Oni-Oni 585 Johnson St Victoria, BC Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00 am to 6:00 pm Phone: (778) 432-0664
Yes, I make no bones about it, I love rice balls. A long time ago, a Chinese-style variant included a deep-fried type where the gooey cheese interior made for all the difference. This was before I discovered Onigiri, a healthier Japanese snacking version to which I’ve never looked back in my switch.
Oni-Oni is a satellite operation ofSakura Sushi and is a place I’ll definitely return to when I need my sweet rice vinegar fix! They have fifteen flavours of onigiri to choose from! Not all of them are always available, but if you call ahead, it’s possible to get what you want made to order. Eating one is not enough, and for a hearty individual like me, I can eat up to four of them in one go. These bites are like snacks, and aren’t the huge ones people sometimes see in anime. They’re about the same size as the ones bought at Fujiya’s on Shelbourne. Plus, this store has Okashi and Nomimono too!
World Premiere at Hot Docs
April 29 – May 9, 2021
Tablescaping is serious business in SET! a documentary. In the competitive world of where up and coming talents show off their skills at county fairs, it can make or break–especially if that’s these people’s job! It’s not just about how to fold that napkin into an attractive flower but also knowing how to arrange the plates and food together in a way so the diner can feel like a king. These contests also requires a list of pretend meals to go with the display, and I suspect the skills can also be applied at promotions at many a convention (comic book or otherwise). Having a well organized table attracts returning customers.
California’s Orange County hosts one of the most recognized events for this state, and there’s many more world-wide. To be a judge, however, means working in the catering business for a long time and knowing what your clients want. It’s less about the fancy decorations for that one individual to feel like he’s in the jungle (one of many themes seen in this doc), but more about what the table setter can dream up for that ultimate dining experience. Writer/director Scott Gawlik’s work spotlights an eclectic mix of folks to show what this artistic endeavour means to them.
ES: L’Authentique Poutine and Burgers have new digs! Instead of operating out of Langford during the cold winter months (although it’ll soon be Spring), they have a new space down by the wharf to serve up their tasty French fries and burgers for city residents! They’re well known for their fancy poutines and while I don’t expect them to vary the flavours regularly, I will be back to have their french fries time and time again.
DK: Points for longevity. The minor setback of a fire licking the Langford truck into submission back in 2012 doesn’t seem to have had a long-term effect on L’Authentique’s success. Nearly a decade later and here they are in a prime downtown location. But is it worth lining up 30m-1hour once tourists are back in town?
Not if you stick to the published menu. The bacon cheeseburger is reminiscent of an A&W Teen Burger, and the cheese curds in the poutine are squeaky as expected. Don’t get me wrong, it makes for a satisfying enough meal, but I wouldn’t brave tourist crowds for it.
Hours: Mon to Sun 11 am to 9:30 pm Phone: (425) 553-0867
I rarely review franchise operations, but when I was exploring the various diners east of the Washington State Conference Center, the choices are not limited when I was there pre-pandemic! I’m hoping this place survived as ramen shops are the type of operations that would close down during these times. Most traditional shops tightly pack diners in tight and I imagine to keep operating, the space of a chair and half is mandated to keep everyone safe.
When people are allowed to freely travel again, I’ll be there for you, Kizuki! Yes, I’m thinking of a certain TV theme song here, because I recall the camaraderie between the regulars and chefs when I was there last.
I’d be sad if they’re gone, because it’s rare to find an operation I’m definitely in love with. I have yet to find a match with the ramen shops here in Victoria, BC. Kizuki’s food is still prepared the same way as it is in Japan–they have a unique method of roasting bones before boiling. Similar to the French style of making consomme, they were the first in the Japanese ramen industry to employ this method. The result is a rich, flavourful broth that is fragrant and full of depth. They are devoted to replicating the incredible flavour of traditional Japanese ramen. Every operation gets the bulk of their ingredients from this country.
Shug’s Ice Cream and Soda Fountain Pike Place Market 1525 1st Ave Seattle, WA
Hours: Thurs to Sun 2 pm to 8 pm Phone: (206) 602-6420
I miss making my annual trip in March to Seattle, Washington. One reason is that this city is home to Emerald City Comic Con, the largest show celebrating pop culture for the Pacific Northwest (Canada included)! Last year’s event didn’t happen because of the pandemic. I was making my plans, but when Seattle became famous for being a hotbed of possibly getting infected, I knew I had to cancel.
ReedPOP made the wise call to “postpone” their event as nobody wants to get COVID-19, and while they are scheduling to resume for Winter 2021, just whether that will fly will depend on the global situation. Vaccines are being delivered and by Summertime, I should be a card carrying member of almost immune to COVID-19 club. I’m still going to wear a mask everywhere I go and have hand sanitizing wipes though! Upon landing, I know I’ll be making a beeline to Shug’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream. They offer late night treats when the sugar craving calls! Throughout the year, plenty of seasonal flavours become available, but my plan is to attack the Big Eddie again–or I may order something different.
After watching The Donut King, I now know where to go to get my sugary fix when travel without restrictions is allowed again. The various delights offered by one Santa Monica operation is enough to make me want to jet down instead of fly across the Pacific Ocean! This work was released last year at the Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival and was quickly picked up for wider distribution. To find it, however, meant waiting in line like the time I was in Oregon for Voodoo Doughnut. Though the wait was thirty minutes long, the wait was worth it.
Ted Ngoy is hailed as a pioneer of the enterprising spirit in California. He’s as shrewd as Ray Kroc in taking partial ownership of the name and franchising out McDonalds. The variation is in how he helped his fellow Cambodians who came to America open their operations and when he took a slice of the American dream.