At the newest Rawthentic Eatery location in Victoria, a diner digs into a bowl of noodles sprinkled with cheese and awaits the wedge of berry-studded cheesecake ordered for dessert. Though this sounds like a meal at your standard Italian restaurant, it isn't what it appears to be?the noodles are actually made of raw zucchini, the cheese is made with nuts, and the cheesecake, though decadent, contains no cheese at all. This double take is exactly what Rawthentic Eatery's creators had in mind, since they strive to create healthy raw and vegan meals that complement the lifestyle of every diner, vegan or not.
Ingredients are never heated to more than 105 degrees, the temperature at which food begins to lose nutrients. This requires the chefs to be innovative?besides using vegetables as pasta, they blend smoothies that substitute dates for refined sugar and use chopped nuts to make up the breads and pie crusts. As a result, a bounty of raw comfort foods such as meatball subs also draws in nonvegans who simply have food allergies, high blood pressure, or bad memories of dating a microwave. Rawthentic Eatery serves as a hub for socializing as well as eating: chefs host events such as '50s-diner nights and holiday dinners and teach raw-foods cooking classes twice each month.
A&W Restaurant, one of the largest burger chains in Canada, has been trapping burgers between buns and filling cups with creamy root beer for generations of famished families. Choose from a brood of belly-busting burgers, such as the Papa Burger, leading the pack with two beef patties (a $4.92 value). The Baby Burger induces burger purists to shed a single tear upon seeing the simple beef patty on a bun salaciously adorned with nothing but A&W seasoning and a dollop of ketchup (a $1.89 value). The beefy Uncle Burger (a $5.70 value, $0.50 extra for cheese) bogarts all the mouth room, sprawling its sirloin patty and lettuce-tomato-onion suit all over tongue sofas. Round out a meaty meal with a medium order of crisp fries (a $2.79 value) and a medium soda (a $2.34 value).
Distinguished by a colourful history and a litany of awards from publications such as Fodor's, Zagat, and Condé Nast Traveler, Hastings House is a luxury resort anchored by a Tudor-style manor on 22 waterfront acres. Seven hillside suites wrap barn details such as batten siding and shake roofs around modern comforts including heated slate floors, ready-laid fireplaces, and bathrooms stocked with plush robes, towels, and large soaking tubs perfect for relaxing or brewing moonshine. For nature engagement, private balconies and wide picture windows capture tree-framed views of Ganges Harbour. Guests slumber on king-size beds lavished with eiderdown duvets and pillows (synthetic options available) and high-thread-count linens, which invite napping or quick conversion into high-end blanket forts. A hamper of freshly baked muffins and coffee or tea arrives each morning, after which heartier appetites find satiety in an English-style breakfast held in the manor house, also the site for afternoon tea.
For patrons bound for Steeples Bar and Grill, the experience begins before the restaurant comes into view. A scenic drive over the Malahat and through Goldstream Provincial Park offers a feast of vistas, and then the restaurant's steeple—an artifact of the restored church where it has taken up residence—peaks through the trees like a giant toddler playing hide-and-seek.
Beneath it, beams that were hand-hewn generations ago hint at present-day staff members' attention to detail. Amid casual, cozy surroundings including shuttered windows, guests dine on upscale dishes such as steak encrusted with black peppercorns, seared tuna, and creamy tarragon fettuccine replete with king prawns. The drink menu complements meals with daiquiris, martinis, and draft beers.
Today, the structure occupied by River Rock Bar + Grill invites hungry diners and Travelodge visitors to rest their weary bones while recharging with pub-style meals or intimate evenings around bottles of wine. But long ago in 1893, the building rose as a magnificent dwelling for Ashdown Green, a key player in the development of Cowichan Valley. Despite its transformation from home to hangout, the building, much like a water balloon filled with aged scotch, continues to burst with history and heritage.
Now, bartenders yank the levers on 10 draft beers and servers dish out pulled-pork sandwiches and wings. Seven high-definition TVs ensnare eyes with sports games, and a heated patio beckons guests outside even on colder days.
The Chef's Table serves up sumptuous multicourse dinners nightly, in an intimate dining room located within a scenic bed and breakfast. There is no set menu; instead, custom menus are created each day, with chefs preparing appetizers, entrees, and desserts while guests look on. In the past, they've crafted gourmet dishes such as prosciutto-wrapped asparagus or Pacific caesar salad with scallops and caper berries. Guests are free to ask questions and take notes throughout the dinner. Afterward, the night's recipes are posted on the website.