Another Adventure in Tofino, BC

tofino-beach-3893

We recently flew off to Vancouver Island to seek refuge from the freezing winter temperatures in Toronto. We were also traveling to welcome a new addition to my friend’s family, Liam, who was a little over a week old.

In true BC style, we were only there a day or two when we set out on an adventure with the baby in tow. We drove to Tofino on the other side of the island so that my friend Joseph and his son-in-law, Wade, could set off in search of a crashed 1945 plane. The RCAF Canso Flight 11007 took off from the RCAF Air Station in Tofino on February 8, 1945 but crashed in the woods not far south of the airport. Miraculously, the 12 crew members survived and made it out to safety but the plane remains at the crash site deep in the woods south of town.

For the past 70 years, hikers have braved the deep woods, unmarked trails and muddy marshland to find the plane just so that they can say they made it. It is a tough 3 hour hike through mud and marshland best made wearing rubber boots. That said, our fellows decided to try it without waterproof gear. Close to the crash site Joseph slipped off a fallen wet tree trunk, while traversing it across a gully, falling 4 feet  and hitting it on his way down. They made it back to the road hobbling and covered in mud, Wade’s pants showing wear and tear of the journey.

Photo by J.S.Swider

Photo by J.S.Swider

Photo by J.S.Swider

Photo by J.S.Swider

While the guys were hiking Mom, and Baby and I relaxed over a deliciious lunch at Sobo Restaurant and shopped around town. I love the atmosphere in Tofino where locals enjoy life with a true sense of adventure.

We waited for a call that they had made it back the highway and drove down to pick them up. I was surprised to see Joseph walking with a tall walking stick, since he is quite an athlete, but both had smiles of accomplishment on their faces.  I surmised that the hike was much more difficult than they had expected.

Wolf in the Fog

We ended our day over a relaxing dinner at The Wolf in the Fog. We were excited to experience this wonderful place after it was named Canada’s Best New Restaurant 2014 by Air Canada’s Enroute magazine. We wanted to know what the fuss was about.

When we arrived Joseph was still muddy up to one knee and a little worse for wear. Nevertheless; the staff welcomed us and found us a spot in the cafe where we could snuggle up for dinner.

 

wolf-in-fog-chef-3906-b

Chef Nicholas Nutting prepared wonderful West Coast comfort food from local ingredients. We decided to order 2 plates to share. The first was the French Bombshell consisting of scallops, shellfish “Bourguignon”, black cod, baguette and endive salad. Our second choice was the Mighty Duck featuring whole BC duck, beetroot and Gorgonzola lasagna with blood orange. The flavour combinations on these platters were amazing!

_PMP3953

I love that the plates and the serving platters were vintage china, making it all feel very like Sunday dinner at Grandma’s place. I loved the casual ambience and the feeling that we could just relax and enjoy the wonderful food with friends and family. It had been a long day and we were ready for a feeling of comfort and some great food.

wolf-in-fog-server-3945

In spite of its more modern decor, Wolf in the Fog has a retro feel to it. The staff were attentive and the service was good. I enjoyed the full size LPs playing classic rock music in the ground floor cafe. It reminded us of simpler times.The evening was filled with stories of the day, laughter and memories.

wolf-in-fog-sous-chef-3926
wolf-in-fog-wolf-3936wolf-in-fog-3957

The restaurant deserves it’s great reviews. The staff were welcoming and the food was amazing. I cannot wait until our next trip to Tofino so we can go back.

Advertisements

Hiding from Old Man Winter at the Beach House

royston-birds-2

We decided that we had had enough of the winter weather in Toronto. This year has been particularly bad for snow, freezing rain and below freezing temperatures, so we made our escape to our favourite beach house on Vancouver Island. We had spent a week there last summer and could not forget how much fun we had, while staying there. We knew that the weather would be much milder than in Toronto and we needed a break. The island days were much warmer so I did not need to wear boots, hats or scarves for the entire week.

Seagull

The beach house is nestled in a quiet strip of land on the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia. We have relatives and friends living a few minutes away, in Courtenay, so we visit with them during our stay.

There is something remarkable about waking up to the view of the ocean right outside your door. Even in winter, it can be good for your soul. We did; however; have a couple of days where the fog set in and we could not see the water that was only across the street. We walked over and watched the ducks and gulls floating softly on the water. It was almost as if they had also come to the beach for refuge.

I love spending my vacation days sourcing out new and interesting places to eat. One of those days we tried a little spot for breakfast in Courtenay that turned out to be a real treasure. The Ohhh So Yummy Cafe at 1190 Cliffe Ave. sits in front of the Comox Valley Inn, but is independently run.

It is one of those truly special breakfast places that serve up memories on a plate. You may have to line up to get in but it would be worth the wait. I had a special Eggs Benedict that was served with roasted yams, feta and grilled mushrooms. The owner talked me into trying the hollandaise sauce with a hint of curry. The combination of the yams and the curry was extraordinary!

Yummy-eggs

Another day we decided to explore Qualicum Beach which is father south on the coast. We spent a leisurely afternoon exploring shops and antique stores then decided to head north on the Old Island Highway. We found a rather unique spot just outside of town called the Shady Waterfront Restaurant, Pub, and Liquor Store.

It was time for dinner and we were intrigued by the combination of pub, liquor store and restaurant so we stopped to check it out. The place, built in 1924, was run by 3 generations of the Kinkade family over a 61 year period. In 1985 Wane Duncan, a restaurateur from Victoria bought the business and has run it ever since. It is a favourite of the locals for its casual, welcoming atmosphere and breathtaking views.

The rustic pub sits at the water’s edge with a bank of windows facing the spectacular beach that runs the full length of the dining room. The menu looked like a list of every comfort food you could imagine from fresh oysters and pot roast to schnitzel and ribs. Many of the dishes were made with local fish, oysters, meat and produce from the area. The striploin sandwich served on a garlic focaccia with tomato confit and a mound of beer battered onion rings was like a marriage of comfort food and modern bistro cuisine.

We left with that warm feeling you get after a wonderful family dinner. I will definitely go back on my next trip to the island.
Shady-steak-sandwich

After wandering around downtown Courtenay we stopped in at the Cardero Coffee and Tea Company on 5th St. for a latte and a snack. We tried the signature Cardero Latte flavoured with hazelnuts along with a strawberry tart. The latte was rich and creamy and nutty, all at once. If you ever find yourself in Courtenay on a Saturday I suggest you have breakfast at Ohhh So Yummy, followed by a trip to the local farmer’s market and a latte at Cardero’s.

Latte-Courtenay

No trip to the island would be complete without a drive to Campbell River. There are wonderful water walks and parks along the sea wall that go on for miles and the views are spectacular. We were lucky to hit it on a clear and beautiful day.

I loved walking along the waterfront while soaking up the sun. I cannot wait to return to Vancouver Island for another adventure.

campbell-river