Spent the Easter long weekend in beautiful Victoria, BC. We stayed at the Fairmont Empress, which has always been a little dream of mine, almost nothing else I love more than really expensive hotels. We booked through BC Ferries Holidays, and all in all it was a pretty good deal with no booking problems. Recommend.
The first thing we did upon getting to Vancouver Island was the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sidney. Very cool Jules Verne type doorway that does this sort of fake airlock thingy, but all in all not that many fish or displays. Maybe better for kids? But unfortunately, not really very much to it at all. Do not recommend.
After checking into the hotel we immediately found the Wannawafle cart located directly by the waterfront in front of the Empress. These things are amazing. It’s a totally different things than what you are expecting a waffle to taste like. More like a super fragrant, caramel crunchy baked good. Amazing. stopped and had a chat with a nice gent on a bike hanging out by the cart who turned out to be Renaat Marchand; founder, Dragons Den celebrity, and passionate advocate of all things waffle. What an awesome guy! ran into him the next day at his other location at Market square on Johnson St. the next day too and had a nice long chat with him, his business partner and I think their marketing director. I could seriously eat one of these waffles daily folks. Lets hope they open up a cart on the Yaletown Waterfront ASAP. Facebook them here and sign up to their twitter here to keep on top of when and where you can get you hands on one of these babies. Could not recommend any higher.
After taking in the Royal BC Museum (good!) and the attached IMAX (an IMAX!) we headed out for some super bar food at The Bard and Banker. The waitress was even so kind as to substitute one of their pulled pork sliders in my sea sliders along with the fresh grilled fish and fried oyster slider. My word. Dylans lamb burger was phenomenal as well. The band was just warming up while we were there, but they seemed like they would have been pretty good. Just for TMI, now the boyfriend wants me to get a kilt. Damn you hot pub waitresses giving my boyfriend ideas! Recommend.
The next day was all about poking around the bizarre little nooks and crannies of Fan Tan Alley, shopping, and picking up some really interesting illegal cola flavored silver balls from The English Sweet Shop. The punk-rock counter attendant was ever so helpful and shared my sentiments on PG Tips (best British tea) and the impending royal wedding (complete bollocks). Recommended only if you, like me, feel the need to spend $9.45 on Schweppes Bitter Lemon.
Getting my Fish and Chip on while in Victoria was a big priority, and they had to come from Red Fish Blue Fish on Wharf St. The line-up at this place is almost as legendary as the fish; when we got there at 1pm it was as long as the pier itself. I’m not sure exactly how long we waited but during the wait I was able to:
- Go to starbucks, get two drinks, and walk back
- Read Bigfoot: I Not Dead
- Smoke cigarette
- Meet many dogs
- Change mind on order 4 times
- Get despondent
It’s an impressive line-up. However the Haddock and Chips is some epic greasy goodness. My boyfriends first time having fish and chips and now at least he’s starting to understand why anyone would eat fish in the first place. The Tempura Pickles are either the creation on a pregnant woman or a genius. Or a pregnant genius. It’s the kind of thing that Cookie Monster would now be forced to call a “sometimes food”. Worth the wait, I just hope next time Flying Pig shows up. Recommend.
Dinner was not as pleasant. We went to Prime Steakhouse. Here’s the funny thing about steakhouses; they think they have inherited some sort of class factor simply because they serve steak. We turned up to a nearly empty restaurant without a reservation and were told “oh, we probably can’t get you a table until 8:15-8:30.”. I thought, “really? ok. Hey, what time is it anyways? should we go then? stay?”. It was awkward to say the least. The hostess put us in the lounge, we ordered a drink and then a waitress immediately sat us at a table maybe 2 minutes later. Of course, because the place was not in any way lacking in tables.
Our first waitress was dressed like a bohemian (in a steakhouse?) and listed off a list of specials no person could ever remember. I hate long lists of specials. I get distracted and start feeling awkward about blankly smiling at foodie buzz words.
We were put in the restaurant section equivalent of purgatory. Right by the front door at a 6-top, sitting side by side, facing the door. I think eating in this formation alone could ruin a first date. I think also this section didn’t actually belong to any server as we were passed between the English-accented bartender and boho-girl. No one seemed to know who was taking care of us, and at the end of the day, they didn’t communicate it between themselves to find out. Ordering took ages. The food was fine, really good actually. It had just obviously been ready and ignored under heat lamps for ages before it got to out table. Uhg, and they do that really pretentious thing with the bread too, where they bring a basket but just give you one tiny little roll. Leave the basket, if your going to forget about our table anyway. Our soups had really nice flavor, but had skins from sitting. Our mains were fine. A dessert menu was brought eventually but then left for, oh, maybe 20 minutes. At that point we could either give up any chance at the rest of the evening in the hopes of ever seeing a dessert, or go. I always get the giggles when things go this bad in restaurants. I feel like I’m being stitched up, or doing an roll play in “how no to impress you guests and guarantee a shit tip” The British waitress finally noticed, came over, visibly realized she fucked up. “Sorry I took so long! So do you still…” “Just the bill please”.
Oh, and looming over my boyfriend while he used to pin pad to pay, to watch how little tip you were getting? Klassy. Our most expensive meal of the trip and the most disappointing. This is why people don’t care about steakhouses anymore. Do I have to mention that I do not recommend?
Sunday Brunch was spent happily at Floyd’s Diner on Yates St. My Eggs Bennie was really good, not at all heavy or greasy, with really nice ham. The hash browns they do are really nice too, somewhere between a home-fry and a potato chip. Comfy, good value, really tasty, and not at all the wait that we had been warned about on Yelp, even on Easter Sunday. I particularly liked the baby pictures of the staff blown up and displayed on the wall. Makes you feel like the staff are really proud to work there and think of it as a second home. Recommend.
After all this gluttony we visited The Willow Stream Spa at The Empress. To have any last traces of stress soaked and massaged out of our overfed little bodies. Really liked all the nice little touches, like having your own scrubby sponge and razor available in all the showers, lots of tea and water available everywhere to stay hydrated, and lots of encouragement to stay and relax and use the pools and saunas. Our massages were excellent and they made my massage-virgin boyfriend feel at ease. They almost messed up our bill, but oh well. at that point it was hard to care.
The ferry ride home was smooth sailing, and I was glad to get home to my pug, who our friends had been watching, and apparently had been farting non-stop for 3 days. That’s my boy.
Well, peace out and word to your moms! Hope you all had a great Easter!