April 13, 2014

Zocalo Cafe, Courtenay

Myself and the Brunette of My Acquaintance went up to Courtenay so I could run the half marathon there and she could find Le Cache, a fabric and design store from Quebec that has much love.  Though it was just happen stance that we came across it once we got up there, it FEELS like it was her reason to come along.

So we had a nice relaxing time up there, apart from two and a quarter hours where I ran through some very quiet and tranquil farmlands of the mid-island.  As running 21 km goes, it was good run, and I felt pretty psyched afterwards.  But I needed fuel for the drive home, and we went into this cafe on the corner of the high street that felt like it had a good vibe to it.

It seems to be 3 parts cafe, 1 part casual venue and 1 part gallery.   Big open space with wooden floors, wooden tables and art on the walls.  There's some smaller tables in the corners to be a little more intimate or space for larger groups eating family style.  The toilets are down a staircase, and possibly needed a bit of love and attention the day we were in.  But nothing serious.

You go up to the counter to order, which is small and over shadowed by a large display case of fruit pies and cakes. Then grab a table and someone runs the food to you.  And then makes sure you have cutlery, sauces, and general happiness.  They were so good at the latter, ensuring we were enjoying the food, and if we needed anything more. We were both really impressed by the chef checking that my meal was how I wanted it.

Possibly as I had ordered the Veggie burger with egg and bacon.  The burger patty was a great mix up of carrots, nuts and pulses.  Just how I like a vegetable patty. No fake meat here.  The egg yolk flowed over it, like a simple hollandaise, and the bacon was just there because I really like my veggie burgers with bacon.  Served with a mountain of green salad, this was fast, fresh and contained some vitamins I am sure I needed.  And bacon fat than I am sure I deserved.  The Brunette ordered the Salmon burger which was yummy (or a quote similar to that), and I have been reminded several times that I needed to write about how good this place was.

We also got a side of the oven cooked potato wedges.  Baked and crispy, these were giant sized fries, with garlic and rosemary in the pan.  Lots of rosemary, and enough garlic to get the flavour without monstrous garlic breath.  Tasty chunks, with lots of soft floury potato in the centre.  A little heavy, and I'm glad we shared a portion.  Rather than trying a full portion with my meal, these were perfect to share and served with a nice portion of chipotle mayo.  Good chipotle mayo is a wonderful thing, and this was indeed a wonderful thing.

Very happy with the meal, the service and the venue.

Andrea turned up with her crew just as we had demolished the food.  They ordered burgers, and we dissected the run, the town and the drive up.  They had been in Atlas the night before, and also enjoyed their fine vegetarian selection.  I'm not sure of their thoughts on Zocalo, I did note they left the Potato wedges behind.

One of the problems I sometimes have with blogging is not remembering all the details if I come back after two or three weeks to write a place up.   A couple of pictures and receipt often help, but I am trying to get into the habit of writing earlier and making notes quicker.  If other bloggers have trade secrets to share on how they keep information fresh, I'd love to hear about them.  Though live blogging may be tried out with Andrea in the near future.  If you have a suggestion of somewhere to try, please leave comments.

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