Green Seafood at Red Fish Blue Fish, Victoria BC

by foodhoe on September 12, 2009

1006 Wharf Street, Victoria BC | website | 250. 298.6877 | open 11:30 am – 7 pm everyday

Our last stop was Victoria, British Columbia and the only thing I wanted to see was the famous Butchart Gardens which is about a half hour drive from downtown and requires at least a couple hours to be able to enjoy the 55 acres of  horticultural splendor.  I had a bit of trouble getting Mr. K onto a full bus headed to the single biggest tourist attraction in Victoria, but in the end I think he enjoyed himself because the gardens were really that amazing.

It’s acre after acre of stunning gardening wizardry. The sunken garden is where it all began when Mrs. Butchart decided to refurbish the abandoned quarry from which they had made their fortune in the cement industry.  After a lot of effort, it blossomed into the spectacular Sunken Garden as seen below.  They employ 70 full-time gardeners to maintain the magnificent grounds…

After exploring the gardens for a couple of hours, we returned on the bus back to Victoria and walked along the waterfront.  I was searching for a restaurant that I had read about that serves madly delicious seafood from a converted shipping container on a dock  just north of the Inner Harbor. We walked past the sign pointing the way as it was very discrete and easy to miss, but my radar was on so we caught it.

We could see people lined up along the dock as we walked down the path, and I felt a sense of relief to see what appeared to be locals and not so many obvious tourists.

The chef, Kunal Ghose, along with a few business partners, has created a sustainable seafood taqueria that doesn’t take a toll on the planet.  The kitchen is located in a container that has been upcycled in a very earth friendly manner, with sod covering its roof that will eventually have plantings.  All of the packaging is biodegradable and they offer a Reuse and Recycle system to lower their carbon footprint. Their menu offers sustainable 100% Ocean Wise seafood (which is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to help restaurants and consumers make ocean-friendly choices.)  We sat on little stools while we waited for our order and watched the float planes buzzing by on the water.

The container kitchen bore a resemblance to that of the street food truck craze that is burning so brightly back in the Bay Area.   It’s funny that I still find myself stalking food from a container even as far afield as Victoria…

When I ordered the tempura battered fried dill pickles ($3.50), they had to check with the chef who decides whether or not to grant the experience and I have to thank the gods that he was feeling merciful because those tempura pickles rocked my world…  I had been unimpressed with previous samples of fried dill pickles and was completely undone by the surround sound experience of this masterful interpretation.  It was crisp and crunchy like a potato chip but the interior of the batter had a little bit of a bready toothiness that softened the acidic impact when I bit into the dill pickle.

It was especially good dipped into the creamy tartar sauce which added a cool, rich, tart dimension to the surround sound experience.  I was transported and exhilarated… the hairs on my arms stood on end, and I could see concern on Mr. K’s face as he eyed me doubtfully.  The moment passed and I offered the basket to him.

I wanted to try the BBQ Qualicum Bay Scallop Burger, but they were sold out, so I ordered two Tacones, which are grilled tortilla hand rolls, aka taco cones.  They are a generous size, larger than a taco, about half the size of a burrito, minus rice, beans or cheese.

They are served with a most delicious coleslaw that is spicy and has a rich nutty flavor like tahini.  I finished both mine and Mr. K’s.

The BBQ Fanny Bay Oyster Tacones was drizzled with with golden shallot aioli, pea shoots and lemon pickled onions ($6).  The oysters were grilled until they were firm but very tender and I gobbled this up as it began to leak  from the bottom in the manner of coned foods.  It was messy and finger licking good.

Grill Seared Albacore Tuna Tacones, with spicy spot prawn mayo and pea shoots and lemon pickled onions ($6).  This was good too but I couldn’t devote much attention to it after the pickles and oyster tacone…

I only wish I had more appetite left after stuffing myself silly with those madly delicious fried pickles to sample their seafood poutine (Quebec-style fries with cheese curds and gravy), as I had been drooling over Phylis’s epic 12 poutines in 12 days post at Me Hungry.

We left feeling stuffed and our tastebuds were glad to have sampled some delicious and inspired cooking.  Mr K proclaimed this the best meal of the trip and I tend to agree.  It was such a breath of fresh air after our excessive lifestyle on the ship.  Now, if only they would think about branching down the coast a bit…  we waddled over to take the bus back to our floating hotel, which sailed overnight onto our final port, Seattle.  We didn’t have time to explore that city but hope to return one day.  That was an awesome end to our trip.

Red Fish, Blue Fish on Urbanspoon

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

hungry dog September 12, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Wow, fried dill pickles with tartar sauce…sounds awesome! What a great way to wrap up your trip.

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grace September 13, 2009 at 6:21 am

fried pickles, neato conical wraps, and gorgeous flowers–the good times just keep coming. :)
.-= grace´s last blog ..a misnomer =-.

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Juliana September 14, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Wow, I remember last year when we were at the Butchart Garden…just wonderful as you described…unfortunately we did not eat at Red Fish :-(, maybe next time :-)
.-= Juliana´s last blog ..CHICKEN IN BACON SAUCE =-.

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Cookie September 14, 2009 at 1:24 pm

I’ve only had the chance to visit The Butchart Gardens once and unfortunately during the coldest March Victoria’s ever had! I remember there being no flowers whatsoever besides inside the greenhouse. There was literally ICE on the ground!

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rowena September 15, 2009 at 1:45 am

With dill pickles done up like that, who could ask for more? I am sorry to see this food cruise come to an end, and I don’t think you could have given a better finale. Now I’m off to check out the bulbs section at my favorite garden store…

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The Single Guy September 15, 2009 at 11:54 am

Foodhoe, that’s hilarious about the fried pickles. I can imagine the conversation now:

Foodhoe: “Can I get an order of the tempura-fried dill picklets?

Server: “I have to check with the chef, he only makes it if he feels like it and if he feels the customer is deserving.”

Foodhoe: “Oh please, I’ve traveled miles for this.”

Server: “Um, well.”

Foodhoe: “And be sure to mention that it’s for the Foodhoe.”

Server: “Why didn’t you say that earlier! One battered dill pickle coming up!”

Was it something like that? ;-)

Sounds like a wonderful find and an adventurous end to your vacation. Good job! (BTW, that garden does look beautiful.)
.-= The Single Guy´s last blog ..Travel Dish: Cantler’s Riverside Inn =-.

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foodhoe September 15, 2009 at 12:58 pm

hungry dog, yeah I was getting so bored with the tourist trap food…
grace, it was the best
juliana, it’s worth seeking out
cookie, that’s too bad! we were marveling that everything was blooming. sept is a good time to go
rowena, we got a much needed dose of inspiration too, wish we had a professional gardener tending to our yard.
single guy, you are too much! I did make the begging face…

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cocochanelella September 15, 2009 at 3:35 pm

haha at Single Guy’s dialogue!

The batter on the pickles looks really crispy and not falling apart. I only wish you ate the seafood poutine so I could drool over it. I only wish SF had more poutine than the Salt house version.
.-= cocochanelella´s last blog ..Neapolitan crust at Gialina Pizzeria =-.

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Carolyn Jung September 15, 2009 at 11:07 pm

Thanks for the wonderful memories. I visited the Butchart Gardens way back when I was a summer intern at the Portland Oregonian. What a beautiful attraction that is, and I’m sure it’s only gotten prettier over time. Am I right that you only use a point-and-shoot camera? Because your photos look gorgeous!
.-= Carolyn Jung´s last blog ..PB&J Cupcakes That Can’t Help But Make You Smile =-.

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foodhoe September 16, 2009 at 1:59 pm

coco, isn’t he hilarious! I really want more of those pickles…
carolyn, you’re welcome! the gardens were unbelievably gorgeous. and thanks, I’m pretty happy with my current little digicam

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Ashley November 2, 2010 at 6:16 am

I’d never heard of fried pickles before, but they sound delicious :-)

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