Friday, July 1, 2011

Dinghy dock pub (Nanaimo)

Address: 8 Pirates Lane, Protection Island (Near Nanaimo)
Phone: (250) 753-2373
Price: $5-25
Notes: North America's only floating pub. Kitscher than kitsch but the food has good moments, as does the service.

Dinghy Dock Pub

The Dinghy Dock is a floating, nautical-themed pub & restaurant on a pirate-themed Island. It doesn't get much more kitsch than this, folks! I kind of love it. To get there, you take a ferry which leaves once an hour. It's only a ten minute ride, so it's pretty tiny. Return in the same day is around $10 per person.

The decor is covered in nautical memorabilia, most of it is pretty funny. It looks like it's been collected over a long, long time. You can purchase a take-away pirate themed mug (I might have one) or tshirt to remember your experience. Even in the dead of winter, you can find locals from the island visiting (it's the only commercial thing on the island) but in the summer it's Packed to the gills with tourists and visitors from near and far.

The view is probably one of the best parts of the pub - as night falls, the lights on the water from the city reflect in a way that is most spectacular. Also, if you have a boat you can raft up during business hours and either eat at the pub or have delivery!

I feel like I want to talk about the island a bit - I've stayed her a few times (perk of my job. it's less swank than it sounds but there's a log-burning fireplace and internet so my p.i.f.a.l. and I are happy). Yes, it's extremely pirate themed - all the street and place names are taken straight out of Treasure Island. I really want to live at the corner of Captain Morgan's Boulevard and Pirates Lane if only to have the most awesome address on the planet. To top off the Disney-like feel of the Island, everyone is ridiculously friendly AND most people drive around on GOLF CARTS. That's right. Golf Carts. The first time we giggled like maniacal school children the whole way 'round the Island (all 17 minutes of it).

But back to the pub - yes, it can be good. I read some horrendous reviews on Urban Spoon. I imagine it's hard to keep a chef, but I think the one they have right now is pretty good. Worth checking out for sure, especially if you live pirates or boats or novelty or just want to go to Disneyland but can't quite afford it.

June 30, 2011
We visited on the music trivia night - this was strategic, as we were staying on the island for several days and needed some other people to talk to or we were going to start inventing our own language and/or run out of booze (they do off-sales, but the beer selection is crap  mainstream er, mass market stuff like Canadian and Pislner). We had visited on our last trip to the island in winter time, and were pleasantly surprised to see the place full, as well as a revamped menu.

Our waitress was clearly a new hire for the summer season, but made no apologies, just had a very self-deprecating patter to go with having to look things up or dropping her pen or forgetting to bring a menu. We quickly made friends with our table-mates, a couple visiting from Australia who were about to start an epic voyage up the coast to Alaska and weren't too worried about any slowness in the service due to a packed house which apparently wasn't as packed as it can get later in the tourist season.

We were several drinks in (well, more than a few... we were on holiday and had decided it wasn't a safety risk to drive the golf cart while intoxicated. Shhhhh...) when my partner-in-food-and-life decided we should order wine. I was left to the job of tasting, but it was a screw top.

"I guess it can't really be corked..." I said.

"True," said our waitress "but I guess it could still be a really crap bottle of wine." [beat] "But let's hope we don't serve any of those here, eh?"

Bwahahaha! Tip! For you! On the debit machine! (It wasn't that bad, actually. For Australian. [our table buddies had left, so I can say that])

June 30, 2011
Okay, first the main criticism, as per usual, the beer selection. Granville Island galore (good), a few Phillips (yay!) but otherwise mass-market. I guess logistics of supply might not be the easiest, but comon now guys not even a single Nanaimo beer? Please now.

Zucchini Sticks via

These floated by while we were deciding what to order. Wait, that's a bad metaphor for a floating restaurant. Let's try that again...

We saw these being delivered to another table while peering over the "cheap pub night" menu (a special menu of cheap appies during the music trivia). They were quite good and plentiful for $5! Very fresh tasting, and so perfectly breaded my p.i.f.a.l. was initially suspect that they were shipped in, but the zucchini inside was too crispy tasting to have been not dead for too long!

Buffalo Chicken Pizza via

This was my p.i.f.a.l's choice - although I'm pretty sure it's what I ordered when we were here in the winter time. It looks a bit different now. The chicken was, if I'm not mistaken, a cut up piece of the chicken fingers (this is not a bad thing!). I had a bite, the overall flavour was awesome although the frank's red drizzled on top left us both with joker-esque faces for a bit there. 

Chipotle Shrimp Rice Bowl via

This was pretty epic! The shrimpies were large and plentiful, although a little fishier than I would have liked. They might have been a touch over-cooked but to be honest, the menu was correct in saying the shrimp would take a back seat to the rice and sauce! I was hoping for some more vegetables than the dish came with  (a few pieces of red pepper and some green onion). The sauce was creamy but not too thick, with a hint of flavourful, smokey spice. Yum! 

Deep-Fried Marble Cheesecake via

Three sheets in (the nautical puns are not intentional, I assure you!) and I can never resist dessert. Especially not deep-fried cheesecake! As you can see, the cheesecake is wrapped in a tortilla making it more like a cheesecake-changa than the cornflake-breaded concoction I was picturing. However, it was still delicious! 

The other dessert options sounded equally tempting. I passed on the "Sex in a Dinghy" selection if only because the mental image was cold, wet and somehow involved a terribly un-sexy life-jacket (water safety is not a joking matter, people). 


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