Citidiot | Slang/Insult | A portmanteau of “city” and “idiot”. What many residents of the community of Tofino on Vancouver Island call especially obnoxious tourists, particularly those who outwardly exhibit wealth and/or symptoms of urbanity (eg. flashy cars, fashionable clothes, etc.).
Usage: “I gotta go, Ma…yeah, a big BMW SUV just unloaded a bunch of fresh citidiots…I’ll call you back later!”
by Andrew Morrison | Readers who follow Scout’s Instagram account might recognise this monster of a breakfast sandwich from Tofino’s recently opened Wolf In The Fog. The toasted bun came layered with egg, cabbage, and a pork sausage disc – all soaked in a salty country-style gravy.
It was scarfed down just a few days ago alongside some over-sized, perfectly seasoned and super crispy tater tots. The plate might seem a little pedestrian for a chef of Nick Nutting’s high caliber (he’s the biggest food nerd of his generation on the Island), but pedigrees are moot on rainy mornings in Tofino. It’s big, hot, delicious, and worth every cent of $12.
Check the place out the next time you make it over to Tofino. It’s got a casual but capable vibe that makes for a fairly accurate embodiment of the town’s hardy and house proud spirit. If I were to try to pin down a comparison in ambience, I’d liken it to the excellent Pointe Restaurant at the nearby Wickaninnish Inn (where several of the owners were once employed), only a few weeks after it had been taken over and remodelled by a renegade group of leather-loving surfers who preferred long hair and the hallucinogenic twang of The Allah-Las to staff uniforms and the piped-in sounds of the ocean (yes, they actually do that at The Pointe, and it’s pretty awesome).
I haven’t given the complete dinner menu a good going over yet (I walked in on their first service of a new menu), but everything I tasted was totally on point, including bartender Hailey Pasemko’s evocative Cedar Sour cocktail, which tasted like a really good west coast memory of a campfire gone by. Take a look at some of shots I took of the space below (taken before service).
Tacofino has just opened their new location in Victoria. It’s been pretty awesome to see them grow from just a food truck in Tofino to operations in Vancouver, the Okanagan, and now the capital. We snuck in on opening day and met up with owners Jason Sussman and Kaeli Robinson (and their awesome handful of a daughter, Lenny). They were still waiting on their liquor license, but the kitchen was fully operational. The fish tacos were as good as ever (such a dreamy dual combo of textures and tastes) and the restorative tortilla soup was darker and more complex than the first time we drooled over it years ago in Tofino. Check it out from 11am to 11pm at 787 Fort St. and remember that there’s another location – a big one in Gastown – coming our way soon.
The GOODS from Wolf In The Fog
Tofino, BC | Husband-and-wife folk-pop band Us The Duo will be performing at Tofino’s newest restaurant Wolf in the Fog on Saturday, August 30th. Fresh off their North American tour to promote their second album No Matter Where You Are, Us The Duo will play an intimate show in the upstairs dining room.
Tickets are $50 per person and include a multi-course dinner prepared by Chef Nick Nutting and the Wolf in the Fog team. Doors open at 5:00pm and seating is first come first serve. The show begins at 8:00pm.
Tickets go on sale this Thursday, August 14th and can be purchased at Wolf in the Fog, located at 150 Fourth Street, Tofino, BC or by calling 250-725-WOLF (9653). Read more
We’ve invited Vancouver Island’s brand new Wolf In The Fog eatery to join the Restaurants section of our GOODS program as a recommended place to sip and sup in Tofino. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be sharing their news and employment needs on our front page in addition to hosting a page for them in our archive of local and independent goodness. We thank them for their support and for making The Island a more delicious place to be.
150 Fourth Street, Tofino, British Columbia V0R 2Z0
Telephone: 250-725-WOLF (9653) | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Web: www.wolfinthefog.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
The Restaurant: Lunch 11am–5pm | Dinner 5pm-12am
The Den: Coffee/Sandwiches 6am–5pm | Dinner 5pm-12am
Chef – Nick Nutting
Front of House Manager – Jorge Barandiaran
Bar Manager – Hailey Pasemko
Pastry Chef – Joel Ashmore
Business Manager – Andre McGillivray
Sous Chef – Martin Dean
About Wolf In The Fog
Wolf in the Fog’s culinary influence lies with the local fishermen and foragers, providing a magnificent array of produce from Tofino’s doorstep. Fresh seafood and fish is complemented by meat and grain from Vancouver Island farmers and wild greens and mushrooms foraged from the plentiful forests and seashores of Tofino.
The ingredients land in the skillful and confident hands of Chef Nick Nutting and his team. Capturing the raw vitality of Tofino, Chef Nick Nutting’s seasonal menu – focusing on family style and encouraging guests to engage with the dishes – reflects the allure of Tofino itself: honest, rustic and at the very end of the road. Bold flavours, simple preparation and honed techniques blend to create a menu brimming with passion and verve.
Wolf in the Fog’s cocktail program echoes the Tofitian cuisine prepared by the restaurant team. Signature cocktails crafted by Bar Manager Hailey Pasemko incorporate wild and homegrown ingredients like native berries and cedar and include large format cocktails to match share platters. The carefully curated wine program features British Columbia wines by the glass, a blend of international and homegrown wines by the bottle, and rare and exceptional bottle on the Owner’s Selection wine list. Lastly to the taps – try a selection of beers from local craft breweries such as Tofino Brewing Co., Driftwood Brewing Co. and Hoyne Brewing Co.
Downstairs, The Den offers coffee and freshly baked pastries in the morning, as well as a variety of gourmet sandwiches on artisan breads, fresh from the Wolf in the Fog kitchen.
The interior of Wolf in the Fog is intended to mirror Tofino’s striking natural environment, while retaining a warm and welcoming character. Features include a natural and reclaimed wood structure with modern industrial touches, a beautiful 14-foot feature communal table and original artworks from acclaimed local and international artists.
by Andrew Morrison | I was up in Tofino over the weekend and was able to take a good look inside the construction site of Wolf In The Fog, a two storey eatery soon to open at the gates of town on the corner of Fourth & Campbell. The place has got the small town buzzing, not least of all because it has three ex-Wickaninnish Inn employees – former chef Nick Nutting and FOH staffers Jorge Baradiaran and Andre McGillivray – collaborating as owner-operators. They’re a talented bunch, and the location is as prime as it gets.
Despite the formal trappings of the owners’ shared past (the Wick being a Relais property, after all), Wolf In The Fog is aiming to be decidedly casual casual, especially on the 800 sqft main floor, which will seat 20 indoors (with TVs) and another 18 on the sidewalk patio. The same menu will be shared on the more expansive second floor with its large bar and lounge area (with beer and wine on tap), 60+ seat family-friendly dining room (complete with broken surfboard sculpture), and 38 seat patio. It’s a great-looking space with excellent mill- and metal-work in evidence (I love the smooth curve of the walnut bar), not to mention a killer view.
The upstairs is also home to a dream kitchen that snakes to the back of the building and a rear staff patio for the sweetest of contemplative, mid-rush breaks. As you can see in some of the shots below, Nutting and his cohorts – among them sous chef Martin Dean (ex-Wick, Ensemble) and pastry chef Joel Ashmore (ex-Wick) – can also look out beyond the dining room at the Deadmen Islets and the surrounding (stunning) land/seascape.
Nutting didn’t talk at length about the food, except to say that he really wanted it to be true to the spirit and feel of Tofino, which is about as far away from stuffy as is possible. I’ve eaten his food on several occasions (including in competition), and I know full well that he’s capable of doing amazing and often innovative things with locally sourced ingredients. So while I feel that it’s somewhat of a tragedy that he won’t be using all the tools in his creative bag making sandwiches and the like, I’d be very surprised if they weren’t damn fine sandwiches! What’s more, I don’t think he’ll be able to resist plating the occasional honest expression of his true abilities, which are considerable. It’s in a chef’s nature to show off, if only on occasion.
To round out the casual vibe that Wolf In The Fog is trying to capture, they’ve put together what sounds like a pretty kickass vintage stereo system and lined up a nice collection of vinyl to play, plus they’ve taken a page out of the Mamie Taylor’s playbook and collected colourful vintage, mis-matched tableware from thrift stores in small towns up, down, and all around Vancouver Island.
The team is looking forward to opening at some point in June.
The GOODS from Wildebeest
Vancouver, BC | Wildebeest restaurant migrates to the Island this weekend to invade the kitchen at Tofino’s Shelter. On Saturday May 3rd, Chef Wesley Young and the Wildebeest team will cook up their most popular plates with some local and foraged twists, while award-winning bartender Thor Paulsen will commandeer Shelter’s bar to pair dishes with well-crafted cocktails. For those who prefer a cold brew with their meal, Tofino Brewing Co. will join the party to tap a cask of one-off craft beer. Early reservations are encouraged for what is sure to be a popular event. Please call Shelter to book a seat: 1-250-725-3353. Details after the jump… Read more
THE GOODS FROM SPOTTED BEAR BISTRO
Tofino BC | Spotted Bear Bistro is on the lookout for brunch and dinner service line cooks as well as servers for the upcoming season. Both part time and full time positions are available. Cook applicants must have experience, be passionate about food, work clean and well on their own and be presentable. Time management is vital for both positions. Brunch positions will be approximately 7am to 2pm three days a week and dinner position start times will vary from early afternoon to early evening until 11pm. Hours are great for those that want to enjoy what Tofino has to offer. Applicants must be willing to commit through to Labour Day, and positions through the winter may be available. Serving positions are available both on a part time and full time basis. Applicants must have experience, be passionate about food and wine, and work well in a fast paced environment. Brunch shifts are from 7:30am/8:00am – 2pm and dinner shifts vary from 4:00pm/6pm starts to 11pm. Interested applicants should apply Attention Cameron at sbbistrocatering[at]gmail.com. Learn more about Spotted Bear after the jump… Read more
The southern coast of British Columbia is fronted by dozens of islands, the largest among them being Vancouver Island, which is home to several towns and cities including Duncan, Parksville, Tofino, Campbell River, Nanaimo, Port Hardy, and the provincial capital, Victoria. Between it and the mainland of BC are the Gulf Islands. These include such gems Savary, Galiano, Mayne, Saltspring, Thetis, Gabriola, Denman, Hornby, Lasqueti, Texada, and both Penders (they are a great many others).
In The Islands at the moment (our HOOD palettes are ever-changing), we’re seeing the two blues on the funnel of BC Ferries Coastal Celebration vessel; the brick interior of Victoria’s Habit Coffee; the hot stones in the spa at Sonora Resort; the thirsty August grass at Mile Zero in Victoria; the smooth pebbles of Higgs Beach on Pender Island (tri-colour); purple and orange starfishes; the green of Pagliacci’s exterior in Victoria; sunset on the wooden cabins of Bodega Ridge on Galiano Island; the six shades of a winter storm from the The Pointe Restaurant at Wickaninnish Inn; the blue veins of Beddis Blue cheese from Moonstruck on Saltspring Island; the stunning sand of Savary Island’s better beaches; the light blue of Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria; the copper green dome of the provincial legislature; the yellow of the Mary Jane’s Kitchen sign on Lasqueti Island; a Margarita at Sobo in Tofino.
A WODDEN BOAT MUSEUM IN COWICHAN BAY
GOOD SURFING IN TOFINO AND SOMBRIO
RENAISSANCE BOOKS IN VICTORIA’S BASTION SQUARE
THE SINGULAR EXPERIENCE OF HIKING THE WEST COAST TRAIL
SUMMER BASKING ON WHIFFEN SPIT
THE WIDE AND (USUALLY) EMPTY SUN SWATHE OF VICTORIA’S GONZALES BEACH
GREAT EXPLORING AT FORT ROD HILL
THE VALUE VILLAGE & LOWER JOHNSON VINTAGE HUNT LOOP IN VICTORIA
DITCH RECORDS ON FORT STREET IN VICTORIA
BACH, HAYDN, HANDEL, AND VIVALDI ON REPEAT AT MUNRO’S BOOKS IN VICTORIA
BEACHFRONT CAMPING AT BELLA PACIFICA IN TOFINO
CHOCOLATE DIPPED CONE FROM BEACON HILL DRIVE-IN
PIZZA FROM LA PRIMA STRADA IN VICTORIA
VOLTAGE ESPRESSO STOUT FROM HOYNE BREWING
HABIT COFFEE IN VICTORIA
THE BIG BURGER AT THE SPOTTED BEAR IN TOFINO
SPAGHETTI ALIO OLIO AT ZAMBRI’S IN VICTORIA
ANYTHING AT SOOKE HARBOUR HOUSE
STEAK FRITES AT BRASSERIE L’ECOLE IN VICTORIA
CHAMPAGNE SUNDAY BRUNCH AT THE POINTE IN TOFINO
SEASONAL TASTING MENU AT THE COWICHAN VALLEY’S STONE SOUP INN
DEEP FRIED SOFT SHELL CRAB AT NORI IN NANAIMO
CAJUN HALIBUT SANDWICH AT THE HUMMINGBIRD PUB ON GALIANO ISLAND
ESPRESSO AT THE TOFITIAN
PIMENTO ROOT HASH AT THE CAFE AT HOPE BAY ON PENDER ISLAND
THE BREAD AT PAGLIACCI’S IN VICTORIA
CIBOLO SHRIMP & KEY LIME PIE AT SOBO IN TOFINO
PEA SOUP AT ULLA IN VICTORIA
- Except for rocky Mace Point, Savary Island is almost entirely ringed by white sand.
- Active Pass (the narrow straight between Mayne Island and Galiano Island) was named after the USS Active, an American survey vessel that navigated the area in 1855.
- “Cowichan” is an English treatment of Halkomelem Quw’utsun, or “warm land”.
- The entirely of the undeveloped 100 acre West Ballenasa Island off Parksville is currently for sale for $1.4 million.
- The old Painter’s Lodge fishing escape in Campbell River was a favourite of Old Hollywood stars, including Bob Hope and John Wayne.
- Tofino’s Sobo restaurant was named one of the Top 10 best new eateries in Canada by enRoute Magazine when it was just a food truck operating out of the Botanical Gardens.
- The body of water that encompasses the divide between Vancouver Island and the mainland – including Strait of Georgia, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Puget Sound – was named the Salish Sea in 2010.
- Victoria’s Chinatown is the oldest in Canada (second in North America only to San Francisco’s).
- In 2010, Kuper Island had its name changed to Penelakut Island in honour of the Penelakut First Nation.
We’ve invited Tofino’s excellent Spotted Bear Bistro to join our GOODS section. They are now proud members of Scout, and as such we will be posting their news in addition to hosting a page for them on our curated list of independent goodness. We would like to thank them for their support of Scout, and for making British Columbia a tastier place to be.
101 4th Street | Tofino, BC
Telephone: 250-725-2215 | Email: email@example.com
Wednesday – Sunday 5:30pm | Sunday Brunch 9 – 1pm
Web: www.spottedbearbistro.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
About The Spotted Bear
The Spotted Bear Bistro is located in charming downtown Tofino just steps from the harbour, set against the backdrop of the lush mountains of Clayoquot Sound.
Here at the end of the road, be delighted by classic upscale comfort food from a menu that reflects the abundance of quality products available on Vancouver Island. Along with a cozy, intimate atmosphere and an open-concept kitchen, this locals’ favourite also deals in sophisticated cocktails, local brews, and carefully selected wines. The casually elegant dining room combines salvaged wood, seating at a yellow cedar slab bar, antique cookery and eclectic local art for a funky, friendly setting. Private heated patio seating is available in the summer.
Head chef Simon Burch brings a fresh perspective to former-chef-turned-creative-consultant Vincent Fraissange’s tradition of classic French-inspired cuisine. A proud member of the Tofino-Ucluelet Culinary Guild, the Spotted Bear focuses on the freshest and best in local seafood, specialty meats, and Vancouver Island sourced produce.
Simon Burch’s seasonal menus include such delights as tuna tartare, braised local octopus, brick chicken and slow cooked beef shortrib. Also available are family-style dinners and an unforgettable Sunday brunch. On an innovative beverage list developed by service manager Meggan Leeck, find Tofino Brewing Company beers on tap, inspired cocktails, and specialty wines and liqueurs.
A perfect setting for an intimate dinner, and ideal for private group events and wedding dinners, the Spotted Bear Bistro truly offers the best of the west coast.
The GOODS from Shelter
Tofino, BC | All May is the 3rd annual “Feast Tofino“, the culinary celebration that showcases the bounty we get to enjoy everyday here in Tofino. There are visiting chefs, numerous events, a dock festival and Feast menus showcasing local chef’s creations inspired by the boat-to-table movement. For Shelter’s menu, our kitchen focused on local seafood but used the now synonymous craft beer from Tofino Brewing Co. as its core inspiration. To celebrate this menu (and since we’re the only restaurant in town to offer all of the local brews), we thought it would be fitting to create a fun little video about the unique journey of a keg from the brewery to our taps. Enjoy! Read more
by Andrew Morrison | We like Tofino. It’s sort of been our escape of choice since forever. We have a habit of spending two or three days camping and getting proper filthy along the beach at Bella Pacifica and then – with sand in every crevasse and our clothes reeking of wood smoke – getting cleaned up for a few days at the world renowned Wickaninnish Inn. It’s a refreshing, invigorating way of taking time off, and it’s not all that much of a journey, especially if you love taking BC Ferries and driving on curvy roads through breathtaking scenery for a couple of hours and a half.
When you arrive, the town has just about everything one could want. There are several kickass restaurants, chief among them The Pointe, Sobo (with whom we have just finished a cookbook for Random House), Tacofino, Spotted Bear, and Shelter. The town has a thing for fresh, local, high quality ingredients, one that we have watched grow over the years from an inherent affection to a proud passion. We get our daily coffee and beer fixes at The Tofitian and the Tofino Brewing Company (latter home to growlers galore and a fantastic little half-pipe for whenever the town’s sweet little skatepark suffers the rain), and very quickly forget our cell phones (Rogers’ service is a 20th century joke in these parts anyway).
All this is to say that we almost always turn right to Tofino when Highway 4 hits the Pacific Ocean, and very seldom left. If we were to turn left, we’d quickly end up in the village of Ucluelet, which – despite a few visits and on account of our own ignorance – has always seemed like the lesser of two awesomes. But since we’re in Tofino for nearly a month of every year with seldom a day of that spent in Ucluelet, we decided on our most recent trip up that it was only right to go left.
Ucluelet might not have the vast expanses of sandy surf beaches like Tofino, but it’s nevertheless comparable in other ways. It has a similarly small population at just under 2,000, basically the same mid 30′s median age, the same love affair with food and drink (albeit with far fewer outlets), a much more challenging skatepark (that bowl section is gnarly!), and accommodations that run the gamut from rustic to world class. We’d been hearing great things about Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, and so made the place our home base for a few days. The accommodations were top drawer, reminding us plenty of those offered at The Wickaninnish Inn. Everything that we sat on or laid down upon was bosom plush, and our suite came with the extra-auditory benefit of a vast seascape crashing into rocks directly in front of us. The only thing that struck as odd about the place was that it wasn’t busy. Granted, we arrived mid-week on out of season dates, but the occupancy appeared to be a little on the light side; a testament, perhaps, to Tofino’s greater appeal.
Because we had so much work to do with the cookbook, we kept to the suite for much of the time, with chef Lisa Ahier of Sobo commuting to us daily from Tofino instead of the other way around. That meant no time indulging in the spa and only an hour a day of shoreline exploration (some interesting finds, including the skeleton of a former sea lion who’d misplaced his skull). We only took breaks to eat, and let me tell you, when you’re dissecting and perfecting recipes for a cookbook all day and night, hunger is often, urgent, and so very debilitating.
We checked out a couple of places in town, namely Ukee Dogs and Hank’s. At the former – a tiny counter service joint with a few picnic tables out front – it was all about comfort foods and Foggy Bean espresso. I’m sure they offered a token salad or two (probably with bacon), but the focus was squarely on big ass hot dogs of varying stripe and decadence. The chalkboard menus were painted onto surfboards and told of daunting wonders, everything from pizza smokies loaded with jalapenos to “logger dogs” filled with banana peppers and onions. They even had a Mac & Cheese dog (and probably a couple of defibrillators under the counter). The latter, Hank’s, was equally a little more refined but equally indulgent, plus they had a liquor license, which is to say I liked it more. The owners, Francois Pilon and Clark Deutscher, are irrepressible beer and BBQ fetishists, smoking their meats in house and offering a good representation of local pours, including a proper cask ale or two. I fell for their pork ribs – so tender and flavourful; some of the best I’d ever had on the island. Our one major regret is that we never were able to slow down enough to take in a proper supper at the well reviewed Norwoods. Alas, next time…
Most of our eating was done at Black Rock, either in the Float Lounge with it’s uncannily pretty bar (its back and ceiling is shaped like a cresting wave) or in the main dining room, which is called Fetch. Both are fronted by the ocean and both get plenty of natural light, but Fetch looks and feels a little more formal and juts out onto the rocks just a little further and so affords better views. It also has a large patio, upon which was what appeared to be a fire pit for outdoor grilling (alas, it wasn’t quite patio weather yet). The lounge suited us well because it offered late night drinks and bites. They plate a really good burger, but food-wise, Fetch was the main attraction.
Chef Louise Pickles and her crew are killing it in Fetch’s kitchen, and that’s saying something considering how hard it is to staff the place. It’s hard enough to attract competent, dedicated kitchen staff in Tofino, let alone Ucluelet (sidebar: if any Vancouver cooks are looking for a different experience and some serious surf, send your resumes to any restaurant hereabouts). I’d heard nothing but really good things about Pickles from a few food writer colleagues and quite a few local chefs (including Lisa, who adores her), but the truth of it was that I’m a doubting arsehole sometimes, made apprehensive by the same ignorance that had always caused me to turn right instead of the left.
I knew Pickles’ bio – that she had been trained at Vancouver’s Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, toiled at Diva At The Met and the shockingly good Sonora Resort (chef Terry Pichor is amazing), and had been part of Fetch’s opening crew under then executive chef Andrew Springett – but it wasn’t until I tucked into one of her basil-licked organic chicken dumplings (maintaining its heat in an intensely flavoured, freshly foraged mushroom consomme) that I appreciated what that meant. It was the same story with the perfectly cooked Coho filet (fresh from “Pacific Provider”) that came resting hot on a warm ragu of mushrooms (twas the season) and toasted quinoa, the lot sauced with quince vinaigrette and decorated with sauteed kale and baby carrots. The technique and presentation were faultless. Even the least sophisticated dish on the menu – a freshly cut pappardelle pasta loaded with slow cooked beef chuck flats from Two Rivers, impactful shards of red pepper, little bombs of confit garlic, and thick slivers of Parmesan cheese – seemed of an elevated elegance, as if every forkful was a sentence in a convincing explanation of how utterly ridiculous it is to ever prejudge the ability of an unknown kitchen. There were fresh oysters that night (from Outlandish, naturally), too, and some sort of chocolate banana pile of deliciousness to close, but what stayed with me (and remains with me) was the lightning strike of that chicken dumpling in the hot consomme. Pow! So good. Also of note were the new offerings from sushi chef Kevin Kimoto. We actually arrived at Black Rock on the day before his rolls were introduced to the menu, so we were happy to be guinea pigs (with a heavy emphasis on “pigs”). His panko-crusted, tempura-battered “blow hole roll” of spicy tuna, tobiko roe, and fruit salsa was outstanding!
We didn’t leave Black Rock all that happy, which is to say that we weren’t happy to leave Black Rock. Or Ucluelet, for that matter. It didn’t have as many varied attractions as Tofino and none of the spark a spliff and stretch your legs beaches, but it shared the same chilled out, down to earth Islander ethos that defines in part what it means to be British Columbian. We left fully aware that our work had cruelly kept us from properly exploring the small town’s immediate environs, but we’re past that already, happy in the knowledge that there will be a next time.
So the next time you come to the highway junction, give it more than just a thought. Give it a day. Better yet, give it two or three or four. And consider doing it sooner rather than later, as the region’s annual food festival, Feast, is underway from now until the end of the month, and every eatery that I’ve mentioned in this story – even the ones in Tofino – are totally on board.