The Shotgun Blog
Friday, September 25, 2009
Great Dining On The West Coast - The Farthest West Coast That Is
Having been to Vancouver Island a number of times and never being terribly thrilled with what it had to offer, I was less than enthusiastic when a trip to Tofino, B.C. was put before me. I pictured laid-back West Coast lefties, a disdain for capitalism and vegan dishes abounding. I couldn't have been more wrong. Well, about the food at least. The hippies were there - soaked in patuli oil, playing with devil sticks and the filthy kind of dreadlocks that only true neglect can bring.
Back to the food. While as I will outline there are a surprising number of great restaurants in this remote and beautiful wonderland, the first place we tried wound up being our favorite. The place was called Shelter, with its inviting contemporary wooden structure and warm vibe. We sat on the outdoor patio, just off the ocean and the main drag in Tofino. Transcendant indeed. Great service, a great menu and a great time. I had the yellow thai curry, which was chalk-full of fresh seafood and was subtly, yet perfectly spiced. My companion had the roasted free-run chicken breast, which she said was sublime. I had a bite to make sure and it was as advertised.
Then there was Sobo. A hip little joint in town whose "entirely windowed wall" made dining a real treat. We had dinner and lunch here and enjoyed everything from pizzas to halibut to pasta and it was all first rate. Fresh food, prepared by people with deft hands, able to spin together simple, yet delicious fare. If I were to have a gripe it would be that the service was a tad slow, but maybe that was just the Tofino pace that I had a tough time adjusting to, but ultimately realized was useless to fret about.
The best meal we had was at the restaurant in the Long Beach Lodge, where we stayed during our trip. The food at this joint is simply unreal, or as Lionel Ritchie would say "OUTRAGEOUS". The halibut, prepared in an apple-fennel froth with pea puree and pine nut israeli couscous was one of the best meals I've had on the planet. So much so that I had it on two consecutive nights. Again, the service is a bit slow and inexperienced, but they were extra friendly, which made up for any pace issues.
The worst meal we had was at the Schooner Restauarant downtown. Bad food, bad service, all in the "old school fancy" tradition that Knox just hates, hates, hates. They boast that they have been open for years, but have obviously failed miserably in keeping up with today's restaurants that feature well-prepared fresh food without overkill sauces, over-cooking and old school favorites like shrimp cocktail.
The worst service I had was at a coffee house near Sobo and the post office the name of which, luckily for them, I cannot remember. We were served by a young woman who appeared to have ceased an all hours drug-fueled marathon of debauchery just moments before her shift started. She could barely bring herself to make eye contact, or to lower herself to assist customers. A pox on her I say.
Anyhow, Tofino was a beautiful, inspiring place overall with beautiful beaches, surfing and a great local dining scene. Here's a tip though - maybe refrain from driving out there from Alberta if you can.
Posted by Knox Harrington on September 25, 2009 | Permalink
Just...awful. That first paragraph revealed the writer to be an absolute wanker of the first order. Enough juvenalia already. WS needs a swift editorial kick in the arse.
Posted by: Andrew | 2009-09-26 12:51:54 AM
What exactly was wrong with that first paragraph, Andrew? I grew up on Vancouver island and that depiction of west coast Vancouver Islanders, while over-simplified, is not inaccurate enough to raise a fuss over, certainly not enough to cast such nasty aspersions as you have done.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-09-26 10:16:22 AM
I should have been more specific.
"Having been to Vancouver Island a number of times and never being terribly thrilled with what it had to offer..." the writer just revealed himself to be a moron, at the very top, by volunteering a declarative, negative opinion on a very large island home to hundreds of thousands of Canadians by virtue of a "number" of visits.
"I was less than enthusiastic when a trip to Tofino, B.C. was put before me..." You poor, poor thing.
"I pictured laid-back West Coast lefties, a disdain for capitalism and vegan dishes abounding. I couldn't have been more wrong..." No, you couldn't have been more borderline retarded.
"The hippies were there - soaked in patuli oil, playing with devil sticks and the filthy kind of dreadlocks that only true neglect can bring..." Aside from misspelling patchouli, the para's closer punctuates my point: the person who wrote this piece is a juvenile wanker of the first order.
Posted by: Andrew | 2009-09-26 1:03:17 PM
Here's a tip though - maybe refrain from driving out there from Alberta if you can.
Posted by Knox Harrington on September 25, 2009
Here's another tip. If a restaurant has a sign saying "Albertans Welcome", don't walk, run away from it. Another tip is to check out the license plates on cars in the parking lot. If a lot are from Alberta avoid that restaurant.
Posted by: The Stig | 2009-09-26 1:41:19 PM
Agreed. Ezra, if you're reading this, this long time subscriber is hoping you put your house in order.
Posted by: Dana | 2009-09-26 3:31:23 PM
Posted by: Knox Harrington | 2009-09-26 4:45:00 PM
Dana- I believe Ezra has moved on.
The drive from Alberta can be enjoyable, once. At the right time of year, you might see any number of interesting sights.
I've never been on the Island, but I enjoy Vancouver restaurants. I'm just not sure the food makes up for the menagerie.
Posted by: dp | 2009-09-26 5:29:56 PM
You should try O'Doul's on Robson and Jervis, dp, especially if you're into jazz.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-09-26 5:37:32 PM
...the writer just revealed himself to be a moron, at the very top, by volunteering a declarative, negative opinion on a very large island home to hundreds of thousands of Canadians by virtue of a "number" of visits.
Actually, the man who stands revealed as the moron is you, Andrew. He did not say there was no good food to be had on the Island; only that this had not been his personal experience. In fact, he took the trouble to write a blog-post admitting he had been wrong and sharing his revelations. Wow, what a scumbag.
You poor, poor thing.
Who's the poorer—the unenthusiastic, or the one who slaps him upside the head and tells him he's a moron without even saying why?
No, you couldn't have been more borderline retarded.
Excuse me, they don't call it the "Left Coast" for nothing. Beach towns and even Greater Vancouver itself are noted for leftish nature boys and girls. Your need to raise a stink about nothing and slap someone with over-the-top insults says more about you than it does about him.
Aside from misspelling patchouli, the para's closer punctuates my point: the person who wrote this piece is a juvenile wanker of the first order.
That's better than being a troll, Andrew. Let me explain the order of things for you. There's God, Jesus, the Virgin Mary; all the angels and saints; then comes the Queen, the aristocracy, upper class, middle class, working class, and children; then pets, livestock, wild creatures, creeping things, head lice, mud-dwelling unicellular specks of jelly, and bacteria; then locker-room bullies, street protesters, and people who vote for the Marijuana Party, the Greens, or the NDP; and then trolls.
Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-09-26 5:58:40 PM
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