I've been there twice before, both times only getting there via passenger ferry, so never having left the downtown area. I enjoyed it on those visits, but this time, we took the car ferry and drove all over the city. Beautiful doesn't even come close to describing it. The residential areas we checked out were well-maintained, filled with lovely houses of all different styles, and the views of the Olympic mountains across the Strait of Juan de Fuca were mesmerizing. And the best thing was that my mother had never seen such a place! Also, French Canadian game shows: awesome.
Here's where we went and what we did:
Canoe Brewpub - my mother was disappointed that she couldn't get her burger medium rare; per Canadian law, it had to be well-done. She was not impressed. But I loved the cauliflower and corn fritters (though it could have used a sauce to accompany it) and loved my spinach, egg, bacon, & beet salad. The rest enjoyed their meals too (they got a chicken, brie, fig sandwich that looked great.) Very cool building: all wood and metal in what felt like an old brick armory on the water. Upon first entrance, all you see are stairs, but they allowed my mother in via a side entrance. This was our first taste of Canadian hospitality. I hope I don't sound like an entitled American, espousing the stereotypical niceness of the Canadians, but I have to say it. I know there are jackass Canadians out there, but we really were impressed with the kindness and accommodating nature of those we met.
Bubby Rose's Bakery & Cafe - We came for breakfast; hot beverages and pastries. Though they really should have heated up their cinnamon rolls, we liked it enough. I wouldn't go out of my way to go here, but it was a nice local joint with lovely and delicious loaves of bread, lots of yummy looking pastries, including many gluten-free options (for those who need it.) It reminded me of Great Harvest, except a much smaller, more personal, operation.
Nautical Nellie's - totally touristy, but pretty good. I was sad this entire trip that I couldn't partake in the many raw oysters on nearly every menu (see: Jen is pregnant.)
|I could be a hand model.|
Red Fish, Blue Fish - Fish & Chips eaten on a pier. Long wait, but pretty good food with a great view.
Spinnaker's - this was off in West Victoria and is supposedly Canada's oldest brewpub. My husband appreciated all the beers on this visit. I got a house-smoked salmon pizza and we all shared poutine. Heaven is a pile of french fries smothered in gravy and dotted with cheese curds.
Nando's - we picked up grilled chicken and accoutrements from this casual spot and ate in our suite. Tasty and inexpensive. I'd get this a lot if I lived nearby.
Moss & Fairfield Farmers' Market - Also a short distance out of downtown, we went to this farmer's market and came home with picked green beans, pickled green tomatoes, jellies, and honey. We also picked up fresh rustic bread, brie, cheddar, and apples for what was to be a wonderfully epic breakfast in our suite.
Hippo - like the Ducks here in Seattle, Boston, the Wisconsin Dells, and other touristy spots, the Hippo is an on-land/on-sea tourist bus with the typical awkward banter of a just-out-of-college kid combined with a nice tour of the city. A few interesting facts thrown in and we were happy to be on board.
Butchart Gardens - Nearly everyone who visits Victoria goes here. It's also out-of-town and is a few hours of walking through lovely gardens, flowers, and plants. It was slightly off-season, so the flowers were a bit wilty and the roses mostly gone. But, it was a nice walk around with great weather. Also, soft serve ice cream. I needn't say more.
Once back stateside we hit up
Next Door Gastropub in Port Angeles - Port Angeles is a small-town with a downtown that mimics a larger city. I can't figure out what I think about it. It's sort of run down, but sort of not, with lots of antique malls and just a few good-looking eateries. I researched and found The Next Door Gastropub and it was perfect. We shared a poutine to end our Canadian odyssey and then our table ended up sharing a REALLY GOOD version of a BLT, crab cakes, raspberry chipotle wings, a simple citrusy salad, and mac and cheese with dungeness crab. If you're in the area, I'd recommend this place. They were also incredibly accommodating with all our needs...of which, there were many.
Oh, and on the way, there's an espresso stand on Hwy 101 in Gardiner, WA, outside Sequim. Get any of their lavender drinks. MMMMMmmmmmmmmm.
So, there's my Victoria trip. I'm kind of in love with that city now and hope to keep going back often. Next time: some more adventurous eating. We kept things simple for my mother, but there was a Sri Lankan place, a Persian place, and other exciting looking options.
Oh, and we didn't get to Munro's Bookstore this trip, but I've been and adore it. Here's my post on that.