November 08, 2017

Earle Peach receives Mayor's Arts Award

It was a gala October evening to celebrate Vancouver's artists who enrich the city's culture through creativity and dialogue. It was the annual Mayor's Arts Awards, and a highlight was celebrating Sherry's friend and colleague, and new honouree, Earle Peach.

Earle received the award in the Community Engaged Art category. He leads four choirs: the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir; the Highs and Lows Choir; the Gathering Place choir; and InChoiring Minds. Earle also heads the delightful Illiteratty, and he is one half of Songtree with Barbara Jackson.

When the mayor and Earle were posing for the official photograph, the photographer asked the two men to turn into each other. Earle looked at the Mayor and said, "Frankly, I'd rather you turn into me."

Earle's acceptance speech was gentle and without ego. It spoke to the need to repair the world, to reconcile, to be accountable, and to raise up voices rarely heard, like those in the Highs and Lows.

Among a number of other projects, Earle is currently working with playwright Sherry MacDonald on a musical about the Battle of Ballantyne Pier.

Earle Peach is a gifted composer and songwriter, a dedicated political activist, and highly deserving of a Mayor's Art Award in 2017.

Now, if only our mayor could turn into someone more like Earle.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2017 by Jim Murray.

November 03, 2017

Bread & Honey Food Company ~ Parksville

What started as a simple get-together brunch after the-wedding-the-night-before, turned into a discovery of an amazing breakfast and lunch place. In Parksville.

Bread and Honey Food Company is small. It's located in a strip mall in Parksville. It actually doesn't look like much, but don't let any of that deceive you. In many ways, Bread and Honey reminds us of the original Locals in Courtenay, which also started in a strip mall. It's unfortunate, but once Locals expanded to a bigger and better location a few blocks away, it lost some of its special magic. Bread and Honey is all magic.

Bread and Honey Food Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The food is excellent in so many ways. It's not complicated, and not necessarily fancy but flavourful far beyond regular restaurant fare, because the ingredients are obviously chosen with care and attention to detail. Then, what Chef Michael does with these ingredients, is nothing short of incredible. Service is warm, inviting and exemplary.

Bread and Honey existed before, and apparently was good in that incarnation too. This version, same location, opened in late June with new owners, Angela Sproul and her husband, Chef Michael Sproul. Open Wednesdays through Sundays for breakfast and lunch, and brunch on weekends. From our brief encounter, reservations are highly recommended.

Wonderful. Magical. When in Parksville, come and be amazed.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2017 by Jim Murray.

Milano Coffee in Comox

While on Vancouver Island this autumn we noticed a relatively new coffee shop on Comox Avenue, in Comox of all places.

It's Vancouver's own Milano Coffee and this one opened about a year ago. It's Milano's fifth café, with three others in the home town, and one in Toronto. Of all places.

The Comox café is actually a licensed operation, but it's all in the family as Robin and Vickie Henry of Comox, are related to the Milano owners, Brian and Linda Turko. (Linda established the much-loved Turk's Coffee Bar on Commercial Drive in Vancouver in the latter part of the last century.)

The café in Comox has a simple, Winnipeg-style about it. Casual and spartan. Comfortable environment, but hard chairs. The espresso is simply excellent, and very much in the Milano tradition. Probably too much milk and foam in the macchiato, but these things happen. 

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2017 by Jim Murray.