We have been back for a couple of weeks now and before I forget most of what happened I thought I would share some yummy stories with you guys. We had some pretty awesome food on our trip. We made awesome meals in the trailer that were just as good or better than what we make at home. So rot dogs and chemical-mallows are no excuse!!!
The first kind of tastings we had on the trip were at the markets in Victoria. Lots of artisans, crafts and of course food. There were some great breads, cookies, muffins, jams, sauces, salsas…..you get the idea. A must try if you are wondering around Vitoria though is in the China Town area find a bakery that was the honey buns. These are a traditional Chinese baking doughy ball of awesome. Very tasty and still light to eat. Won’t make you feel horrible after like a donut does. Bad donut!
The first few days of the trip we all passed around an overnight flu of some kind. On this particular day my wife really wanted some spicy Thai soup to try to flush it out so after some research online we found some Thai in Langford. This little place was a couple minutes drive from the campground and was given great reviews. It looks like an old brick building that one would not pay any attention but you would be a stooge not to!
We ordered the chicken skewers to start. They were grilled perfectly and were served with a delicious peanut sauce and a cucumber salad that was also very good..
I finally ordered myself a curry to try. Usually I rock a Pad Thai but I reminded myself to do a curry this time. It was amazing. I love the way the flavors are enhanced by the coconut milk and the aromatic fresh basil hits your nose and then you get kicked in the tongue by the spicy curry and chili paste!!! Wow it is so awesome!
To battle the illness she chose one of her favorites in the hot and sour soup. The smell of the soup is incredible. The cilantro and lime leaves love marinading in the heat of the soup and the mushrooms and prawns were duking it out for space because they were of exceptional size. And yes it is damn spicy! An excellent soup.
The whole experience here was great. The building itself is amazing to see and the service was really good too. The food was exceptional! As good as any Thai out there.
We met up with her brother, wife and their two boys for a hike/lunch in Port Renfrew. After trying a couple of places that were closed and closed only on the day we were there we received a tip from a random dude on a bench. So off to the Port Hotel. It is a rustic wood building with a beautiful patio over looking the pier and boat launch. Weather was nice so we sat outside.
I ordered something out of the ordinary for myself but still trying to keep West Coast in mind. Yep, the fish burger. It was very good. The fish was cooked very well, seasoned nicely and crispy. Simply done with some mayo and lettuce it was just right. The only lame part was the bun but not bad given the rest of the burger was rad! Fries were also very nice and a great beer to match.
My wife rocked a seafood chowder which was also great. Good size, tons of flavor. Could have used a bit more sea creatures but overall very nice.
Here is a shot of the fish and chips as well. Ridiculously large portion size. I didn’t try any but heard it was quite scrumptious. We did not have our hopes to high because of the extremely small establishment that Port Renfrew is. But we were all pleasantly surprised. Service was mediocre but the view and setting made up for it. Definitely a patio I could sit on for hours and continuously flow cold beers down my face.
The next place we found from research online and we were very excited to check this out. It is like a permanent food truck serving up kick ass Mexican food with a West coast flare. Tacofino is located just south of Tofino in a little shopping centre. We happened to be a there for an early lunch which was great because by the time noon rolled around there were at least 30 people in line! Wicked. Apparently they are famous for the fish tacos so ordered that and something called a gringa.
On the left is the fish tacos and holy nuts that may have been the best taco I have ever had. I definitely prefer the soft shell taco as it is easier to maneuver and eat. The fish was a delicious cod but cooked to juicy perfection with a hint of lemon. The house made salsa was fresh and light and tasted like summer splashed in your face! The gringa was a vegetarian bean option that was loaded with beans, cilantro and more salsa. Incredibly light meal, full of flavor but I wanted to eat at least 6 more tacos. Unbelievably great!
As you can see the little guy, also known as “The Man”, was inhaling them just as quickly as I was. This was where he learned one of his favorite new sayings….”Sooo good.” We couldn’t stop saying how good it was and he was taking a bite, looked at us both, giggled and said “soo good.” We laughed so hard that I nearly shat out a taco! Too much??? Too bad!!! Bahaha! Sit outside, get your hands dirty and stuff your face…..my kind of lunch!
Conveniently right next door is a place called the Grill. We came across this place watching an episode of You gotta Eat Here a couple of days before we left for out trip. We had to go. The food and how it was prepared and the care that went into preparation was amazing. So for the second half of our lunch we checked it out.
We shared a small chowder and panko crusted fish and chips. Both were incredible. The chowder was full of ocean flavor and all the seafood one could pack into a tiny styro cup. But it did not feel too heavy or rich. The fish and chips were awesome. Almost as good as the epic order we had on the east coast. But crusting anything with panko is like wrapping anything in bacon. It’s just that much better. The batter was super light and extra crispy. The fries were also some of the best I’ve had. Cut correctly, cooked to crispy love goodness and not soggy with oil. Everything was seasoned fantastically and I just wanted to cuddle with my lunch. The one thing I did not really care for was the different take on the coleslaw. It had apple and raisins and more like an oil base sauce. I still prefer the traditional cream based coleslaw.
The Grill was rockin’ it out for sure. Great ingredients with their own little twist made for some memorable dishes for us.
A partially rainy day of adventure led us to Ucluelet to visit the new Aquarium. This was such a fun place. Everything is caught within 5km and then released back in the wild for fall. Also had lots of handling tanks to get a hold of the sea critters. Staff was super knowledgeable and friendly. But we wanted lunch first and some research online led us to Jiggers food truck that serves up the usual greasy road side shenanigans that we seemed to be attracted to this trip. Must be the camping. (Also notice the sexy girl and sexy man in the photo. I married one and made the other)
Again I opted for the fish burger just to compare it to the one I had previously. This one was slightly different. It was large and effin greasy. Tasted great but my innards felt like they were coated with 15w40 engine oil. Or like a I swallowed a fish brick. But at the time of consumption it felt pretty nice. The piece of fish looked like the rear quarter section of Jaws. And my wife’s fish pieces were the middle half of the giant bugger! Can’t fault portion size here. Again it was a fish burger done simply which was tasty. Fries were awesome as well. Kiddo enjoys fries mostly for the dipping process. That guy is a dip connoisseur.
As far as service goes, it was no different than a carnival truck. Not very personable which was quite the opposite to the showings we had in Tofino. It was a delicious quick lunch but if you are not used to greasy food it will kick you in the socks about 20 minutes later. Two greasy meals in two days really took their toll on poor wifey. Kiddo says “more ketchup!”
Salt Spring Island
A day trip took us on a short ferry ride to Salt Spring Island. Famous for its local markets and artisans it was a perfect day trip for our crew. A short stroll through the main town of Ganges and it was time for an early lunch. One menu sounded really good so we stepped inside to feast. Auntie Pestos was the name of the place. It looks like any standard restaurant. The greeters and staff were friendly and the menu and specials seem to have that local west coast flare we have been looking for.
I had the special which was a salmon quiche and I paired that with the special soup which was an oyster mushroom soup. It was just ok. Had potential to be amazing but it was really average. The quiche tasted like any other quiche I have had. Nothing really wow about it. And the The mushroom soup had great flavour and was seasoned well but I think I had two skinny mushroom pieces in my hobbit sized portion. And the bread/toast it was served with was like box store square bread of some rye variety. Not impressed.
Wifey ordered the pacific smoked salmon sandwich served with herbed cream cheese, capers, onion on rye bread. And she was not impressed. It was a build your own sandwich with basic minimal ingredients. Nothing was exceptional, in fact, it barely passed as edible. The salmon was the only decent thing. It was very disappointing. Just look at the picture!
So that lunch was not good. It was overpriced and unimpressive. The restaurant was nice, the service was good but the food was not good. Plus wifey was making us 5 star meals in a travel trailer that would make this stuff look like a picnic for the homeless! WTF! I also made a booboo of tipping too much for whatever reason (math error most likely) and that further depleted her enthusiasm about the lunch. She did not have much to say on the matter so I had to give it 2.1
What we learned later in our travels of Salt Spring Island is to find your meal while visiting the local artisans. Skip the over priced tourist food and hit the good stuff! We stumbled across an artisan bread company that made some of the best breads I’ve ever had. Oddly enough it is named….Salt Spring Island Bread Co. And probably one of the nicest views on the whole island. Also super rad was the (you guessed it) Salt Spring Island Cheese Co. They only make goat cheese and slap me upside the knickers is that damn good cheese. They have 14 varieties of fresh goat cheese which is my personal favourite. Highlights where the basil, chili, truffel……….oh hell they are all awesome. They also have brie and bleu and cheddar. Kiddo being the gourmand that he is tried every kind plus the 8 selection of olives. That little guy is awesome! The ladies loved him at the cheese place. So grab some bread and some cheese and find a spot to indulge. I also checked out the Salt Spring Island Brewery. Very cool little place producing excellent small batch organic craft beer. I had one that was infused with Heather (the plant not the random female….you guys are pervs!) and it was fantastic. I also tried pale ale which was equally gnarly. I also love the 650ml bottles!
Our vacation was great. We had a blast and we loved the family time. We ate exceptionally well in the travel trailer and out and about. There are definitely some great choices on the Island and we only scratched the surface. Next time you’re there try one of the good places to eat and you won’t be disappointed. Thanks again and happy eating!