Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Victoria Highlights

My month in Victoria has drawn to a close and I am home again in Vanny!  Although Victoria is a very nice place to visit, it is great to be home:)

Here are some of my faves from Victoria:


Cafe Bliss:  This small cafe caters to every level of vegetarian, from the more "mainstream" vegetarian, to the strict vegan and even to those who consume only raw foods.  They have a very original lineup of smoothies which include some very unique ingredients.  I was recommended the "Creamy Green" which, among other healthy ingredients, included LOCAL pollen grown on Vancouver Island, and Vitamineral Green, a supplement made of herbs, chia and flax.  Its flavour was suprosingly very pleasant, with just the perfect amount of natural sweetness from the fruit. I also tried a couple of their cooked menu items, the Black Bean Soup (spicy and filling) and the Autumn Macro Bowl (squash, kale and beet served on a bed of quinoa in a curry sauce), both of which I enjoyed very much.


Sitka Specialty Shop: I stumbled across this neat little shop on Yates St. by chance one evening when I was on the way to my car from the gym.  The name sounded familiar to me but I could not place it.  Inside, not only did I find some amazing locally made and environmentally-concious clothes but, at the front of the store, I also found a lovely little cafe offering light meals (Quinoa and Pear Salad, Breakfast Quesadilla, etc.) and treats, many of which are made at other local bakeries such as Devour (see my previous review).  The menu changes up frequently based on seasonality of ingredients.  In addition, they offer a lively quiet space to chill out while you enjoy your food (they have wireless internet too), made even better by the complimentary water infused with lemon and cucumber.  


When I looked it up after the fact to figure out why the name sounded so familiar, I realized that there is actually a Sitka here in Vancouver on West 4th that I have been in several times. Unfortunately, no little cafe in the Vanny store:(  Why not?  Just replicate exactly what Victoria has going on- it is awesome and would totally fly at the Kits!

Wildfire Bakery:  I LOVE this place and, after going once, I could not stop going back.  You will find quite a line outside of Wildfire when it opens on weedays at 7:30, with customers just hankering for one of their deliciously healthy muffins (Carrot Millet was my favorite!) or a small loaf of their bread.  They offer something for every taste and diet, including whites, ryes, whole grains (including sprouted varieties) and multiple types of wheat-free loaves. I was also fortunate enough one day to get the very last Vegan Pizza in the store, made of spelt crust and topped with seasonal veggies (squash, brocolli, greens) and their houseade Vegan Pate.  Not suprisingly, these heavenly pies are in hot commodity and usually sell out by 1:00pm.  Their soup is also well worth a try- the mushroom parley with kale and tomato quinoa were delicious!  


Pure Vanilla Bakery:  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately as far as my wallet is concerned!), I only discovered this great little bakery on my last day in Victoria.  It is away from downtown, in the Oak Bay area, and tucked away in a little neighbourhood, so it is not a place you are likely to stumble across.  They offer a vast selection of baked goods (there is a whole wall of cookies to choose from!) as well a nice lunch menu.  There is a good amount of seating here which was pretty much full around early afternoon as people sat eating their lunch.  I tried their Morning Glory Muffin which was superb- moist, packed with dried fruit and flax seed such that you did not have to feel guilty about eating it first thing in the morning.  I also purchased Chocolcate Chunk Cookies for my husband, which he very much enjoyed.  



Coffee shops:

Habit (see previous post)

Discovery coffee- Discovery Coffee has 3 locations in Victoria- 2 near downtown and one on Oak Bay.  I visited the Oak Bay location a couple of times and absolutely loved it.  The atmosphere is super chill ad relaxed,  and they play music from old vinyl records.  They make amazing coffee, americanos and lattes (I have tried them all!).  The baristas know their stuff.  What a great place to spend a rainy afternoon cozied up with a book.

Ferwood Coffee (Personage Coffee)- This coffee joint, located away from downtown, tucked away on a little lane just near Cook St, has quite a loyal following.  Even in mid-afternoon on a weekday the place was packed.  One of the customers, hearing me tell the barista I was from Vancouver, eagerly told me that I had come to the very best coffee house in Victoria, and even i the country in his opinion. Those are heavy praise!  The service is very friendly.  My latte was very good, although not quite as good in my mind as those at Habit or Discovery  They also have a more extended menu, including sandwiches, yummy salads and nice baked good (the oatmeal chocolate chip cookie I had was yummy!).




Yates Market: This was my Whole Foods stand-in while in Victoria.  Lots of local produce, with a big focus on organic items.  They also have a great bakery section- their homeade Flax Bars are a very yummy and filling treat!


Not Just Pretty:  This is honestly one of my favorite places to shop for clothes.  After discovering it last year, I couldn't wait to go back on this visit.  They specialize in clthing made by local designers.  The prices are a bit on the steeper side but in my mind it is well worth it for their original and well-made garments.



Hope you get the chance to visit Victoria for yourself and check out some of my faves, and discover some of your own:)


Cafe Bliss on Urbanspoon


SItka Cafe on Urbanspoon


Wildfire Bakery on Urbanspoon


Pure Vanilla on Urbanspoon


Discovery Coffee (Oak Bay) on Urbanspoon


Parsonage Cafe on Urbanspoon


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