I am fortunate enough to have a dual citizenship as an American-Canadian. Living here in the Pacific Northwest I am also lucky to be privy to a shifting culture, one previously dependent on spray-cheese and canned green beans, to one that is embracing fresh and local real food. I am a foodie of sorts, intrigued by new culinary experiences, and so this movement toward minimalistic ingredient lists and garden-grown produce is unspeakably exciting for me. This green culinary shift isn’t just for us in this little corner of the country, as I found out over the summer, it has also arrived in British Columbia.
I am pleased to introduce you to 10 Acres. This hip and clean little bistro is located in downtown Victoria, on Vancouver Island. My family spends a week in the Gulf Islands each summer visiting my folks, and this year we indulged in a little off-island tourism, namely, Victoria. As my husband and brother spruced up their golf skills on a nearby course, my dear sister-in-law and I took in the sights. We visited the Parliament building, the Empress, and watched sailboats and water taxis come and go. We perused many little boutiques and antique shops. When it came time for lunch, we hit up 10 Acres.
We sat outside in their raised patio area, with plenty of sleek tables and an elongated gas burning fireplace stretching down the middle. It was hot the day that we visited, so the flame was off and that was just fine with us. The menus are hard wooden boards with the weekly menu banded on front and back. A cocktail list came alongside the menu, but since we had to drive back to the golf course to pick up the boys, we forwent the booze and stuck with good old fashioned water.
10 Acres prides itself on local. Its name is no coincidence; they literally have a farm on the Saanich Peninsula where they grow the majority of their produce, as well as much of their meat, poultry and dairy. Anything that they don’t produce themselves, they source locally, like seafood, which is of course, easily supplied from the surrounding ocean water.
The menu was impressive. I would certainly appreciate the opportunity to return again and again to try many of the amazing entrée options, but since this was a one-chance kind of visit, I selected the fish tacos. All I can say here is that they were not just a meal, they were a memory formed. They were that good! Two warm flour tortillas laid out and spread first with creamy avocado, layered next with pickled red onions and lime rind. (I know! Who has ever heard of pickled lime rind?) Then, the star of the show, perfectly seasoned fresh white fish with smaller simple flakes of salmon. I tasted each layer individually as they were all so tempting, but together as a whole they created a masterpiece. The dish came with fresh lime wedges, jalapeño slices and a small ramekin of red sauce that I can only inadequately describe as mildly spicy vinegar based barbeque sauce. The dish was filling and after it was done I sat back in complete satisfaction.
If you are ever in Victoria, and I hope you are as it is such a beautiful city, please find 10 Acres. It doesn’t seem to disappoint.
611 Courtney Street
Victoria, BC V8W 1B7