For Easter weekend we traveled to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia in Canada. The city is located on Vancouver Island, and you can travel to and from there via ferry or seaplane. We took the ferry, which was a novel and fun experience, akin to being on a cruise ship. Not that I’ve ever been on a cruise, but I imagine that’s what it’s like–room to roam with great views of the coast.
Victoria’s downtown hosts a lot of tourist traffic, especially true this past weekend when the weather was gorgeous and the scenery was popping. The legislative building (pictured above) is a beautiful, stately work of architecture facing the Inner Harbour. It’s impressive at night as well, outlined with lights that make it stand out in the cityscape.
Highlights of the trip include winery hopping at Muse, De Vine and Sea Cider, a hipster hangout that’s technically a ciderhouse, and a visit to Butchart Gardens, just a short drive from Victoria, toward the ferry terminal. It was raining when we started our tour of the gardens, partly built on a former quarry, but the sun came out eventually, giving the blooming flowers a chance to show the fullness of their colors.
For restaurants, North 48 and OLO were memorable. At North 48, a new high-end modern diner, the “Big Mac” beef tartare and chicken and waffles stood out, the former for its take on tartare evoking the flavors of a Mickey D’s classic, and the latter for its tasty waffle batter made with corn, green onion, and what tasted like flecks of stewed apple. Kudos to the chef for creativity and our waitress that evening for her enthusiasm and knowledge of the menu.
At OLO, a farm-to-table restaurant, the homey, sophisticated decor made for a cozy, living room-type experience. While the dishes didn’t all wow, they were presented with balance and artful plating. I recommend the smoked salmon if it’s on the menu, perfectly delicate with subtle flavor, instead of the typical smoked salmon saturated with salt–the best I’ve ever tasted.