Fine dining Podge style

Tez and I are not of the financial tilt nor physical favour that we can afford regular vacations in other lands or exotic spots. Our only ‘holidays’ the past 10 years have been weekend camping adventures, or a handful of two-day getaways. Admittedly we’ve been fortunate enough to finance two wonderful Harrison Hot Springs stays. Full time jobs and a house full of pets with no trustworthy babysitters also complicate any travel dreams. Truth of the matter is we are total homebodies who would rather be curled up in our humble little domain where life is comfortable than sleeping in a motel bed with cheap coffee and unpredictable showers.

It seems the minute we leave the house to go somewhere we can’t wait to get home.

So, finances are not the full justification for our lack of adventure – though it weighs heavy. Like many others, we probably could have borrowed or found a way to squeeze out some dollars for a trip somewhere during the past decade yet didn’t. Now that time allows us to take adventures – health dictates differently. Tez’s diabetes and my emphysema and jaw get in the way of many great plans.

Not looking for empathy but simply for knowledge I comment on the impacts of my lung disease so others can comprehend (and hopefully avoid). Emphysema is a one-way disease. There is no getting better. Each day that goes by the breathing capacity diminishes, the body tires and the energy wanes. A positive attitude is the best counterbalance.

The Great Architect of the Universe has a sorry sense of humour I suppose since aside from the emphysema decided my body should host another life-threatening disease called Osteomyelitis. What began as an impacted molar over the course of three minor and two major surgeries resulted in my poor, skinny version of the bionic man. My entire lower jaw is now a titanium plate fused with nine inches of my transplanted right femur, sanse all teeth. I have three teeth in the upper plate and the majority of my tongue and mouth is numb from nerve damage. When I survived the final major surgery (More than 350 stitches100 staples and 17 screws in total) I awoke with tubes everywhere including a tracheotomy and stomach feeding tube. I kept that tube for six months.

But here I am and thrilled about it.

Thus, our lives generally no longer include travel, late nights of frivolity dancing a storm at nightclubs, partaking in most sports, adventurous outings or mud wrestling. I now depend upon a portable oxygen tank and Tez to get around much, however we find things to do to keep us active and happy. Our greatest pleasure of course is our garden. It is amazing how calming, rewarding and profitable a garden can be. It’s meditative nature alone is healing let alone the fresh air and food production.

However, one can only sit on their butt and dig in the dirt so long. Eventually we need to get up and do something aside from watch TV or play on the computer.

Prior to my jaw surgeries Tez and I loved to go for occasional dinners as rewards for the weeks work. That ended abruptly with the feeding tube and then a tender mouth that could only handle soup or mush. When covid hit it did not really faze me that much on the dining out aspect, however after three years the hermitage from other people drove me to the wall like most others.

Ironically during those three years my gums around the titanium jaw healed over enough to let me eat a bit using my three upper teeth and suddenly some real food is possible. While limited – dining out or just eating period has become fun.

Both of us work hard and so we are back to the rewards of a ‘Friday night burger and beer’. Now an enjoyable routine where every second Thursday or Friday we will pick a spot to splurge’. Tez and I largely seek out pubs or family restaurants rather than high-end dining locations. Kelowna is blessed with a plethora of dining facilities.

Some of our favourite pubs include McCulloch Station, Brandt’s Creek Pub, Craft Beer Market Draft, Train Station Pub, BNA, Wings Tap and Grill, 97th Street Pub, and O’Flannigan’s Pub.

Sports bars are a great spot for cheap but yummy ‘pub food’. In Kelowna we have a number including Baxter’s Bar and Grill, Dakodas, Mickies Pub, Rusty’s Sports Lounge, and The Packing House.

Family restaurants which rank high in our books White Spot, Moxy’s, Memphis House of Blues, Montana’s, Original Joes, Dunn Enzies Pizza, and Old Spaghetti Factory.

One of my favorite spots if not perhaps the top is Kelly O’Bryan’s,

If spending a few dollars but getting what you pay for is on your radar there is always Earls On Top, Cactus Club, Mamma Rosa, Oak and Cru Social Kitchen and Wine Bar, and Summerhill Pyramid Bistro.

For the past couple of months Tez and I have renewed our pub and restaurant crawl for night out adventures and intend to continue and so I plan on doing some reviews in Hodge Podge. If you know of a spot worth checking out, please email me and let me know.  Our most recent discovery is the Canadian Brewhouse on Pandosy and I will do a brief review on it in the next week or two. Great menu!

Previous articleMADONNA: The Celebration Tour 2023 & 2024
Next articleUnveiling the Echoes of Time: A Brief Journey through the History of Music
Charlie Hodge is a best-selling author, writer, a current Kelowna City Councillor, and a Director on the Regional District of the Central Okanagan Board. He spent more than 25 years as a full-time newspaper journalist and has a diverse background in public relations, promotions, personal coaching, and strategic planning. A former managing editor, assistant editor, sports editor, entertainment editor, journalist, and photographer, Hodge also co-hosted a variety of radio talk shows and still writes a regular weekly newspaper column titled Hodge Podge, which he has crafted now for 41 years. His biography on Howie Meeker, titled Golly Gee It’s Me is a Canadian bestseller and his second book, Stop It There, Back It Up – 50 Years of the NHL garnered lots of attention from media and hockey fans alike. Charlie is currently working on a third hockey book, as well as a contracted historical/fiction novel. His creative promotional skills and strategic planning have been utilized for many years in the Canadian music industry, provincial, national, and international environmental fields, and municipal, provincial, and federal politics. Charlie is a skilled facilitator, a dynamic motivational speaker, and effective personal coach. His hobbies include gardening, canoeing, playing pool, and writing music. Charlie shares his Okanagan home with wife Teresa and five spoiled cats.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.