Mysterious Blair Mart

Blair Mart is a store on Pandora that is easy to miss if you are walking by. It looks like regular corner store from the outside and its sign is only visible if you are walking toward it from one direction.  Yet, a regular store this is not.  Blair Mart is the place to go if you are looking for Middle Eastern, Persian, or Turkish groceries.  The store also has a first class selection of proper cooking oils.

Blair Mart - lunch1

I am able, for example, to perpetuate my aversion to canola and other yellow vegetable oils by buying large (and affordable) containers of olive and grape seed oil here.  These two staples comprise the foundation of most of the cooking I do (along with coconut oil and the indispensable magic of butter).  Extra virgin olive oil, with its vibrant green hue, provides flavour to salads, dips, and all sorts of dishes.  It can even be poured onto a plate, garnished with a dash of balsamic vinegar, and sopped up with a fresh baguette.  If you put this out for your guests it will vanish quickly, I promise you.

Blair Mart - oils
Blair Mart - nuts

Blair Mart’s owner, Mat, is as demure as the signage he has erected to advertise his place.  He retreats into the back folds of his kitchen as soon as I mention my camera.  I ask him about the lunch platter he makes for customers and at first he doesn’t want to say how he invented it.  “It’s just the things that everybody likes the best” he says.  When I press him a little on the matter, asking him when he learned these recipes, he acquiesces to the fact that the recipes on the plate were made for him by his mother when he was a child.

Blair Mart - exteriorThe lunch platter consists of hummus, baba ganoushe, dolma (rice and lentil wrapped in grape leaves), a pâté of feta cheese, turnip pickles, olives, and a Moroccan stuffed filo pastry.  To be honest, eating all of this stuff made me start to rethink my entire philosophy of lunch.  Sandwiches and soups can be nice, but the idea of having all sorts of little bites of things is compelling.  This is a particularly nice mixture of things for the summer, for picnics, for eating when it is hot.  One can spread items out on a blanket and eat them in the park sunshine.  Blair Mart makes all of these items to go, incidentally.

Blair Mart is a jumble of fine products.  One needs to browse for a while before everything begins to coalesce into a sensible order.  The quality of everything is excellent.  I’ve come home with olives, bags of rice, walnuts and almonds, spices, and I’ve been impressed by all of them.  As I sit eating my lunch, people in the know filter in and buy samosas and baklava.  Get in line behind them, my friends.  It’s worth it.


Blair Mart Mediterranean Foods

924 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC V8V 3P3

Phone: (250) 721-1626




Written By:

Born and raised in the mysterious East (by which I mean Ontario and Quebec, not Asia), Adam migrated out to British Columbia in search of adventure and fortune. He had been at different times a scholar, a musician, a poet and a ...

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