Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia, er Chiba! Vying more Sushi back in Victoria, BC

Chiba Sushi
2706 Government St
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)

Phone: (250) 383-9886

ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of  a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!

DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.

Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.

Continue reading

[Seattle, WA] Surfing Over to Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill

83 Spring St
Seattle, WA 98104

Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
Phone: (206) 340-8880

I should not be surprised that Seattle is becoming much more like Victoria, BC at every new visit I make. Yes, I’ve been spending my holidays here and that’s because this city is easy to reach, and not all that expensive to get there. The food can be pricey at times, but the less I spend on transportation, the more can be explored with various operations here. I feel more Japanese eateries exists in this city per square block than any other. Competition is stiff, and I don’t feel the need to return my go to places when there’s more to discover every visit.

Nijo is a comfortable place to have something old and something new. I had dishes which were not the staples for many a meal. Yes, I can get tired of tuna and salmon fast.

Continue reading

[Seattle, WA] Dethroning the Crawfish King

The Crawfish King
725 S Lane St
Seattle, WA

Hours: 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Phone: (206) 623-3622

Eating too much fried food, as anyone will tell you, is bad for your health. With The Crawfish King, my advice is to be prepared for a lot of exercise in the week after dining here. On one side of the menu is tons of crispy goodness. The basket allows for one main course and two sides (thank god they have soup and salads). On the other, a boil, has a lot of seafood offered up somewhat Louisiana style. I should have gone for that instead. When my plus sized friends love their grease, the smell was almost overwhelming but it gave me an opportunity to try nearly everything this operation offers.

Sadly, the menu does not list prices. Anything from the sea is based on current market value for such goodies as crawfish, shrimp, lobster and etc. It’s easy enough to ask, but was I prepared to pay more than $50 for a meal? Sure, if I was sharing with friends. On my own, I could do it, and have leftovers for the next day. Next time, that will be my plan.

Continue reading

When Another Cook, er Comic Book Won’t Do; Zao Dao’s Cuisine Chinoise Brings Worlds Together

Plenty of Chinese cooking philosophy can be learned in the release of Zao Dao’s comic anthology Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food. Dark Horse Comics is publishing the translated edition and it is set for release June 2020.

In what’s key to this culture’s style of cuisine is in different ingredients gel together. It’s not just about the tastes, but also in how it brings people together. It’s said to bring different people of conflicting ideologies together. Just look at Voltron: Legendary Defender. In the finale. Hunk (the Yellow Paladin) believes he can bring feuding empires together at the dinner table. Peace can be made one meal at a time. Mending old wounds can be tough, and when some food has healing properties, perhaps all that’s needed is a careful time to taste that fine red wine.

Not only are the principles of yin and yang involved to bring balance, there’s other facts to be found that nearly all Chinese master chefs share. Key to bringing this balance to the force are also the five flavours–Sour (酸 suān); Sweetness (甜 tián or 甘 gān); Spice (辛 xīn); Bitter (苦 kǔ) and Salt (咸 xián). These specific natures are reflected for those who read Dao’s work when it was originally published in France. Editions Mosquito handled this release and those impatient can hunt Abebooks.com for a copy.

The overlap between food, family, and culture are seamlessly highlighted in this special “cook book.” From insects looking for a meal to a man whose passion for cooking is the only hope of maintaining a family legacy, these wonderfully illustrated stories explore the rich and humorous world within while showcasing the beautiful relationship between Chinese culture and food.

Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food has two release dates. Some may consider comic shops are getting the appetizer on June 10, 2020 and hopefully a main course (book signing perhaps?) at bookstores June 23, 2020. The 96-page paperback graphic novel anthology is available for pre-order through Amazon and at your local comic shop for $19.99.

[Seattle, WA] Katsu on a Feeling

Katsu Burger
Multiple Locations
Seattle, Washington

Hours: 11:00 am to 10:00pm

Hamburger patties can flame grilled, air-cooked or microwaved (for those in a rush). Frying it in a vat of oil is not altogether strange. That’s what make certain innovations interesting. Katsu Burger is a Seattle-based chain offering deep fried hamburgers. It’s supposed to be one of the latest things coming out of Japan, but one look online shows they are lightyears ahead with other innovations–like adding lotus root, fried noodles or using rice-based buns to a classic fast food dish.

The idea using fried bread is not above me. The thought of a protein patty sandwiched in between Indigenous style bannock is going to have me experimenting.

In what makes a Katsu katsu is with breading the meat before getting deep fried. With pork or chicken, the meat is pounded until it’s suitably flat. Though with ground meat, that’d be tough to do. Slabs of beef can be buffeted with honey to have a shine, and it’d certainly change the flavour profile.

Continue reading

A Touch of Home at Red Brick Cafe in Sidney, BC

Red Brick Cafe
2423 Beacon Ave #106
Sidney, BC

Phone: (250) 655-1822
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When I’m in a rush to the BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminus to my next great adventure (which I’ve been doing a lot more of lately), not a lot of options for a quick stop for a meal exists. When trying to make the first ferry of the day, it’s nearly impossible to grab a warm breakfast. I could pay more and charge into the Pacific Buffet lounge on the boat–which is what I often do–but I was with friends this day and they were on a tighter budget than I was for what to grab to eat.

A taste of home-made and no thrills can found in the early mornings in Sidney, BC. That was the consensus with the pals I was with. We enjoyed the morning sea breeze, chatted about our plans for the geek fest we were headed to while sipping fancy coffees–varying from lattes to expressos to basic (for me, anyway).

Continue reading