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…………..

………… 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


Sun – Thur 8 – 8,  Fri & Sat 8 – 9


Cottage Bakery & Cafe

“When I was 16 and arrived in France, I discovered chocolate mousse.  I was crazy about the bread, too.  Every morning, I’d go to the bakery and get a fresh croissant.  It made me feel very sophisticated.”  —  Jerry Hall

The folks in the Fairfield area of Victoria must feel very sophisticated indeed!

They line up every morning for the fresh croissants at the Cottage Bakery & Cafe, and the latecomers leave sans croissants.
This ham & cheese croissant was all air and butter and cheese and ham!  Such a tough choice to make among the chocolate croissant, cheese croissant, and the plain croissant.  Good thing I arrived early enough to have a choice!
Of course, the Cottage Bakery has breads…………..

……………..and pastries…………….

………………..and savoury baked items………………….

……………..and salads……………..

……………….and decadent cakes, like this layered carrot cake, yet they’re not too sweet.  Perfect!

The patio is a sunny way to break up a morning — or afternoon.

I was attracted to the flowers at the patio’s edge………..nothing to do with the fine baking, but a lovely complement.

I strayed ‘way off my comfortable chocolate path and tried the macadamia nut shortbread.

Not much left, is there?!  So yummy!

The Fairfield community surely knows what a gem they have in their midst in the Cottage Bakery & Cafe.

It’s surely worth a stop!

Cottage Bakery & Cafe

1267 Fairfield Rd, Victoria

Mon – Fri 8 – 5:30, Sat 9 – 4

Olive the Senses

“The olive tree is surely the richest gift of Heaven.  I can scarcely expect bread.”  — Thomas Jefferson

Browsing through the shops, colourful wares and beckoning aromas of the Victoria Public Market on Douglas Street in downtown Victoria, we came upon Olive the Senses.

This unique shop is dedicated to items that enhance the tastes and aromas of our food, such as herbs and seasonings and especially olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

And we couldn’t believe the variations of these items!


High quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is on offer, but the eye-widening variety of fused and infused olive oils are what made us feel like kids in a candy store.

Aged balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy are presented as dark balsamic, white balsamic or specialty flavoured balsamic vinegars.

Okay, this is actually better than a candy store — you get to sample the olive oils and the balsamic vinegars!
And oh, the flavours we sampled!
Olive oils infused with wild mushroom & sage, herbs de Provence, wild dill, garlic, chipotle, for example, or olive oil fused with Persian lime or blood orange had to be sampled.
Balsamic vinegars fermented with Madagascar vanilla, pomegranate, honey ginger, jalapeno, maple, chocolate, cinnamon…. … was almost exhausting!

The tasting room is set up so that these oils and balsamic vinegars can be tasted, either with the guidance of a knowledgeable staff member or by yourself — and you can arrange a private tasting party with a group.

The shop also offers spices, coffees, teas, jams and spreads, barbecue sauces, chocolate, mustards and other condiments, and unique kitchenware items.


The owners of Olive the Senses have family that still lives and             farms in Italy.

Photographs of their family and landscapes in Italy are proudly         on display in the shop.

Gift baskets can be ordered.

Delivery is free north to Sidney and west to Sooke.


We left with our purchases in hand and our heads and senses filled with the unique tastes we had experienced.

My new go-to oil has become the Tuscan herb olive oil.  And I had to rearrange my cupboard to accommodate the                           growing number of flavoured olive oils and balsamic vinegars that seem to come home with me on every visit here.

Go with a friend or a group, or visit the store on your own so you’re limited only by your own time and palate capabilities.
It really IS better than a candy store!

Olive the Senses
Victoria Public Market at the Hudson
9-1701 Douglas St. Victoria, BC

Tue – Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun 11 am – 5 pm

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!

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!


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.

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


Beacon Cafe
2505 Beacon Ave 

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… 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

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

Caffe Fantastico

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons.”  ~  T. S. Eliot

Caffe Fantastico has a little bit of its own fantastical history.Caffe Fantastico

Owner Ryan Taylor operated a coffee cart around Victoria’s Inner Harbour in 1993.
Five years later he opened the coffee house here in Quadra Village and subsequently he and his wife, Kristy, added the Cook Street Village and Dockside Green (next to Fol Epi) locations.
Caffe Fantastico 1

Caffe Fantastico’s coffee beans are sourced from all over the coffee growing world, then roasted right here on their premises.
In addition to their various single bean and blended coffees, Caffe Fantastico offers hand-pulled draught Nitro:  espresso with water (so more like an Americano), pressurized which makes it foamy, and makes it look like a Guinness beer, but it’s a chilled coffee.  Different!
And on a hot summer day, I had an iced Americano with cream – yummy thirst quencher!Caffe Fantastico 2

But on a cooler day, I anticipate the first breath of the warm, coffee-infused air that greets me as I enter Caffe Fantastico.  My day is made!


Caffe Fantastico
965 Kings Road, Victoria
Sun – Sat 7 am – 7 pm.