Rose Tints My World at the Vicious Poodle

The Vicious Poodle
726 Johnson St,
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Weekdays Noon to 10pm
Weekends: 11:00am to 10pm

On a quiet day, nobody would immediately know the Vicious Poodle pub is one of the new centres where LGBTQ can find terrific eats and enjoy an evening burlesque or drag show. One look at the menu, the focus is obvious. Also, the decor tells all. After my visit to nerd row, I was hungry and didn’t want to hit any of my regular food spots.

Any dining operation can struggle to stay afloat during a pandemic. Not every patron is willing to “come out” to support their favourite diner, especially with all the stay safe for your health restrictions in place. When owner/operator Socrates Diamant worked on converting the Sockeye Sushi Japanese diner (it had a lot of box seating) space and made it open spaced and inviting, my heterosexuality was not challenged. Instead, I saw my quest for perfect French fries ongoing. After the first bite, I was ready to sing ou la la and do the can-can.

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Pocky or Pepero? The Tough Decisions

Candy coated breadsticks are a staple of the Asian snack industry and the Pocky brand is the most well known. From green tea chocolate flavour to almond coated, the only limit is in which tastes are exported out of country for consumers to taste. Not every flavour has been made available, and what I found in Japan ages ago took a year or two before I can find it in North America.

When Fairway Market started carrying Pepero (by Lotte), I felt torn. There were flavours I wanted to try from this South Korean brand but I was loyal to Pocky. The choice simply boils down to just that and eventually I’d had to try. As for which tastes better, the difference is hardly noticeable. It’s more of a consumer choice.

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Four Spice Does more than Kickin’ it Up a Notch!

20200703_181232Four Spice
2637 Quadra St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Weds – Mon : 12pm to 12 am
Phone: (250) 590-9647

ES: Palagio Pizza & Poutine66 used to be a couple in Quadra Village some years ago. Though I’m not in the area often, I’m used to seeing both signs proudly coaxing locals and pizza aficionados in. I’m not entirely sure Poutine66 is gone as they are no longer its own separate space. They still have an operational webpage.

In its place in this little corner of this huge mall is Four Spices, and these meals can get extremely hot! Sizzling in fact… I didn’t burn my mouth just yet as it was Don who made the order, and I was ready with my Peptol just in case…

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DK: Yes, the medium spice here is a true medium. Sorry grandma; get your tepid Tikka or Tandoori somewhere else. Seriously though–is the spice level truly gut-busting? I wouldn’t say so, but I did see sweat rolling down Ed’s face.

ES: Okay, I’m not the best at handling heat. I’m the type of bear who will hibernate in the coldest of the days and hottest too, just to avoid the deep freeze or summer blaze. Hm, maybe I should say the type of bear who’d jump into a river on those blistering days of Summer just to stay cool.

DK: What, however, struck me most about this place was how familiar it felt. Not just because each new tenant hasn’t updated the interior much, but because the flavours and fellow diners felt so known. Amongst all this confounding Covid bullshit, it was an oasis of melt off the bone goat biryani and poetry readings (experiences may vary; we can’t all be lucky enough to have a man reliving the glory days of Ontario rave culture recite Poe and Whitman to us as he’s waiting for his curry).

What say you, Ed? Am I romanticizing too much? I felt like Four Spice offered good, simple food in a friendly, simple space.

 

ES: As long as they continue to offer the flame seared prawns in that mint sauce, I’m sold! It was moist but yet crispy. I can only imagine what this appetizer would be like if smoked up too.

The owner/operators could do with jazzing up the area a little bit. One of those sticky fly coils was hanging nearby and that was a turn off for me. I made a point of not sitting anywhere near that area. If you’re going to dine-in, there’s a limited number of seats. In these Covid panic times, I’d say no more than six people can be allowed indoors.

I can see outdoor dining become available for the summertime and there’s a bit of space for it. To avoid the heat from beating down on me, the mango lassi was perfect! It’s a tough strong but I loved it. The balsamic rice was also just as much of a highlight since they added a bit of pepper to give it that gentle spring that food from India is well known for. The garlic bread–smoke me a kipper and I’ll be back (here) for breakfast. Well, there’s nothing specific to this particular meal of the day, though I’d to see what they can come up!

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One thing I must say is that there was a vegetable chow mein on the menu that I’m very curious about. Isn’t that supposed to be a Chinese dish?

DK: I didn’t notice the vege chow mein! Worth a second look for sure.

Ed, did you clock that the prawns were the only dish we didn’t end up with leftovers of? Definitely the hit of our parade. The chicken korma was really the only underwhelming thing we ate (and it wasn’t bad, I’ve just had better). Overall they serve satisfying grub and I’d be back in a lub-dub.

Four Spice is a fine addition to Victoria’s improving Indian food scene. It’s comfort food that is truly comforting.

4 Stars out of 5

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A Fudd on The Hunt for a Food Truck

Image may contain: outdoorHours & Location: Varies
For the latest updates, please visit their website.

Be very, very quiet… I’m hunting risotto, Indecent Risotto. This operation is mostly found out in Westshore, but when they hit a farmer’s market or event in the City of Victoria proper, I’m there! Andrew Paumier and Shannon Moriarty are the fine folks in the truck, cooking up one of my favourite Italian fast foods. They source their ingredients locally and I suspect they also have a garden to harvest from for making their salads.

I’m glad this operation is mobile, otherwise just getting out to the boonies is not in the cards. They are frequently spotted in the Municipality of Sooke and out by Esquimalt Lagoon. Neither are easy to reach when I’m a Saanich boy at heart.

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A Fine Sült Pierogi Bar and More!

Sült Pierogi Bar
609 Yates St
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Thurs- Sat: Noon to 8pm
Phone: (778) 265-7858

Although not young by any means, a certain Pierogi Bar is hardly an old Sült. I’ve been meaning to try them out and they’re roughly a few years old. I’m not always interested in dumplings–there’s so much variety and it’s tough to beat mom’s wonton’s. Gyozas are a different manner, but for the traditional European version, I’m sure this place is terrific. However, after seeing that they’ve partnered with Papa’s Poutinerie, I had to walk in.

Going west–to downtown–has an all new meaning. It felt like I was entering a cowboy saloon. Although the operation was very empty at the time I was there (it was just as the city was entering stage two of reopening), the staff there was very friendly and I daydreamed “How the West Was Won” as I glanced at the menu. Food-wise, this meal was a poutine with garlic, bacon, cheese curds, sour cream, green onions and smoked sausage gravy piled on top. It was superb!

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Oh My Taiyaki at Snowy Village

Snowy Village
4071-#2a Shelbourne St

Victoria, BC

Phone: (250) 590-2277
Hours: Weds – Monday: 2–8p.m.

Unit #2a at Feltham Centre must be cursed. Every few years, it changes operations. Not even the novel coronavirus can stop Snowy Village during these harder times. I’ve visited this dining space in its previous forms, which can be found here offering churros) and here (Hong Kong style desserts). Instead of going back to what it was (I’m guessing the same Asian family rents the space but depending on whose idea it is to change theme, that person is the manager), the decision to buy into a new franchise was on their mind. Now, I can get cold treats like the bingsoo and a staple with taiyaki.

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