Oliver and I took in the 2015 Santa Claus Parade in downtown Saskatoon on Saturday. Here are some photos from the parade.
Oliver and I took in the 2015 Santa Claus Parade in downtown Saskatoon on Saturday. Here are some photos from the parade.
On Sunday, Jordon and I decided to take the boys (and dog) for one last hike. We checked the weather and it said that Waskesiu would be about 6 degrees above zero so we decided to go for it. I don’t think it ever got that warm but it was nice enough to hike and explore the Kingsmere Lake Trail which goes between the north part of Waskesiu Lake to Kingsmere Lake.
As you start, you go 500m down the trail towards Grey Owl’s cabin until you come to a long flight of stairs to the stream below. After crossing a bridge you follow the portage rail track until you get to the Southend Campground before heading back. It wasn’t the longest hike but it was a nice way to end the season and the boys had a great time exploring one more trail in Prince Albert National Park.
For those of you who noticed the ridiculous socks that Jordon is wearing, they are compression socks and are supposed to help his leg heal. For the record, they aren’t working.
Jordon and I went to the Odd Couple on 20th Street tonight where I wasn’t sure what to expect. Jordon has been there several times over the last two years but this was my first time and I was looking forward to it.
The experience started with making reservations where I was told to come for a 5:30 serving before it got really busy. The other suggestion was at 7:00 p.m. so I took the earlier one. The person I talked to was right, it was packed down there as soon as it hit 6:00 p.m.
Our table was waiting for us and we ordered some Vietnamese Spring Rolls to start and they were what I expected.
We then ordered the Gai Lan Beef Wok Fry and the Chicken with Shimeji + Oyster Mushroom to share.
The mains were amazing. Extremely tender meat, perfectly cooked and brought out quickly. They also come with a bowl of jasmine rice that again was perfect, light and fluffy. Even though we shared them, the flavours were complimentary and they went really well together.
To finish we ordered an order of Apple Pie Spring Rolls which are Granny Smith Apples, Lemon, Lemon Zest, Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, Nutmeg all wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and deep fried. Oh yeah, it is also served with a large scoop of vanilla ice-cream. It may be my favourite dessert ever.
The restaurant was packed with not an empty table to spare but the service from our server was spectacular. The food was out quick and she managed to check in on through the evening. Even thought it was busy, it never felt rushed.
From the appetizer to the dessert, it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. Combine that with some of the best table service I have ever received, I can’t say enough good things about The Odd Couple. It really set the bar high for restaurants across the city in terms of food and service.
Am fairly confident these photos are by Alan Yuen.
It was a quiet weekend around here.
I brought home some smokies and buns on Friday evening where Jordon, Mark, and Oliver already had a fire going in the firepit. Mark had mowed the raked and mowed the leaves and lawn and broke apart some branches for the fire. By the time I was home, the fire was roaring which gave me some time to get changed and get some supper prepped while the fire burned down into some hot coals.
We roasted the smokies on the fire while relaxing outside. After the smokies and hot dogs were eaten, we all went inside and packed up our go-bags for a trip to Waskesiu and Prince Albert National Park on Saturday morning.
The goal was to get some wildlife shots but since we brought Marley, we hiked the Trail Beard Trail which is 17 km up the the Narrows Road (which always confused me because the Narrows Trail is on the other side of Waskesiu Lake). The trail is nice but is different than all of the other trails up there. First of all, the trees are old and massive (in part because of the boggy soil). There is cleared deadfall everywhere that is there to rot back into the soil over decades. The trail is considered “moderate” because of the climbing but I found it an easy walk. We took some landscape photos and then kept going further north and checked out the Narrows Marina. Jordon decided to head back down the Narrows Road where we stopped on at Paignton Beach, made a fire, cooked some food, and had a picnic lunch. Since it was in bear country, we actually had a picinic lunch while Oliver watched out for Yogi and Boo Boo. If you are up in Prince Albert National Park and want to get away from the crowds on the main beach, it is a gorgeous place to chill out and relax.
Since it was so nice, we all waded into the lake. So let me get this straight. The weather was gorgeous, the lake was freezing.
We used Mark’s backcountry stove to cook up some Knorr Side Kicks. The stove worked well but like most back country cookware, the pots were really thin and were prone to burning the food. I also brought along some polish sausages which were cooked on the fire pit so we had some burnt pasta as a side. Since it is me, I forgot the bags of chips but that was a minor thing.
From there, we drove back into Waskesiu and saw the Hawood Inn was packed with people up for the Thanksgiving weekend. With Waskesiu and the entire park so quiet, I understand why people would go up there. If the weather holds, we may camp up there next Thanksgiving.
Jordon cleaned the kitchen and house so we could relax on Sunday morning before I descended into the kitchen to make the Thanksgiving meal. To keep the kids busy, I bought Oliver The Lego Movie which he showed to Jordon (who had never seen it). Oliver is a living spoiler. He managed to tell Jordon what was going to happen just before it happened through the whole movie.
Thanksgiving Dinner was pretty uneventful and basic.
After dinner, we had some tea and chilled out.
Hope your weekend was a great one as well. I’m back at work tomorrow where it will be insane with people doing last minute shopping and getting angry when we are out of stuff. You know, because it is my fault we are out of stuff.
With Ford Canada lending us a 2015 Ford Focus and then sending us on a trip for a weekend, we went to Ogema, Saskatchewan where we took the Southern Prairie Railway for a trip to Horizon, Saskatchewan.
It is a tourist railway and we were taken in a refurbished Pullman passenger car an hour down the track where we explored the Federal Grain Elevator. Then it was back to Ogema where we headed back to Saskatoon.
The trip down to Ogema was fantastic and if I was in the area, I’d do it again. The boys and I had a great time learning about the history of the area, the train we were on, and the changes in southern Saskatchewan (which is now strangely empty since the advent of industrial farming).
The elevator was another great experience. I had never been in one and may never be in one again. Learning about how it worked and was constructed was a lot of fun.
If you are in the area and have some time on a weekend for a great adventure, make sure you check out the Southern Prairie Railway. It’s worth the time and money to step back in history and see Saskatchewan from a different perspective.
While in Moose Jaw with the 2015 Ford Focus, we had plans to go to Smoke’s Poutinerie (which had just gone belly up there) and instead went to Déjà Vu Café, a diner that specializes in chicken wings and milkshakes. It was a fabulous choice and I can’t recommend it enough.
Below is the 74 different flavors of chicken wings that have to choose from.
Did I mention they have a few milkshake flavors?
To start with, they take your milkshake order because you know it is made from scratch the old fashioned way. Oliver ordered an Egg Nog milkshake, Mark ordered a Chocolate mint milkshake and I ordered a chocolate cheesecake milkshake.
They were as amazing as we expected and a meal in itself.
For wings, Mark ordered barbecue wings and thought they were amazing. They also came with excellent fries on the side. I ordered their ribs. I know. I was a nationally recognized chicken wing place and here I am ordering ribs. I have no defense other than I wanted some ribs. They too were great. Of course they also have some fun dessert options but you know those milkshakes got in the way.
The service was good despite it being packed and a close Saskatchewan Roughrider game on (the Banjo Bowl that we lost). There was a lineup of people to get in in part because no one wanted to leave. That of course is testament to the staff, décor, and food. It was all fantastic. The wait was manageable because the game was playing on two large screen televisions but if I was going to go again, I’d go before 6:00 p.m.
If you live in Moose Jaw, you have probably experienced how good this place is already but if you are visiting Moose Jaw, this is well worth the time and money for a fun night out. It’s also only a short block away from the Temple Gardens Inn.
Deja Vu Cafe
Last night was Nuit Blanche in Saskatoon. For the second time, Jordon, Mark, Oliver and I went down and checked it out. Jordon’s ankle is extremely sore so I wasn’t sure how long he would last. As soon as he got a block away from the car, he said, “this was a mistake”. It is a testament to our expectations for the night that he kept going.
As is our tradition, we take the boys down at the start and take them home around 9:30. Then I come back down, find Jordon, and hang out with him until later. I had my Olympus OM-D E-M10 and the Panasonic 20mm f/1.7 II last night. The 40mm focal length is great for street views and it’s wide open aperture is perfect for low light events like Nuit Blanche. It allowed me grab a bunch of photos that I thought captured the event on 20th Street.
I was also really happy that my favorite store in Saskatoon was open. Soul Paper is a wonderful pen and stationary store that if you haven’t checked it out, you need to.
This installation by the Canadian Light Source is a mini synchrotron. The more times that you push some buttons, the more light streams are added. People were fascinated by it all night long.Hey, it’s NDP Saskatoon West candidate, Sheri Benson who is volunteering with Nuit Blanche. Jordon chatted with her a bit and as she walked away, he said to me, “I feel sorry for candidates who have to run in an election this long.” I hope she had a nice night at Nuit Blanche, she deserves a night off.The new resident of The 525, The King and I.
This kind of disappointed me. Both Mark and I checked it out by getting on the ground and rolling underneath it. Later in the night people started shredding it which wasn’t cool or respectful to the artist.
This was around 9:00 p.m. Jordon was getting him a snack at Ace Food Truck and Oliver had nothing left.
We are doing something cool this weekend. Ford Canada is giving us a 2015 Ford Focus for review and we are taking it on a road trip to southern Saskatchewan.
First we are heading to Moose Jaw after taking a short detour to Keeler, Saskatchewan.
We will be taking the shorter blue route. The grey route looks interesting but I think you need an up armored Humvee or a Ford Raptor to survive that highway. It’s in less than stellar shape in some parts.
As for Keeler, it is an unincorporated town that is home to the Cooper’s. It is has gone through a population boom and is now 15 people. According to Google Street View, the bar that Jordon used to frequent when he was six years old (I’ll give you a moment to reflect on that last part…. life is different in rural Saskatchewan) and the garage that his grandfather used to run is still standing.
Here is a great documentary on the Claybank Brick Factory. Bricks from the factory have been used for World War II warships, the Delta Bessborough, and even the Cape Canaveral launch pads for the Apollo Space Missions. It should be interesting.
Sunday morning we are getting up and heading south to Rouleau, which of course is home to Dog River and Corner Gas. From We will pass there and head to Ogema, Saskatchewan where we will head to the Southern Prairie Railway.
Using a renovated Pullman 1922 passenger car and refurbished GE 44 ton engine, adventurers are taken back to a time when Canada’s fortunes depended on the movement of people and goods across our great nation. The train runs west along an old CPR branch line to Horizon, and Pangman, Saskatchewan.
Then it is a long drive back to Saskatoon and the conclusion of a great trip.
We have been to Rock Creek Tap and Grill numerous times over the last couple of years. The food is what you would expect at a bar and grill. Higher end burgers, pastas, beef, and chicken. The food is good enough to come back for but not remarkable. Then again at the price they are charging, it doesn’t need to be.
The service has always been pleasant when we are in there in the late evening. Our drinks and food are out quickly and are cooked quite nicely. The kitchen does a great job at night which makes it a go to spot to meet up with friends. Service has been attentive throughout the evening.
If there has been one issue that has taken away from Rock Creek, it is that we have had some unpleasant experiences with unruly patrons in the bar. While we have been in the restaurant, they have been loud enough to ruin the evening for everyone else. I don’t know if it is a case where someone came in drunk or they should have been cut off sooner but it’s not an issue that I find at other restaurants and it is frustrating to have to deal with it when you are just popping into the restaurant to meet up with friends.
If you do go, check out any of these dishes. You won’t be disappointed.
At the end of the day, it’s a great addition to Saskatoon’s west end. Hopefully some more restaurants will follow their lead into Blairmore and create a culinary district for all of the westside of Saskatoon to enjoy.