Fall feels like a new start to me — the foliage, the change in the weather. It all comes together and feels like something new is happening. The apples, pears and grapes are coming in, the smells in the kitchen have shifted. The colours in the salads are fading, but the streets are lined in brilliant red and golden yellow leaves. You can dig out the fall, Thanksgiving, or roasting cookbooks, start making broth or baking apple pies, or, pull on your boots and sweaters to hit the town.
At Blanshard and Broughton, there are three new places to check out this month. Discovery Coffee, a family owned local coffee roaster with four cafes, has moved its newest cafe down the street from a smaller location to a new flagship corner cafe with a 40-seat patio. This beautiful new space boasts floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides, white tile floors and white walls, a corner booth that you’ll probably rarely get a chance to sit in, and comfortable tables and bench seating throughout. There’s a modern espresso machine like you’ve never seen, and a full pastry case, including a new savoury pork bun, and of course, sister company’s delicious Yonni’s Doughnuts. For all its modern allure, the music is still vinyl, and the staff are as great as always. The vibe is decidedly beach town California, and the patio (partially covered) is cheery with bright yellow furniture and a modern concrete garden.
Upstairs, The Livet — opened by Graham Meckling who owns Stage Wine Bar in Fernwood — has a rooftop patio, charcoal grill and raw bar. You can expect the same great calibre of food, drink and service as we’ve all come to love at Stage, now with a view. The room is modern and light, with comfortable large booths, a small but beautiful bar to sit at, and a patio that takes centre stage. With white lights and sunset views over the city, this is quickly becoming a popular place to meet friends downtown. We had tuna from the raw bar, and frites with a cocktail and glass of Synchromesh’s Riesling. Sommelier Marlisa Hollands has put together a small focused wine list that combines old world and new, and you can try everything by the glass. The cocktails, tequila and sake choices are the bar’s focus.
Across the street, the Clay Pigeon has closed, and Clark & Co. has appeared in its place. I’m looking forward to trying the Scotch Eggs Benny at the Sunday Bartenders Brunch served noon to 4:00. Bistro, cocktails and wine, they post their hours, menus and happy hour drinks on Facebook.
Try it you’ll like it:
• Olive the Senses, in Victoria Public Market, is an oasis of olive oil and balsamic vinegars. You can taste them, or fill your bottles (which are reusable) to take home. I love the white balsamic Cara Orange Vanillain sparkling water as an alternative to soda.
• Fairview Cellars, a small Golden Mile Bench winery in Oliver makes beautiful reds (and a Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay). Try Two Hoots or Madcap, two different blends of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Find them at The Strath Liquor Store, Hillside Liquor Store or Vintage Spirits.
• All the stouts and fresh hop beers that are hitting the shelves this month. Driftwood’s Sartori Harvest IPA is a local favourite every year. Victoria Beer Week is hosting Fresh to Death, a fresh hop beer mini festival October 1 in Centennial Square. Tickets at victoriabeerweek.com.