Small but important decisions

So the financials for 2017 were terrible. But that was expected with the move to Port Alberni and the other issues we encountered.

So we’re not going to let it stop us, and the small decision has been made to continue. It’s an important step.

Exactly what FORM we’ll be continuing in is still being debated. The largest we’ll go is the Dodge RAM ProMaster (Fiat Ducato in disguise) food truck. But we’re considering a number of different options, all the way down to an electric assist trike, although that latter is very unlikely.

We’re still working out way through a number of other obstacles before we throw ourselves fully into this again. We might even miss most of the upcoming season, unfortunately, depending on how quickly we can get those obstacles cleared away.

But Bistro Breizh will be back.

Food Trailer and Truck for sale

So I’ve finally managed to clear out some of the clutter from the trailer, and it’s more or less (perhaps more less than more?) ready for sale. I still need to build more shelves in the house to be able to take more stuff from the trailer, but that’s another long tale.

So: FOOD TRAILER and TRUCK FOR SALE. Prices are somewhat negotiable for the trailer, less negotiable for the truck. Includes my very loved Honda EU-7000is generator (but you have to buy the trailer to get it…!).

Check this out:

Once it’s sold, or the house is sold, then I can start building the food truck I should have built when I started.

Bistro Breizh is CLOSED. Temporarily.

Right. Hi fans. Won’t be cross-posting to anywhere other than my Facebook page. Just a message to my fans.

Although the latest generator loading mishap was annoying, it wasn’t the only thing going wrong with my current setup. I didn’t rage-quit over not being able to load a generator. It was a decision that was made over a few months, and this just triggered it.

Over the last few months I’ve come to the conclusion that the truck and trailer setup I currently have is not suited to where I wanted to take the business. I was going to keep operating until I got some money in from the sale of my house in Nanaimo, then attempt a smooth transition. But over the last month a number of issues have cropped up that require that I either invest much more money in the current setup, which I know will not work in the long run no matter what I do, or stop until I have a better set of tools. I’ve elected to do the latter.

There was some discussion at home about whether I would even continue doing this, or take the money and just create a low-key retirement. But I’ve decided that I love doing it enough to build a better food truck and get back on the road.  Requirements and designs have started being drawn up, and I hope it won’t take too long once I get the money to do it. It’ll be a purely European style cross between a market stall and a food truck, and I’ll post drawings and pictures over time just to whet people’s appetites.

So Bistro Breizh isn’t dead. It’s just resting. I can’t promise for how long it’ll be resting, but I will be back, and Port Alberni (and the region) will have Breton galettes and crêpes again.

Marc Donovan
your local crêpier.

No generator. No hospital. No crepes. CLOSED

tl;dr: Bistro Breizh is closing. Indefinitely.

05:15 on Friday morning.  I’ve had enough of this ongoing failure. This time it’s the winch I use to get the generator into the back of the truck. Of course, as is usual with these things, it fails when I really need it, even though it was working just a few days ago when I tested it. I’ve been trying for over an hour to get the generator into the back of the truck by myself, and I just can’t do it. I’m just too weak. Since the hospital has no power for me, I can’t open today.

Or ever, at least not with my current setup.

I’m closing for the foreseeable future. I’ve had enough of trying to make this work reliably for a one-person show. I’ve disappointed too many people, including myself, too often. The trailer as it stands now would work beautifully for 2 or more people, serving a higher volume of food. But not for me, not on my own, not for a low-volume operation.

I’m going to re-evaluate the whole setup. First thing I’m going to do is I’ll be selling the truck and trailer immediately. Hopefully someone can use it as it was meant to be used. Then seeing if I can continue making crêpes as a one-person show in some fashion.  I really love what I’m doing, I just can’t keep doing it with the equipment I’ve got. Maybe a tiny food truck with everything, including the generator, built-in? Or maybe just find something else to do and make crêpes for kicks at events? Or something. I don’t know yet. This decision has been a long time in the making, but this latest failure was truly the last straw that broke the camel’s back (figuratively… mostly).

I really wanted to get to the hospital at least one more time. However, the only way I’m getting to the hospital today is if I go up there because I seem to have damaged my back trying to brute-force the generator into the truck.

My apologies to everyone.

Solution designed, part search begins

So a solution has been found to the problem of 12v systems failing. Now I just need to find the one part I’m missing that’s required to implement the solution. I’ll be calling around locally tomorrow to see if someone has what I need, in which case I should be able to open really quickly. Otherwise it’ll have to be mail-order, and I’ll be at the mercy of whatever delivery they’ve got.

Still closed until further notice though.

For those interested in the details, or just curious:

The technical solution, which none of the professionals I’ve consulted have proposed in the 3 years I’ve owned this unit, is to get rid of the 12v system. As far as I can tell I don’t need it. I’ve always had a cooler that requires 110v AC, and needs to be always on. This means that the trailer always has a source of 110v AC, be it through an extension cord, generator, or inverter from the tow vehicle. So I’ll just be getting myself a reliable 110v AC on-demand pump and rip out the 12v system. One less thing to worry about, and I get back the space currently used by the battery pack. I don’t know where the assumption was that I needed a 12v power system in the trailer. It came that way when I bought it, and I didn’t realize that the small pump I used for water had a AC version, not just a 12v DC version. Now I know. There’s a lot of learning in this business…

Updated schedule 04 to 08 October

Right, so we have some new information that means we’re going to need to make some modifications to the schedule this week.  For starters, the MRI truck isn’t leaving the hospital until the 14th, so we can’t be there at the moment, although we’re looking at alternative parking locations.

So… schedule.

  • 04 Oct (Wed) 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans
  • 05 Oct (Thur) CLOSED
  • 06 Oct (Fri) 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans
  • 07 Oct (Sat) 10:00 to 14:30 at Burde Beans
  • 08 Oct (Sun) CLOSED

In general October will see us closed more often for a variety of personal reasons I won’t go into here. If all goes well, and with a little luck, we should be back in full operation by the end of October or early November, at which point we’ll be working on an expanded menu including pastries and perhaps some other typical Breton dishes that aren’t crêpes or galettes. Dishes such as potée bretonne, a hearty stew that should go down quite well in winter. We’re also planning to be opened 5 days per week, including some evenings and at least one of Saturday or Sunday, and perhaps at a greater variety of locations. Those are the plans anyway. We’ll see if the plans survive contact with what passes for reality these days.

MRI trumps crepes… news at, well, now.

The MRI truck schedule has unexpectedly changed again, and it looks like they’ll be at the hospital until some time in October. Whereas this is amazingly good news for people who need the benefits of an MRI, lovers of crêpes at the hospital will need to duck down to Burde Beans for their fix. It’s a 4 minute drive, at most. Just head down Redford to Anderson, turn left, go 2 blocks. There you are, we’re on the right. See you there!

Schedule for 23 to 29 September is as follows, subject to change. Location is still Burde Beans all week as no alternatives have been arranged yet. Blame the management.

  • Sat/Sun 23-24 Sept: CLOSED. Meetings and trailer needs a bit of work.
  • Monday 25 Sept: 09:30 to 14:00 and (maybe) 18:00 to 20:00. Will close earlier if the jam session folks aren’t hungry.
  • Tuesday 26 Sept: 09:30 to 14:00
  • Wednesday 27 Sept: 09:30 to 14:00
  • Thursday 28 Sept: 09:30 to 14:00
  • Friday 29 Sept: 09:30 to 14:00

That’s it really. After this week I’ll have a better idea of which weekdays I’ll be closing, and I’ll try to open at least one day during the weekend.

Fair aftermath

So the Alberni Fall Fair was an unqualified success. Lots of people got to try my food, lots of positive comments (thanks!), and got to meet lots of really cool people. Whose names I’ve already forgotten, sorry! But they were great people! I hope to be back next year.

Today (Monday) and Tuesday I am CLOSED. I need a couple of days to recover from the fair.

The schedule for the upcoming week is unsettled. I won’t be at the hospital since the MRI truck is in town. Also, they’ve changed the schedule so that it’s now parked at the hospital for three weeks at a time. It’s great for Port Alberni, not so great for crêpe fans. We’ve been looking at the grounds for an alternative location, but there’s really no room anywhere else at all level for me up there. Looks like I might just have to not be there for three weeks at a time.

I’m kinda-sorta planning to open at Burde Beans on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Hours still to be determined. I’ve also been asked to park the rig at other locations, so need to organize that. Overall, the schedule hasn’t been set yet, but I *will* be open Wednesday at Burde Beans. Just check back here for times.

Will post more when I know more. Until then, thanks again to everyone who came by and enjoyed my offerings!

It’s a Fair schedule

We’ll be open again at the Alberni Fall Fair, starting Thursday at 17:00.

Unfortunately, the long break from Bistro Breizh for moving to Port Alberni (which is done, I now live here!) means there’s some stuff that needs work. Such as re-doing the seasoning on the billig (crêpes griddles), and other preparatory work for Thursday. So we can’t open before that.   Also, since we need to set up earlier than that, we’re unfortunately not going to make it to the hospital this week either.

The Fall Fair food schedule is:

  • Thursday 17:00 to 23:00
  • Friday 15:00 to 23:00
  • Saturday 12:00 to 23:00
  • Sunday 11:00 to 16:00

We might be open a little earlier on some days, depending on requests. We probably won’t be open later!

The schedule for the rest of September will be posted once I’ve recovered from the fair. We won’t be open Monday or Tuesday, Sept 11 or 12. After that, we’ll see.

For those, like me, who didn’t know where the fair is, just follow all the yellow signs. From Johnston (aka “the highway”), take Gertrude/3rd/Stamp/whatever-the-heck-it’s-called-there, turn left on Rogers, turn left on 10th Ave. From Redford, turn north on 10th Ave. Once on 10th, go to Hollywood St and turn right. Better yet take public transport because I have a feeling there’s not going to be much parking available!

Here’s a map:

Specials and Schedule Update

Schedule update later. First, the specials. I’ve scored some more excellent lox (cold smoked salmon), so the spinach and goat cheese with lox is back on special! Also, I raided Port Alberni’s own Vancouver Islands Blues so the sweets special will include fresh organic blueberries and whipped cream. Maybe with chocolate, still to be determined.

Schedule update: won’t be opening until 10:30 at Burde Beans on Tuesday since Ilve got some appointments to get the kitchen done that morning.

That is all. See you later!