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.
Finest at Sea Food Cart
27 Erie Street
E: Lately, I’ve been on a fish n’ chip fetish, and in my craving to find good ling cod, I thought just maybe I can bait my buddy James into a visit down near Fisherman’s Wharf. After a lacklustre serving at what barely passes as properly rolled maki rolls at Sushi Plus (it was James’ treat since he asked to meet him there), well … I needed to swab the decks (my tongue) as it were.
J: Ed’s is attempting to sneak a review within a review of Sushi Plus. He technically can’t say much because I picked up the tab at their establishment. But yes, after filling myself up on a beef bowl at Sushi Plus my body still felt weak and needed an iron boost. Ed drove us to the Wharf. I was in all my glory feeling pretty cool as I bopped my head to Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker” as it played on the radio. Ed was rolling his eyes, I didn’t need to look at him to know. After almost 25 years, we know each other’s habits. Where he did park was directly across from the Wharf on Erie Street. Our stop was the Finest At Sea food truck.
E: Usually, most fishmongers don’t deliver on a Sunday or Monday, but I had to stop by because I was curious if they had any sea urchin. And to visit this operation’s food truck or visit the wharf proper had James drooling over the opportunities their blue and white truck presented. For a moment, I could not decide between the fish tacos or fish n’ chips.
680 Broughton Street
E: Tibetan or Mongolian, those are two worlds I’d love to explore for the many mysteries that lurk upon the land. In this case of wondering if they’re open on an early Saturday evening, the secret is that they are! quite often, James and I would walk by to find them closed. And I’ve always wanted to dine there because of the lavish desserts they offer.
J: Frankly I can’t see myself donning robes, shaving my head and sitting on a mountain top looking for eternal peace. Give me the vices of city life. Give me the wine, the women and the international cheeses. But perhaps peace of some sort can be found within the walls of the Tibetan Kitchen. They’ve been profiled on Food Network Canada but does that really matter to me? Many of the television programs today are just glorified infomercials. Ed and I were lucky to get a table, most of the tables were reserved. It didn’t occur to us that a cozy place like Tibetan Kitchen would be booked solid.
E: With James’ bald spot, I’m sure he would fit in, but a friar he is not. There was a short time where I could have sworn the city of Victoria had a Mongolian Kitchen but maybe I’m wrong. Can you imagine me going Kahn against a lamb or calf? Well, I’m not 100% knowledgeable about the ethnic food of this region, but exploration is in the name of the game. My eyes gravitated towards the traditional foods of this country and that included a Sha Phaley (bread with meat stuffed inside it) baked to a nice crusty and chewy delight.