July 20, 2014

Ferris' Oyster Bar and Grill, Downtown Victoria

My old foodie friend was in town, and after some discussion, we settled on a visit to Ferris's to catch up. Her new beau and her old friend were also in attendance, and we got ourselves settled into an outside booth.

The booth has big high backed benches, which make it look private from the passing walk through, but all open to the rest of the diners along that wall.  Feels like walking into a super small dining room too eat with strangers.  That will suit some people, but those wanting their own booth area are best to go inside, where there's a couple of booths that are nicely hidden away for whatever secret schemes you have planned.

Ferris' have oysters, as you'd expect from the name, and though I didn't try the raw ones this time around, in the past I've always found them quivery fresh. That combination of sea flavour, the mouth feel of the raw slithering mass, and tones of cucumber and fish and something else.  I understand many people find the idea of eating that slimy flesh akin to swallowing a huge mouthful of snot, going green at the idea.  I find them something that sparks the appetite and semi solid flesh going down the throat stimulates the nerves there in a way other food just doesn't.

What I have never liked is the baked oyster.  This seems to turns the freshness into something like mushy leather, and the anatomy gets more exposed and more alien looking.  The flavours in the sauces over power the taste I like oysters, and overall it is the opposite experience from a fresh shucked bi-valve.  And, of course, other will disagree with me, and tell me the cooked oyster is a wonderful beast, and how on earth can I eat them raw.  Two of my companions elected for a cooked oyster... one baked texas style with Tequila and Tabasco, and the other breaded in the Ferris Burger. The baked one got the thumbs up from my foodie friend.

The oyster burger went down well, I was told. Everything on the burgers came out as I expect from them. Ferris does fine burgers, big flavour and big toppings.  Fresh patties in a good bun, and more fries than one human should safely consume. The heaping of yam fries didn't get finished, and they did look a bit over cooked and dry. Tasted okay, though.  There was also a bottle of red wine shared that probably took up some room.

The fries with my Chicken Burrito were also a bit dry, and while I ate them, they did seem better with a dipping sauce.  The curry dipping sauce was combination of subtle Indian spicing and cilantro. I'd guess at Garam Masala as the main spice blend.  The burrito itself was moist and full of tender meat and beans that complimented each other very well. This was a big portion of food, too, but not at the expense of being cheap on the quality.  The salsa had a bit of bite, balanced by the sour cream to smooth things out.  I'd probably get this over the cheese burger in future, which is praise, as the cheese burger is one of the finest in town (Pink Bicycle probably edge it out now as the best I've had).

Conversation flowed between us, and despite being in between two other groups, there's was little overflow of hearing what the groups near us were talking about.  So we could cover mayoral elections writing books and trips to Tofino. My friends' friend is helping Lisa Helps run for Mayor of Victoria. This is my contribution to a campaign I can't vote on for the double reasons of not living in the city itself and not being eligible to vote in this country.

We left with full bellies (in my case very full) and took a walk around the downtown core in search of desert. ReBar closes at 9 on a Sunday, Pags was playing Jazz and Pescatores was uninspiring, so we ended up with ice cream from Soda Shoppe on Government, and walk around the gardens at the Legislature.  Well, my friends did.  I drank iced tea lest I exploded.

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