When my son, Joe, was seven years old we went on our very first Mother’s Day trip, (just the two of us) a tradition we have continued for the past eighteen years.
I believe travel is education outside the classroom. Unfortunately, the principal of his Catholic school didn’t feel the same way and I’m probably going to hell for arguing (repeatedly) with a nun.
(Hopefully, my saving grace is my years of involvement with the school lunch program).
These mother and son adventures have been some of the best experiences of my life.
More than just a vacation, the trips come with life lessons (for both of us) and opportunities to form a true and lasting friendship outside the parent-child role.
On Joe’ s first trip to Italy, he received his allowance in Lire (before Euro’s). He could spend it on whatever he wanted, but when it was gone it was gone. He learned math skills and how to budget.
While exploring Venice, I let him choose the direction. Did we get lost? Sometimes, but our best meals were often on a meandering side street we would otherwise have not discovered and interacting with the locals asking for directions was priceless!
Our latest Mother’s Day trip took us to Seattle and Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada. Joe had decided on the perfect Mother’s Day, and I have lots of food news, but to make this post timely, I am going to share only two very special meals. (more in subsequent posts).
Sooke Harbour House is a beautiful seaside Inn on Vancouver Island (45 minute drive from Victoria, BC). Their restaurant focuses on local, regional, organic and seasonal cuisine.
They have created an edible landscape with over 200 edible flowers, herbs, greens and vegetables.
I appreciate the fact that they produce healthy, fresh and delicious food in a way that is not only beautiful but functional and sustainable.
The sea surrounding this peaceful place offers a rich variety of shellfish, fish and sea vegetables that underscores the seafood emphasis of Sooke Harbour House’s daily changing menus.
This is the lunch we thoroughly enjoyed in this charming place with the magnificent view.
Rutabaga Parsnip Soup, garnished with a calendula petal oil, crispy smoked Sidney sole fritter and fruitage yogurt.
Salt Spring Island Mussels & Clams, steamed with pastis butter broth, accompanied by shaved radicchio and baby bok choy.
Grilled Pork Tenderloin, with a savoy cabbage and dupuis lentil saute, smoked tomato vinaigrette, spring kale shoots, spiced apricot chutney and a stone ground mustard and maple reduction.
Seared Smoked Albacore Tuna, accompanied by fingerling potato ragout, braised cabbage, baby bok choy, spot shrimp and Nootka rose vinaigrette and a Dungeness crab aioli.
Quark Clouds, (Quark cheese) poached and rolled in a carmelized bread crumb, served with a rhubarb strawberry compote and brandy snap.
Chocolate Roulade, dark chocolate mousse rolled in a dark chocolate sponge cake with rasberry jam, coated with a dark chocolate ganache, served with a dark chocolate sauce and a chocolate mint sorbet. (Someone needed a chocolate fix).
The other meal I eluded to was in Victoria’s Inner Harbor. We had just visited the Empress Hotel (where oddly enough an episode of the Bachelor (Canadian version) was being filmed). We crossed the street to the harbor and walked along the path.
Feeling the rumbling of our stomachs we decide we needed to eat … again. Joe asked some locals where to find a good quick bite. We took a side path to the pier and discovered Red Fish Blue Fish, a food truck permanently parked with a long line of hungry residents.
After perusing the menu (written on a board next to the ordering window) Joe decided on the BBQ “Fanny Bay Oyster” sandwich with golden shallot aioli, tarter sauce, tempura pickle and lemon pickled onions.
I ordered the BBQ Wild Salmon sandwich with Dill’d dijonaisse, organic greens and pickled cucumbers. Yes, I said food truck, hard to believe right?
We found a couple of large buckets to sit on and proceeded to stuff ourselves with this messy, drip down your arm, couldn’t be any fresher unless we reached in the water and fished it out ourselves, sandwich.
Sitting on the pier watching the float planes come and go, eating the freshest fish sandwich with a good friend and loving son … doesn’t get any better than this. Thank you, Joe for another absolutely perfect Mother’s Day adventure!