Well that didn’t feel much like winter, but we’re happy to be welcoming spring to the far west coast.
Along with the season, the grey whales are returning in abundance to local waters. That must mean it’s time for another Pacific Rim Whale Festival. Now in its 28th year, this festival is Tofino and Ucluelet’s kick-off to the season. The festival itself runs March 15-23, but the good times start March 11 with a gala fundraising dinner at the Wickaninnish Inn. All proceeds from the dinner, which can be paired with a wine for each of Chef Warren Barr’s tempting courses, is donated to the volunteer-driven festival. A silent auction is also part of this popular evening. To book a ticket, please contact the Wickaninnish at 250-725-3100. www.wickinn.com
The PRWF always includes other culinary events, such as the Chowder Chowdown and the Sweet Indulgence dessert reception. Event dates were unconfirmed at press time, but please check www.pacificrimwhalefestival.com/events for the latest.
In other news from the Wickaninnish, a new dinner and dessert menu have been launched in the Pointe Restaurant, and new local craft breweries have been added to the bottle line up, including Parallel 49 Brewing, Lighthouse Brewing, and Steamworks. And finally, you might wish to make a reservation for the return of the Easter brunch on April 20.
Speaking of local craft breweries, Tofino Brewing Company paired up with the beer-friendly The Guild Freehouse in Victoria at the end January for a brewmaster’s dinner. Tuff Session Amber Ale, Reign in Blonde and the winter seasonal Kelp Stout were paired with Chef Sam Benedetto’s three-course menu. For more information on these local brews, and all the places you can get some including Victoria, Vancouver and other Island and lower mainland locations, visit www.tofinobrewco.com.
Yes, it’s true. Finally, gourmet doughnuts have come to Tofino. Rhino Coffee House has opened its doors at 430 Campbell St. on Tofino’s main drag. So far Chef Ron Weeks’ flavours have ranged from the classics (Boston Cream) to the daring (Maple Bacon), to the just plain awesome (Chocolate Bailey’s, Oreo). Bronuts, or mini-donuts, have also been popular. Rhino also features a coffee bar, breakfast and lunch items, and other treats. Visit their Facebook page for more information about this new Tofino favourite https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rhino-Coffee-House/.
Featuring an introduction by frequent customer Sarah MacLachlan, photography by Tofino local Jeremy Koreski, and words by Chef Lisa Ahier and Scout’s Andrew Morrison, The SoBo Cookbook: Recipes from the Tofino Restaurant at the End of the Canadian Road is now available for pre-order. The cookbook includes some 100 recipes and stories about this well-known, award-winning restaurant that started out as a purple parking lot lunch truck well before that was cool. The cookbook will be released May 13, 2014. For pre-order, search the cookbook at www.amazon.com. www.sobo.ca
Shelter Restaurant occasionally hosts guest chef dinners, including the recent A Taste of India on January 25 featuring guest chef Nyla Attiana. Chef Nyla treated diners to a variety of dishes, each with its own distinct, delicious flavour.
The 4th annual Feast Tofino festival is scheduled to run from May 1-29 this year. The festival is a celebration of boat-to-table cuisine, and features local seafood in abundance. A series of dine-around menus at local restaurants and many other events make up the month of festivities. Check back in the next edition of EAT for more details.
All the events, new restaurants, and an almost shocking amount of sunshine are just a few of the reasons to come to Tofino this spring.
– By Jen Dart