspberry Pecan muffin first because I have kinda been into the sharp tartness that is laced with such sweetness within those berries lately. It was a sensuous pleasure to sink my teeth into that thing. Did it ever not disappoint!
Raspberry Pecan Muffin
The little saucer plates the muffins were served on made me think of being at my great grandma's cottage in the Ontario Muskoka's when I was a little kid. I was taken right back to little grandma's age old cottage with all my cousins...swimming, fishing off the dock, row boating, cooking Jiffy Pop on the little wood cook stove. I could see it all crystal clear. It was a fascinating feeling that was quite unexpected, and I rather enjoyed that. It really added another level of that hominess that I eluded to that was so prevalent as soon as I walked in the place.
Chunky Monkey garnished just right
That smoothie was packed with so much goodness. It was even garnished with chocolate chips & finely chopped walnuts. The Chunky Monkey is a very visually pleasing drink on top of how kick-ass it was to drink down. Its flavour was not overbearing, and in its way, was somewhat odd in how it was packed with so much flavour, but delivered itself in such a subtle way that was refreshing personified. Maaan, did it ever hit the spot!
Unbeknownst to me, I found myself in a beautiful grudge match between the muffin and the smoothie. They were fighting furiously for my attention because of their equally impressive goodness. Each time I looked at both, I couldn't decide which to indulge in, so I enjoyed the little fight they caused within me between my taste buds, belly and my mind.
I wasn't having either though. I was just staring at them waiting for the grudge match to play itself out. I was totally zoned out on how awesome both the muffin and the drink were. Then I'd snap out of it and realize I wasn't eating either, so I'd frantically grab both and shove them in my face at the same time. Caveman the crap outta them!
It was a scenario that played itself on loop a few times. When I realized that, I really saw how good they each were. If there is a food something that draws you into pause while staring at its beauty, and then snaps you out of it to cram it in your face, that's nothing less than every indication of its quality.
I was fully conscious of that, and it led me to sum it up to myself like this...
So, I'm instinctively adding it all up in my head...plants, dishes, the thickness of muffin scents in the air with the slowed down old-time atmospheric feel in this fast paced modern world, and add to it this unreal muffin and smoothie, I can't help but feeling relaxingly rejuvenated from my visit here.
Definitely the best muffins in town! No place else is even close!
There's also the notion that so many of the other places in town are all doing renovations and trying to fancily modernize themselves, but The Dominion Cafe is the place where you feel an embracing sense of home. It is humble alongside its heritage, and welcomes you with open arms. If you're lucky, you might even see a funky skateboard reminiscent of Van Gogh's, Starry Night, come through the door, or even find a piece of vintage clothing.
Good things await at The Dominion Cafe!
From here I am going to leave you with part of a message Daylen (Hotte), the owner, sent me about the ingredients and suppliers she uses. It well represents the love she puts into what she offers to her customers.
We are passionate about everything local, coffee from 3 different Kootenay roasters, Rooftop, Trail Coffee Co. and Juggernaut Roastery. We serve organic ethically sourced teas from New Moon tea co. out of Nakusp. Our hot chocolate is created by Viva Cacao, a local chocolate company in the (Slocan) Valley. Our chai is made in-house and is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. We have made an effort to ethically source as many ingredients as possible. Our eggs are delivered from an organic farm in Blewett and our tempeh is from a small Okanagan company called Vigilante.
We also make all alternative mylks in house, such as pumpkin seed, almond, macadamia coconut, hemp & oat, and pistachio coconut. All mylks are organic and made fresh daily.
We're famous for baking up giant decadent muffins. We bake over 14 kinds fresh daily such as BlackBerry pecan white chocolate, orange espresso dark chocolate and strawberry rhubarb, and have a wide selection in vegan and gluten free muffins and baked goods as well.
The Dominion Cafe
334 Baker Street (one block away)
Hours: Tues-Sat 8:00am - 5:00pm | Sun 10:00am - 4:00pm
Phone: (250) 352-1904
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.