Writer, Yvette Cardozo catches us up on what it’s like to go along for the ride with commercial prawn fishing in our recent article which includes recipes. If you’re hungry for more, here’s her quick list of must-see stops in Victoria, B.C.:
Government Street with its pubs, cafes and shops is always a top draw in Victoria. But there’s lots more:
Abkhazi Teahouse – It was once the home of exiled Georgian Prince Nicholas Abkhazi and his wife Peggy. After their deaths, The Land Conservancy of British Columbia purchased the property to save it from becoming a townhouse development. Today, you can stroll the compact garden and enjoy high tea. Everything on the menu is made onsite except for the Devonshire cream. The teas are local from Silk Road Teas and all of the baking, including pastries and gluten free bread (available for sale), is made by pasty chef Gerry Galapon.
A Taste of Victoria Food Tours – Owner Andy Olson takes folks on a two hour stroll of history and tasty nibbles through the heart of Victoria. It begins at the Victoria Public Market and includes stops throughout Chinatown including Fan Tan Alley, then on to Market Square, Government St., the Inner Harbour Causeway and Parliament Buildings.
Our day included French Oven Bakery for hot, out of the oven breads, Roast Meat for meatballs, The Very Good Butchers for tastes of vegan fare that included a “Roast Beast Sandwich” made with bean based “meats” that to a dedicated carnivore was stunningly good. Then on to Chinatown for a peek at the three-foot-wide Fan Tan Alley, La Roux French Patisserie for sweets, Just Matcha for Japanese green tea, Sult Pierogi Bar for, yes, pierogis and winding up with samples at Rogers Chocolates.
But best was some fascinating tidbits of information. Such as the fact that the famed Empress Hotel is sinking an inch each year. Low windows are now a foot below ground because the place was built on a landfill. But even better, when they ripped off all that ivy (yes, the Boston ivy is gone), they found stashes of jewelry that had been stolen from guest rooms by raccoons.
The Fickle Fig Farm Market – This is about as “farm to table” as it gets. Chef/farmer/owner Mitchell Morse dreamed of opening a bistro right on a farm. So behind his little cafe in the Victoria suburb of North Saanich are raised beds with salad greens, a little pig pen with three fat pigs, pet bunnies (no, they are NOT on the menu) and around the neighborhood, several acres of leased mini farms.
Morse started out baking breads for sale but one thing led to another and now he is doing light lunches featuring whatever is fresh and seasonal. The day we visited, it was home made chicken veggie soup, home made pizza and, of course, home made bread. He also holds classes which, last June, included pizza making, bread making and a pasta class.
Victoria Butterfly Gardens – My fav thing here (after the meat eating tropical plant) was the huge ant farm near the entrance where you can watch a determined line of ants marching up and down tree limbs, each clutching a huge bit of leaf, destined for its nest. Then beyond the doors in the well heated (80 degree) tropical forest are the butterflies. Owl butterflies munching on banana slices, tailed jay butterflies perched on neon purple leaves and lots more, along with assorted turtles and two flamingos so startling pink, they make your eyes hurt.
For more information about Victoria British Columbia, click here.