January 26, 2014

Tree House Cafe, Ganges, Salt Spring Island

Final report from the New Year's trip to island.  And we'll end where I started, in Ganges, with friends kicking around for something to eat before going for provisions to stock up at the cabins.  Provisions makes it sound like some sort of expedition into the unknown.  Though, for this urban Victorian, three days on Saltspring is as adventurous as it gets most of the time.

So, we walked into the Tree House Cafe, by virtue of it being open and nothing much else looking open and selling sit down food.  The cafe is wrapped around a tree near the marina in the heart of Ganges.  It's a crammed in, twisty little building, with an inside and an covered outside.  Imagine Bilbo Baggin's house, if he was more into trees than underground holes.

We got seated outside, on top of some heaters at first, but moved inside once tables became free.  Outside was a little chilly, but hot coffee cured most of our ills, and we were out of the wind.  But space is at a premium here, and the staff have to duck, twist and shimmy to get to the customers, not helped by people waiting standing around aimlessly in the corridors.  It was a busy day, and getting to the toilets from the table was it's own adventure.  If you don't have many adventures...

Ahem, so out came the lunch menus.  They offer a variety of sandwiches, burgers and Mexican derived dishes. All seemed to have a touch of the local produce, or be suitably pepped up with something wholesome like sprouts or home made salsa.  I went for the Bean Burrito, after discovering the Vege-burger was a fake meat veggie burger rather than a vegetable bean ensemble.  Just a preference

I did question their description of the burger as 'our famous homemade beef burger'.  I'm not sure what level of fame you need to have to call your food famous, but I'd consider more than the local populace needs to know about it, and rave about it to be called famous.  It's something I've seen many places describe their food as, but I'm struggling to think of any 'famous' food from a small diner cafe.  I'm sure I can be proven wrong, or I don't read enough food blogs...

With that debated among us, we then dissected the food.  The bean burrito deserves to be at least well known.  Maybe open a summer fair on the island, and get a small walk on part in a movie.  You know, have a chance at famous-ity.  It was delicious.  Spiced beans, cooked just right so you get that savoury mushy goodness, that at once feels healthy but decadent.  Cheese melted over the tortilla obviously adds to that feeling of happiness, while the cilantro and salsa wave in some vegetables and clean flavours to liven it all up.
Washed down with good coffee, I was ready to hit Thrifty's.  No hunger shopping for me.  My friends all seemed to enjoy their meals, but I didn't get too much into their individual thoughts.  It wasn't a trip for introspective food criticism.  Or even analyzing new brunch joint we'd go back to.  But if I do go back in the summer, I suspect I'll be back for more.

Tree House Cafe on Urbanspoon