five local food joints to visit this weekend

5 Victoria foodie gems to visit this weekend1. It’s Friday night. The Drake is a cozy, laid back space on lower Pandora ideal for unwinding over a few casual drinks with friends. In true west coast style, they boast a huge selection of BC beers on tap. // Find The Drake at 517 Pandora Avenue.

2. Oh hello, Saturday morning! Hey Happy  is a cool new coffee shop located on Lower Johnson. Stop in for a hand-crafted drink that’s guaranteed to be creative and delicious. Locally made artisan donuts are aplenty, and totally count as breakfast food. // Find Hey Happy at 560 Johnson Street.

3. Hungry again? No shame in that. Vancouver mainstay Meat & Bread has just moved in on Yates St. The name says it all (though they do have animal-friendly options, too). // Find Meat & Bread at 721 Yates Street.

4. Saturday nights are for seafood, small plates, and good cocktails. Ferris’ Upstairs is newly renovated and is well worth another visit if it’s been a while. Never been? Oh, you are missing out! // Find Ferris’ Upstairs at 536 Yates Street.

5. Sunday, funday.  What’s more fun than tacos? The beloved crew behind the Tacofino food trucks have opened up a brick-and-mortar shop on the 700 block of Fort Street. The food truck pioneers may be known for their namesake, but can we suggest the vegetarian burrito followed by a diablo cookie? // Find Tacofino at 787 Fort Street.

Happy eating, foodies.

barcelona, madrid, seville, victoria

Perro Negro by Centric Photography

We’d like to personally thank the fine people of Spain for their epic contribution to cuisine – the tapa. We don’t visit as often as we’d like, but know that we’re grateful. Lucky for us, our little west coast city loves tapas almost as much as we do. When it’s tapas we want, it’s tapas we’ll get.

The latest addition to the Victoria small plates scene is Perro Negro, the fourth restaurant in the Ferris’ family. Located above Ferris’ Grill, Perro Negro is a sultry extension of the newly renovated Ferris’ Upstairs Oyster Bar. Its dim lighting, brick walls, sophisticated cocktails, impressive wine list and yes, tapas, make it a perfect late-night spot. We loved everything we tried (the olives, the montaditos, the chorizo, the croquettas…) but the warm bacon wrapped dates stuffed with emrite blue cheese and honey are indeed our favourite. Most dishes are easily shared between two – any more and hands might get slapped. Bites are small (tapas, by definition, are supposed to be small) and priced accordingly so have fun with menu and keep the plates coming.

Spain, we might not be back…

Find Perro Negro upstairs at 536 Yates St., Victoria. Open Thursday through Saturday, 5pm to 12am.

Photo by Centric Photography.

eat your crust

Crust Bakery

Remember when you were little and your mom would send you off to school with your lunch box, give you a kiss, and tell you to eat your crust? She was so right. If you aren’t familiar with Crust Bakery then you, dear friend, are missing out. Pastry chef Tom Moore and wife Crystal opened Crust in the fall of 2013, taking the place of the old Rheinland Bakery on Fort St. Last spring they underwent a renovation that transformed Crust into the bright, airy space it is today.

The renovation was a good excuse to walk through the door, but let’s be honest – we were there for the pastry. Desserts are delicate and decadent and range from pastries and tarts to muffins and croissants.  Fans of savoury goods have plenty to choose from, too – savoury pastries, calzones and sandwiches are served up daily. All goods are made on site using natural ingredients, including Crust bread (rye, sourdough, baguette, 9-grain, focaccia, and even cinnamon, fruit and nut bread).

Our favourite? That blueberry lemon tart we couldn’t resist diving into before snapping a shot!

Find Crust Bakery at 730 Forst St., Victoria BC.

the coolest kid sister around

Kid Sister

Did you know there’s a popsicle store on Fisgard Sreet? We didn’t either! You can imagine our shock and dismay (immediately followed by delight) when we discovered the hidden gem that is, today, Kid Sister. For three summer seasons, Fruition Paletas has been serving up homemade fruit popsicles (or, paletas) from its tiny, inconspicuous storefront tucked between Blanshard and Quadra. They’re back this summer as the newly re-branded Kid Sister – and they’re serving more than just popsicles. The cool cold treat shop offers ice cream, ice cream pies, milkshakes, sundaes, floats and soda. Best of all, each tasty delight is made in-house.

Kid Sister

We have to admit – our crush on Kid Sister started long before we sampled their goods. The brand caught our attention online, and we knew we had to check out the space. Even if you hate ice cream (who hates ice cream?!?) the storefront is worth a visit for the design alone. From the outdoor mural to the sleek black and white subway tiles inside, Kid Sister is cool from head to toe. The amazing branding was done by local company Talkie, and while it may be what got us through the door, it’s the delicious desserts that will keep us coming back (again, and again).

Find Kid Sister at 837 Fisgard St., Victoria BC.

grease meets gourmet

Wheelies Motorcycles

We love a nice piece of leather and a good cup of coffee so when we heard about a motorcycle shop that doubles as cafe we knew we had to check it out.

In 1948 2620 Rock Bay Ave. was an auto repair shop. Today it’s home to Wheelies Motorcycles, a full service motorcycle shop and gourmet eatery. The smell of espresso with a hint of worn leather and motor oil gives the entirely refurbished space a warmth you won’t find at any other garage, and an edge you won’t get at your regular coffee shop.

We’re not exactly well-versed in motorcycle culture and we won’t be making use of the u-wrench service or talking shop with the mechanics, but anywhere that serves up Baked Mac n’ Cheese and Braised Pork Sandwiches with house made ice cream and Bows & Arrows coffee is a win our books. And it’s not hard to tell that this place is already a favourite with bikers and hipsters alike – the cool practically hits you in the face the second you walk through the door.

Find Wheelies Motorcycles at 2620 Rock Bay Avenue and online at www.wheeliesmotorcycles.ca.