Art in the Barn Gallery

“Great art picks up where Nature ends.”  — Marc Chagall

Tucked onto a natural, forested acreage just off West Saanich Road is a most unusual barn.
No question, it’s a barn;  inside, you can see the concrete curbs on each side of the main aisle which formed the footings for the horse stalls.  The floors slope toward this middle aisle — that was a functional slope.

What is unusual is the contents.
This former barn now houses horses differently – horses painted on canvas.

It also houses other animals, painted on canvasses…………..
   

………because, as no doubt is apparent,
this is a barn converted into a gallery.

The proprietors are Jacqui and Gabriel.

Jacqui is a painter, and all the paintings
featured in this post are hers.

In addition to her own resource material,
Jacqui also paints animals by commission,
such as the two portraits of dogs, above.

Gabriel is a photographer.
Several of his matted and framed photographs are exhibited in the gallery.

Nature figures strongly as a resource in
Gabriel’s photographic work.

Other local artists’ work is also welcome to be exhibited in the gallery.

The art pieces, above and below, are examples of Gabriel’s photographs taken in nature.

Linda tried to gauge the size of this creation by Jacqui.
The art piece depicts a sight that’s so typical of our Peninsula outside Victoria.  It is this aspect of nature that Jacqui continues to capture in her paintings.

Gabriel also spends hours to get the “perfect” shot of a specific aspect of nature that he wants to share.
He also photographs “found” items!

Matted prints of Jacqui’s paintings and Gabriel’s photography work are available unframed as well.

         

The painting above, right, is one by Jacqui of Gabriel.

Art in a Barn is a true gem………local artists creating, displaying, and making available to others the personal creations of Nature that they want to share.    Check it out!

 

Art in the Barn Gallery
4578 Hughes Road
Victoria

778-977-2895

www.artinthebarn.gallery

Thur – Sun 10 – 4  or by appointment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Cast Art Studios

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed.   And you are beautiful.”   —
Amy Bloom

Seeing such a sign generally does not instill confidence in the quality of items below that arrow!

And the “showroom” is a fenced off portion of a parking lot just off an industrial street on the Peninsula.
But let us not generalize!
These items are not ones that you’ll tuck up under your arm as you head off to the cashier.
They’re statuary made of concrete, and they are large, and they are heavy.    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And they are durable — tested to withstand even Prairie winters — and I recall plenty of those!
We checked things over carefully………

…..including the bird baths, of course………decorative pedestals……
   

 

………interesting benches………..
……………..wall art…………..

…………serenity-inspiring statuary……………

 

……….and my personal fave, which has nothing at all to do

with the fact that I’m about to become a grandma!

 

These palletized items are ready for shipping, to anywhere!

So, you want statement garden art?    Where y’ gonna go?

Cast Art Studios
2145 Keating Cross Road
Saanichton
250-652-3397
www.castartstudios.com

Mon – Fri    9 am – 4 pm

 

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

 

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

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
778-433-2412

Mon – Fri 8 – 5:30, Sat 9 – 4

Fan Tan Gallery

“I like to look for gifts throughout the year.  If I find the perfect item for someone, I put it in my “gift closet” and keep it for the next holiday.  But I often get too excited and just give it to them before!”  — Christina Hendricks
fan-tan-gallery-1

Sooo……..I’m not the only one with a “gift closet”!

Linda appreciates beautiful things, and she’s also practical.   When we casually browsed through Fan Tan Gallery and Linda spotted the Linnea display, she gave that an approving nod.
For each month the calendar features a beautiful 11″ X 14″ art print suitable for framing or mounting to any flat surface. Beautiful and practical!

I bought one to keep for her as a Christmas gift. But you know that it didn’t make it to December!
Fortunately, her birthday came up before December so the Linnea calendar was out!
The calendar is not by any means the sole draw at the Fan Tan Gallery, also known as Fan Tan Home & Style.

The shop, with its double storefront presence on downtown Fisgard offers a wide variety of wares made locally in BC, in Canada, and carefully sourced internationally by the owner, Janet, ranging from the USA and Europe to India and Afghanistan.
There are the Cedar Mountain marble coasters and art blocks from Salt Spring Island,   fan-tan-gallery-13
artisanal small batch foods and dishes also made on Saltspring Island and elsewhere in Canada,
fan-tan-gallery-7
fan-tan-gallery-5      fan-tan-gallery-4

candles and room atomizers made in the USA,
fan-tan-gallery-18
socks hand-knitted in Afghanistan from wool and lined with a thin, soft fleece,
fan-tan-gallery-32

personal bath and toiletry products sourced in Italy, in France,
fan-tan-gallery-30   fan-tan-gallery-34

more from France,
fan-tan-gallery-35
            and more from France,
fan-tan-gallery-33

quilts from India made in the Kantha style,fan-tan-gallery-24

more quilts with their exuberant colours,
fan-tan-gallery-23     fan-tan-gallery-21

wooden blocks from India which are used for printing their fabric,
fan-tan-gallery-27

fabric printed using various wooden blocks,
fan-tan-gallery-26
more samples of block-printed fabric, scarves,
fan-tan-gallery-25      fan-tan-gallery-20

.              and cushions.fan-tan-gallery-22

Of course, right now there are displays of seasonal items…………..some rustic,
fan-tan-gallery-3

some glitzier.
fan-tan-gallery-31     fan-tan-gallery-2

fan-tan-gallery-37
fan-tan-gallery-11

For gift-giving anytime — or for myself! — there’s a good selection of Blue Q socks,
fan-tan-gallery-10

games and puzzles,
fan-tan-gallery-8
          tin cups,
fan-tan-gallery-6

pretty ring holders,
fan-tan-gallery-9

and tidy, tiny plants.
fan-tan-gallery-17

Sure, come to the Fan Tan Gallery  for the beautiful Linnea calendar, but you’ll surely leave with
at least one other unique item — I promise!
fan-tan-gallery-36

Fan Tan Gallery
541 Fisgard St
Victoria
250- 382-4424
www.fantanvictoria.com

Mon – Sat 9:30 – 5:30, Sun 11:30 – 5

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.

IMG_5699

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!

IMG_5701

Love that Pink Bicycle!

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

Mon – Sat 11:30 am – 9 pm

Carnivore Meats & More

“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”  ~  Hippocrates

Stopping at Carnivore Meats & More has likely effected more changes in my lifestyle than any other “shopping” stop has ever done!
Carnivore Mar 24I had not previously been too aware of the acute differences between “clean”, truly fresh and healthy meats versus mass-produced and mass-packaged meat products which we’re all used to seeing and buying in even the “good” grocery stores.

Carnivore’s owner, Ian, is uncompromising in his dedication to sourcing healthy, clean, local meat.
For example, the animals he buys for his beef supply are not only grass-fed, but also grass-finished so that the protein remains lean and healthy.

Ian can take you through his cooler cases displaying beef, lamb and pork and knows the specific farm from which the animals are sourced.  The poultry comes from about twelve farms.  The sources for the meats are local to the Island and Ian visits them regularly, so he can personally attest to the “clean” aspect of the products.

Meat case 2

The sausage made in-house is free from gluten, nitrates, MSG and sulphates.  The sausage casings are true animal gut collagen.

Frozen meats such as Cornish hen, quail and rabbit are available, as are eggs (white and brown).

Joshua, Ian’s Assistant Manager, uses Carnivore’s meats to prepare baked offerings such as their tourtiere and spinach & feta pie which is the best definition of “deep-dish” I’ve ever seen!

Tourtiere

Ian’s striving, through Carnivore, to create and maintain a vertically integrated food chain is abundantly clear.  I am impressed;   I’ve learned a few things!
And I’m a now a loyal returning customer!

Carnivore Meats & More
7103 W Saanich Rd, Brentwood Bay
778-351-4733
www.carnivoreandmore.com

Mon – Sat 9:30 am–6:30 pm, Sun noon – 5 pm

 

 

Calla Design

“If you love something, it will work.  That’s the only real [design] rule.”  — Bunny Williams

Newly opened in fall of 2015, Calla Design is a longtime dream of designer Janice Long.

Janice says, “People walk in and say that this is the kind of shop/studio they’d expect to find in Los Angeles or maybe Vancouver, but Victoria?”   Yes, in Estevan Village in Victoria!

20151209_125343 (Large)
The shop features original paintings by local artists,
decor and furniture by Martha Sturdy in Vancouver, solid and custom made furniture by Whittingdon  & Co from Mississauga, Lafco lotions and soaps from New York, and
20151209_125541 (Large)

luxury home fragrances by Antica Farmacistica from Seattle.

20151209_125614 (Large)

Calla Design also features unique items found by Janice Long, such
as this chair from the Ken Shore estate in Portland.
Throughout the store Janice has created vignettes showcasing pieces of the fine furniture lines, along with a variety of the decor items and accessories she offers.

The Egyptian cotton towels are sumptuous.
The furniture throws are fine pieces well-crafted from natural fibres.


But the jaw-dropping items for me were the Kinzig lamps made as future collectors’ items using solid brass and copper, with shades of fine silk and other elegant fabrics and inset with
coloured blown-glass features.  Kinzig Lamps are made by Susan Kinzig in San Francisco and the shades are made by Susan’s sister-in-law in Philadelphia.  The colours and shapes of the shades and blown glass in the lamps can be custom ordered through Calla Design and are available as table lamps or floor lamps.  These are undeniably unique and as much pieces of art as they are functional.

 

Calla Design
2541 Estevan Ave, Victoria
778-265-8002

Open Tues – Sat 10 am – 5:30 pm, Sun