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Everything posted by merlin

  1. merlin


    Andrew: Yep, I can imagine the "sticker shock" when you speak of prices. Coincidentally we just confirmed our travel plans to get out to Tofino for a couple of days at the end of June. At least going at the time you are planning you may be able to take advantage of better availability and prices. Here is a good site to begin, http://www.island.net/~tofino/ In order to keep costs down I expect that you will likely have to do the B.&B. route unless Chris has some local connections to take advantage of. In our "pre-golden retriever" days we liked Pacific Sands but have not checked their prices. Close to Cox Bay and its rolling, softer surf and lots of sand dollars. Every unit we rented did have a fireplace. The Long Beach Lodge resort is also on the same beach. It is right on the beach. Also have cabins set back an easy to the beach. Chris has already written about the developments in the dining scene. SOBO now where Pamplona used to be. Another fish fry spot for more affordable munchies. High end. The Wick's Pointe Restaurant. Shelter. Rainforest. We had a good meal at Shelter last fall but we usually do most of the evening cooking at "home"...no driving and I can drink as much good BC wine as I remember to pack and bring with us. I am not sure whether at that time of year Parks Canada will have its interpretative centre open at the Wickaninnish Beach within the Park itself. The food was pretty good and the views spectacular. However, we have not been in years because by the time we arrive after Thanksgiving everything is boarded up. The menu at the Tea-Lauca [sp?] resort in Ucluelet. Accessed via the Floatplane Depot rd. looked interesting but it was only open at nite while we were there so we did not go back to it. Have not heard anyone talk about it. Good luck. Will be interested in hearing what you decided on. The snow is falling in great big huge fluffly "Xmas-like" snowflakes...all in all I would rather be on Chesterman Beach.
  2. Thanks Shelora..yes that is the one I was curious about...but after that admonition and caution that that is where my curiosity will end [smile]....
  3. James/Andrew: When we visit Victoria we usually stay at the Delta's Ocean Pointe Hotel so have crossed the "blue" bridge many times....there is a sign as you approach Vic West advertising what I am assuming is a restaurant, the Queen Anne or something to that effect...has some reference to "royalty" in any event...never have been interested enough to try and track it down and have never seen it referred to in any guide books...any idea what it is?
  4. ...great thread...I recollect being in Vancouver for the first week-end GI was open. We don't go very often anymore, usually ending up at Lonsdale Quay for its smaller version as we stay on the north shore. Please don't ban the tourists...we would miss the wild life...watching the rats scamper amongst the rocks behind, below and around unsuspecting people sitting out on the benches
  5. wasn't Cassis in the Cook St neighbourhood years ago? Not saying it was, just trying to think back to years and years ago when the "outlaws" lived in the area. Agree that it would be a great spot but suspect big time battle from some segments of the residents. Recollect a lot of public opposition to the opening of a pub...was it before the Beagle was opened? Parking would probably be an issue. It was bad enough finding a spot to drop into the VQA store during a week day in October....
  6. aw shucks...not just a "legend in my own mind" Sounds like a great trip Jayhay...maybe we'll try to get to Cucina the next trip...I have to meet this chef!
  7. You'll never be safer "me old trout"....having spent the latter part of the '70's in a similar state and in similar, albeit Atlantic,surroundings, "...I am broken man on a Halifax Pier, the last of Barrett's Privateers..."
  8. West That is where I would go if someone said, " I am coming to Vancouver, where should I eat?". We were last there when it was still Ouest but the food was excellent then and from what I have read here, it remains very good. My wife and I laugh as we seem to "educate" our north shore friends of where to dine to dine in Vancouver...last trip it was Cru...our buddy raved about the tasting menu at Ouest.. Jamie Maw: I remember our friend asking, "What is Lumiere?"..they had seen it in the magazine but knew nothing of it...mind you to his credit he took me to Ken Bogas' Saltimbocca where we ate his great rare tuna and too oaked CA chardonnay washed down with his pineau des charentes and my grappa...thank goodness it was on his card and not mine!
  9. John: Given the current labour situation and consequential cancelation of the NHL season I too lack enthusiasm for and the opportunity to watch hockey...at least the NHL version. Yes the "Republic of Cascadia" has been discussed...not very seriously I should add..from time to time amongst the citizens of the Pacific Northwest disgruntled with their respective State, Provincial and Federal Governments. There appears to be some significant cross-border exchanges of talent and expertise when it comes to winemaking in the regions. One of my favourite B.C. reds is Nota Bene [bordeaux styled blend] from Black Hills in the southern Okanagan and I believe they were initially assisted by a winemaker from WA State. My complements to Mr. Grady for being a spokesman for the flegdling...relatively speaking...B.C. wine industry rather than merely a salesman for his own wines. I would echo your comments about the Blue Mountain pinot noir. Delicious. I do not think I have any left from '96, perhaps a '98 and more from more recent vintages. Difficult to get. Especially the "striped label". If you do not get through to the winery within a very short time of its release, you will be out of luck except for paying restaurant wine list prices. Andy: I enjoyed the Poplar Grove cab franc. My recollection is a lot of dense, black berry fruit but with some "dusty" tannins in the finish and some chocolate, coffee, etc. notes that I quite enjoyed. It certainly compares favourably with my other cab franc picks from B.C., Burrowing Owl and the more affordable Sandhill.
  10. That certainly is an impressive lineup of Okanagan wines. I am glad that they showed well in London. Chucked over the observation that when you identified the wines to be tasted as being Cdn, dentist appointments and the like were recalled [smile]. Truth be told there are many Cdns who likely would have reacted similarly. Their loss [grin] The production is pretty limited so I for one am glad that many have not yet "discovered" Cdn wines....leaves more for the rest of us. Had that bottle of 2001 Poplar Grove Benchmark Cabernet Franc at Cafe Brio in Victoria, B.C. last Saturday while visiting Vancouver Island.
  11. It wasn't in Vancouver but my first summer job was at the Le Reveillon Hotel/Motel Restaurant at the corner of Viau and Sherbrooke in the east end of Montreal just up the street from the Olympic Stadium. I was a bus boy, banquet waiter and did room service. First week-end was Mother's Day...I thought my knees were going to die. I kept turning off the restaurant music which was that terrible "elevator muzak" of the '70's and trying to look innocent when the manager came storming in. Enjoyed the bus loads of American tourists who came up to visit Montreal complementing me on my English...as I thanked them very much with some "faux" accented French....English being my "mother tongue". I rarely eat boeuf bourguinon as that always seemed to inevitably be the "staff food". Run ins with the fiery who I finally told to shut up and quit screeming to which he replied en francais, "I don't scream, I speak loudly". The week-end I did room service walking miles with a vicious hangover...one thing about the restaurant trade, you always had cash in ones pocket to spend on Crescent or Bishop Streets or the Beer Gardens at La Ronde...and almost never delivering what had been ordered. The room menu had the meals numbered. Pancakes are #1, eggs #2, etc. etc. Unbeknownst to me who is taking the orders and delivering them, management had changed the menu and the numbering without advising the kitchen. The time after about an eighteen hour shift I walked back into the kitchen loaded down with a big tray of various glasses from a wedding. Managed to get through the swinging door but just before the two steps down into the kitchen I stepped on some spilt ice cream....come to think of it, I cannot stand creme de methe parfaits either anymore...and my feet went out from under me like Basil in Fawlty Towers or a Monty Python sketch and the glassware went everywhere. I cleaned myself up, threw off my white jacket and stormed out. Returned for work the next morning and no one said a thing. Last time I worked in the trade. Maybe that is why I appreciate the folks that do.
  12. 3WC: Thanks you your earlier post we did venture through Dragon Alley and located Cucina. Without the unit number you certainly would not know that it was a restaurant until you...as we did...pressed our noses up against the glass to peer inside. We'll try it another time. My "better half" was not enthused about eating in the darkness of the alley given the day without knowing what in fact the menu had in store...as I said, another time. Also saw MO:LE and can understand why it has that reputation. Do a lot of folks in Victoria get up and go out for breakfast or it mainly tourists like us escaping the overpriced Eggs Bendedict on hotel room service menus? Mind you, my idea of breakfast is strong espresso and plenty of it. We did drop in at Willie's Bakery on Sat. or Sunday a.m. and it was just packed with more continuing to come in as we finished our coffees. My "impression" was that many were fellow tourists, particularly some who had just got off the COHO. Beautiful city especially when the weather co-operates as it did during our stay. Looking forward to a return trip already.
  13. barolo: I will be interested in what others might suggest because we found lunch to be a bit of a conundrum. We were unabashedly being "foodie tourists" this trip and due to the beautiful weather and the fact we are otherwise in "landlocked" Alberta wanted to go to a spot with a view of the water. As a result, ones options are limited. Essentially Blue Crab, Spinnaker's and to a lesser degree Canoe. The water taxis make the Coast Hotel and Spinnaker's readily accessible no mather where you are in the inner harbour area. If you do not mind grilled Italian sandwiches or some pasta and the weather is a little warmer, I would go back to Paradiso in a flash and hopefully scoop one of their patio tables which looks onto the inner harbour. The Tapa Bar has been solid for us. Some tapas [papas bravas, gambas chipotle], thin crust pizzas, sandwiches. It is in Trounce Alley between Government and Broad so not too far away from the inner harbour. The Herald Street Cafe is open for lunch although we did not try it this trip. More of a hike...but just minutes by taxi...would be Zambri's for stick to your ribs hearty Italian fare. Please write what you try as it is always nice to hear new recommendations. The Ocean Pointe Hotel [operated by Delta] is apparently going to do substantial renovations resulting the opening of a seafood restaurant incorporating parts of its current lounge and the former Victorian restaurant but that is not projected to open until May...which likely means much later.
  14. We returned back to Edmonton last evening after an extended long week-end in Victoria where we thoroughly enjoyed the food and wine on offer as well as the glorious, "real estate board/Chamber of Commerce" sunny weather...the snow capped mountains across the Juan de Fuca straits have never looked so close on past visits. Upon arrival Wednesday nite we checked into our hotel and then headed off to Brasserie l'Ecole. Another terrific evening. The place was bustling. Drank lots of wine thanks to Marc's wine by the glass program and thoroughly enjoyed some steak frites and the nite's feature, grilled lamb sirloin. The endive salads we started with were also delicious with the hazelnuts and lardons adding some nice flavour to the mustard vinaigrette. Got introduced to "pommeau de Normandie" [move over Pineau des Charentes, you have been replaced!] and a terrific calvados, Coeur de Lion Prisoniere. The next morning we got up and shook out the cobwebs thanks to some good coffee and a breakfast sandwhich [paninni] at Paradiso in Batsion Square. Then, not having been able find a copy of EAT at the Brasserie the nite before, we tried to find one to "map out" the rest of our stay. Ultimately located a "weatherbeaten" one in a roadside stand and another in the kitchen shop off Trounce Alley. We did not rent a car so confined ourselves to spots within easy walking distance of the inner harbour. Will have to get to Paprika on another visit. We lunched at the Blue Crab in the Coast Hotel, the Tapas Bar and on a couple of occasions at Canoe. I must say that I have to agree with Eric's comments about the latter. Great physical plant, good service, interesting wine list but the food seems to need something extra to take it to that next level. We had dinner Thursday nite at Herald Street Cafe. We had no plans in particular and just headed out without reservations to see if we could get in and if not, try somewhere else. It was the first official nite for Dine Around Victoria. They were "slammed". I am sure that they were not expecting the numbers they had. Probably did not help that some of their staff were over at the Wine Festival for the program's kick-off. Service was erratic but very friendly and apologetic. It helped that we were not in a hurry and could sit back and enjoy the "theatre". Some tables were clearly there for DOV...water, coffee and "where is my dessert?" and " I thought you had forgotten us" comments abounded. Others were in party mood and like us, DOV was irrrelvant. I enjoyed my quail appetizer. A relatively small portion of very good quail served over a "muffin" of puff pastry containing chevre, herbs and mushrooms. It was very good as was the the duck that followed. My wife had their chicken which she did not enjoy as much but that might have had more to do with the spicing and the fact that she got "clobbered" by the flu the day we left the "balmy climes" of Alberta for the coast. Wine list seemed to be a state of disarray or reorganization. I seem to recollect from years ago that the HSC had quite the reputation for its varied, eclectic and well priced wine list. We ended up ordering the Sandhill no.2 from its small lots program. This is the mertitage/bordeaux blend I am usually not a big fan of Sandhill apart from their well priced cab franc but this small lots bottling worked for us as did their Barbera which we tried at Canoe. Friday nite we returned to Brasserie. Another excellent evening. I took advantage of the table d'hote featured that nite which was the endive salad we had had earlier or oysters followed by the main of bouillibaise and completed with either creme brule or cheese. At about $28 [give or take a dollar or two], good value for sure. I think the main changes nitely including lamb shanks, veal cheeks, braised beef, etc.. The prices ranged from about $27 to $33. My wife's roast chicken was just what she needed. No fancy sauces or extreme spicing. Good partly deboned chicken served crisp in its own pan juices. The type of "simple" course which is too rarely effectively pulled off at home or outside. Our last nite we headed up Fort to Cafe Brio. Another outstanding evening. The place was also jammed to the rafters. Greg greeted us and within minutes we had our choice of several "deuces". Sylvia served us. I wish I had half her energy. My wife opted to skip an opener but I tried their gnocchi and was glad that I did. A small bowl of lovely "white pillows" swimming in a gorgonzola sauce came with some delicious pearl onions. So nice to get gnocchi which were not "lumps" of overcooked dough that just sit in ones stomach. My wife had what she described as a delicious sirloin steak and I went for the rabbit confit. It was a confited leg of rabbit, nicely browned and crisp on the outside and succulently soft, sweet and moist inside. Served with some braised white turnip and onions in a tart mustard sauce that complemented the dark meat without overwhelming. The best rabbit I have ever had. We had a nice bottle of Poplar Grove Benchmark Cab Franc with the meal which is a Cdn wine I have had recommended to me but the first time I have been able to order it. Dense, dark black fruit with some chocolate, liquorice and spice accents. A terrific visit. Once my "groaning" liver and Mastercard accounts permit, we'll have to start planning a return visit for late June after a side trip to vist Chris/Tofino up in Tofino.
  15. Did not realize that Vancouver had one but I know that Paris does. "Dans le noir" http://www.danslenoir.fr/accueil_an/accueil_an.php
  16. Thanks Viola da Gamba: It's breakfast time but your comment about roast pork and cider has me ravenous. We'll definitely get to Spinnakers as the walk along the inner harbour is a mere "stumble"from where we'll be staying and I enjoy their beers and view. Last fall we shared the hotel mini-van with another group of folks and we got to chatting. They were headed to Brasserie L'Ecole and we to Brio having been to Brasserie the nite before. One of the three inquired how these out of towners knew all the good spots to eat in Victoria. I replied eGullet and EAT magazine. Turns out she was Cathy McAree who operates "Travel With Taste" out of Victoria. They do do wine tours but according to her website not until May or so. We'll inquire of the hotel concierge when we arrive and take it from there.
  17. Eric: I will look forward to your report as we are heading out that way Wednesday nite. Had originally thought that I would just walk and taxi about Victoria taking it easy but I might be persuaded to rent a car for at least one of the days we are out that way. The only winery I managed to locate during efforts in that regard was Vignetti Zagnatta. Missed Alderlea in the fall despite the signs that seemed to indicate that I was on the right path. Would not mind visiting the Merridale Cidery.
  18. I understand that the Fuller's/Earl's effort PUBLIK that went into the space formerly occupied by a Joey Tomatoe's Mediterranean Grill [the one with the cluttered bric-a-brac-off beat decor] rather than the more upscale Joey's World on Calgary trail has closed. Can't say that I am surprised. It never seemed to get its "legs" under it. No buzz. Funny menu. Not sure who or what its client focus was directed toward. On the few occasions I popped in, few patrons inside whereas the adjacent Earls' was packed. OPM...the asian influenced concept that followed in South Common is, I think, faring better. Cannot stand the traffic in that transportation quagmire so have only personally been the once.
  19. Amen to what Coop and other have had to say and to your comment Fluffy...I would just wish that our two goldens would lie more on my wife's side of the bed .."five more sleeps" to waking up to being buzzed by the float planes coming into Victoria's inner harbour....can't wait..mind you this is a grand day in Alberta...big blue sky and warm
  20. Whenever I see a reference to "C" I cannot help but look for the moniker "Cabrales"....the two names were almost "joined at the hip" in related threads I have seen at other "foodie" discussion sites...I am not sure whether he/she was a contributor here at eGullet or not.....
  21. Steve: Could very well have been Hans Voegeli...I am sure that my buds who were in the "biz" at that time would know. Peter Johner [sp?]...another one of the "Swiss-German culinary Mafia" [smile] that so dominated the landscape here in the 'chuk was with his wife the driving force behind Boccolino's in its various forms and now Packrat Louie's. Another flashback Peter Lai's Chef's Table...lamentably long gone.
  22. merlin


    Absolutely nowhere! We rarely stray out on Valentines Day, Mothers Day, etc.. We'll save our $ for Victoria on Wednesday through Sunday
  23. Steve: I may be getting my "Hans" mixed up but Hans Voegeli is maitre d' at the revolving La Ronde restaurant which in itself is an Edmonton landmark but not in the R.I.P. category....then you have Hans Kuhnel is operates The Creperie in the same Boardwalk/Revillon building that housed Avanti, Waldens, Pagliacci's, Bones, The Boiler and many others over the course of time.
  24. as the article confirms B.C. means no more that labelled or bottled in B.C....tanker truck loads of cheaper imported plonk....same as the Jackson-Triggs white label v. black label chardonnay...mind you, neither of the latter are particulalry good IMHO
  25. I had not realized that Joy was at Between Friends. We had our wedding photos taken in the atrium of the building adjacent to it and drinks in their lounge. Just a few weeks ago I ran into the fellow who had been managing it. He is back in Edmonton after having been...like so many Edmontonians in the trade...several years in the Cayman Islands. Pagliacci? Sure do. Small plates and tapas style dining WAY before it was trendy and certainly before most Edmontonians were ready for it. Hans Kuhnel, Ernst Dorfler...or as my chef acquantances usually almost snort it out, "Dorfler this and Dorfler that" and Hans Voegli...those 3 have been into so many restaurants and things in this city.
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