Chef Ben Cote Podcast – Bouillabaisse

This podcast was originally created for Capers Community Markets and hosted on their website.  After their purchase by Whole Foods, the local Capers site was taken offline, the podcasts with them.

We’re happy to make the podcast available to you here:


We’ve just posted the latest Capers Community Markets podcast.

This one features Cassis Bistro owner and creator of Étuvé foods, Chef Ben Cote.

All I can say is – – – YUM.



Tonight's Meal – Fruit and Berries with a Chaser

I’m like the poster child for good great eating habits. Just look at what I cooked up (well, sliced up actually) for myself tonite. EB may be on the road, but this house is nutrition heaven baby.

Here’s the latest installment of tonite’s meal in 424 pixels or less…


Disclosure:  the burger was from Joe’s on W. 4th.  It had bacon on it. It had cheese on it.  It had a pickle on it.  It came with fries.  I used ketchup.  It was delicious.

Tonight's Meal – Indian with a Twist

EB’s out of town on a road trip and there seems to be a fair bit of debate about my eating habits while she’s gone.

It’s true I love to order from Veneto Pizza on Londsdale, Musashi in the West End for sushi, and I get a hankering for fish and chips from C-Lovers on Marine (their web site barely exists, sorry).

But heh, just because EB’s not in the kitchen doesn’t mean there can’t be some mean cookin’ goin’ on.

So, what better challenge than to be totally transparent and blog my evening meal for the next week or so. You know, let the sad truth hang out for all to see.

I nixed the idea of taking a picture of what I’m eating, I’ll leave that kind of thing to Roland.

Instead, I present . . . tonite’s meal . . . in 424 pixels or less . . .


Old Dogs, New Tricks

old dog in howe sound

My mom and dad are both in their eighties and grew up on the prairies. Even though they live in an area where there are lots of lakes and rivers, my family heritage is not water based.

Definitely flat landers.

Aside from a short and wet ride once on a Laser, my dad’s never been on a sailboat. My mom is super uncomfortable in anything smaller than a BC Ferry.

So, I really wasn’t sure how they’d take to Madsu, our 22 foot Catalina sailboat.

Both of them totally loved it. I couldn’t get my dad off the tiller, and my mom actually claimed to be relaxed, even when the boat heeled in the puffs. The latter is a feat of immense proportion.

I have an old sailing text book in my nautical library (a corner of the shelf in the living room) and dad feverishly devoured every page in the evenings. Out on the boat, he quickly got the hang of things. Like any beginner we had lots of snake wake, but I was surprised at how fast he got the feel for the boat. It’s no rocket ship, but the little Catalina 22 is certainly forgiving and a perfect little boat for the old dogs (and me).

Watching my 80 plus year old dad head up to the fore deck to change the head sail made me both nervous and proud all at the same time. And the fact that my mom, deathly afraid of small boats, actually pestered me to go out “look, the sun is shining, we can go sailing now” is something else.

All I can hope is that when I’m in my 80’s I’ll still be game to try something new.

American Express Gives Small Business the Blues


I woke up to one of those calls you rather not get. It was from American Express and it was about my latest bill.

I should explain that I’ve had an Amex card since 1980 and have always had great service, primarily because it’s not a credit card, so it gets paid every month and I like the reporting they provide. There are still lots of places that don’t take the card, but since I use it exclusively for business purposes, its not a problem, and I’ve been super happy with the card.

However, I can’t say I feel the same today. About 8 weeks ago I took Amex up on an offer for a new business card, one that provides a slight rebate. It’s their Amex Business card. Great I figured. The card showed up and I started using it instead of my classic green Amex.

This morning, the voice on the phone from Amex was calling to ask why I hadn’t paid my last invoice. Huh ? I explained that I haven’t yet received an invoice from the new card.

“Ah”, says the voice, “we sent you an invoice 3 weeks ago”. But when the voice told me the address, it was clear why I hadn’t received it.

Amex sent the invoice to the wrong address.

Oddly, they got the card to me to the right address, but somewhere between issuing the card and sending the bill, they screwed up my address.

“So”, I say, “just send me the bill and I’ll be happy to pay it. Like I have my regular amex bill every month for the last 27 years ! ”

“Oh”, says the voice, “that’s fine, but until we receive payment, the card will be suspended, and there are some interest charges. Total due on the card with interest is $ 104.00”.

“What?”, says I, “Just send me the bill and I’ll clear the charges, but do remove the interest charge and do remove the suspension, since I haven’t done anything wrong here – you guys sent the bill to the wrong address”.

Long story short: after 30 minutes on the phone and 2 different Amex reps, they refused to reinstate the card until they’d received my $104.00. Even when they looked up my 27 years of payment history, they still were , um, un-moved.

So, because Amex screwed up, I was now being inconvenienced. What amazed me was that there was no-one at American Express who seemed at all concerned about losing a long time customer over their mistake, and over 104 dollar at that.

Needless to say, I’ll not be keeping the new American Express Business card, since this kind of business help I do not need. Nor does any small business person. If you’re thinking about getting one of these cards, think again unless you want to really be blue.

Windows On Mac With VM Fusion 1.0

I’m really liking VM Ware’s Fusion. I got the download from the Apple web site and despite having to re-authenticate Windows by talking to a MicroSoft computer for a few minutes, this really really rocks. I’d been running Windows on the iMac using BootCamp, but now we no longer have to reboot, and Fusion seems pretty solid so far. Click the thumbnail for a larger shot.


The installation was painless. What I really liked was that I could use my existing BootCamp partition – though you can install Windows clean if you want.

Nice job VMWare. This really makes my next desktop purchase a no brainer. I’ve been hanging on to a PC desktop because there are a couple of apps I depend upon that only run on windows, and a couple of B to B sites that only run on IE. Now, I can buy that new Mac I’ve been thinking about for my next desktop machine and still be able to access what I need on the Windows side, without having to reboot. I realize this is also possible with Parellels but I’d opted for the BootCamp route originally.

RSS Gone Wild

I was in for a big surprise when I checked the RSS feed for sailboats for sale in the Vancouver online Buy & Sell.

First of, there were an unusually high number of new items in the feeds, considering I usually see only 2 or 3 a day


so seeing 300 new ones was a bit of a shocker. Even more interesting were the feed items themselves:


Those are some interesting boats they’ve got listed in their 23 to 31 foot sailboats RSS feed.

That’s one way to boost your feed circulation – I guess.

Cat Supervisor

Ozzie seems to take his job quite seriously. I’m not entirely sure what his job is, but its not just house cat. It appears to be supervisor of all activities.

For instance, if we watch a DVD or more likely an old episode of StarGate on DVD, he’ll curl up on the arm of the couch next to Garnet and watch intently. He seems to particularly like SG1 vs. Atlantis, but I digress.

The last couple of days, Garnet has been busy pulling moss off our tar and gravel roof. I’d be happy to leave the moss alone, particularly as I’m reading more and more about green roofs, but our insurance company insists we get rid of it.

So while Garnet’s been busy up on the roof, Ozzie’s been busy too. Watching him work.

Ozzie the Cat Watches us Work

His vantage point today – the top of the chimney, presumably so he won’t miss any details of the job at hand.

Pick a card, any (operator's) card

I see there are some issues with the Canadian government’s program aimed at improving safety on the water.

Critics say the pleasure-craft operator card is being hawked by providers who charge $40 to $60 to take a multiple-choice exam of dubious worth, under a system with so few controls that stories of cheating are as common as ducks on a dock. Full story here

As a former professional sailing instructor, I’ve seen pretty much everything out on the water, and anything that helps improve safety is a welcome.

The biggest issue really is this: providing an operator’s card without ever being required to prove yourself on the water is a bit of a joke. You certainly can teach the theory in a classroom or on the internet, but putting that theory to practice in a real-life situation on the water is completely different.

The problem is compounded by the amazing array of pleasure craft out there, and they’re faster than ever before. Powerboats sporting 60’s era muscle-car engines are common, as are sailboats weighing several tons.

Every time we go out sailing – EVERY TIME – boaters either ignore or don’t seem to know the simplest rules of the road. When I was teaching CYA certified courses, I told my students to assume ‘the other guy’ didn’t know the rules of the road – since most of the time that’s the way they behave. It may be cool to clip across someone’s bow doing 30 knots in a jet boat, but it certainly isn’t the right thing to do, and it certainly isn’t safe.

Now, add in a little booze, and no operator’s card in the world is going to make a hoot of difference. In my experience, the concept of designated driver doesn’t seem to have taken off in the boating world. Nor has the notion of actually wearing the PFD you’re legally required to have on board.

For the uninitiated, in Canada while you’re legally required to have a PFD for everyone on board, you aren’t required to actually be wearing it. So, the vast majority of boaters don’t. As you might surmise, they do little good to you in the locker on the boat after you’ve fallen overboard.

The thing is, the government was reluctant to institute a licensing system. So they did a half-assed job and come up with the operator’s card, and then farmed out provisioning to the private sector where every card issued means revenue. I’ve seen the ‘take the boating test’ tents set up in the parking lot at Canadian Tire, and the goal certainly doesn’t seem to be education – it’s about getting you a card as quickly and easily as possible.

I fully support the idea of licensing boaters – but only boats of a certain size or power. Its ridiculous, for instance, that my 13 year old can’t operate our 6 ft. long Zodiac tender because it has a 2-hp. motor on it.

The whole idea here is that people go out and have a fun time and a safe time on the water. Knowing that someone driving a boat heading towards me has actually taken a course and passed a license would make me feel a lot better. As it stands now, I assume they know very little about the rules of the road of safety at sea.

Operators should be required to take a course offered by an organization like the CYA or The Canada Power and Sail Squadron, and testing should be similar to a drivers’ test. Until that happens (and it probably never will) no amount of ‘clamping down’ on the way operator’s cards are issued is going to make much of a difference to safety on the water.

Globe Knows How To Use Black & White

They probably did this ages ago, but I use RSS so extensively that I often never see the front page of news web sites.

In any event, I love the way the Globe and Mail is using black & white for their left-hand-side thumbnails.

Globe and mail

Most news sites, in fact almost all news sites, have become horrible to look at. Part of the problem is that no matter how the site gets designed, as soon as you add all those ads, colour schemes and balance go out the window (no pun intended).

Using the monochrome images really eases the busy-ness of the site, and I think it’s a great move.

Another Crappy Day in Paradise


On board Madsu on a sunny and windy Saturday afternoon in Howe Sound heading out to the Straight of Georgia. We’re beating to windward doing about 5 knots and heeled about 12 degrees. Britannia is outbound from Squamish to Vancouver. The foredeck was packed with young girls yelling hello. In the foreground, clamped to my BBQ mount is our solar battery charger – it works like a charm.


EB’s on the tiller doing a respectable 5.2 knots SMG – got to like that GPS.


Meanwhile, the boys were up on the weather rail cooling off with a little toe dip in the salt chuck.

rail meat

Experience an Asset


Not that I’m thinking of applying.


I was reading the requirements for the job of President of the CBC.

That’s the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation we’re talking about.

One of the requirements:

Experience in the broadcasting industry or other cultural industries would be an asset.

An asset ? Novel idea.

Can you imagine any other billion dollar corporation suggesting that knowing something about the industry it’s engaged in would be an asset.

I actually know something about broadcasting. Probably rules me out.

Not that I was thinking of applying.

If you are, they’re still taking applications via a head hunter.