Tagged with " Vancouver Island"
Apr 14, 2010 -

The White Heather Tea Room

Mrs. H wanted to round out the Butchart Garden excursion with an introduction to a traditional English high tea. Neil Z commented last night that he had an amazing high tea experience at the White Heather Tea Room. A quick check of other reviews convinced me to try it out. We ordered the ‘Big Muckle Giant Tea’ and were not disappointed!

I didn’t think to bring in my camera, so here is an idea of what our spread looked like, on three plates set on a tiered stand:

we didn’t have that huge plate of shortbread in the foreground πŸ™‚

They have a large selection of teas, including Balmoral, their version of the Earl Grey and jasmine tea I discovered in Edmonton. Yuuuuum.

The homemade fare is worth describing in detail. Let’s see if I can remember it all. πŸ™‚

Tier One (the bottom plate):

-scone (cranberry or apricot ginger) with Devonshire (sweet whipped) cream, raspberry preserves, and/or lemon curd;

-mini quiche with sundried tomatoes;

-a bite-sized cheese thing with roasted red peppers (yuuuuuuum);

-fruit slices (apple and orange).

Tier two (middle plate):

-a mini savory scone with the most amazing smoky sweet salmon I have ever had;

-rolled sandwiches (egg (which I didn’t eat); ham with relish; and cucumber with cream cheese on marbelized rye (yuuuuuuum)).

Tier three (top plate):

Dessert!

-an incredible cranberry brownie (that had a distinct coffee aftertaste);

-lemony blueberry pound cake with icing;

-a cheesy cracker thing with a bit of apple on top (one of my favourite things today);

-delicious crispy and buttery shortbread (I’ll admit to dipping it in Devonshire cream mixed with raspberry preserves!);

-a little tart filled with lemon curd and topped with Devonshire cream.

I wound up taking most of Mrs. H’s desserts home and will enjoy them with regular tea before bed. πŸ™‚

It didn’t seem like much food until we started on it. The portions were small, but there were a lot of them.

High tea at the White Heather Tea Room is definitely an experience I will never forget. Thank you for the recommendation, Neil!

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Apr 14, 2010 -

Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens is probably the best known Victoria attraction. They were planted in the early 20th century in what used to be a limestone quarry. While this sounded ‘nice’, I knew it would not be my best use of nearly $30, so I was going to skip it, but Mrs. H insisted on taking me there.

We had a wonderful time and I greatly enjoyed myself, more than I would have had I gone on my own since Mrs. H was able to tellΒ  the names of a lot of the flowers.

My favourite gardens were the Japanese and the Sunken and my least favourite was the Italian. I like Japanese gardens because they feel very natural for all their formality, with soft ground covers, ponds with bridges, and rocky paths. The Sunken Garden was a formidable feat of horticulture; transforming the lunar landscape of a limestone query into a Technicolour world straight out of a fantasy. I don’t like Italian gardens because they are too stiff and formal, very hard with stone underfoot and statues all around.

These are the best pictures I took:

Visiting Butchart Gardens was a pleasant way to wile away a few hours, but it still feels way overpriced to me, impressed as I was by the way the old quarry was completely transformed.

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Apr 13, 2010 -

First Impressions of Victoria

Victoria has thus far presented herself as the graceful fair lady I expected her to be.

Of all the major Canadian cities, only Victoria ever stood out as a possible forever home city for me, if only for its climate. I have wanted to walk her streets for a long, long time. I have now visited the capital city of all the provinces and territories I have visited and only have Yellowknife, St. John’s, and Iqaluit left.

Mrs. H and I pulled into town mid-afternoon and she directed me to her favourite hotel, a Traveler’s Inn located in a convenient location. I quickly left her to take a nap while I set off on foot to scope out downtown, about fifteen minutes away.

I was surprised by how many people were out and about and I found the crushing crowds a bit shocking. I haven’t been surrounded by so many people since the last time I was in downtown Vancouver, almost a year ago! It was exhilarating, with all these different types of people from all social classes hurrying about and the most amazing smells spilling out of the restaurants. I was a tad overwhelmed, but it was pleasant because Victoria isn’t that big. I wouldn’t have done so well in a truly populous metropolis!

I bought an ice cream cone and enjoyed it as I scoped out the major landmarks I hope to visit in the next few days. I will be doing a lot of exploring on my own, but Mrs. H will also be showing me ‘her’ Victoria.

Some parts of downtown felt very old, like what I imagine streets in the 17th and 18th century might have been like. Other parts felt very modern. The city has a nice skyline where the diverse architectural styles complement each other. I look forward to exploring!

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