Catch our Drift is a new tour company with a novel approach to helping visitors connect with the Sunshine Coast by providing them with unique local experiences. I went along on the Taste of the Landing Tour the other day, and while I’ve lived here for almost 40 years, I learned quite a bit about my own community and met some pretty interesting people.
Our first stop was Smitty’s Oyster House where we had a sampling of fresh raw oysters from Gorge Harbour on Vancouver Island. The large plank table that you see in the image above sits just a few feet from the salty brine and we were encouraged to toss our empty oyster shells over the railing to help seed a new oyster bed. The table has an interesting story. When the restaurant first opened, the municipal council of the day were only prepared to allow a single table for outside seating. I guess you can fight City Hall!
After following the boardwalk along the shoreline we cut through a beautifully landscaped park and found ourselves at Leo’s Tapas & Grill where a plate of freshly prepared calamari was waiting. Leo’s also hosts a Seafood Festival in January and a Greek Festival in February. I’ll be marking both of these dates on next year’s calendar.
We left Leo’s and walked a few steps down the street to Mike’s Gelato where we were greeted by an impressive array of 64 varieties of gelato. It was tough narrowing my choices down to our allotted three but with a little help from our affable and engaging server I choose the Chocolate Snickers, Radical Rolo and Twisted Sweet & Salty.
We walked a couple of blocks further to the Black Bean Cafe, a coffee shop that uses only organic, fair trade beans, which they roast themselves. I had a caramel macchiato and sampled some strawberry-rhubarb muffin… what a great combination. They do all of their baking on-site and have a very loyal customer base.
We crossed over to the other side of the street and were welcomed inside by the owner of Daffadowndilly, which offers an eclectic collection of work by local artists. The building was built in 1928 as apartments for loggers and fishermen and has a colourful history. When we commented on the slanting floor, the owner shared the story that the building had been partially knocked off its foundations by a runaway truck that had careened down the steep hill some years ago.
This is the impressive view from Gramma’s Pub, our next stop, and another business with an interesting story. The pub was the first licenced marine pub in the province, opening over 40 years ago. A family owned business, it was named after the mother who had a penchant for the cool amber fluid. We were served a glass of Landing Lager, which is the house brew and made by Russell Brewing specifically for Gramma’s.
The Black Berry Shop was our next stop and as you can see from the image and guess from the name, they offer a lot of blackberry products. We had a sampling of an interesting blackberry/garlic jam over cream cheese on a cracker and it was delicious. There was also blackberry chutney, syrup and vinegar as well as some straight up blackberry jam. The store is a cooperative for over 65 local artists and food producers and offers a wide variety of wonderful products.
Gypsy Cove is right next door and we were able to sample some of their food products as well. We started with a refreshing glass of iced tea made from one of their many specialty fruit teas. They offer over 35 different teas for a variety of tastes and needs, including a good selection of “wellness teas” to help with energy, relaxation or jet lag. We also sampled some of their infusion sea salts with some raw veggies – my two favourites were the Spanish Rosemary and the Salish Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt.
What a great day!! I was able to sample some very tasty food products made right here on the Sunshine Coast and I heard lots of interesting stories. All in all it was a very entertaining day and provided me with some unique experiences that helped this long-time resident connect even further with the community. You can find more information about Catch Our Drift on their website.
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