parachute3 parachute2 parachute1Good morning, pretty ponies:

How has your summer been so far?  We hope you are getting along swimmingly.

There was a time when we lamented the lack of quality ice cream in our fair berg.   If you wanted a cone, you had to go to the overpriced tourist traps on Government Street for a stingily portioned, egregiously priced, mediocre cone (Beacon Hill Drive In’s soft serve excepted of course – you can’t argue with a classic).

Well, we don’t have to scream for ice cream any more.  Miraculously, a few intrepid souls have brought quality ice cream back to the fore.  And boy oh boy, are we grateful!

Parachute Ice Cream is located on an unassuming stretch of Bridge Street in Rock Bay.  This neighbourhood, once dismissed as an industrial wasteland, is evolving in to a mecca for creative and affordable eats (Wheelies, Prima Strada Pizza, and Moon Under Water Pub are all located in the vicinity).  On a sweltering evening, we popped in to Parachute for a cone and whoa nelly, were we glad we did.

Parachute’s ice cream is made from water buffalo milk from the McClintock farm in Comox.  The milk gives the product the creamy mouthfeel and silky-smooth texture that is paramount in a quality ice cream.  We sampled several  varieties –  rhubarb crumble (tender rhubarb with delectable chunks of cinnamon-flecked oats), salted caramel (ultra creamy and not too sweet), and the tart, citrusy, ultra-refreshing orange creamsicle. This ice cream purveyor also  stocks “classic” flavours such as vanilla-bean, expresso and dark chocolate, perfect for pairing with your tart, pie, galette or cake. If it is a cone or cup you are after (rather than a take home pint) noteworthy at Parachute, is that you may choose not one, but TWO flavours with your single scoop order and, at this particular ice cream shop, single scoop is a misnomer – a single portion, in fact constitutes four HUGE scoops.  And, priced at just over 5$ for a cone of truly Falstaffian proportions, this Parachute gets Paltry Pete, Victoria’s pre-eminent value oriented rooster’s, official crow of approval (this one is a cock a doodle DO).

Have you tried Parachute Ice Cream?  What is YOUR favourite flavour, is it whiskey hazelnut, pink grapefruit, or are you more classic vanilla (hey, we don’t judge!).  Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and tell us Uncle Monty all about it.  Don’t forget, we’re on Instagram now too.  If you subscribe to our blog, you’ll never miss another edition of Horsing Around.

That is all for now folks.  We’ll be back soon with another edition of Weekly Shout Out.  Until then, take care and be sure to eat your ice cream.


Pete, Monty and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.




Howdy there pretty ponies! Hope you are having a lovely weekend.

Summer weather has arrived at last! It is hard not to be exhilarated by the blue skies and enveloping warmth.   Here are a few things tickling our fancy this summery Sunday:

Summer would not be summer without at least one road trip. Last week, an impromptu trek through Ladysmith yielded an unexpected boon.  Ambling through the historic district of the picturesque hilltop town, we stumbled upon Old Town Bakery. Lured in by heavenly aromas, a bustling atmosphere, and a bulging display case, we sought sustenance in the form of a ham and cheese quiche, a spicy chicken curry roll, and a blueberry almond cinnamon bun.  While the savoury items were tasty, it was the cinnamon roll that truly impressed.  Topped with a handful of plump, juicy blueberries and crunchy flaked almonds, the moist, not too sweet roll was a revelation. A staff member informed us that that customers flock from all over the island for the signature cinnamon rolls.  After sampling these bountiful beauties ourselves, we believe her 100%.  The renown is real.  Old Town Bakery = old school baking at its finest.

Moving right along. Did you know that spicy foods can cool your body temperature? Ergo, when we want to cool down, we head down to I Kyu Noodle on Fisgard for a bowl of Shanghai dumplings.  Paired with a tall glass of ice cold honey-lime soda, these savoury porcine pillows cool us down without weighing us down.  And, at just $9.95, for a large serving, this meal gets Paltry Pete, Victoria’s only value oriented rooster’s offiical stamp of approval. Check out the dumpling delight:  See our original review of I Kyu Noodle here:

Finally, Midge Mod, our fashionista about town, knows that when it comes to summer wardrobe, we want to be cool and comfortable yet still look pulled together.  Right ladies?   This jumpsuit from Spank Boutique, with its slouchy silhouette and sexy racer back, is just the ticket (it also comes in a darker wash).  See here: .  Pair with an armful of slinky bangles and some kicky espadrilles and you’ll be ready for anything.

Well, there you have it folks, edition of W.S.O.  We’d love to hear about your summer adventures.  Are you hitting the road this year or is it summer of staycation? Visit our facebook or twitter page and tell Uncle Monty and the gang all about it.  As always, we love hearing from you.

Until next time!

Love, Monty, Pete, and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.



monkey brain2Good afternoon, pretty ponies!  How the heck are you?

We have pre-empted our usual Sunday spiel in favour of a mid week shout out as this Saturday, the gang at H.A head to Parksville for our annual summer getaway. We miss the Coombs Market and the rooftop goats.  We hope you are thriving and having your own fab adventures!

This edition of Weekly Shout Out features, wait for it… Monkey Brain.  Now, before you drop everything and call PETA and the SPCA, let us assure you that not a single primate was harmed in the creation of this post.

Victoria Sushi, nestled in Victoria’s Westside Village Shopping Centre,opened a few months ago and quickly gained a fervent following. It is at this beloved neighbourhood boite we discovered the aforementioned dish which is, we assure you, 100% cranium free.  This lil’ monkey consists of a ripe avocado which is coated in panko crumbs, quartered, stuffed with a mixture of spicy tuna and fresh crabmeat and, finally, drizzled with a most heavenly sauce which combines the sweetness of teriyaki with the deep umami savouriness of oyster sauce. The whole dish, with its contrasting textures of soft avocado and crunchy panko, spicy seafood and sweet yet savoury sauce, is rhapsodically good. Check it out here: like to order a vegetable sunomono salad to round out the meal as  cool slippery noodles, bathed in light lemony dressing, are refreshing in the summer heat and the accompanying garnish of orange, strawberry, cucumber and cabbage is almost too beautiful to eat. Ogle the sunomono splendour here:  The monkey brain, vegetable sunomono salad and complementary green tea ring in at just $10.29, making this a repast that even Paltry Pete, Horsing Around’s premiere value oriented rooster, can crow about.  You can eat in the restaurant (service is efficient and speedy) or take your order to go and enjoy your brainy binge at home. Bon Appetit!

Well, there you have it folks! Have YOU eaten a monkey brain or do you have a different unusual dish to recommend?  Visit our Facebook and Twitter page and tell Uncle Monty about it!.  As always, we love hearing from you.

Weekly Shout Out will resume the week of August 14 with, we hope, a few updates in between, time permitting.

Happy travels, pretty ponies!  Have a fantastic week.MonkeyBrain_Books

Victoria Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato“>


Monty, Pete, and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.



baoHowdy there, pretty ponies!

How are you, colts and fillies? We hope you have been having a lovely, sun filled weekend.

As it happens, our favourite things this week all begin with the letter B.  But let us not beat around the bush (see what I did there?) let us get down to brass buttons, err, tacks.   Bao, a new Asian eatery located at 626 Fisgard, in the centre of Chinatown, serves up a cornucopia of Asian comfort classics including ramen, bibimbap (a Korean dish consisting of rice topped with sautéed vegetables, chili paste, and beef or other meat, topped with a fried egg) chicken wings (sauced either a sweet Sichuan or spicy Korean chili sauce), noodle dishes and, the piece de resistance, the Bao Bun.  Bao or Baozi are soft wheat buns that are steamed and then stuffed with a variety of sweet or savoury fillings.  At Bao, you may order one steamie for $4.50, or three for $12. We suggest three as, once you try these little babies, you aren’t going to want to eat just one. We sampled several – the Taiwanese Classic, the Shanghai Black Bean, the Tonkatsu Chicken, and the Char Siu.  Our favourite? It was a tie between the Tonkatsu Chicken (crispy chicken topped with strips of piquant pickled ginger) and the Taiwanese Classic (tender pork belly slathered with liquoricy hoisin sauce and dusted with peanut powder).  Three bao make for a sustaining but not too heavy lunch, and, if you have room left over, order the the nutella/banana bao.  You won’t regret it.  One of our staffers, a confirmed banana hater, was wowed by this toothsome treat.   All we can say about these heavenly buns is Bao Wow!  Nice Buns!

Moving along.  Our second B is for Big Wheel.   There are days where only a burger will do (vegetarians, admit it, even YOU have yielded to the siren call of Rebar’s fabled almond burger).  While a number of restaurants in Victoria make a superlative burger, of late we have been jonesing for Big Wheel. We resisted this eatery for a long time as we were discomfited by their use of processed cheese.  As confirmed cheese lovers, this seemed too great a sin to overlook.  However, in the interest of not succumbing to food snobbery, and in deference Big Wheel’s cadre of fans, we thought we should at least try their product before rendering our verdict. To our surprise, we liked the burger a lot. Big Wheel’s mantra is to emulate the classic American cheeseburger.   We like the soft squishy bun (custom made) which has that all important perfect bun to beef ratio.  The burger is adorned simply, with lettuce, roma tomato, (a good choice as Roma’s have less moisture and will not render your bun soggy) crunchy pickles and a dollop of Big Wheel’s special sauce (a tasty mayo based concoction).  The processed cheese?  Well, it adds an addictive saltiness without overwhelming the star of the show, the beef patty (ground in house from free range meat that is hormone and antibiotic free).  Another bonus, the burger is substantial but not enormous, satisfying our carnivore cravings without putting us in to an unpleasant “food coma” (those with heartier appetites need not blanche, you can always order an extra patty).  Big Wheel is licensed, but we prefer to pair our patty with a creamy milkshake.  Made with real ice cream, the vanilla shake accompanies, but does not overpower, the bounteous beef.  Where’s the beef?  Right here, my friends:

Big Wheel Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato“>

Our final B is for Betty-Ann Lampman.  We heard (via the social media grapevine) that there is a book forthcoming of Betty Ann’s inspiring 100 day project (for more on Betty-Ann’s participation in the project and to learn about the project itself, click here:  We love Lampman’s meticulously rendered, expressive paintings.  We cannot wait for the book to come out and we hope it is soon.

Well, that is it for our B festival this week darling readers!  Visit our Twitter or Facebook page and tell us about your favourite burger.  As always, we love hearing from you.

Have a wonderful week, my lovelies!


Monty and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.


Weekly Shout Out – Saint Franks, Andy Shauf, Turtle Express


Greetings pretty ponies!

First of all, we apologize that our hiatus from web wrangling went on much longer than anticipated.  We won’t bore you with the particulars, suffice to say, work/family obligations took precedent. Believe us when we say that if we had our druthers, we’d be out Horsing Around 24/7 but, sometimes, a man (or, in this case, a chicken, horse, guerilla fashionista or unicorn) has got to do what a man has got to do. There is no point being maudlin.  Suffice to say, we are elated to be back. We have missed you, dear readers!

W.S.O. is our weekly paean to things we love, and, lucky for us, there has been a lot going on (and a whole lot to come) in our fair berg that we feel warm and fuzzy about.

First of all, Saint Franks, a new watering hole/cum eatery (and brainchild of the folks who brought us Wheelies Motorcycle Cafe) have opened for business. Franks objective is to bring pride back to the humble hot dog. As of this writing, we have sampled three of their hot dog creations, The Saint Frank, The Dogwood Chicken Club, and the Mac and Cheese Dog. While all had their merits, our favourite was the Mac and Cheese. Topped with a smoky poblano sauce, and a gargantuan mound of ooey gooey mac and cheese, this is one wondrous weenie. The secret to eating the overstuffed creation is this: using you fork, tamp the macaroni down in to the bun, the cheesy sauce will ooze tantalizingly around your frank.  Next time, I am going to ask them to add a squirt of spicy sriracha mayo and I’ll officially be in hot dog heaven.  We downed our dogs with frothy pints of Hoyne Dark Matter and a side of tater tots (yes, there are tater tots!).  Saint Frank’s is refreshingly affordable, the happy hour special of a hotdog and beer, rings in at just $10.  Service is friendly and the vibe is relaxed. If you sit at the back of the bar, you can play Space Invaders while you imbibe.  We think the owners are living up to their mantra, Saint Franks is a dog gone, hot dog haven (witness the sausage splendour here: ).

Moving on from our weenie warblings, on the fashion front, intrepid style correspondent and fashionista, Midge Mod, spied this foxy tank top at Turtle Express in Fan Tan Alley-  Wear it on its own with a pair of denim cutoffs or layer it over a cami or long sleeved top and you can take it from the beach, to brunch.  For those that prefer a little more coverage, the same style is available in a soft-knit T shirt.

Now, we at H.A. H.Q. may have our differences, but one thing we have in common is that we always have music on our minds (or on the stereo, or i-pod or, well, you get the picture!).  Our latest listen, one we cannot seem to get enough of, is the new album by pop wunderkind Andy Shauf.   We discovered Shauf when he opened for Case, Lang, Veirs at Victoria Jazz Fest (don’t get us started on  how legendary that concert was!).  Shauf’s new album, The Party, was recently described by the Independent as “baroque-pop with echoes of Seventies smarties like Harry Nilsson, Randy Newman and Steely Dan, though rather more empathetic than them.”  We are smitten with Shauf’s potent blend of intricate narratives and catchy, retro-inspired riffs. Shauf has recently been shortlisted for the coveted Polaris Prize.   Check out the video for the track The Worst In You here:

Well, there you have it folks, a few things that are making us happy this week.  We hope you are having a lovely summer.   W.S. O. will be back Sunday, July 24th with three Bs – burgers, bao buns and, B.. (shh, the 3rd B is a secret, you’ll have to stay tuned~).

Have you been to Saint Frank’s yet? If so, let us know what you think.  Visit our Facebook, twitter, or Instagram page and comment. As always, we  love hearing from you.

Until, next time, pretty ponies.


Monty, Midge, Pete and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.

Saint Frank's 2



Saltchuck Pie Company

saltchuck2Hello there, pretty ponies!

We hope you have been getting along great. First of all, we apologize for the long hiatus.  Work beckoned, and while we’d love to Horse Around 24/7, even dear old Monty has to work to earn his hay, er “pay”. No matter, we are delighted to be back, and just in time too, as there is an exciting business in town that Monty has been chomping at the bit to tell you all about. Saltchuck Pie Company is located on an unassuming, industrial stretch of Bay Street (360 Bay). Enticed by visions of savoury fillings encased in hot flaky pastry, we veered out of the rush hour traffic snarl to investigate.  Boy, are we glad we did.

Saltchuck Pie Company is an authentic replica of pie shops found dotted throughout Australia and New Zealand. These bakeries, stalwarts down under, sell individually portioned, hand made pies to legions of grateful customers.  Given the steady stream of customers lining up, we’d say Canadians are embracing these purveyors of pie with genuine brio.  Once we tasted the product, ourselves,  Saltchuck’s savoury creations became part of our weekly dining repertoire.

The power is in the pastry.  We have sampled pies at other establishments in and around Victoria (it is a tough job, but someone has to do it!), and while some have certainly impressed, Saltchuck’s pastry eclipses them all.  Gossamer tender, golden-hued, and as flaky as puff pastry, this is the pie crust to end all pie crusts.  Fillings within are a winning compliment to the delicate exteriors.  We have enjoyed a number of the individual pies, the ham and egg – served open face with sunny yellow yolk with generous slices of sweet-salty ham, the beef mushroom (our perennial favourite)  tender beef with meaty mushrooms swimming in a rich winey gravy. Adventurous eaters must sample the rabbit pie, moist chunks of rabbit are braised in a dijon cream sauce.  If you are a little nervous to try rabbit, we encourage you to overcome your preconceptions and give it a try.  The meat is lean and flavourful (but devoid of that funky gaminess that many North American eaters are not accustomed to).  The madras lamb pie is suitably spicy and the pepper steak is intensely peppery with a piquant hit of Worcestershire.    If you don’t eat meat, you can still enjoy a lentil pie, mushroom bean and garlic, or combine  breakfast and dinner in one with a spinach, egg and chevre tart.

While Saltchuck’s primary focus is savoury pie, sweet-tooths may rejoice as there are some stellar desserts in the offing. The white chocolate raspberry brownie; moist, not too sweet, and dotted with whole raspberries, is a stand out.  The apple hand pie will satisfy non-chocoholics who prefer fruit desserts, i.e. tarts, strudels and crumbles (YOU know who you are).  If you see one in the display case, bring home a Lamington. This Australian cake, a tender sponge coated in chocolate and rolled in desiccated coconut, is worth traveling down under for, only now you don’t have to!  Full sized fruit pies are available to purchase by individual slice or whole.

Saltchuck Pie has counter service with seating available for eating in. We love the cheerful interior filled with kitschy, retro decor.  If you are in a rush, take your pies to go, the savoury creations freeze well and can be reheated in a low oven.

Have you visited Saltchuck Pie Company yet?  What do you think? Visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and tell Uncle Monty all about it! As always, we love hearing from you.  Don’t forget, we are Instagram now too.

Take care, pretty ponies. We’ll be back soon with Weekly Shout Out.  Have a wonderful week!

xoxoxo Monty, Pete, and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.



La Taqueria – Victoria

tacoHello there, pretty ponies:

It is no secret that we at H.A. H.Q. go rangy for all things Mexican – ESPECIALLY the nosh. As if in answer to our prayers, a number of quality Mexican eateries have cropped up around Victoria, each having its own devoted customer base. We don’t blame you one bit Victoria.  After all, we too are goo goo for guacamole, titillated by tacos, bowled over by burritos, tempted by tomatillos. Ok, ok, I think you probably get the picture.

There is another new addition to our thriving tacotropolis. La Taqueria (already a beloved institution in Vancouver) have expanded their horizons and opened a location on Fort Street.  According to the website, the owners wanted to emulate the texture and flavor of tacos found at roadside taco stands throughout Mexico.   Having recently sampled their wares, we can attest that they have met their aspirations and enhanced them with their own lively and creative combinations.

La Taqueria, with its turquoise finishings and gleaming kitchen, is a cheery and lively place.  Place your order at the counter and your tacos will arrive lightening fast.  The fillings are a revelation.  We sampled a number of the meat and vegetarian tacos.  Steve favored the al pastor – shredded pork marinated in smoky achiote chilli with pineapple and the chicken tinga – chicken with chorizo in a chipotle tomato sauce, topped with Mexican cheese and sour cream.  I enthused over the pollo con mole with its rich savoury sauce (accentuated by a hint of dark chocolate).  Vegetarians won’t be left out at La Taqueria as there are a variety of meatless creations, our favorite being the rajas con crema, topped with roasted poblano peppers, creamed corn, sour cream and Mexican cheese, the sweet corn and smoky peppers make for a combination I crave again and again.

True to their word, La Taqueria’s tacos are indeed the closest approximation to those we enjoyed in Mexico.  The tortillas are airily textured (nothing like those sad floury wraps that line supermarket shelves), the fillings a potent mix of smoky, spicy, savory and sweet.  An order of four tacos (two meat, two vegetarian) rings in at around $10.00 making an affordable lunch that even Paltry Pete, Horsing Around’s very own Value Oriented Rooster, can crow about.  Bonus:  La Taqueria is licensed.  With the money you save on lunch, you can wash down your tacos with a margarita or cold beer.  Now that is something to shout ole about!

As of this writing, we have not sampled the beef or the fish tacos (adventurous eaters can try the beef tongue). We hope to rectify that soon.  While we understand you may have your own favorite Mexican eatery (see our summary here:  , we urge you to give La Taqueria a try.  It never hurts to discover something new or to add something spicy to your repertoire.

Have you tried La Taqueria yet?  If so, let us know what you think. You can comment on our Twitter or Facebook pages.  We love hearing from you.

Have a lovely week!

Love Monty, Pete, and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.

La Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Malahat Chalet/Moonwater Lounge

Moon Water Lodge - our room

Moon Water Lodge – our room

Good afternoon, pretty ponies!

malahat chalet3

Huge soaker tub

A couple of times a year, we like to go on a mini-getaway right here on Vancouver Island. Last week, with Valentine’s Day looming and canoodling on our minds, we decided to make the short trek down the Malahat to scenic Moon Water Lodge. Moon Water Lodge, a casual, chalet style hotel has large rooms boasting dramatic views of Saanich Inlet. Our room came complete with kitchenette and gas fireplace, not too shabby. However, the true piece de resistance was the two person soaker tub. The tub, located by a large picture window, allowed us to ogle the views as we soaked in our private, bubbly oasis.

Malahat Chalet Dining Room

Malahat Chalet Dining Room

Adjacent to the Lodge, just few steps away, is Malahat Chalet, a bakery/restaurant. The dining room features floor to ceiling windows, allowing panoramic views of the scenery below. If you have friends who have never before visited Vancouver Island, this is THE place to take them. The inlet, with its deep blue water wending through verdant green forested hills, is a stunning example of Vancouver Island’s natural bounty.

As of this writing, have not sampled extensively from the menu at Malahat Chalet, but we can vouch for the salmon and beef burgers and the dip trio, which comes with mini ramekins of spinach artichoke dip, a tangy goat cheese dip, cloves of sweet, roasted elephant garlic, and grilled wedges of naan bread for dunking.

Salmon Burger

Salmon Burger

Our meal was a pleasant one, the nosh invariably taking sloppy seconds over the jaw-dropping vista below.  We were glad we had room for dessert as the strawberry rhubarb pie is a marvel. Bursting with tart rhubarb and chunks of sweet strawberry, this is old-school baking at its finest. We took home slices of blackberry sour cherry pie and a slice of apple strudel for sampling (it is a hard job, Monty has, keeping you readers informed but someone has to do it).  Both were uniformly excellent, with flaky tender pastry. It is worth making the trek over the Malahat for the bakery alone. Keep this in mind for your next road trip.  If you are tired of elaborate deconstructed desserts, you’ll be singing the praises of this classic bakery.



Have you been to the Malahat Chalet/Moon Water Lodge? If so, we’d love to hear what you think? Comment here or visit or Facebook or Twitter page and tell Uncle Monty all about it. Or tell us about your favourite island getaway.

Happy trails, pretty ponies. Until next time. Don’t forget to try that pie, big guy!

Love Monty, Pete, and the whole gang at H.A.

Malahat Chalet Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato









Malahat View

Malahat View

Spinnakers Pub

Beer flight with truffles

Beer flight with truffles

Good afternoon, pretty ponies!

On a weekend afternoon, there is nothing we enjoy more than sauntering along the Songhees, the picturesque walkway which extends from the west end of the Johnson Street Bridge, all the way down through to the municipality of Esquimalt. Along the way, we ogle the harbour views.  If we make it to the very end of the trail, we pop in to Spinnakers for a pint.

Nestled on Catherine Street, conveniently close to the popular Songhees Walkway, is Spinnakers Brewpub and Guesthouse. The restaurant, with its floor to ceiling windows and cozy interior, is the perfect vantage point for stellar sea views and people watching. In summertime, the patio is full of revellers enjoying plates of nachos and washing them down with an assortment of house made craft brews.


Pulled Pork Sammie and Seafood Chowder

Now, when it comes to the nosh, we’ll be upfront and say our experiences with the food at Spinnakers have been a little up and down. However, with repeat samplings, we have winnowed down the menu to a few items we can recommend with confidence. The seafood chowder is excellent, creamy, slightly smoky, with generous chunks of silky halibut. The beet and goat cheese salad is a nice accompaniment, and a half order of the salad with a cup of chowder makes for a lovely lunch. The moules frites yields a heaping portion of steamed mussels with a haystack of hand cut fries. Monty likes dunking his crispy-hot frites in to the tangy ale broth. Pulled pork has become ubiquitous on restaurant menus to the point of being tiresome, but Spinnakers’s version redeems the pulled pork sandwich thanks to a slathering of garlicky barbecue aioli partnered with a crunchy mound of peppery caraway coleslaw. Avoid the underwhelming desserts (the fruit crisp is sweetened to the point of inedibility and the hazelnut torte is dry and bland). Instead, go for the truffles. Made in house, they are dense and chocolatey and you can either order a truffle plate in house or choose a selection of your own from the Provisions Store located at the entrance to the pub (try the lavender or the white chocolate with lemon).

Beer aficionados would do themselves a favour by visiting Spinnakers.  Brewing since 1984, this brewpub began ahead of the craft beer renaissance, giving them time to perfect their pint.  We go rangy for the nut brown ale, a deep amber-coloured ale with a malty flavour and and a sweet, smooth finish.  Hop heads can try the Jolly Hopper IPA or the India Pale Ale.  Flights are available for sampling so be adventurous.  There are always interesting seasonal beers on the menu, and exciting up and comers!

Well pretty ponies, that is it for our pub pontifications for today. Are you a fan of Spinnakers? Which is your favourite brew? Come visit our Facebook and Twitter pages and let us know what you think. As always, Uncle Monty loves to hear from you. Happy imbibing!

Love Monty, Pete, and the entire gang at H.A. H.Q.

Assorted Truffles

Assorted Truffles


Spinnakers Mussels

Spinnakers Mussels












Spinnakers Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bard and Banker Pub

BardBanker1 Good morning, pretty ponies!

We hope you are having a happy hump day.  We regret how little we have posted the last few weeks.  Work obligations and winter colds temporarily got the better of us, but we’re back and darned pleased about it too, as there is so much to delight in, in our fair little berg.

When grey skies loom overhead, it can be tempting to remain indoors, but too much hibernating can exacerbate those winter blues.  It is good to get out now and again.  Winter walks are an invigorating restorative and, afterwards, you can reward yourself with a pint to maintain that rosy-cheeked glow.

Victoria is home to a plethora of pubs, some humble, some high-end, and many in-between.  Bard and Banker Pub, which we visited recently, would constitute high-end.  Dining here is undeniably expensive (fish and chips ring in at $25.00, the burger is $16.50), but the surroundings are so lovely (casual, yet elegant) and the service so welcoming, we were seduced in to splurging.  After all, Monty feels quite at home here with his snifter, cigar, and smoking jacket (we daresay he fit right in, ensconced between gleaming brass fixtures and leather booths).

Potato Crusted Fish and Chips - Bard and Banker Pub

Potato Crusted Fish and Chips – Bard and Banker Pub

Bard and Banker would not have merited a mention had the food been disappointing as we do not equate homey pub sustenance with that of fine-dining (sorry gastropub movement) but sometimes you have to give credit where credit is due, and, once in a while, for the right kind of ambiance, it is worthwhile to splurge a little.  And one has to be pragmatic that restauranteurs retain a slim enough profit, sometimes they have to charge a little more to retain quality.  We sampled the aforementioned fish and chips with ale batter and we were not disappointed.  The chips were hand cut and crispy, the ale-batter was ethereally light and the halibut encased within was moist and flaky.  Our dining companions liked their burger and rosemary roast chicken (you can order a half or an entire chicken at B&B).  The chicken is brined and rotisserie roasted and comes with a choice of sumptuous sides such as braised red cabbage with apple, garlic-rosemary mashed potato, and/or roast squash with cinnamon butter.

As of this writing, we did not sample the appetizers but, if one were light of wallet but in need of a night out, you could order a cup of chowder ($6) and a plate of parmesan fries ($8) and a pint (there are daily drink specials) and I daresay you might be just as happy.  For dessert, we recommend the sticky toffee pudding (stay away from the fridge-cold and stingily portioned apple tart).

We know that diners and drinkers can have a variety of moods and varying budgets and we intend to give you a myriad of options in the coming weeks.  We’d recommend Bard and Banker for a date night or a night out with friends when you feel like a little something with a little more opulence.  We were delighted that the particular corner of the pub we were seated in had no televisions visible (one of our own pub pet peeves) and was spacious, yet quiet enough to facilitate conversation.  We noted when we did a bit sleuthing on-line that many bloggers rave about Bard and Banker’s potato chip crusted fish and chips (they offer two versions).  It might be worth sampling this novel item (crispy potato chips would add a pleasing crunch to your fishy feast).

Have you been to Bard and Banker?  If so, what did you think?  Visit our Facebook or Twitter pages and tell Uncle Monty all about it.  We’ll see you at the pub!

Love Monty and the whole gang at H.A. H.Q.


Bard and Banker Burger



Interior Bard and Banker

Bard & Banker Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato