Not Just E:ne for Sake. Raw Food Too?

E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar
Address: 737 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC
Hours: 3PM–12AM
Phone: (778) 433-0363

ES: When it comes to alcoholic beverages, I tend to appreciate sake more than beer. When I heard about this operation opening up in Victoria, BC, my taste buds were titillated. The first thing on my mind was if they carried any of those fruity brews that I see listed in menus whenever I’m in Vancouver dining establishments than anywhere else. Long story short, not all operations are interested in carrying these variations.

As I learned at a sake tasting event a week later, master brewers consider the only good sake is untainted sake. The authentic blends do not include additives. I’m open for experimentation though, including raw food.

As for Wagyu than Kobe beef, they’re technically the same but from different regions. I haven’t had these prime slices for a long time, and I’m glad this sister operation to Nubo Tapa is here. Donald Kennedy was intrigued when I mentioned often seeing lineups for this place and we got together to see what this place was all about. From time to time, though, we saw a little butane device being pulled out and I wondered what the fire regulations were. I patted my head just in case it started smoking.

DK: What was the deal with the torch? Every couple minutes it blasted at random. Blasted into mid-air.

Blasted in the general direction of the bar shelf. Blasted pretty much everywhere but overtop a cocktail, brûlée or anything else that needed finishing. Was the bartender chasing off flies? Just playing? Maintaining? Do I know nothing at all about torch use and maintenance? The mystery of the E:Ne torch lingers like a hungry raccoon round the edge of a campsite.

And here’s another riddle, one I’m much more interested in solving: where can I get a smoked duck hotdog around here? Or maybe a Po Boy? E:Ne’s Peking Duck is good, but I can’t shake the feeling a better delivery method is possible.

ES: Between the various tapas we had, I was hard-pressed to wonder which was more delectable. Their daily specials were of interest, and the maki rolls were a step above other establishments, mostly in being more original in their flavour profiles. There’s only so much cream cheese I can stand. Their beef, say I say I was wagyu my tongue like a hungry dog? It’s been years since I last tasted cow massaged by virgin hands.

There’s a myth concerning cows sipping beer too. By then, the sake was having an effect on me. When drunk, I do not behave like a certain individual from my past seems to think I am. His words and mindset must be limited. At least my behavior opens up some to have fun!

DK: I believe it’s the cows that are virgins, not the ranchers that massage them. Let’s not start a conspiracy theory that strict abstinence enforcement policies within the Japanese beef industry are the real reason birth rates are falling across Japan. I’m sure Japanese ranchers have healthy sex lives, probably healthier than most. Maybe I should become a Japanese rancher…

ES: Or Maybe Don should become a master sake brewer. I feel this establishment is more for the drink than the food. There were lots of varieties to taste from. Some were imported straight from Japan, and a few from local distilleries. YK3 is based out of Richmond, BC and I’m sure there are at least two other ones. When ordering, like wine, you have to know which is best to go well with your dish.

Even though we ordered light meals, we were still hungry and went omakase. We had tempura, more tacos, pressed sushi, dumplings and nigiri. The tuna tasted better than the salmon, and duck meat tacos. Some were solid hits. We were playing tic-tac-toe with the nine items offered to us to taste test. They were playing it safe with half the board.

Raw food of the safer variety this place does have, but it’s not like their neighbouring operation (Nubo) which has monkfish liver on their menu. I’d love it should the two have both menus available, and patrons can choose from either. I’m sure the kitchen is a shared space.

3½ Blokes out of 5

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[Vancouver, BC] Frying Pan Flies Fries & Chicken Fast and Furious

Frying Pan
505 Burrard St
Vancouver, BC 

Hours: 11:00am to 3:00pm
Phone: (778) 927-1477

I make no clucks about it. This hungry bloke is spreading his wings, and when I’m at Fan Expo Vancouver 2018, I’m not interested in those sponsored/recommended stops. This year’s guide had restaurants advertising discounts for going there. One interested me, but I let my nose be the guide. After a long day at this event just how far I have to go for a meal depends on how worn out I feel. Not all of this show’s recommended stops are located conveniently nearby.

As I recall, The corner of West Pender and Burrard used to host Japadog. These days, it’s Frying Pan, a neutral name for what? Well, it’s chicken of course! The portions are perfect for lunch, and one order is enough to fill me up. There must be an oven and deep fryer inside the truck. I found the taste sweet (because of the sauce; I tasted a hint of citrus, a beautiful touch) and the texture not all that crispy hard. The coleslaw addition just made for a beautiful contrast. The chicken meat was not dry, and I feel they can give the Korean Fried format a run for its money.

A joke can be made: why did the chicken cross the road? to avoid being caught and cooked up at this operation.

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Cravin’ the Bacon at Shunzee Biscuit

Shanzee’s Biscuit Cafe
529 Pandora Ave
Victoria, BC 

Hours: 8am to 3pm
Phone: (778) 433-9089

The fact you can see your meal made fresh in an open-air kitchen at Shunzee’s Biscuit (formerly Bitchin Biscuit) says a lot towards this operation’s success. If the scents of bacon crisped on the spot do not wet your appetite, then the other tantalizing delights of pork on the grill will. The reason behind the change of name is obvious for those who are from the Pacific Northwest; In Seattle, Biscuit Bitch is the queen of Capitol Hill. Technically the area is actually Downtown Seattle (i.e. Pike Place Market). When I’m staying nearby, I make this place my go-to breakfast stop. Back home, Shunzee won me over. If she was a person than an operation, I’d most likely be courting her.

Her warm biscuits are soft and worth nuzzling. With the cold months ahead, I can certainly find a lot of comfort here in these digs, and in the food they offer. The eggs can be prepared any way you like. They taste farm fresh. When I’m savouring free range, I’m cock-a-doodle doodling in approval and have to wonder how much of this operations product comes from local farms.

I should find out where they get their Louisiana sausage. The jalapeno kick certainly nailed a lot of my pleasure centers. The meal itself is not too big. I have to make comparisons. When I was in Seattle, the meal I bought for breakfast was more than enough. I saved half for lunch. For Shunzee, the portion is just right. I wolfed it all down and still had an appetite for more.

I can easily visit this place for brunch. After more than a few visits, this operation certainly satisfies for morning or afternoon meal. They don’t do dinner for obvious reasons. Although should one show up later in the day, the possibility exists to might miss the bacon train. They usually use Hertel bacon (very renowned throughout the Canadian side of the Pacific Northwest). The day I went, they had to rush to the nearest market and obtain a different brand to keep up with demand.

The scents of bacon still drew me in, but when it’s not the right kind of pork, maybe it’s better to say sorry, “we’re sold out.”

4 Blokes out of 5

Paper Street Theatre’s Halloween Treats!

Runs Oct 24th-27th at the Intrepid Theatre
Address: 1609 Blanshard St, Victoria, BC V8W 2J5

Victoria, British Columbia’s Paper Street Theatre knows their pop culture. As an improv group, they enjoy getting audiences to laugh. Some might arrive already in giggles because they enjoy their shows far too much. Their performances take place throughout the year and are themed. That is, they are spiced with a little bit of every literary or oral tradition out there. This themed night had fog machines and ambient lighting room straight out of The Exorcist to get everyone into the mood for supernatural delights!

During this weekend leading up to Halloween, the team has supernatural campfire stories to tell. Some have the taste of urban legend spread all over it and others are truly creepy, Twilight Zone style. Ideas for story titles are taken from a community bucket, and the more bizarre they sound, the more challenging it is to put into a coherent narrative. With improv, the performers do not have time to consult with one another to decide on how the story can go, and everyone has to think quickly as they are under many peering eyes. Under the dimming light, not every glance will glow red.

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Always Wanton for J & J Wonton Noodle House

J & J Wonton Noodle House
1012 Fort St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 2pm,
4:30pm to 8:30pm

Phone: (250) 383-0680

When an operation touts their specialty is with wonton, my craving for this wonderful dumpling is better served at home, here in beautiful Victoria, BC than going to the mainland. The shrimp & pork style is the best. For those craving one protein than both, the single variety can be ordered. This operation was very accommodating by taking my order while I was waiting for a seat. Like a ramen shop, I easily popped in for a bite even though other people were here for dinner. When people are opting for the latter, I recommend making a reservation!

Wor style is preferred over traditional. Not only are the dumplings bigger, but you get more bang out of your buck. In this visit, I opted for simple and it’s my fault for not realizing how hungry I was. Even on a quiet day, to see this place is always busy is very good.

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A Brief History of Beer & Where to Find It

A Brief History of BeerSometimes, a venue can make or break a show. When the performance is all about beer, the Victoria Event Center is perfect. They are a licensed alcohol facility and cheering more than a mug is encouraged. I had root beer instead of the other kind. When it played at the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival last month, the buzz certainly had me deciding to go check it out.

I had to stay sober tho’, as I know my limits (namely I was driving). This show next moved to the Vancouver Fringe Festival, and now the company, Wish Experience, is taking a break. I’m sure this team will be back for the next round of Fringe shows. Even though this show began in 2016, I see it could use further polishing.

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