Monday, April 28, 2008

VS Retreat, Part 2

Quite a few of the retreaters arrived early so several of us met up on Wednesday evening to have dinner together in the hotel restaurant, Vic's Steakhouse. Retreat regulars had previously enjoyed the restaurant, but this year it had new owners and a new menu. We were all seated, chatting away, getting acquainted. The menus were presented and we all found ourselves in a bit of a quandary! If we were to eat a meal here, it would cost the equivalent of at least four meals at the restaurant down the street. What to do. Well, we felt a bit constrained so most of us ordered an appetizer thinking that we weren't really all that hungry. I ordered the seafood chowder, others had a crab cake served with a salad, Connie ordered a baked potato.

In due time, our appetizers appeared from the kitchen served on very modern, zen-like plates or bowls. The crab cake/salad presentation was straight from a photo shoot from Gourmet magazine, complete with a smear of something bright green to the side of the salad. (We won't go into the speculations as to what exactly the green smear was!) Imagine my consternation when my bowl was placed before me with a nice round orb of diced potatoes topped with onions in the center, another orb of crab and one of some other seafood that I cannot recall at the moment. It smelled wonderful, but where was the soup?! Once again, presentation is everything at Vic's! The waiter lovingly poured the thick creamy soup into my bowl, thus finishing the preparation of the chowder. I'm just a girl from Idaho and fancy stuff like that makes me just a little uncomfortable, lol! While these appetizers were indeed delicious, and it did give us much fodder for discussion, future dinners were eaten at the Days Inn restaurant, a short walk away.

Breakfast, however, was another matter! It was tasty and reasonably priced. They serve a cranberry bread that is just divine toasted. And on Thursday morning we met once again at Vic's to begin our first full day in Victoria. A large group of 14 was going out to Butchart Gardens to enjoy the garden and to have tea in the afternoon. Another gal was exploring the town on her own. Connie was fighting an awful cough and cold and had elected to have a quiet morning in the room while I breakfasted with the others. A little later in the morning, she felt ready to go exploring and we set off on foot.

B.C. Parliament Building

The weather was not the best with a stiff wind blowing and it seemed to get colder as the day went on. Not to be deterred, at first, we went into the Empress Hotel where I purchased some tea and a mug in a new china pattern they have. Walking through and enjoying all the beauty of the old hotel, we entered the conservatory and immediately had a desire to stitch! The light was perfect for stitching. Oh, to build a small conservatory onto my home, what a dream!

Walking on, we decided to head down to Chinatown. It's not large, but is very different from the rest of this most English-looking downtown.

Fan Tan Alley
Next to Chinatown, we found The Satin Moon, a nice little quilting shop. After all this walking and fighting the wind, we were getting desperate for sustenance. Not seeing anything that suited our tastes, we walked back down to Murchie's.

A nice pot of tea and a chicken pot pie warmed body and soul, strengthening us for our next visit. Right around the corner from Murchie's is the famous Button and Needlework Boutique.

This boutique is one of the most delightful needlework shops you'll ever encounter. They carry a wide variety of needlework designs and fibers, buttons and charms, fabrics and books, and have increased their inventory to include knitting wools and supplies. But it's the ambiance they've created with their lighting, choices of displays, quality of fixtures, and the friendliness of the owners and their staff that adds that feeling of indulgence to your shopping experience.

More to come very soon!


Heather said...

Oh my gosh Von, that looks like so much fun. I wish I could go to that, maybe in the future I can! I am glad you got to go and have such a wonderful time :D

Kathryn said...

That is one LOVELY needlework shop! I wish I was going to Victoria any time soon. We were there in the '80s. Took a ferry from Seattle, drove to Ucluelet and camped, then took a ferry to Vancouver. Lovely trip.

Connie said...

Von, your third ingredient in the soup was shrimp!!! Excellent recounting of what we did...must have been the medicine I was on but all the details seem kind of muddled to me now! LOL!

Vonna said...

Well I'm jealous of all the stitching and good shops and such...but I want to gnaw my arm after your vibrant use of delicious words for the FOOD! Golly...I'm hungry!

Aussie Stitcher said...

Sounds like you had a wonderful time, I am jealous, looking forward to your next post.

Myrna said...

Hi Von!
Thanks for stopping by...

Love reading your entries!

Stitchingranny said...

Between you and Connie I am really enjoying this break - lol even though its on a second hand basis.

Barbara said...

Oh, what fun, Von!!

Sharon said...

I would have been in heaven in that needlework shop! How lovely! Chinatown was pretty cool and different.