Daily Prompt: Fright Night – Foragers of the Night

Part of another adventure, but a food adventure in the end …and not so scary.


Dark and deep run scaly creature
Hypnotizing prey with glowing eyes they lure
Unsuspecting,  edging closer to eyes so bright
Soon loose their life despite their fight
On this planet, in this atmosphere you would soon starve for breath in three minutes.  Light barely penetrates enough to see a foot in front of you.    Populated by denizens who eagerly sink their pincers and claws into soft flesh as they tear and render the flesh from body.  Though not large in stature they are large in numbers. Spider-like they rattle over their prey and soon reduce foes to skeletal remains.
In addition to their pincer like limbs or vice like claws fortifying them for battle,  their own skeletons are external giving armoured protection.   Eagerly they await any foreigners who dare to enter their dark domain.
Why would you volunteer to enter into this world.  In the dark of night.  Armed with…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated with Flavour – Marcella Hazan



Saturated is often associated with vision.  But why limit ourselves when all of our senses can experience the same burst of sensory pleasure.

The sound of music can fill your your soul.  Close your eyes and let a silk scarf flow through your fingers.

But today join me on a short journey of the smell and tastes of food.  What better way than to celebrate these two senses than the life and contributions made by Marcella Hazan.  She recently passed away at the age of 89, proving that good food means good life.

I  was introduced late in life to the delicacies that Ms. Hazan introduced to so many with her precise, but simple Italian recipes.

Like many of you, I  never had the pleasure of spooning beans and pasta for breakfast.  But to a young girl born some 20+ years after Ms. Hazan, such left overs for breakfast never tasted so…

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Road Trip – Portland – The Woodsman Tavern

Crowded,but Vibrant ….Fantastic food and service

A little out of the way neighbourhood across the bridge, but worth the trek. Server was extremely pleasant and attentive. Despite the very busy atmosphere for a Friday night, we were seated promptly and never had to wait for service. Would definitely re-vist the Woodsman tavern

Pork Rabbit

Great food starting with some west coast oysters followed by pork and rabbit pie for me and shank for my partner. Well prepared and served at the right temperatures.

Perfect Shank

Tofino Day 1 – The Real Surf

Surf, Sea, beach, rocks and trees …who needs sun with all this natural beauty

Getting to Tofino starts with a four hour drive from the south, where first you are forced to drive to the eastern shore of Vancouver Island before heading north west to Canada’s own surfer’s paradise surrounded by some of the most awesome natural wilderness. Set in the rain forests of boreal Canada, you can quickly forget about civilization and focus on more basic things – but such glorious basics. Part two will give a little more perspective of the area, but first to the food….

After winding roads took us through Cathedral Grove; over mountains and past rivers and seashores, we checked into the Pacific Sands (expensive but getting old…). Despite the basic necessities that it provided the hotel has direct beach access where you are warned about early morning wolf visits. Also beware of meaner looking surfers who are unafraid of jumping into the freezing waters off the west coast (with a light protection of a wet suit).

With no restaurant at our hotel, we set off to the SCHOONER in the heart of “downtown” Tofino, about 10 minutes drive from the hotel.

Always good to arrive on Oyster Night

When on the coast, local seafood is best, but as we were “salmoned” out the menu offered some other “surf” delicacies more to our liking including an oyster banquet and fresh caught crab. Although we did try two appetizers, the tuna was over done as was the slightly chewy calamari. No more need be said on those as we move on to the raw oysters which were fresh served with lemon and a dipping sauce. Delicious, just with the lemon.

Eyes very much like the crab that Follows

We then moved on to our own personal large crab that were cooked perfectly. Although served with butter on the side (why!), we again opted for enjoying the succulent, delicate taste highlighted only with a squeeze of lemon when inspired to do so.

More Eyes looking at me…

Overall the decor may be basic, and would pass on the cooked appetizers, but the fresh seafood makes the stop well worthwhile.  Our meal was enhanced by the Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris wine that we would also recommend.


Next morning we enjoyed a hearty breakfast from BREAKERS. Though not cheap, it offers a great variety of bagels, etc with all the stuffings you could ever desire to get your day going. (coffee was disappointing especially for a breakfast place).

Oak Bay Tradition – Blighty’s Bistro

Thanks to our neighbours to be we were treated to an outing in Oak Bay,  a community we had considered for our new home.  An area rich in tradition and one that we looked forward to exploring.

We were warmly greeted by the Blighty’s Bistro owner, Richelle Osborne. Our neighbour hosts were familiar with the location as well as the owner.  Since we had an early sitting we were able to enjoy a friendly conversation about the history of the location (a fish and chips local) as well as the current offerings.  Despite the warm Wednesday evening, the place filled up as the night progressed.  Good to see that many of the locals coming out to eat but also noting that our  service remained attentive and friendly.

The menu is not extensive, but covers most of what we enjoy including local fish; fowl and hoof.  Our evening’s choices of  fish and meat selections gave us a good sampling of the chefs’ preferences. Our  new found friends seemed to enjoy their meals and our selections were well prepared , served hot from the kitchen and met expectation.

Our favourite was the fresh pea soup that the owner described as “tasting the garden”.  She was spot on in describing the delicate flavour that matched the vibrant green on white serving.

A taste of the Spring Garden

My least favourite was the Stuffed Dates, but the fresh Halibut was enjoyable and the Sticky Toffee a big hit for everyone.

Fig Warp

Fresh Halibut

Sticky Oudding

…………………………It was a great introduction to Oak Bay and we look forward to exploring the neighbourhood. This was our first evening outing in this area and we had an enjoyable evening at the Blighty’s Bistro. Check it out!

Celebration No 145 with Paella Take 2

Summer Arrives with a Bang to Celebrate the 145th Birthday of Canada

Well it is that time of year when we get to celebrate the dawning of Canada as a country.  This year we feel especially blessed in our new home since Victoria was and is a part of this country. We get to savour every delectible aspect from location, weather, geography; scenery and of course the food.

So three cheers for Canada on its 145th birthday!!  We are happy to be here to enjoy it and to celebrate with fireworks as well as F’s third attempt at perfecting her Paella -with rice, clams,and LOBSTER.

Every rendition is delicious but like the country,  gets better as we never stop trying to improve 🙂


London Chef In Victoria – Culinary Lessons in Seafood

Let the games begin!

Who knew that the spirit of Jamie extends to our little part of the word…but with a firey Spanish influence rather than Italian.

The Chef – Dan Hayes

The London Chef is part school, gourmet lunch cafe and more …but for our first visit ….full time fun.  The Chef was engaging as he explained and then demonstrated how to prepare each dish before he encouraged us to practice each task as we built our meal from scratch to plates of appetizers and mains.

Our evening of  hands-on seafood cooking extravaganza was enjoyed with 3 other couples who were all entertained by Chef Dan Hayes.  Entertaining but also education on the fine art of preparing – and eating – local seafoods including prawns (do I hear Cowichan calling) oyster (Ferris anyone) , Crabs and mussels.

During our 3 hour experience we were updated on how to properly sauté fresh local Spot Prawns complete with a of flaming finale.  Then came the real learning on how to enjoy the whole prawn…starting with the head.  As our intrepid chef explained from his experience in Spain – the body is almost thrown way after the head is crushed in your teeth followed by a quick sucking of salty goodness.  Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried.  (but we still enjoyed the rest of the prawn)

Next came a lesson in proper oyster shucking (and slurping) followed by lessons in separation of a crab with extreme prejudice.  If one is to cook and eat food, you really should know where and how it gets to your table.

Shucking In Action

Look into their eyes

Each glorious piece

We had a really fun time as a couple meeting new people. But talking to a repeat attendee it would also be a great experience for a group of friends or a corporate event. And you get to enjoy fresh Sea Food.

Main Table

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Island Chefs Collaborative 2012 FoodFest – The Event

Field of Champions. Almost Mideveil

Squires prepare the weapons for battle.

Starting at noon, we just flicked from tent to tent talking to bakers; butchers; fish mongers, chefs and merchants (Click to see close up).

Culinary Collage

Lucky enough we could also got to taste their wares before heading off to “sea” the view from the lighthouse.

Sea View

Island Chefs Collaborative 2012 FoodFest – Background

Chefs Supporting Local producers

Another food event discovered by our own intrepid household chef.  We were lucky enough to attend this “sold out” food tasting, fund raising event that included not only delicious local food but also a wonderful historic venue near the Fisgard Lighthouse on Vancouver Island

The event is sponsored by ICCBC whose web site http://www.iccbc.ca/ define themselves as follows:

“The Island Chefs Collaborative (icc) are a liked-minded community of chefs and food and beverage professionals with a common interest in regional food security, the preservation of farmland and the development of local food system.”

Guide to sailors and good food

The lighthouse is a National Historic Site is described on http://www.fisgardlighthouse.com/ :

“Built by the British in 1860, when Vancouver Island was not yet part of Canada, Fisgard’s red brick house and white tower has stood faithfully at the entrance to Esquimalt harbour.”

Great food and great location.  Will update with more pictures shortly.


A Day off at Ferris’ Oyster Bar

The raison d’être for our visit

A couple or two weekends ago we were searching for a good local oyster bar. Ferris’ on Yates Street was recommended by one of our recently met locals and we decided to go for a brunch.

The location is right in Victoria Central on Yates, less than a block from the harbour. The upstairs bar was “petite” and service was accommodating. Although we found it a little funny that we were taken for outside Albertans!. Was it our accent? No – good thing since we hail from a little further east. It was actually due to our meal selection. It seems that most people from out of town loaded up on sea food when they come to Ferris’ Oyster Bar. Strange for some, but for us it seemed appropriate since we had sought out an oyster bar to get seafood.

We ordered traditional setting of 12 varied – small and medium – well chilled with the normal assortment of hot sauce and vinaigrette. All good. We followed this with reasonably prepared Fish Soup and a serving of steamed mussels. Everything was served as expected and quite enjoyable.

There is also a more complete dining experience downstairs that we may look into at a future date. Note there are two distinct reservation systems for upstairs and downstairs. Although we have had a better experience in oyster bars elsewhere, Ferris’ is worth a visit if you are looking for an option in the centre of town.

Click for close up view of address/phone number for upstairs