Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Victoria treats -- and a Table for One

In Victoria last week, we stayed at the wonderful Swans Hotel, with its marvellous art collection. The Hotel was developed by Michael Williams, an art collector, who bequeathed art and hotel to University of Victoria on his death in 2000. The hotel continues to be run as it did when he was alive, and its rooms and suites are full of wonderful contemporary art.  The room we were in -- with the bedroom upstairs in a dramatically beamed loft -- had 5 or 6 large paintings and a photograph. One of the paintings was an early Toni Onley, an abstract in a style I hadn't previously associated with Onley (I'll admit to being familiar only with his abstract sea and landscapes, so quintessentially West Coast).

Just down the street from Swans, I discovered Molé Restaurant and have put it on my must-eat-at list for every possible visit to Victoria. It's only open for breakfast and lunch, but that's okay with me, 'cause breakfast is what I want to eat there. Look at this gorgeous plate! That beautifully sculptured stack of fruit is even more generous than it looks, with honeydew and watermelon underneath that canteloupe. I love that the twisted slice of orange is layered over a twisted slice of grapefruit -- they don't take the easy way out at Molé!

Underneath that scoop of mango salsa (I thought it looked like corn kernels at first, but nope, even more fruit!) are two eggs on the best polenta, some melted cheese, and a yummy slice of roasted red pepper. So good!
I sat there contentedly, reading on my Kobo, nomnom-ing away on my healthy breakfast. And ever since, I've been playing around with different variations of polenta and eggs for weekend breakfasts. This past Sunday's version included sautéed shallots and kale with crumbled bacon (lardons would be even better) and some salsa on the side.

How would you shake up that combo of polenta and eggs? Suggestions welcome . . .
But here's my real question: when's the last time you sat by yourself in a restaurant or café or diner and just savoured the time on your own? Or do you feel uncomfortable or lonely when you're a "Table for One"? It's one of my true pleasures, but I understand that may be because I have so many people in my everyday life that it's a novelty--no, a luxury!--to be on my own. What about you?

(btw, in Victoria I also discovered that Bernstein & Gold has a fabulous selection of women's wear -- I shop Victoria so seldom I thought they only did housewares. . . .apparently, that was once true, back in the day . . . They carry Designers Remix, a label I could learn to love. And they had a decent sale, a very charming SA. . . . that's all I'm saying . . . .)


  1. savouring time by myself is a true luxury for me these days. although i do have solo work time when my wee guy is in school (not just now!), it's busy time - much nicer to sit and enjoy the time alone than pack it full of tasks which can't be done with a small boy around

    1. Yes, I do remember those days; truly, as much as we love our little ones, nothing feels so luxurious as time to ourselves during those years. So spending that time always involves such deliberation. On the other hand, nothing keeps us in the present the way small children do. . .

  2. I'm trying to recall the last time I ate by myself in a restaurant. I haven't done it enough to feel comfortable, but food that looks this good would certainly be tempting.

    1. Interesting how much I do end up eating on my own -- I suppose partly because Paul worked in another city for quite a few years. Also because living on this little island means I'm often stuck in town, hungry, having just missed a ferry . . .

  3. It sounds like you had the best sort of time in Victoria! Did you get to Aurea? Great travel clothes and little luxuries.
    I seem to eat alone often - mostly because of travel for work. I don't often find a place that serves the sort of food you found. Many nights I find a take-out salad and eat it in my room. That sounds rather pathetic but it's because I spend all day with people - intensely WITH people, and at the end I'm like the actress and just 'vant to be alone'!

  4. Great times! I like eating alone but usually want something to read (otherwise I stare too much.) I like polenta the way my mother served it: cut in rounds, pan-fried in butter and served with maple syrup. She called it "frid corn meal mush" though.


I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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