Saturday, October 9, 2010

an A-1 farewell to Vancouver Island

Cartoon copyright Nance Thacker 1984
All rights reserved
click on image to enlarge

It was with great sadness but with a very satisfied and full stomach that I left Vancouver Island this past Tuesday. So what better way to end my tour than with a taste of culinary delights courtesy of the island and some of the fantastic restaurants I enjoyed.

At where else? My fave restaurant PAGGLIACCI'S in Victoria.
Melt in your mouth delicious!
The portions are much, much larger than I remembered — share it with a friend
On Sat Sept 18th my craving for a cheesecake fix could be controlled no longer so I trekked down to Pagg's. I took some pics of the outside and when I tried to open the door, it was locked. LOCKED! I pulled on the door like a person possessed, I pressed my face to the window in hopes someone was inside and had made a horrible mistake, but no. As I stepped back in disbelief and horror I noticed the sign on the door CLOSED FOR YOM KIPPUR. Duh! I was staying with a Jewish friend, had even enlisted to help out for the evening's celebration but somehow this one detail had skipped my mind, such is the power of this cheesecake.

I walked the street unconsolable until I passed by the gem you see in the pic below, the DUTCH BAKERY & COFFEE SHOP. When I landed in Victoria 34 years ago I stayed at THE RITZ. No, not the Ritz Carlton but a seedy dive on Fort St. Its only saving grace was that it was next door to the Dutch Bakery. What a find that was for me! It's homey atmosphere was so welcoming; their fantastic, reasonably priced, freshly made sandwiches and yummy baked goods so consoling — which is still the case today. My day was saved as I left the shop lighter in spirit with comfort food cookies in hand to shore me up for the evening festivities to come. Read a little bit about this lovely spot here

The next Monday night, still full from cheesecake, Rod and I and our host headed off to PIZZERIA PRIMASTRADA in the Fairfield neighbourhood and split Marinara and Funghi pizzas between us. OMG... to die for! The crust is heavenly and the flavours so subtle and savoury as to make a pizza a mystical experience for the taste buds.
On our way up island the next day, Rod and I stopped in at THE PIER BISTRO in Sydney B.C. (HI MARLENE). Rod was hungry but all I had in mind was toast (of which there was none at that hour of the day) and coffee. So I settled for coffee and agreed to munch on whatever Rod ordered. He had a seafood chowder and crab cakes. Well, fortunately for him the meal came with 2 of the most perfect, savoury crab cakes I have ever tasted. One was a meal for me and I took my time letting each bite melt in my mouth. Though I love crab I've always found crab cakes to be a hit or miss affair; mostly miss as they are too dry due to too much filler lending them a sawdust feel and taste or too moist, loaded up with cream cheese or whatever people load them up with. These were a little taste of heaven. And though I don't have a link for it I can tell you it is on 2550 Beacon Ave in Sidney, tucked at the end of the pier with a fabulous view of the ocean and mountains beyond, a "fish cam" (not too busy under the pier that day) and 24 hr surveillance.

Next up is STEINER'S BAKERY a lovely little find in Campbell River and the host to these lovelies which we got hand dipped while we waited as they had sold out of them just moments before. And, though the restaurant is cozy, casual and inviting (I'd enjoyed my first dipped doughnut a few days earlier in its comfort) we took these to the spit to enjoy as we took in the scenery on a slightly overcast morning before heading out for more adventures.

So delicious were they that we picked some up on our way out on Tues morning to share with our in-laws at a farewell brunch that they hosted. I must give thanks to our brother-in-law Paul who makes the most delicious, light pancakes and flavourful french toast for the spread that he and Sue put out for us. Sorry no pics are available, my camera jammed up and sorry he doesn't run a restaurant, though he could.

AN UPDATE: I have been nibbling since I left Vancouver Island since I'd had enough food to last me for about a week...just in time for THANKSGIVING CHOW DOWN 2010.

Have a great one all! May you all be so blessed!

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