Sunday, December 23, 2018

Eating OFF the Hill: Farm to table at 10 Acres in Victoria

Back West in the Comox Valley for Christmas, and the other day we drove down to Victoria to spend the night, and pick up my sister and nephew. An opportunity for a nice local dinner, and the farm to table menu at 10 Acres Kitchen ticked all the boxes.

Just down the street from the Empress, 10 Acres is a higher-end dining option, but it really does offer quality for the price. The reasturant sources much of its foodstuffs from its own farm in North Saanich, from veggies, fruit and honey to ethically-raised livestock. They also source from other local farms and seafood producers on Vancouver Island.

I was set for the five-course tasting menu, but as the rest of the table was not I had to get more tactical. My sister and I agreed to split two appies for the first course: the Toast and the Pan Fried Oysters.

The Toast is dungeness crab and hand peeled shrimp with basil,  romesco and gruyere served atop a thick slice of toast. It was a plentiful portion and very tasty, but I did find it a bit too salty. Still, a tasty appetizer.

Next up was the Pan Fried Oysters, which is breaded and fried Fanny Bay oysters served with preserved lemon aioli and pickled red onion. I actually have a connection to Fanny Bay Oysters -- one summer when home form university I did some general labour for them, seeding beaches, and later harvesting beaches and bringing them back to the facility for processing. I've never really been a raw oyster person though, so I was keen to give the fried oysters a try. They were fine, but not something I'd go out of my way to order. Just not my jam.

As there was going to be a delay with our entreers with the kitcken was backed up, they brought us a complementary chacutiere tray to occupy us during the wait. Much of the stuff was fancier than I usually eat, but I enjoyed the  Ossabaw pork and the roast garlic.

When we had our fill of chacutiere , our mains were ready. I had ordered the Chinook salmon (ocean wise, of course) with smoked Albacore tuna rice. Now, I was concerned about the rice as I don't really like tuna. I asked the waiter and he said it was prety tuna-ish but that I'd enjoy it, so I decided to go fot it.

Maybe he got them to make it without tuna and didn't tell me, or maybe it's high end tuna with no tuna taste, but I got no notes of tuna out of this rice brick that served as the bed for my perfect morsel of salmon. Instead, all I got was baked, cheesy deliciousness. The salmon was pink, flaky and perfec, tand the accompanying vegetables cooked perfectly and fresh.

A pricier meal than I usually eat but a very nice Christmas treat, made tastier knowing we were supporting local producers. No room for desert, just a walk along the harbour on the way back to the hotel to burn a little off.

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