Well, I suppose it's time we address the break-in that occurred over the past weekend...

It always weighs heavy when someone in our community takes it upon themselves to take things or hurt people and businesses in our community. Our vision for full inclusions of EVERY member of our society, is what comes to mind in this type of situation. We want to reach out to the individuals responsible for this and let you know, whatever battle you are facing, you are in our thoughts and we wish only the best for you during this difficult time in your life.

Most importantly, we would like to thank our Team, our landlords The Richmonds, and our neighbours at 49th Parallel GrocerySlice RestoThe Medicine Shoppe In CedarCedar Valley Dental, and Island Savings for creating such a wonderful complex to be a part of! We would also like to extend a special thank you to the Nanaimo RCMP for their speedy attendance and thorough investigation. Thank you to Budget Glass for the quick repair of our door!

Last, but certainly not least, a HUGE thank you to our coop members and valued customers for their concern in the wake of this careless vandalism and robbery. And thank you every day for making COCO Cafe a safe and welcoming environment for people from all walks of life. Without the support we receive from our community we would not be able to deliver on our mission to operate a successful social enterprise that provides employment, training, and socialization opportunities for people with developmental disabilities within their community.

It is times like this that it is important that we remember, we are stronger together!

From all of us at COCO Cafe, where community works!

Tryptophan

 

Tryptophan is an amino acid.

It's in Turkey, apparently it makes you tired. Whether you buy it or not, we will be serving up a healthy dose of it at the Cafe this Thanksgiving weekend.

Too busy to cook? Too tired just thinking about all the Turkey? Just don't want to cook? We are going to be stocking Rita's Retail Freezer with Turkey Dinners this Week, so we've got you covered!

Fresh* or Frozen Turkey Dinner: Roast turkey, carrots, brussels sprouts, stuffing, mashed potatoes, Gravy, and Cranberry Sauce with a side of extra gravy! That's not all we've paired fresh piece of our pumpkin pie all for $15.

What a steal. All that and no work, I'll take it!

*We will have pre-made holiday feasts in the cooler fresh on Saturday & Sunday. Family sizing is available upon request, and we'll give you 10% off on orders of 6 or more!

Call or email to book your order now. These won't last long, and supplies will be limited.

PS, we will be closed on Monday, October 10th! See you bright and early Tuesday!

"It's good... for gluten free."

 

Can we all just take a second and think about this statement?

So often we sacrifice service for speed, quality for price, and taste for health. Food should taste good. Period. End of story. Especially if you're paying top dollar for it, like you do when you decide to eat out. We understand that people have specific diets that they wish to follow for any number of reasons, and we make a conscious effort to accommodate everyone who walks through our doors.

With more and more people opting for flour free fair, we wanted to add a few more menu items to offer to our gluten sensitive crowd. 

Introducing Gluten Free Pot Pies! 

Jody and Rita, the masterminds behind this COCO creation, have known one another for quite a few years now. Jody is, wait for it, Rita's son's wife's sister. Really. I went there.  It only made sense for the two of them to collaborate when they crossed paths in the workplace.

Rita has an affliction for pastries, and a background in home style fare. While Jody, with a masters degree focusing on gastroenterology and immunology, and a celiac diagnosis paired up to create this product. Jody's nutrient dense gluten free flour mixture came after years product trials in her own home. She came up with the perfect blend of alternate grains to attain the tastes and texture she recalled from her favourite treats. The combination of Jody's flour and Rita's traditional filling made a product that makes it okay to drop the "...for gluten free," because it's just good!

Though selections may vary day to day, we have added Turkey, Chicken, Beef and Veggie Pot Pies to our freezer stock. Call ahead to see what we have on hand 250-323-2223.

What's the difference?

I'll have a 16oz extra hot, sugar free, skinny caramel macchiato with no foam and extra whip. Please.

There are few things worse than the person behind the espresso machine making your drink wrong. Seriously. Even if you are, were or know a barista who knows the struggle of getting every single one of those adjectives right. Just because you understand what it takes to get all of those requests right, doesn't mean you want whip when you asked for none.

In a lot of parts of our lives technicalities are are small things that don't make a huge difference. In coffee, a technicality means the difference between a smooth, every sip tastes the same latte and an easy to start, but kick you in the pants on your way out the door macchiato.

We wanted to give you a brief description of what some of the specialty coffees we know and love are, in our standards. Even though the ingredients are all identical, it's in the process. The difference between a latte and a macchiato is incredibly noticeable in a glass cup, and to the educated pallet.

Latte, and Macchiato. 

Latte, and Macchiato. 

Latte: Fresh espresso, with stretched milk (heated by steam) topped with a velvety smooth micro foam. The important part here is that the espresso at the bottom of your cup so as you pour the steamed milk into the cup everything mixes together to give you a well rounded finished product.

Macchiato: Fresh espresso, with stretched milk, layered together with the same velvety smooth micro foam as our latte. The key here is in the pour. If you've ever had a B52, or been to an elementary school science fair you've probably noticed that liquids with different densities float on top of one another. The same goes for our macchiato. First the steamed milk topped with micro foam is poured into an empty cup, and the the espresso is poured through the foam. Because the espresso is lighter than the milk, but heavier than the micro foam it floats in the middle. As you drink your macchiato the three layers mix together giving you a unique sensation in every sip. Easy with the micro foam to start, strong espresso up next, and finishing with the smooth steamed milk at the end.

Cappuccino: Obviously there is a theme here, the same two ingredients are used to make this drink as well. Fresh espresso, and milk. In a cappuccino you do stretch the milk with a slight difference, by swirling and folding the milk at you steam it you create a firmer foam, or froth. For a cappuccino, you start with your fresh espresso in the bottom of the cup, and pour your extra-frothy milk into the cup. A cappuccino has a similar flavour profile to a latte, however a latte of the same size will be weaker than a cappuccino, as it has less milk diluting the espresso because of the presence of froth.

S U M M E R T I M E

Summer is in full swing for us here at the Cafe. We began our 6th year off with our favourite people, you, and what fun we had! We can't thank you all enough for joining us to celebrate our founding families, and COCO Cafe! The opportunities we are able to provide would not be possible without the support we receive from our community.

 A huge thank-you to the Ministry of Social Development for providing us with our first ever government funding! This is amazing, with this money we were able to purchase, and install (Thank you, Frank!) our brand new convection oven.

It is quite incredible what new equipment can change for us. It might not seem this way, but a new oven opens up a lot of new opportunities for people at COCO. Not only do we have more oven space so we are able to be doing more things at once, thus providing more jobs. We were able to place this oven into a more accessible space, off of our main cooking line, where is is fully available to each of our staff members. Another special feature this oven has is it is at chest level, so there is little to no bending involved when putting items in, or removing them! This is especially important for those of us who have back issues, distinctive posture, or low muscle density.

As most of you are aware, COCO Cafe started a work experience program this year. We now have three successful graduates of the program, and an additional three participants moving through now. What you may not know is that our very own North Cedar Volunteer Fire Department has become the first entity to sponsor one of our participants! Thank you SO much to NCVFD for all you do to keep us safe, and for being such posotive role modles in our community! If you would like to know more about our work experience sponsorship program please contact us immediately. 

 

PS. Remember your canine companion is welcome in both of COCO's outdoor seating areas. We provide water dishes at both doors, so please don't leave Fido in the car while you grab your coffee or enjoy lunch!

5 Y E A R S

Wow! 5 years! We think it's time we throw a little party. We would like to send a huge, huge thank-you out to the Richmond Family and Lawrence & Laurence for allowing us the use of the lower parking lot and field below COCO Cafe for the festivities. Another thank you to Jump Around Promotions Inc. for the incredible support they have given us with the bounce castles we have rented...yes, the 'S' is supposed to be there - we got three. Go ahead, get excited.

On June 4th, the festivities will begin at 3pm and run until 7pm. As mentioned we will be kicking things off with three Bouncy Castles, appropriate for ages 2-12. You can expect live music, face painting and free cake pops (while supplies last, so come early!) We will have the BBQ going with hot dogs all day and we will be serving a gorgeous preview of our 2016 BBQ TO-GO MENU ($15 for adults and $9 for kids 2-12) featuring a Pig Roast and mixed grill.

COCO Cafe will be licensed for the day so from 3pm-7pm you can grab a beer inside, or on our fenced in patio. Kids welcomed in both areas but must be accompanied by an adult at all times. Don't forget to bring your ID, and as with any establishment we reserve the right to refuse service!

At 4:15 we will have a presentation from Paralympian Athlete and MLA Michelle Stilwell and at 4:45 we will be proposing a toast to the founding families of Cedar Opportunities Co-Operative.

Please join us in celebrating an amazing 5 years of Cedar's little cafe that could. Since inception we have provided over 10,000 hours of training and supported employment for people with developmental disabilities in rural cedar, and the surrounding areas. We can't wait to see what the future holds for us, and we are so very thankful for all of the support we have received from this community. We hope to see everyone at the party!

Please RSVP to our Facebook event!

Salad Dressing and Job Carving

Salad Dressing is a pretty easy concept. Go to the store, buy a bottle and squeeze it on some lettuce. Enjoy! If you would like to cut out those pesky preservatives you may want to try making your own... which means there are a few more steps.

At COCO Cafe we do something called job carving. What does job carving mean? Well, every business has a purpose, a job to do. For a Cafe, the job is to provide products and services to the public, as a means of convenience. The job of providing products and services is cut into a whole bunch of smaller jobs. For us, some of those jobs are baking, chopping vegetables, measuring ingredients; taking, serving and running orders, and you guessed it, making salad dressings. Because our goal is to provide employment for people with developmental disabilities, we cut these small jobs, into even smaller jobs! Often these really, really small jobs are referred to as tasks. So essentially job carving is cutting each job into a number of smaller, often simpler tasks. Oh, and we use a lot of lists. Lists help us to stay organized, and make sure no task is missed. Task lists are sort of like a recipe for a job.

We have an extremely diverse staff at the Cafe. Each team has a lot of unique positions and members, but our team is pretty special. We are a team of all sorts of people, we are made up of short, tall, big and small. Our team is made up of people with visual and audio sensitivities and impairments, distinctive posture, and a wide range of abilities and literacies. Our staff has short attention spans, we have transient attentions, we hyper focus and we fixate. All of these things can make something like making a salad dressing extremely difficult! But, the best part about being an inclusive workplace is that we get to help one another to learn creative ways to accomplish a task. We're creative in our methods, and here is where we begin...

Let’s start with acid. In cooking an acid is something that is sour tasting, usually a citrus (e.g., lemon, lime, orange) or a vinegar (e.g., apple cider, balsamic, red wine). So we do one part acid. Then we do our sweeteners, seasonings, and emulsifiers. Sweeteners are things like sugars, honey, syrups, and nectars. Seasonings almost always start with salt and pepper, as well as various herbs and spices. Emulsifiers are these funny little molecules that like to have their head dipped in oil, and their tail drenched in a watery substance, so they can dissolve and hold things together. Emulsifiers stick the acid and the oil together. Common emulsifiers in salad dressings are mustard and egg yolk. Last but not least, we will use three parts of oil to bring it together. Some popular mildly flavoured oils we like are canola, avocado, and sunflower oils.

Okay now that we’ve gone over that, let’s recap:

1. Acid1:3 ratio.
2. Sweeteners, seasonings, and emulsifiers.
3. Oils, 3:1 ratio.

INGREDIENTS: the items used to make a product.

METHOD: the way we put ingredients together to make a product.

1. Gather all ingredients
2. Peel garlic
3. Drop peeled, raw garlic into a running, clean, dry blender.
4. Add the rest of your ingredients, hold the oil.
5. Blend until fully incorporated.
6. While the blender is still running, drizzle oil in slowly to emulsify.

This is a very versatile dressing and compliments mixed greens, topped with toasted nuts, and roasted Portobello mushrooms and a rich, full bodied red very well (we like Talon 2013 - Nk’mip!) Another great use for a dressing is as a marinade for chicken breasts. Throw some cubed chicken breast (thighs are fine, too!) in a container covered in this delicious dressing for about 20 minutes. Toss them on the grill and serve with roasted vegetables and potatoes for a simple and flavourful meal, pair this early season BBQ with a refreshing beer (Tofino Brewing Company’s Spruce Tree Ale for the adventurer or Nanaimo’s own White Sails - Yellow Point Ale if you like flavour, but would rather just look trees.)

Visibility and Volcanoes

When we think of Volcanoes we think of a big eruption, right? We think of the breaking point, when some slip deep down in the crust of the earth happens and these giants rumble to life with a large fiery display of magma and smoke. We don't often think about the millions of years of pressure and a push or slip of tectonic plates below the planetary rock building up, waiting, waiting, waiting for that mighty moment of movement when things all come boiling over.

While preparing to open our doors in 2011, our team of about 17 individuals with varying degrees of ability and attention took BC FoodSafe and WoldHost(formerly SuperHost). We learned all of the skills we would need for safe food handling, and we learned some very interesting facts and techniques about customer service. I had taken both courses previously, but I did learn a lot of new things, and an enormous amount about how different people learn in different ways and at different rates. Another thing in particular that stuck with me all these years later was the concept of “Volcano Customers”.

 

Well, Volcano Customers are kind of like real Volcanoes, the mountain kind. But the thing about people volcanoes is you never see them coming, because they aren’t a particularly statuesque type or person, they aren't red. There is no google maps dropped pin flashing above their head warning you that they are coming. Ready to EXPLODE! This is because it’s little things, building up over time. They are people who have had something going on in their life that you would never know about. They are every one of us, in fact, we are all Volcano Customers at one point or another. It’s things like a family issues, a car accident, some sort of medical ailment, or it could be something as simple as running out of cream for your coffee in the morning. It's all the little things that build up to all the pressure. Over time all of those little things in our lives, the surges of pressure we all feel, and then the tiny little nudge that will create an explosion.

You burnt their toast. Burning the toast of a Volcano Customer is symbolic of the exact moment when the shift of the tectonic plates occurs and an eruption is triggered. A Volcano Customer often doesn’t realize the effect their eruption has on those around them, just like a Volcano building up and creating a mountain in the landscape. They have had their release of pressure. But like the mountain kind of volcano, the ones with the smoke and the magma, they usually leave all this ash and smoke and new volcanic rock in their path. This residual junk that is left behind is representative of the emotions that the staff member, or business owner, or just the person walking down the street who caused that tiny shift in the proverbial plates is left the sort through. What we were taught in WorldHost was that Volcano Customers are not our fault. We can’t control what has happened to every customer who walks through our doors. What we do have control over is our reaction to these customers. How we sort through the emotions we feel after an eruption, and how we are able to move on with our work day without the smoke looming over our heads.

 

You might be thanking me for all of this great information that we all learned from these programs that day five years ago. Or you might be asking what on earth a volcano has to do with visibility. Well, the type of visibility that we talk about a lot at COCO Cafe isn’t the same visibility that is a measure of the distance at which an object or light can be clearly discerned. When we talk about visibility we are talking about weather or not a disability is visible or not. And why does visibility just scream volcanos to me? Well, because a lot of times a disability is invisible, just like a Volcano Customer. Sometimes you might see a person who has a highly visible developmental disability. Or more likely, you may see someone who has a completely invisible disability, a disability that is undetectable to you.

 

One of the most common developmental disabilities that you may not be able to detect at first glance is Autism (ASD). Autism is a spectrum disorder, a spectrum disorder means a that people who are on the spectrum may have a varying degree of symptoms, or conditions that are related to one another, or are thought to be caused by the same underlying mechanism. Sometimes Autism is referred to as an umbrella disorder, because it encompasses a lot of different symptoms that may not appear to be, or are not singularly believed to be linked. Another developmental disability that can be invisible is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). 


Imagine this:
You’re on the Autism Spectrum and you’re in a busy cafe, people talking. You’re behind the counter. DING, DING. There is food to run. A line up of people to the door, people talking, are waiting to be served. DING, DING. More food to run. RING. RING. RING. The phone is ringing, whose going to get the phone? “Hello, how are you?” the woman standing infront of you asks. “I’m good,” you respond, even though all you can think about is the spoon scraping the plate in the dining room.  BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! Muffins are done. “How are you doing?” you squeak out, as you’re thinking, “Who’s going to get the muffins? I hope the muffins don't burn.” “Well I would be better if the cream wasn’t empty, and my toast wasn’t burnt,” says the customer, who has a lineup ten deep behind her. “Oh no, who burnt the toast?” TAP, TAP, TAP. “Why is she so mad, I didn’t burn her toast?” you’re thinking. You freeze.

This is why volcanoes scream visibility to me. You always hear those phrases where people give you all of this great and valuable advice like “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about, be kind always” or “walk a mile in their shoes”. You don’t know when your next volcano customer will walk through the door, and we should always be aware of that great advice to be kind always, to our customers, because we don’t know what kind of battle they are fighting. But when the tables turn, and you walk into a coffee shop, and your toast is burnt, take a look around and say to yourself “hey, I don’t know what kind of a battle these people are fighting, and I don’t know what things will affect them.” A lot of developmental disabilities are invisible and we need to be careful not to judge people for the mistakes they make, or the disabilities they may have. We need to be sure to be kind always, and realize that you don’t know what a mile in their shoes would be like. Let’s take some time, collectively, and try to take that great advice. Let’s work together to make our communities safe, and comfortable for everyone. Happy Autism Awareness Day from all of us at COCO Cafe.

Let's talk about inclusion

Last week COCO Cafe had the great honour of catering a citizenship ceremony at Beban Park. The ceremony welcomed about 250 new citizens home to Canada. That's 250 members to our community! Melanie, COCO's general manager hosted a round table discussion with some of the new members of our Canadian community and talked about some of the obstacles that people may face when trying to integrate themselves into a community. When we are able to participate in these types of events it really makes us take a look at our community, and ourselves for that matter. Are we all doing our part to be the most inclusive society that we can? I know we all try, but what more can we do to help out here at home, in Canada?

In the beginning one of the founding members of Cedar Opportunities Co-operative said, "I think as a society we talk the talk about inclusion, but really, we aren't a very inclusive society". 

It was nearly five years ago that we first opened our doors, and our first customers trickled in. We went about our days building the foundation for what would one day be a very central part of Cedar's community. As time went on we provided more and more opportunities for people in Cedar, and the surrounding areas, with developmental disabilities to gain real life work experience.

A few months ago General Manager, Melanie Cadden found herself feeling sad. Why, you may be asking yourself? Her job managing a busy, well loved, and subsequently very successful social enterprise should leave her happy, shouldn't it? Excited! Even fulfilled. She felt this way because she had a stack of 24 resumes of people with some form of a developmental disability on her desk. Thats 24 people who were looking for employment, and those are only the people who applied at COCO Cafe! 24 people who were looking for a chance. A chance at success. A chance to be a part of something. If you give these people the time, and the training they will be some of the most dedicated and successful individuals you have ever employed. "Each person deserved a chance to be part of a team, to feel valued," she thought to herself.

Cedar Opportunities Co-operative is now offering a 100 hour work experience program that offers on the job training, food safety, resume building, and interview training. In 2016 we will see 12 people with developmental disabilities graduate our program. Thats 12 people who will now have a resume in hand, and 100 hours of real life work experiences, that a lot of people with developmental disabilities don't have. Why don't they have this opportunity? Because people aren't willing to take the time to train someone.


This is difficult for me for a few reasons:
1. The work ethic that people with developmental disabilities have is absolutely amazing. These are people who DO NOT get the opportunity to have jobs a lot of the time. Why? Because as a community we look at them and we see limitations, we see disability. If you take a moment and you focus on the ABILITY that someone has, the opportunities are endless. But you have to take that chance, and take the time to help someone create a niche in your business.

2. The positivity that people with developmental disabilities have is unparalleled. This is a huge portion of our society that are thankful to just have a job, no matter what it is! A person with a specific skill set that is able to be a part of a team, who is just happy to be included, I promise you, they will bring up the whole moral of a team.

3. The dedication you will see from a person that you give the simple gift of an opportunity to will have dedication that is so rare it is almost impossible to find. Evidently, if you take the time to train a person to excel at a niche in your business, you will SAVE money in the long term. You will save because you will have a long term dedicated employee, you will see a much lower turnover rate in this niche position, and the quality of work will always increase.
 

I urge you to give someone an opportunity. An opportunity to surprise you with their work ethic, positivity, and their dedication. I urge you to include everyone in our community, and I urge you to include people in your work community. Please contact us if you would like more information on how you can sponsor someone in our work experience program  (the cost of the program is $1500 per person, and we are always looking for sponsors!) Alternately if you would like to interview one of our first graduates please email us at admin@cococafe.ca to set up an interview with someone who will help you to become an inclusive work place.

SBBC Best Community Impact

 

As you may have heard, COCO Café received the 2015 Small Business BC award for best community impact at their annual awards ceremony in Vancouver last Thursday evening.  Small Business BC is British Columbia’s premier resource centre for entrepreneurs supporting small business endeavours throughout the province.

We would like to send a huge thank you out to the Fairmont Pacific Rim, who accommodated 5 of COCO's Ambassadors for the evening (all of whom can not stop talking about their gorgeous rooms!).

General Manager, Melanie Cadden; and COCO Cafe employee Colin Cousins beaming after winning Best Community Impact.

General Manager, Melanie Cadden; and COCO Cafe employee Colin Cousins beaming after winning Best Community Impact.

Operated in Cedar, BC by Cedar Opportunities Co-operative, COCO Café is a social enterprise that provides training, employment and work experience for adults and youth with developmental disabilities. The SBBC award recognizes the success of the café in fulfilling its mission since opening in 2011. 

Karmen, Colin, Kelly, Chad and Melanie heading to the .

Karmen, Colin, Kelly, Chad and Melanie heading to the .

“This award is the result of an amazing staff and the collective efforts of all those residents and businesses in the Nanaimo and Cedar area who have supported us over the past five years” said Patricia Johnston, a founding member of the COCO Board, in accepting the award “We hope this award inspires others to look at creative ways to incorporate inclusive opportunities for people with developmental disabilities into their own communities and businesses".

Some of COCO Cafe's team with Mayor Bill McKay.

Some of COCO Cafe's team with Mayor Bill McKay.

COCO café now employs a staff of 32 people, 14 of whom have developmental disabilities. Chef Melanie Cadden, COCO Café manager, who when reflected on running a social enterprise says, “Tonight’s recognition is meaningful for all of us.  It means that we are getting the message of inclusion across, that we are being heard, and that employment for developmentally disabled people is part of making a community work”.

“I love my job,” said Colin Cousins, pictured above, “COCO Café is a very rewarding place to work, I hope to keep working here until I retire.

“I love my job,” said Colin Cousins, pictured above, “COCO Café is a very rewarding place to work, I hope to keep working here until I retire.

In addition to providing employment, COCO Café recently started a training program for people with developmental disabilities. “COCO Café does our community a great service by providing on-the-job training in the restaurant and food service sector to people with varying degrees of developmental disability” said Kim Smythe, CEO of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. “The output is well-trained, proud, successful individuals who can contribute on many levels in our community and achieve greater independence".

General Manager Melanie Cadden and Mayor Bill McKay.

General Manager Melanie Cadden and Mayor Bill McKay.

Today COCO's team had the great honour of hosting Nanaimo's Mayor Bill McKay who presented the SBBC Award to staff members who were not able to attend the event last week. After hearing from each team member about what COCO Cafe means to them Mr. McKay noticed a common theme, everyone spoke about being part of a team. "It is too often when we talk about teams, it is about on team winning or loosing" said Mr. McKay. "A team is not about competition, it is about belonging and supporting one another, and thats what you all are doing here".

(L-R) Mark, Paul and Blair.

(L-R) Mark, Paul and Blair.

Mark says " I love all of the friends I have made and get to work with". Paul likes to save his paycheques for a TV Guide each week and told us about his love for sports cars, especially Corvettes. One of COCO Cafe's first employees promoted to a Junior Support Worker program, Blair says she enjoys working in a supportive environment and likes passing on skills to her COCO teammates.

 

 

Dine About

This week was the beginning of something special for all of us here at COCO Cafe. We’ve been letting people know for a while now that we would be extending our operational hours to include dinner service, well it’s here! After another successful Valentine’s Day Fundraiser; Monday, February 15th marked our first ever dinner service. Being that we love breakfast so much around here, we thought: why not breakfast for dinner? Expect to see two delicious dinner features nightly, to complement our breakfast for dinner options, and our regular menu that you know and love.

Our extended hours also mean that you can pick up our frozen meals to take home and cook, if you’re in a jam after a long day! No need to plan ahead now, as we will be here to serve you late.

Tomorrow marks the beginning of Nanaimo’s first ever Dine About event. Dine About events have been successfully hosted in BC to showcase what restaurants have to offer for many years, and we couldn’t be more excited to participate in Nanaimo’s first run of the event! Dine About allows restaurants to offer three-course fixed price menus at $25, $35, or $45 in addition to their regular menu choices. It's a great opportunity to try something new, or revisit old favourites. From Qualicum to Cedar you can anticipate some of the best of the Mid-Islands culinary talents from 28 participating restaurants. Check out our menu and join us between February 19th and March 6th when two can dine for just $25. Don't forget to share your experience on TripAdvisor and other social media outlets. You can check out what all the buzz is about by using the hashtag associated with the event: #dineaboutmidisland.

COCO Silent Auction Online Preview

Here is a Preview of COCO's Silent Auction!

Breakfast for 4 - BLANKET & SPOON
$200 Gift Certificate Tigh-Na-Mara & Grotto Spa - F&M INSTALLATIONS
1 Month Unlimited Hot Yoga - MOKSHA YOGA
1 Year Supply of Handmade Soap - CURE SOAP
Eco Cleaning Basket - 49TH PARALLEL GROCERY
2 Hours of Service & Delivery - MJB EXCAVATING
$25 Gift Card (4) - BROWNS SOCIAL HOUSE
Gift Basket - WHEATSHEAF PUB
Dinner for 4 - YELLOW POINT LODGE
5 Class Punch Card - OMTOWN YOGA
$25 Taproom Gift Card - WHITE SAILS BREWERY
Portrait Session - SHERI JACKSON PHOTOGRAPHY
Detailing Package - NANAIMO TOYOTA
$50 Gift Card & Raw Foods Cookbook - POWERHOUSE LIVING FOODS
Stress Relief for the Road - BREZE SALON & DAY SPA
2 Night Stay at Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa -  ATLAS GROUP
Shop T-shirt (2) - BLACK & BLUE TATTOO
Round Trip Car & Driver - BC FERRIES
Handmade Rose Quarts Bracelet - JEWELZ OF THE ISLE
Handmade Wooden Bowl - WILLY LIND WOODWORKING
Canucks Tickets (March 3) - DEAN VILLARES
Canucks Tickets (March 9) - DR K. LIM
Drink Cozy - SANDY'S DUST BUNNIES
Custom Organic Spray Tan - ORGANIC TAN NANAIMO
$50 Gift Card - BALLOON EMPORIUM
Wall Plaque - MBI ETCHYTHINGS
$100 Gift Card - YORK HAIR STUDIO
$50 Equipment Rental - FRIESENS RENTALS
Emergency Kit (2) - CEDAR TIRE
Handmade Cribbage Board - PLAIN JANE
Raiders Fan Pack - VI RAIDERS
Wine & Cheese Gift Basket - SYSCO CANADA
Overnight Bag - MOLSON
Hand Painted Art on Reclaimed Maple - LEFT COAST DESIGNS
1 Hour Personal Training Session (At Nanaimo Athletic Club) - UPHILL FITNESS

High Bidders Prize: Trip for Two ANYWHERE WestJet flies!

DETAILS:

1. The auction will open, for advanced bidding, to our Valentine's Day Fundraiser Guests on the evening of February 14th.
2. The auction will be open to all COCO's customers from 7am-7pm on February 15th in the Cafe.
3. Successful bidders will come back to COCO Cafe to pay for and claim their auction item on February 16th between 5:00PM and 7:00PM.
4. At 6:30PM on February 19th we will draw a winner for the WestJet trip!!!!