[Vancouver, BC] Not So Wanton for Neptune Wonton Noodle

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Neptune Wonton Noodle
4405 Central Blvd,
Burnaby, BC

Hours: 10am–1am
Phone: (778) 379-0639

There is more to the Neptune franchise name than just their Seafood Restaurants in downtown Vancouver and Coquitlam (to name a few). Yes, I’ve been visiting Vancouver quite a bit, and it’s tough for me to not say a thing about many an established chain on the mainland.

For regular Asian customers, it’s a place to hit (especially in Burnaby) and the staff treats them more kindly than Caucasians. I’m sorry, but this detail was particularly jarring when I suggested to my friend that we check this place out. We were in the area for a book signing at Chapters. Instead of a bite in Metropolis in Metrotown (Burnaby, BC), we opted for an establishment close to our hotel. While behaviours from the older generation never change in regards to other cultures wanting to come in to explore ethnic tastes, I question whether they should be working in the dining / public service sector or not. Continue reading

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[Vancouver, BC] Don’t Cry for Me Memphis Blues BBQ

memphisblueslogo_400x400Memphis Blues BBQ House
430 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

Hours: 11am to 10pm
Phone: (604) 682-6220
Multiple Locations in Lower Mainland

One criticism people raised down south (from the States) around Louisana often make when they see an establishment that’s not from the region and based out of another country is if the food is authentic, or are they trying to go for a schtick to get folks not from the region in?

Memphis Blues BBQ faces that challenge. Can they convince a West Coast boy like me or cajole friends of mine, who are from the South (but moved here for a cooler climate or other reasons), that they truly did bring the tastes of the region up to the Pacific Northwest so they can be reminded of home? I know two: one born in Texas (she now lives up island) and a Facebook buddy who was from there. I discovered this place while in Vancouver for a concert and did not want to wander far from my hotel to sate certain cravings. I love ‘gator, crawfish and gumbo. This diner has one out of the three. Maybe on another visit, I can try Le Crocodile, a really expensive upscale place to make comparisons between budget and trendy. I’m okay with this franchise operation. I went to their lunch stop on Robson.

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Victoria Fringe Festival 2018: Quick Bites & Where to Find Them

 

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Runs Aug 27 to Sept 22, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

Even active Fringers need a moment to snack in between shows. With the long weekend coming up, that may be tough to do as the time in between shows is at most 30 minutes. Where can folks go to refuel? Unless a timeout is used for a proper meal, nibbling in line is what I tend to do instead of sitting for a spell.

The official event guide offers three places to hit. By showing your button, a 10% discount is applied, but one of these stops is for dine-in than take-out. Hardly many eateries are mentioned in this year’s booklet.

I offer an expanded list for those looking for quick meals to have while waiting in line. This list is organized by close proximity to the venues. Sadly, not a lot of options exist within a short walking distance of Langham Court (Venue 5). Bubby Rose’s (1022 Cook Street) can satisfy with their pizzas and pastries, but on evenings when most of the shows take place during the weekday, they are closed. Cook St. Village proper is approximately 10 minutes away and not many folks are willing to run.

Venues One (Victoria Event Center) to Four (VCM Wood Hall)

For sweets like macaroons, La Roux Patisserie (519 Fisgard St), Fol Epi (732 Yates Street, they serve sandwiches too) and Empire Donuts (736 Yates Street, inside the mall) are worth the diversion to stop into. They provide ample recharge options for performers too if they have yet to find these two operations.

Superbaba (1325 Blanshard), Efes (788 Yates) and Brickyard Pizza (784 Yates) are also viable options for warmer meals. All of them offer delicious toasted bites. My personal preference for Middle Eastern food is with Efes. Their döners always tickle my fancy over Superbaba’s shawarmas. As for falafels, the jury is still out.

Sakura Grocery (1213 Quadra) is closer to The Metro on Quadra and VCM Wood Hall for those not wanting to venture far. While their sushi prices are mildly high, the extra cost is worth it! Standard staples like California, spicy tuna or salmon rolls are available can be found. This operation is under new management and the quality has vastly improved since my visits from years ago.

Another option is a sandwich or pastry from the Deli in The Market on Yates (903 Yates). I always stop here for a drink as they have a huge variety to choose from.

Venue Six (Roxy Theatre)

Part and Parcel’s (2645 Quadra) many delectable take-out options are made fresh and orders hardly take over 10 minutes to make. This place always gets busy during the Fringe Festival season, so it is often best to arrive earlier than usual to avoid disappointment. Dine in options include 5th Street Bar & Grill (1028 Hillside Ave)

Venue Seven (St. Andrew’s Kirk Hall)

When bouncing between one side of town to another, a stop by The Dutch Bakery (718 Fort Street) for their pies is a must. These buttery delights are the reason why I’m rotund! The crust is oh so wonderful, and the window display of their many tarts … Oh my! Although this secret is mostly known to locals, Noodlebox (818 Douglas Street) has been the top pick for take-out for many an event in town—especially near the Inner Harbour. Their quality is great, and options include no spice to the extreme. Plus, you can dine-in too! This establishment is just one of two franchise operations worth mentioning. Beavertails (602 Broughton) for fried bread (with your choice of cinnamon or Nutella) or poutine is worth a stop.

[Sidney, BC] Even Nerds Love A Woodshed Pizza

Woodshed Restaurant
2360 Beacon Ave W,
Sidney, BC

Hours: 11:30am–8pm
Phone: (778) 426-3442

Over at Woodshed Restaurant, the pizzas are fired quick and they come out nice and hot! No, a slice has not burned my tongue, but to smell what’s coming from that roaster, especially with the right dish, is particularly mouth watering. I’ll usually hit this place first since it’s not far from the Mary Winspear Centre. When I’m there for an event, I’d rather not venture too far to get back here for the fun that’s to take place in the evening.  I was here for Van Isle Comic Con, a terrific event that does not even try to copy others with high profile guests. They get comic book illustrators and people involved behind the scenes. I feel this show will go farther than Capital City. Their huge selling point is that entry is by donation and not motivated with revitalizing a stagnant city core!

Woodshed is a pub style establishment where pizza is their specialty. They offer chicken and ribs too, and also traditional pub style appies. The next time I’m here, I’ll have to sample. When given the wide choice of toppings for pizza, just what should I get? I opted for the #10, with Anchovies, roasted garlic, marinated tomatoes, olives, mozza on tomato sauce. My muscle memory is already salivating and I enjoyed the combination. With this particular fish, the taste can be overpowering especially when too much is used. The talent behind the kitchen got the mix just right.

The plate used to hold the pizza keeps the heat around so none of it tastes cold. The service was good. Sometimes I had to make a psychic shoutout that I wanted a refill of water, and they heard.

The place has a rustic tone to it, to make relaxing here easy. Had I not have to worry about the long bus commute back home on a lazy Sunday, I’d say here longer and enjoy the ambience. A walk down to the dock and boardwalk would have made being here all the more pleasant.

3½ Blokes out of 5

[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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