Eating Our Way Through Victoria…

Hi Folks:

We haven’t written one of these for a while, but we have been continuing to sample some of the best culinary experiences Victoria has to offer and we thought we’d suggest a few more.  If you’ve read our previous ‘Food‘ posts you’ll know that we don’t write about places where we’ve had a bad experience; many things can contribute to that – the chef’s day off, server having a bad day, etc.  However, with every recommendation our reputation goes with it, so we only write about places we’d be pleased to revisit.  Without further ado, and in no particular order:

1) My Thai Café

On Cook Street one block south of Fort, the My Thai Café is a little far north to be considered part of Cook St. Village, but it belongs in spirit at least.  At first glance the café doesn’t seem to offer much – it’s very small, and it’s certainly not fancy.  Don’t let looks deceive you, however.  The food there is excellent, and according to friends of ours who visit Thailand with some frequency, the My Thai Café has the most authentic Thai cuisine in Victoria.  We’ve been there a few times and have never been disappointed.  Thai food is spicy by nature, but they are more than happy to accomodate those who prefer ‘mild’ to ‘hot’.  Open for both lunch and dinner, the prices are reasonable, the service is open and friendly… well worth a visit!

2) Hot and Cold Café

Farther south on Cook St. is the Hot and Cold Café.  If the My Thai Café is small, the Hot and Cold Café is tiny – it might hold a dozen people, or a few more if the patrons are willing to get cozy.  The first time we went there with friends we weren’t even sure it was open, although the sign on the sidewalk assured us that it was (they’re open to 7 p.m. daily).  Put plainly, we hesitate to mention this restaurant only because it’s so small and once word of mouth gets out we expect the place to be jammed.  Simple fare – soups, salads, sandwiches, but exquisitely prepared and presented.  Each dish is truly a work of art, and the taste is to die for.  Be sure to try the rice pudding for dessert.  We’ll say no more, and leave you to discover the rest for yourself!

3) Millos Restaurant and Lounge

Located on Burdett St, just east of Douglas, Millos is a place we’ve often walked by and thought, ‘We should go there someday’.  To celebrate our 218th Monthaversary of being a couple, we did just that.  The name ‘Millos’ comes from the Greek word  for ‘windmill’, and it was this feature of the building that originally aroused our curiosity.

Millos has been in Victoria since 1978, and the owners are celebrating 47 years of marriage this month.  Congratulations to them both!  We were seated and served by Dora, one of the owners (her husband runs the kitchen).  A little spit of a thing, she effuses warmth and grace, making our evening a true pleasure.  We shared a Greek salad to start and although we ordered the large to share Dora advised against it, saying that it was a meal in itself.  She was right, and the small was just right for the two of us.  For the main course we both had lamb; Marcia had the roast lamb shank and I had the souvlaki.  Both were excellent, and the vegetables were done perfectly.  I’m a sucker for Greek coffee (unsweetened), and Marcia shared a bit of the galactobouriko I had for dessert.  At the end of the evening Dora came to give us a hug before we left!

4) The Noodle Box

Part of a chain of restaurants, The Noodle Box restaurant on lower Douglas St. is one of five locations in the Victoria area.  In a world where ‘fast food’ often means deep frying and empty calories, The Noodle Box is a welcome exception.  With a generally ‘pan-Asian’ menu, The Noodle Box serves up a variety of satays, sir fry options, soups, curries and more.  Each order is made fresh, using ethically-sourced and healthy options wherever possible.  More nutrition information is available on their website.  Available for eat-in or take-out, even these choices are given a thought to the environment as the cardboard take-out containers can be cleaned and recycled and there is in-store composting for leftover food.  There’s a choice of reusable chopsticks for dining in and bamboo chopsticks for those taking their food away.  NB: the food can be prepared anywhere from ‘mild’ to ‘make my head explode’, but be aware that they tend to be a little generous with their chilies.  If you like hot food, you might want to try ‘medium’ or ‘medium hot’ on your first outing, just to be safe.  You can always add hot sauce. 😉

5) Olive the Senses

Victoria has so many great places to eat; we’re looking forward to exploring more of them! By the time you read this we’ll have taken in one of the free olive oil tastings at ‘Olive the Senses’, on the east side of the Hudson Bldg, something we’re looking forward to experiencing!!

Update: Well, we completed our tasting tour this afternoon… Steve (the owner) was unavailable, but were privileged to attend Annie’s first tasting tour!  She far surpassed our expectations (and our taste buds).  We had the chance to sample a number of single-origin and infused olive oils and both white and dark balsamic vinegars while we were there.  It was, in a word, a revelation.  We really had our eyes opened to both the international and national standards for ‘extra virgin’ olive oils, and what good oil should contain (and not contain), how to store it and more.  Informative, educational and entertaining, this shop well deserves a stop on every tourist’s agenda, and that of every island resident too.  We brought home a blood-orange infused olive oil and an espresso dark balsamic vinegar – quite a heavenly combination. 😀

As Julia Child would say, ‘Bon Appetit!’

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. You can read more of our Food posts and restaurant reviews here.

Learning to See… Again.

Hi Folks:

This post has been brewing for a while, but for one reason or another I’ve put it off.  Yesterday R.C. Concepcion posted a beautiful poem called ‘Every Moment‘ and I thought maybe it was time.

I’ve been a photographer for so long now that it informs how I see the world.  I look around me and see my world in frames of images, colours, nuances of light, shapes, textures… this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but sometimes it can be.  Let me explain. Continue Reading →

Film: A Leap of Faith

Hi Folks:

Just a quick thought, appropos of nothing really, but I invested a good portion of the day sorting through thousands of old 35mm slides… I started photography seriously when I was about 15, and started shooting digital back in 2005 (a few years later).  I still shoot both film and digital and won’t come out in favour of one over the other, but in looking at those images from decades ago it occurred to me that shooting film always involved a leap of faith.  There was no live view, no instant review on the camera’s LCD, no histograms.  As a photographer one took one’s accumulated knowledge and experience, working knowledge of the camera and film in use and made an exposure or series of exposures based on a ‘best estimate’ – but it was often days or weeks before the results could be viewed. By then the moment had indeed passed and could never be brought back again. In shooting slide film the image ‘in hand’ was the finished product, which put great onus on ‘getting it right in camera’.

I fully appreciate the latitude and the options digital processing offers, but to me there was always a certain mystery involved in shooting film.  I don’t think I’ll ever lose that feeling.

Now go out and make some photographs!

Hugs,
Mike.

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Swift Current Creek, SK, 1982 (Kodachrome 25)

Photo of the Month – Winter Storm

Hi Folks:

Through the winter months we can get some very high tides (and consequently very low ones) known as ‘King Tides‘.  Winter here  also tends to involve a fair bit of rain and some really powerful winds.  The combined effect isn’t as strong here in Victoria as it is on the west coast of the island, but it can still be pretty amazing.  I went out a couple of years ago to try to photograph this remarkable occurrence and ended up with my camera (and me) getting swamped by a rogue wave!  Both of us survived the encounter, chronicled here: Photo of the Month – Winter Storm. Continue Reading →

Happy New Year!!

Hi Folks:

Today is the first day of 2013.  To start the year off right, we wanted to share this quote with you from Howard W. Hunter:

“This year, mend a quarrel.
Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion and replace it with trust.
Write a letter.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.
Forgo a grudge.
Forgigve an enemy.
Apologize.
Try to understand.
Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.
Be kind.
Be gentle.
Laugh a little more.
Express your gratitude.
Welcome a stranger.
Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of the earth.
Speak your love and then speak it again.”

Have an amazing day and an incredible year!!

Hugs,
M&M

P.S. This is a message we can all send to each other: Israel and Iran: A love story?