Category Archives: Vancouver Island

Lovely Seaside Dining at Point No Point Resort near Sooke, B.C.

Smoked albacore tuna salad at Point No Point Resort, west of Sooke, B.C.

Smoked albacore tuna salad at Point No Point Resort, west of Sooke, B.C.

How’s this for a perfect lunch experience? At Point No Point Resort, west of Sooke, B.C. on southern Vancouver Island, there’s great food, of course. It starts, perhaps, with a bowl of chowder ($7) packed with clams and rockfish, followed by a smoked albacore tuna salad ($14) or an enormous quesadilla ($12) featuring an unusual filling of squash, edamame beans, pumpkin seeds and melted aged cheddar.

But it’s hard to keep your eyes focused on the meal when nearly every table in this charming old house is a window seat overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Is that a pod of orca whales cutting through the distant waves? Just pick up the binoculars stationed at every table and scan the waters below.

It's hard to concentrate on lunch when there's orca whales swimming in the strait

It’s hard to concentrate on lunch when there’s orca whales swimming in the strait

Finish your stay with a walk down through salt-sprayed forest to an ocean bay on Point no Point’s private trails, open to luncheon diners.

How about a post-lunch walk down to a private beach?

How about a post-lunch walk down to a private beach?

Point No Point Resort
10829 West Coast Road, Shirley, B.C.
Lunch available to non guests 11:30 am-3:30 pm
Point no Point on Urbanspoon

For a more laid-back dining experience, head to Shirley Delicious Café, just down the road in a colourful little building with a garden out front and cheerful owners Phillip and Sheena and staff inside. Try a roasted leek sandwich or a breakfast burrito and latte before going on a seaside stroll in nearby French Beach Provincial Park.

Shirley Delicious Cafe
2794 Sheringham Point Road, Shirley, B.C.
Daily 8 am-5 pm
Shirley Delicious on Urbanspoon

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Fantastic Falafels at Thirsty Camel in Nanaimo, B.C.

Ilan Goldenblatt makes his fantastic falafels to order at  The Thirsty Camel in Nanaimo, B.C.

Ilan Goldenblatt makes his fantastic falafels to order at The Thirsty Camel in Nanaimo, B.C. Photo: Helen Corbett

Customers sometimes tell Ilan Goldenblatt about the best falafels they’ve ever eaten… elsewhere. But once they’ve sunk their teeth into the tender falafel pitas he painstakingly makes from scratch at little The Thirsty Camel Cafe, in Nanaimo, B.C., they invariably revise their opinions.

It starts with the oil. Most falafel-frying joints change their cooking oil every now and then, perhaps filtering it more frequently. But Ilan begins each day with new oil. He wants it this fresh because his chickpea-based balls are only formed (with a custom, Israeli-made device) when ordered. Into the virgin oil they are briefly plunged, emerging slightly green, from the parsley and cilantro, and with just enough surface crunch to mask the silky tenderness inside. No dry, stale falafel balls these. No siree.

The Thirsty Camel's falafels are smothered in house-made tahini

The Thirsty Camel’s falafels are smothered in house-made tahini and sauce

The six warm falafel balls are then stuffed into a thick pita fold, along with cool cucumber, house-made tahini and a sauce that’s got a camel’s kick if you think medium heat is just that. Ilan and his staff have been pouring love into their falafels and other Middle Eastern fare for 10 years. You can taste it with every mouthful.

The Thirsty Camel Cafe
14 Victoria Crescent, Nanaimo, B.C.
Monday to Wednesday 11 am-3 pm, Thursday-Friday 11 am-7 pm, Saturday noon-4 pm. Closed Sunday
Thirsty Camel on Urbanspoon

If you have a hankering for sourdough bread, best make a beeline for Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery, on a leafy Nanaimo street. They make a good half-dozen varieties of sourdough, including a garlic asiago and an olive. They also produce fine cheese scones, pumpkin muffins and dripping cinnamon buns, if you’d like a sumptuous treat to go with an excellent espresso, crafted from Cowichan Valley Peaks Coffee beans. It’s all best enjoyed on a shady patio, where a half hour slips by as smoothly as the coffee goes down.

The cinnamon buns go down nicely with excellent coffee at Bodhi's Artisan Bakery

The cinnamon buns go down nicely with excellent coffee at Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery

Bodhi’s Artisan Bakery
5299 Rutherford Road, Nanaimo, B.C.
Tuesday to Friday 8 am-4:30 pm, Saturday 8 am-6:30 pm. Closed Sunday and Monday
Bodhi's Artisan Bakery on Urbanspoon

 

Of course, no Nanaimo food review would be complete without the iconic Nanaimo bar

Of course, no Nanaimo food review would be complete without the iconic Nanaimo bar, this delectable one served by Bistro at Westwood Lake

Beautiful B.C. Coast Road Trip

A dusky sunset along Vancouver's Jericho Beach.

A dusky sunset along Vancouver’s Jericho Beach.

Here are some photos from a great summer road trip to B.C.’s coast, including Vancouver Island and its satellite Gulf Islands. Blog posts on specific great eateries along the way will commence next week.

At Vancouver's Jericho Beach, the sand is just across the water from the downtown skyline

At Vancouver’s Jericho Beach, the sand is just across the water from the downtown skyline

Filling growlers at Vancouver's Brassneck Brewery

Filling growlers at Vancouver’s Brassneck Brewery

Brassneck Brewery co-owner Conrad Gmoser.

Brassneck Brewery co-owner Conrad Gmoser

The guys behind uber-cool Timbertrain Coffee Roasters in downtown Vancouver

The guys behind uber-cool Timbertrain Coffee Roasters in downtown Vancouver

Coffee and a muffin at Terra Breads in Vancouver's Olympic Village

Coffee and a muffin at Terra Breads in Vancouver’s Olympic Village

At Stick in the Mud coffee-house, in Sooke on Vancouver Island, these friendly, caffeinated guys are anything but that

At Stick in the Mud coffee-house, in Sooke on Vancouver Island, these friendly, caffeinated guys are anything but that

Stick in the Mud owner with a vintage sculpture

Stick in the Mud owner with a vintage sculpture

Bear sign near Sooke, B.C.

Bear sign near Sooke, B.C.

In lieu of a Mayne Island taxi service in perfect Gulf Island lingo

In lieu of a Mayne Island taxi service—in perfect Gulf Island lingo

Exploring tide pools on Salt Spring Island

Exploring tide pools on Salt Spring Island

I've always seen "Closed" signs on stores. But on Salt Spring Island, "Shut" was all the rage

I’ve always seen “Closed” signs on stores and restaurants. But on Salt Spring Island, “Shut” was all the rage