606 Trounce Alley
ES: I wish the Izakaya in Trounce Alley stayed longer. Actually known as So-Ya, they had a classy environment to fashion some trendy and nouveau Japanese style food. People can read our review here and I truly miss them. Park’s Kitchen replaces this operation. They had a soft opening and not many people noticed.
I have to wonder if the servers even have an eye for what’s good here. When James and I had our empty glasses of water just sitting on the table, no one bothered to glance to see if we needed a refill. I saw where the decanters were and had to help myself.
JS: Although the shell of So-Ya remains, the spirit within had long since passed on. What has replaced it is not very impressive. I was willing to be pleased but Park’s rarely shined when it came to either customer service, the kitchen staff or their lunch specials.
But I’m going to give a bad sounding critique and the reason is the not-so-good outweighed what was best about this place. But to start, their sunomono salad was very creative if not refreshing.
The lettuce threw me off but the carrots were most welcome. The vinaigrette was sweet and cool. I have to say I finally found a sunomono that may have beaten Sushi Plus. But perhaps to put something else to replace the lettuce will improve on this creation.
306 Burnside Rd
J: Like bees that are attracted to pollen, Ed and I are attracted to the area surrounding Tillicum Centre. The sweet nectar that can be found with either going to the movies (SilverCity Victoria Cinemas), getting a cheap dinner (Marble Arch), having desserts (Mr. Tubb’s Ice Cream Parlour) or partaking in board games (Skyhaven Games) in one area is too much to handle with just a single trip. If you’re a film buff like us (in name only and not in physique), yes you will find yourself coming back for more.
On this particular trip, we were looking for comfort at Szechuan Palace and I don’t mean to have a good cry and a cuddle. Both Szechuan Palace and Szechuan City are run by the same family and they are only four blocks apart. I’ve been to this location once before with my mom. Our purpose was to get a decent dinner before a movie, but we didn’t get past the starter. Service was slow even though they weren’t busy. I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. A lot of time and patience is needed when you dine here in the evening.
History was looking like it would repeat itself. The website has incorrect information. It’s operating hours are not updated, and there’s no evening buffet.
Les Chocolats Favoris
1010 Government St
JS: Move over Beacon Drive-In, there is a new ice cream shop in town and they speak Québécois French. Can a bit of olde England (Victoria) stand up to the noveau French invasion? Personally, I will say Beacon has little to worry about. But careful, do not drop your guard. Do not take Favoris lightly. Sure Beacon has their own lightly creamed sweet ice cream but when the urges take over, now and again, I want a hearty ice cream that is less on cream but more filling. For these urges, I shall run to Les Chocolats Favoris.
ES: I like the fact that the president of this company, Dominique Brown, decided to open up shop here in Victoria instead of Vancouver. They are based out of Quebec and to have an operation here is a gamble. Over the summer, during the busy tourist season where a cruise ship stops by every few weeks, this place was busy! Of course, James and I were late in learning about it and we still wobbled our way over to try ice cream off-season.
The draw has to be with the size of the portions offered. When I was walking to the Inner Harbour later, some tourists gawked at what I had left and I pointed them to where they could buy one.
in Trounce Alley
1210 Broad St
ES: Victoria, BC does not have a lot of late-night dining options and sometimes a visit to Trounce Alley is required to find a few of those operations that are running to midnight. Thankfully, on the busier days of Wednesday to Saturday, there are two: Bodega Bar and Park’s Kitchen. After a movie downtown, we happened upon the former first, and for once, my buddy was not being cheap. I find it easy to rack up quite the bill at a tapa type establishment.
JS: This place is very classy. It’s so much better than hitting a seedy bar.
At least here Ed and I could sit out on the porch in the beautiful night air and take part in what the chef had on the menu. It is easy to spend your money at a tapa bar (especially on drinks). The food delivered to the table isn’t much to look at when it comes to size even though it was highly decorated. Surprisingly, it managed to fill the Two Hungry Blokes. We ordered three items, the ceviche, a porchetta sandwich (Ed’s choice) and — a meal that rang my dinner bell — a mackerel potato salad.
The Snug Pub
1175 Beach Drive
Oak Bay, BC
J: When I first heard of the pub called “The Snug” my thoughts were of a small establishment so tiny that getting a decent table would be like me trying to fit into the jeans I wore back in high school. It wouldn’t be pretty and there would be no chance it could be done successfully. But upon entering Oak Bay Beach Hotel‘s pub, it was quite roomy and no matter where one would sit, you get beautiful views of the strait. I liked the pre-1800’s English decor, it was suitable for a man of my tastes.
E: Or rather, a man who looked like a chimney sweeper. I dressed up for the occasion and James was Oscar to my Felix. Well, nothing would stop me from wanting to revisit this place after trying out their seafood chowder.
612 Head St.
E: I’m finding that the out-of-the-way Japanese diners do better at serving up delicious meals than those in town. In the municipality of Oak Bay, there’s Osaka and in the district of Esquimalt, there’s Kyubey. In Saanich (Lower), there’s Yoshi. While there’s none to find in Gordon Head (yet) maybe one day that will come. Sorry Sushi Island, but there’s nothing ‘traditional’ I find in your dishes. While they do serve Okonomiyaki, I’m finding that going out to the docks on the opposite end of the city is where I need to be to get my serving.
The thought of the shrimp pancake offered here had me pulling James away from his plans in the morning and diving deep into this municipality for a touch of authentic fare.