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.
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

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

Deep Cove Chalet Dining Room

All four elements were happening in equal measure — the cuisine, the wine, the service, and the overall ambience.  It taught me that dining could happen at a spiritual level.  — Charlie Trotter, in “Our Cuisine”


Living on the Saanich Peninsula, we are totally spoiled by breathtaking views every day, even in wintertime.

             This is in fact the view from the dining room, looking out onto Deep Cove (west of Sidney) on a foggy, wintry day.
Since this past winter has been so cold, it seems that every time we were at the Deep Cove Chalet we missed the sunshine.  Yet the West Coast’s wintry beauty comes through the world-class view.

The dining room has an abundance of fresh flowers on every table, arranged by Bev, who impeccably manages the dining room together with her husband and chef, Pierre.  Going out to the Deep Cove Chalet is always a treat because of, well, because of all factors:  great views, friendly and personal service, really good food that’s well presented and an extensive wine list.

Continue reading “Deep Cove Chalet Dining Room”

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
Sun – Thur 11 am – midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am – 1 am







Patio Gardens

“Earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

So, in search of Earth’s laughter, we visited Patio Gardens on West Saanich Road and we found it in spades!
The vibrant colours of flowers and greenery can uplift any spirits, particularly as daylight hours shrink.

patio-gardens13The owner, Yvonne, has been gardening for more than a couple of decades.  In earlier days the business was mostly cut flowers.  Now the specialty is hanging baskets and container gardening, suitable for patios and decks, indoor containers and anywhere you’d want to have live greenery or a garden feature.
And in our moderate west coast climate, water garden features can run year-round!patio-gardens15                   patio-gardens1

Patio Gardens features Christmas plantings right now, so there are lots of poinsettias and greenery. patio-gardens14In a spacious classroom setting, floral and gardening workshops are offered, and wreath-making is a popular one right now.patio-gardens4


The store offers plenty of decorating and gift ideas as well.
patio-gardens11     patio-gardens8

It’s a delight to visit Patio Gardens during this cheerful Christmas season.
And I can only imagine how Patio Gardens will remake itself in the springtime!


Patio Gardens
6536 West Saanich Road, Victoria

Mon – Sat  9 – 5:30 pm,  Sun & holidays 10 – 4 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

Sun – Mon 11 am – 11 pm

Boondocks Cafe

“Lord have mercy on the boy from down in the boondocks”
— Billy Joe Royal from ‘Down In The Boondocks’ song

Well, if the boy needs mercy at the Boondocks café, it’s likely because he can’t decide what to order from all the tempting choices!

Situated on a quiet street, Boondocks is a pub-style restaurant with the space divided into several areas for either an open pub-like atmosphere, or smaller spaces for more intimate dining.
Boondocks stirfry
The pleasant surprise for us was the covered patio at the rear of Boondocks surrounded by sunlight and plants, yet we were in the shade on this hot day.  Perfect!

The chefs are also the owners of Boondocks for over two decades, carefully sourcing their meat, produce and baked goods locally.

The Boondocks Burger is a favourite of regular clients. The all-beef patty is made fresh in-house daily from beef produced by 63 Acres Farm in southern BC.  Yummy!

Boondocks stirfryBoondocks features a stir-fry every day, and today was pork.   The pork medallions were very tender, and the stir-fry had lots of vegetables.  Tasty and satisfying.

Boondocks Café
9732 1 St, Sidney, BC
Mon – Saturday 11 am – 11 pm
Sunday Noon – 8 pm