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!’


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

Eating Our Way Through Victoria… Celebrations!

Hi Folks:

Well, last Saturday was Marcia’s birthday and since she was off on both Friday and Saturday we (I) expanded her birthday celebration into a two-day event.  Fortunately Marcia was willing to go along with my schemes!  Before I continue, I should add a little backstory…

Back in 1995 we shared our first two-bedroom apartment together.  For Marcia’s birthday I invited a ‘few’ friends for a pot-luck surprise party and we managed to pack 37 people into our little apartment!  Everyone had a great time, including Marcia, but she also casually mentioned that she’d kill me if I ever did it again.  Well, since we no longer live there, and keeping to the ‘letter of the law’ so to speak, here’s a quick summary of some of the things we undertook over our weekend.  It also highlights some of the reasons we love living here in Victoria! Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria!

Hi Folks!

Well, on this one night of the year where perhaps more candy is consumed by more people than any other night, we have two restaurants to share with you from this past month.  Both are places we’ve been meaning to go to for some time… Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria, and…

Hi Folks:

September was a pretty busy month for us in terms of food – and when I was at the Bengal Lounge at the Empress Hotel the other night I remembered I hadn’t written that blog post yet.  So, without further ado…

Nando’s restaurant in Victoria is on the NW corner of Pandora and Government streets, across from Centennial Square.  One quick note: while there is an emergency exit door on Pandora, one can’t enter that way.  The main entrance is around on the Government St. side.  A note in the window would help, as we redirected several parties while we were there.  Nando’s is one of those places where the aromas enticed us every time we passed, but we’d never gotten around to trying.  So we did.  The essence of Nando’s is ‘Peri-Peri chicken’, reportedly a centuries-old collaboration between Portugese sailors and their discovery of the East African Bird’s Eye Chilli.  The chicken is marinated for 24 hours and then slow-roasted over an open flame.  It’s hard to describe the atmosphere at Nando’s – more upscale (and healthier) than a fast-food restaurant, but one orders from the menu at the counter and the food is brought out to your table.  Take-out service is also available.  One can choose the level of ‘spice’ desired, from Mild-Medium-Hot to Extra Hot.  We decided on Medium, which Marcia was quite pleased with, and I took advantage of some of the hot sauces on the table.  As sides there are rice, potatoes, salads and vegetables.  The food is tasty, and while the server did come by our table once to see how we were doing, we were essentially abandoned at that point and I had to bring what was left back to the counter in order to have it wrapped for home.  In keeping with our policy of only writing about places we would visit again, this one makes the cut on the strength of the flavours.

In the middle of September we took the ferry over to Saltspring Island in order to take in the Saturday Farmer’s Market and also the Saltspring Fall Fair.  Both were wonderful; it’s been some time since either of us have been to a traditional fall fair, and the freshly made Aeropress coffee we discovered at the market was worth the wait.  We picked up some organic apples and veggies, and a taste of a Blizzard cookie sample brought us back to buy a whole one.  We had intended to go to Auntie Pesto’s Café in Ganges for a late lunch, but by the time we arrived at 3:00 we were told they were closed – quite simply because they’d run out of food.  That’s either bad planning or a serious recommendation; we’ll go with the latter and try them the next time (when the Fall Fair isn’t on!)  As an alternate we went to the Tree House Café instead.

The Tree House Café is not (to my secret disappointment) a restaurant built off the ground in a tree, but it is essentially an indoor/outdoor patio with a tree growing up through the middle of it.  Quite fun, actually.  We had a table right beside the trunk of the tree, which was handy when the rain began to fall as the leaves kept us ‘mostly’ dry.  We loved the eclectic atmosphere (so typical of Saltspring – if “typical eccentricity” is even possible) and the made-to-order lunch menu, and will definitely go again.  Maybe next time we’ll go for dinner and take in the live music on offer.

Back in Victoria, a friend invited me to dinner in exchange for some help.  We went first to Santé Gluten-Free Café on Quadra, but they were closing within 20 minutes of our arrival. Another one for the list; so many restaurants, so little time…!  Instead we went to My Thai Café on Cook Street.  A little ‘hole in the wall’ family restaurant, don’t let this dissuade you.  The food here is very good.  Again my friend and I went for ‘Medium’ on the heat level, and it was just about as much as she could stand.  If you can take the heat, they can definitely dish it out!  We’ve been to a few Thai food restaurants in Victoria and would recommend this one.

And finally, another place on our list of ‘must-dos’ was ‘Habit Coffee‘ in the Atrium at the corner of Yates and Blanshard.  They have a second location on Pandora in Chinatown but we haven’t yet been there.  We’ve been to a number of excellent coffee shops in Victoria, each one unique.  The atmosphere at Habit is definitely more urban, with a modern, industrial look.  They do make excellent coffee, and they’re serious about sustainability with everything from composting to CFL light bulb recycling and reclaimed wood used in construction.  They have a ‘Sustainability’ page on their website that explains more ways they’re going ‘green’.  Being in a building that’s targeting LEED Gold, perhaps it’s not surprising.  They also have healthy cookies and other delicious treats available.  Next time we’ll have to check out Zambri’s restaurant next door…

Okay, that’s it for now.  Wherever and whatever you’re eating today, remember to take the time to celebrate the food, the company and the very act of eating.


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

Eating Our Way Through Victoria… Cafés

Hi Folks:

I remember reading somewhere that Victoria has the second highest number of restaurants per capita in North America… so much good food, so little time…  With all of those choices Marcia and I have become a little sedate in our selections – frequenting mostly places that we’ve been to before like Floyd’s and Red Fish Blue Fish.  We ‘ve written two ‘Eating Our Way…‘ posts now on some of our favourite coffee (and tea) tasting places in town, but we have another few to add to the list: Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria… And Beyond!!

Hi Folks:

This will serve as two months’ worth of ‘Food’ posts for us!  We’ve had some interesting culinary adventures over the past couple of months… actually we were waiting for a writeup from a ‘guest blogger’, but that didn’t pan out so you get me instead.  Let’s see now, where have we been? Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria… Fresh Fish!!

Hello, Dear Reader:

Today Marcia and I celebrate our 100th Monthaversary of being married, so it’s only fitting that today we should profile where we went to celebrate our 18th Anniversary of the day we met.  (In case it’s not really obvious, we find some way to celebrate ‘Us’ every day…)

On February 19th we went to a restaurant we’ve been meaning to try for some time: Red Fish Blue Fish.  To say that the restaurant is small is almost an understatement; the primary structure has been built out of a shipping container.  Their address is listed as 1006 Wharf Street but you’ll find them down on the wharf, behind the Inner Harbour Centre and near the float plane docks. Just look for a long line-up of people…

Red Fish Blue Fish

In our opinion, Red Fish Blue Fish has several good things going for it.  First, the location is wonderful, right by the ocean and out in the fresh air.  There are a collection of tables and stools randomly distributed around and also a section of benches to sit on, but you can also take your selections away down the shore if you prefer.  Second, the food is very good.  The fish is fresh, the batter is very light, and the fries are tasty!  In addition to battered fish they serve chowder, salads, fish tacones (grilled tortilla hand rolls or taco-cones), and for vegetarians they serve an edamame tacone.  Third, the operation is very environmentally friendly.  The footprint of the restaurant is small, but it goes beyond that.

Red Fish Blue Fish Oceanwise poster


All of their seafood is sustainably caught and certified by the Vancouver Aquarium’s ‘Oceanwise‘ program.

“The Vancouver Aquarium is a self-supporting, non-profit association dedicated to effecting the conservation of aquatic life through display and interpretation, education, research, and direct action.

Overfishing is the number one problem facing the world’s oceans…

Ocean Wise is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood. Ocean Wise works directly with restaurants, markets, food services and suppliers ensuring that they have the most current scientific information regarding seafood and helping them make ocean-friendly buying decisions. The options are highlighted on their menus and display cases with the Ocean Wise symbol, making it easier for consumers to make environmentally friendly seafood choices. The Ocean Wise logo next to a menu or seafood item is an assurance that the item is a good choice for keeping ocean life healthy and abundant for generations to come.”

In addition, there are no garbage cans for the customers.  Instead, they have a two-bin system (in cooperation with reFUSE, I believe).  A blue bin collects metal, glass and plastic for recycling, and a green bin collects leftover food, napkins (paper), dishes (pressboard), coleslaw/condiment cups (paper) and cutlery (pressed wood fibre) for composting.  If they told me that their fry oil went for biodiesel production and that the vegetables for the salad and slaw were locally harvested, I’d be in ‘green’ fast food heaven!

 We were there for lunch on a February afternoon; out of the wind and with the sun shining down it was a lovely day for al fresco dining!  Red Fish Blue Fish is closed over the winter, but open 7 days a week for most of the year.  They do close early during inclement weather, so please call ahead if you’re uncertain.

Bon appetit!


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

Eating Our Way Through Victoria!

Hello Dear Ones!

January 2011 held a myriad of dinner meetings for me with no time left over for both Mike and I to go out for a meal together … just the two of us. However, we’re already remedying that by planning a dinner out alone next weekend …

Here are a list of the restaurants I was fortunate to experience in the past few weeks:

Milestones: Dinner in the downstairs conference/banquet room was set pleasantly for a crowd of 30 people. Rather than a pre-selected buffet, we were each blessed with being able to choose off the menu. Having been out to a breakfast/training that same morning (see White Spot below) I was less than hungry and wanted something light to eat. The atmosphere was relaxed, service exceptional, menu delightfully varied and the presentation impeccable! I wisely chose the goat cheese with roasted beet salad: generous portions of goat cheese with sumptuous amounts of golden beets julienned and roasted to perfection. The maple glazed pecans added a sparkle to the taste buds and the eye in their appeal, layered on a bed of spring greens. The salad was then drizzled with a light ‘house’ dressing and presented on a large platter with a splatter of balsamic roue for visual effect. Yum! Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria… Tea Time!

Hi Folks:

In a couple of previous ‘Food‘ posts we’ve discussed some of our favourite coffee shops in and around Victoria.  We thought we’d switch that up a bit and talk about tea instead.

1) Murchie’s Tea and Coffee: Murchie’s has been an icon in Victoria for somewhere around a century.  Located on Government Street, it’s a short walk from the Inner Harbour, and a ‘must stop’ location on many visitors’ agendas.  Murchie’s has a seating capacity of 110, and in addition to fine teas and coffees they have a wonderful lunch menu and many different choices for desserts or accompaniments to ‘afternoon tea’.  There’s also a large shop with loose teas, coffees, spices, teapots, coffeemakers, cups, saucers, kitchenware and more.  The ‘tea rooms’ at the top of the stairs also feature work by local artists.  If you’ve walked out of Munro’s Books (just up the street) with a package under your arm, this is a great place to sit and flip through your purchase! Continue Reading →

Eating Our Way Through Victoria… Pumpkin Time!

Hello Dear Reader!

Well, we’ve had a few culinary adventures to share with you this month.

Before we get to that, however, earlier this month Marcia went out to dinner with the folks she works with at a restaurant downtown.  She ordered the equivalent salad to the one we’d shared at Café Brio last month; in her estimation there was no comparison.  Café Brio was far superior.  She found the service at this restaurant was good but the restaurant was somewhat dark and the food overly salty, so in keeping with our only ‘rule’ about our food posts we’re not going to mention them – at least until we have a second opportunity to try dinner there.  Café Brio we recommend without hesitation!  Actually, we planned to go back there this month, but plans changed. Continue Reading →