Saturday, September 1, 2012

ode to victoria

Heidi's lemon poundcake

This is it.

Tomorrow, we cross the border from British Columbia to Alberta and start a new life.

We've been in a kind of summer vacation/limbo land for the past week and half, with visits to family outside of Vancouver and in Kelowna. We've made it half-way across the province, and now – and only now – it's sinking in that we're leaving so much behind in Victoria.

Last lunch at home in Victoria. Note the deluxe packing paper placemat.

I will miss Saturday mornings in Victoria. Going to ballet class* and then walking half a block to Habit, where I would look through the big glass windows and spot Scott reading the Saturday Globe. I would stare at him intently and wave madly and he wouldn't notice me at all. (This might be best, as I intend to stare and wave for the rest of our lives and this is probably a good coping mechanism. I have no shame.)

Then I would walk a couple of blocks in the other direction to Italian Food Imports to pick up tallegio and olives and rosemary ham for lunch. Oh, and one slice of provolone to snack on. (Scott says my favourite saying is: "Mmm. That was a good snack.")

Or, if we were feeling adventurous, I would pick up my husband and a chai tea to go at Habit, hop in the car (hopefully before we got a parking ticket), and drive out to Sooke to eat lunch at the Edge. Scott always got a deconstructed hamburger and I cycled through the other hot sandwiches: smoked tuna melt, housemade salami, you get the idea.

In a typical Victoria forest: Garry oaks, arbutus, big leaf maples

Then, we'd go for a walk on the boardwalk over Sooke Harbour and watch the crabbers. Sometimes, we'd drive a bit further to scramble along the rocky shores at East Sooke Park.

Some Saturday afternoons, I would meet my friends Heidi and Margot for afternoon tea – at the White Heather or, if we were very lucky, in Heidi's backyard.

And I will miss Sunday afternoons in Victoria. Packing a water bottle and snacks and driving 20 minutes in any direction to get completely out of the city and up a mountain or down to the water.

We'd often pick a hike near Smyth's farm, so we could pick up loganberries and leeks and corn and apple-pears and catch up with farmer Brett.

Shiro plums from Brett's farm

During the week, I will miss the rare morning when I could make my way to Fol Epi and Caffé Fantastico in Dockside Green. Sitting out on the patio and sipping Option B tea while I watched giant excavators move gravel from pile to pile along the inner harbour. Trying to slowly eat the very best pain au chocolat in the world. (I have not been to France and eaten pain au chocolat there. But I am confident Fol Epi would still have the best pain au chocolat. With fair-trade chocolate, no less.)

And lunch: I will miss going to Pure Vanilla with friends from work and trying to read the chalkboard menu while keeping an eagle eye for a table to open up.

Swartz Bay

Or going downtown for lunch at Relish. My friend Jenn introduced me to the crispy chicken bowl at Relish on the Thursday before we moved . . . But I still managed to get back there on our very last day in Victoria. I had the crispy chicken again because once you've tried it, it's hard to try anything else – even though the other parts of the menu did look intriguing.

And finally, I will miss the sweet, tucked-away Parsonage where it smells like fresh coffee and bacon frying, and the orange-date muffins are always warm out of the oven.

Victoria, I will miss you.

A ferry ride away

*Lest you think I'm a prima ballerina . . . I am very comfortable in the beginner ballet class. So much so that I've taken it more times than I would like to number on a public blog.

one year ago: pan-fried salmon with sugar and salt rub
two years ago: black & blue scotch berries and plant yourself some garlic (Edmontonians – how do you grow garlic?)


  1. Without a doubt, Victoria will miss you and Scott as well, Stephanie! Enjoy the Edmonton adventure; then get back to the Island one day. Eat well, be well. xxo

  2. We're really going to miss you Stephanie. We'll connect in Alberta or Kelowna I'm sure. xo

  3. Sounds good, Jenn! I'm scoping out the good lunch places here -- so far, I've found an excellent Swiss sandwich shop . . .

  4. I absolutely loved this post. Victoria and the LCO already miss you!! PS. Nathalia took me to Pure Vanilla the other day and it was definately a "Stephanie place to go" = amazing. The fruit tart I got was delicious and now I cannot wait to take Corey there!!

    1. Anna, I'm so glad you liked Pure Vanilla. It is a true gem of a place to eat near the university. I am in love with their paninis and their Belgian chocolate chip cookies . . .(:

  5. Stephanie, I love your Victoria post. It made me so happy. Right now I'm eating my first piece of German cheesecake, mmm... I looked up your old post about German groceries and smiled, as I already recognize a few... Can I try your Mom's chocolate cheesecake recipe with quark? Happy settling-in.

    1. So glad you liked it -- all the way in Germany!

      About the cheesecake . . . good question. Most German quark tends to be low-fat and I think you need high-fat to make it work in this particular recipe. You might try it with the highest-fat quark you can find.

      That said, most cheesecakes in Germany are baked and use quark already, instead of cream cheese. I have an excellent German cheesecake recipe from my Oma's best friend. I'd be happy to send it to you in October, once I get all my recipe binders unpacked . . . Happy cheesecake eating!

  6. Welcome to this fair city. I googled "rainbow gumdrop" and found your February cake recipe. and then clicked your HOME button and saw you've just moved here.
    GARLIC - plant it in the fall, after the first frost.
    FOOD - MANY great places to eat. A fav is Al Salam on 34 Avenue & 101 Street. Breakfast or brunch, Mill Creek Cafe 9562-82 Avenue.
    101 Street & 107 A Avenue is Afghan Kabab House YUM
    And for Jamaican food you must venture east in the city to A Yah Mi Deh 118 Avenue and 45 Street.


    1. Mary, thank you so much! I am very happy to be in Edmonton, and so far everyone is really friendly here. (:

      Now, I can't wait to try those restaurants. I'm also looking forward to planting the garlic -- but hoping the first frost is still a long way off!

  7. You're welcome :)

    First frost may be a ways off, but not too far I suspect. Geese have been honking and on the move for about 10 days - a bit earlier than "normal".
    Do check out the downtown farmers market someone mentioned on another of your posts - it moves indoors to City Hall Oct. 13th...
    There's a vendor with organically raised chicken and eggs. And GREAT vendors with olives, pitas, etc.