Weekend Planner: Dec 9

Photo left: Grapes at Muse Winery image by Linda Dagg. Photo right: Latte image courtesy of Union Pacific Coffee

There’s so much to do this weekend that I’ve provided two options for Friday night.

If you are up for a drive out of town (and have a designated driver) check out Merridale Cider’s www.merridalecider.com event “The Christmas Spirit” launching their brand new fruit based vodka “Frizz”. Tickets are $29 and include appetizers, vodka sampling and a cocktail of your choice. The farmhouse store will be open, with shelves full of culinary delights, local art, Christmas baking and lots of ciders so you will be able to sip, sample and shop at your leisure. Plus, everyone at the party will be given the opportunity to purchase bottles of the not-yet-released Frizz.  Event runs from 7 – 9 PM.

Stay in town and enjoy “A Sentimental Christmas” presented by the Victoria Symphony.  This concert is guaranteed to get you in the Christmas mood, featuring local singing sensation Emily Braden, at the Royal Theatre at 8 PM. Drop into The Black Hat,  Chef Sam Chalmers’ (Bistro 28) newest restaurant downtown on Langley Street, for drinks and small plates before or after the show.  With a raw bar ranging from steak tartare to ceviche, charcuterie boards and mussels in a maple chipotle cream sauce, there’s lots to choose from.

Take to the road on Saturday and head out to Muse Winery in North Saanich for their annual “A Christmas Inspired” event. Held from 11 AM – 5 PM, this event features work by seven well- known local artists (who will be on-site during the event). The tasting room will be open throughout the show for sampling and there will be a wide selection of wine-inspired gift baskets available to purchase for holiday gift-giving.

Plan to have an early dinner in Sidney; there are lots of great restaurants to choose from. You might want to try Haro’s Restaurant and Bar at the Sidney Pier Hotel and Spa. With sweeping views and menus that “change seasonally but speak locally”, you can enjoy choices like bacon, squash and chestnut risotto with Cowichan Valley Chicken breast.

Then head over to “The Magic of Christmas” at Butchart Gardens.  The garden is decorated with tens of thousands of lights, seasonal greenery and Christmas displays along with entertainment and a skating rink open to visitors. This perennial favourite is now in its twenty-fifth year.

Speaking of skating, on Sunday why not head downtown for a skate at Victoria’s open-air skating rink in Centennial Square.

Open Sundays from 11 AM – 5 PM with a modest entrance and skate rental fee, this is a great way to experience Christmas in the city. Next, take a walk through Chinatown and check out some of the vintage and specialty stores, great places to pick-up stocking stuffers. Time for a hot beverage so head through Dragon Alley to the Union Pacific Coffee Company on Herald Street (halfway between Government and Store Street). This is a great coffee shop with fabulous baked goods, yummy sandwiches like the Killer Tomato Cheese Croissant, homemade soups, breakfast items and daily specials. You have your choice of JJ Bean Fair Trade Organic coffee (try the French press for two), Tazo tea served in a beautiful teapot and hot chocolate. Great room with family style table seating, warm wood and old brick. Open Sunday from 9 AM to 4 PM.

Have a great weekend!



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