Capital City Comic Con is happening from March 16th to 18th, and the Inner Harbour at Victoria, BC will soon be abuzz with superheroes needing sustenance and speedsters needing their energy fix. No, The Flash is not appearing. Many attendees will not be hopping far to get to panels and exhibits since the venue is side-by-side with each other. Distrikt Nightclub has special geeky Trivia Nights planned but before any of this fun can begin, plenty of hungry geeks will be looking for good places to dine at.
The past guides we wrote in the past are still valid (click here for the 2015 edition, or to read the comprehensive guides), but since then new operations have popped up and others have closed. This 2018 list breaks the list down into sub-categories.
DISCLAIMER: The Victoria Conference Center staff discourages attendees to bring food from other venues into its court. Please finish any snacks or meals beforehand. Water bottles are safe, but any visible food items will be subject to security’s discretion.
Frankie’s Modern Diner
910 Government St #38
Phone: (778) 265-8575
Many, many moons ago, Frankie’s Modern Diner was once known Ric’s Steakhouse and before then, it was The Cheesecake Cafe. I miss the latter brand name and the rumour I heard was that the owners did not want to pay the licensing fee and rebranded until a name stuck. I seem to recall there was a Nanaimo-based Frankie’s too, but I don’t go up island often enough to find out if they are still around.
With Capital City Comic Con near, it’s only fair to come in to see what this operation offers now. Thankfully, this operation has not forgotten its heydays of when I visited much more often. I enjoy browsing the window display of the desserts. Although the variety was not the same as I recall from years ago, I’m sure the amount changes depending on the time of day visited. I will have to give an update as I know I’ll be returning for another bite during this show. The ambience of this place and service is great. One visit is not enough.
Parachute Ice Cream
105-2626 Bridge St
Phone: (778) 265-1999
I’m rarely in the area of Rock Bay, where the industrial side of Victoria exists. Plenty of automobile shops and breweries are strewn around. It’s amazing how only a couple of years will see change. Gone are a lunch stop — where I had the best bison burger I’ve ever had (review on Victoria burger blog) — and one of Prima Strada’s locations. They now operate out of Cook St (Fairfield area) and Fort (in the municipality of Oak Bay).
Now, other stops have sprung up, which includes a coffee shop offering nouveau sensations (i.e. ethically sourced ingredients) and a few doors up is Parachute Ice Cream. They opened in May 2016. After walking around to see what’s changed, I should make a point of being in this area more. At night, this location can be dodgy. This operation closes at 7pm every day. During the warmer seasons, I suspect they stay open longer. This detail is important for those who linger around. Down the block is Moon Under Water Brewpub and Saltchuck Pie Company. Both will be places I will want to check out. For beer lovers, they can have their pick of Hoyne, Driftwood or Vancouver Island Brewery to get kegs. All three should have rooms to sample their latest brews.
Moving from one genre to another, The Great Buddha+ is a different spiritual product when compared to last week’s All You Can Eat movie. The Victoria Film Festival has unique picks every year. I wanted to challenge myself; this pairing is probably a result of Donovan Aikman, head programmer, than anyone else offering their two-cents worth when deciding in what to show. The only technical fault is whether the print allows tweaking how the subtitles look; white text with thin black outlines against a white image is hard to read unless you have eagle-eyes.
Otherwise, the film is a nicely done Hitchcock style who-will-do-it mystery. It’s presented in black and white for part of the film, and colour for the movie within the movie.
Beginning Feb 12th on VisionTV is a very well-meaning documentary, Ageless Gardens. This five-part series looks at the role of tending to a garden, be it to grow for food or to pretty a front lawn, can affect anyone on many levels. Whether that’s in to stay physically or mentally healthy, to avoid expensive trips to the grocery or to take up as a hobby, the results from the people who tend to them are many. When my doctor is surprised at how well my mom is doing at her age, I said that’s because she’s outside tending to our garden. He responded I should still keep an eye on her but keep at it!
To hear director, producer and cinematographer Ian Toews (Bugs on the Menu) created this series to show that the elderly do not have to be put in care homes. They can be engaged in an outdoor activity from their own comfort zone. For those who can’t move around as much, sons, daughters or special care nurses are around to help as the episode “Therapeutic Gardens” demonstrated. This series feels very personal. He’s spreading the word to encourage others to get off the couch and explore what the outdoors can do to anyone, at any age. This show is intended for the older generation to watch, but even kids like me need hard knocks too.
The 2018 Victoria Film Festival is in full swing and every year, there’s at least one foodie themed piece of cinema for me to look at. This year’s offering is a very curiously named, All You Can Eat, Buddha. Writer / Director Ian Lagarde makes his feature-length debut with this work. According to actor Silvio Arriola who plays Valentino, the manager of the Cuban resort El Palacio — this story was conceived when this filmmaker was vacationing in Mexico, observing life around the resort he was at and having a particular Vedic text on hand to read.
The significance of what food represents to Mike (played to great stoic effect by Ludovic Berthillot) is not what this film is about. This protagonist is often juxtaposed to the backdrop of the sea, giving him a godlike presence, and suggesting he is on a spiritual retreat. The few picturesque moments of exquisite buffets are used to a lesser effect. To understand what both mean requires a second and third helping — a viewing, that is.