Tacofino requires no press from me. It’s the single place every Tofino native and tourist alike can agree to eat for lunch. It’s grown from a single taco truck parked behind a surf shop at the edge of the world to a multi-location empire stretching it’s delicious octopus-like tendrils all over the island and mainland. It’s food is always on point, so there is no reason to review it…
It was early on a Friday afternoon and despite the breezy grey weather I was soaked to my screaming bones with sweat and cursing Crystal’s Uncle Calvin (who got me into my current situation) under my breath. Brycen (Cal’s son) and I were hauling a very sketchy aluminum rickshaw overflowing with heavy metal crab traps up an impossibly steep gangway. It took both of us to get the beast up and over to Calvin and his new friends; a gang of grizzled old fisherman who did nothing to help us, but sure seem to have opinions on how we’re doing it wrong.
I was trying my very best to look tough in front of this motley collection of bums and pirates, despite my suspicion that there was a better way to go about this whole affair. Of course I was the only one on this particular commercial fishing dock that had no sea legs. Calvin and Brycen both grew up on fishing boats as (I suspect) Cal’s father and maybe even father’s father did. They knew all the moves, the lingo and the unspoken rules of the dock. Me, I was just an extra pair of hands. (more…)
The Vancouver Island brewing scene is evolving at such a breakneck pace that every month or so I have to take a breath, go online or crack open a copy of The Growler and catch up on all the new trends, breweries, beer styles and lingo that I’m already ignorant of. Case in point: The term “Nano brewery” is the handle for a new crop of breweries that (according to this killer Paste article) “makes very, very little beer (say, between one and three barrels, or roughly ninety gallons at a time and boasts an ultra-limited distribution footprint.”
This fits Courtney’s Forbidden Brewing perfectly. It’s ity-bity! There’s just enough room inside their tasting room for six tables plus a pool table (watch your back!) and a bitchin tabletop Space Invaders game machine. Despite these physical limitations the Forbidden crew make the absolute most of everything their situation can accommodate.
It’s 6 ‘o clock on a smoldering afternoon in Victoria and my wife and I are hiking down the main drag, one blistering cobblestone at a time. We’re desperate to get back to our hotel room out of this ocean of people and car exhaust. Sure, we could hang out downtown but our dinner reservation isn’t for another couple hours and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sweat in this hipster inferno any longer, especially with all these MEC bags full of biking gear and cookbooks weighing me down.
I’m ready to start shoving tourists and crusty punks out of my way when I see the Rialto Hotel off in the distance; its grand double doors wide open, inviting me to drop everything and sit at the long marble bar where an angel with wings of cascading vintage glassware is pouring two fingers of Victoria Gin into an icy shaker with a wry grin.
I grab my wife’s hands and drag her inside, bags discarded along the way. We collapse into the tall chairs lining the bar and breathe in the stillness, seemingly miles away from the heat and crowd. The marble is cool to the touch and I can smell mint and lavender bitters on the air… We’ve arrived at Veneto, Victoria’s premier craft cocktail oasis… Thank the Gods! (more…)
Only a quick forty five minute drive away from our house, the local foods epicenter of the Comox Valley might as well be across the ocean for my wife and me when planning a dinner trip. After we factor in the time and money it takes to get a hotel (dinner does mean drinking after all!) and the commute after a hard work day it just never seems worth it… So, we just go and eat at Beijing House.
And yet, there is always an exception; A day apart , and afternoon perfectly sequenced into our overly-scheduled lives, a dinner-window where we can just kick back and enjoy whatever we damn well please.
So on a rare Saturday off in October there we were: Already in Courtenay, hungry as all get out (early breakfast and no lunch) and in that strange not-quite-dinner time before 7:00pm; plenty of time to have a meal and a couple ‘o drinks before heading home. Finally, the opportunity I’d been waiting for to hit up Chef Aaron Rail’s critically acclaimed new restaurant The White Whale. (more…)