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

 

Part & Parcel

“We all eat, and it would be a sad waste of opportunity to eat badly.” – Anna Thomas

Several friends recommended Part & Parcel to Linda and me in the “eating well” category, advising
us not to be deterred by the appearance of this downtown restaurant as “just a hole in the wall”– referring to the small street-front presence of this restaurant — they recommended it despite this!

     

Continue reading “Part & Parcel”

Mercedes Lane Too

Luxury is the ease of a t-shirt in a very expensive dress.Karl Lagerfeld

No matter how good the piece of clothing looks, it’s got to FEEL good when wearing it — usually for hours on end!
My confident recommendation to find look-good / feel-good pieces are at Mercedes Lane Too on Cook Street.

The storefront is like a siren, beckoning me from down the street!
There are dresses,

                        

tops for leggings,

           

more dresses,

   

pants from Up! — made in Canada  — in different colours and patterns and all oh, so flattering!,

   

and coats.

          

The owner, Tina Robson, has years of experience sourcing her products and carries varied clothing such as silk and linen items from Italy, for example, but she’s proud to note that about 65% of her wares are made in Canada.

For example, Mode de Vie clothing (left) is made in Canada, as is Gitane (right), below.

       

Besides the amazing Up! pants, Mercedes Lane Too also offers Canadian-made lines such as Neon Buddha, Mode de Vie and Pretty Woman, among others.

And while it plays only a supporting role, there’s art available too!

Tina doesn’t have an advertising budget — she doesn’t need to!
Every time I’m in her shop, I see women browsing, trying on the clothing, and they range in age from teens to my Grandma! No advertising budget means more economical prices for us! Maybe that’s why I never see anyone leaving the store empty-handed!
(…….or it could be the no-pressure help Tina and her staff offer us………….this is actual customer service!)

I bought these bernie mev shoes two years ago and they’re perfect when it’s wet underfoot, plus they’re the lightest footwear I own! 

There’s also bling and boot toppers,

      

hats and other accessories.

On this visit, Linda was partial to black-ish choices:

                                

I had to have a shorty sweater and an airy-floaty dress, both in green, on this particular day………..

    

It’s truly worth a stop at Mercedes Lane Too — a different store with different stuff!
Great, irresistible stuff!

 

Mercedes Lane Too
325 Cook St, Victoria
250-590-3584
www.mercedeslanetoo.com

Tue – Sat  9:30 – 8, Mon 9:30 – 6, Sun 10 – 6

 

10 Acres Bistro

My idea of heaven is a baked potato and someone to share it with.  –  Oprah Winfrey

Aaahh…….comfort food in comfortable surroundings — that’s what we discovered at 10 Acres Bistro.

 

This was during our coldest January since time began — oops! I meant, since temperatures have been recorded here!
We walked through the patio…………..

…………………….with its informative wallboard………………………………

…………………and into the bistro with its inviting fireplace………………………

………………………….past the cellar…………………..

………………………….through to the room with a tidy, cozy bar, aptly labelled, “Bar”……………………..

………………….and another wallboard proudly naming some of our fine local breweries whose brews are available here.

My guest, a friend from another province, likes to try the various seafood chowders available in restaurants in the Victoria area whenever he’s visiting, so that’s what we both ordered.  This one has wild salmon and halibut, with a farm garlic bread.

The seafood at 10 Acres is Oceanwise and sustainable, fresh seafood.  In fact, besides carefully procuring its seafood, 10 Acres has its very own farm north of downtown Victoria in North Saanich near my own home.
The farm provides ethically produced meat, cheese and free range eggs, plus seasonal organic produce and even honey.
As proudly stated here, “Free range happy animals taste better,” so 10 Acres offers fare from pasture raised ducks, turkeys, pigs and rabbits.

But wait!  There’s more!  And in this case, there really IS more!
On the same city block, but around the corner from the Bistro is 10 Acres Commons and Kitchen.

        

The Commons is an “uncommon” room with a large patio facing south, directly across from the landmark Empress Hotel.

The locally-based menu is also offered here along with local brews, buck-a-shuck and live music.  It’s a lovely spot to hang out.

And then there’s the Kitchen, which is a somewhat more formal dining room in the same building.  The colourful artwork highlights the tall ceiling here, making the room feel homey, yet spacious and airy.

While I was taking the various photos, I struck up a conversation with two delightful women who had moved to Victoria from Calgary, but never knew each other in Calgary.  Bernadette and Nadine (L – R) met when they both joined the Newcomers of Greater Victoria.

This was a heart-warming detail for me, as the Peninsula Newcomers Club is how Linda and I met when we moved here.
Bernadette and Nadine were casing 10 Acres Bistro for their “Dining Out” group, and we agreed:  10 Acres is a real gem!

10 Acres Bistro
611 Courtenay St, Victoria
250-220-8008
www.10acresbistro.ca
Sun – Thur 11 am – midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am – 1 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beacon Cafe

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long difficult words but rather short, easy words like, ‘What about lunch?’ “  —  Winnie The Pooh  (A.A. Milne)

And with exactly that phrase, we finally had a moment of silence while we looked at the menu and contemplated what indeed would be for lunch!

img_8207         beacon-cafe2

 

We were at a café in Sidney at the corner of Beacon & Second Street — ergo, the Beacon Café!

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The indoor space is cozy, with a fireplace and upholstered seating.  As I went by later that day, folks were sitting at the outdoor tables in the sunshine with their coffees – in mid-November!

beacon-cafe3

The manager advised that their standard sandwiches – the Ham ‘n’ Egger, Four Cheese Panini, Haro Straight and Beacon Cranberry Brie – are all popular.

And of course, there’s tea and coffee.

img_8174     We agreed on the Haro Straight, a sandwich of ham, Havarti, tomato and lettuce on multigrain bread (baked at Victoria’s Portofino Bakery).

img_8169     Our second shared choice was the lightly grilled Beacon Cranberry Brie, a yummy nod to autumn with turkey, cranberry and brie on sourdough bread.

Both sandwiches were hearty and tasty.

beacon-cafe1
I picked up a raspberry coconut square to share at home – and guess who did NOT share?!

 

Beacon Cafe
2505 Beacon Ave 
Sidney

Sült Pierogi Bar

“This is my unvariable advice to people: Learn how to cook — try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all, have fun!”  — Julia Child

My Mom used to make perogies — she loved to try many different kinds with various fillings and sides. And they were SO good!
Soooo………….what about today?  A downtown perogy place?  — OOPS! —  “pierogi” place!
Well, we discovered Sült Pierogi Bar.

Sult Perogie Bar 3 (Medium)

Trust me, this place has pierogies nailed!  No matter how you spell it, I call it “More, please!”

Sult Perogie Bar 2

The menu includes various combinations of fillings, sides and number of pierogies for your order.
Sult Perogie Bar 1
The restaurant is finished in industrial chic style.Sult 7

The walls are filled with artwork by Dallas Segno (www.dallassegno@gmail.com).
Sult 4

And there indeed is  a bar!

Sult 5
This space formerly housed a bank, so the door to the bank’s vault remains in place at Sült — but it looks nothing like your bank’s vault door!
Sult 9         Sult 6

And there’s take-out!  So following this sumptious tasting, we had out-of-province company staying with us, and we treated them to Sült pierogies — this was a BIG hit!

Sult 1Check it out!   You will NOT be disappointed!    Sült !

Sült Pierogi Bar
609 Yates St
778-265-7858

www.sultpierogibar.com

Mon – Thurs 11 am-9 pm,  Fri – Sat 11 am-12 am,  Sun 11 am-6 pm

Surly Mermaid

“Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.”  —  Dorothy Day

Sharing food prepared by someone else (and someone else cleans up!) by a window with a lovely view is like a balm for one’s soul.  And we discovered such a spot at the Surly Mermaid restaurant next to the sea and the marina in Sidney.

Sultry Mermaid 4

Having worked through some start-up wrinkles, this seaside restaurant is a pleasure to experience.

Sultry Mermaid 3

 

 

There’s a patio area outside to enjoy the marina and seaside view, but on the day we were here, it was better to enjoy the food indoors.

And how much do you love a warm fireplace, looking out at the sea, when it’s a blustery day?

 

Sultry Mermaid 2

 

 

 

 

 

A hi-tech fish installation on the wall is a metaphor for the fusion of basic good ingredients made using modern cooking methods and knowledge.

 

 

Day's special, chicken burger with brie, pear mushrooms, tomato, spinach, pesto & salad & red pepper bisque

We shared the day’s special:  chicken burger with mushrooms, brie, pear, spinach and pesto, with a fresh side salad and the day’s soup:  a take-notice red pepper bisque which certainly warmed up our taste buds.

Raspberry sorbetThis house-made raspberry sorbet would be perfect all on its own, but following today’s full-flavoured meal, it was the perfect exclamation point.  Any mermaid, sultry or otherwise, would enjoy the meal, view and ambience we experienced!

Surly Mermaid
1A, 9851 Seaport Pl, Sidney
(778) 351-1544

www.sultrymermaid.ca

Sun – Mon 11 am – 11 pm

Spiral Cafe

“Without my morning coffee I’m just like a dried up piece of roast goat.”
—  Johann Sebastian Bach

And, as if waiting for Mr Bach, we spotted a vintage white upright piano!
Vintage piano
The Spiral Cafe is actually a coffee shop, but music seems to be a big part of the life here.  Live music is featured on weekends and on some weekday evenings as well.

Check out this sidewalk outside the cafe!
Sidewalk outside Spiral CafeThere’s blue glass embedded in the concrete…..in a spiral pattern!
And it’s in front of — the Spiral Cafe!  Coincidence?  I think not!

Tent card on sidewalk      Outside

The spiral theme is on the sidewalk, in the windows and on the signage.
Art work 3

The walls are adorned with pieces by local artists, lending a colourful and homey feel to the room.

 

Homemade Moroccan split pea soupAs it was lunch time, I had a bowl of the homemade Moroccan split pea soup — so tasty!  It had just the right amount of heat, but not enough to make me overheat.  Just right!

Cheese & herb scone, split           The cheese & herb scone from a nearby bakery was the perfect accompaniment to the soup.

Bliss chocolate ice cream bar              Enjoy! Bliss ice cream bar

Linda chose a Bliss ice cream bar to finish her meal.  Bliss ice cream bars are hard to find, apparently. They’re made in Vancouver and if Linda’s oohing and ahhing are any indication, they’re the best packaged ice cream bars around!

Bliss, indeed!  At the Spiral Cafe!

Spiral Cafe
418 Craigflower Road, Victoria
250-386-9303

Mon – Thu 7 am–9:30 pm,  Fri 7 am–10 pm,  Sat 8 am–10 pm,  Sun 9 am – 6 pm

The Pink Bicycle

“I always say, ‘Eat clean to stay fit;  have a burger to stay sane.’ “ — Gigi Hadid

Yes, there’s a pink bicycle in the window of this casual burger restaurant.  The story goes, the owner used to ride this bike to work every day……… that’s it!

Pink Bicycle 5

 

But this isn’t your average burger joint.

Not only is this one of the best beef burgers I’ve had, but beef isn’t nearly the only burger available here.
The Pink Bicycle offers burgers made from chicken, swine, lamb, bison, salmon, ahi tuna, veggie,  black bean veggie, truffle mushroom, and more.

Sides available include soups, salads, fries and poutine.
Everything is sourced locally where possible.

Pink Bicycle 3

I chose the most popular burger, the Pink Bike Cheese Burger and a side house salad with veggies, sunflower seeds and a fig-balsamic vinaigrette — all yummy!  The buns are baked next door at Bond Bond’s Bakery.

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Linda chose the second most popular burger, the Blue Cheese Lamb Burger with a side of fries.
The locally sourced organic lamb is infused with savoury rosemary and apricot pesto, and the burger is topped with local rich blue cheese and lime mayo.
I’m not a fan of lamb, but I tried this and the blue cheese makes this a star for sure!

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Love that Pink Bicycle!

The Pink Bicycle
1008 Blanshard St, Victoria
250-384-1008
www.pinkbicycleburger.com

Mon – Sat 11:30 am – 9 pm