Yesterday. We paid another visit, probably our fourth, to the Zanatta Winery just south of Duncan. Not to taste wine particularly, but rather to enjoy another lunch on the porch of the 114 year old farm house. We took in the Duncan Show N Shine on the way and then met friends Paul & Theresa at Zanatta.

To get there you take some twisty country roads which feel far from any town. Fun to drive on, quite charming. Once there you will find ample parking. On the way to the restaurant you pass the small tasting room. Zanatta specializes in sparkling wines surprisingly, and they make 4 different ones. They also produce a Pinot Nero, a Pinot Grigio, an Ortega and a Merlot.

At lunch we chose a glass of the Pinot Grigio which was so enjoyable we had two. Our friends chose the Brut Tradizionale and the Pinot Nero. We were all happy.

The menu here is interesting and the food is good. Our friends chose the Beet Salad and I picked the Short Rib Sliders which met my  expectations and then some. Since they were already out of the crab cakes, my favourite girl settled for a Panzanella salad which looked fabulous and she claimed was delicious. For dessert we shared The Lavender Cheesecake. It is not to be missed.

The chef at Vinoteca is Fatima Da Silva. She has been here for several years and clearly knows her stuff. Interestingly, she is originally from Mozambique. Her menu changes often and she uses local produce as much as possible. The result is seriously delicious food, beautifully presented. The service is good too. Our servers were efficient, friendly, and charming.

Sitting on the old country house porch that wraps around three sides provides a delightful ambiance. Take time to relax here and enjoy. If you go, make a reservation by phone. They are busy.

Consider a day trip to the Cowichan Valley wine country. Zanatta is just one of the great places to visit. Check out their history and their wines at

Just saying…

New Eatery in Nanoose

For a couple of years there has been the slow construction of a building on Northwest Bay Road, about a half mile from the Petro Can on 19 towards Fairwinds. I could not determine if it was going to be a home or a business. Well, today I found the answer. It is an Eatery!


We were driving by and saw the sign so peeled in to check it out. It is called the RUSTED RAKE FARM EATERY. It is a soup, salad and sandwich joint with a large list of coffees and teas. Alas, no beer or wine. But it’s a cool place with big highly varnished rustic tables inside and a few tables on a deck outside. The staff were very friendly but disappointed when they couldn’t sell me anything. Their menu changes daily and today’s looked interesting as you can see.



We will try it another day but if you are in the area and are a bit peckish it may be to your liking. Let me know.

Just saying…

New Brews in Alberni

If you happen to have a fondness for beer, you might be interested in visiting the TWIN CITY BREWERY in Port Alberni. It’s a micro brew pub that brews some interesting beers and ales. Their line up includes RUN OF THE MILL, a West Coast IPA, TICKETY BOO, a British Pale and SWEDISH GYMNAST, a hopped up Blonde. These folks certainly have a sense of humour too

We have driven by to check it out but have not gone in. It was Drag Race day in town and everything was really busy so we will take a crack at it on a weekday. Our neighbours have been and enjoyed a good lunch there. The menu is limited but looks good. Take a look here:

You can find Twin City at 4503 Margaret Street in Port Alberni. Turn left just a block before the turn to Tofino.

Just saying…

Painter’s Lodge for Lunch? Yes!

On a recent warm sunny day, another drive to a lunch destination seemed a good plan. So we pointed the ILX up 19A and ended up passing through Campbell River and turning into Painter’s Lodge. It was after the lunch hour rush so there lots of empty tables on the expansive deck outside. The deck overlooks Discovery Passage, the narrow body of water between Vancouver island and Quadra Island, just south of the famous Seymour Narrows. The view is wonderful with all manner of vessels passing by. Tugs, sail boats, power boats, fish boats and float planes keep it interesting. Unfortunately, during the day a Cruise Ship is unlikely to be in these waters as their schedules and the tide change at Seymour Narrows make them appear mostly in the evening or later.


Painter’s Lodge is a bit of an institution in these parts. The original Lodge was built in 1929 by boatbuilder, Ed Painter. It burned down in 1985 but in 1987 the Oak Bay Marine Group bought the property and built the current Lodge. Later they purchased April Point Lodge directly across the water on Quadra Island. When the founder of Oak Bay Marine Group passed away a year or so ago, the company decided to get out if the resort business and sold the two properties to North Coast Resort Hotels.

For more on the history,go to
For more on April Point read this…

Painter’s has a good menu with lots of seafood option, of course. The Seafood Chowder looked amazing at the next table. My favourite girl chose Fish & Chips while her chauffeur ordered Painter’s take on a Philly Cheese Steak. Both were delicious and to our liking. A glass of Pinot Grigio and a pint of Blue Buck quenched our thirst. Service was good and our server was very cheery and friendly. All in all, a perfect late lunch. In addition to the deck, there is a Dining Room, a comfortable Lounge and a Pub!

We have lunch here several times and have stayed in the hotel a few times too. The rooms are well appointed and fishing lodge rustic. The rooms overlooking the water are fabulous as you can sit on you deck and, at this time of year, usually see cruise ships heading to Alaska.

If you would prefer to try the dining room at April Point, they operate a complimentary water taxi shuttle back and forth. It takes about 10 minutes to cross Discovery Passage much of the trip with the boat sliding sideways in the strong current here.

If you gave not been to Painter’s, you should go. It’s just past Campbell River a few Kilometers on the highway to Port Hardy.

Just saying…

Qualicum Beach Inn Patio

The other day, my ambition to make dinner wained somewhat so it seemed appropriate to seek out a patio for an adult beverage and some late afternoon Appetizers. The Qualicum Beach Inn is the closest, about 8 minutes away so we lept into the bright red ILX and headed that way.

The Qualicum Beach Inn is just across Highway 19A from the beach so the patio offers a panoramic view of the Ocean, Lasquiti Island, Texada Island and the mainland mountains in the distance. That is if there are not raging forest fires in the BC interior exporting smoke to the coast. On this day the view consisted of a smoke bank. No mountains, no islands to be seen.

Not to worry. We secured a nice outdoor table on the patio. Our waiter graciously moved a large umbrella our way to protect us from the sun as it was blisteringly hot. Soon, a glass of ALDERLEA Vinyards Pinot Gris (Cowichan Valley) and a very tall Blue Buck beer arrived. Just what we needed. The Pinot was a gorgeous slightly pinkish colour and my favourite girl pronounced it Delicious. .

Soon, an order of Squid and a plate of Crab Spring Rolls arrived. Both were perfectly delicious too. After efficiently disposing of my beer, we ordered a glass of the Pinot to share. It is good.

Surprisingly, the patio was not very busy for 4ish on a hot day. It is truly a great spot to spend an hour or so.

You can survey the patio menu here:

If you have not tried the Qualicum Beach Inn, you might want to while this great weather continues. You might even have a view soon.

Just saying…

In Comox,the Black Fin Pub


Whenever we head to Comox, usually for a Costco visit, lunch at the BLACKFIN PUB seems like a good idea. Sure it’s a pub. But it doesn’t feel like a pub. It feels and looks like a well appointed restaurant. It is spacious and most tables include a view of the marina and government dock and the hills beyond. If you wish to sit outside there is a deck is available.

We have found that the food at the Black Fin is really good and really consistent. Their version of Halibut & Chips is as good as you will get anywhere. The cole slaw is creamy and could be the best we have had. Their tartar sauce is equally superior too. We often share and they are happy to oblige. An interesting wine list and a wide range of beers add the the experience.

The service has always been excellent and this visit was no exception. Prompt, friendly and efficient!

The menu really has something for every taste with many seafood offerings. The soups look amazing and large. Some of the dishes sound wonderful. Beaufort Chicken…stuffed with crab, asparagus and Brie. Seafood Enchiladas, Crab Mac & Cheese, Moroccan Lamb Shank. We must go back.

Check out their website.

Just saying…

Brown’s at Uptown Mall, Victoria

Another car related trip to Victoria today and needing some mid day sustenance we turned into UPTOWN MALL to try out the Noodle Box. We had heard good things about it. But it was not to be because we saw BROWN’S SOCIAL HOUSE and there was a perfect parking spot at the front door.

We had not ventured into a Brown’s since moving to the Island so it seemed about time. This location is really nice with a large glass roofed patio which is open to the sides. There are some tall bar style tables , some regular ones and some low slung chairs around a firepit. Since it was 29C out we headed for the regular tables. It was a really cool place to nosh as a gentle breeze passed through.

Brown’s has a good menu with some interesting dishes. My favourite girl decided to order the blackened Chicken Cowgirl Salad while I thought the Wonton Soup with Noodles and Blackened Chicken was to my liking. Both were substantial and yummy. Here is the Wonton Soup.


Of course, Brown’s is similar to the Cactus Club in style and they do it well. Service was quick and friendly. The hostess and our server were charming.

Uptown Mall is worth a stroll around if you are going into Victoria. Some nice shops and eateries inhabit the mall and recently a WHOLE FOODS opened at one end.  Maybe you just need a latte? Starbucks is here, of course. Lots of Street and underground parking here too.

Both the mall and Brown’s are worthy of a visit. We liked it!

Just saying…