Sunday, October 28, 2012

October 28 - Fall on Vancouver Island

15C today, warm and wonderful. Fall is an amazing time on Vancouver Island. The leaves on the trees have barely begun to fall, even after a couple of good winds. We had an amazing streak of weather this year with constant sun through July, August, September and a bit of October. The rain did arrive, but when it rains here, it warms up, otherwise it would be snow. We have no snow, except at very high altitudes, which is not visible from any where here on the south end of Vancouver Island. It got pretty nice today. We have had a lot of rain for the past couple of weeks, but beauty still abounds. The following pictorial shows you just what is like this time of the year on Vancouver Island. Enjoy the pics but better yet come for a visit.  For more pictures of our lovely island in the Fall, go to our Facebook Site

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seafood, Drink Beer FUNDRAISER/EVENT at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

‘Seafood, Drink Beer’ FUNDRAISER/EVENT at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre, Friday November 2nd 7-10pm

Eating locally and responsibly…so hot right now.

SIDNEY, BC – Many people don’t know that beer and seafood go together like, well, beer and seafood. It’s a great pairing! This event will highlight the culinary extravaganza that takes place when talented chefs use sustainable seafood and local craft beer to create a taste sensation! Cost is all inclusive: $40 per person (info for ticket sales, etc. at bottom of page).

The concept of the event was developed by a group of nine gung-ho Camosun students who are working toward earning their degree in Hospitality Management. Their assignment is to put on an event that would showcase their talents in hospitality management while simultaneously raising money for a charitable organization of their choice…that’s where the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre comes in.

The students requested that our facility house this catchy-titled event (“Seafood, Drink beer”), and promised to donate all proceeds back to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. Their plan to pair sustainable seafood with local craft beer is topical and a great fit for our organization, so we of course said ‘yes’! We have since been extremely impressed with their hard work and professionalism in putting this fantastic night together.

To pull off an evening of amazing culinary delight…and beer drinking (don’t forget the beer drinking!), the Camosun students knew they needed to find a local chefs with credibility and expertise. Enter Island Chef Collaborative president and owner of Passion Eat Foods, Chef Dwane MacIsaac who will be headlining the event. Chef Dwane has prepared a menu of seafood delicacies that will accent the taste and craftsmanship of a variety of ales that will be provided by local favorite Driftwood Brewery. Event-goers will be encouraged to taste each beer with a corresponding nutriment that complements each carefully selected ingredient, and will also get to learn about what sustainable seafood means and why it is SO important.

All in all, this night promises to be a fantastic collaboration proving that enthusiastic college students can help a not-for-profit organization raise money for a great cause by putting on a fun and creative event for the community involving many generous local partners. If only we had a pen full of puppies, this night would be perfect! Baby wolf eels will have to do.

Other activities during the evening: live recipe demonstrations, a raffle drawing with various prizes, live presentation from Driftwood Brewery, and much more! Tickets will be sold online: or in person at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre. More information can also be found on our website: Logo for event attached.

Please contact Christina Smethurst for further information: through email seven days a week or by phone Mon-Fri 9am-5pm 250-665-7511 or sat/sun 250-744-4852.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Panach Open Chef Dinner at the Bear Mountain Westin

Last night we attended the Open Chef Night at the Westin Bear Mountain Hotel in the Panache Restaurant.  The beautiful décor and some great food was truly “panache”.  The food was excellent and we got to meet some nice people and some old friends.
Open Chef Night allows aspiring student chefs to battle it out as Executive Chefs for a night in Panache, Bear Mountain's intimate fine dining restaurant.
Each Chef brings a new culinary experience for you to enjoy all under the guidance of The Westin Bear Mountain's very own, Executive Chef Iain Rennie. The series takes place on the last Wednesday of every month and will run throughout the school year. Kudos to Chef Rennie for giving young aspiring junior chefs the opportunity to grow and develop.

The dinner was critiqued by judges and then a winner was chosen.
  Tonight’s chefs were Edwardo Marquex and Sabrina Cozens.  Sabrina was declared the winner, in a very close competition.  The judges had a few suggestions, but overall everyone (guests and judges) were very impressed at the quality of the food.

Two menu options were available to choose from.
  Menu A, was three courses.  Lobster soup with Roasted Pork Belly, Black Olive Powder and Crispy Fingerling Potato, then a main of Braised Short Rib with Pomme Purée, Crispy Root  Chips and Red Pepper Jus and finishing with Citrus Almond Cake, Lemon Blueberry Semifreddo and Lavender Crumble.  Do I have your attention!

Menu B was also three courses.
  Wild Mushroom Soup with Sage Powder and Scallops, then a main of Wild Rice Crusted Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin, Vanilla Yam Purée, and Roasted Fingerling Patatoes and finishing with Okanagan Peach Crumble, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, Caramelized White Chocolate and Peach Fluid Gel.

We each tried different meals so we could get a good feel for what was presented.
  It was all very good and well presented.  Well done chefs!
Enjoy a superb three course meal for $45 per person. Reservations are strongly recommended as the event routinely sells out. Call 250-391-7160 or email

The Canadian Culinary Federation members were judges.  The Federation hold regular monthly meetings at different locations throughout Greater Victoria and dinners like these are offered at each meeting.  These dinners are also open to the public.  So, if you are looking for a great meal and a new experience, we suggest that you sign up for one of these meals.  You will need to contact Bear Mountain for their monthly dinners and for the Federation meeting meals, you will need to contact Shirley Lang at

For more pictures please go to our Facebook site.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Lido Bar and Bistro on the Waterfront Inner Harbour

Today two dear friends were in town from Sweden.  They wanted to meet for lunch and we wanted to impress them, so we took them to Lido bar and bistro.  It is one of the few eateries that is located on the water in Victoria’s beautiful Inner Harbour.  It is located at 1234 S. Wharf Street.  If you can find the Wharfside on Wharf Street, you will see some steps going down the side of the Wharfside Restaurant toward the water.  When you reach the bottom you are just a few feet from on the best places to eat In that area and the views from the restaurant or the outside patio are spectacular.  You can watch the Harbour traffic or take in one of the amazing sunsets setting across the harbour.  The menu provides lots of variety and the food is truly delicious.  Today I had the pulled pork sandwich and a cup of the best sea food chowder I have had in some time.  It was chock-a-block with seafood and very tasty.  Our guest truly enjoyed their meal.  The Bistro is a great place for private parties.  We have been there for a private function before and the appetizers were really good.  They have a good selection of wine and beer.   I don’t think you will be disappointed if you go to the Lido.  The views from the window tables are spectacular.  The staff are friendly and helpful.  I suggest you give them a try.  For more pictures of the Lido and the food, please go to our facebook page.  Visit the Lido website and check out their menus.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ArtSea Festival at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre Oct 10

ArtSea Festival at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre
October 10, 2012

SIDNEY, BC – Celebrate the 3rd Annual Peninsula ArtSea Festival at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre from October 15th to 21th by painting with the fishes!

Teachers with students in grades 5-12 are invited to join us for a special program titled Art in the Aquarium offered from Mon-Thurs at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre during the ArtSea Festival. The idea is to have students explore our Centre and glean inspiration from the vibrant fauna and flora they see around them. They will then be invited to sit down in front of their favorite creature and use watercolors, pastels, and sketching pencils to recreate what they see. It’s a fantastic way to combine an unlikely duo: marine science and art! (Classes MUST pre-book; call 250-665-7511 for more information).

On Friday and Saturday (20th & 21st) general admission visitors will have the opportunity to get ArtSea too! Various stations will be set up throughout the Centre all day long for all guests to enjoy. Stations will include crafts and activities, such as “Create a Creature” which challenges visitors to construct a marine animal out of recyclables. Who knew that paper towel rolls could make such life-like replicas of sea cucumbers? Us, that’s who!

In addition to art and activities, local sculptor Fred Dobbs will be joining us at the Centre from noon to 4pm Monday through Friday as our resident artist. Fred will spend his time actively working on his current sculpture, Mother of Pearl, and will also lend his expertise to our budding young artists.

Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre’s Visitor Experience Director, Tina Kelly, has been looking forward to welcoming ArtSea enthusiasts again this year after its huge success in the past. “This is the third time we’ve offered Art in the Aquarium here at the Centre, and I’m always amazed to see the fantastic work that kids can create…and adults too!” says Kelly. “We’re really looking forward to watching the creative process unfold”.

And capping it all off, there will be a ‘Thank You’ event hosted by ArtSea for all of the local artists and businesses who participated and made the Festival possible. The event is by invitation only, and will be held at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre on Wednesday October 17th from 7pm to 9pm.

ArtSea Festival Events at the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre

Date                             Event                                                                            Time

October 15-19              Art in the Aquarium for Students (must pre-book)       10:00 am – 4:00 pm
October 15-20              Resident artist Fred Dobbs                                           Noon – 4:00 pm
October 20-21              ArtSea Arts & Crafts open to all visitors                       10:00 am – 4:00 pm
*October 17                 ArtSea ‘Thank You’ Event (invitation only)                  7:00 – 9:00 pm