I think desserts are my favourite meal. A friend saw this button and got it for me: "Life is too short. Eat desserts first." I have it as a magnet on my fridge door too. It's not that I don't eat healthy--I just eat less so there's room for desserts. Once in a while, a writer-buddy and I break loose from our routines and indulge in a "Me" day--we check out various bookstores and art galleries, fueled by appetizers and desserts. Lori's logic is that appetizers are small and sort of paves the way for desserts. I like the dessert part and concede there are some tasty appetizers out there. We don't exactly count calories, after all, who does on a "Me" day.
Lori lived in the neighbourhood so we met at Octavio's, an Italian bakery/deli in Oak Bay Village. It was still early morning--one of those warm, sunny days where we were able to grab a patio table to nibble, sip and savour, while planning our noshing strategy for the day. We sipped our medium roast coffee and nibbled our still-warm flakey, buttery almond croissant and chocolate croissant. Relaxed, we enjoyed every morsel while bits of conversation drifted around us. With the dairy, nuts and chocolate part of the Canada Food Rules covered, Lori and I decided to splurge with slices of the Italian layered sponge cake that had whipped cream and fresh fruit between each of its five thin layers. Light as air and tasting like Paradise with every forkful, we agreed that the fruit covered part of our daily requirements too. Fortified and energized, we browsed through Oak Bay's Winchester Gallery and the Avenue Gallery before heading onwards to the Downtown area.
We parked our cars at the Public Parkade, walked across the Johnson Street Bridge and continued with a brisk walk around the Songhees side of the Inner Harbour. Passing numerous elegant condos facing the waterside, we arrived at Spinnaker's Pub in time for a light snack and dessert. The brisk walk and fresh sea air gave us both an appetite. Lori and I decided to split an order of pulled pork nachos which was a generous plate of nachos topped with ale-braised pulled pork, pickled cabbage with red onions and cheddar/monterey cheeses served with locally made green tomato salsa and sour cream. We also added a serving of beet and potato pakoras served with plum preserves and a cilantro yogurt dip. Protein, dairy and veggies--check, check and check. The portions were perfect for us leaving enough room for dessert. Normally, I'm not a cheesecake fan but Lori's choice of Rum and Eggnog Cheesecake, on a gingersnap cookie crust and drizzled with chocolate sauce, made me a convert. Heading out the door, we stopped at their chocolates and pastry take-outs and bought 3 dark chocolate truffles for us to share: my choice of a dark chocolate with a filling of stout and choclate barley; Lori's choice of a dark chocolate truffle of local black currants and red wine and the chocolatier split for us a third dark chocolate with a honey and sea salt truffle filling--an intriguing mix of sweet and salty wrapped with the bite of dark chocolate.
A long walk back to town to check out our favourite new/used bookstore, "Russell's Books." Loaded with our bags of fave authors, we headed up Fort Street to another favourite stop, "Chonicles of Crime," a bookstore specializing in crimes, murder, thrillers and mayhem. We had passed a Korean pastry shop, a Thai noodle place, two pizza parlours and three coffee bars, but we decided to backtrack to end our day at "The Dutch Bakery." There we pulled out all the stops and ordered a plate of pastries to go with our pots of tea. Lori and I smiled contentedly as we dug into flakey Napoleons with its layers of custard, shared a slice of Mocha cake with its subtle flavour of liqueur in its butter cream filling and savoured every morsel of the petite chocolate eclairs with its delicate filling of whipped cream. Tomorrow, we were meeting to burn off some calories at our Zumba class, but tonight we were blissfully content with our day of art, appetizers, books and desserts. Well--at least until our next "Me" day. . .