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Andrew Morrison

Vancouver Island Restaurants

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I've been noticing a bunch of new faces (well, avatars :wink: ) lately who hail from the Island, and having just returned from a nice little holiday there, I thought it might be interesting to have a thread for Island stuff to cover news such as openings and clsoings, reviews, new island wines, et cetera.

I stayed at the Aerie Resort for the first time and was amazed by the food and the view (Big thanks to James Kendal for taking such good care of my wife and I). We checked out Mo:Le for the first time and I was blown away by breakfast. Tried the new Sauce for dinner, too - hope they do better next time (tough location - egads).

Above all my jaunt was coloured by one fact: I made a big mistake in planning the trip because all of the restaurants I really wanted to visit were closed on Sunday and Monday. We had to cut the trip short for a day, too - we left on Tuesday afternoon.

Quite the idiot. :sad:

Despite my ineptitude boiling over I had a wonderful time. I'd tell more, but there isn't really much to tell beyond the Aerie is amazing and I'm a jackass. Hence the thread, I want to hear and learn more about the places I seldom get to go to and more on the Island foodie/dining scene in general.

I hope someone out there can fill in the blanks.

edited for continued stupidity... :sad:


Edited by editor@waiterblog (log)

Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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In Victoria. Brasserie L'Ecole, Temple, Cafe Brio are musts. The Curry at the Bengal room is fun just for the atmosphere. Rebar is good for vegetarian fare. The Noodle Box is yummy.

In Nanaimo - The Wesley Street is back and good again. I haven't been to Glow in a while, maybe someone else will know. The Crow and Gate has loads of atmosphere. The Mahle House is quirky but delicious. Malaspina U-C's Discovery room has some good food from the students in the Chef program.

As for cheap eats - I have to plug Delicados - the best Mexican wraps and fresh salads anywhere. They have a branch in Victoria as well.

Just a few ideas to get this discussion started...

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Too bad we missed a visitation by you.

Cafe Brio is open every night and you could have gone there as well as Paprika Bistro.

That is a frustrating thing, restaurants closed on Sunday and Monday.

We heard a rumour you were spotted at the Beacon Drive In - only steps away from our home -

where millions of Victorians line up in the summer for a soft cone.

Next time we must do lunch.

I'm glad you went to the Sauce. That location really blows in the winter, but summer, the doors are thrust open and it's swarming with people. What was the food like?

You were just around the corner from Ferris', a regular hangout that will have a bar upstairs come this summer!! Very exciting.

Glad you went to Mo:Le for Break:Fast, something that everyone in Victoria needs to eat. I hope you were part of a lineup, also something that people here love to do.

Closings

A Taste of Eritrea, my favourite place for Eritrean food in Victoria, quietly and suddenly closed. In its place is Cafe Madrid.

Sen Zushi - another favourite of mine closed in December. It had been for sale for a long time. Sadly, enjoyment of the retirement life for Ko-san and his wife Kako was short lived, when Kako died last month after a battle with cancer. It happened very fast and we are all deeply shocked and saddened. Kako loved to work at the her restaurant. We will miss her sweet smile and her shiso tempura.

The new owners of Sen Zushi, spent a few months renovating and it is now open with a new menu. I'm having a struggle going through those doors to check it out.

Openings

Looks like Victoria will have another beer and wine store. This one slated for Government St., in the middle of tartan shops and tourist t-shirts.

That will be four beer and wine stores within a 2 block radius. Isn't it interesting how licensing must work?

The new Noodle Box has opened on Douglas St. This week is a soft opening, next week with woks ablazing, will be their grand opening.

Talk of late night hours to attend to the revellers from the Strath and Hugo's around the corner. The thought of life with Singapore Cashew Curry within 3 blocks has become a little spicier.

Hopefully more news at a later date.

s

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Shelora,

The new wine shop on Gov't st is going to be a Mission Hill wine store.

I took my wife (Misty) out last week and went to Herald Street to see one of our former cooks from the Aerie and to taste his food. We asked for Daryll but we were told he was off. We sat down anyway amidst the goth atmosphere of Enigma playing on the speakers. We had apps then headed across to Brasserie L'Ecole. Daryll phoned me the next day, as I left my card for him, and he told me he was doing his final two weeks; which is too bad for him with his first chef's job.

We were out on a "date" :wub: so I wanted a change in atmosphere and the warmth of Brasserie hit the spot. It was my second visit in one week to Mark and Sean's restaurant. The quality/price/value/atmosphere and service is tops IMHO. I love the endive salad and just before it is run to the table it gets dusted with hot bacon lardons which are still hot when you take your first bite. I like the intertwined nostalgia of the room and they have a great formula.


Edited by James Kendal (log)

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Thanks for he information. I reallt wanted to go back Brasserie L'ecole on this trip and I'm still kicking myself that I couldn't. :sad:

Sauce was OK, Shelora, but nothing great. They misfired on my steak, making it mw rather than mr. I'm sure it was just a blip. That being said, I have trouble imagining them catering to locals. There is an air of plasticity there, perhaps leftover from the last place in that spot. I hope they do well.

Have you tried Luciano's next door (in the old Suze spot)? Same owners as the Tapa Bar in Trounce Alley and pretty basic Italian from what I glanced.

I would have enjoyed going to Brio again but I go every time I'm in town.

Completely forgot about Paprika, damn. :sad:


Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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I'm going to stick my neck out here - but Herald St. Caffe should just change their name. It is NOT the Herald St. Caffe anymore.

New owners, new direction in the kitchen, new menu, everything is different. While there are some great dishes on their new menu, I have a hard time with the same name. They're coasting on the history and reputation of Herald St. Caffe and somehow, IMO, that is just a tad misleading.

Thanks for the hot tip on the Mission Hill store, James Kendall. Very interesting.

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we were out on a "date"  :wub: so I wanted a change in atmosphere and the warmth of Brasserie hit the spot. It was my second visit in one week to Mark and Sean's restaurant. The quality/price/value/atmosphere and service is tops IMHO. I love the endive salad and just before it is run to the table it gets dusted with hot bacon lardons which are still hot when you take your first bite. I like the intertwined nostalgia of the room and they have a great formula.

Could not agree with you more James. Thank goodness it is just about lunch time as just thinking of that salad has me even more ravenous. The way the warm lardons and the bacon fat mix in with the mustard vinaigrette...yummm....Marc's wine service certainly helps with their pricing program.

Read with interest "editor@waiterblog's" review of the Aerie first here and then the expanded version at his site. If memory serves me correctly the picture of that deuce in front of the window facing down the fjord at his site is the table where my wife and I dined when we met you years ago. Striped bottle of Blue Mountain Pinot Gris as I recall. Wanted more but having to drive back down the pitch black Malahat to the hotel....for a change I exercised some wholly uncharacteristic restraint. I fondly remember the food as well as the beautiful sky which changed a myriad of pastel colours as the sun set.

We are heading off to Tofino at the end of June and then a few days in Victoria. Perhaps we'll make up to the Aerie. If not this trip, maybe in the fall when do the same thing but this time driving.

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I'm all for Herald Street changing their name. I think it would be a smart move. It's been around for so long and gone through so many morphs that I think it's high time it re-invented itself, at least on the name front. The change would attract a ton of buzz. What would that entail?

Business cards

Website

Signage

Menus

What else?

How hard is it really to change your business name? Must you dance with the city?

Not much change, but in exchange for the attention it would get in a town where things are largely static (in comparison to Van), I think it's a good idea. The curiosity would bring them in. I presume they still have no problems putting bums in seats, right?


Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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Exactly, waiterblog. A little more capitol to change the essentials and make it their own place.

I think it would give them a lot more integrity. IMO

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1) Doesn;t anybody eat at the Deep Cove Chalet anymore?!?

If your coming via the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal it's an easy day trip if need be.

I know he's clearly mad, but Peirre can fuckin' COOK!

An epic cellar that is never advertised but always impressive.

1.5) I just have to make mention of Sooke Harbour House, but you all know it already.

2) You may want to give the Maele House in Cedar a try next time you are in the Nanaimo area, or for a GREAT view and simple fair try the Malahat Mountain Inn.

3) There used to be this cool little unpretentious place in Brentwood Bay that had killer dinners on the cheap.--Carydon Street Cafe I believe it was called.

4) For a great bargain in a semi-formal environment with another great view is the Dunsmuir Lodge on the Saanich Peninsula as well.

5) Haultain's Fish and CHips?!?

6) Last but never least is ZAMBRI's!!


Edited by M'd (log)

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DEEP COVE CHALET???!!!! I worship the ground Pierre and his wife walk on!!!

Did you know, they just planted some grape vines on their front lawn???

The view of the cove from their outdoor patio, surrounded by a grape arbour on a sunny afternoon for Sunday brunch.... is up there with unbridled sex. Well, almost. Actually, not quite.

But anyway, eating there is a revelatory experience. I can hardly wait for the weather to get just a bit warmer and I can dine al fresco at the Deep Cove Chalet once again. It is so worth the wait.

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It would be inappropriate for me to comment on the review of the Aerie although I certainly appreciate the great feedback from Andrew. I have only been back for 9 months and I have my evening set up to where I want it. I have been spending 2 days a week in the mornings with my AM team and I have some returning employees from a few years ago. Lindsay Sievwright (former F&B manager at Brentwood Bay Lodge) is joing me for the summer as well as 3 former servers. We have just invested thirty thousand dollars on new small wares for the dining room, the wine cellar is growing for the summer and we have been stripping some of our older rooms and upgrading. Chef is building a new team this year (as is the case every 2-3 seasons on the island) so it has not been without some discomfort. The same could be said for the front of the house. The Aerie suffered a bit with having over 5 managers in the dining room in the past 4 years. Not an easy job and not a great way to recruit staff. I'm thankful that I have been able to headhunt and Claude (who you mentioned) worked for me in the Edith Cavell. He was one of the only servers I came across in Fairmont that had the flair and passion that is required to build confidence with the guests.

As for Mission Hill opening a wine store... not sure why an uber B.C. winery would want to divert business away from other LRS'. We have been buying our wine for home from Spinakkers wine merchants and Larry and Mike are bringing in great selections. I do ask for a discount which seems to be an unwritten rule if you work in the industry.

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DEEP COVE CHALET???!!!! I worship the ground Pierre and his wife walk on!!!

Did you know, they just planted some grape vines on their front lawn???

The view of the cove from their outdoor patio, surrounded by a grape arbour on a sunny afternoon for Sunday brunch.... is up there with unbridled sex. Well, almost.  Actually, not quite.

But anyway, eating there is a revelatory experience. I can hardly wait for the weather to get just a bit warmer and I can dine al fresco at the Deep Cove Chalet once again. It is so worth the wait.

Note to other restaurants. If Pierre comes to see you make sure you have cigar for him. He comes 2-3 times a year to the Aerie for lunch and he is hilarious.

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I generally don't do dessert after a meal - except for Pierre's made-to-order Grand Marnier souffle. Exceptional!

Follow up your al-fresco lunch at Deep Cove Chalet - with a little walk across the road to the Chalet Estate Winery - only to try their Ortega (avoid the reds)! A perfect summer white. They have nothing in stock - but should be releasing the latest batch any day now! Cafe Brio has the Chalet Estate Ortega on their wine list.

As a footnote - I think the Ortega varietal is what Vancouver Island is going to become renowned for.


Edited by Memo (log)

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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Concerning Vancouver Island wineries. I had the good fortune of trying some wines from Venturi-Schulze on my little excursion. The Pinot Noir and the Brandenburg 3. Both amazing, but particularly impressed by the Pinot - such character! :wub:

Any Vancouver restaurants stocking these?


Andrew Morrison

Food Columnist | The Westender

Editor & Publisher | Scout Magazine

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On my last trip to Victoria I was let in on a little secret by a fellow foodie I met at a bar. There is a great little hole in the wall place on the right hand side of Dragon Alley a couple of doors down from a hair salon. I've forgotten the name but it's run by a woman who is a real character who basically cooks whatever she feels like. There is no blackboard, you just go in and she tells you what she has that day and cooks it right there in front of you. When I was there she had duck on the menu and it was incredible. She also had a glorious chocolate desert that I've never tried before and likely never will again. She has a loyal following who know her on a first name basis and who are likely trying to keep it Victoria's best kept secret. I believe that she caters when she's not running this little joint during the day. I advise anyone to give it a try next time they're there. It's the only cafe in Dragon Alley which is a well kept secret itself but is easy to find on any tourist map. If for nothing else she will keep you entertained. It's an original dining experience in a world where menu's are all starting to look the same.

I've been noticing a bunch of new faces (well, avatars  :wink: ) lately who hail from the Island, and having just returned from a nice little holiday there, I thought it might be interesting to have a thread for Island stuff to cover news such as openings and clsoings, reviews, new island wines, et cetera.

I stayed at the Aerie Resort for the first time and was amazed by the food and the view (Big thanks to James Kendal for taking such good care of my wife and I). We checked out Mo:Le for the first time and I was blown away by breakfast. Tried the new Sauce for dinner, too - hope they do better next time (tough location - egads).

Above all my jaunt was coloured by one fact: I made a big mistake in planning the trip because all of the restaurants I really wanted to visit were closed on Sunday and Monday. We had to cut the trip short for a day, too - we left on Tuesday afternoon.

Quite the idiot.  :sad:

Despite my ineptitude boiling over I had a wonderful time. I'd tell more, but there isn't really much to tell beyond the Aerie is amazing and I'm a jackass. Hence the thread, I want to hear and learn more about the places I seldom get to go to and more on the Island foodie/dining scene in general.

I hope someone out there can fill in the blanks.

edited for continued stupidity... :sad:

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The hole-in-the-wall in Dragon Alley is called Cucina (or Pomodori Cucina) - and the chef/owner is Mirjana Vukman.

I've always been on the good side of her - but she can really do a Marco-Pierre-White on people she takes a disliking to.

Go there to be entertained - and also for her wonderfully-inspired food.

Cucina is only open during the day - and closed Sundays. No telephone, either!

Foie, her chocolate pate is the dessert you described.


Edited by Memo (log)

Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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The hole-in-the-wall in Dragon Alley is called Cucina (or Pomodori Cucina) - and the chef/owner is Mirjana Vukman.

I've always been on the good side of her - but she can really do a Marco-Pierre-White on people she takes a disliking to.

Go there to be entertained - and also for her wonderfully-inspired food.

Cucina is only open during the day - and closed Sundays. No telephone, either!

Foie, her chocolate pate is the dessert you described.

Same proprietress of the now-defunct Pomodori on Salt Spring Island. I, too, have heard some incredible stories about her. After moving off island, she opened up Pomodori at 888 Hornby Street; can't remember how many years it remained in business, but it was the only restaurant in Vancouver where you could eat your dinner while lying in a bed.


Joie Alvaro Kent

"I like rice. Rice is great if you're hungry and want 2,000 of something." ~ Mitch Hedberg

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One neat little place in Nanaimo that hasn't been mentioned yet for Japanese food is Bistro Taiyo, at the right time of year you can get these fantastic tofu ice creams with very japanese flavours, like matcha and adzuki.

There bento and noodle are also awesome.

Check it out next time you're in Nanaimo.

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Bistro Taiyo

#2-321 Wesley Street

Nanaimo, BC

V9R 2T5

250-716-8861

I can't really help much more then that, I found it last year by accident wandering around looking for a place to eat, and I don't know Nanaimo all that well, but that little place definately left a lasting impression, I would take the train just to go eat there. As far as home style Japanese food goes, I think it beats any restaurant in Victoria.

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Thanks Hugh

It must be in the Old City Quarter. I'll check it out soon.

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Where is Bistro Taiyo in Nanaimo?

Bistro Taiyo is at 321 Wesley Street (No.2) - about two doors up from the Wesley Street Cafe - and almost across the street from Eric McLean's (cheese, cheese and still more cheese) Specialty Foods at 426 Fitzwilliam Street.


Ríate y el mundo ríe contigo. Ronques y duermes solito.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.

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Love the Aerie! We stayed there for our honeymoon and had a scrumptious time. The last night we ended up ordering their beef sandwiches for room service instead of going to the dining room because yes, even their room service is THAT good.

Last year we stayed and ate at Sooke Harbour House and we were blown away by their tasting menus. The presentation was as creative as anything I can get in SF, and the food was marvelous.

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