Hodge: Blessings at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving always marks the weekend when I tend to start my major harvesting of the garden.

I’m looking forward to this weekend’s celebration of Thanksgiving for a couple of good reasons.

First and foremost, Tez and I will have daughter Lisa and granddaughter Taylor joining us this year—which is always a treat. Nothing like a sweet little three-year old to remind you of the simple yet wide-eyed joys of life.

As well, Thanksgiving always marks the weekend when I tend to start my major harvesting of the garden. With five raised vegetable beds and a gazillion, potted plants around the yard the harvest should be bountiful. The sweet potatoes, which are not supposed to grow well here, are tasty and bountiful.

Last but not least, the turn of the calendar to October and harvesting of the garden reminds me of the change in seasons.

As much as I hate to see summer go, I admit there is something very comforting in tucking into the house for a winter of hot chocolate, homemade stews and soups, and the joys of the pending festive season on the horizon.

•••

Speaking of yummy home cooked type food, Tez and I had a fabulous dining experience Wednesday night downtown.

Our new friend, Elie (Eliecer) Marchante, of Virtual British Columbia Tours, invited us to try Cuban food. “It’s just the way it is made back home,” he promised.

Now, I admit that when it comes to experimenting with food I am a bit of a wimp, but oh man, am I glad I took a chance.

Elie’s friend, Cesar Hernandez, is the owner of Soul de Cuba Cafe, located at 101-1180 Sunset Dr., and without a doubt it is one of Kelowna’s best kept dining secrets.

Not having a clue what to order we left Elie in charge, and that proved brilliant. I devoured my Salteado de Res con Vegetales (sirloin steak sautéed in onions and veggies) while Tez moaned in pleasure all the way through her Filete de Pargo al Vino Blanco (Red Snapper Filet topped with white wine sauce).

Amazing food, superb appetizers, and tremendous libations. I will be back—count on it. Prices are very reasonable, and the atmosphere is quaint and inviting.

Well done, Cesar.

•••

Continuing my role as dining expert and social convenor, I am fully confident another superb dining experience exists on Oct. 20.

That is the night when the Kelowna Canadian-Italian Club will host its Harvest Dinner and Dance at the Parkinson Recreation Centre. This is always a fabulous night of fun and friendship. The social starts at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30, and dancing at 9. For tickets, call my friend Joe Iafrancesco at 250-878-3619 or email kcic@shaw.ca

•••

Make sure and mark down Oct.21 as well, for  something to check out.

The inaugural Bella Donna fundraising event, to assist a local artist battling with cancer, is set for the Pyramid Winery on that Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More details next week.

•••

In big felt marker circle Saturday, Nov. 17. That is the night that Curtis Tulman and I will play host to our eighth annual Night of the Arts fundraiser/concert at the Kelowna Community Theatre.

Curtis and I are thrilled to announce that headliners for that evening’s show will be the reunited roots/country/rock band The Cruzeros.

Also scheduled to take to the stage are Corey Doak (who is just releasing a top-notch new CD) local rock legends Ten2Nine, and the always amazing Deb Stone Band.

The night will also mark the major stage debut of a talented relatively new band in town—Joyful Door. Benefactors again this year for the Night of the Arts is Metro Communities of Kelowna. Metro is a faith-based organization that effectively ministers to Kelowna’s street community and provides a shelter in the proverbial storm of life. Metro have organized a wonderful silent auction as part of the show, so make sure and take it in. Consider the evening a wonderful kick-off to the Christmas season.

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