585 Johnson St
Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Phone: (778) 432-0664
Yes, I make no bones about it, I love rice balls. A long time ago, a Chinese-style variant included a deep-fried type where the gooey cheese interior made for all the difference. This was before I discovered Onigiri, a healthier Japanese snacking version to which I’ve never looked back in my switch.
Oni-Oni is a satellite operation of Sakura Sushi and is a place I’ll definitely return to when I need my sweet rice vinegar fix! They have fifteen flavours of onigiri to choose from! Not all of them are always available, but if you call ahead, it’s possible to get what you want made to order. Eating one is not enough, and for a hearty individual like me, I can eat up to four of them in one go. These bites are like snacks, and aren’t the huge ones people sometimes see in anime. They’re about the same size as the ones bought at Fujiya’s on Shelbourne. Plus, this store has Okashi and Nomimono too!
L’Authentique Poutine and Burgers
1208 Wharf Street
Weds to Sat 11am to 7pm
Phone: (778) 432-2444
ES: L’Authentique Poutine and Burgers have new digs! Instead of operating out of Langford during the cold winter months (although it’ll soon be Spring), they have a new space down by the wharf to serve up their tasty French fries and burgers for city residents! They’re well known for their fancy poutines and while I don’t expect them to vary the flavours regularly, I will be back to have their french fries time and time again.
DK: Points for longevity. The minor setback of a fire licking the Langford truck into submission back in 2012 doesn’t seem to have had a long-term effect on L’Authentique’s success. Nearly a decade later and here they are in a prime downtown location. But is it worth lining up 30m-1hour once tourists are back in town?
Not if you stick to the published menu. The bacon cheeseburger is reminiscent of an A&W Teen Burger, and the cheese curds in the poutine are squeaky as expected. Don’t get me wrong, it makes for a satisfying enough meal, but I wouldn’t brave tourist crowds for it.
Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya
320 E Pine St.
Hours: Mon to Sun 11 am to 9:30 pm
Phone: (425) 553-0867
I rarely review franchise operations, but when I was exploring the various diners east of the Washington State Conference Center, the choices are not limited when I was there pre-pandemic! I’m hoping this place survived as ramen shops are the type of operations that would close down during these times. Most traditional shops tightly pack diners in tight and I imagine to keep operating, the space of a chair and half is mandated to keep everyone safe.
When people are allowed to freely travel again, I’ll be there for you, Kizuki! Yes, I’m thinking of a certain TV theme song here, because I recall the camaraderie between the regulars and chefs when I was there last.
I’d be sad if they’re gone, because it’s rare to find an operation I’m definitely in love with. I have yet to find a match with the ramen shops here in Victoria, BC. Kizuki’s food is still prepared the same way as it is in Japan–they have a unique method of roasting bones before boiling. Similar to the French style of making consomme, they were the first in the Japanese ramen industry to employ this method. The result is a rich, flavourful broth that is fragrant and full of depth. They are devoted to replicating the incredible flavour of traditional Japanese ramen. Every operation gets the bulk of their ingredients from this country.
On YouTube, Google Play and Amazon Prime
After watching The Donut King, I now know where to go to get my sugary fix when travel without restrictions is allowed again. The various delights offered by one Santa Monica operation is enough to make me want to jet down instead of fly across the Pacific Ocean! This work was released last year at the Los Angeles Asia Pacific Film Festival and was quickly picked up for wider distribution. To find it, however, meant waiting in line like the time I was in Oregon for Voodoo Doughnut. Though the wait was thirty minutes long, the wait was worth it.
Ted Ngoy is hailed as a pioneer of the enterprising spirit in California. He’s as shrewd as Ray Kroc in taking partial ownership of the name and franchising out McDonalds. The variation is in how he helped his fellow Cambodians who came to America open their operations and when he took a slice of the American dream.
Charelli’s Cheese Shop,
Delicatessen & Catering
2851 Foul Bay Rd
Hours: Tues to Sat 10am–3pm
Phone: (250) 598-4794
Just why I haven’t been to this deli in the past, when I was studying Applied Communications (now Digital Communications) at Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus simply boiled down to time. A fit person could race down the hill and hike back up it when there’s an hour to kill between classes, but I’m the roly-poly type who may not achieve it. Plus, I want to enjoy my lunch more than to scarf it down before resuming my work in the a/v edit suite or be in class. Eating during session is obviously discouraged.
This operation opened back in 2003, and I’ve been aware of it for a long time. I needed a proper reason (other than being hungry) to head down, and when I heard they sold truffle oil flavoured potato chips–I was there faster than a bee to a spring flower!
Available on Google Play.
For other platforms or to purchase the DVD and companion booklet, please visit the Sacred Cow website.
The documentary Sacred Cow is packed with lots of information which weighs in on the pros and cons of consuming meat. It’s ultimately about our role in the food chain, being responsible for how this bovine is treated (prior to slaughter), and the cycle of life. Just what modern man does is no different when compared to the early days of civilization as they rose and flourished. Those that fell, we can learn from.
From a hunter-gatherer to agricultural society, is there another evolutionary step humanity must make? I’m not entirely against replicated meals ala Star Trek, but the concept will be alien to many. It’s good that nobody knows how to reconstitute waste into food at a molecular level, otherwise foodies from the future will be in an uproar.
I’m sure sometime in the next century, people will lament about the lack of tasting real food from their home planet, and will have to eat Gagh (Klingons love their worms) instead. If meat is no longer available, bugs are the next most common protein source and will anyone want to save those?