Off The Eaten Track Blog

Blog

Blogging never tasted so delicious


What do Poutine, Nanaimo Bars, and a Caesar cocktail all have in common? They are all Canadian dishes invented in Canada, consumed in Canada, but virtually unheard of outside of our borders. In celebration of the 150th year of Confederation, here are our top 5 Canadian foods and where to find them in Victoria, BC

Poutine

What’s the story: Invented in Quebec in the 1950’s and now mostly consumed late at night by drunk college kids. 
What is it? Fries, gravy, and cheese curds. 
Fun Fact: In 2007 CBC declared it one of the top 10 Canadian inventions of all time!
Best places to score a Poutine in Victoria: 1. Smoke & Anchor (Fisherman’s Wharf) 2.  La Belle Patate (Esquimalt) 3,  North 48 Restaurant (Downtown).

Poutine at Smoke & Anchor

Poutine at Smoke & Anchor

Nanaimo Bar

What’s the story: Claims to have been invented in Nanaimo BC in the late 1950s but this is debatable.
What is it? A sweet no-baked bar with a coconut base, a custard filling, and a chocolate ganache top.
Fun Fact: The town of Nanaimo has a Nanaimo bar trail with 39 stops! That’s a lot of Nanaimo Bars!
Best places to score a Nanaimo Bar in Victoria: 1.  Courtyard Cafe (Grand Pacific Hotel) 2.  La Roux Patisserie (Chinatown) 3. Roger’s Chocolate (Government Street).

Nanaimo Bar from Courtyard Cafe

Nanaimo Bar from Courtyard Cafe

Caesar Cocktail

What’s the story: Invented by Walter Chell in Calgary in 1969.
What is it? A cocktail with Clamato (a mix of tomato juice and clam nectar), vodka, worcester sauce, tobasco, and a celery salt rim.
Fun Fact: Canadian consume more than 1 million Caesars a day. We REALLY love this cocktail
Best places to score a Caesar cocktail in Victoria: 1. The Blue Crab (Coast Hotel) 2. Hawk & Hen (Yates Street) 3, Jam Cafe (Downtown).

unnamed (1)

Maple Syrup

What’s the story: First Nations people have been tapping maple trees in Eastern Canada for 1000’s of years. 
What’s in it? Maple sap. That’s it. Just pure delicious maple sap.
Fun Fact: 80% of the world’s maple syrup is produced in Canada, mostly in Quebec. 
Best place to score some maple syrup in Victoria: 1. Olive This and More (Broughton) 2. Any brunch restaurant that has pancakes on the menu 3. Whole foods Victoria (Uptown). Seriously, they have a great selection!

Maple Syrup infused balsamic vinegar at Olive This and More

Maple Syrup infused balsamic vinegar at Olive This and More

Beavertails

What’s the story: Invented in Ontario in the late 1970’s by a husband and wife duo.
What’s in it: Whole wheat pastry deep fried then sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon and sometimes a slice of lemon. It’s called a beavertail because of it’s shape.
Fun Fact: When Obama visited Ottawa in the 2000’s he stopped at the original Beavertail booth. They named a tail after him.
Best place to score a beavertail in Victoria: There is only one place…Beavertails owned by Mark on Broughton Street!

Beavertails on Broughton

Beavertails on Broughton

Canada 150 Food Tour

Want to eat like a Canadian and try all of these dishes? Join our Canada 150 Food Tour running Monday-Saturday from 3-5.30pm to experience the food & culture of the true north strong and free! Click HERE for more details!

OTET1

 

 

DSC_3341

The fun-tastic gourmet ice cream trend is still going strong in Vancouver despite a few ice cream parlour closures (we will miss you UYU and Fluffy Kittens). Here are our top 5 downtown locations to get the best stuff:

1. Cadeaux Bakery (172 Powell Street)
Pastry chef extraordinaire Eleanor Chow and her talented team are making one of the best ice cream sandwiches in the city! Giant slabs of homemade ice cream bookended by a salted chocolate shortbread that is basically the size of a book! Yes please.
DSC_3319

2. Railtown Cafe (397 Railway Street)
Pasty chef Alex Abley consistantly churns out delicious cold gold in a variety of flavours and textures. From local fruit to classic flavours, a great place to purchase a cheap pint! Plus, bring in your old container to get 10% off your next purchase.
PageLines- Railtown.JPG

3. Virtuous Pie (583 Main Street)
Yes this is a vegan plant based pizza shop. Are they making ice cream as well? You bet they are. We were bummed to hear Nice Vice had closed but happy to know you can still get delicious plant-based ice cream downtown. Our favorite flavour? Tumeric and black pepper! It’s basically health food.
vpie

4. Mister (1141 Mainland Street)
Fresh off of celebrating their one year anniversary, this uber-hip ice cream joint is making delcious ice cream with a very modern twist. Think funky flavour combos, fun collaboration with other businesses (recently Fife Bakery), and of course liquid nitrogen. Hipster hot spot in upscale Yaletown.
mister

5. Soft Peaks (25 Alexander Street)
Like your ice cream on the soft side? Then you need to head to Gastown and visit this beautiful shop serving organic locally-sourced soft serve & ice cream bars. Unique toppings include Australian Tim Tams, local honey-comb, and Himalayan pink salt. Oh, they also do pretty amazing milk-shakes!SofPeaks

Oh, by the way, we have a Gourmet Ice Cream Tour that runs from June – September. Tour runs every Thursday evening (5pm-7pm) or Sunday afternoon (3pm-5pm). Two hours of pure bliss with 4 stops and 6 ice cream samples. Click HERE for more info on the tour and tickets. Warning!! This tour sells out every year.


It’s our first year participating in Be a Tourist in Your Own Hometown in Victoria this weekend! We are offering 50% off our newest tour: Historic Downtown Culinary Tour. Tour runs from 10.30am-12.30pm. How to book?
1. Visit our website at:
http://www.offtheeatentracktours.ca/victoria/historic-downtown-food-tour/
2. Click Buy Ticket widget. Use Promo Code: Victoria2017 to get the discount
3. Choose the right date: Feb 23, 24, or 25th
4. Enjoy a lovely morning of food & beverages with a local guide!

Here is just a taste of what to expect on the tour:
1. Locally roasted coffee from 2% Jazz

2. Bao Buns from Bao Victoria:

3. Unique Poutine from Vij’s Sutra:

4. French Macarons from La Roux Patisserie:

5. Local craft beer from Hawk & Hen:

Plus a guided tour of the historic Hudson Bay Building, Chinatown, and newly renovated Market Square! For more info on Be A tourist visit: https://attractionsvictoria.com/be-a-tourist/

dineout
It’s time again for Dine-Out Vancouver, Canada’s largest food festival running Jan 20-Feb 05, 2017. Off The Eaten Track will be offering 3 unique and tasty events for the festival. Visit the Dine-Out website for more info and ticket sales:
http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/

pizzaorig
1. Discover Railtown Culinary Tour
http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/events/discover-railtown-culinary-tour/
Never heard of Railtown before? Well you soon will. Once the industrial center of the city and the heart of historic Japantown, this neighbourhood just East of Gastown is quickly becoming a hot spot for small businesses, social enterprises, and great food!

We start the tour at the Uncommon Café, a new business that is part lunch cafe, part commissary kitchen, and part cooking school. Here we will learn how to make fool proof pizza dough and have a fun create-your-own pizza party.
Next, we head to Cadeaux bakery for some amazing baked treats. As we wander through one of the oldest areas in Vancouver we will point out century old architecture and tell stories of the Japanese families that once thrived in this area. We get a delicious meal at the very trendy Railtown Café, and we end the tour at The Settlement building, once an industrial steel factory, for 2 craft beer samples from Postmark Brewery and a wine sample from Vancouver Urban Winery to end the tour. 5% of ticket sales are donated to the HAVE Café, a culinary training society located in the neighbourhood.

mainorig
2. Sip, Savour and Shop on Main
http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/events/sip-savour-shop-main/
Main street is full of funky cafes, boutique shops, and cool street art. On this 3-hour guided tour we will sip, savour, and shop our way along Main Street at 8 local shops in the Riley Park neighbourhood. Once known as “Antique Way”, this section of Main is now teeming with delicious hidden gems and amazing small businesses.
Meet the owners, learn about the history, and sample delicious food & drinks with an opportunity to pick up some great local products!

We start the tour at The Honey Shoppe for a tasting of local and international honey. Next, we get a knife skills lesson from Knife Wear, a Canadian shop with an impressive collection of hand crafted Japanese knives. We then sample a hand blended tea at Balance Botanicals, a beautiful modern apothecary that carries spices, herbs, teas, and organic candies. Our next stop is at The Juicery Co for some healthy west coast juices and a locally sourced salad. Very Vancouver! Next, a quick stop at Windsor Quality Meats to sample some handmade smoked salami & pepperoni and then to August Market for some locally make kombucha and ginger beer (bring your growler for a fill up). After a quick button making lesson from The Regional Assembly of Text, we end the tour at The Fish Counter for a locally sourced fish taco.

eastvilloriginal
3. Discover the East Village Culinary Tour
http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/events/discover-east-village-culinary-tour/
While the debate is still on as to the name of this neighbourhood (some still swear by Hastings Sunrise) what is not debatable is the quality and diversity of food that is located along East Hastings street. Wake up with us on a 2-hour journey along Hastings street where we will visit 5 local businesses and learn more about this historic and multi-cultural street.

We start the tour at Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive for a Southern-style eggs benny and a Caesar cocktail, the perfect way to wake up! We then head to Bianca Maria, an Italian deli that has been in the neighbourhood for over 30 years, for an espresso and biscotti. Next, we visit the decadent Black Rook Bakehouse for some quiche and salad. We then visit a local butcher shop for a charcuterie tasting and we end the tour with a modern tea tasting at Steam, Vancouver’s smallest tea shop!

Chinatown

Chinatown in Victoria may be one of the oldest in North America but it has recently seen an influx of new and modern food establishments opening in the past month. From French pastries to Korean steamed buns, the new Victoria Chinatown is fast turning in to an exciting place to eat in the city!

1. Bao Victoria (626 Fisgard Street) – Opened June 2016

Taking over the old Noodle Box location (the owners worked for the company for years), this new Korean style eatery is serving up all sorts of delicious treats including the mind blowing steamed buns. The flavours are always changing but they always carry a pork based bun and even a vegan version (coming soon).

BaoBuns

Bao Victoria

2. La Roux Patisserie (519 Fisgard Street) – Opened June 2016

This place just screams France! From the fancy black and white decor to the delicate pastries in the window. Emily Hatlelid is one of the owners and the head pastry chef. After attending culinary school and getting a work placement at Murchies, she moved to Paris to further her trade before moving back to Victoria to open this lovely patisserie with her business partner Rebecca Godin.

Macaron

LaRoux

 

3. Kid Sister Ice Cream (10 Fan Tan Alley) – Opened June 2016

This local boutique ice cream company has been in the game for a few years but they now have a shop in the newly renovated Fan Tan Alley. Serving up ice cream and gourmet popsicles (otherwise known as Paletas – fruit popsicles). I have a feeling this place will do very well this summer!

KidSister

KidSister

Dine-Out Collage

 Dine-Out 2016 (January 15-31st)

It’s that time again! Canada’s largest food festival is getting close and we are happy to announce that we will be running three unique tours for the three week festival. Get your tickets here: www.dineoutvancouver.com/events

1. Let’s Get Baked and Buzzed Tour:

bakery

This tour celebrates the two best and legal addictions in Vancouver; coffee & sugar.

Let’s go on a ‘wake-&-bake’ tour of the best coffee and bakeries this city has to offer. You’ll get buzzed off two local coffee stops and baked with three amazing local bakeries including, Cadeaux, Purebread, and Cartems Donuts! This tour is sure to leave you with the perfect sugar and caffeine high. Please note that this tour cannot accommodate for the following allergies: gluten, nuts, dairy, eggs, and caffeine

 

2. How It’s Made: A Brewery, Distillery, and Winery Tour:

howitsmade

Ever wanted to go behind the scenes at some of your favorite drinking establishments? Well now’s your chance! Join us on a beer, wine, and spirits tour where we will get a unique behind the scenes look at how their products are made.

We venture into the back of Odd Society Spirits, Vancouver Urban Winery, and the Big Rock Urban Eatery to see how it all gets done. Sip on award-winning craft vodka, gin, three BC wines, and two local ales. This tour also includes a bite to eat at the Big Rock Urban Eatery.

 

 

3. Food-Tography: A Culinary Photography Tour:

Foodtopgraphy

Who doesn’t love to take pictures of their food? On this culinary tour of trendy and modern Yaletown we encourage you to shoot your food and share your pictures with the world. Two local companies, Off the Eaten Track and Vancouver Photowalks, have paired up to create this truly unique tour that combines a photography lesson with a culinary tour.

Tour participants will eat and sip their way through three local eateries while getting tips and lessons from a seasoned photography pro. Bring your camera and your appetite and learn how to properly capture your favorite food moments. Whether you’re new to photography or want to improve on your skills, all levels are welcome.

dinearound
We are very excited to be participating in the upcoming Victoria Dine Around and Stay in Town Festival! We will be offering two culinary tours in partnership with Tourism Victoria. For more information on the festival and to be entered in to win $1000 worth of gift certificates click Here

Foodtography2015

Food-Tography Culinary Tour: February 21, 28, March 7 ($65)

Who doesn’t love to take pictures of their food? On this culinary tour of historic and vibrant Victoria, we encourage you to shoot your food and share your pictures with the world. Two local companies, Off the Eaten Track and Victoria Photowalks, have paired up to create this truly unique tour that combines a photography lesson with a culinary tour. Tour participants will eat their way through four local eateries while getting tips and lessons from a seasoned photography pro. So bring your camera and your appetite and learn how to properly capture your favorite food moments. Whether you’re new to photography or looking for some insider tips, all levels are welcome. Same goes for you foodies out there! Cost includes all food & beverages and photography and culinary guide.

For tour information and tickets click HERE

DSCF0684

Knife & Fort Culinary Tour: February 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, March 6 ($38.25)

Join this 1.5 hour tour of one of the tastiest streets in Victoria! Known as antique row, Fort street is home to quirky second hand shops, European delis, and tasty locally owned restaurants. This fun and informative tour is a great opportunity to try some new hidden gems and pick up some unique and tasty gifts. On this tour we sip and sample our way along Fort Street stopping at The Little Cheese Shop, Choux Choux Charcuterie, Chorizo & Co, La Taquisa, and Crust Bakery.  Learn about this historic neighbourhood and meet the business owners that make this tasty street thrive! Cost includes all food and beverage samples and tour guide.

For tour information and tickets click HERE

Another new year another delicious Dine-Out Vancouver Festival! This year we are offering four tours during the two week event starting January 17th and ending February 1st. For more information on the tours please visit www.dineoutvancouver.com.

1. Best Bites of the East Village: Saturdays & Sundays ($50)

 East Village

The East Village is one of the fastest growing culinary communities in Vancouver and on this tour we explore the diverse foodie scene by visiting four great local stops. From a Bolivian pastry to a tea tasting at Vancouver’s smallest tea shop, this tour will introduce you to the wonderful hidden gems that dot this historic neighbourhood.

Tickets Here: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/events/best-bites-east-village/

2. Main Street Hidden Gems Tour: Wednesdays, Thursdays, & Fridays ($50)

 MainSt. Collage

Main Street may be one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the city but it is home to some of the youngest and hippest locals. Packed full of designer boutiques, funky thrift shops, and quirky restaurants, Vancouverites know that Main is the street to find the city’s best culinary hidden gems. Let us show you four of the very best spots we guarantee you wouldn’t find on your own! From a local bakery to a tiki hideaway, we know all the tastiest shops on Main.

Tickets Here: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/events/main-street-hidden-gems-tour/

3. Craft Distillery Tour: Thursdays & Saturdays ($60)

 PageLines- distillery04.jpg

The craft distilling movement has exploded in British Columbia and Vancouver boasts some of the best local artisans creating award winning spirits. We visit three distilleries where we sample various handcrafted spirits such as vodka, gin, brandy, cassis and more. We also get a private tour of two of the distilling facilities and learn from the distillers themselves how they create such boozy masterpieces. A great tour to learn more about how distilling is done, sample a variety of spirits, and pick up a bottle for later!

Tickets Here: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/events/craft-distillery-tour/

4. Food-Tography : A Culinary Photography Tour: Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays ($65)

Foodtography2015

Who doesn’t love to take pictures of their food! On this culinary tour of historic and gritty Railtown, we encourage you to shoot your food and share your pictures with the world. Two local companies, Off the Eaten Track and Vancouver Photowalks, have paired up to create this truly unique tour that combines a photography lesson with a culinary tour. Tour participants will eat and sip their way through three local eateries all the while getting tips and lessons from a seasoned photography pro. So bring your camera and your appetite and learn how to properly capture your favorite food moments.

Tickets Here: http://www.dineoutvancouver.com/events/foodtography/

yaletown distillery

Well hello there dudes, happy Movember! In honour of all the great dudes out there we’ve created a food tour especially for you. This tour has all your culinary favorites; local beer, pizza, tacos, a private distillery tour, and even dude-inspired cupcakes. 5% of all ticket sales will be donated to the Movember Canada Foundation. And ladies, you are definitely welcome to join the tour and support that awesome dude in your life, but only the dudes get to take home a pretty sweet “swag bag” filled with cool dude stuff.

Buy Tickets Here:
Eventbrite - Movember Dude Food Tour

Mussels

We LOVE this tasty and local dish from one of our fantastic tour partners in Victoria, Choux Choux Charcuterie. September is our favorite time to eat sweet ripe tomato’s and paired with some spicy chorizo, this is a perfect dish for a nice dinner. Why not pair it with a local Victoria wine like the 2011 Roussanne from deVine Vineyards.

Steamed Salt Spring Island Mussels with Tomato & Chorizo
Ingredients:

2lbs mussels, cleaned & rinsed
1 link spanish chorizo, cut into rounds
1 jar matiz sofrito (this is a miracle of onions garlic & tomatoes sautéed in olive oil)
1 baguette (we like Fol Epi)

Preparation:
Put a large pot with a tight fitting lid on medium-low heat. Add the chorizo, stir occasionally until fat just starts to render, 3-5mins. Add sofrito and increase heat to high. Once sofrito is bubbling add mussels, cover, reduce heat to medium-high, shaking pot from time to time. Serve with sliced baguette once all the shells have opened, about 8-12 minutes.
serves 4

Newsletter Sign Up

TASTY TWEETS

CONTACT US

Off The Eaten Track
Vancouver: 1-800-418-1906
Victoria: 1-800-418-1906 info@offtheeatentracktours.ca