Last day on the island and we are heading up the coast to visit a high school chum at his float home in Maple Bay. The drive up the Trans-Canada and through the Cowichan Bay area reminds me of cottage country anywhere in Canada. Sun-parched grass and rock faces.
The big difference being glances of ocean and mountains through Sitka spruce and gorgeous outcroppings of cinnamon barked arbutus trees high on rocky promontories.
We drive through the sun-washed, salt-worn seaside town of Cowichan Bay, on the scenic route detour off the Trans-Canada, past a happening folk festival and on to the Shipyard restaurant, a classic friendly seafood joint on Maple Bay where we come upon Salty Steve chilling in the sun, checking out the local talent on guitar and sax. We go way back with Steve.
This is our first visit to the marina where he makes his home. We share an idyllic meal wharfside and catch up, take selfies to mark the occasion and head back to Victoria where we get held up by construction and cottagers heading back to real life.
Last evening we had a very memorable dinner at 10 Acres Kitchen on Humbolt in Victoria. So remarkable in fact I must insist that if you are in town you need to go as well. There were several items on the menu that we wanted to try last night and so we went back this evening. Staff did not seem all that surprised to see us again. They know they good.
The two apps that we had to bypass last night were the Tomato Panzanella Salad and “Toast.” They did not disappoint. The salad of large chunks of toasty sourdough drenched in good quality EVO and balsamic, topped with farm-fresh basil and succulent strawberry tomatoes, shavings of Parmesan and warm milky fresh mozzarella was everything I hoped for.
The toast was a simple dish — great crab claw meat and sweet BC tiny wild shrimp all melty and gooey with gruyere on …toast. Spectacular.
On every menu, at every restaurant, we visited this weekend in Victoria there seemed to be a clam linguine option. I make pretty spectacular clam linguine myself and am often tempted then disappointed when I order it. Too liquidy and light on clams usually. Until tonight, I successfully avoided the dish. I thought, why not? Even poor clam linguine is pretty good with a glass of vino. I order the Vongole at 10 Acres. I am disappointed again because it’s seriously up a notch and better than mine.
The oven-dried tomato embellishment gave the loose, but not thin, sauce a depth of flavour that was inspired. The addition of a bit of fresh spinach added a little green freshness that brightened the overall flavours. A generous helping of plump clams and perfectly cooked linguine makes 10 Acres’ version of the Italian classic the best I have ever had. A glass of cherry, smokey Foxtrot pinot noir put this meal way over the top.
Rob had the Berryman Farm Porkchop with garlic and chilli summer squash and parmesan polenta. Rich and luscious, it was very generous, almost a rack of pork. Our puppy will be nearly as happy as Rob was upon tasting it.