For Mother’s Day this year we traveled up to the Okanagan to celebrate with Mike’s Mom. We had two days together so we got to treat her to two different places!
A Canadian chain with 67 locations across 7 provinces, The Chopped Leaf is also expanding into Washington State. Rather than being ‘fast food’ per se, it’s more along the lines of ‘good food fast’. We picked up one of Mom’s friends and the four of us had a great time. In Kelowna The Chopped Leaf is located at Orchard Plaza, next door to the Cineplex Cinemas. As the name implies, The Chopped Leaf serves salads but they have a lot more than that: soups, wraps, sandwiches, appetizers and bowls. The bowls are salads (with or without added meat or fish protein) served on a bed of warm basmati rice. There are 8 different protein options (from quinoa to chicken to salmon to prawns to…), 4 different greens, 4 different cheeses, and 22 different ‘choppings’, from avocado or cranberries to sunflower seeds, walnuts, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes… the list goes on. The staff are helpful and friendly and the food is delicious! Definitely a place to take in when in town. Be sure to go hungry, because they don’t skip on the portion sizes!
For Mother’s Day itself we made a reservation at Earls Kitchen, on the west end of Bernard Avenue near the Sails statue and the lakefront.
NB: Earls Kitchen is on the 2nd floor, and there’s no elevator. However, with a little patience we navigated the stairs with alacrity!
Earls is a special place for us because when we were in Kelowna last fall for Mom’s birthday, we brought her and our Free Hugs posters down to the Sails for a bit (see Hugging Kelowna for more on that adventure). At one point we had about 8 or 9 staff from Earls spontaneously come down to share hugs with us and have a group photo made. Apparently it was printed and hung in their staff room for some time!
For this visit, we were seated right by the window, which gave Mom a great opportunity for baby and doggy watching… activities she loves. And, because it was Mother’s Day we were treated to freshly-made cookies as appetizers! Also being Mother’s Day, we were treated to a special brunch menu, in addition to their usual five brunch items. Great food, beautiful location, and the staff were very accommodating to our needs. And as we discovered last fall, they do their best to extend beyond their doors and become a part of the greater community as well.
Since we were out of town for Mother’s Day, it was a couple of weeks later that our son and his wife treated us out to Sunday brunch. Since it was ‘Mom’s Choice’, we followed the advice of a friend and headed to Vista 18 on Burdett Street in downtown Victoria. As suggested by the name, Vista 18 is on the 18th floor of the Chateau Victoria hotel. They have wrap-around windows, and because the restaurant was quiet at the time we were able to take in the 360o view of the Inner Harbour and Victoria’s downtown core without disturbing other patrons. Nick is a big ‘eggs benny’ fan, and since none of us had yet been to Vista 18, he announced his philosophy that it was important to sample the ‘traditional’ option first before trying other variations on subsequent visits. If they don’t do the traditional benny well, there’s just no point! His decision? Definitely worth returning. 🙂 Mike and Jen had the Mount Baker breakfast and Marcia opted for a designer omelette. Some hotel restaurants are bland, gray corporate places with equivalent bland menus and food, but we were pleased by our friend’s suggestion and will definitely return to Vista 18! Sunset from the 18th floor must be gorgeous… Hmmm…
P.S. Speaking of breakfasts, we recently returned to Nourish Kitchen & CafÃ© on Quebec Street in Victoria’s James Bay. Breakfast is Marcia’s favourite meal out of the day! The menu has changed a little (no surprise) and Marcia was a little disappointed by the absence of the Canadiano (Americano with a shot of maple syrup), but all of the things we loved about it on our last visit, including the quality of the food and the upscale, quiet ambiance are still there. May have to try dinner there sometime.
So many good restaurants, so little time… (heavy sigh) 😉