Dining al fresco looks and sounds fantastic, whether you’re sitting out in a vineyard or in an alpine meadow or beside the ocean. The Pacific Sands Resort was a gorgeous spot for Feast Tofino‘s Long Table dinner. We had great weather that week, so on a sunny, but still-chilly-at-the-beach evening, we gathered with 50-60 of our closest strangers under a tent strung with bare bulbs and hanging tea lights with Cox Bay in the background. It was picture perfect.
The Long Table dinner brought together Tofino and visiting chefs in teams, featuring the work of Lisa Ahier, SOBO; Warren Barr, the Wickinninish; Amanda Cohen, DirtCandy; Billy Feltmate, Sea Shanty; Nicole Gomes, Nicole Gourmet; Robbie Elliot, Shelter; Lora Kirk, Ruby Watchco; Anita Lo, Annisa; Nick Nutting, Wolf in the Fog; Ian Riddick, Great Room at Long Beach Lodge Resort and and Dylan Tilston, Fish Store and Oyster Bar.
The Pacific Sands was two hotels over from where we were staying, so although Feast had a shuttle for guests who parked in town, we just walked down the beach a spell and made a right. As we checked in, we were greeted with Sea Cider’s Kings and Spies, a sweet prosecco-like sparkling, and alder-smoked oysters. Mix-and-match vintage dishes dotted the long table and it was a casual, seat yourself, no placecards arrangement. After the oysters, we enjoyed what was my favorite bite of the night — crispy humpback prawns with a spicy mango salsa in a crunchy wonton wrapper.
We bumped into another couple who’d been at the Long Beach Lodge Resort/DirtCandy dinner a couple of nights earlier (they’re down below with the platter of beets) and chatted a bit before sitting down to the main event.
Each course — six in all — was paired with BC wines, cider or locally brewed beer and served family-style. From a logistics perspective on the chefs’ side, you can see how family-style made sense. Individually plating five courses for this number of people would have taken ages and they were already working out of a somewhat primitive setup inside the gazebo adjacent to the tent. But the math may have gone a little sideways, as for at least one course we got the dregs, scraping off the last three beet chunks on a platter between two people. When you’ve paid $110 per person, that’s a real letdown. Communal dining is great, but being at the mercy of other diners apparently determined to “get their money’s worth” is not.
The bulk of Feast Tofino’s events are actually dinners at the individual restaurants with just a few larger-scale anchor events like the Long Table dinner, so I’m taking our experience at the Long Beach Lodge/DirtCandy dinner as more indicative of the Feast Tofino experience overall. Next year, I’d look to mix it up and plan a visit prioritizing the dinners.
Feast Tofino’s final event for this year is a Pescetarian Pilau on the beach on Sunday, May 29. Tickets are $25 and available by calling Ocean Village at 250-725-3375.