Sunday, June 13, 2010

Eating Our Way Through Victoria BC

I don't know about you, but my favourite thing to do on any holiday is to eat my way through it! Although our mid-week trip to Victoria wasn't so much a holiday as my friend Catherine was there for work, we spent the majority of her downtime seeking our next foodie conquest! While some of our choices were uninspired (ie chain restaurants), we did hunt down some local specialities. Since Victoria is a harbour-side city, seafood was at the top of our list.

We stayed at the Fairmont Empress hotel, an icon in downtown Victoria. Although I was tempted to experience their traditional afternoon tea, a walk through the lobby where they serve it one afternoon was enough to quash my idea. I'm sure the tea, cakes and sandwiches were fantastic but the ambiance was a bit too mellow for my liking. Especially on a gorgeous day out, it seemed like a shame to spend $45-$55 indoors sipping on hot tea! Will add it only my list of things to do in the future.

On the topic of tea, my favourites in London are at Laduree at Harrods and at Bob Bob Ricard in Soho. My favourite treat at Laduree has always been the Le Saint HonorĂ© Rose-Framboise. Their macaroons, are to die for as well! They come in the cutest collectible boxes.

Wow, cake fantasy over! What was I going on about before that departure? Oh yes, food. Without a doubt, the first place we dined at was The Keg Steakhouse on 500 Fort Street. The exterior gave the restaurant an outdated appearance yet the interior proved warm and inviting. We stuck to our old favourites: Mushrooms Neptune, Escargot, and rare Prime Rib. Mine was a regular cut, rare, with an all-dressed baked potato. No point in messing around!

Prime Rib

Craving a sweet ending to our meat feast, we came across The Soda Shoppe on the corner of Government and Humboldt Street only to see that it was closing. After a stroll through the Empress, we decided to get cakes via Room Service along with a cheesy chick flick on Pay-Per-View (When in Rome). Our last Room Service experience ended up with us spending $100 on chicken fingers, pizza, nachos and "two of everything!" so we were more careful this time. Even with this pricey experience as a caution, we still ended up spending about $45 on two pieces of cake! ($14 per cake, delivery fee, taxes and gratituity included AND we gave an additional $5 tip in cash!) Another lesson: check the bill to see if gratuity is included before handing anyone a tip!

Our second foodie day began with breakfast at Milestones. I had the Prime Rib hash, an utter saucey feast in my mouth! They are smart to incorporate last night's left over prime rib into a truly meaty breakfast. Topped with two oozy poached eggs and (not enough!) hollandaise sauce, I knew I made the right choice when the other girls dug into my plate before theirs.

Prime Rib Hash Brunch at Milestones

We reunited at 4:30pm at The Oyster Bar on Humboldt Street for Buck-A-Shuck oysters. We rounded out our 7 Fanny Bay oysters each with a Steamer of mussels and clams in a Pernod cream. An absolute delight for little damage to our wallets!


The Oyster Bar - Victoria

As if that wasn't enough food, we reconvened a few hours later to hit The Soda Shoppe for an old fashioned ice-cream dessert. I had a Capital City banana split all to myself to the amusement of a few patrons. For some reason, we were still hungry after this, though I'm not sure how it was possible. After much debate, we ended up at the trusty Earls at which I ordered some hot wings. This was my first "OMG it's Wing Wednesday!" moment in two years. I had to indulge!

Earls Hot Wings

Last but not least, I capped off my visit with the discovery of Red Fish Blue Fish. I expected a casual dine-in restaurant but strolled down a ramp to find a delightful little fish shack. It had just opened 5 minutes prior but the queue was already growing. For good reason! We had their BBQ Fanny Bay Oyster Tacones, Tempura Cod Tacones and curry fries. Simply delectable street food! If I had a few more days in Victoria, I would have definitely returned to try their fish and chips.

Red Fish Blue Fish Tacones

This pic is just a representation of the Tacones ...

Finally, I must have to add that the highlight of this trip was not just the food, but my visit with my old friend Melissa and her cutey-pie Kole. It's amazing how time flies yet when two friends are together, it's as if nothing's really changed (other than maybe the fact there is now a toddler on the loose!)

Me, Mel and Kole

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