Food & Drink in Parksville

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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.

744 Memorial Ave
Qualicum Beach,
BC
CA

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).

540 Island Hwy E
Parksville,
BC
CA

Cold Stone’s ice cream, made in-store daily, inhabits a quantum flux between soft-serve and traditional ice cream, with a rich, creamy texture that whispers tales of its super-premium quality as it glides over taste buds. Ice-cream voyeurs can create their own ice-creamplosion from old favourites or unheard of delights ($2.89–$4.59 with two mix-ins), eliciting taste tests of dozens of silky flavours such as cake batter, cotton candy, and piñata. Each ice-cream creation generously welcomes up to two of the shop's dozens of mix-ins as traditional as Oreo cookies and chopped nuts or as quirky as pie crust. Those willing to bequeath the invention of creamy concoctions to the professionals can try a Cold Stone Signature creation, such as the almond-studded and caramel-slathered Coffee Lovers Only or the Peanut Butter Cup Perfection with Reese's peanut-butter cups, fudge, and a side of endorphins ($3.99–$5.75). Once concoctions are chosen and perfected, they're scooped cold into freshly made waffle cones or bowls.

15 Wallace Street
Nanaimo,
BC
CA

A bakery outlet for Canada Bread Company Limited, McGavin's offers rows of loaves at wholesale prices. Fill bare cupboards or secret floorboard compartments with discount bread facing a dwindling shelf life, surplus bread from overzealous production lines, and fresh bread from local bakeries. McGavin's white or 100 per cent whole-wheat loaves (five loaves for $10.49) prove eminently slatherable. Other yeasty feasts include Dempster's Bagel six packs (three packs for $8.99), english muffin six packs (three packages for $6.99), and tortillas (three packages for $8.25). The popular discount special section, meanwhile, invites gluten gourmands to mix and match an ever-changing cast of short-dated dough bookends: every product, regardless of size, grain, or resemblance to Winston Churchill costs $1.39, and shoppers can mix and match an assortment of ten loaves for $12. Discount selections change daily and vary by location.

581 Ryan Rd
Courtenay,
BC
CA