Side DISH: Chantal Ireland

Secrets of Fan Tan Alley

OLO brunch, spring vegetables and eggs.

OLO brunch, spring vegetables and eggs.

Summer: ice cream melting down our arms; coolers packed for the weekend and sunny patio pints are in full swing.

Rock Bay has a new ice cream shop, Parachute Ice Cream, at 2626 Bridge St, just around the corner from Driftwood Beer and Hoyne Brewing. They skip the cardboard cones of yesteryear and make really great, crispy waffle cones, which you can fill with their small batch ice cream and gelato. I tried a half-dozen flavours and loved the orange creamsicle and London fog. You can also get their ice cream at Victoria Pie Co. in the Victoria Public Market at The Hudson. While you’re there, try the apple caramel pie or a veggie hand pie for lunch.

I took a stroll through Fan Tan Alley with my camera and an empty stomach and found some great gems. I started at Saltspring Soapworks, which just opened at #8 Fan Tan Alley, to get some local food-inspired soap like rosemary mint and citrus pumice. I don’t use any other soaps and love starting my day with these natural and food-fragrant bars. Sparkling rhubarb is a current favourite.

Next, I found the smallest food store you can imagine, The Farmers’ City Market, filled to the brim with local products, it’s a perfect spot to take your out of town visitors, or grab a snack for a stroll through Chinatown.

Opening the door to Pure Lovin’ Chocolates at #3 Fan Tan Alley just a few steps away, is hard to describe because I want to tell you it’s heaven, or like stepping inside an actual chocolate bar, but I’m not sure even those words would properly convey the complete takeover of your senses. The warm interior feels like a jewelry store with perfect truffles and chocolates displayed in a glass case, while trays stacked high on baker’s racks let you know this shop is making delicious treats just a few feet away.

Kid Sister, at #10 Fan Tan Alley, is another place to get your ice cream fix. Milkshakes, paletas, ice cream and sundaes are all here for your summer cravings in this, their new location.

It’s summer, take advantage – eat ice cream every day, shop at farmers markets, picnic at the beach, fill your growlers for a backyard barbecue, enjoy festivals, quiet afternoons and meals outside with friends and family.

Try it you’ll like it:

Brunch at OLO. Every day from 10am to 2pm, OLO is open for breakfast and lunch and the menu is fantastic. The breakfast sandwich with kimchi ketchup, smoked wild salmon, spring vegetables and eggs, order any of it – I’ve already been three times. The salty cubed potatoes, roesti – you’ll want an entire plate!

• Buttermilk biscuit breakfast sandwich at Cascadia Bakery, grilled just right, with egg and spinach on a fantastic biscuit.

Solaris White Peach Ale in tall cans by Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., at private liquor stores around town and at the brewery.

 

 

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