Ed’s Picks of the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival

  • Runs Aug 22nd to Sept 2
  • Various venues in Downtown Victoria

Victoria, BC’s Annual Fringe Festival is not only a terrific way to cap off the summer but also it’s a place to watch performers simply experiment with new ideas. In those that are runaway successes, they will return to stage as regular shows.

I have been attending the events for close to a decade now, and have seen a huge gambit. I naturally gravitate towards comedy, musicals and anything nerdy. However, I do not limit myself to them either. In those that I have seen outside my favourites, they are surprising. Of course, I never tire of the endless bounty of delights. The limitation is only with the imagination, and the journey to the Twilight Zone.

The following are my picks of this season. Please visit http://intrepidtheatre.com/festivals/fringe-festival for showtimes and to buy tickets.

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[Vancouver, BC] Having Gelato Express N2 Style!

IMG_20170702_184624479Gelato Express N2
320 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: noon to 10pm
Phone: (604) 428-9926

Frozen treats during a cold day is not a good idea. Just how some businesses stay in operation during the slow winter season is a mystery to me. When Spring and Summertime roll in, I can see many have a full staff keeping order. Strangely, there was nobody around at the front desk when I decided to make a stop in, before a concert. I had a meal elsewhere prior, but a sudden craving had me finding this operation on the way towards Rogers Arena.

To watch your gelato made fresh—flash frozen with nitrogen gas—is certainly more of a novelty than an innovation. The flavours will vary from month to month, and I had a vanilla peanut crumble. The extra depth to the creaminess is very nice, and I had mine in a cone than a cup. While this product is certainly on the pricey side, it’s not going to be for every local to rush on down to.

This operation is located close to BC Place. For visitors to the city who want to avoid the more expensive arena food, at least there are options outside of this stadium. Just be sure to fill up before entering. No outside food is permitted unless it’s already in your stomach.

3 Blokes out of 5

Jonesing for Jones Bar-B-Que

Image result for Jones Bar-B-QueJones Bar-B-Que
1725 Cook St,
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11pm to 9pm
Phone: (778) 265-4227

Usually, when I drive down Cook Street near Royal Athletic Park, I take mental note of the eateries. When the side streets do not offer a lot of parking and the lots in the strip malls are just as minimal, to find a place to stop is not easy. A walk along this street which defines the border between North Park and Fernwood has quite a number of lovely stops. Sadly, a few operations come and go quite fast. I hope Jones Bar-B-Que is here to stay.

This city needs a proper BBQ joint. When the craving hits for simple smoked flavours, I should not be waiting for Rib Fest in Esquimalt come Fall. I can stop by this eatery anytime. I’ve been Jonesing for it for quite some time. I’m sure that is the reason behind this diner’s name, and they offer fantastic fixin’s and I’m sure my Texan friend Susan will give a seal of approval to. She lives on this island now, and I see her from time to time, and I love hearing her stories of life and the tastes from down South.

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[Vancouver, BC] Remembering EXP Restaurant + Bar

Image result for exp bar vancouverEXP Restaurant + Bar
309 W Pender St
Vancouver, BC
(604) 558-1337

EXP Restaurant & Bar has been operating since late 2012 and sadly, by the time I visit this place again, it will be closed. I came across this article about the problems of keeping such operations afloat in a tough as nails city core. I can only hope and let readers know that if the Rio Theatre can be saved by Deadpool himself, is there hope for EXP? Sadly, no.

Their latest Facebook post made the news of closing official. I’m posting this article in memoriam and can only hope a future exists in another space. I get the feeling the owners and operators are not going down easy. They may have an alternate plan in the works but do not want to jinx the future.

Reprinted (in part) from otakunoculture.com:

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At Home with Island Poké

Island Poké
1674 Douglas St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 9pm
Phone: (250) 590-0801

I’m not sure how long it will take to eat all the available salad combinations available at Island Poké. After two visits, I need three more to go. That’s because there are four signature bowls — the Ohana, Island, Salemona and Earth — and the last visit, I craved a build your own crazy combo. Scallops with masago, pineapple, sesame seeds and jalapeno peppers is a crazy combination. I could’ve asked to double up, but didn’t want to set my mouth afire.

When my craving is for seafood burritos, they got a Rock & Roll and CRUNCHii which I have to try out. Each of these have way too many ingredients to list. Instead of naming them all, I will point out the highlights.

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The Seven Hour Tour … to Tropical Island?

Tropical Island
3690 Shelbourne St #1
Victoria, BC

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.

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