A healthy eatery is my kind of rapture.
As someone who is both gluten and dairy intolerant, finding viable restaurant options is harder than winning the Tour de France without artificial help. And I know there are others out there like me, so this post is dedicated to you, you lucky S.O.B.’s!
When we travel, my husband Anthony gets the privilege of lugging my kilo of snacks in his backpack. It’s such a deal breaker for me that we wrote it into his vows: “I promise to love you and carry your kilo of snacks.” In hindsight, we probably should’ve added: “without complaining”.
Occasionally while abroad, we’ll find a unicorn healthy eatery like this one…and I’ll pee my pants a little.
Yes, just like an overexcited puppy.
The Best Healthy Eatery in Victoria, BC (for overexcited puppies)
A local tipped us off about Nourish Kitchen & Cafe and thank our lucky stars, it happened to be near where we were staying. It’s nestled in James Bay, a little out of the main downtown area, in a beautiful old heritage house.
Inside, it’s exactly what you’d expect – a quaint atmosphere with a modern twist.
Complete with fireplace, Scandinavian hanging planters, pink salt candle holders, vintage novels used to deliver the bill and, of course, cute hipster waitresses.
But it’s really the food that stole my heart, not the cute waitresses. (Okay, maybe the waitresses a little. They were really cute!)
So, stubble-free organic chicken broth is a thing
We went here twice during our short 4-night stay in Victoria, that’s how much we loved it. First for lunch with the in-laws, then for breakfast the next day because I had to try the pancakes.
Seriously, my life depended on it. I have a rare disease and the cure is pancakes.
(Truthfully, I do have a condition called Celiac Disease, which means I can almost never order pancakes because they’re almost never gluten-free. #firstworldproblems)
For drinks, we started with the lemonade and chicken bone broth, both organic and both deee-vine. After taking one sip of the broth, my husband said, “how come ours doesn’t taste like this?” To which I replied: “I don’t know, how come your face doesn’t taste like this?”
It was smooth and buttery, a perfectly balanced broth you wish you could drink everyday…almost like his face, but smoother because he has stubble. Duh.
Why we’re boring, but this healthy eatery isn’t
For the mains, three of us had the same thing because I guess we’re all copycats and extremely boring – roasted fennel & warm lentils with fennel pork sausage. The dish was anything but boring, but we are, so one of us said that the beet and horseradish vinaigrette was yummy and the other two concurred.
Since I can’t drink alcohol and had to forgo the flight of rosé, I opted to give my father-in-law the evil eye instead, while he tried to enjoy his.
Just kidding, I innocently sipped a delicious glass of Unity Jun, Nourish’s locally brewed honey fermented drink. It tasted like kombucha, but better. For some reason, feminine is the word that comes to mind. *shrugs*
The salad that puts Sydney cafes to shame
My mum-in-law Cynthia had the roasted chicken & chickpeas, which looked like a delicious, broth-y, tender, pseudo-Asian style dish. She said it was fabulous and if she says that, you know it was.
She has impeccable taste in everything, including men. (That was so I could redeem myself to my father-in-law Michael, who might be reading this.)
For a side, we had the island organic greens (sans cheese) and they were super fresh and crunchy, not like the usual wilted, semi-decomposed salad you get at most Sydney cafes.
Exactly the kind of salad you crave when traveling, but can’t find anywhere and your teeth start hurting because you haven’t eaten anything that came out of the ground in days and you’re so constipated you wonder if you’re ever going to poop again. That kind of salad.
A planet-saving dessert
And finally, drum-roll please…dessert!
The yummiest gluten-free, vegan cheesecake ever!
I left totally satisfied, if a little bloated. I’m not great with creamed cashew because of the FODMAPs, but will take it over real cream cheese any day because it’s the lesser of two evils. Sometimes in life you have to make big, important sacrifices because the future of Earth depends on it.
You think I’m kidding? Have you seen Cowspiracy?
The overexcited puppy came back, the very next day, for pancakes
The next morning we returned for the sleeping beauty pancakes with black forest bacon on the side. Need I say more?
(BTW I just want to mention that it’s not normal for us to go to the same cafe two days in a row. We loved this place to the point of being obsessive and creepy.)
These were more like oat/hot cakes than pancakes, but I wasn’t complaining because they were just the right mix of filling, sweet and nourishing.
Plus, one thing I miss about Canada are the saskatoon berries. Fresh, in jam, in pie…in everything. I picked them with my grandma when I was little, so eating them is nostalgic and reminds me of a happy time when I was cute and innocent hanging with gram.
These were generously sprinkled over my pancakes, the perfect send-off, as we left Canada a few days later. Mega sad face!
Nek minnit, hubby had to roll me out of the joint, I was so full!
It could be because I’d slammed a 12 oz. matchalicious before the pancakes, but can you blame me? It was my last chance to eat all the yummy things before we left Victoria. #noregrets
Please, if you ever go to Victoria, even if don’t give a f*@# about vegetables, or you think “it’s fermented” means it has fungus and ESPECIALLY if you’re a celiac-lactard-fructose-intolerant-nut-bar like me…you must visit this healthy eatery.
As it says on the sign outside on the footpath, a foodie adventure awaits.