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


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

IMAGINE STUDIO CAFE – Giving Youth a Chance

You’ll need coffee shops and sunsets and road trips. Airplanes and passports and new songs and old songs, but people more than anything else. You will need other people and you will need to be that other person to someone else, a living breathing screaming invitation to believe better things.

Jamie Tworkowski  (founder of To Write Love on her Arms)


Imagine Studio Cafe is a cozy coffee cafe. The decor is airy and neutral: soothing and relaxing and inviting. But it is much more than a coffee shop. It is hope and a belief in better things.


Dorothy Morrison is the proprietor of Imagine. In a soft spoken voice she explained her vision in opening Imagine Cafe. She wanted to help young people at risk and give them opportunities to learn marketable skills and to imagine a better life. The young people that work for her are given this opportunity and many have come back to thank her for believing in them and giving them hope.


The cafe serves simple fare: soups, salads and sandwiches.
And local vegetables, fruits, kitchen supplies and artisan products are available for purchase.


My Brie and Black forest ham sandwich served on bread from La Tana bakery was delicious!
There are bite size sweets to accompany your coffee or tea.  The mini butter tart I had was a perfect end to my meal.





It’s a welcoming spot for browsing

the Internet while having a meal

or a coffee, and board games

are left for patrons as well.




Imagine……..feeling good about your meal as well as knowing you’re helping to support young people learn marketable skills.


Imagine Studio Cafe
31 Erie Street
Victoria BC


M-F: 8:00-5:00pm
Sat-Sun: 9:30-5:00pm

John’s Place

“Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.”
Eli Brown, Cinnamon and Gunpowder

“A Victoria icon, a place one must visit, be sure to take guests, order the eggs benny – they are fabulous!”  I had been wanting to patronize John’s Place for many months… because of the many statements I had heard from friends and acquaintances.

Continue reading “John’s Place”

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!

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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

Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub

“Eating is one of the great beauties in life. One of my favorite recreations… eating with friends, the service, the ambience.”  — LeRoy Neiman

Approaching the Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub is like going to a lovely home in the country.  And that’s exactly what it is!  The Stonehouse was a family home built in 1934 above the sheltered shoreline, close to the Swartz Bay ferry terminal.

Even the address has charm………..located at the end of Canoe Cove Road!  Idyllic!

Stonehouse Pub, Sidney 1

The restaurant has four indoor dining spaces, allowing for intimate dining or larger parties.  There’s lots of stone and wood, reflecting the natural setting outdoors.


The artwork featuring local wildlife is by Morgan Warren whose studio is located just steps from the Stonehouse, above the water’s edge and the marina.  The ultimate inspirational location!

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The most popular dishes, according to the manager and staff, are pizzas and seafood tacos or wraps.
I had the day’s special, a seafood quesadilla with a side of the Stonehouse salad.  Exactly right!

Stonehouse Pub, Sidney 3

But for me, the piece de resistance is the outdoor space, once again with several dining areas.

Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub

There’s space for larger groups, even offering shelter from the occasional rain shower or the summer sun’s blazing heat.
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There are smaller, more intimate and rustic areas.

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I felt as if I’d been “away” after my time here in this lush, green setting with natural stone walls, gravel and stone paths, and the timbers on the Stonehouse walls.

Ambience?  In spades!

Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub


Stonehouse Restaurant & Pub
2215 Canoe Cove Road, North Saanich
www.the stonehouse

Sun – Thur 11 am – 8 pm,  Fri & Sat 11 am – 9 pm





Varsha Sips & Nosh House

“Ask not what you can do for your country. Ask what’s for lunch.”  ~  Orson Welles
We dashed into Varsha Sips & Nosh House to duck a sudden blustery rain squall in downtown Victoria.
The aroma hit us as we opened the door.  Good, lucky choice, I thought.

Dahl 1

As an antidote to the weather outside, we ordered dahl and settled at the windows overlooking Pandora and Government.

The server was welcoming and pleasant and told us that the Dodd family owns Varsha restaurant, which is named after the matriarch of the family.  She also offered us a sample of an appetizer the cook was planning to add to the menu:  spicy roasted cauliflower.
Well, suffice to say that the sample was a complete hit with us!  We even asked the cook how it was prepared, as we enjoyed it so much.  (It’s actually cooked twice to infuse the flavours!)

Our dahl was a comforting bowl of soup made from pink lentils roughly pureed with spices such as garam masala and cumin, giving it an appetizing yellowish green colour, and garnished with feta cheese and cilantro.

Varsha dahl (soup)

The smell was enticing, and with naan on the side, this was absolutely yummy!

Good lucky choice?  Absolutely!

Varsha Sips & Nosh House
1600 Government Street (at Pandora),  Victoria  V8W 1Z3

Tue – Thur  11:30 am – 9 pm
Fri  11:30 am – 10 pm
Sat  noon – 10 pm
Sun  noon – 9 pm.

Dakota Cafe

“Give the ones you love wings to fly, roots [routes] to come back and a reason to stay.”
Dalai Lama, posted on a chalkboard inside the Dakota Café at the Victoria Flying Club

Finding the Dakota Café was the challenge, but the food was well worth the search!Dakota 1b






Wor wonton soup is their specialty……people are in a lineup out the door some days just for this soup.
“Wor” means “everything”, which in their soup includes tasty pork wontons, chicken, prawns, scallops, imitation crab, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red onions, bok choy and a tasty broth.  The soup bowl actually looks like a dishful of wontons, meat and vegetables surrounded by a bit of broth.  A medium bowl ($11)  is actually a full meal.
Very hearty!  Very tasty!

Dakota 2b







Linda and I split the wor wonton soup and then shared a “Cajun & More Wrap” ($11).  It was more, indeed!
Even half the wrap is a hefty portion, with a side of yummy fries – really GOOD  fries, actually.
The wrap had a bit of a bite to it, likely due to the banana peppers.
Another specialty is their Sesame Ginger Salad ($12), with mixed greens and soba noodles tossed in a sweet and spicy sesame dressing topped with grilled chicken and Japanese ginger.Dakota 31







Eggs Benny are served all day on weekends and until 11 am on weekdays.

The indoor café has a mercenary lunchroom look to it, with small lunchroom tables and chairs lined up in straight rows.
We were there on a gorgeous sunny day, so we ate on the patio, with the live action just beyond the patio.  We were sitting literally at the side of the tarmac!
As we ate, several small aircraft took off and landed, as did a couple of commercial jets and the large SeaKing helicopter.  Several small craft taxied in or out of their parked spot just a few metres beyond our table.  It was live entertainment!





Oh, and just so you have an easier time finding this gem secretly tucked among the various buildings near the airport, it’s on the way to the Victoria Flying Club, where Canora Road and Ocean Ave W meet…………go west of that intersection on Canso Road toward the airport control tower and look for the signs.
It’s worth it!


Dakota Café
#101, 1852 Canso Rd, Sidney, BC
Mon – Fri  8 am – 4 pm
Sat & Sun  8 am – 2:30 pm.

Crumsby’s Cupcake Cafe

“A balanced diet is a cookie(Cupcake) in each hand.” -Barbara Johnson

West Saanich Location


Estevan Location

Cupcakes galore: Petit cupcakes with the most delectable buttercream icing. In house made, there are many flavours and varieties to choose from. I went in and bought six cupcakes: two chocolate and four salted caramel.


Determined to eat only two a day with my tea…. I gobbled five in the first day…. what a delicious snack!

Crumsby’s does sell breakfast and luncheon items but I go there for the best cupcakes in Victoria!!

Crumsby’s Cupcake Café
2509 Estevan Ave.
Victoria, BC

T-Sat 7:30am-6pm
Sun-Holidays 9am-4pm
Closed Monday


4525 West Saanich Road

T-Sat. 7:30am-5pm
Sun-Holidays 9am-4pm
Closed Monday