Tuesday, August 21, 2018

North Saanich Flavour Trails Festival: Part 2

Checking the locations of places I wanted to visit, I decided to take the bus to the furthest place and walk home instead of riding my bike.

Sidney Laboratory - Centre for Plant Health
(Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
8801 East Saanich Road, North Saanich, V8L1H3

Established as one of Canada's Dominion Experimental Farms in 1912, the centre's main functions are now quarantining imported fruit trees and plants, researching and developing tests for related viruses and serving as a repository for "virus-tested clones of important commercial varieties for export certification".  Heavyweight science is happening here but research staff, Michael Rott, Ismail Abdulahi (centre of photo below), Allison Gratz, & Harvinder Bennypaul, make it interesting and accessible to tour participants.

Dominion Brook Park
8801 East Saanich Road, North Saanich
V8L 1H3

Retired educator, Ian Cameron, led our group on a very informative walk through this 11-acre park that was established in 1912 as an arboretum and ornamental garden.  The park is being restored and maintained by a non-profit society called Friends of Dominion Brook Park in cooperation with the Federal and District of North Saanich Governments. There are some incredible and rare specimens that are thriving in our microclimate, including the Cedar of Lebanon seen here.

Roost - Farm Bakery and Vineyard Bistro
9100 East Saanich Road, North Saanich
V8L 1H5

Many local shops and restaurants are experiencing difficulty in hiring and keeping staff and the NSFTF has brought a lot of folks to the Roost this morning but I am still shaking my head after this experience.

I order a "Half and Half Combo" which promises a half-sized salad, bowl of soup and a slice of focaccia bread.  I order the spinach salad and mushroom soup.  The server apologizes that they are out of focaccia and offers me a choice of other breads and I pick multigrain.  When the soup and salad arrive, I notice that it's mixed greens and not spinach but think "no biggie" and let it go. Twice the server assures me that the toast will be coming soon. After about twenty minutes, by which time I have finished eating my food, a slice of untoasted bread arrives. Again, in itself not a big problem but when you're paying $12 for a light lunch, you want what's advertised. I call over a hostess and ask "Am I missing something? I waited twenty minutes for this and it's not even toasted". She defers to a manager who sits down and my table, apologizes, explains that the kitchen is "overwhelmed" and offers me a 15% discount and complimentary cookie.  The last time we were at the Roost, we made a game of counting how many times the servers said "sorry" to customers. Not sure if the root problem is with staffing, training, supervision or a combination thereof but I would hesitate to bring guests to the Roost and won't be rushing back anytime soon.

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