Monday, August 30, 2010

Capital Cocktails & In Search of 'Za - Part 2

Last weekend we found ourselves in Victoria for a family function.  After fulfilling family obligations we were able to sneak away and meet up with our good friends Shelora and Bill.  Shelora writes a great blog called Cooking with a Broad, and is my go-to resource for anything to do with food & drink on Vancouver Island.  Besides, she and Bill are great fun to hang out with, and after spending time with family, fun is often needed.

After a quick visit to Foo (sorry no pictures, it was too dark ... but I'll be visitng this place again to be sure!) we wandered over to the Chateau Victoria, and Clive's Classic Lounge.  What was interesting about this choice was that J & I had stayed at this very hotel not too long ago, had seen Clive's, and had decided to visit another lounge.  I'm glad we came back and may even go so far as to say that Clive's is my favourite watering hole in all of Victoria ... perhaps BC.

From it's name you can deduce that Clive's features the classic art of cocktail making.  Sidecars, Mint Julips, Sazeracs and my fave, the Negroni are created with great care and finesse.  Under the supervision of bartender Shawn Soole the menu is ever changing.  Some nights they pay hommage to a great bar, other's feature a great spirit.  Never a dull moment.  My "flight" of Negroni's explored the different faces this drink can have.  Too bad Clive's is a BC Ferry ride away.

Our second day in Victoria took us to Pizzeria Prima Strada.  I'd heard of this place from Shelora about a year ago, and never managed to make it over to Cook Street to try it out.  Prima Strada uses a traditional wood-fired oven, local Mozzarella di Bufala and a beautifuly rich sauce made simply from Italian plum tomatoes and salt.  Toppings are sourced locally whenever possible. 

The restaurant is a classic neighbourhood pizzeria.  There is a second location on Bridge Street, but the Cook Street location seemed a perfect fit to the vibe of this community.  A very relaxed and informal room.  Again, I found myself wishing Vancouver had something similar.  We started with the Melanzane & Tonno (roasted eggplant caponatina with a local tuna conserva) and a couple glasses of prosecco.  The preserves were served with some dough-points (made with pizza dough) that gave a good indication of the crust we were about have with our pizza.

The pizza was the Salsiccia Piccante, featuring housemade fennel sausage, tomato, mozzarella, and roasted bell peppers.  The pizza was excellent, not over-done with toppings.  I could have enjoyed the sausage on its own.  The crust was just the right chewiness, something that held up when we finished off the last couple of slices a few hours later in the ferry line-up.

I really hadn't planned on writing a sequel to the ah-Beetz post so soon afterwards, if at all. Such great pizza would really make any following pizza reviews pale in comparison. That's not my intent here. I Could Eat is not about ranking one restaurant, or one food against another. Yet I fear that is what I'm about to do.

If forced to choose between the two pizzas, both our votes would go to ah-Beetz.  Both were great pizzas, ah-Beetz was just more to our liking.  Having said that, if I was going out to dinner, I don't know that the single table and no-liquor liscence would get me out to Abbotsford over Victoria.  Still, I sit here waiting for the day that one of these fine establishments decides to make Vancouver its new home.  Even The Heights would be fine by me.


Clive's Classic Lounge
Chateau Victoria Hotel
740 Burdett Avenue
Victoria, BC

Pizzeria Prima Strada
230 Cook Street

Victoria, BC


Anonymous said...

I am working on opening something on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. It will have a wood fired oven from Naples. Terry(ah-Beetz)

Arne Salvesen said...


Then you sir, are my hero.

Need any taste testers?

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