Lunch at Unsworth.

It’s always a good time to visit a winery on Vancouver Island.  A one day tour in the Cowichan Valley is a great way to enjoy several wineries and some very good wine. However, yesterday, we visited only one.  After picking up old friends from Ontario at the Departure Bay Ferry we headed south to UNSWORTH VINYARDS in the Cobble Hill area near Shawnigan Lake, about an hours drive. 

We arrived just in time for our reservation on the Patio at the Unsworth Restaurant. It was perfect but for a cool breeze that required sourcing some blankets from our server. A litre of UNSWORTH 2020 PINOT GRIS was ordered and apparently it came right from a cask, not yet bottled. It was delicious. The menu is limited but the offerings are wonderful. Sheila ordered the House Salad which was both tasty and visually beautiful. Included in it was Yellow Zucchini, beautiful Radish Fans and Almonds with a local cheese, HALTWHISTLE. Our friend Ruth chose the Clam Chowder and after hearing about the special my friend Bob and I abandoned the Burger and chose the Pasta Special. Fettucini with chicken and lobster mushrooms in a fabulous creamy sauce.  It was good! Their Fries looked inviting so an order was placed to share. Here are some food photos. 

House Salad
Fettucini Special

The litre of wine seemed to disappear, perhaps evaporation, so a half litre was dispatched to the table. We all enjoyed the food, the wine and the service. Very friendly and efficient. If you are thinking of noshing there, make a reservation on line as this place is busy. They are open for lunch and dinner Wednesday to Sunday. 

After lunch we spent some time in their Tasting Room sampling another Pinot GRIS and the Rose. Purchases were made. Unsworth has a charming tasting patio beside a pond, a spot you might enjoy for a few samples. Or, knock yourself out and sit in the sun and swill down a whole  bottle. 

UNSWORTH VINYARDS is one of the few wineries with a restaurant and we can highly recommend it ! 

Check it out at

Just saying…

HAPPY JACK’S Restaurant

There is a new place in town and since it’s been open nearly a month we decided to check it out tonight. It’s HAPPY JACK’S in the old White Spot location at  Wembley Mall in Parksville. Happily we were not disappointed. 

Happy Jack’s building has been extensively remodelled and include booth seating and a spacious bar with the appropriate big screen TV’s. A large array of nostalgic Parksville photos are on the walls.  Very interesting. The decor is basically black & white with polished concrete floors. 

This joint is a family oriented restaurant with an interesting menu. Burgers of course, but also Fresh Mussels, Tacos, and a Kids Menu which includes Mac & Cheese. The drink menu is really interesting with local Beer, BC wines, and some fancy drinks like Beergaritas, ( a Margarita with a small Corona beer) and Martinis.

A very charming server took our order, Cod Burger for Sheila, Fish Tacos for me. The Cod came with 2 sides, onion rings and CEASAR salad. 

The food arrived promptly and it was nicely presented and hot. The Cod was delicious as was the Taco. I added some Siracha to spice the taco up a bit. The onion rings, one of my favourites, were perfect. 

We arrived just after 5 and as we left at 6:30 it was almost full. I think the owners have the formula. Nice decor, great food, good service, and they will come. We certainly will go again. It’s great to have another offering just a few blocks from home. 

One small complaint. The music was dreadful. At least for octogenarians. 

Happy Jack’s is open for dinner from 4-10. 

Look at the menu here

You must go.  I know you will enjoy this new spot in Parksville. 

Just saying…

Victoria’s Il Terrazzo

This week, I pointed the Acura towards Victoria with the primary goal of replenishing my supply of Dutch Bakery Meat Pies, a favourite since 1956.  Alas, I was to be denied said bundles of deliciousness. The bakery was closed for staff vacation! Who closes in July? Apparently the Dutch Bakery. 

But we decided to continue the trip and perhaps do a little shopping which was a success. We had a nostalgic drive around some old parts of the city and eventually headed for an early dinner at IL TERRAZZO, that wonderful Italian joint in a little alley just off lower Johnson Street. 

It has been several years since I was last there and about 25 since Sheila had been. She told our waiter saying he was probably just a kid last time she was there. He said, “No I’ve been here for 27 years”. Speaks well for a restaurant. 

The place is delightfully funky. Indoor, covered outdoor sort of patio. Lots of old brick, plants and fireplaces. We were seated at a table for two right beside a fireplace. Perfect. Our Waiter, Neil, and the rest of the staff were outstanding. Knowledgable, courteous, and really efficient. 

We shared a wonderful CEASAR Salad. Sheila opted for the MELANZANE Al FORNO, a delicious dish of eggplant , mushrooms, garlic, cheese in a tomato sauce over folded pasta. 3 days later she is still raving about it. For me it was the Calamari. it was like a Squid Steak, lightly breaded and served with Chorizo, roasted peppers, tomatoes with Polenta. Delicious. We didn’t need it but since I’ve never met a Creme Brûlée I didn’t like, we shared one. It was good but no better than my homemade, says he modestly. 

Il Terrazzo is a gem. A must go. If you have never been, put it on your bucket list. Reservations are absolutely a must as they are always busy. Their on line reservation system is the best I’ve ever used, by the way. Plan ahead or you just won’t get in. Open for dinner only from 4.  

You can check out the menu and reserve here.

Great decor, great food, great service. We love Il Terrazzo. 

Just saying…

Concert at St Andrew’s Lodge

At the Northwest end of Qualicum Beach is a beautiful parcel of land that was formerly the site of St Andrew’s Lodge, a facility that opened in 1938. It included a home a and some small cottages designed and built by Simon Muir Little, a local architect. St. Andrews welcomed guests for more than 80 years. Little’s daughter Elizabeth ran the lodge into her 80’s. After the lodge closed the St Andrew’s Historical & Cultural Society was formed to preserve the lodge. The cottages are gone but they plan to restore the lodge to its original beauty.  

As a fund raiser, last night they held a concert. Featured was the ISLAND BRASS QUINTET, a wonderful group comprised of two Trumpets, a Trombone, a French Horn and a Tuba. The Tuba is played by an old classmate and friend from Nanaimo, Bruce Roberts, who, at 82 continues to amaze me with his musical talent. 

The group played two sets which included tunes line ‘Ain’t Misbehaving’, ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’, ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ ( featuring a fabulous Trombone Solo). The group ended the night with ‘Jada’.  A superb concert that was certainly enjoyed by the audience who were sitting on the lawn with their portable chairs. The weather cooperated, too.  

The Island Brass Quintet are playing several concerts in the Nanaimo area over the summer. If you get a chance to hear them, please take it. You will not be disappointed. 

The crowd of a couple of hundred donated their admission which raised $3000 for the society. 

Great music, great fund raiser! 

Just saying…

Dinner at Kalvas

For the past 11 years I have driven almost daily past KALVAS Restaurant In PARKSVILLE.  Don’t know why I’ve never tried Kalvas. However a week ago my dear friend Sheila invited me to dinner at Kalvas. It was Prime Rib Night so I was ready for some beef as well as Escargot since very few restaurants serve the latter. 

Kalvas is in a charming Log Building and I was impressed with the interior. Rustic but sort of elegant. There are some very private window tables, perfect for a date. Our waiter was a very tall chap originally from New Zealand and he is a pro. Charming, funny and efficient. 

We both ordered Escargot which turned out to be rather disappointing. The snails and a few mushroom caps were heaped on an escargot plate and with not enough garlic butter, the best part of escargot. Sheila ordered Oysters Rockefeller as an entree and was stunned by the result. Clearly this was not a traditional Rockefeller. It was a gloppy mess with some rice on the side. Strange and disappointing and not like any Oysters Rockefeller we’d ever seen. 

Oysters Rockefeller?

I selected the Prime Rib which was quite good. Not wonderful but good. The Yorkshire was excellent and the size of a softball. The beef was accompanied by excellent mashed potatoes and some vegetables. Some gravy on the side and some horse radish would have complimented the plate. 

Very generous Prime Rib!

On a positive note our waiter comped a Creme Caramel which we shared for dessert. It was delicious and swimming in Grand Marnier. 

Would I go back? I’d have to think long and hard. It’s not cheap. 

If you want to try it the menu is here.

Open Tuesday thru Sunday.  Located at the corner of 19A and Molliet just west of McDonalds. Dinner only. Reservations recommended. 250-248-6933.

Just saying…

Excellent Chinese Food

Recently went to Campbell River to visit some folks. They graciously invited us to dinner at THE DRIFTWOOD CHINESE Restaurant.  The Driftwood is a chain of 4 restaurants located in Campbell River, Port Alberni, Parksville and Nanaimo. I have not tried the Parksville location, closest to home, but it has not been getting good reviews However, the Campbell River location is the Original and I had heard good things about it. 

Well, we were not disappointed. This joint is on 19A  just south Town. It is really good and really busy.  It’s big and nicely decorated in Lacquered wood, very much Chinese. It’s busy so you know the food is fresh.  I’m not a Buffett fan but this is a good one.  The food is nicely presented with all the variety one could imagine. I particularly enjoyed the Chow Mein, the Ginger Beef, and the Spicy Squid. One popular dished was a baked Oyster in a cheesy sauce served up in individual little bowls. Delicious. Everyone at our table went back twice and all the dishes were devoured with gusto. 

Chow Mein
Ginger Beef

The service was also good and very friendly. Driftwood also offer Take Out and Delivery. 

If you like Chinese Food and you are in the Campbell River area, you really must go. Open daily for lunch and dinner except Tuesday.  You can browse the menu here:
You can find them at 4329 Island Highway or call 250-923-5505

Now we might try the Nanaimo or PARKSVILLE  locations. If we do you will get a full report. 

Just saying…

North Vancouver’s Shipyard

After a nearly 5 year hiatus I visited Vancouver on the a Easter Weekend. Son Jackson was in town from Toronto on business and stayed the weekend to meet me. We settled into the SEASIDE HOTEL in North Vancouver on the site of the former Burrard Shipyard.  

For 30 years or more I drove by the shipyard several times a week. At that time it was a waste space. Abandoned.  Today it is a fabulous destination. Hotels, restaurants, bars, shops and marvellous public spaces have transformed the old shipyard. There is a public pier which would be a lovely place to stroll or sit and enjoy the ships in the harbour.  

The Seaside Hotel is wonderful. Beautifully appointed rooms with large walk in showers and all the other accoutrements. Highly recommended if you want to overnight in North Vancouver.

Below the hotel is JOEY’S SHIPYARD RESTAURANT, on the water with a view to downtown Vancouver. We sat outside on the spacious and heated patio. Excellent food and service. A nice touch was the complimentary flute of Prosecco.

After a walk about through LONSDALE Quay market we stopped at the Tap & Barrel which is in a former shipyard building. Impressive joint with several dozen beers on tap as well as about 18 wines on tap. We opted for a Blue Grouse Pinot Gris from the Cowichan Valley and were not disappointed. Not sure why a portrait of Ruth Bader Ginsburg is on the wall in the tap room.

Later we met Jackson’s friends for dinner at the Jagerhof On Lonsdale, an old favourite.  Schnitzel all around of course paired with an Austrian Sauvignon Blanc which was perfect. 


Saturday morning was breakfast at the Pinnacle Hotel which was very good and once again great service. 

For lunch we left the area and dtove with friends to Gleneagles Golf Course near Horseshoe Bay. It’s restaurant is run by the Boat Shed Hospitality Group who operate 3 food joints. The Orchard at the golf course is delightful with a view over the couse. Indoor and outdoor seating and a great but quite simple menu. We all enjoyed the offerings. They have two other venues, one at Ambleside Beach in West Vancouver and a most unusual POPUP Pizza place on the road to Cypress Bowl. A couple of reworked shipping containers form the galley with seating under canopies. We! at the insistence of friend Gail we drove up for a look. Fantastic views of English Bay and beyond. Friend David endorses the pizza as being the best anywhere.

Dinner was just a few blocks up from the Shipyard at my all time favourite Chinese Restaurant, RED CHILI.  Had not been for about 5 years and we met old friends here. The food was as good as I remembered and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it. The best Ginger beef anywhere.

Before retiring it seemed that a nightcap would be in order. Back to Joey’s where we sat at a very busy bar. For sure I was the oldest person in the place. Mostly 20 somethings here,  but a happening bar. 

We really enjoyed our time at the Shipyard. It’s fabulous. Planning a weekend in Vancouver? Consider North Van’s Shipyard. 

Just saying…

Kingfisher Oceanside Resort

A few weeks ago I had a call from an old friend, a guy who came to work with me about 4 decades ago. It was his first real job following university.  Since then he has become very successful in the property development business culminating in the ownership of KINGFISHER OCEANSIDE RESORT just south of Courtenay. He invited me to come up some time for dinner and potentially an overnight stay. Well, this week I took him up on his generous offer. 

Sheila and I had lunched in the bar a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. So we pointed the red Acura up 19A and headed out. Before checking in, some Calamari and a glass of wine in the bar seemed appropriate as we were a touch peckish. As we finished the amazing Calamari, Bill, the owner, joined us and he and I spent quite a while catching up. It had been more than 20 years since we last met. 

After checking in to a fabulous room with a view overlooking the Resort’s stunning courtyard with the ocean, Cape Lazo and the mountains around Desolation Sound. As we stepped out on to our deck a broad Rainbow appeared right over Lazo. This resort has everything. Even Rainbows!  Spectacular.  

We met a Bill & Sabrina for dinner in one of the outdoor Domes. Quite spectacular.  A table for 4 in the dome with heat, music, cozy blankets on each chair,  LED lights above.  Stunning.  Bill introduced us Chef Richard who suggested we choose some favourites from the menu and he would prepare a tasting potpourri. Included were Seafood Chowder, French Onion Soup, Oysters on the half shell, Gnocchi, Sous Vide Beef, Scallops with Asparagus and Risotto. And more. Bill chose a fabulous Red Wine to share. Everything here is locally sourced and fresh.  It was truly a dinner we will remember forever. 

There are 5 Domes but they are only up during the winter. In Mid April they will be replaced with Tables and Umbrellas for summer dining. 

Kingfisher Resort is a wonderful destination resort complete with fine dining, a Spa, Pool and Hot Tub, a shop featuring Tommy Bahama and Lulu Lemon. A feature in the Spa is the amazing Pacific Mist Hydropath.  

This Oceanside Resort is First Class in every way. Having stayed in more than 300 hotels in my life, I know hotels. The rooms are perfectly executed. Fine linens, indirect lighting, stunning marble bathrooms with just the right soaps etc.  

One wing is being upgraded this Spring and the reception area is about to be enhanced and new stone walls and and entry kiosk are to be installed at the highway entrance. 

The Staff are excellent. Everyone we encountered was happy, friendly and gracious. Simply excellent service. Must be a good place to work. 

If you are thinking of a get away the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort would be a good choice. It’s adult oriented too. We loved the resort, you will too.  Plan well ahead because they are very busy.  Or you may want to drop by for a lunch at which time you can look around the property. By the way, the Eggs Benedict for our breakfast might be the best ever.  Yum! 

Check out their website to find the special features, menus etc.

Just saying…

Chowder near Comox

In 10 plus years on the Island I’ve probably driven past the KINGFISHER RESORT in Royston just south of Courtenay, a hundred times but for some reason have never stopped.  Perhaps the timing was wrong, wasn’t hungry, needed to get to Costco? However, yesterday after cutting a swath through said Costco my friend Sheila suggested lunch at the KINGFISHER. 

We chose to sit in the AQUA bar at a delightful window table with a view out to sea with Comox in the background. It’s a charming cosy sort of bar with just a few tables and seating also at the bar.  Service was prompt and very friendly and we ordered drinks, Haywire Pinot Gris from Summerland for her, a local Beer For me. 

After touring menu we both decided that the Seafood Chowder would be worth trying. What a perfect choice. The Chowder included, shrimp, clams, mussels, and fish in a really creamy delicious semi thick broth. Oh so good! Absolutely one of the most delicious chowders I’ve enjoyed. Kudos to the Chef. We agreed that we needed the recipe but at least would try and replicate the chowder at home. Asked if we wanted to see the dessert menu I simply asked if they had Creme Brûlée.  They did. So we shared a better than good beautifully presented Creme Brûlée. It’s a dish I’ve had many times in many places and I’ve never met one I didn’t like.

Our server was a lovely lady who hails from Melbourne, and who has fallen in love with Vancouver Island. The service was friendly and very efficient, always a plus for me. Prices are what one expects in a good hotel, but not bad. 

The KINGFISHER RESORT looks like great place for a weekend getaway.  Some of the features include a Spa, a Hydrotherapy Walk, a beautiful Courtyard and Outside Sky Dome dining pods complete with romantic lighting, candles and cosy blankets. Perhaps a special event would work here. Birthdays, Anniversaries! Yes! 

The KINGFISHER RESORT web site is 

Lots of info and photos. Worth a look.

We liked this Resort and will be back.

Just saying…

New in Schooner Cove

Last week, I met some old boating pals for lunch at SEASCAPES, a new joint in Schooner Cove. What a pleasant surprise. It’s on the site of the old pub but I think the building was gutted then rebuilt. 

Seascapes is quite stunning inside.  Very spacious, very modern. Big windows with a view over the marina and beyond. One area has a cosy fireplace with seating in front. There is also a very nice bar area. 

The menu is very good with everything from Burgers to Seafood to Pizza. I opted for the Saltspring Mussels & Fries. The mussels were fabulous although the serving of fries was a bit wanting. A couple of the guys ordered burgers and their fries were cold. Eventually, two complimentary big bowls of hot fries arrived at the table. Seascapes has not been open for long and are still having some teething problems. 

Our server was a delightful gal named Mandy. She was really charming, friendly and efficient. She even took our photo. 

I liked Seascapes and will return. You may want to also. Open Wednesday thru Sunday for lunch & dinner.  Reservations are a good idea. You can reach them at +12504680780. Check out their website at where you can scan the menu. 

Just saying…