Typically Coast Culinary Collective is about supporting and advocating for food and drink culture on the Sunshine Coast. But in this instance we’re writing something of a woeful lament of things we wished existed here. Places that would stop me wanting to make pilgrimages back to the city, suffering long ferry queues on baking tarmac even when I have a reservation. We’re not talking about lofty fine dining restaurants (though I’d be OK with a couple more) but perhaps some simple pleasures that could have mass appeal to our different demographics. We’re totally covered for bakeries, coffee shops, Mexican restaurants, BBQ, burgers and the like. But the ones I miss seem so obvious I can’t believe no one has opened them. I’m very aware these are first world problems and there’s a lethal pandemic out there. However, this is a culinary site and people are still eating and drinking so it’s what I’m gonna write about. If I was swimming in funds, I might be inclined to a bit of philanthropy. “Is anybody listening” who has some funds to make a food writer’s dreams come true???
Ya ya, CCC is a broken record on this topic. But like an earlier post mentioned, it’s “DEEP LOVE”. I was in the city last week and it was my go to lunch while there. If you’re in the vicinity of Robson St in the West End, there are an unbelievable number of options for the elevated Ichiban. As a devout fan, I have my faves and this is the one and only time I will line up for food. Limited seating due to Covid in already small restaurants makes it more difficult to get in. This is how I can justify to myself that standing in line for noodles is reasonable. Even when there’s a perfectly decent sushi spot next door. I would point out to anyone contemplating opening a ramen bar on the Sunshine Coast; the next place around once you depart Horseshoe Bay is in Courtenay. Surely one of you readers with money to burn, ahem; “wisely invest” can see the injustice there? Or maybe re-phrase that; “Opportunity”.
Greasy Spoon Diner
The fact there isn’t a no nonsense, truck stop type diner serving bacon & eggs on the Coast (please correct me if I’m wrong) is baffling. I mean seriously. When I mentioned lining up for a restaurant, this was the most common example you’d see in Vancouver. I’m absolutely not endorsing the idea of something like that but rather using it as an example of the broad appeal. Lining up for breakfast? Seriously? But to have one of these in Gibsons, Sechelt & Madeira Park just seems like a no brainer. Nothing fancy. No elaborate sauces beyond the Eggs Benny, no yogurt creations or fancy grains, etc. Rather eggs: sunny/ over easy/ scrambled/ poached or soft boiled, pancakes or French toast, omelettes, bacon/ sausage or ham, hash browns or home fries and bottomless drip coffee. And it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg to eat there nor would it be for lengthy, indulgent meals. Get em in, move em out; that’s how they make their money. I believe you’d have the support of most of the demographics living on the Coast. Tradespeople, the retired community, millennials , etc.
The Coast isn’t bereft here as Sechelt has Saffron and I know there are some people doing pop up type examples. I applaud your efforts and support your success. But it’d be very welcome in my books if there were another one or two brick and mortar establishments focused on making just Indian cuisine. Maybe there isn’t a big enough (or daring enough) community to support it but as we have Chinese, Thai, Korean, Greek, Italian, Mexican and Japanese restaurants, it just seems like a glaring omission. Oh to have saag, garlic naan, madras, daal and paneer within walking distance or a quick drive.
Ohhhh how I would love to see someone open a tapas restaurant here. Having visited Spain numerous times and partaken of small plates or “pinchos” as they’re referred to there, this is one of the coolest styles of dining in existence. Seriously. The Spanish have it dialed in. Not sure this part would fly on the Sunshine Coast but much of it is stand-up dining. Different culture there as you move from one place to the next sampling each restaurant’s offerings. But if we could have a cozy, intimate place doing a variety of tasty little items like anchovies, sardines, olives, tortilla (omelette in Spain) patatas bravas, etc; that’d be a Moorish heaven. OK, maybe not so much the intimate space part with C19 distancing requirements but perhaps outdoor seating.
This one is a little more specific and specialized but I’d love to see a wine bar/ deli /tapas combo or something along those lines. And no, it doesn’t mean pretentious. If you’re reading this and you’re from the Coast, think something like Tapworks. Casual, relaxed with rough wood finishes and a fun, cool soundtrack on the stereo system would be great. It’s a concept done easily in the States and Europe but nothing that’s really been seen here. Much of that has been due to archaic liquor licensing regulations but also because B.C. has EXORBITANT liquor taxation. Difficult perhaps to convince people to spend $12/$15/$18 on one glass of wine. I know I wouldn’t and it’s a major part of my world. But it could be done by someone with wine background and the changing rules to sales of alcohol on-premise. A small sliver of blue sky during the pandemic is the relaxing of ridiculous regulations to help businesses stay afloat. A “fantasy” wish perhaps, but I know several others in the community who would dance a jig to welcome such a place. My dancing shoes are laced up and at the ready.