“FieldTrips” is either a day trip or a few days where I visit food areas of interest which may include farm visits, producers, wineries, restaurants and/or other places that people can visit. This is about offering Vancouver Foodster readers a chance to get out of town and take a “Field Trip” for the day or a few days to explore, learn, taste and experience.
Field Trip to Tofino
Leaving Vancouver, driving Highway 1 to take BC Ferries over to the island from Horseshoe Bay, sailing on the Queen of Oak Bay (100 minutes) to the Departure Bay Ferry Terminal in Nanaimo. There is a lot to do once on board the ferry.
From Nanaimo, drove North West to Tofino which was about a 3 hour drive. Stopped along the way in Coombs to see the famous spot with their goats on the roof then headed off to the West Coast.
Arrived to the beautiful Pacific Sands Beach Resort, this beachside resort on Cox Bay Beach features beautiful Beachfront Suites or Ocean View Rooms. The resort features a nice fitness room, hot tub, an outdoor restaurant called The Surfside Grill, the herb garden, complimentary coffee, games and dvd’s, at this beach front property. The resort is located about 4 km south of downtown Tofino.
I stayed in a lodge suite that featured a king bed, a living room with fireplace, a kitchenette, table, and a beachfront view.
One of the first restaurants that I visited in the area was Sobo where Chef and Owner Lisa Ahier hangs her hat so to speak, we had met years ago when she launched one of her cookbooks. Specializing in local seasonal fare, this popular eatery is located right in the centre of town.
I loved their Chilled Seaweed spiced tomato Gazpacho; along with the Shrimp and Ling cod cake; the Cornbread is a made in house staple that everyone loves, moist and delicious; and the Halloumi Salad was a perfect dish as well.
The Halibut with charon sauce was divine as was the Seafood Risotto.
Finished off with their outstanding Key Lime Pie along with their seasonal Rhubarb custard tart.
The next day visited Shed which is also centrally located in town, this kitchen is run by Executive Chef Matty Kane. I loved the Salmon & Kale Salad with a grilled salmon skewer served on top of the kale & red quinoa, red apple, golden raisins & puffed rice, white cheddar, caramelized honey vinaigrette
I also loved the Chicken Lettuce Wraps with crispy Farmhouse chicken & gem lettuce, peanuts, spicy yogurt & Szechuan glaze; tried the Tofu Snack with crispy silken tofu, chili & scallion, toasted almonds as well. Finished off this tasty meal on the patio with a Soft Serve Vanilla on a cone.
Spent some time in the afternoon walking around town as well as checking out some of the local beaches where the surfers often hang out.
For dinner that night visit Wolf in the Fog, a restaurant that I had been yearning to visit for quite sometime. Here their cocktails are as popular as the food and I had a chance to experience both.
Started out with the Black Mamba cocktail which was paired perfectly with the Dungeness Crab Arancini with crab mayo; and the Kale Salad with fresh cheese, carrot, pumpkin seeds, pickled onion, madras dressing.
Had a platter of the Baked Tofino Halibut sharing with friends with clams, white beans, spring onions; we also shared their nightly vegetarian dish offering, magically called the Green Soul-with grilled eggplant, cauliflower and cucumbers.
For dessert we finished off with three spectacular choices, the White Chocolate Mousse with yuzu sherbet, rhubabrb essence, freeze dried rhubarb, the outstanding Gala Apple with apple pave, blonde chocolate ice cream, salted caramel, hazelnut choux paste; and the Aerated Dark Chocolate with dark chocolate and coconut ice cream, pistachio, amarena cherries.
Later that night after sunset checked out the fire pits on the grounds of the Pacific Sands Beach Resort, this makes for a great activity before bed time.
Took a drive over in the Honda CR-V to Chesterman Beach one of the spectacular beaches in the area for a beautiful morning walk as the tide was far out.
At the Pacific Sands Beach Resort they feature Surfside Grill which is located outside and features a patio for relaxing as you hear the beach sounds. Owned by Chef Jeff Mikus; it’s pretty much a seafood shack, and I loved the Salmon burger with fries along with the Cod Fish Tacos; locally-brewed Tofino Kombucha was a refreshing choice.
Changed hotels for the remaining two nights of my Tofino stay to switch things up a bit and moved over to the Long Beach Lodge Resort, it turns out both resorts are quite close and share the same beach. A totally different experience, but just as amazing.
I stayed in a lodge room with a beachfront view which was spectacular, the room had a comfortable bed along with cozy chair by the fireplace, and a large soaker tub in the bathroom. I liked the resort offers complimentary apples in the lobby, they also have a full service restaurant (The Great Room) on site, there is a hot tub and sauna, fitness room, fire pits, beach front property
Had dinner with my friends in The Great Room which is open year-round. This is another restaurant that offers a great bar and food program. I started out with one of their feature cocktails, the Hawaiian Godfather made of coconut rum, amaretto, coffee liqueur; this was a great cocktail to pair up with these three appetizers. The Carrot Cavatelli with fresh cavatelli pasta, roasted carrots, carrot top pesto, toasted pistachios, manchego cheese; along with the Tuna Tataki lightly seared tuna, yuzu aioli, wakame seaweed, ginger carrots, crisps; and the Scallops which were seared and came with confit potato, smoked crème fraîche, orange, fennel, castelvetrano olives, squid ink emulsion.
I loved the Halibut with soba noodles, edamame, cabbage, pickled shimeji mushrooms, broccoli, citrus dashi reduction, toasted sesame; as well as the Lamb Rack which had been roasted and served with asparagus, chorizo, herb ricotta gnudi, chimichurri.
Ending with their Caramel Apple cocktail is a great choice if you don’t care to finish off with a dessert, this cocktail was a treat served warm with caramel toffee liqueur, averna amaro, apple cider, black salt.
The sunset that evening was spectacular as I am sure most are in the area.
The next morning, I visited Rhino Coffee House, one of the most popular coffee shops in town where the locals hang out. Duane Bell owns this café which also features an in-house bakery that features their popular donuts, as well as his custom roasted coffee. Over a couple of visits during my stay I enjoyed an Iced Americano, and their house-made Granola with yogurt.
I also visited Summit Bread, this popular bakery amongst the locals is located South of town in the industrial area, here owners Brendan and Cassidy serve up tasty baked treats along with breads, sandwiches and more. For lunch I had the Reuben Croissant which was just like a sandwich but filled with the tasty pastrami and cheese; I also enjoyed some freshly baked treats including the Vanilla bean Creme Brulee Cruffin, Double Baked Almond Croissant and a Savoury Danish.
Another great spot to indulge in some sweet treats is Chocolate Tofino this is where owners Kim and Cam run their busy chocolate shop and gelato emporium. Pretty much the only game in town, they are located South of the main part of town. I tried a selection of their chocolates and some of their delicious gelato.
Another one of the popular Tofino restaurants that I visited was Shelter Restaurant, very popular amongst the locals, loved the vibe while sitting on the patio. The patio has some fire pits with a view of the ocean.
On the last day of the trip before heading home, visited the original location of Tacofino; this is where their chain of food trucks and restaurants all began 10 years ago. Enjoyed some lunch with owners Kaeli Robinsong and Jason Sussman. I loved the Gringa with chicken which I have yet to find outside of Tofino, also loved the refreshing Watermelon Basil Slushy and finished off with their Diablo Cookie.
One of my favourite Honda’s in the fleet is the CR-V car which is roomy in the front area as well as in the cargo area of the back of the car. It has good driveability, a smooth ride, and comfortable seating. A few things that I liked in this top of the line Touring model was the Blind spot detection, fuel economy updates, econo mode, and multiple USB charging outlets.
Stay tuned for my next Field Trip outside of Vancouver.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: the Pacific Sands Resort and the Long Beach Lodge Resort provided me with complimentary accommodation, Tourism Tofino assisted with providing complimentary meals and such. Honda Canada provided me with the 2019 Honda CR-V for a week to test drive, and photograph. BC Ferries provided the ferry transportation. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.