“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 Victoria and Sooke
Leaving Vancouver, we headed South along Highway 99 to Highway 17 West to take BC Ferries over to the island from Tsawwassen, sailing on the Spirit of British Columbia (95 minutes) to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal. There is a lot to do once on board the ferry.
This is a busy route all the time now pretty much since the covid pandemic travel restrictions loosened. It is always best to make an advance reservation for the sailing time you want to avoid a possible lengthy wait. We had a reservation for our morning sailing which allowed for on time arrival in Victoria where we then enjoyed a beautiful couple of days in the provincial capital. While on board the ferry I noticed that they recently added a new service allowing people to pre-order food in advance of the sailing to enable them to pick it up once on the ferry.
After arriving to Swartz Bay, drove South to Victoria which was about a 30 minute drive.
One of the first restaurants that I visited in the area was Part and Parcel (2656 Quadra St) in the Quadra Village neighbourhood, my friend Steve joined Lawrence and I for a delicious lunch. I had the very good Rice and Pickle bowl with grilled lemongrass chicken; Lawrence had the Charred Broccoli Sandwich; and Steve had the Kamut Fried Chicken Sandwich.
After walking around the downtown area, we headed over to Sherwood (710 Pandora Ave) to meet our friend Tristan for coffee and a wonderful coffee industry chat. Here I had a Cortado and Lawrence had an Americano.
For dinner we had it in two parts, the first was to Standard Pizza (1515 Cook St,) where there was nothing standard about it. Here we got their Kale Pizza where we ate it at our nearby hotel, it was a very tasty pie with a great crust. I had heard about this restaurant by my friends over at Working Culture Bread as it was there favourite Victoria pizzeria.
For the second part of our dinner we visited Foo Asian Street Food (769 Yates St,) one of my long time favourite Victoria eateries and picked up an order of the Kung Pao Tofu which we ate at our hotel it was very tasty. For dessert we got a couple of their tasty cookies; my favourite was the one with butterscotch, miso and almond; we also had the one with White chocolate, ginger and sesame.
After a good nights rest we headed over to Saint Cecillia (535 Yates St,) for some Coffee and baked goodies. This is one of my favourite cafes and I was happy that we were able to visit on this trip. They serve delicious coffees from top coffee roasters around the world as well as delicious Scandanavian baking. Lawrence and I shared a Kanelbullar (cinnamon cardamon bun) and a Skolebrod (custard and coconut; I had a Cortado made with the La Cabra Coffee Kenya while Lawrence had a couple of espressos.
Our next stop was to Working Culture Bread (2506 Douglas St,) which is one of my favourite bakeries owned and operated by partners Adam and Jess who relocated over to Victoria from Vancouver opening their bakery in the fall of 2020. Here we picked up their Olive and lemon zest sourdough along with a Cinnamon bun, Smoked Cheese Pretzel and a Nanaimo Bar.
After this visit it was on to another bakery, to The Bikery Bakery (1701 Douglas St,) located in the Victoria Public Market. It’s Victoria’s only Kosher bakery and here I visited to pick up one of their Sesame Challah’s as well as some Everything bagels that my friend Steve told us to try and glad he did.
Afterwards we headed over to Maiiz (540 Fisgard Street) which was located in Chinatown. Here at this wonderful Mexican shop and eatery they feature a small menu of Mexican street food that is served Friday – Sunday. Chef Israel and his team makes Tortillas and Tamales in house as well as several other items.
Lawrence and I sat down to enjoy a wonderful lunch starting off with their house-made Hot Chocolate, we then enjoyed their delicious Beef Barbacoa tacos, along with the BC Corn/ Mexican corn tortilla topped with mole and cheese, we then tried their delicious Chicken tinga tamale, had some Iced hibiscus tea and an Ice cream bar which was made for them by Kid Sister.
In the afternoon we went for a 10 minute drive to Esquimalt Roasting Company (501 Park Pl #102, Esquimalt) for a visit to this very nice neighbourhood café that features their own in-house roasted coffee beverages as well as some baking. We both had Iced Americano’s.
After our coffee, we headed over to Sooke which is located about a 45 minute drive NW on the Western side of Vancouver Island. It had been over 30 years since my last visit,and I knew that things would have changed. I had heard about Wild Mountain restaurant (1831 Maple Avenue South, Sooke) that was located in that area well over a year ago and this was our opportunity to make a visit and go for dinner.
The restaurant features a beautiful wood fired oven housed outside in front of the restaurant which is situated in a house. Had we been able to time in a summer visit we would have been able to eat on their outside patio, however that didn’t materialize, and we ended up visiting on a very wet day. We were seated in the inside dining room (I made reservations a few weeks in advance) and started off with their delicious Fire roasted beets – apple, sugarloaf chicory, haltwhistle feta cheese, quince dressing & pumpkin seeds. We also had their Homemade Cavatelli pasta with prosciutto ragu, meatballs, turnip tops & grana padano cheese; and the delicious Meatballs Pizza made with a special organic flour blend by @nootkarosemilling that is wild fermented, their house-made meatballs, tomato sauce and cheese.
Stay tuned for my next Field Trip outside of Vancouver.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: BC Ferries provided the ferry transportation. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.