|A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
Have App, Will Travel
These days there seems to be an app for everything and there is no shortage of travel apps, whether it's booking flights, restaurant reviews, hotels and even an app to help you find the nearest washroom. We thought it might be useful to share some of the top Victoria travel apps we have come across, which will help you plan your stay:
1. Welcome to Victoria BC - Highlighting over 70 historic sites, museums, restaurants, shopping and other points of interest. iPhone/Ipad
2. Victoria BC Map - Avoid roaming fees with this app that allows you to use maps without internet connection. iPhone/iPad
3. Tourism Victoria - You'll find everything you'll need to know about what to see and do in Victoria. iPhone/iPad/Adnroid
4. Vancouver Island Exploration Guide - The best of the island and hidden gems, from Victoria to Port Hardy in the palm of your hand. iPhone/iPad
Download these and other apps by clicking on the links below:
iPhone / iPad Apps or Android Apps
We have also made it easier to book your stay at Abigail's with our mobile site - http://www.abigailshotel.com/mobile/
Stay a Little Longer
With so much to see and do in Victoria, why rush to experience it all in one day. Take time to stroll through the many parks and interesting neighbourhoods, enjoy a variety of culinary delights and visit a number of world class attractions. This fall and winter season, when you stay 3 or more nights, we'll give you 20% off our Standard Nightly Rate!
So stay a little longer with us, relax and enjoy your Victoria Vacation! We're not just a summer destination.
Starting at $146 per night
Valid from October 10 - March 31, 2012
Call 1-800-561-6565 to book
"The Pearl" Spa Promotion
"The Pearl" Spa, presented by Features Enhancement, is a cozy, private room with experienced technicians who offer a wide variety of services including pedicures, manicures, massages, body treatments and packages. See the full range of services on our website: Pearl Spa Menu
25% off Spa Voucher
Receive $100 worth off Spa services for just $75 when you purchase a Spa voucher at the time of booking your room reservation.
Spa appointments must be booked in advance. Voucher redemption is subject to Technician availability and can not be used in conjunction with other discounts or coupons.
Call the 1-800-561-6565 for more information or to book your reservation
There is certainly no shortage of things to see and do this summer in Victoria
and this years' summer festival lineup is promising to be one of the best. Here are just a few of the highlights:
International Buskers Festival
This is one of the world's most unique festivals with some of the world's top street performers from around the world including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the US, Europe and Canada. Performances will take place on stages throughout the downtown Inner Harbour and Bastion Square. It is a free event and suitable for all ages.
Taste: Victoria's Festival of Food and Wine
A culinary tourism experience not to be missed! This local taste of Vancouver Island and the wine regions of British Columbia kicks off on July 21 at the Crystal Gardens with an evening tasting of more than 100 BC wines and local cuisine prepared by top Vancouver Island Chefs.
Victoria Symphony Splash
See Victoria's Inner Harbour transformed into an outdoor concert stage for one spectacular evening. It is the largest outdoor symphony event in Canada, attracting up to 40,000 Victoria residents and visitors. The concert concludes with Tchaikovsky's 1812 overture, complete with bells, cannons and fireworks.
Saturday Night Fireworks at Butchart Gardens
July 2-September 3
Every Saturday night enjoy magnificent fireworks at the world famous Butchart Gardens. The show is free with general admission. Victoria night's are typically cool, so bring a jacket, a blanket to sit on (available to borrow from the hotel) and enjoy the show! Fireworks start at dusk.
For months my lovely partner and I had meant to go to a place that we had so often heard hailed as "the best food in Victoria", but time and time again life stepped up to block our way until just last week when ventured to its unassuming doorway at the corner of Fisgard and Store. We should have prepared ourselves.
I ordered the giant pacific octopus served with yogurt, lemon, mint, and fingerling potato. Check your scepticism and cephalopod-phobia at the door, because I don't care where you've eaten in the past: you have never had octopus like this. Still unconvinced? So was my date, who generally avoids the vulcanized texture, but after one dubious bite she decided that I had actually ordered the tuna and I decided that sometimes it's best not to fight these things. The taste is superb and the texture is closer to a firm mushroom than meat and totally unexpected. When we later questioned the waitress as to what made their octopus so unique she explained that they had purposefully broken down all muscle fibre to give it that tender, uncharacteristic edibility. Fantastic.
She (and by that I guess I mean "I") ordered the albacore tuna tataki, which came dressed in chilli oil, celery, radish, and preserved lemon drizzled lightly with a ginger ponzu. The flavour is exactly what I've come to expect from good albacore tuna: rich and savoury, but somehow smooth and mellow with a medium firm texture. Plus, I love ginger, so the ponzu sauce was a major win for me. Maybe it wasn't the dish I had wanted, but even cheated out of my octopus I came away happy.
The main course was the ling cod. The taste was fresh, and well complemented with beans, greens, and romesco (a Spanish sauce comprised of pine & hazelnuts, a variety of succulent peppers, garlic, and olive oil). My only criticism of the dish was that it was out-shined by the appetisers. You'll like this dish and I heartily recommend it, but I'm not sure that it's of enough substance to be your main course.
Ulla has a talented bar staff as well. We didn't have the time to sample much so we relied on recommendations from friends and dove into their French 75. The cocktail is brilliant; like sipping sunshine. The balance of sparkling wine with the lemon is perfect and a sweet crispness floats by your lips on every bubble.
Ulla's decor is very modern and bright. The walls are tall and the openness lends positivity to the restaurant, the front window spans half of the restaurant and views out onto Fisgard's Chinatown foot traffic. It's a small restaurant, but they've chosen to enjoy their space with fewer guests rather than cram tables together. Truly one of Victoria's finest restaurants, Ulla is a spectacular addition to the city that redefines taste.
By Kelly J Clark
Recipe of the Month - Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
1/2 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (drain well if packed in oil)
2 tbs fresh basil or 2 tsp dried basil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp hot water
3 tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, or more as needed
Using a food processor, drop in the clove of garlic while the motor is running. Process until minced, then add the tomatoes, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil and process until a thick paste forms. If the paste is too thick, thin with hot water until desired consistency. Scrape mixture into a bowl and fold in the parmesan cheese with a spatula. Keep refrigerated.
TIP: Chef Victoria tossed this mixture with baby roasted potatoes for today's breakfast. It was delicious!
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