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Posts posted by merlin

  1. Glad that you enjoyed your visit to the Wick.

    However, we were there last fall and Jim Garroway had as I was told left by then. I am a bit perplexed by your menu references. Did the chef come back?

    Their website makes reference to Mike Chevin's "team" that I don't know.

    Where did you stay in Ucluelet? We are off there come October.

  2. It has been a few years since we managed to get out to Victoria but do recollect that Cafe Brio was a fun, noisey, trattoria type spot to dine and wine...yes, as Saucey pointed out, they have a good wine list and recollect a person who I think was the owner was more than pleased to discuss the wines.

    We also enjoyed the casual atmosphere, large portions and good prices at the Herald Street Cafe.

    I think we walked by Zambris on a couple of occasions and am "kicking myself" now for not having given it a try as it sounds like a spot we would have liked.

    We had a so, so lunch at the Blue Water Cafe in the Coast Hotel and were overcharged for our wine...wine list error...said it was the Blue Mountain reserve whereas what was poured was their beige label. I did not know the striped v. beige label distinction until later. To be fair, when I pointed our that error in a letter to mgmt they apologized and offered another bottle upon a return visit...unfortunately that has not happened yet.

    Had an outstanding dinner at the Victorian Dining room in the Ocean Pointe. Top notch from food through wine through service.

    Brilliant evening at the Aerie but I sure wish there was an easier way to get there that driving the pitch black Malahat. Had to curb my interest in their wine list.

    Camille's was ok. Have had better during other visits.

    To you locals, whatever happened to Rebecca's? [now replaced by the D'Arcy McGee pub at the foot of bastion square]. That used to be our all time Victoria favourite for lunch and dinner given the inventive cuisine.

  3. I will be heading south to Calgary next week-end and am always open to new dining suggestions.

    I'll be staying at a centrally located hotel and for the most part will be without a vehicle so out of town suggestions or places further south like The Ranche will probably not fit the bill.

    I like virtually any kind of food but am not interested in asian this trip nor "big honkin' sides of beef" so Snugglers, Caesars, Chicago Chop House and the like do not appeal to me.

    Price is not a big issue. I'll be dining alone until family joins the following week-end. Good wine would be a plus.

    I have enjoyed Rivers, Wildwood Brewing Co, Teatro and the Owls Nest on past visits. Have tried and was disappoinited in Catch although I might give the Oyster Bar component another go.

    Il Sogno has been highly recommended but someone cautioned that it might be closed for a summer break. Anyone know if that is true?

    What about a late Sunday nite suggestion? Would prefer not to end up in Joey Tomatoe's or some other Eau Claire Market venue but they are close by and I guess being alone I could always get something to eat up at the lounge bar.


  4. riboflavinejoe:

    I can smell those bagels way out here in Alberta!

    When I grew up in Montreal many an early morning was spent lined up in the St. Viateur bagel factory picking up a bag to two to bring home as a "peace offering" to the rest of the family.

    My brothers came to become fans of Fairmount but whenever I venture "home" I head to St. Viateur...recollect one puzzled security guard who called over a supervisor when my hand luggage went through the x-ray machine at Dorval...I had packaged some bagels and cans of maple syrup and it must have looked like a bomb to him initially.

    Whenever I head south to Calgary I bring home dozens of bagels from "Wayne's Bagels" in Kensington as they make them Montreal styled in a wood burning oven...closest I have found to the "real thing" in these parts...smallish, dense, with a touch of sweetness.


  5. We stayed at the Aerie for our honeymoon and are now thinking about going to Wickaninnish Inn, with perhaps a stop-off at Sooke Harbour House, for next year's anniversary. I've been taking notes from this and older threads, so all your opinions are much appreciated.

    We have been going to the Wick annually since its opening. Our stays have ranged from a couple of days up to about a week at a time.

    This year will be the first one that although we will be back on Chesterman Beach we will not be spending any of the stay at the Wick.

    In part we are not returning because we were disappointed in the food service. We are of the view that it has been sliding for awhile. There were a few hicups last year with service too that maybe one ought to be more "forgiving" about except that at the end of the day you are being charged "resort" prices.

    Chef Garroway had just left so I do not know who was running the kitchen.

    We love the "physical plant" and by and large, the people who staff the Pointe Restaurant but not enough to spend the "big bucks" required especially if you are staying for longer than a week-end and are eating all your meals there.

    Personally I would not put it in the same category as the Aerie (which we enjoyed a lot when we stayed in Victoria) or the Sooke Harbour House (going from reputation as we have not been but keep meaning to try).

    No question this fall we will head down the beach for a leisurely lunch with a nice bottle of wine despite the cost, but will pass on dinner. Mind you, at that time of year the sun has set by 7:00/7:30 so you lose the breathtaking ocean vistas at nite.

    Although the Chefs selection tasting menu was quite good last year, dinner is not sufficiently good or interesting to warrant the cost so we'll pass.

    Perhaps under the new kitchen/restaurant team things have improved. I do not know anyone who has been there recently.

    If you do go before Thanksgiving I would appreciate hearing your comments.


    PS I read that their beachside addition complete with some suites equipped with cooking facilities opened July 1st or so. Will be interested in seeing what they are like. I could not get any printed literature on it and their website had not been updated the last time I checked.

  6. Chef Fowke inquired in part:

    Is Roots Lodge still open?

    I am not sure CF, we have passed it several times since its opening en route to the lighthouse at the Amphitrite Point Coast Guard station or to stroll along the Wild Pacific Trail however have never stopped at the Lodge itself. Its architecture, at least from the street side, does not make it easy to tell if anything is happening or not.

    No one has ever recommended it to us during our trips to the coast.

    I just did a google search and there was a real estate ad offering the building up for sale for $379,000. Not sure of its date but there was a 2003 copyright icon at the bottom.

    I suspect that it is, was or will be "no more".

    Did stop at the Tauca Lea By The Sea resort last trip out. It is off the harbour across from the townsite accessed by the Seaplane Depot Rd. Unfortunately the restaurant was only open for dinner at least at that time of year [we were there in October] . Had a look at the menu and it was predominantly south-east asian influenced seafood. Looked very good but we never headed back to try it. Maybe this Fall.


  7. "Mrs" Lounge Lizard:

    Well, if it has been 8 yrs since your last visit to the orginal Wick location, you may very well have served us. It has been about that time or a little longer since we were last in Tofino at the time of year when the restaurant was open.

    We now head out to Tofino after Cdn Thanksgiving so by that time the restaurant has usually packed up (Labour Day deadline I think) and the Parks Canada interpretative centre is boared up as well.

    Was the restaurant being operated by the same folks as the Cdn Princess in Ucluelet at that time?

    I recollect being disappointed in the food one year but upon our return the following year it was so much better. One certainly could not do much better for a view, at least until the new Wick's "Pointe" opened up.

    I recollect being there one evening and watched as an eagle swooped into the ocean to catch a fish. The weight of the fish dragged the eagle into the surf. The restaurant almost tilted as diners left their tables to watch the eagle "swim" using its wing to "breastroke" to a nearby rock. It pulled its prey up onto a rock and "had dinner" as we returned to our plates.

    We are looking forward to October and a return visit to the area.



  8. Vivremanger:

    Am thoroughly enjoying your "travelogue" and to be frank, am becoming more than a tad jealous :biggrin:

    My family have a couple of cabins on Brome Lake on the road between Foster and Knowlton. The rest of my family are in fact there now whereas being in Alberta does not lend itself to easy access.

    Ste. Benoit-du-Lac is a lovely place when it is less hectic than you described. I love it and the area in general in the fall when the sugar maples have turned various colours. I have not been back in several years. Your comments may inspire me to take some time and check out the cheese, duck, cidre and even the wine in those parts.

    Hope you continue to enjoy your trip as I, vicariously at least, "tag along".


    Edm, AB

  9. ErinB:

    That would be the Raincoast...or is it the RainForest...or the Raintree :biggrin: Rain something anyway adjacent to the gift shop, whale watching, hemp clothing and raingear stores.

    We too have enjoyed its food with an asian influence as you suggested with the sake soaked halibut.


    Edmonton, AB

  10. Ah yes, Tofino. One of our favourite places to go relax, refresh and revitalize. I moved out west from Montreal/Halifax in '80 and visited Tofino for the first time in '82 and have been back every year since.

    We head out there after Cdn Thanksgiving in the fall thanks to the kind folks who will rent we golden retriever owners their home on Chesterman Beach.

    Over the years, before and after dogs we have stayed at the Ocean Village, Pacific Sands, Weigh West, Orca Lodge and the Wickaninnish Inn.

    We extended our stay the first year the Wick opened when after a couple of drinks in their lounge we were pleasantly surprised to be advised that they had two pet rooms per floor (no other place at that time on the ocean/beach permitted pets). We have been back every year since.

    Is the Pointe as good as it originally was when Rod Butters (now Fresco in Kelowna) opened it? No. Is it still a great destination point? Yes, no question. Personally, I prefer to have lunch rather than dinner especially when in the Fall, the sun has set by about seven so you lose the breathtaking view. We had a few hit and misses during our last visit so this fall we are going to give the Wick a pass and stay the entire time in a rented home. More cooking for me perhaps, but what a place to do it.

    Last year we were pleasantly surprised by the Long Beach Lodge Resort. We had a couple of lunches there watching the rolling surf plow into Cox Bay. Much different look as compared with Chesterman. Surprised by their lunch policy [at least at that time] of only serving wine by the glass rather than by the bottle too. Mind you enjoyed the Black Hills Note Bene that they were featuring by the glass.

    I have seen some positive reviews here. I thought the original manager and wife/chef had left. Who is cooking now? Her salmon/halibut fish tacos were great last fall.

    We have enjoyed Cafe Pamplona the past couple of years including a bottle of Jeff Martin's Merlot from La Frenz.

    For a more casual meal the pub at Weigh West is a good bet.

    Of course, there is nothing better some nites than a good pizza from Surfside Pizza. Dave Dolina does a great job and it is worth ones while to inquire about the evening specials. I had some nice lamb chops one evening which were just great.

    We dropped in at the relatively new resort in Ucluelet last year out across the harbour from the Cdn Princess along Seaplane Rd...the menu looked nice but they were only open for dinner and I did not want to drive back that night.

    Well only about 3 more months before we'll be out there. If anyone has other suggstions I would love to hear them.


    Edmonton, AB

  11. No, thanks anyway Lounge Lizard ...had the right chef and the right market, Allemeier, formerly of Teatro.

    I had heard he was running the bistro at Wrayton's which is in Calgary but I have not managed to get there on my recent trips.

    The Mission Hill move was confirmed by others. Last month I understand.

    Had not heard about David Forestell and Penny Lane. Has been a long time. The last time I had any of his food it was years ago at Hainle in the Okanagan.



  12. Explorer:

    I highly endorse trying the wines from Blue Mountain as was suggested earlier.

    However, if you are intending to visit/taste be certain to phone ahead. They do it by reservation only unless they have recently changed their policy.

    If you are down that south you should also visit Tinhorn Creek if for nothing else to walk around their winery and grounds.


  13. Rickster:

    Not necessarily as a result of a process of elimination given the "Sunday factor", I would recommend FID www.fidopia.com

    They are open on Sundays and to quote Ian who I just spoke to, "one of the few in Halifax" as you have already found out, are.

    Get instructions as to how to get there as although the address off Spring Garden Rd. is easy enough, they are tucked away in a building that you might not otherwise think, especially on week-ends, houses them.



  14. Craig:

    I chuckle when I read posts concerning the pronunciation of "Meritage"as you have described it.

    Virtually every time I have ordered it at a chain restaurant like Earl's which has the Inniskillin Black Horse Vineyard Meritage on their wine list, the bartender has "corrected" me by using the "frenchified" version you referred to.

    I usually laugh and comment that no it isn't but I am sure they just mentally shrug their shoulders and think, "another hick who just fell off the turnip truck" :biggrin: Of course I could compound the issue by ordering a glass of merlot as in "parking lot".



  15. Yesterday while "visiting" another wine related internet site, Robin Garr's "Wine Lover's Page", I saw a post from someone who had been visiting Vancouver and ate at Bin 942, the "tapas styled" spot on Broadway.

    What was of interest to me was that she commented that she tried a glass of Quails Gate OVF which she had heard of but never tried. Her description is great. Talk about different "wine speak". She mentioned roasted turnips, raw beets, Campbell's vegetable soup , new terra-cotta tiles amongst others. I thought it was terrific post.

    This wine is from B.C.'s Okanagan Valley and is made from marechal foch, a varietal which I expect one either loves or hates. I fit into the latter category when it is made well as is usually the case with Quails Gate and for example, Ontario's Malivoire Winery.

    The descriptors used by the poster differed with my recollection so yesterday I picked up a bottle on the way home from work. We had it last evening with barbequed, marinated boneless leg of lamb.

    It was "true to form" a dark, purple inky monster. Initially a little closed but it quickly began to open up. Lots of dark berry fruit and a whiff of radichio or chickory. Tasted the same way, fairly deep taste with a somewhat bitter finish. It did however, unlike other foch I have had, have an actual finish. It was not one of those that immediately disappears after you have swallowed. Definitely some coffee with smooth tannins and nice mouth feel. Not as viscous as I recollect some of the earlier vintages but I enjoyed it.

    Try as I might, I just could not taste the beets, turnip, cabbage that others had commented on...just as well probably :biggrin: Not saying that they are not there, just that I did not detect them. When I asked my wife is she noted them she looked at me as if I was from mars and asked, "were you drinking at lunch again?".




  16. Rickster and all:

    Just joined the list and spied your request for Nova Scotia recommendations.

    My wife and I were in Halifax last year at the end of June and we dined very well indeed. Some have already been mentioned and will be repeated but here are my choices for Halifax in no particular order:


    -good food, wine list and very friendly and accomodating service

    -off Bishop's Landing with a view of the harbour including patio

    -we had lunch here several times, dinner once and dropped in for drinks late at night on a couple of other occasions

    -same owners as da Maurizio and Il Mercato

    -interesting cuisine and wine list

    da Maurizio

    -northern Italian - located in the old Keith's Brewery bldg.

    -outstanding food - expensive

    -I lived in Hlfx until '80 and every time we return for a visit we go here and we have yet to be disappointed

    Il Mercato

    -more casual trattoria style - tiled floor - large antipasti selection

    -provides a nice respite from the summer heat and bustle on Spring Garden Rd.


    -a little hard to find but well worth the "looking" -off Spring Garden Rd up toward the Halifax Gardens

    -small menu - changes often I expect as well as limited, but well chosen wine list

    -chef/owner and wife/partner works the front

    -had a spectacular piece of halibut - simple - but excellent


    -on Barrington Street -funky/eclectic dining room

    -limited menu - changes daily - same with wine as I recollect

    -instead of bread a biscuit was served in its own brown paper bag

    -very good food relying on fresh, local, available ingredients


    -it was alive and well when we visited last year - however, I think that it had just reopened and they were in the process of opening the main floor wine bar for lunches

    -multi-storied restaurant in restored old building - lovely decor

    -excellent food - again emphasis on fresh, regional cuisine


    -the fine dining room in the Casino

    -black tie service but they are there to cater to the tourist and gambler - not at all stuffy despite the initial impression that they might be - I definitely was dressed casually

    -best wine list [da Maurizio would be the next best] - good prices - many by the glass

    -very good food indeed - it was one of the few spots open when we arrived late on a Wednesday and we had a number of appetizers with some wine and no one was rushing us to get out and we were the only table there at that time

    -busy the next time when we returned for dinner

    On past visits we have tried and can recommend:

    The Bistro

    -main floor of apartment bldg. across from the Hlfx Gardens

    Ryan Duffy's

    -steakhouse - cut to order filet/sirloin

    -not usually my type of dining especially at the coast but this was during a Cdn Thanksgiving visit years ago and we were 'fished out"

    On another trip we tried the Blomidon Inn in Wolfville in the Annapolis Valley and enjoyed a lunch.

    In Annapolis Royal itself we had a fabulous meal at Neuman's <?>. Not sure if it is still open as we did not get there this year.

    If you venture into Evangeline Country the restaurant at the Grand Pre Winery is worth a visit. It is expensive however we did enjoy some of the smoked meats and cheese that were available with some of the wine produced on site.

    I wish we were going again. Perhaps next year.


    Edmonton, AB

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