Harbour House Restaurant
607 Oswego St.
E: I could get used to dining at the swanky Harbour House. One benefit for tourists is that it’s barely a hop, skip and a jump away from The Clipper and the nearby hotels in the bustling Inner Harbour of Victoria, BC. If I’m sounding like an ad, then yeah, that’s the purpose. Forget the Old Spaghetti Factory. Come here instead!
J: Harbour House has been providing fine dining in Victoria for 37 years. Their motto at the door is “We dress up so you don’t have to” and it couldn’t be closer to the truth. Our server was dressed in a tuxedo with bow tie for the finishing touch. If he had said “walk this way” and then waddled like an adelie penguin I might’ve walked the same manner due to the posh interior of the restaurant. But don’t worry, the prices aren’t as posh as one would expect.
Cowichan Bay Seafood
#12 – 1701 Douglas St.
Victoria Public Market
E: Yes, I know where I want to retire should I ever strike it rich. Cowichan Bay is the home to beautiful scenic views and scrumptious foods. I’ve been up there a few times to enjoy the former, but for the latter, the trips were not long enough to find where the good eateries are. To see Cowichan Bay Seafood in full operation at the Victoria Public Market, selling products from this region, has me salivating in delight. Oh, all those spot prawns … or should I say Dungeness?
J: I was fortunate enough to visit Cowichan Bay, it’s a sleepy little town that I bet gets sleepier during the winter. It has a great close-knit community that I can’t ignore. I could see this community being a possibility for retirement. I could learn to love the peace and quiet and the great shops along the waterline. But for now I’ll get acquainted with the local food by eating Dungeness crab in a sub with chipotle aioli. This research is very hard work.
Naughty Nellie’s Not Just Fish & Chips
4081 Shelbourne Street
Phone: (250) 721-5555
Not to be confused with the downtown operation, Nautical Nellies, Naughty Nellie’s in Gordon Head is certainly a delight for high school students and retirees alike. Depending on the time of day, I often see the latter type of clientele coming in. Also, certain species of fish goes faster into the frying pan or should I say fryer?
Lingcod was not available on the last two visits I made. It’s a touch frustrating since I like the flavour. Regular cod was ordered so I would not make a bad pun since I wasn’t in the mood for the halibut. The batter was nice and crunchy. It’s a familiar taste, without any amped up mix of extra spices to really kick the dish up a notch. The fish was cooked fast and fresh, for a moist center, though sometimes what I get hardly tastes exceptional. Fish n’ chips is comfort food and not many places really do anything special when crisping this dish up.
The fries were quite good, and they’re done right. If given a chance to bash McDonald’s fries, I will because properly home cut and freshly prepared fries tastes infinitely better than anything processed at a plant and shipped cross-country to all the outlets. Even the coleslaw was nice. Some days they make it right and other days it’s just too mushy.
Overall, for the volume offered, the dish is very good. When I’m in a mood for fish and chips and I don’t want to travel far, the walk will do me good. I can do take-out, which is what this operation specializes in, but it won’t necessarily benefit burning off the meal. With a hill separating me from home to this diner and back again, I have a means to work off the calories!
3½ Blokes out of 5
805 Fort Street
I’m definitely hooked on a feeling that I’m really high in believing that there’s a lot of great fish to taste at an eatery aptly named Fishhook. They have been in operation since August, but I haven’t had the opportunity to visit until now — when I firmly decided I needed more fish in my diet.
Mind you, with such a delectable range of proteins to be found here (from black cod to salmon) I figured I might as well start from the top of the menu and work my way down. What I enjoyed with The Tuna Melt ($7 for 1 or $12 for 2) was first and foremost the wonderfully toasted bread.
This diner gets their supply from Irene’s Bakery and their commitment to high quality ingredients is to be commended. Even the fish are harvested with love. They are brought in from sustainable sources and are Oceanwise. The lusciousness of the raw albacore tuna was more than simply divine; the soft and light buttery texture melted in my mouth. It was served at the right temperature to make this meal very enjoyable!
614 Humboldt St.
No Victoria Film Festival party can be complete without a trip to the Oyster Bar or Spinnakers. Both have been long time supporters of this show, and sometimes they are the venues for one of the many parties going on, past and present. The brew pub even caters and the hors d’oeuvres I get to try out are always exceptional, but sometimes it’s just the deserts, namely their ice cream in the springtime, that I’m really after. No matter what the treat, these little bites always knock it right out of the park.
And that should be the size raw oysters should be sampled in. The Victoria Film Festival’s Gala Event often serves these tasty treats, but I had to wonder where they came from. I’m assuming the Oyster Bar, and a visit here was definitely on the must hit list.
601 Queen Anne Ave N
Seattle, WA 98109
I could easily use a ton of musical and pop culture euphemisms to describe everything I ate and drank at the Toulouse Petit Kitchen & Lounge, a lounge that takes its inspirations from deep down south. By cutting across the square where the Space Needle is located, the short hop from one side to the other was easy. My friend Jon Valentine and I walked through Queen Anne Avenue’s Diner’s Row to get here.
The building is located on the corner, Queen Anne and Mercer, and it only beckoned me to explore its dark history. The rustic atmosphere and black awning by the front door creates a mysterious ambience of what can get discovered within.