Cook & Pan Polish Deli & Cafe
1527 Amelia St
Hours: 9 – 5 p.m.
Phone: (250) 385-5509
ES: The Cook & Pan is an out of the way Polish cafe. They were formerly located out by Cook Street proper but now they’re off Amelia Street. A social media post highlighting their delicious sausages was not the draw, but when I saw they’re offering a dill pickle soup, not only was my interest piqued but my mouth was already watering. No drool bucket was needed.
After a late morning film with Don at the Vic Theatre during the Victoria Film Festival, I asked if we should seek out brunch.
DK: Ed proposed and I said yes! To brunch! Put a bacon ring on my finger, Ed and rip that pierogi garter from my no-longer teasing ankle!
Speaking of love and desire: Ed’s lusting after dill pickle soup was matched by my limerent euphoria upon finding dessert pierogies in the Cook and Pan freezer (blueberry variety).
Chuck’s Burger Bar
538 Yates St
Hours: 11am to 10pm daily
Phone: (250) 590-9866
ES: Chuck’s Burger Bar has come to town! Yes, this Sidney, BC operation is popular enough to have them decide to open up shop in downtown Victoria, on lower Fort Street. Don is the Burger King and when he told me about it, I knew we had to go there as soon as possible. For the basics, burger and fries for dinner, you can’t get any better than this! Or so I thought…
DK: There is an unwritten rule that any restauranteur would happily write down and staple to your forehead should you break it: never review a restaurant within its first two months of operation.
It’s a good rule. It takes a while for a team to build chemistry and deliver consistently. Can I tell you whether Chuck’s Victoria location is any good? Not yet (our visit occurred on their first full day of operation for fuck sakes). I will, however, speak to this newcomer’s potential.
Cenote Restaurant and Lounge
768 Yates St,
Hours: 12:00pm to 12:00am
Phone: (778) 433-4848
Cenote is a fun little nesting place to dine in. They do host small performances (music) at night. I often walk past it and often wonder if hipster style diner is for me. The place was recommended by one former employee of the Victoria Film Festival (I wish she still worked for them) and a few friends who live downtown. When it’s located underground, down a level on Yates st., next to Lyle’s Place (or is that underneath?), seeking some places out reminds me of a certain movie. As Above, Down Below was an okay horror film about encountering strange evils in the catacombs beneath Paris, but I can think of better.
The etymology of this operation’s name does speak to me. Not everyone knows the original word is Mayan in origin (dzonot), meaning “well.” That is, unlike a traditional design of an aqueduct, the pipe connects to an underground body of water to which citizens can draw water from.
E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar
Address: 737 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC
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.
3690 Shelbourne St #1
Hours: 11am to 2:30pm, 5pm to 9pm
Phone: (250) 477-2538
DK: We wanted thick toast in a floral tea bar that rides shotgun with a fitness studio. Instead, we got fried milk and Usher & Lil Jon’s “Yeah” soundtracking voyeursque video of a woman doing squats (I was snooping on the table behind us). More on the tea bar in a future mission. For now, we discuss the compromise.
Tropical Island has an air of reliable tameness that seems to make it popular with old people and families. Buffet fare served a la carte is the general vibe.
ES: I don’t recall how long this operation has been around along the Shelbourne Street corridor, but in all my years living in this municipality, have I thought about going? It certainly looks popular, as Don has said, because of the many apartments nearby. The service is nice and friendly. The food is a mix of various Southern Asian influences.
1420 Quadra St #101
Phone: (250) 381-6141
I can’t say Futaba is a favourite restaurant of mine. They did a bit of change in the menu offerings over the years and the overall result is not convincing me by much. The quality is not quite there anymore as another mutual friend pointed out (see below image) and while the meal I had was certainly tastier on the night I visited here with James Shaw, the improvements were minuscule.
These days, this guy still has an opinion about the places we dine together and he always has to express (to me) what he thinks about the place. I tell him to speak to someone else or resume being a bloke. He stupidly looks at me and I always roll my eyes. I really have no clue why I still hang out with him since he can’t separate from when we are hanging out together as pals to when to shut up if we happen to hit an eatery. He knows I can use his words to put into the next food review. He can’t stop me. In that regard, he’s still continuing to be part of this food-zine (or should I say scene?)