1725 Cook St,
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.
EXP Restaurant + Bar
309 W Pender St
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:
1674 Douglas St
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.
3690 Shelbourne St #1
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.
Crispy Churros Dessert Cafe
2A – 4071 Shelbourne
Hours: 11am to 8pm
Phone: (250) 590-2277
¡Ay, caramba! Miss Fruits H.K. Desserts closed up shop, and it changed from Asian style sweets to Spanish—well, sort of. The new operation has shaved ice, designer brand coffee and to its namesake, crispy churros!
When the people behind the counter are Korean, this mishmash of cultures is fine by me! The churro has no clear origin story. It may have come from the Orient. In China, we have our own doughnut, a Youtiao. It’s a starchy crispy delight I love to have with congee (or any other thick creamy soup). In Spain, they have a sweeter version which can be consumed on its own and the dips, ranging from chocolate, vanilla or caramel, only enhances the cinnamon flavour. I could eat them all day if I had the metabolism!
Chimac Korean Pub & Fried Chicken
512 Yates St
Hours: 11:30am to 1am
Phone: (250) 590-5098
KFC can mean either Kentucky Fried or Korean Fried Chicken. While some will say it’s tough to eat that secret blend of spices, I think the latter is far tastier. The fact the process involves double dipping during the frying process speaks to me. The way the chicken was treated was like a perfect french fry.
Anyone thinking of doing take-out should live nearby so none of that crispy goodness disappears. When considering the many ways this chicken can be eaten, from side-dips to other toppings, I’m definitely coming back to see if my stomach can handle the hot sauces. I was with my bud Jake and we met up to grab dinner and a movie. Because time was tight (he did not get off work until much later), we opted for fast food and ended up at Chimac.