I recently spent a couple of days test driving the Honda Insight 2021 hybrid car on a road trip to Vancouver Island to visit both Victoria and Sooke. The views were spectacular as always and I had a chance to explore the food and coffee scene a little further since my last visit.
After leaving Vancouver, we headed out to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal to take BC Ferries over to the island , sailing on the Spirit of British Columbia (95 minutes) to the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal.
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.
This car has excellent fuel economy and that is one thing that I love especially now when gas prices are so high; the Honda Insight Hybrid car battery charges itself while you are driving (more-so with city driving and pressing the brake) which truly economizes on the gas consumption. This hybrid sedan falls between their civic and accord models, but it takes full advantage of the battery pack to increase its fuel mileage.
Later that night we discovered that there was a Francophone festival as well as an adjoining comedy festival taking place in Bastion Square and both were held outdoors and free to attend. We headed over there and enjoyed some of the live music as well as the comedians.
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.
Another great feature is the three selectable drive modes, and the driver can choose with a push of a button located on the centre console. The Normal, Econ and Sport settings allow for varying customization between efficiency and performance, these are the three drivetrain operations. I used the Sport mode when driving on the highways and then switched to Econ when in the city. In EV Drive, power comes solely by its electric drive motor, drawing power from the battery. In Hybrid Drive the gasoline engine drives a generator motor to supply electrical power to the drive motor. Engine Drive operation connects the gasoline engine directly to the drive wheels.
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.
I really enjoyed the Honda Insight it was a great car to drive to Victoria and Sooke to try some great eateries.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: Honda Canada provided me with the 2021 Honda Insight for a week to test drive, and photograph.