Coconut Shrimp, Fish & Chips and Strawberries


I apologize for the tardiness of my post; ran into some technical glitches last night, not the least of which involved me falling asleep in an extended attempt to get W to, then waking up in the middle of the night with my contacts fused to my eyeballs and my Mom asleep on the couch waiting for me to come back out to finish my post. I did not have the gumption at 2 am to figure out how to get my photos from my banged-up laptop onto my Dad’s computer, the only one that seems to be picking up a signal, and sporadically at that.

I’ll keep this short in an attempt to get it up while I have a connection, and at in reasonable time, considering we are on the absolute west coast Canada. It was an enormous relief to land on the island, and walk out of the Playskool-sized air terminal onto a dewy green lawn surrounded by trees overflowing with pink blossoms. We drove to Tofino snacking on toasted almonds and that lemony parsley hummus (which just keeps getting better and better) scooped up with chewy, grainy, seedy bread we picked up as soon as we got off the plane.

But the final stretch was a little too bumpy and up-and-down, especially when driving with my European Dad, and with age seems to come an increased sensitivity to carsickness, and so by the time I arrived and the ground stopped spinning I had lost my appetite for SoBo, which is generally first on my Tofino to-do list. Instead, when we went into town for some fresh fish to cook up for dinner, we got lured into Big Daddy’s Fish Fry, which was empty and waiting for its Friday night rush. A little disappointing to be honest, particularly considering the $36 price tag; the coconut shrimp were tasty but greasy, the fish smaller than usual, and the fries had the texture of wet paper towel. For dessert, we made an attempt at strawberry shortcake with chunks of raisin scone and fresh berries; I’d like to say they were the earliest fruit of a local farm, but really they were beautiful, watery and tasteless strawberries from California. Ah well. We’re in Tofino, which trumps everything else. The food can only get better from here.


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59 comments on “Coconut Shrimp, Fish & Chips and Strawberries

  1. Vivian
    April 25, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Happy Tofino, Julie! My favorite item out-of-doors is a homemade pizza off the BBQ. Crusty, a touch smoky and hot. To brown and bubble the cheese, it needs but a quick oven broil and she’s good to go. True maple nectar from Quebec would be a treasure. Even at Costco the price of a litre of mediocre syrup has jumped from about $10 to over $15!

  2. Anita
    April 25, 2009 at 8:24 am

    I’m enviously reading your post from Tofino, and am thrilled to see that Sobo is first on your Tofino to-do list. I’ve been talking about Sobo ever since we ate there every single night that we were in Tofino about 3 years ago, and still dreaming about their fabulous mushroom enchilada which I don’t believe they make anymore:( and fish tacos (of course!) and all the delicious food they make.

    Anyway, I love eating cheese and salads outdoors! Can’t wait for picnicking weather in Calgary…Hope the weather out on the coast is better than here.
    Have a great trip

  3. Janice S
    April 25, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Watermelon outdoors is a must…simple, I know, but who doesn’t just love the juice dripping off your elbows and then having a seed spitting contest with those you are with???? I grew up in Ontario next door to a cousin who had a sugar bush. We would snowmobile out to the shack, hand collect the pails and pour them into the big vat to boil down….I think I should win the syrup as I am now so sad to not enjoy their lovely syrup….

  4. Heather
    April 25, 2009 at 8:48 am

    BBQ-ed hamburgers, those potatoes you do on the grill in a foil packet (which oddly only my mom can ever make correctly) and fresh sweet corn on the cob. Yum.

  5. Theresa
    April 25, 2009 at 8:48 am

    It’s snowing HUGE flakes this morning, so you’ll have to live the good life in the sunshine for me okay?

    My little Japanese exchange students would say “hoto dogo” as the best outdoor food. Me, I’ll stick to a dripping ice cream cone from The Lil Ice-cream Shoppe…..

  6. Kate
    April 25, 2009 at 8:58 am

    Anything on the grill- burgers, bbq chicken, pork chops with mango chutney…we used our grill for the first time last night and a burger has never tasted better!

  7. Kate
    April 25, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Anything outdoors is better than indoors. It makes it an event instead of routine; however, the first of any fresh veggie straight off the vine (or even outta the dirt after being rubbed off on the grass) is my outdoor taste sensation. Just thinking about hot tomatoes off the vine and string beans with the most “beany” flavor is making my mouth water. Enjoy the taste of things to come weather-wise while in Tofino!

  8. sara
    April 25, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Gorgeous photos!

    My favorite thing to eat outside would have to be s’mores! My parents live out in the country and so when I visit them in the summer we’re able to have a bonfire in the backyard. Making s’mores when the fire burns down is one of my favorite things ever, since I’ve been doing it since I was a little kid. S’mores over the grill at my house are still pretty good, but not quite the same! 🙂

  9. Mary
    April 25, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I love a bbq hotdog, or roasted on the fire. Pathetic I know, but, they taste so good on a fresh bun with mustard and ketchup. Being in tofino sounds wonderful and green!

  10. Jojo
    April 25, 2009 at 9:40 am

    The first ripe cherry tomatoes still warm from the sun (the three-feet diet, because I had to bend down to pick them), and peas released from their pods while still standing in the patch.

  11. Ellen
    April 25, 2009 at 9:50 am

    i love eating grilled sweet corn on the cob, fish tacos with cabbage and guacamole, or bruschetta made with homegrown tomatoes and basil. and i think ice cream was MADE to be eaten outside. i can’t wait for summer 🙂

  12. Allison
    April 25, 2009 at 9:50 am

    I find the first bbq of the season is best. It has to be hamburgers and hotdogs with smore’s to finish. Yummy. For drinks, nothing beats an ice cold margarita on the deck.

  13. Teslaca
    April 25, 2009 at 10:30 am

    Eating outdoors is wonderful and everything tastes better. My favorite thing is to nibble on veggies right out of the garden or fruit fresh off the tree or plant. I love to have hot coffee outside on cool days, too.

  14. Melanie
    April 25, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Hot dogs roasted over a fire pit!!!

  15. Betty C
    April 25, 2009 at 11:11 am

    Fresh veggies – anything new, baby potatoes, carrots, peas, whatever, cut up and tossed together with olive oil and spices and cooked on the BBQ. A plate of these veggies and some crusty bread are the best.
    Mmmm maple syrup! Have fun in Tofino.

  16. Erica B.
    April 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    I love eating just about anything outdoors. Some fave warm weather treats:

    > Caprese & Greek Salad, both of which are better when tomatoes are in season
    > Anything on the BBQ, especially grilled corn on the cob and roasted potatoes
    > Marshmallows over a fire pit
    > Fave summer drink: Lemon gin & Lemonade slushies

    Enjoy Tofino! 🙂

  17. Adrienne
    April 25, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    Nothing says summer like BBQ’d smokies on the hibatchi at the beach and playing volleyball. And my mom’s BBQ’d chicken wings, marinated in soy sauce and brushed with honey. mmm!

  18. Sue (London, ON)
    April 25, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I have to be honest and say I don’t love eating out doors unless I’m camping and in that case my favourite thing is Hobo Pies over the fire, made by my dear friend Brian. YUM
    Thanks for picking my number last week Julie. Will anxiously run to my mailbox till it arrives.
    Any chance you can tell me where Manon’s maple syrup place is in Ontario? Would love to get some of the maple syrup myself.
    Can’t wait to hear more about Tofino – lucky you!

  19. Pat
    April 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    Since I live in an apartment, I can’t barbeque, so my favourite outdoor food is barbequed steak at my daughter’s! I always have her cook an extra one so I have leftovers that I can use in a salad.
    When I was a kid, we would drive about 45 minutes to Pt. Pelee National Park, and cook breakfast on a built in barbeque. What fond memories!

  20. Carol SB
    April 25, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    Hmmm, alfresco? I’ve jumped forward in my mind to a spring picnic: muffaletta (even the name is delicious in the mouth!), dense and toothworthy, cut in wedges, eaten out of hand at the Drumheller place. Gorgeous hot sunshine on the side of my face. Little tomato bits falling and getting scooped up by our happy dog. And then, Janice S, may I join you in a watermelon seed spitting contest?
    -Carol SB

  21. Tanya O
    April 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I love a thick juicy hamburger freshly grilled with a mess ear of grilled corn and watermelon after – spitting seeds far as I can

  22. Susan
    April 25, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    It’s hard to think of eating al fresco as I watch the flurries fly past the window – can someone promise me that spring will ever be here? The winter has been too long! Grilled veggies from my little grilling basket with a sprinkle of feta – and a lovely glass of wine. Maybe a big juicy burger. I can’t wait….

  23. Margaret L
    April 25, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    While dear hubby BBQ’s chicken I love to munch my way around the garden plot eating peas, beans, “dirty” carrots, and whatever else that’s growing the the veggie patch. And then to eat spinach salad, fresh from the garden. Am looking forward to this event!

  24. Me;va Daley
    April 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    What I like to eat out side is “Breakfast” on my deck

    Or a tea party west of Longview beside the river at a picnic table.

  25. Me;va Daley
    April 25, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    Breakfast on my Deck

  26. the other allison
    April 25, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    I’m married to a French Canadian, Maple syrup runs through his veins! Al Fresco immediately begins the first warm day of Spring. We long to be outdoors so already we have been dining outside. Last weekend was gorgeous so we quickly whipped up a late lunch/ early dinner and dashed outside to absorb some rays. Didn’t even bother to dust off the lawn cairs that should have been put away last year. We ate warmed pita with homemade guacamole and fresh salsa(just chopped tomato,cilantro and onion)asparagus on the bbq(with butter lemon and tyme) a chunk of hard goat cheese and olives(french green ones from the market) and washed it all down with Boris beer. MMMM ablsolute heaven………….. then it freakin snowed the next day!

  27. Lisa
    April 25, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Have to admit that the first thing that I thought of was a gin and tonic with a nice big wedge of lime. Does that make me a bad person…?

    But then I remembered strawberries eaten straight out of the garden, still warm from the sun. I have to keep a close eye on them or the ants get to them before I do, so any that I can salvage are extra sweet!

    I’m also with everyone who voted for “anything grilled”.

  28. Larissa
    April 25, 2009 at 8:37 pm

    I love eating watermelon outside. it always brings me back to picnic at my grandparent’s farm where we would have contest to see how far we could spit the seeds. Nothing else tastes quite like summer than watermelon!

  29. robyn
    April 25, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    I hate to be super unpatriotic and admit that I’m not fond of maple…sorry Manon!

    But fave things to eat outside…..bbq’s, local strawberries and blueberries, cherry tomatoes, cheese plates, crackers and dips, stuff like that. Snacky stuff!

  30. sue.d
    April 25, 2009 at 10:23 pm

    Anything that can be plucked off a bush, vine or tree – still warm from the sun – and eaten immediately: raspberries, cherries, peas etc. Also fresh caught trout, barely tossed in seasoned flour and pan-fried in butter.

  31. Natalie (Michigan)
    April 26, 2009 at 4:21 am

    Raspberries and blueberries picked off the bush…. or a chocolate dipped ice cream cone….

  32. Jenn
    April 26, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Anything barbecued!

  33. ladyloo
    April 26, 2009 at 6:05 am

    Eating? Outside? Where the bugs live? OK, actually I take that back – Cafe du Monde is an outdoor cafe, so I’ll have to say beignets.

  34. Linda
    April 26, 2009 at 6:57 am

    BBQ at Windermere – nice big steaks, baked potatoes and caesar salad….

  35. Cecily
    April 26, 2009 at 7:13 am

    I love to have barbecues outside, but then there is also roasted marshmallows, and ice cream cones! So much to choose from, it’s hard to pick just one.

  36. Morgan
    April 26, 2009 at 7:40 am

    My mom makes the most amazing grilled vegetables on the barbecue! Nice big chunks tossed in olive oil and seasoning (Mediterranean is best) and grilled in one of those pans. There is never enough of them and you don’t even need meat with it. It’s filling enough! I’m looking forward to finally being able to use our barbecue this summer (we’ve been in an apartment building but finally bought a house) and that is one thing I will definitely be cooking lots of! That and home made hamburgers…lol!

  37. Donna
    April 26, 2009 at 8:23 am

    Aah Tofino. Wonderful place.
    Favorite food to eat outdoors – Anything at a picnic or BBQ out toward the mountains.- marinated vege salad, sandwiches, chocolate chip cookies, watermelon.

  38. Tagyn
    April 26, 2009 at 8:36 am

    I am going to say smores for sure and then all of the summer stuff like watermelon and strawberries and barbeques… I can´t wait!

  39. Barb
    April 26, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I love picnics! Anything brought along tastes great and it’s even better if we all bring a little something to share.

  40. lindajt3
    April 26, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Hot dogs always taste better outdoors than in, especially if I’ve managed to get them roasted on a stick over a fire. In which case, only a bun is needed for the smile. Indoors they are best dressed with mustard, catsup, onion, and so laden with chili and cheez that knife and fork are required!

  41. VB
    April 26, 2009 at 11:57 am

    For fav outdoors food, chicken wings come to mind first. Potato salad. Frosty root beer float. Burgers on the grill. And a treat at a chilehead festival: smoked jalapeno halves stuffed with tuna, mayo and melted cheese — it was hard to stop eating those. You have me drooling over maple syrup though. I happen to have frozen blueberries in freezer (not wonderful wild variety, sadly), but never thought to drop them into a little warmed up maple syrup. This I really have to try. My mind is already racing beyond pancakes ‘n waffles (no wafflemaker, alas) … how about mapled blueberries in crepes with mascarpone or creme fraiche. Oo la, I may have that for dinner!

  42. Rose
    April 26, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Love maple syrup!! My favourite outdoor food is always prawns done in olive oil and garlic served with big glasses of wine. Love it!


  43. Manon from Ontario
    April 26, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks Julie, you are such a generous person, did anyone ever tell you?

    For those who want to know, here’s my email for ordering maple syrup or products. We are located in Eastern Ontario, about 40 min East of Ottawa. Soon we will have a website.

    Thank you so much for your support gang, really nice.


  44. Erin
    April 26, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Last year my favourite outdoor food was your roasted peach with brown sugar ice cream, eaten while watching my daughter run around the yard barefoot. Seems like a distant dream today as I watch the ‘spring’ snowstorm.

  45. glenda
    April 26, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Burgers, watermelon, broccoli salad, corn on the cob -hmmm….sounds like a great summer meal out on the deck.. Too bad about the winter storm watch out for this area over the next three days!
    Just finished my jug of maple syrup (shamedly licked out the lid and neck of the bottle!) that my eastern sister delivered on a visit…so seriously need a refill/replacement 🙂

  46. Jan
    April 26, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    Rhubarb out of the garden dipped in the sugar bowl. Tart and sweet.

  47. Leah
    April 26, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Absolutely anything after a long day canoeing in Algonquin Park. On last year’s trip my husband and kids (I’m a vegetarian) ate pork tenderloin stuck on a sharp stick and cooked over an open fire.
    This year at home we tapped the maples on our property and made our own maple syrup. It didn’t last long!!

  48. Cheryl
    April 26, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Everything tastes better outside. I’m partial to tortilla chips, my dad’s salsa, and a really cold Trad. Of course, this is all while we work up the energy to make and grill burgers.
    Now, I already have 4 litres of Manon’s syrup, but I was always take more. It is seriously one of the best I’ve ever had.

  49. Elaine
    April 26, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I’ve actually been making a list of warm-weather foods to cook, especially since everyone in Chicago freaks out, college-style, the first day it’s warm enough to shed the winter coats.

    As far as outdoor foods are concerned, I’d have to go with gazpacho (made indoors, of course, with the help of my trusty food processor) and then an assortment of kabobs.

  50. margaret
    April 26, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Best ever grilled chicken recipe from Gourmet, cold beer and homemade snack mix, pavlova, grilled pineapple, roasted marshmallows, potato salad, arugula salad.

  51. Joni
    April 27, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Homemade BBQ burgers with fresh from the garden tomatoes on them, potato salad and that amazing homemade lemonade made by putting the whole lemons in the blender.

  52. erin
    April 27, 2009 at 8:22 am

    Ok, this sounds pathetic, but I am terrified of wasps, so eating outdoors is always an anxiety-filled occasion for me. However, since wasps are not big fans of smoke, I love anything cooked on an open fire – hotdogs and marshmallows especially!!

    PS I love maple syrup – but definitely not outside!! Unless I am picking it out of the snow with a stick!

  53. Diana
    April 27, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Kubbie roasted on a stick over a fire, with or without a bun and mustard. A little blackened around the edges. A cold beer to go alongside.

  54. Cheryl T.
    April 27, 2009 at 10:32 am

    I love a good fish fry! This post made me wish that summer were already here to stay. Thanks for sharing…beautiful pictures.

  55. Anonymous
    April 27, 2009 at 10:48 am

    some of the my favorite memories. eating bbq (anything) after a day spent on the boat at the lake. or even grilled fish and corn on the cob, butter dripping all over the place. yumm. can’t wait for summer!

  56. Lana
    April 27, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Favourite thing to eat outside is anything when we are camping! I love cooking breakfast on an open fire..the smell of bacon, and coffee all mingled together…one night we grill steaks and saute mushrooms and… anything cooked outside tastes best outside.

  57. amelia
    April 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    fruit! especially warm from the sun. and gelato in yummy waffle cones.

  58. Natalie
    April 28, 2009 at 5:45 am

    Eating anything outdoors just makes it special! My backyard is an oven, and so we don’t usually go back there to eat in the sweltering heat of summer. But it is just perfect at THIS time of year. Yesterday, we had a gorgeous 28 C day here in Ottawa, and it was a perfect day for a backyard supper. It makes even leftover pizza special!

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