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British Columbia, Canada, in Pictures [Part 3]

View from the ferry to Salt Spring Island, BC – the view is of the Gulf Islands

Yesterday, I wrote a post extolling the virtues of a little sleep. This morning, or rather this afternoon, following far too little sleep and an overnight flight from Victoria via Vancouver, I am a shell. Restless legs are my permanent accomplice. I don’t even have the mind to cook. I need to sleep. But not yet, I want to write first.

The past 9 days in British Columbia flew by and I am left with such a positive impression. What I saw was food with such integrity, and people preparing it and serving it who really cared. They care about the provenance of their ingredients, not just because it is trendy, but because it is good. They care about sustainability both in fishing and agriculture / viticulture. The cooking and execution, in the main was great too.

These pictures are from Tuesday, when I visited terrific Whole Beast Meats who use the whole pig carcass and make lots of charcuterie, bacons etc. I then travelled to Salt Spring Island in the Gulf Islands between the US & Canada, and visited Salt Spring Vineyards, Salt Spring Island Cheese, had a terrific lunch at Bruce’s Kitchen . I finished my day with a bacon martini and some very good dim sum at the Hotel Grand Pacific, finishing with a wonderful dinner at Aura, in the Inn at Laurel Point, where conveniently I was staying. My expectations for hotel restaurants are never very high, but the cooking here was fantastic. I focussed on the seafood, including some of the best oysters that I have ever had.

This post is my last BC photo post. I have more photos from the last day but they are few, and the best will be included in the posts which will follow. I will publish a travel guide too, as some of you have requested one. It makes sense also, doesn’t it?

Cory & Geoff at Whole Beast Meats with some impressive looking (and smelling) bacon

Jackalope at Whole Beast Meats – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackalope

I love a ferry journey! Love the water.

This is a real bus stop chair on Salt Spring Island

Calm

Pumpkin field

Delicious champagne method sparkling wine at Salt Spring Vineyards

Rosé tinted glass

Relax

Gorgeous homemade bacon, homemade ricotta & kale tart with beetroot & quinoa salad, roasted plums & homemade mustard at Bruce’s Kitchen

Bruce at Bruce’s Kitchen – terrific food and lovely guy. So knowledgeable too. I have his bacon dressing recipe to share :)

Bruce’s Kitchen – I like his style

Beautiful sunny afternoon, outside Bruce’s Kitchen

Fabulous little fish shop

Sculpture garden at Duthie Gallery on Salt Spring Island

Salt Spring Island Cheese

Bacon martinis at Hotel Grand Pacific

Superb oysters at Aura, Inn at Laurel Point

Beautiful sablefish at Aura, Inn at Laurel Point

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British Columbia, Canada, in Pictures [Part 2]

Good morning folks! Doesn’t some sleep make the biggest difference?

I felt at the end of my tether last night. I woke up thinking “oh my god, won’t that guy just stop talking about that toaster?!”. In my dream someone was talking incessantly about one. Only I quickly realised that the guy was on TV and had thus invaded my sleepy head. I fell asleep with the TV on.

I am off this morning to Salt Spring Island with Island Time Tours (who I also travelled with yesterday). A wonderful day lies ahead.

For now, and for you, the second part of my photo post. I decided to make it three as I had too many to squeeze in here. So, come back tomorrow for the finale.

Eggs Benedict at Shine Café, Victoria, BC

Hugging a 500 year old cedar on Vancouver Island, BC

Xavier of Cherry Point Vineyards

Xavier of Cherry Point Vineyards with his lovely wines

Cider tasting at Merridale Cider

Prettiest spittoon I have ever used at Venturi Schulze vineyard – terrific wine and balsamic vinegar too

Balsamic vinegar that is over 40 years old, and balsamic vinegar barrels at Venturi Schulze

Enrico Vineyard, BC

Fun tasting and lovely wines at Enrico Vineyard

Short Rib & Truffle Poutine at The Bengal Lounge in Victoria, BC

Enjoying the short rib & truffle poutine :)

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Eating Victoria: Red Fish Blue Fish

Victoria harbour

I have been in British Colombia a week now, and it has been wonderful. It has also been very busy. I have spent the last week in Vancouver doing the urban thing, in Richmond exploring Asian food, the Okanagan visiting wineries and tasting lots of (delicious) wines, and for the coming three days I am on Vancouver Island, based in Victoria.

Pretty busy. So I took today, my first day in Victoria, in my stride, visiting the museum (highly recommended for the First Nations gallery alone), and wandering about, poking my head in here and there, taking turns that would take me somewhere I didn’t know, and in general following my nose. Exactly how I like to travel.

Red Fish, Blue Fish in Victoria, BC

My nose brought me to Red Fish, Blue Fish. A local and modern interpretation of the humble fish and chip shop, in a shipping container by the harbour. A few people had mentioned it on twitter, so I had a look. The menu was everything I have come to expect of one on the West Coast. Vibrant, explicit in their sourcing of ingredients, sustainable and fun.

Red Fish Blue Fish in Victoria, BC

It looked great, so I joined the queue. At the core of their menu is local and sustainable wild Pacific fish. I wanted most things but couldn’t resist the seafood poutine with local shrimp, smoked tuna belly bacon bits, crispy shallots and miso clam gravy. One of my favourite food memories is a miso soup with lots of tiny clams at the bottom of it in Tokyo. I was sold. Also, tuna bacon? I have to try that.

Part of the menu at Red Fish Blue Fish, Victoria BC

I opt for a half size as I also want to try a grill seared albacore tuna tacone with medium rare charred tuna, pea shoots, slaw and lemon pickled onions. With a soft drink and service, it still isn’t $20. I take my seat on the board walk and watch the world go by while I wait.

Seafood Poutine at Red Fish Bluefish, Victoria BC

My half portions arrive and they are enormous. I am ripe for the challenge. The poutine is fresh and light, the seafood is terrific, the tuna bacon a delicious revelation and the gravy delicate but rich enough to carry it.

Albacore Tuna Tacone

The tacone is basically a taco wrap. The tuna is medium rare as promised and with a lovely crisp char on the outside. The slaw and salad give it great texture and balance. Terrific.

I am so happy as I sit there and eat it all, watching the sea planes land in the harbour as the sun sets. Red Fish Blue Fish is a great spot, with great food, ethics and prices. Highly recommended.

http://www.redfish-bluefish.com/
1006 Wharf Street Victoria, BC V8W, Canada
(250) 298-6877