Savoury Salt Spring Island
We recently took a trip to Salt Spring Island, BC for a part of my son's spring break. Its a place I've always wanted to visit after hearing the intriguing stories about it. And...well... Salt Spring Cheese is made there, which is enough reason to go! As part of my travel tips in the Lifestyles blog, Salt Spring Island, I thought it would be fitting to tell you about the food as well. What's a holiday without the food experience?
It was an experience to be sure. It was a bit hit and miss truthfully. We weren't there for too terribly long so I really had to pick and choose what I wanted to check out. It's a good thing my guys will eat virtually anything, and don't complain if I'm adamant about trying something out. (Well at least on Salt Spring they weren't)
By the time we landed in Ganges Harbour on the ferry from Vancouver, we were famished. I was on the hunt, it had to be good and hearty, savoury and delectable all at the same time. I checked quickly for reviews and options on my handy dandy smart phone and came up with several options.
Our restaurant of choice for lunch was Auntie Pestos Cafe , the atmosphere and service was fantastic, in fact it was by far the best service of our whole trip. I seriously had the best chicken salad sandwich creation I have ever had! Raisins, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, fresh lettuce and homemade bread. The soup of the day was Borscht, which of course I ordered being from the Interlake in Manitoba where Borscht is a staple!My son had the Johnny B Meatball sandwich, which he said was tasty but not what he was expecting as it was more like a sloppy joe, but with meatballs. The hubby had the grilled chicken panini it both looked great and he said was delicious. If you would like to see their menu and pricing check out it our here. I would go back to this gem again and again, to try at least everything once.
Our second choice for our late evening dinner was the Oyster Catcher Restaurant right at Ganges Marina. It came highly recommended by our hostess Linda at the Gatehouse B&B. It was nice and quiet by the time we arrived at the restaurant and the gal that was serving us was pretty on the ball, as were the rest of the team there helped her bring out dishes, and the food all came out hot and steamy. They had a large menu so there definitely was something for everyone. We ordered a variety of dishes, I ordered the Roasted Cedar Plank Salmon: Line caught, wild sockeye salmon in a creme ginger sauce. My son ordered the Campfire BarBQ ribs, and the McMuscles (the hubby) ordered Mussels & Pomme Frites in the same ginger creme sauce. We also ordered calamari as an appetizer, which the guys loved, but I found too salty for my tastes. According to my guys, it was the best calamari we had the entire trip. You can see their menu here.
I wouldn't order the salmon again, it was overcooked, and there is no better way to ruin salmon. Presentation was surprisingly inventive. It ended up being quite dry, even the ginger sauce (which was lovely) didn't help. The mashed potatoes were tasteless and were hidden under the plank, the salad (which I asked for as it was being served with brussels sprouts YUCK) was the right size, I loved the addition of the beets.
Mussels were a hit, the ginger creme sauce that they were soaking in, was my hubby's favourite, he didn't have any issues with his dinner or mine, or my son's, he finished them all, dipped in the ginger creme sauce. The Campfire Ribs, by my son's estimation, didn't come close to mine, (and what a good son he is)...they definitely weren't slow baked long enough.
It filled our tummies, I had a lovely glass of red wine, which I promptly knocked over onto my new purse and the boys finished off with the fried ice cream. I think the fried ice cream was their favourite.
The prices were high in my estimation, but it sounds like they always have a packed house once tourist season starts or the weather warms up. If you want to check it out during that time, I was told to make sure you have reso's or you won't get in.
At the end of the day, I would have gone back to Auntie Pesto's for dinner as well, as their menu appealed to my tastes the most. I thought I was being far to boring to go back to the same place twice, and you have to be adventurous while on holiday!
The last place we ate on the island was in Fulford, our next ferry location. Seriously, this place looked like it fell out of a movie. I was definitely expecting more. The choices for restaurants were slim, and the Rock Salt Restaurant & Cafe was our only choice really. It was mediocre at best, cold, and the service was awful, truthfully the entire vibe of the place was just OFF. We had a really hard time putting out finger on it, but I guess it was that we really didn't feel comfortable, or welcome. It was quite odd, our waitress was more pissed off that she had to serve us than anything else, which inevitably will put me off the food. The hubby and I had the Gumboot Rancheros and well, if you have ever been to Manitoba and have eaten a Mexican Breakfast at Stella's, nothing can compare. I didn't even take pictures, it was just that bad. My son, I don't even remember what he had, that's how unimpressed we were.
We actually had planned on eating at the restaurant at the Salt Spring Island Cheese Company only to find that it hadn't opened yet for the season. Much to our chagrin, but there's a lesson for you, make sure it's open before you head down to that end of the island and catch the ferry. Eat there, have a full tummy, then get on the ferry.