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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

What’s better than locally sourced?...

Last night we finally went to Ship & Shore for dinner in Deep Bay for dinner. The drive from Fanny Bay to Deep Bay is just under 5km, but is it ever dark down the Coastal Hwy getting to Deep Bay!! It sure was nice when we drove down the long windy road to the harbour in Deep Bay, and saw Ship & Shore was all lit up and just waiting for us!

Welcoming Ship & Shore restaurant, Deep Bay harbour

When we arrived we were ‘humming and hawing’ about what we should have to drink. We both felt like a glass of wine, so our server suggested, ’Why not get a bottle and what you don’t drink you can take home with you?!” Perfect. So that is what we did. What a great idea!!

We had a few glasses of this wonderful Boho Beat wine from the winery ‘Winemaker’s Cut’ in Oliver, B.C. This Okanagan, B.C. winery hand harvests their grapes at Deadman Lake Vineyard, just south of Oliver, B.C. Using traditional winemaking methods, sustainable farming and a zero pesticides policy with low sulphur use. CUT wines develop naturally and here’s a quirky factoid about their vineyard - they play classical music in the vineyard, to help grow their grapes! Boho Beat is $22 online. They do not sell in the B.C. Liquor stores. One of the owner’s of Ship & Shore - Melanie Cook - say this is her favourite wine, so she brings it in directly from the winery, for sale at Ship & Shore.

Richard had the seafood chowder and said it was the best he has had on the island - tied with the Fanny Bay Inn (FBI) for the best!

Fresh homemade Seafood chowder from Ship & Shore.

I had the halibut and chips and Richard had the Pan Fried Oysters.

Halibut and chips. The fish was amazing and the batter was nice and light!

Panko fried oysters with homemade tartar sauce. Look how big those oysters are!!! And fresh from Fanny Bay!

The restaurant is owned by Bruce & Melanie Cook who purchased the restaurant in 2016. The restaurant had been around for 40 years before they bought it. The restaurant has a focus on fresh ingredients with the buns being the only pre-made part of any meal - and the buns as you can see from the menu above, are made in Victoria and delivered daily! The seafood chowder is Bruce’s own family recipe. We really enjoyed ourselves at Ship & Shore, and I think we will have to go back a few more times to try some new menu items before we leave here!

We decided this morning to go to the Qualicum Beach Farmers Market. We had never visited this market before, so we decided to give it a try since the weather looked nice.

Qualicum Beach with the train station in the background.

Qualicum Beach Farmers Market.

The Qualicum Beach farmers market. In the summer months the market extends a lot further down the Curling rink’s parking lot.

The vendors at the Qualicum Beach farmers market.

More vendors at the Farmer’s market.

The back of the market. The market usually extends further down the back parking lot in the busier months.

We started off buying something from each of the first 4 vendors at the market!

We bought some homemade Hungarian pickles at this stall.

Alana’s Acres Island Raised Premium Chicken Sausages from Errington, B.C. We bought some of their Mediterranean chicken sausages to try one day.

On Instagram @Alana’s Acres

We had to stop when we saw this sign. I liked their slogan “from our boat to your table’ instead of ‘farm to table’.

The history of Natural Gifts Seafood company started a few years ago when Ian Bryce (who owns the company) realized that little to no wild North Pacific Albacore Tuna was available locally, so he and his crew started fishing by hook and line troll with their commercial fishing boat named the NERKA No. 1. In April and May they start fishing for Lingcod in the Northeastern Pacific, Salmon - when permitted and for Albacore Tuna from June until October. Recognized as ‘Sustainable Seafood’ by the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise and ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ by the Monterey Bay Aquariums Seafood Watch. The B.C. Albacore Tuna fishery is also certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.

We bought some Lingcod fillets from Ian and Jennifer. Lingcod are also known as the buffalo cod or cultus cod and is a fish of the greenling family. Native to the west coast from Shumagin Islands in the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. It has been observed up to a size of 60 inches and a weight of 130lb. The larger fish we saw on display today had a greenish tinge to it. Apparently 20% of lingcods have blue-green to turquoise flesh, the colour of which is destroyed with cooking. These bottom feeding fish occupy rocky areas at depths of 32-328ft deep. Lingcod are nonmigratory species but they are voracious predators feeding on herring, salmon, hake, octopuses and rockfish. They are particularly vulnerable to sea lions and harbour seals.

The piece of Lingcod we bought today at the Qualicum Beach market.

Ian advised us to cook the Lingcod breaded in Panko crumbs, lightly fried in a mix of butter and canola oil. We are going to try this fish for dinner tomorrow evening!

We headed on to the next stall and discovered some freshly made Mexican salsa.

We love Salsa and all things Mexican, so we had to try the medium and hot salsas made in Nanaimo by Island Fresh Authentic Mexican Sauce. We were told that if we added some honey to the medium salsa and cooked salmon with it, it would be a delicious dish. We both love hot and spicy food, so we are anxious to try both of these salsas which are locally made.

Our last stop at the market which was closing at noon today, was the Conscious Crackers stand. We had tried these delicious gluten free crackers (they have keto crackers too) at the Tigh-Na-Mara spa when we had their amazing tapas meal, after our amazing spa treatments.

Conscious Crackers...Guilt Free Crunch! Vegan & Gluten Free. Delicious! Made in the Comox Valley.

Wow! What a trip to the Farmer’s Market. I really think it would be wonderful to visit the market when all of the fresh produce was in season. We avoided all of the baked good stands today too! We were being very restrained today for a change!

Since we were in town, we decided to walk around and finish up our shopping.

Cake anyone? I was trying to get a shot of the town clock at noon in Qualicum Beach and decided to walk around to this little park for a different angle, and there was a half eaten birthday cake with a number ‘6’ candle on it. Very strange!

Its amazing who you can find on a bench in town!

You want me to do what? I’m not sure how many of you have mastered the wearing a mask and sunglasses yet? My sunglasses keep fogging up. Its very frustrating!

Qualicum Beach looking down the Main Street. The Salish Sea/Strait of Georgia is in the background. Quality Foods the grocery store in town is the building on the corner on the left.

Channelling Dr. Bonnie Henry...

Crocuses in bloom. What a difference from last weekend when we had a foot of snow fall!

I’m not sure what these are but they remind me of something our of a Dr. Seuss story!

These primroses have gone down in price! What a deal!

After wandering around Qualicum Beach we decided to head up to Coombs to check out a property we had seen listed on a couple of acres which looked interesting.; We ended up after visiting the rural area of Coombs driving to Errington and then finally almost in Parksville, as we continued to explore the highways and byways of Vancouver Island to understand where all the roads lead us. Its nice to have the time to meander without having any time pressures to be anywhere or meet anyone!

We were getting pretty hungry for lunch, and we remembered that we had visited James Island Grill for some great food from their food stand before, so. that’s where we headed next.

Richard is ordering our food at James Island Grill in Coombs.

While Richard waited for the food, I saw a sign for a pottery place which was open today, so I decided to wander over to the pottery store and see what they had for sale.

Pyromania Pottery! What a great name for a pottery store! You can see there is still a bit of snow on the ground inland.

Pyromania Pottery is owned by a small group (7) professional potters who produce raku, pit-fired, electric, gas and wood-fired pieces of pottery. I was very curious to understand what ‘raku’ pottery was so I googled it when I got back to Newman.

Raku generally refers to a type of low-firing process that was inspired by traditional Japanese raku firing. Western-style raku usually involves removing pottery from the kiln while at bright red heat and placing it into containers with combustible materials. Once the materials ignite, the containers are closed. This process produces an intense reduction atmosphere which affects the colours in glazes and clay bodies. The drastic thermal shock also produces cracking-known as crackling, since it is deliberate.

I thought that since we were going to have our lingcod tomorrow, I should buy a serving platter for the fish.

Tonight we are enjoying the new platter with the Saltspring Island lemon goat cheese we picked up from the cheese factory on Saltspring Island when we were there, and Conscious Crackers Rosemary Pecan crackers.

When I got back to the James Island Grill, our food was ready!

Chicken taco salad with homemade shell and fresh homemade pineapple salsa. The salad was one of the best I have ever eaten!

Beef tacos. Richard said they were delicious!

We ate in this lovely little picnic area today at James Island Grill in Coombs. The owners are really looking forward to when the weather warms up, and a lot more people stop by next door at ‘Goats on the Roof‘.

Just about to try our amazing lunch!

Yes. It was that good!

It started to rain lightly when we were enjoying our picnic outside at +7C. I couldn’t finish my salad and Richard had to help me with it.

We drove home thinking about all of the wonderful locally sourced food purveyors we are getting to know on the Island. We love supporting local and when the food is so good locally, why would you go anywhere else?

Tomorrow I think is supposed to be a rain out kind of day. I’m hoping we might get a hike in somewhere, but we’ll see what the weather is like before we commit to anything outside.

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