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Apr 10, 2009 09:42 AM

Tofino Report

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions. We had a lovely time in Tofino and ate well. We were there for only 1 1/2 days, but I think we made the most of it.

Tuesday: Lunch. Arrived in Tofino in the early afternoon. Following a beach walk and check-in at our hotel, we headed into town and ate at SoBo. Food and service were good, though the ambience was a bit cafeteria like. Wife and I split: 1) Killer Fish taco. Lots of good fruit...blueberries, kiwi, guava maybe? Good tangy flavour. Liked the blue corn taco shell. Hard to share! Came with a very fresh salad. 2) Shrimp Pizza. Enjoyed the combo of local shrimp and barely melted goat cheese. Crust was thin, crispy, almost of a 'flatbread' type. Good flavour.
We washed this down with a beer from Cannery Brewery (out of Penticton).

Tuesday: late dinner at Shelter. Because we had eaten lunch at 4:30, we were not very hungry for dinner. Arrived at Shelter at around 9:30 and were surprised to find it was a local bar scene, with multiple televisions playing the hockey game (accompanied by hoots and hollers from young locals). We were seated in a quieter part of the restaurant, thankfully. Wife and I shared the Chop Chop salad, with local greens, spiced roasted pecans, radishes, goat cheese, apples, and some other things I cannot remember. Good salad. We also shared the calamari, which was breaded and deep fried and served with jalapenos and pimentos and roasted sweet peppers and a lime chipotle mayo. We had the yam fries as well, also served with chipotle mayo (although it was a different mayo from the calamari). Well prepared pub grub is how I would describe our meal at Shelter. They have a much more upscale menu, but we were really in the mood for a snack. Nice building, nice interior decor. Friendly service.

Wednesday: Coffee at Cafe Vincente. Decent, but nothing to write home about.
Breakfast: Wife and I shared a cinnamon bun and a (still-warm) bran muffin. Decent baking.
Lunch: the Pointe at Wikanninish Inn. Lovely meal. Incredible room. We were seated at a window table overlooking waves crashing onto rocks. Very dramatic. Wife had a salad featuring local arugula, saltspring island blue cheese, Van Isle apples, local hazelnuts. It was delicious (I slipped in a few bites). She then had a papperdelle alla carbonara made with Sloping Hills bacon (the papperdelle itself, we were told, was imported from Italy). Lots of creamy, bacon-y flavour. I had the grilled sockeye salmon (wild, of course) served over a winter endive salad that had been tossed in a dressing of "bacon vinaigrette" and thin slices of egg. My salmon was cooked perfectly, with deliciously crisp skin. The combination of bacon, egg, and endive went well together. Wife and I shared a half-bottle of Kettle Valley reserve Pinot Noir 2005, which complimented both of our mains.
Service was polite and friendly, though our server disappeared for a good 10 minutes at one point, which was strange considering that there was only 1 other party in the restaurant at the time (she later explained that she was looking for our wine, which is understandable given that the restaurant boasts a fairly deep list).
We did not order desert but chef prepared a little petits-four made with Michel Cluizet dark chocolate, cranberries, and nuts. It was sort of like dark chocolate bark, and there was enough of it for each of us to have a fulfilling bite.

Before we left Tofino, we stopped at "Chocolate Tofino". The proprietor/chocolatier was in the store, and he had us sample a delicious truffle made with dark chocolate, lavender, and honey. It had a very nuanced flavour and a long, floral finish. A perfect way to end our mini-jaunt to Tofino. (And of course we brought back some 'mementos' from Chocolate Tofino for the road).

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  1. Awesome report anewton. I wish a good roaster/espresso shop would fill the void. Not sure if this is still the case, but Shelter is somehow related to Cactus Club...which is the reason for the level and style of grub there.

    Looking forward to being in Tofino this summer.