2 Unique Lunch …
Lunch. It can be a roller coaster of a meal. Let me explain. Breakfast is really hard to screw up. From a greasy diner to a nice hotel, it’s pretty hard to screw up your basic eggs, sausage, bacon and toast. And as far as dinner goes, if you do any kind of research online and know what you want, you can usually find a pretty good to great meal, at least 75% of the time.
But lunch is a totally different ball game. From the tear your ass off with boredom biz or lunch date, where you can’t wait for the check to arrive and be on your way. Been there, done that. To the sublime, where the food, conversation and atmosphere flows as smooth as a fine wine and you find yourself sliding into happy hour with no chance of going back to the office. Been there, done that.
And don’t get me started on the food. From the gawd awful to the fantastic. Lunch is such a crap shoot, but while not a gambler, I’m willing to take a roll of the dice and hope lunch will be good. And recently the web gal and I had a couple of superb and totally different lunches on Vancouver Island.
Pulling into the Villa Eyrie Resort, lunch was being served on the deck of their restaurant Alpina. Due to the spectacular view, it wasn’t hard to pretend we were on the Amalfi coast in Italy. And also because of the food. The web gal had the Spaghetti Aglió E Oli, which was prawns, clams, garlic, calabrian chili, white wine, extra virgin oil and garlic pangrattato. And if you were wondering, it was as yummy as it reads, although the web gal really enjoyed her dish and the sauce was tasty too, she will be asking for garlic pangratatto on the side next time. But for a non-drinker, she did love their Cherry Cosmo cocktail. She had a drink for once!!
I had the Ginger-Honey Duck Breast, with wasabi mashed potatoes and sesame-soy glazed vegetables. It was with some trepidation that I ordered it as so many times I say, you sure the chef can cook it medium rare and it inevitably comes to the table a mud brown, overcooked and flavorless. But amazingly it came to the table a nice light pink with tons of flavor and I was a happy camper paying the bill some two hours after we sat down. The dining experience was very good and Manager Jack was ensuring guests were well accommodated throughout the resort.
A couple of weeks later, we took up proprietor’s Tim Turyk’s invitation to visit his Unsworth Vineyards located an hour away from Swartz Bay Ferry terminal. The web gal and I staggered through the 100 plus degree heat into the needlessly to say, too hot, closed tasting room. Tasting through a whole bunch of wines with Tim, my fav was the Symphony. Not to knock Vancouver Island wines, but many are just awful, way too fruit forward and too thin with no finish. But that Symphony was really full and tasty. Due to record breaking heat the tasting room was closed. Many guests were disappointed but were planning on coming back under less warm weather conditions.
Lunch on the patio at Unsworth’s Restaurant, while hot, was fun. The patio, a great vision by Marketing Director Chris Turyk, provided diners with the opportunity to view the vines and breathe in the fresh air while enjoying fine wines and food. Chris studied at the CIA in Napa and is a sommelier as well. The Tre Carne Pizza, arrived with roasted tomato sauce, pepperoni, pork, fennel mince, pancetta, parmesan and arugula, and Funghi Pizza, arrived with mushrooms, parsley, haltwhistle clevedon and pecorino, were flavorful. The server was right. The toppings were paired up beautifully. Another great dining experience hidden in Mill Bay.
Tim was a perfectly charming host, telling us stories about his family, trips to Whistler, how the Jackson Family buyout came about and how everything has been fine since the takeover. After a very hot, but fun afternoon, all I can say is Barbara Banke and Julia Jackson had fine taste in purchasing Unsworth Vineyards.
Unsworth Vineyards is participating in the Cowichan Valley Wine Festival from August1-31. A good opportunity to sample Unsworth’s fine wines and other wines from local wineries. Checkout the Unworth’s carved wooden door too. The web gal appreciated the artistry and details. Cheers!