When I first decided to take off to the end of the road, i.e. Tofino, I assumed there wouldn’t be much in terms of culinary goodness going on here. Was I wrong! Comments have been made on how active I’ve been during my time here, but most of that was in an effort to wear off all the good food I’ve been eating. From the breakfast waffles offered in the Tofino Travelers Guesthouse, the abundance of welcoming cafes (Rhino, the Common Loaf Bake Shop or Tuff Beans, to name but a few), and the keen appetite I have from such proximity to the sea, I had to keep moving. To be fair, I always have a good appetite, so that last point isn’t entirely valid.
Anyway, I’m not wasting away by any means, especially since running and cycling were taken off the list after I bruised my tailbone falling off a fallen tree onto a log. So I decided to share my favourite spots from the last few weeks.
One Sunday morning, I went to a meditation session in the local yoga studio. I emerged feeling very zen and clear-headed, but just outside the door, I found Wildside Grill, a self-proclaimed seafood shack with a boat-to-basket policy. It was already busy. I put it to the back of my uncluttered brain and headed off to spend the day on Chesterman Beach (North and South).
On my way back, I rewarded myself with a salmon burger, served with crispy homecut fries that would put even the Belgians to shame.
Everyone queuing ordered something different and each dish looked straight-up fantastic. I was drawn to the gumbo and the clam chowder, but did not regret my choice one bit.
This was also the spot where I had my first taste of poutine on Canadian soil after a long day of cycling. I’m already looking forward to what Montreal has to offer, if this is anything to go by.
Just around the corner is Chocolate Tofino, a tiny chocolate and ice-cream shop in the same shack-style as the grill. I only ventured in here today for the first time, because I’d always been put off by the queue. As it turned out, the place is so small that 3 people make a queue, so it was less intimidating than expected and totally worth it. Everything is made on site, the girl informed me as she scooped a generous portion of salted caramel ice-cream for me. It had flakes of chocolate through it and put a smile on my face as I trotted off to the beach (can you see the theme to my days?)
Tofino Brewing Company
The Tofino Brewing Company supplies small batch handcrafted beers to plenty of enterprises in Tofino and Vancouver, but why go there when you can drink it in the tasting room of the brewery itself?
It was a beautiful evening when these photos were taken and the sun was glaring off the shiny beer tanks, forcing its way into each shot.
My favourites in the flight of beers were the seasonal Spruce Tree Ale and the Kelp Stout, which has to be tasted to be believed.
The piece de resistance of Tofino is Tacofino, serving up the best Mexican food on Vancouver Island (that’s my opinion, others may extend its remit even further).
As you can see, it is a food truck that has spawned a number of other establishments in Vancouver. This is the original and the pride and joy of every local. I heard this conversation on numerous occasions:
Local: “Let me tell you where to go for a good meal. There’s this food truck, Tacofino…”
Visitor: “We stopped there on the way here”.
Their speciality is fish tacos, filled with crispy chunks of cod, but I don’t think they went wrong in any part of their menu. I especially loved their burritos, which are the perfect amount of filling after yet another beach day. They have the ideal location as well, just outside of town, so that people can drop by on their way back from surfing and take an edge off their hunger.
That’s a watermelon and basil freshie in the background and it is as delicious and refreshing as it sounds.
Thankfully I won’t have to wait long for a burrito fix once I get back to Brussels. My friends, Paul and Yamila, have recently set up their own food stall, Beanstalk Burritos, serving the market in Place Jourdan on Sunday mornings, just outside my door.