J: After four years, the Two Hungry Blokes have moved on to the next stage in their evolution. And I’m not talking about trousers with stronger waist elastic. We’ve decided that it was only natural for the arts, both the culinary and the theatrical, to come together on our blog. The end result is a love child where dinner and a show are both reviewed.
Although it won’t always be at the same time, I think it’s a perfect joining of the two. And who better to take part in the union then McRae’s and St. Michael’s University.
E: Dinner theatre can’t be any better than that. After all, there are shows presented in this kind of fashion and we’d be remiss not to cover this scene as well. Although we were here at McRae’s on a Saturday right at dinner time, I did notice on the signage that even in here, this bistro features its own entertainment, and that’s important to note!
And while James still pines away for a girlfriend to take out to any shows, be it a concert or a live theatre production, I have to hear the brunt of it. Or I can wait for the day where he’ll thank me for letting him know that this private school has done musicals for the past eight of the past 25 years since the Fringe Festival has started.
But first, our hungers needed to be sated and I suggested a favorite stomping ground for locals living close to Camosun College’s Landsdowne Campus. The University of Victoria is too far away. While McRae’s is more like a hop, skip and long jump away (i.e. you can’t run down for a quick bite and rush back to classes in an hour), maybe it is worth skipping a class just to relax in here. This place serves plenty of ales and they have some killer food to boot too!
J: McRae’s is certainly within walking distance of St. Michael’s and I wonder if any of the students patronize this place or would the Dean twist their ear knowing they’re in a place stocked with alcohol?
I was impressed with the interior. I could get used to the relaxed west coast decor that this place builds itself on, and the pretty servers all in a row. But the question of are they more than just good looks needs to be asked. We arrived at a busy hour and though we were seen, a couple of details went amiss.
E: Like my ginger ale. James got his Coca Cola fairly quickly, but my drink was forgotten. I had to ask another waitress for where my drink went and one apology later, it arrived in no time. I was quite thirsty that day too and when that first glass went quickly, I didn’t get a refill. Is my drink being charged by the glass when a cola isn’t? I should’ve asked, but shouldn’t that kind of refill service be automatic?
J: My refill was automatic but it appears Ed’s presence was a mere shadow of mine (which is odd since it’s always the opposite wherever we go). But the ketchup dish from my plate was nowhere to be seen. This wasn’t the servers fault but the line cooks. My Big Boy Cheddar hamburger with added bacon and mushrooms didn’t need ketchup. These was a nice chipolte aioli sauce that was yummy. The burger in between a sourdough bun was absolutely delicious and tasted fresh. The bacon wasn’t too salty and the mushrooms were not the tinned variety and that’s a plus.
E: There’s an irony for you. I sat out where the sun was beating on me, and nobody considered pulling down the blinds.
I had to wonder if there is a magic spot on the table I had to position my glass to get that refill. Did it have to be under a spotlight?
Technically, this place is a pub, so maybe they do charge by the glass. Who knows, but I am going to take note for the next time I return as to what kind of drink I should order if I want an endless supply of soda to drown my sorrows with.
When I was eying James’ choice on the menu, the idea of eggs and beets on a burger got my curiousity. On the menu, that’s called the “Aussie-style.”
On this day, I opted for the Po’ Boy and oh boy, was it ever peppery! I think the boy who was preparing my dish went a overboard on the black pepper. I did like the kick. The freshness of the coleslaw and pickles was over the top too. Even the bread was nicely toasted. With the side of nicely toasted tortilla chips and fresh chunky style salsa, my meal was complete.
J: I think we had the same line cook. My coleslaw was very fresh and was ruined by too much pepper. I was melancholy as I ate forkfuls or what should’ve been a beautiful coleslaw. We were going to see Avenue Q soon, and already a tragedy was playing out on our stage. And we know the man responsible for our Hamlet (we had a good view of you from our table).
Apart from the overactive line cooks, McRae’s is a great place to be. The service is good and the atmosphere is rather lively. Perhaps with enough visits under our belts we might be able to spot a St. Michael’s house parent at the bar holding a glass of liquid courage. You don’t think they all have nerves of steel, do you?
4 Blokes out of 5