Oak Bay Beach Hotel – a home away from home

Oak Bay Beach Hotel & Pools

For 90 years, the Oak Bay Beach Hotel has stood overlooking the waters off the Victoria suburb. The current luxurious property is the third hotel to occupy the position after the original was destroyed by fire and the replica closed in its old age.  Since reopening in 2012, the new Oak Bay Beach Hotel was rebuilt to an elevated standard and has won accolades for its service ever since.

For a recent family gathering in Victoria, we wanted to stay out of downtown Victoria and Oak Bay Beach Hotel provided a perfect home, away from home for the weekend. Even though the new hotel is larger it still retains much of the old world charm of the original property.  In fact, the new property retains many original architectural elements and furnishings from the original, including windows, bricks, beams. The original doors of the hotel were reinstalled as the entrance to Kate’s Cafe, the hotel’s cozy, neighbourhood coffee house.  The Snug Pub, was Victoria’s first neighbourhood pub and is still welcoming locals and visitors for a pint and good grub with stunning views over the beautiful gardens and seaside outdoor spa pools.

Our sumptuous corner suite featured stunning views from all sides over Oak Bay Marina and over the pools, looking out to the Chain Islets. We didn’t witness any first hand but pods of Orca has been known to frolic offshore to the thrill of guests.  The suite’s double aspect meant guests can enjoy views from the bedroom and the spacious living room while sitting by the fire. We could make coffee or tea in the kitchenette and enjoy watching the sunrise from the one of the two balconies.  The large bathroom, featured a soaker tub, stand-up surround shower, double basins, heated tiled floors and separate WC.

The Oak Bay Beach Hotel’s location is ideal for a peaceful excursion out of downtown Victoria. There’s not really any need to leave the resort but when you do, Oak Bay and Estevan Villages are close at hand with many shopping and dining options.   We had the pleasure of driving an Acura TLX for the weekend which made the road-trip a driving joy.  The Acura TLX made smooth work of the open highway from Vancouver to Victoria, then hugged the winding coastal roads around Greater Victoria.  The comfort and space of the vehicle was great for the family visit too, having plenty of room to take extra family members out for brunch or lunch. The luxury of the Acura TLX matched the luxurious surroundings of the Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

After getting a taste of the beautiful property and experiencing the excellent customer services we look forward to returning for another stay at Oak Bay Beach Hotel.  With so much else to do on our weekend, we didn’t get a chance to make use of the hotel’s pools, spa or take in much of the dining options.

Oak Bay Beach Hotel is located at 1175 Beach Drive in the Oak Bay suburb of Greater Victoria. Call 250.598.4556 or visit oakbaybeachhotel.com for information and reservations.

Tasting Plates – North Van Brunch comes November 25th

The burgeoning neighbourhood of Lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver is preparing to welcome Tasting Plates for Brunch on November 25, 2017.  Start your Saturday morning with other foodies, family and friends as you take your taste buds on an exploration of the North Vancouver neighbourhood’s eateries for some one of a kind food finds.

As with other Tasting Plates events, patrons will check in to collect their Tasting Plates Brunch card and map, then set off to visit the area and see what flavours are in store.  North Vancouver diverse food scene is will certainly not disappoint as Tasting Platers dive into everything from baked goods to ice cream.

Participating establishments for Tasting Plates Brunch North Vancouver include;

Maru Korean Bistro – 125 2nd St E, North Vancouver

The Juicery Co – 254 1st St E, North Vancouver

Two Daughters Bakery – 121 E 1st Sreet (rear), North Vancouver

Welcome Parlour Ice Cream – 277 8th St E, North Vancouve

See what the local chefs and proprietors have come up with to show off their best brunch plates on November 25th from 10am to 2pm.  $30 Early Bird Tickets are on sale until November 10th, buy tickets for Tasting Plates North Vancouver Brunch online now.

Middle Beach Lodge, a Tofino getaway

To wrap up the end of summer, we made a road trip to the wild West Coast of Vancouver Island, for a stay at Middle Beach Lodge in Tofino, BC.
Turning off of Hwy 4 on to the rugged MacKenzie Beach Road is a bit of a shock for the first few hundred metres but the smooth access to Middle Beach Lodge foretells what lies ahead.  Lush, verdant forest surrounds you as the warren of cabins and cottages dot the road to the Main Lodge at the Headlands.
Greeted by a row of bright yellow rain slickers, the Lodge holds the check-in desk, and the great room where daily complimentary breakfast and dinners on select nights are served, at other times guests can mingle, read or play board games at the tables or the oversized Chesterfield sofas in front of a roaring fire.  Out on the veranda, nature is out every aspect, with views across Templar Channel to Wickaninnish Island and the open waters rolling onto MacKenzie Beach.   Middle Beach Lodge has a wide variety of accommodation, from rooms in the Main Lodge at the Headlands, the Lodge at the Beach, (another lodge overlooking Middle Beach itself), or duplex and triplex cottages, many with kitchens and kitchenettes.  Couples, families and more can easily find comfortable rooms, and the style of your getaway is what you make of it.  Some rooms have comfortable sitting rooms,and private outdoor sitting areas facing the ocean or forest, or join other guests in the lodge to socialize and make new friends.

Exploring the 40 acre site, guests find a network of viewpoints, roads, trails leading to MacKenzie or Middle Beach.  Low and high tide offer different beach side adventures, Wickaninnish Island provides shelter for Middle Beach, while the vast MacKenzie Beach offers more variety for shore and water sports.  South on Hwy 4, Pacific Rim National Park Reserve opens a whole realm of wild, natural beach and rainforest adventures.
Being one of the closest resorts to the Village of Tofino, Middle Beach Lodge makes accessing the village a quick 5 minute drive, where guests can experience the culinary gems, like The Wolf in The Fog, Shelter, Tacofino, or Sea Monster Noodles.  Book excursions and activities to complete the West Coast experience; stand-up paddleboarding, whale watching, kayaking, hiking,  excursions to Hot Springs Cove and much more.
Whatever type of getaway you’re looking for Middle Beach Lodge makes an ideal spot to base your adventures.

Tasting Plates Chinatown – Recap

Wednesday night, Tasting Plates took patrons on an adventure to find the new tastes of Vancouver’s Chinatown.
While Chinatown is one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods, it is also home to some of the newest up and coming food locations.  Vancouver Foodster and some of the new locales presented a taste of what makes them an alternative to the traditional neighbourhood Chinese restaurants.

First up, the check in location at Klaus’s Kaffee Haus, the Austrian breakfast & lunch spot, where Tasting Platers collected their tour maps and kick started their evening with tasting cup of Lavazza Coffee.

Just down Pender Street, Umaluma presented a trio of flavours on their Tasting Plate.  The stylish dairy-free gelato parlour impressed with a scoop of rich and creamy Pumpkin Pie Gelato with Coconut Whipped Cream, topped with Roasted Hazelnuts, and a scoop of crisp and clean Raspberry Sorbetto, topped with a freeze dried Raspberry, silver specked Chocolate and Manuka Honey Foam.  In a tasting cup, Umaluma poured a “Shot in the Dark” drinking chocolate with tangy Buckthorn powder.

Around the block on Main Street, the most recent location of Straight Outta Brooklyn Pizzeria was a bustling spot as they cut slices of their NYC style pizza.  Choosing from their pies;
Original – Margherita,
Classic – Pepperoni,
White – Mozzarella, Fior di Latte, Ricotta Grana Padano, Garlic and Oregano
Spice – Capicollo, Spicy Salami
“The Olive and Caper” a new vegan option.

Across Main, Dalina , the grocery, kitchen, coffee house hosted a selection of their vendor partners who dished up some of the locally made offerings sold at Dalina.
Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar is a neighbour of Dalina and the pair collaborate on a rich and sweet hot chocolate.
Jules + Kent Food Group, the local producer booked up a rich dish of pasta with their Caramelized Garlic Pasta Sauce.
Naked Snacks, another local company offered up cups of their healthy and wholesome snack mixes; Wholesome Yogi and Hearty Tamari.
Better With Ice Cream, 100% honest ice cream, traceable from farm to spoon, offered a mini-cone of Caramel flavour.

The simple Tasting Plates Chinatown tour offered a great introduction to the  new tastes complementing the Chinatown neighbourhood. Keep your eyes open for the next Tasting Plates – Yaletown Brunch on October 28th and other flavourful Vancouver Foodster events coming this fall.

Taste Of Yaletown serves up flavours.

Yaletown is in the midst of a flavourful festival of fixed price menus for Taste of Yaletown.

Running until October 27, 2017, Taste of Yaletown is an annual celebration of Yaletown’s restaurants. Two dozen of the neighbourhood chefs are offering special prix fixe lunch and dinner menus, tastings, and unique pairings that show their eateries at the very best.

Set menus are priced at $25, $35 & $45 with some restaurants making offerings at all three levels.  Taste of Yaletown lets patrons explore the world through the diversity of its restaurants, from Tom Yum at Simply Thai, Mexican at the recently opened Fayuca, Italian fare at La Pentola or Yaletown L’Antipasto, taste the mediterranean at The Greek by Anatoli, grab a sweet and savory slice at Lime & Moon Pie Company, chocolate and whisky at Xoxolat and so many more.

For the full list of participating restaurants and menus visit yaletowninfo.com

Halloween Time At Fly Over Canada

Starting today, the Witch Academy is back in session at Fly Over Canada.  Broomelda the Witch invites all members of the family to graduate from her Haunted Halloween School.

Brace yourself for a spooky set up as you attend pre-flight Witch Academy.  Then hop on your broom for a kid-friendly version of the Ultimate Flying Ride Fly Over Canada, keep your eyes out for Broomelda and her spooky friends in the sky.  After your flight, graduate with flying colours and receive
your Witch Academy Diploma.

Halloween at Fly Over Canada runs October 12 – 31.
Weekdays: 4pm – 9pm
Weekends & Oct 31: 10am – 9pm

Regular FlyOver Canada Shows run: 10am – 3pm

Halloween Flights have a ‘spook-factor’ suitable for kids ages 4 years + (children must be 120cm tall to ride)

Reserve your flight online at flyovercanada.com/halloween
Phone 1 888 290 3060 for information
Fly Over Canada is located at the tip of Canada Place.

 

 

Tasting Plates – Chinatown : October 18th on sale now

One of our oldest neighbourhoods is also one of the most vibrant and fast-changing.  Tasting Plates – Chinatown on October 18th takes us on a tasty tour around the downtown district.

As with all Vancouver Foodster’s Tasting Plates, gather your friends and family, check in at Klaus’s Kaffee Haus to collect your Tasting Plates card and map, then set out to explore what the chefs of Chinatown have to present on their tasting plates and cups. Along the way, meet other foodie friends and the chefs who are bringing new life and flavours to the neighbourhood.

The establishments taking part in Tasting Plates – Chinatown so far include:

Klaus’s Kaffee Haus – 291 E Pender St

Straight Outta Brooklyn NYC Pizzeria – 648 Main Street

Umaluma – 235 E Pender St

Dalina – 687 Main St

Today is the last day for Early-Bird Tickets: $35 per person
Advance Tickets $45 per person after October 9, 2017
Regular $60 per person after October 14, 2017