The Finer SIDE of Canada’s

DRIFT Travel magazine - - A Travel Note From The Editor - BY: TRACEY DRAKE

Come along on an epic culi­nary ad­ven­ture to the un­tamed coast of Bri­tish Columbia’s Van­cou­ver Is­land; an off the beaten path travel des­ti­na­tion and the tasty secrets that await in Tofino.

Yes, Tofino is still known for its small town friendly vibe, awe­some cold wa­ter surf­ing and laid back way of life. But over the last few years, some­thing else has been sim­mer­ing in this small tourist town on Bri­tish Columbia’s wild west is­land coast. I had been hear­ing that the culi­nary scene is ex­plod­ing in Tofino; that it’s dif­fer­ent now. And so, armed with skep­ti­cal cu­rios­ity and a healthy ap­pre­ci­a­tion for re­gional cui­sine - af­ter all, Van­cou­ver Is­land is my home - I headed off to Tofino to see if I could taste the difference.

I’ve been to Tofino many times, and have usu­ally stayed at Pa­cific Sands or right in Tofino at a lovely condo rental right over the town bak­ery. This time, and keep­ing the re­gional fla­vors of the trip in mind, I wanted to stay some­where that lo­cals con­gre­gate for a good meal, a great wave, and an amaz­ing sun­set. So we checked into Long Beach Lodge Re­sort.

Just seven miles from down­town Tofino, right off the Pa­cific Rim High­way, Long Beach Lodge Re­sort is ca­sual luxe at its finest; an ocean­front prop­erty de­signed to take full ad­van­tage of the awe in­spir­ing and ever- chang­ing vis­tas. With forty one lodge rooms and twenty cottages, it re­ally feels like home.

The Great Room en­velopes you with West Coast charm, with its mas­sive gran­ite fire­place and Dou­glas Fir post and beam con­struc­tion. Linger over break­fast, curl up in an over­stuffed chair with a craft cock­tail or lose your­self in the crash­ing surf out­side the win­dow.

Of course, the ho­tel sits di­rectly on Cox Bay, which of­fers some of the best surf­ing in Tofino. It is im­pos­si­ble not to pull up a drift­wood log and just sit. The beach is wide and ma­jes­tic and there is a spe­cial awe that comes over you as you wit­ness Mother Na­ture at its rarest.

If you want the true Tofino ex­pe­ri­ence, I rec­om­mend stay­ing with the friendly folks at Long Beach Lodge Re­sort, and make sure to ask Chef Ian Rid­dick to whip you up a batch of his freshly har­vested baked Kelp chips.

Luck­ily, we were in town for Feast Tofino. In its sixth year, Feast Tofino is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween ac­claimed lo­cal and re­gional guest chefs, restau­rants, fish­er­men, for­agers and farm­ers, all of whom cel­e­brate the boat-to-ta­ble phi­los­o­phy of West Coast cui­sine.

The first night, we headed over to the beau­ti­ful Tofino Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, which in it­self was a feast for all the senses. Chef Joël Watan­abe of Kissa Tanto and Bao Bei joined res­i­dent culi­nary su­per­star Chef Nick Nut­ting of Wolf in the Fog for an evening of Asian/ital­ian street food and raw bar. The imag­i­na­tion in each dish, the re­spect with which each was pre­pared and the pas­sion in each bite was ob­vi­ous. The seafood was in­de­scrib­ably great, and the face of Tofino Mayer Josie Os­borne (above) says more than I ever could with words.

I wan­dered back to the ho­tel know­ing that I had been part of some­thing very spe­cial. It may just be food, but this was good food. It was food that meant a lot to those who were creating it, and it had sig­nif­i­cance to the lo­cals who were en­joy­ing it. It echos the age old tra­di­tion of the strong com­mu­nity bond­ing that comes with shar­ing a great meal.

In its in­cep­tion, Feast Tofino was born so that lo­cal busi­ness own­ers could share and cel­e­brate lo­cal culi­nary boat-to-ta­ble cul­ture with its com­mu­nity. By invit­ing world renowned chefs to part­ner

with lo­cal chefs, it has cre­ated a suc­cess­ful plat­form to show­case Tofino, BC as a world class foodie des­ti­na­tion.

The sec­ond night was an out­side/in­side rev­e­la­tion in re­gional cui­sine. One part outdoor fun and one part in­door awe­some­ness.

Mayor Josie Os­borne was our host for the evening that be­gan dock­side in the park­ing lot at Tril­ogy Fish Store. A few hun­dred peo­ple lined up for the 4th an­nual Boat to Tail­gate Party that saw lo­cals, tourists and vis­it­ing foodie fans lin­ing up for the fresh­est seafood you have ever eaten! Live mu­sic, friends laugh­ing, and face painted tod­dlers danc­ing made for a per­fect fresh air ex­pe­ri­ence. It was a lo­cal fundrais­ing event to raise money for lo­cal salmon re­search with Cen­tral West Coast For­est So­ci­ety.

From there, we walked with Mayor Os­borne to our in­door culi­nary des­ti­na­tion, Wolf In the Fog.


Chances are good if you are in­ter­ested in the culi­nary world, you know of Chef Nick Nut­ting and his Tofino restau­rant, Wolf in the Fog.

I in­stantly sit up and pay at­ten­tion when a world class ac­claimed chef like Nick Nut­ting chooses to in­vest in a small, off the beaten path town like Tofino, and then stays. It isn’t ev­ery ca­reer chef that thinks this way, es­pe­cially af­ter Wolf in the Fog was named Best New Restau­rant in 2014 by Air Canada en­route mag­a­zine.

Chef Nut­ting ap­proaches food hon­estly - he hon­ors the in­gre­di­ents, and al­lows the fla­vors to speak for them­selves, with help from his very deft culi­nary hand.

Wolf in the Fog cap­tures the true essence of Tofino with in­cred­i­ble sea­sonal menus. I highly rec­om­mend the Smoked Tofino Salmon and Potato Crusted Oys­ters (both shown right), if they are on the menu when you visit. Chef Nut­ting doesn’t just cu­rate menus and cook ex­cep­tional food. He for­ages for in­gre­di­ents and works with lo­cal is­land pro­duc­ers to en­sure his team is serv­ing up the fresh­est in­gre­di­ents and do­ing their part to sup­port the lo­cal Van­cou­ver Is­land econ­omy.

Fam­ily style plat­ing is one of my fa­vorite ways to eat at a restau­rant, and Wolf in the Fog does it so well. All the plates and cut­lery are vin­tage and mis­matched, mak­ing for charm­ing ta­ble decor that is set against the sul­try West Coast in­te­rior de­sign.

When you com­bine stun­ning ocean­front ho­tels with warm lo­cal hos­pi­tal­ity and ex­cep­tional food, it is no won­der the culi­nary scene in Tofino is ex­plod­ing. Now that I have ex­pe­ri­enced it, I am truly sur­prised it hasn’t hap­pened sooner. Get here.

Smoked Tofino Salmon with red cedar jus, mush­rooms, farro, gar­lic, shal­lots Potato Crusted Oys­ter with ap­ple and truf­fle

Cedar Sour with cedar in­fused rye, lemon, thyme, egg white

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