Side Dish - Finding your daily bread.

Moving to a new city for work, school, or the dream of an island lifestyle is no small undertaking. Two-and-half-years-ago I moved to Victoria from North Vancouver for work.

I chose a fabulous tiny loft on a six month lease, and never really unpacked the kitchen. The places within walking distance were too plenty. Food trucks, gastropubs, sushi, smoothies, coffee, breweries and bakeries kept my fridge full of leftovers. I have a photo of a bottle of Road 13 wine pressed against the door keeping a package of Little Qualicum Cheese Works Qualicum spice cheese sealed, because I didn’t know what box the plastic wrap was in. Then I met this guy, who, one day in April, opened the box the Kitchen Aid mixer my parents had given me for Christmas was in – I was using it as a nightstand.

Now I cook endlessly, have become borderline obsessed with baking, and drag him to all the new places I want to eat at.

For new-in-town students, there’s more to life than ramen. Stock your dorm fridge or hide great things from your roommates, from The RootcellarThe Market on YatesMoss Street FarmersMarketBlair Mart, or Aubergine. You’ll find local produce, staples and unique items from around the world. Thrifty Foods have a few 24-hour stores for midnight cravings in a study session. Save-On-Foods is now near UVic with two locations. Fairway Market is a locally owned chain, with lower prices, conventional and some organics, with a large selection of Asian, British and International foods.

If you’re at UVic, Finnerty Express Café at the Bookstore has the best selection, staff and coffee on campus. Find pre-made sandwiches, local baked goods, a manual espresso machine and fair trade organic Salt Spring Coffee. Off campus, Fresh Coast Health Food Bar (they also have a food truck) has wraps, bowls, smoothies and cold pressed juices. In Gordon Head try Township Coffee, for Camosun College students, head to Oak Bay for coffee and doughnuts at Discovery Coffee. A new Red Barn Market (local chain with multiple locations) is coming soon to Oak Bay too.

A recent feast that didn’t involve cooking was fruit, seared tuna from The Market on Yates, crackers, cheese, tomatoes and cucumbers. You don’t need a stove to eat well at school. Keep a jar of Salt Spring Kitchen Co.’s spicy tomato jam in your fridge. For cheap eats, head to Chinatown, Foo AsianStreet Food on Yates, or visit us online at mondaymag.com/food for my past columns. April 28th’s post is all about lunch under $10. For those of you old enough for craft beer, near UVic or Camosun College go to Maude Hunter’s PubMcRae’s Restaurant or shop at two locations of Metro Liquor Store, or at Hillside Liquor Store.

Try it, you’ll like it:

Driftwood Brewing’s White Bark Wheat Ale, available at the brewery, private and government liquor stores.
Croissants at Crust Bakery at 730 Fort Street.

Originally written for and published in Monday Magazine, September 2015.