Words and Photos
By CINDA CHAVICH
KEEP ON TRUCKIN’
A great way to enjoy local dining in the great outdoors is to truck on down to visit one of the city’s great little restaurants on wheels.
Food trucks offer fresh, local food, cooked to order, and a place where chefs can test out their creative chops.
The culinary student-run Camosun Cuisine Machine is a perfect example, serving a weekly lunch at Camosun College — think shawarma and falafel wraps, grilled cheese and homemade soups.
Deadbeetz signature purple truck (and now bricks-and-mortar locale in Oak Bay) features the Beetrice Burger with pickled beets and there may be no better place to take away fish and chips than the truck that sits outside Finest at Sea in James Bay. Try a cheesy breakfast sandwich at Melt Truck, a big burrito stuffed with tender pork belly and Asian slaw from Taco Justice, and arancini (risotto balls) from the Indecent Risotto truck. Songhees Seafood & Steam now permanently located at 1502 Admirals Road, offers indigenous flavours, from the wild sockeye salmon burger with saskatoon berry barbecue sauce and nettle mayo on bannock, to their tasty yam, salmon and clam chowder.
Food trucks gather behind the Royal BC Museum and in The Courtyard in Cook Street village, where you may find Greek on the Street for souvlaki and gyros wraps, a breakfast Acai Bowl from Morning People, or a vegan burger and shake from Burger Crush.
Serveral food trucks now have full time locales — think The Melt on Rock Bay Ave. or Grilled to the Mac at the Sooke Oceanside Brewery — but you’ll also find them popping up at the Royal Bay food truck court in Colwood, at farmer’s markets (Moss Street Market on Saturdays) and many outdoor festivals and events. Follow their social media feeds or check streetfoodapp.com, to see their hours and locations.
Spring is in the air and the trucks are revving back up!
DOUGH A DEER
If you love pie, you’ll want to check out Deer & Dough Bakery, Melinda Friedman’s "little neighbourhood micro-bakery and cafe" in Fairfield. Check out her website and Instagram account to see what’s cookin’ in the bakery — from fancy cakes and butter cream brownies to mini bundt “flights” and those perfect pies, both sweet and savoury, encased in laminated layers of buttery pastry. And plan to stop by for a light lunch (maybe after your Saturday shop at the nearby Moss Street Market for farm-fresh local produce, cheese and local food products) — Deer & Dough offers a variety of savoury noshes, from artisan sandwiches to house-made sausage rolls, a vegan "soup of the day" and their daily layered salad-in-a-jar, perfect to take away. With fresh breads from their friends at Working Culture, craft ice cream sandwiches from 49 Below and Zero Mile Coffee (available by the cup or the pound), it's a great neighborhood hub for all things local, at 1267 Fairfield Road.
WINDOWS ON THE WORLD
Beyond food trucks, Victoria is also the land of walk-up, take-out windows.
The granddaddy of this concept is the popular shipping container-cum-seafood-shop, Red Fish Blue Fish, down on the wharf in the downtown inner harbour. The fish and chips, tacones, chipotle coconut fish chowder and tempura fish sandwiches are legendary, all made with wild and sustainable seafood. Basic outdoor seating, food and people watching at it's best from this seafood shack on the water.
TacoFino started in a food truck in Tofino (still an institution there) and has since morphed and expanded into bricks-and-mortar locations around Vancouver. In Victoria, the TacoFino location downtown on Pandora has a lovely indoor space and Taco Bar, but you can also walk up or drive by (in the bike lane) to pick up their famous fish tacos or or a big roast chicken
burrito from their take out window.
Step alongside Cold Comfort Ice Cream, just off Cook Street in North Park, and you’ll find the Coco’s Provisions window with a variety of locally-made products and staples to go — think Dumpling Drop, Cultured Kombucha, Vagabond Frozen Pizza, Nootka Rose, Cowichan Pasta, Scout tinned seafood and more (CC ice cream sandwiches, of course).
Or get your morning Habit Coffee from the window at their Atrium location on Yates, and have a burger or bacon-and-eggs breakfast from the Beacon Drive-In. window.
It's the nicest kind of window treatment!