Dear Victoria, Canada, You are endearing. You reminded me of a storybook that I'd never read but knew by heart. You are home to loving locals who have been with you for decades, and you are a temporary sanctuary to the Canadian wanderers of my generation who just needed a place to land.
Your downtown is a Hipster's dream. You have no chain restaurants or shops within that four or five street radius. Your establishments all look to be of the highest quality. Your seafood is fresh. Your attitude is fresher. Your Chinatown is surprisingly authentic. Your boutique stores hidden in back alleyways fulfill my childhood fantasies of trap doors and secret passages. Your general vibe is that you give a sh*t about your community.
And most importantly, you cater very well to the gluten-free. Celiacs (and Hipsters), applaud you.
Il Terrazzo is il terrific. And this ^^^ is what it looks like when you walk into it.
The terrace here is one of those settings that would make you think you might be getting engaged before the meal is over if your significant other is joining you. I was dining with my coworker, so that option was quite off the table. However, what was ON the table was just as marriage-worthy.
I'm talking about risotto.
I know, when I went to Seattle I had amazing risotto, too. But this is not one of those "too much of a good thing is a bad thing" situations. This is very much a "too much of a good thing is still SUCH a good thing."
I feel like risotto truly deserves such praise. It's one of the only authentic Italian dishes that is almost always naturally without gluten. No subbing GF noodles, or getting grilled chicken instead of parmesan-crusted. It's already made without gluten, and it's already delicious.
I'll be honest with you, I was a cocktail-plus-half-a-bottle-of-wine in when I place my order. So, I don't remember if there was a dedicated GF menu. However, my server was on his game. He knew exactly what I could and couldn't have, plus what modifications could be made to all of the available dishes.
I ordered the risotto del la casa and wanted to raise the roof! And I don't think the drinks had that much to do with it...
That's fried polenta topped with havarti cheese, roasted red pepper and two eggs any way you'd like 'em, PLUS spicy fruit salsa.
This might have been the best brunch I've ever had. Not joking.
The potatoes next to all that glory are covered in pesto. Mouth-gasm.
Mo:Lé restaurant was so hip with my dietary needs, and you can tell their hip with everyone's. The ambience wreaked of "we don't take ourselves too seriously," and every person working was in a good mood. If you're looking for a gluten-free brunch place in Victoria (which you will) this is the one to find.
Go. Eat. Be loved.
This was the LAST place I thought I'd find anything I could eat.
At the end of our day in Victoria, my coworker really wanted to check out this Irish pub. After a full day of going to places that I suggested (because I knew I could eat there), I figured it was time to be a good sport and put up with some pub grub. I anticipated on getting wine and maybe, maybe a salad if the vibe from the waitress seemed like she wouldn't just pick the croutons off.
Turns out, this place gets it. What you see above was all safe. I repeat, SAFE! They offer all of their sandwiches on GF buns (sesame buns, God bless 'em). That burger is called the "Irish bacon and brie" and they even throw in some red relish and mayo in between those layers of meat and cheese.
The fries? Fine. Totally fine. Not contaminated by a shared frier.
And the drinks behind my plate? A flight of ciders. Yep. They stock their bar with enough ciders to offer flights.
So, you did well, Victoria. You will see me again.