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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Capital Eats

I'm really surprised I've never written about the food in Victoria. My wife's family lives there and we've got friends there, so it's not like I never go. I have written about cooking on Vancouver Island, where Victoria is situated, but never about Victoria and its vibrant food scene.

Victoria is the provincial capital of BC, it's a university town and it's situated within an hour's drive of some serious farming and food producers. (Remember Cow Bay?) What this all means is that there's an audience for eating out, staff for the restaurants and pleanty of suppliers. Keep in mind that Victoria is also a tourist town, so there are LOTS of tourist traps. But with a little research they're easy to avoid.

A typical visit for us almost always involves a visit to Choux Choux, the French charcuterie and frommagerie on Fort Street. They import a lot of their products, but much of what they sell is house made. Terrines, pate's and charcuterie (coppa this time) are all standouts. A selection of cheese, some pate and a baguette from Fol Epi and you're just a visit to one of the nearby wine shops away from a picnic ...

The southern part ... surprise suprise ... was barbeque. PIG serves smoked meat on bread. Every now and then they serve something called BBQ Spaghetti, and there are also minor distractions like coleslaw and a Kosher dill on the menu. But make no mistake, this tiny hole in the wall (said with all the respect in the world) is all about smoked meat and bread ... GREAT smoked meat on bread. Pricing is incredibly reasonable with 2 sandwiches (one pulled pork, one brisket on our case) setting you back a mere $10. The meat is tender, perfectly sauced and thick with smokey goodness. As a bonus they had the Rolling Stones Some Girls playing on a turntable ... perfect background music while waiting for BBQ.

The eastern part ... well it was more the item on the menu that was eastern than the restaurant. And "restaurant" is also a bit of a stretch. Red Fish - Blue Fish is more a food stand than a restaurant. They serve up terrific fish and chips, fish tacones and oyster po' boys (if that sounds familar, it's because they're ex-Go Fish! folk from Vancouver) out of a shipping container (is nothing original?) on the pier at the foot of Broughton in downtown Victoria. But we weren't there for the fish (which is excellent) this time. It was for the Curry Chips - Hand cut Kennebec potato chips slathered in red curry sauce. It's an idea so ridiculously simple and incredibly deliscious, I'm surprised it's not repeated elsewhere. The only thing I would do the improve on this dish? Paneer. Add paneer and call it Bombay Poutine. Feel free to use it Red Fish ... or Go Fish!
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Choux Choux Charcuterie
830 Fort St
Victoria, BC
(250) 382-7572

PIG
749 View Street
Victoria, BC
(250) 381-4677

Red Fish - Blue Fish
1006 Wharf Street
Victoria, BC
(250) 298-6877

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