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

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

Best of Both Worlds, now at Fan Tan Alley

“When we enlarge our view of the world, we deepen our understanding of our own lives.” — Yo-Yo Ma

Linda and I visited Best of Both Worlds at the Quadra Street location in the fall of 2015.  http://www.victoriassecretgems.ca/best-of-both-worlds-imports/
However, this new location in popular Fan Tan Alley is proving to be a good move, due to the enhanced foot traffic.


The first thing that caught my eye upon

entering the store was this silk lamp

from Thailand.  Striking!



Then there was the collection of  small

lidded boxes — a weakness of mine! —

made of mango wood.

Of course, there were Thai silk scarves……………

………………….beautiful hand crafted paper parasols………..

………………..picnic baskets from China………….an elephant table from Thailand……..

……………..Thai silk cushions……………….

……………..carved statues and figures………….

……………wall carvings…………………bamboo ladders for climbing or for displaying throws, etc.

And then there was the furniture, such as this 12-drawer teak cabinet from Thailand,
or this 30″ saddle stool from China,
or this reclaimed teak cabinet from Thailand,
or this substantial warrior chair made of monkey wood from Thailand, or this armoire from China.

There were several styles of carts from India.

There were unique shelf units or bar storage units from India made of reclaimed wood and iron.

Reclaimed wood items from India seemed to be particularly popular.

Perhaps because I’m a newly minted grandma, I was drawn to this child’s rocker from Thailand,

and this, my favourite piece, a unique chest from India made of reclaimed wood.

Do visit this charming store in Fan Tan Alley or the warehouse on Quadra St and let your senses experience some of the unique products from the Far Eastern world.  Your sense of smell will let you know when you’ve crossed the threshold!


Best of Both Worlds

19 Fan Tan Alley

2713 Quadra Street 


Mon – Sat 10 – 5,  Sun Noon – 5

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


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

SheShe Shoes

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.” —  Harry Winston

This 4-metre topiary in downtown Victoria made me stop in wonderment this past summer, but admittedly, it was due to the green thumb in me, not so much to the fact that I had shoes on my mind. But since that seed was planted……….yeah, the pun is intended!………we did go over to She She Shoes.

On offer we found ankle boots…………and prim ‘n’ smart loafers………

……….and flat-heeled ankle boots, such as these by Blonde.

There are practical items such as these flats from Butterfly Twists…..
……..aptly named, because the heel tucks into the toe of the flat, like a cocoon, taking up little space when travelling.


Socks are offered too.




And there are the warm-weather


……………like these sandals from Miz Mooz………..

……………and these lace-ups from Sacha London.

The shoes in this shop could almost be considered commonplace………….almost………

……………but then we noticed these very comfy and colourful flats, and these pumped-up lace-ups….

………….and these booties…………….

………….and these flats from Poetic Licence………….

……………and these almost-staid polka dotted pumps…………….
…………….and these almost-practical shoes from Shoe the Bear:

……….and then it got interesting.

You love animals, and you want to put that forward?  Try these!

Or these, from Irregular Choice.

And then the heels kicked it up a notch…………

……………..moving to the ice creams, …………………….

 ………….to Bambi, ……………….

…………the stacked dice…………………..

…………….the pink flamingos………….

……………and even an adorable bride & groom pair in which to kick things up in style at a wedding!

Those heels made these shoes look tame by comparison:

Even the flaming red embellished pair looked almost demure!

I HAD to try some…………….

……….and walked out, a delighted customer!  Even the shoe box is unique!

She She Shoes
618 View St
250- 383-1883

Mon – Sat 10 – 5:30,  Sun noon – 5

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
Mon – Sat 11 am – 7 pm,  Sun Noon – 7 pm

Kid Sister Ice Cream
 #10 Fan Tan Alley, Victoria
Sun – Wed  noon – 6 pm, Thur – Sat  noon – 9 pm

Cold Comfort Ice Cream
1115 N Park St #2, Victoria
Sun – Thur  11 am – 9 pm,  Fri & Sat  11 am – 10 pm

Nautical Nellie’s

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”  — Virginia Woolf

Wandering along the Inner Harbour on the David Foster walkway with a good friend, our stomachs let us know it was lunchtime.  We came up onto Wharf Street and the flowers on the restaurant’s patio attracted us to Nautical Nellie’s.

The window signage made us agree that we’d find something on the menu that we like, so we found seats on the patio.

While awaiting our food, we checked out the wine menu for future reference.   http://nauticalnelliesrestaurant.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Wine-List-2017.pdf
We were impressed by the organized listing of quality wines and earmarked this as a dinner destination.

My friend had the Cajun fish tacos with black bean salsa and a side of coleslaw and a house garden salad.
He loved it!

I chose the lobster & shrimp quesadillas with sour cream and a wild jalapeno chutney dip, and a garden salad.  We agreed that the garden vegetable salad was nicely complemented with the passion fruit dressing.
Every last morsel disappeared!  That’s a testament to the flavourful food — and perhaps a bit to our appetites!

As we left Nautical Nellie’s to resume our Inner Harbour walk, we noted the “Heated Sundeck” sign, so we also know this will be a perfect spot even in winter!
A perfect walk & lunch/dinner year-round!


Nautical Nellie’s Steak & Seafood House
1001 Wharf Street, Victoria

Sun – Thur  11:30 – 9 pm,  Fri & Sat 11:30 – 10 pm

Finest At Sea

“All men are equal before fish.”  — Herbert Hoover

But……….all fish are not equal before man!

Having heard about this must-see shop for fresh seafood, we headed to the James Bay area of Victoria. Within easy walking distance from Fisherman’s Wharf we found the seafood boutique shop, Finest At Sea.  And we were rewarded by our find!

Operating since 1977, Finest At Sea prides itself as being “the leading provider of the finest quality seafood on the West Coast.”

All their products are 100% wild and are caught by their own fishermen through sustainable fishing practices.

Finest At Sea employee, Flo, was separating lobsters into different tanks and Lili got a quick tutorial in handling live lobsters without getting a finger caught in a pincer!

The parking lot perimeter is decorated with murals by Steve Milroy’s Wonderworks Studio.


Finest At Sea’s food truck caters public events and is also available to cater private functions. 

Not only seafood is offered here, but some of their favourite seafood-prep items and seafood go-withs are offered for sale.

In addition to selling live and on-ice fresh seafood, Finest At Sea also offers a number of prepared food items containing their own seafood………..

………….plus food for our four-legged friends — really, many things seafood-related.

Lili bought a number of items to be prepared by the chef at home (husband!).

The twice-baked smoked salmon potato was about as good as a potato can get, according to my taste buds.
A fresh gem in this sea-surrounded city, for sure!


Finest At Sea
27 Erie Street, Victoria
250- 383-7760


Mon – Sun 9 am – 7 pm

Runway Fashions

“I don’t design clothes. I design dreams.” — Ralph Lauren

Stepping into Runway Fashions shop reminds me of mainland European clothing shops.
At first glance, I couldn’t readily see any items that beckoned me.

But Eun, the owner, remedied that in no time at all.

She showed us her Danish clothing lines, French-made clothing, and her own designs.


The dress, above, is one designed by Eun.  Lauren Vidal is  line from the UK that Runway carries.

Eun studied fashion design in Germany before moving to Canada.


Linda was drawn to this sweater with the geometric buttons.




She continues to design, produce, and sell her own designs alongside unique pieces from European designers, including shoes and accessories.

Runway is located right in the heart of the Inner Harbour walking district, at the rear of the Empress Hotel block.

And the best part?  In addition to Eun helping her clients find items that truly suit them — perhaps pushing the boundaries just the right amount! — the prices are happily affordable!


I’ve already been back for a second must-have item!
Let Eun help you find your “new look” too!

Runway Fashions
702 Douglas Street

Mon – Sat 10 -6, Sun 11 – 6

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


The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

I believe the 50+people, who lined up for the opening of The Very Good Butcher shop at The Victoria Public Market on Feb. 25th, were hoping to discover new dishes from this vegetarian shop. And it didn’t disappoint because in one day the shop had sold their entire week of inventory. Amazing!! The shop specializes in producing and marketing plant based meat alternative dishes.

Lil and I never had an opportunity to sample the dishes but we were able to take pictures of a few. ( We were #52 and 53 in line, respectively)

This is the Smokin’ Burger

and Beet Balls

The Pricelist

The Opening Week Menu

Display Case of Deli Meats

We are hoping someday, when the line up is down to 2-3 people, to experience the vegetarian dishes of this unique shop.

The Very Good Butcher
1701 Douglas St #6,
Victoria, BC

(250) 465-1542

Mon-Sat 10:00-6:00

Sun: 11:00-5:00