Thursday, July 21, 2011

Solstice Cafe

Solstice Cafe
529 Pandora Street
June 27, 2011
**** Fernwood Coffee
++++ Goodies

I don't know how I overlooked this place.  it is across the street from Habit Coffee.  It has a fuller menu, but i only had a coffee and pastry, both excellent.  It seems that I arrived on the last day it will look like this, as they are closing for a month of renovations.  i will have to return when it is done and do another entry. It has a nice, friendly warm atmosphere, and seems to attract a 'homespun' clientelle. It was crowded, so I ended up sharing a table with three Oak Bay kinda casual business men, who were quite curious about what i was doing. They serve Fernwood Coffee, which I love, and Silk Road Teas. After hours, solstice cafĂ© plays host to singers, poets, philosophers, artists, protestors and many others with something to share…I haven't been to any of these, but now I know about it, I may give it a try.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

White Heather Tea Room

White Heather Tea Room
1885 Oak  Bay Avenue.
**** coffee

While looking through some old picture files, i found these drawings.  The White Heather Tea Room is just down the street from where I live, and these have to be the very first drawings I did of this kind.  I still wasn't brave enough to try and draw people, so i stuck with 'things'.

Although its a tearoom, they do serve a decent cup of coffee, but that's not why I go there.  I go for the absolutely fantastic British style tea dainties.  It is even a delight to go for simple tea and scones. Their scones are the best I have ever had - even better than mine. The decor is simple, and doesn't try to be faux Brit 'twee', like the tea rooms that are targetting the tourist trade.  It is mostly locals that end up here, and tourists are brought or referred by their friends and relatives.

Their lunches are also fantastic, and reservations for lunch are mandatory, or you won't get in.  If you don't have a reservation, the best times to 'drop in' is for late breakfast or brunch, or late afternoon tea, after 2.   The goodies come in a three tier serving tray. On the bottom are a selection of scones, which are served with clotted cream and home made raspberry or strawberry jams.  The middle tray holds a selection of crust-less party  sandwiches, mini quiches and fruit.  The top is desserts -  lemon cake, tarts, squares and shortbread. 

Fresh flowers, white linen and flowery tea cups finish the look.  The tearoom was opened by 'Aggie' ten or eleven years ago, and was recently sold, as she has moved on to different career as a freelance concierge for an elderly clientelle.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Kadalima's sadly has closed, and is no more

So it was Monday, and sunny and warm, and I was lusting after gelato.  But sadly Ottavio's was closed.  So i headed here instead.  This was one my last visits to one of my favorite patisserie.  I turned up for coffee one day, and it appears that overnight the bakery disappeared, leaving a notice on the door saying that they had defaulted on their rent.  They made some of the very best pastries in Victoria, that I often described as tasting as good as they looked.  Too often, commercial pastries LOOK good, but virtually all taste similar.


Cascadia Bakery @ 1812 Government St.
May 6 2010
+++++ their own.

A very busy little place, not too many tables available inside.  I understand it is an offshoot of Rebar, the top rated vegetarian restaurant in Victoria.  The service was fast and efficient, the coffee was excellent.  They must be using one of the local roasteries, but i neglected to ask which one.  I had a fresh fruit gallette and it was excellent as well.  The cafe was redolent with delicious tempting smells.  Their breads looked amazing, but I knew if I bought a loaf it would disappear too quickly.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Special Teas

Special Teas @ 803 Fort Street.
April 23, 2010
+ packaged cookies

I thought it was about time I tried out some tea shops, and there was a parking space.  I do sort of  like tea.  I adore my own home made iced tea.  But I don't think I am a tea person.  I don't appreciate the subtle differences.  I drink it black with a bit of sweet.  I think putting milk in tea turns it to mud.  This is a lovely tea shop, with a wall of different teas in dozens of black and gold tea tins.  There a couple of small tables, and the tea is served on its own little heating stand, lit with a votive candle.  It comes with a couple of cookies.  The atmosphere is quiet and contemplative.  It's kinda dim, and there's lots of Asian rugs lying about.  I don't really do contemplative.  However, the tea was very good.


De'lish @ St. Patrick and Central in Oak Bay
April 22, 2010
**** Illy coffee
+++++ goodies

I have been trying to get to this place for ages, but the parking seems to always be a problem, even though  it is on a residential street.  It's very tiny, so there's limited seating inside as well, and it's still too cold to sit outside.  Besides, i like to draw the interiors.  Today I was in luck with both parking and a teeny table inside.  It is what I like to call a patisserie, not a simple coffee shop.  I am running out of those, so I am moving on to patisseries.  It has fantastic baking, does tea and small lunches, and does catering as well.  The coffee was good, the expected Illy, and the pastry divine.  I hope to come back for lunch some time.

5 Corners Coffee

5 Corners Coffee @Fairfield and Moss Street
February 21, 2010 & sometime in June.
Another coffee shop bites the dust.  Drove by one day and it was gone gone gone. 

And now for something completely different.  This charming coffee stall turned up not too long ago, and has intrigued me.  I chatted with the owner, who told me that he had bought the heritage house behind, and found it was zoned 'commercial' so he decided to open a Seattle styel  neighbourhood coffee/snack stall.  People drop by, pick up their coffee and chat with him or his wife and it's a very friendly place.  Note the flowers.  I started the drawing in February, but went back to complete it in June, so I included the flowers.  The coffee was pretty good, and it gets an extra * for its uniqueness.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Cafe Mela

Cafe Mela @ 784 Humboldt Street
February 19, 2010
**** Illy (i think)
+++++Bond Bond Bakery

Finally found this on the ground level of one of the new high rises that is springing up all around downtown.  It's very different from all the other coffee places that I have visited.  It's 'classy', European style and not  west coast green, or primarily a patisserie.  They have modelled it on the classic Viennese  Kaffeehaus.  It is small, with marble tables, lovely striped satin and antiquey wooden chairs.  The coffee was very good.  I think Illy, and the croissant was wonderful, served on a plate with a doily.

The Village on Estevan.


The Village on Estevan Estevan Street.
March 18, 2010
I started this journal in the Village, after a walk with  Zoe the Wonder Dog on Willows Beach, and while I often return here for the excellent food, I don't usually just come for a coffee.  It's not because their coffee isn't good.  It is.  In fact, it was here that I learned to love Americanos.  When I first started coming here, I was drinking decaff, and while their decaff was ok, it lacked the va va voom that i preferred.  So after I found out that coffee can be GOOD for asthmatics, I switched to Americanos.  This day I was waiting for friends to join me for one of their delicious breakfasts, so out came the journal.  I believe they get their coffee from  Discovery Coffee.