Monday, October 5, 2009

The good and the bad...

The good news is that I had a lovely weekend in Victoria, BC. The bad news is that I returned to discover my beloved Gourmet is leaving me. And nearly a million other subscribers. Sigh. There is no comparison. Gourmet inspires us to cook better, travel better, dine better. For most of us, it is a standard held a bit too high. However, I will miss the way it makes me dream of white asparagus, quince jam, and expensive chocolate, of Parisian markets, rustic country kitchens, and perfect pies.

As a comfort, I will relish in my weekend memories. Long walks, tea times, amazing desserts, good beer, a delicious fireside dinner, beautiful views and lush gardens. I had a delightfully smooth goat cheese cheesecake with sour cherry compote at the Butchart Gardens Dining Room Restaurant.

Il Terrazzo is a hidden jewel, tucked into a side street in old town. Unfortunately, it is not much of a secret. The place was literally packed. My uncle got us the last available table. Small fireplaces along the walls and tabletop candles provide lighting and ambiance. We shared bruschetta, salads, pizza, wine, and laughter.

As part of a former Crown Colony, Victoria has a lingering British influence. I'm not the only Anglophile in my family; similar to other visits, we embraced Victoria for its tearooms and pubs.

I have some favorite activities when visiting Victoria, worth repeating. Stocking up on tea at Murchie's, walking through the Empress, lingering in the bookstores, watching for the Parliament lights to come on, and always a visit (or two) to the Dutch Bakery. This place is not as elegant as the Empress, but has tasty pastries and a sweet old-time diner in the back for a relaxed cup of coffee or sandwich.

A row of apple trees at Butchart Gardens. At the restaurant, they serve shortbread with flower petals. Perhaps they will put their fruit harvest to work?

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