J: I’ve heard of the Dutch Bakery. And on the days I’ve strolled down Antiques Row, I would often see the delicious pastries tempting me from the display window.
But never have I stepped into the establishment. Me, a man born and raised in this fine city was completely unfamiliar with this place. I learned that in 1955, Cornelis J. Schadelee bought a failing coffee shop and turned it into one of the most successful independent businesses in the city. As I entered this bit of Victoria’s heritage, it was bustling.
People were queued-up to buy pastries for Christmas. Others sat in the diner that has changed little in appearance.
The diner was decorated in Dutch-themed wall hangings. Large black and white photos depicting the business history adorned one wall.
One would think Dutch Bakery takes great pride in their past.
E: I can only imagine what being here must be like when those meat pies are fresh out of the oven. Most of the time, when I want to treat myself, I pop in to grab one and delight in the buttery tenderness of the pastry they use to make these heavenly pies.
At $2.30 each, I can easily stop in anytime. Today, after bumping into my ol’ schoolmate, Shane Priestly, while heading there, all three of us sat down for a spell and enjoyed some good times reminiscing amidst the holiday rush. Both Priestly and I are recent graduates from Camosun College’s Applied Communication Program.
J: When I took my seat, I quickly relaxed. I felt little need to dash off or worry myself about the time of day. The noise of the patrons was at an acceptable level and very different to what I would find at the Cactus Club on a weekend.
What I wouldn’t give to have the use of a TARDIS for some real old fashioned foodie reviews. The thought of stepping back to Dutch Bakery’s early days to compare from one age to another, would be a treat. We could even take trips to the Poodle Dog Restaurant for a burger or the 1930’s to Terry’s Drugstore for the best ice cream.
E: If we’re going to need a time machine, I’d hop all around the world than going back in time. I’d visit all the various corners of the earth to sample the varieties of croquettes that’s available. I have a new fast food product to enjoy.
What Dutch serves here is delicious. It’s not as greasy as one would think. I’d describe it as a moist soft creamy center (made with veal) with a nicely crisped coating of breadcrumbs. I had the one on its own and in a burger ($3.70). With just a bit of lettuce and a light spread of mayo, I was chowing down on the airy bread like it was a taste of heaven.
J: I had the half-order of croquette with a side of potato salad (on a lettuce leaf) with 2 slices of multi-grain toast.
The croquette was creamy as Ed said. The potato salad was a beautiful yellow with just the right amount of vinegar. It was a memory of how my mom used to make it. And who doesn’t love their mother’s potato salad?
I sat there, spreading my toast with Kraft creamy peanut butter and blackberry jam. It’s been ages since I’ve had any toast this good.
E: With grandma’s home lovin’ here along with bottomless coffee, I’ll certainly be back. Mind you, given our girths, I think I need a minnimum of four croquettes to fill either of us up.
At least I had a cup of vegetable soup to go along with my meal. It had the smell of good old fashioned home cooking. And I was too quick to take a spoonful to taste. After letting it cool, I savoured the broth and the meatballs just melted in my mouth.
But our afternoon couldn’t be complete without James screaming in my ear.
J: Pie! Dutch’s Lemon Cream pie had a great sweet filling that worked nicely with its a strong lemony taste. It was like sucking down a cream horn.
Perfection would’ve occurred if I ordered a glass of milk to wash it down. Thoughts of the old Bay’s diner came flooding back as I remembered their lemon meringue pie. One slice and a glass of chocolate milk was my dessert norm. I heard from across the table, noises of approval coming from Ed.
It was a nice sweet mocha buttercream sandwiched between two shortbread cookies. I could taste the walnuts and the spot of red and green put me in the Christmas spirit. If this double dip into coffee flavour isn’t enough, the endless coffee certainly helped wake me up from a long hours of video editing the night before. I contributed three pieces to Absolute Underground TV’s New Year’s episode so I was busy straight through the holidays, with a few days of relaxation.
And maybe I shouldn’t blame a certain alarm clock who went by the name of James. He almost met Mr. Mallet by high noon.
J: A mallet was not my fate but did you have to give me a wedgie in the Absolute Underground’s studio?
E: Well, it was only deserving since and in the end it made me feel better. It’s better than having you hang by your y-fronts up a christmas tree for waking me up too early.
J: I was very happy with the service and I will definitely return. Even with the amount of customers our waitress visited us multiple times. She asked if we needed refills and the always polite, “How’s your meal?”
I wish I knew her name because she deserves a gold star. But being without one I can only offer this advice. If your server is gold, tip accordingly.
4 Blokes out of 5