Olive This & More

“I buy extra virgin olive oil by the case (much less expensive this way) and reach for it several times a day. I use it to marinate and cook my protein, saute my vegetables, and drizzle on my salads.”  —  Suzanne Somers

 

Running errands in Victoria’s core downtown,

I stopped at Olive This & More to pick up

another bottle of Tuscan herb

infused olive oil, a staple in our cupboard.

 

This was supposed to be a quick stop.

Not so…………I was soon side-tracked.

 

 

 

 

The rows of stainless steel urns with their informative labels begged closer inspection.

As I was processing the information on a label of extra virgin olive oil, a helpful staff member urged me to try a series of three different olive oils.  The first one was made from the arbosana olive, a Spanish cultivar grown in Chile, and was noted as a mild flavoured olive oil.

Next was an oil of the picual olive, a Spanish cultivar grown in Australia.  Immediately I could taste the difference.

Then I tried the oil from the picholine olive, a French cultivar grown in Australia, yielding a strong flavoured oil.  The difference was remarkable!

Just like the the taste of wines

varies according to the grapes

(among other factors),

so it is with olive oils.

So much to discover! 

The shop offers ready-made gift baskets,  or you can choose products to have a basket put together.

  

Olive This & More offers other tantalizing culinary fare as well, such as jars of various olives……….

……….salsas made by Tasteful Essentials in Parksville, above, and their sauces, below……………

  
………….smoked oysters from Campbell River,  Gunpowder Sauce’s flavoured pepper sauces from Nanaimo…………
…………….flavoured finishing salts from Saltwest Naturals in Sooke…………..

……………..and concentrated sauces from That Extra Touch in Qualicum Beach.
Saltwest Naturals in Sooke also offers a line of bath salts, below.
What an array of very distinct products, all made right here on Vancouver Island!
And of course, Olive This & More offers specialty oils, as well as white and dark balsamic vinegars, plus infused balsamic vinegars.

These are some of the oils and vinegars already in our cupboard.
Picking up my Tuscan herb infused olive oil, for which I originally came, I added some small gift packs which are always appreciated by the recipients.

Visit this tiny shop with its world of information and flavours!

Olive This & More
619 Broughton St, Victoria
778-265-5045
www.olivethisandmore.ca

Mon-Fri 10 – 5:30,  Sat 10 – 5,  Sun 12 – 4.

PERRO NEGRO Tapas and Wine Bar

This is the dream of all the world. The dream is to live in Granada. You know, work in the morning, have a one-hour nap in the afternoon, and at night go out and have that life. Go out and see your friends and eat tapas and drink red wine and be in a beautiful place.

My dream is isn’t to live in Granada but I do like the idea of working in the morning, having a little rest in the afternoon,  and eating and laughing with friends.  Lil and I visited Perro Negro, a tapas and wine bar in downtown Victoria, during the last days of summer.

Come on up…

and take a seat in this cosy, intimate dining area…

 

 

 

We were served a bubbly…villa conchi cava and handed the tapas menu.

 

The tapas for two menu was extensive so I will highlight the ‘to die for’ dishes that we enjoyed.

Warm Bacon Wrapped Dates: ‘Could we have another 50 to go, please!’….they were SO good. Stuffed with cheese and drizzled with honey, a pop of salty with the sun drenched taste of dates.

Chorizo puffs: Chorizo enveloped in puff pastry. Delicious! Thank goodness there were two each….I would have hated to arm wrestle Lil for another one.

Ensalada verde: Apples, pecans, goat cheese and lemon peel vinaigrette on greens. Light and tasty.

Tuna montadito: Whipped ricotta and smoked albacore tune…. a delightful match!

Gambas al ajillo: Prawns and garlic…. a winner any time.

Estofado de Carne: braised beef shortribs with mushroom and brandy. Oh my goodness, the shortribs were so tender and moist. Lil and I looked at each other as we bit into them and nodded in unison as our taste buds sent happy waves to our brain.

It was a most satisfying evening.

Perro Negro: Spanish Tapas Bar
536 Yates Street
Victoria BC

250-360-1824

Thurs: 5-10
Fri-Sat: 5-11

Red Barn Market

“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”   — Henry Ford

The Red Barn Market is known around Victoria for its good quality, fresh, local produce and the meats and cheeses sourced locally.  There are currently six Red Barn Market stores in the Greater Victoria area.

Outdoors 1

The Red Barn Market opened its doors in 2005 at Mattick’s Farm location in Cordova Bay.

Meat 1The Red Barn Market is known for sourcing meat locally, smoking these meats and cheeses as well at their own local smokehouse.

Sausages 1         Their own sausages are made daily.

Outdoors 2          Produce is sourced locally as well.  In fact, the Red Barn Market proudly features Island grown, Island raised, Island made foods.

Personal mealsPersonal meals are prepared by Red Barn Market staff and are big sellers to locals.  This Market at Mattick’s Farm is on the Lochside trail, so cyclists are frequent shoppers here.  Our son swears that the wraps at the West Saanich Red Barn location got him and his classmates through their Civil Eng Tech program!

Unique products 2The Red Barn market offers a number of unique products not generally carried in supermarkets, such as these bread kits.        Mrs Bridges Preserves             What to choose!  That really was my dilemma.
As I pondered this, a shopper came by and struck up a casual conversation, and she advised that the Red Barn’s meats are “clean”, always fresh, and are less expensive than similar meats at the supermarkets.

Apricot Peach Preserve    I chose a jar of Mrs. Bridges’ Apricot & Peach Preserve — great choice on the next morning’s toast!

 

Red Barn Market,  Mattick’s Farm
129-5325 Cordova Bay Rd,  Victoria       
250-658-2998
www.redbarnmat@shaw.ca
7 am – 7 pm daily

Red Barn Market,  West Saanich
5550 West Saanich Rd,  Victoria

250- 479-8349
7 am – 8:30 daily

Red Barn Market,  Vanalman
751 Vanalman Ave. Victoria
250-479-6817
6:30 am – 8:30 pm daily

Red Barn Market,  Oak Bay
1933 Oak Bay Ave. Victoria
250-592-0424
6:30 am – 9 pm daily

Red Barn Market,  611 Brookside Road
Victoria  (Colwood)
250-590-8133
6:30 am – 8 pm daily

Red Barn Market,  1310 Esquimalt Rd,
Victoria  (Esquimalt)
778-265-0370
Mon – Fri  6 -9,  Sat & Sun 8 – 9

NOURISH Kitchen & Cafe

“Dismal November! me it soothes to view,
At parting day, the scanty foliage fall
From the wet fruit tree, or the grey stone wall,
Whose cold films glisten with unwholesome dew;
To watch the yellow mists from the dank earth
Enfold the neighboring copse; while on as they pass
The silent rain-drops bend the long rank grass
Which wraps some blossom’s unmaturéd birth.”
–   Charles Lloyd, To Autumn

As we enter the month of November, where the leaves complete their journey and are then trodden on, I have an increasing desire for cosy, intimate spaces, with a fire blazing, a pot of hot tea on hand and an Agatha Christie mystery to get lost in. Nourish Kitchen & Cafe, located in an 1889 heritage house in James Bay, Victoria, ticks all those boxes.

On the main floor is the Dining Room , complete with a brick fireplace, where Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner are served.

The Cafe is around the corner where you can grab a coffee/tea and muffin and head upstairs…

 

to the The Study, The Parlour or The Cloud….

 

for intimate and secluded spots for eating and chatting…

 

 

reading and writing….

 

…studying and maybe a bit of sleeping.

 

Lil and I rested our weary bodies here but we only had coffee/tea because we had lunch reservations at another place. We found Nourish Cafe to be a delightfully cosy place, abounding with nooks and crannies, couches and chairs. A great spot for conversation and food.

 

During the warmer months The Garden is open and you could find yourself surrounded by planters of kale, garlic, rosemary or thyme.

Bikers consider this a favourite respite location and the bike racks are a visible welcome sign for them.

 

Nourish prepares vegan, vegetarian, gluten free and meat loving food so that all can enjoy!

Nourish Kitchen & Cafe
225 Quebec Street
Victoria, BC

250-590-3426

Sun-Mon: 9-3
Tues-Sat: 9-9pm

CUPCAKES & and other good stuff

 “Back to that very first bite of hidden cupcake in the pantry: a soft cap of vanilla buttercream giving way to light, creamy mocha cake. I kept eating, turning the cupcake slowly in my hand. This was not rich, one-bite-and-you-couldn’t-possibly-have-more chocolate. This was refined, complex chocolate cut with a hint of coffee and what else… Currant? Salt? A grown-up, masterful cupcake. It was perfect.”
Meg Donohue, How to Eat a Cupcake
 HOW could I have missed this store for the 6 years that I have lived on the island.? Cupcakes offer ‘grown up, masterful cupcakes’ that are packed with flavour.  The brainchild of two best friends….
…..Cupcake products are made daily…. with cake and icing balancing out sweetness with freshness.
When my sweet tooth is calling I can pop into Cupcakes, test a sample (how awesome is that, more food stores should do that)…
and buy 1 or 2 or maybe 3 cupcakes, like Lil, and be satisfied.
Sized large or small, these cupcakes are perfect for anniversaries, showers, birthdays, and really just about any celebration…..the only problem will be in the choosing. What choices!!
or the little ones.
I am partial to the chocolate and the caramella cupcake, but I won’t say no to any of the others.
.
and in case you missed it, here is the caramella again.  Absolutely lovely! Absolutely delicious!
.

Cupcakes
Uptown Mall
3561 Blanshard Street
Victoria, BC

250 590-2282

M-T 10-6
W-F 10-8
Sat 10-6
Sun 11-5

 

Adriana’s, the Whole Enchilada

“The country of Mexico has just gotten its first Taco Bell.   You’re welcome.  Finally, Mexicans will have access to….Mexican food.  Bon appetit.  I can’t imagine how confused they will be when they get a taco.  ”  — Jon Stewart

We’re not telling anyone because “it’s always raining on the Island”…………..but we’ve been having stellar summers here with heat and blue skies and sunshine!

On several such hot summer days we found ourselves in Central Saanich — that’s within running distance of my house in North Saanich! — noticing much activity at lunchtime at a small storefront restaurant called Adriana’s.

Every time we’ve been near this place midday, there’s a lineup!  What’s their deal?!
Well, for one thing, they offer wholesome, hot meals to go.

 

 

Adriana’s serves authentic Mexican food — no Taco Bell fare here!

Adriana’s opened in 2011 and has remained committed
to using locally sourced ingredients to prepare their quality meals made in-house.

 

The options here are several, and they’re prepared
using top-notch local ingredients.
For example, their meat is sourced from
Carnivore ( Carnivore Meats & More ) in
Brentwood Bay, just north on West Saanich Road.

 

The chicken in my Chicken Fajita Super-Taco, below,
came from Carnivore.

 

Everything here is housemade, including the chips.

In addition to individual meal orders, there’s a good selection of prepared meals to go.

 

If you’re looking for authentic salsa or other Mexican dips, this is your place.

I love the chip and salsa sampling station!

You need authentic Mexican seasonings?  Check these out!

         

Our meal came with a complementary savoury cookie — just the right note to end a flavourful, hearty meal.  Of course, all cookies are made in-house as well.

   

The sign outside on the sidewalk really says it all:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adriana’s
2140 Keating Cross Road
Saanichton
250-652-7767

www.adrianasthewholeenchilada.com

 

Mon – Fri  9 – 7,  Sat 10 – 4

 

The Roost

“If you go back to the Greeks and Romans, they talk about all three – wine, food, and art – as a way of enhancing life.” – Robert Mondavi

 

Who on the Saanich Peninsula — and beyond — doesn’t know about The Roost?!

    

There are plenty of chicken motifs around, but none wears it more proudly than these gorgeous kings of the roost!

Maybe because it’s close to home and close to the Panorama Rec Centre with indoor and outdoor tennis, maybe because my visitors can easily find it — it’s the place I frequent the most for casual dining or just coffee.
Not to mention that the food and coffee are reliably good!
Baked quiches, meat pies, Mac ‘n’ cheese bakes………..

    

……………muffins and cookies, fruit pies and tortes, and so much more!  Everything is house made and SO good!

Get your coffee and snack and enjoy the fare and surroundings at the outdoor front awning-covered tables, or in the picnic area…….
      

        

…………….or in a separate “room” created with hedging……..
     

……or in the iconic bus which has its ever-present, faithful driver, watching over the tables behind him.

Or have breakfast, lunch or dinner served to you inside the Bistro………

……with the familiar smell of good quality, fair-traded coffee and the changing artwork by local artists surrounding you.
    
On this occasion, some of the pieces on offer were chicken paintings by Catherine McLeod,

and landscapes by Mary Pearson.

You can dine outside near the fireplace in a screened-in area,

or around the rear of the building in a secluded, sunken dining area…..

……the sunken dining area from the other side………….


………….adjacent to a pleasant water feature.

On this occasion I had the spinach & pear salad

and my husband had the ham & cheddar sandwich with a Caesar salad.   Perfect!


The Roost sits (give me credit for not saying that it roosts!) on about ten acres of farmland owned by Hamish, below.
That’s a combine behind Hamish’s right shoulder, and the dust behind his left shoulder is from another combine, harvesting the wheat that will be made into flour which will be used to bake so much of the great fare offered at The Roost.

His daughter, Sarah, grew up here, and now she and her husband, Dallas Bohl, own and operate The Roost.
But clearly, this is so much more than just a coffee stop, or even just a local restaurant.
This auger moves the wheat up into the grain bin for storage until it’s needed.
The tractor is a working piece of equipment……

…….as is this vintage Chevrolet truck.
    
The wheat is milled and finished on-site and is used to bake the breads offered at The Roost.

In addition to milling their own wheat for flour, this family keeps chickens for fresh eggs and meat…………..

………sheep for milk, cheese and meat,,,,,,,,,,,,,

……..and bees for their honey.
The honeybee boxes are in the fruit portion of the farm, which includes the blueberry bushes behind the boxes……

…………green apple trees…………..

…………..red apple trees……………..
    

……..strawberries, black tomatoes…………..

…………and grapes.  Oh, the grapes!  Rows of vines hanging full of grape clusters!
The Roost farm produces both red and white wines, available in The Bistro with your meal, or for sale to go.

Tastings of The Roost’s wines are available here, as are other mementos and gift items,


just inside the main Bistro entrance — next to the piano.

This is also where you can sign up to paint your own chicken!
Indeed, The Roost is so much more than what meets the eye!

There’s the large outdoor tent for private functions………….
  

……another area for private functions……..
………a games area with a bull riding simulator for kids of all ages………..

………………..and a ping pong table, plus a soccer billiards game.

And then there’s Hamish’s private collection of vintage cars and tractors…………

—————and the pumpkin carriage in the back corner!

And if you haven’t already figured out that this family loves having fun, and loves providing a venue for others to have fun, you have got to see [….ominous music here…..]……..

………the Dungeon!
What lurks behind those imposing doors, you ask?

The first room is deceptively benign, with its long tables (crafted by Hamish) ………..but look to the far end, behind the door with steel bars where there should be windows………
   

…………standing guard over the wine aging barrels beyond his right shoulder is a full suit of armour, and behind that is a somewhat uncomfortable-looking standing squeeze box……..

…………..and a true, functional rack!…………..

   

…………….and a throne to which none wishes to ascend, and the remnant of some hapless one, hanging on the wall!
Do you see the humerus?!

    

Full of tasty, wholesome, home-grown food and drink — plus plenty of room for a good time — Welcome to The Roost!

 

Roost Vineyard Bistro & Farm Bakery
9100 East Saanich Road
North Saanich

250-655-0075
www.roostfarmcentre,com

Sun – Thur 8 – 8,  Fri & Sat 8 – 9

 

SIDNEY STREET MARKET

Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things…..

My Favourite Things by Julie Andrews

 

Sidney Street Market is the place to be on Thursday nights. Live music, food trucks, and home grown businesses that sell such a variety of wares and goodies. I have listed a few of my favourite vendors but take a stroll down Beacon Avenue and you may find your own go-to place.

RockCoast Confections

Salted Toffee Ice Cream Bars

Many people may be familiar with RockCoast Confections because of their Toffee Bark but I came to know  owner/confectioner Amber Isles through her Salted Toffee Ice Cream Bars that she sells at the Sidney Market. Start with a brownie at the base (so you know this has got to be good), hand made ice cream with toffee bits and almonds swirled through out and on top with a coating of dark chocolate to keep it all together. Amber uses natural ingredients, with no artificial flavouring or colours and the bar is gluten free. Such a treat for a warm summer night.

Amber and her husband

and the amazing salted toffee ice cream bars

and for a rainy day… yep….I bought a whole Tupperware load of them! In case I have visitors coming by….

www.rockcoast.ca

Rarity: Hand Made Fashions for Infants and Children

Beverly Card drafts the patterns, sources the material (she uses high grade cotton and other natural fibres) and sews the clothing. The sizes range from 0-6. The clothing is absolutely adorable! Rarity can be found at the Sidney Street Market- Thursdays, Bastion Square-Sundays and the Moss Street Market-Saturdays.

So adorable!

250-881-0492

www.rarity.ca

 

Sugar Sandwich Design Studio: Babywear Gifts and Bags

Reusable Snack and sandwich bags! How smart and savvy is that! They are water repellent, washable with a nylon lining and two different closures: zipper and velcro. I use mine all the time.

I purchased the lady bugs and the red maple leaf bags.

www.sugarsandwich.com

Bistro Suisse:

One of my favourite restaurants has had a booth at the market for a few years now. I order either the Basler Onion Tart or the Schnitzel on a Bun (and I add the creamy mushroom sauce). So good, every time!

 

www.bistrosuisse.com

The Sidney Street Market runs from May to the last Thursday in August…just 3 more Thursdays left!

I encourage you to explore and enjoy!

Cold Comfort, Kid Sister, and Parachute Ice Cream Makers

“Believe me, I love a good chocolate chip ice cream. I’m not going to go for some lousy version of it. If I’m going to have it, I’m going to have a really good one. I believe in treating yourself occasionally to something.”  — Christie Brinkley

I knew this was going to be good — I just didn’t realize how much of that good I’d have!

Another typical Victoria summer day:  wonderfully  warm and sunny!
So unsurprisingly, after errands  in Cook Street Village, we found ourselves craving a cold treat.

Happily, we were near Cold Comfort……….a small, independent ice cream company that makes some unique flavours.

 

On offer today, for example, were Peach & Bourbon, Pineapple & Mint, and
Hoyne Dark Matter &
Happy Hour Bar Nuts.
No kidding!

 

We shared a cup of the Peach & Bourbon ice cream and remarked on both flavours coming through individually and also working so well together.

 


         

I like their loyalty card which gives me one free ice cream sandwich or pint for every ten purchased.

I also appreciate that Cold Comfort uses organic and locally sourced eggs, milk and cream, and local sea salt. They also use organic & fairly traded cane sugar and cocoa for their chocolate.

And here’s a truly unique offer!   Cold Comfort sells postcards that are good for a custom-made flavour delivered to the door:  I give a postcard to a friend who fills it out, drops it in the mail and when Cold Comfort receives it, they make the requested flavour and delivers!
I daresay, this is one instance where it may be more blessed to receive than to give!

 

Outside the shop,
two kids were happily dipping into their Pineapple & Mint
ice creams,
and their Mom
is clearly a
Cold Comfort fan
as well!

 

Need a warm, fuzzy feeling?
Cold Comfort delivers!

 

 

We were blocks away before I realized that we had pretty much inhaled our cup of Cold Comfort ice cream – and I had forgotten to catch a photo……..so this is all I had left!

After a somewhat lengthy stop at MEC to find new tennis shoes, we badly needed another cold treat.
We crossed the street and in Fan Tan Alley, we found Kid Sister.
    

Kid Sister has been making ice cream for seven years and moved to Fan Tan Alley about a year ago.
Once again, we were impressed with the diligence of Kid Sister’s owners to source organic ingredients, where possible, and to source locally.

We had a taste of the Quince & Creme Fraiche Ripple and it was so fresh on the palate!
The very pleasant Kid Sister attendant insisted we try the Classic Grapefruit Sherbet.  Truly, that was grapefruit juice perfected!

And then, we had to make a choice………….

………………..we watched the “makers” work their magic, but still had to make a choice…………

………….and the Pistachio Almond Chocolate was the chosen one!
I wanted to see whether I could distinguish each flavour, and yes! the pistachio, almond and chocolate were all present in creamy glory!
Again, we left, smiling!
Welcome to my family, Kid Sister!

I had to follow up on an errand near the Gorge, and, true to form, my friend suggested we pick up a half-pint of ice cream to take home.  (Are you kidding me?!)
Being the staunch trooper that I am, I agreed, and I suggested Parachute Ice Cream.

    

I had enjoyed Parachute’s ice cream before this so I was already aware of Parachute’s advice, written on the wall of their ice cream shop:


Parachute varies their flavour offerings according to available ingredients.
For example, today they offered Vanilla Jasmine, Passionfruit, Lychee Black Tea, Blueberry, Chocolate Coconut Vegan, among others.  When the container of a specific flavour is depleted, they move on to offer another one.
We chose a half-pint of Brown Butter Brownie ice cream to go.

Not much left of that either, is there?!

Too much of a good thing?  Perhaps, if it was a daily habit!  But for an occasional treat — true bliss!

I defer to Parachute’s sage words: “Every problem has a solution and more often than not, that solution is ice cream.  One spoonful of our carefully crafted confections triggers the ultimate release.  Two will save the day.  Ice cream is love and love is all you need.  Let it go.”    Amen!

 

Parachute Ice Cream
105-2626 Bridge St, Victoria
778-265-1999
www.parachuteicecream.com
Mon – Sat 11 am – 7 pm,  Sun Noon – 7 pm

Kid Sister Ice Cream
 #10 Fan Tan Alley, Victoria
250-590-6888
www.kidsistericecream.com
Sun – Wed  noon – 6 pm, Thur – Sat  noon – 9 pm

Cold Comfort Ice Cream
1115 N Park St #2, Victoria
778-433-5215
www.coldcomfort.ca
Sun – Thur  11 am – 9 pm,  Fri & Sat  11 am – 10 pm

BERRIES AND ICE CREAM: Mt St Michael Raspberry Farm and Fiasco Gelato

I was especially perceptive to all things beautiful that morning-raspberries in blue china bowls were enough to make the heart sing.

There is a new kid on the block, the block of berry farms and I am delighted to introduce them. John and Katie Guthrie recently acquired Mt St. Michael Raspberry Farm, located on the corner of Mt St Michael and Central Saanich Road.

There are 3 different varieties of raspberries with the last harvest being picked in late September. The cost is $5 a pint and there is a little fridge by the driveway with fresh pickings. One can also phone in an order for a flat of raspberries @ 250-884-3075

The raspberries have a deep, rich but oh so fruity flavour….a taste that makes one think of summer and sunshine and well being! I may not have the blue china dish but take a look at the raspberries spilling out of their cartons. I have made raspberry sauce, muffins, raspberry and rhubarb galette but the best and most satisfying way to eat these beauties…one…at…a…time. Delicious!!!!

 

Mt St Michael Raspberry Farm
Corner of East Saanich Road and Mt St Michael Road
Saanichton, BC
You may want to try this raspberry vinaigrette dressing recipe………….

“I found that all I really wanted was to eat beautiful food and to speak as much beautiful Italian as possible. That was it. So I declared a double major, really-in speaking and in eating (with a concentration on gelato).”
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

I received a text from my DIL urging me to locate The Salted Caramel Gelato from Fiasco and buy it. She stated that she could have eaten the whole jar and it was simply the best!  With that recommendation I googled the the company, wrote down the stores that carried this product and went out to purchase it and other tantalizing flavours.  Fabulous taste…and good to the last spoonful.

The choice of flavours is extensive and though a number of supermarkets carry the brand Whole Foods and Mother Nature’s Market stock the most flavours. Butter tart, raspberry lime, mango pineapple, salted caramel (one of my faves), coffee toffee, zesty lemon, decadent frozen hot chocolate (of course this is another fave) are some of the unique but so tasty gelatos.

.

The Fiasco Gelato Factory and Coffee Bar hand craft their gelato in their retail store in Calgary, AB. Go to their website here (http://www.fiascogelatoshop.com/about/) to learn more about this  company that is making a significant impact on our world.

The stores that carry Fiasco Gelato are:

VICTORIA
Ageless Living Market
Market on Millstream
Market on Yates
Mother Nature’s Market
Mt. Douglas Market
Thrifty Foods (all locations)
Western Foods
Whole Foods Victoria

Save On

NORTH SAANICH
Deep Cove Market