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Reservation Fail Rebound

One of the main reasons we are staying here at the Pedder Bay Marina RV Park is because it's close to the town of Sooke, home of the Sooke Harbor House. Some friends of ours told us about this place (out on Whiffin Spit, in Sooke, B.C.) many years ago and it's been on our "once we get to Vancouver Island let's go here" list since then.

I made a reservation for dinner at the Sooke Harbor House restaurant about three weeks ago, and we were really looking forward to heading over there tonight after work and fishing and more work. This morning I pulled up their website to check out the "sample menu" and noticed in the right column a reminder that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

But, TODAY is Tuesday.

I quickly pulled up my calendar and realized that our reservation was for last night. A Monday. The only night they're open while we're staying here. Superbummer!! I sent an apology and told them we didn't mean to miss our reservation and that we were very, very sorry. πŸ™ Boooo. We are very very sorry. 

We didn't come home with any salmon for dinner from our fishing excursion today, so I decided to use the calamari we picked up at Barleans in Bellingham to make us a lemon risotto with calamari for dinner tonight. We decided we'd still drive into Sooke to look around a bit, and stop at the market for a few more ingredients.

We did a quick detour up to the Sooke Potholes to check out the campground. Turns out the campground is closed for 2014, but look at these potholes:


The light was terrible for the photo, but I think you can get the idea.

We headed out to Whiffin Spit to see what we were missing at the Sooke Harbor House. 



The grounds and the garden are beautiful and we really need to get back up here sometime soon. 

Alright, on to the market.

I found a recipe online that sounded really good (Lemon Risotto with Calamari) so I decided to modify it (of course)! Here's the finished product:


Here's during (and yes, I know…when I was taking this photo I wasn't stirring the risotto…it came out great anyway):


And here's the (modified) recipe:

Lemon Risotto with Calamari


  • 3 cups water
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped 
  • 1 3/4 cups (350 grams) Arborio Rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 lb cleaned calamari tubes and tentacles
  • 1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shaved or shredded
  • 50 grams arugula/rocket (about 2 loosely packed cups)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon  juice
  • 1 cup halved or quartered cherry or grape tomatoes, different colors


  1. In a small saucepan, combine water and stock. Heat over high heat until hot but not boiling. Cover and keep warm.
  2. Heat a large heavy non-stick high-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add oil, then add the garlic and cook for 1 min, or until golden brown. Add shallot and cook for about 1 min, or until softened. Add rice and stir for 1 min, or until well coated. Add the wine and stir constantly for 1 min, or until most of the wine has evaporated. Stir in the lemon zest.
  3. Add 1 cup hot stock mixture to rice mixture and cook, stirring almost constantly and keeping the mixture at a steady simmer, until it is absorbed. Continue adding hot stock mixture, 1 cup at a time, stirring until each addition is almost completely absorbed before adding more, and cook for 18 mins, or until rice is al dente and creamy.
  4. Stir in the calamari and cook, stirring, for 4 mins, or until opaque and tender. Remove pan from heat and stir in parsley and two-thirds of the parmesan. Stir in rocket and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt.
  5. Divide risotto between four wide serving bowls. Garnish with remaining parmesan and freshly ground black pepper, tomatoes, and serve.


P.S. My friend Rose, who was the original recommender of the Sooke Harbor House probably 10 years ago, texted me right as I was writing this post yesterday: "Hey Laura! Was it last night you guys were going to Sooke Harbor House? I'm curious to hear what you thought of it but seeing nothing on the blog makes me think I've got the day wrong…."

Bah! Even SHE remembered that I'd made a Monday reservation. πŸ™


  1. Allison Allison

    What a cool ride! I did not know about this event. Seattle to Portland used to go over the St. John’s bridge and it gave me a serious case of the sweaty hands. People who start yelling on your left on a ride like that need to be taught some manners and put on a tricycle for the duration of the course. We call them bike snots.

    • Super cool ride! And yes, agreed…tricycles would be fantastic for those guys! πŸ™‚

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