Playing at the
Victoria Film Festival
Victoria, British Columbia
Feb 1 to 10th
Tue | Feb 5 | 9:00 PM | SilverCity #3
Thur | Feb 7 | 6:15 PM | SilverCity #3
Back in 2011, I saw Chef of the South Polar (review link) at the Victoria Film Festival (VFF), and I learned a good noodle consists of a lot more than the love put into kneading the dough and creating the strands. Kansui is one part sodium bicarbonate and many other parts other trace minerals. To put them together in perfect harmony is part of many an Asian culture.
This year marks this event’s 25th anniversary (Taking place from Feb 1 to 10) and Ramen Shop (Ramen Teh) will continue to teach me something new in terms of how to celebrate life and food. Life lessons are often part of the theme in these movies, and I’m looking forward to what this year’s crop of films will offer.
Chuck’s Burger Bar
538 Yates St
Hours: 11am to 10pm daily
Phone: (250) 590-9866
ES: Chuck’s Burger Bar has come to town! Yes, this Sidney, BC operation is popular enough to have them decide to open up shop in downtown Victoria, on lower Fort Street. Don is the Burger King and when he told me about it, I knew we had to go there as soon as possible. For the basics, burger and fries for dinner, you can’t get any better than this! Or so I thought…
DK: There is an unwritten rule that any restauranteur would happily write down and staple to your forehead should you break it: never review a restaurant within its first two months of operation.
It’s a good rule. It takes a while for a team to build chemistry and deliver consistently. Can I tell you whether Chuck’s Victoria location is any good? Not yet (our visit occurred on their first full day of operation for fuck sakes). I will, however, speak to this newcomer’s potential.
Cenote Restaurant and Lounge
768 Yates St,
Hours: 12:00pm to 12:00am
Phone: (778) 433-4848
Cenote is a fun little nesting place to dine in. They do host small performances (music) at night. I often walk past it and often wonder if hipster style diner is for me. The place was recommended by one former employee of the Victoria Film Festival (I wish she still worked for them) and a few friends who live downtown. When it’s located underground, down a level on Yates st., next to Lyle’s Place (or is that underneath?), seeking some places out reminds me of a certain movie. As Above, Down Below was an okay horror film about encountering strange evils in the catacombs beneath Paris, but I can think of better.
The etymology of this operation’s name does speak to me. Not everyone knows the original word is Mayan in origin (dzonot), meaning “well.” That is, unlike a traditional design of an aqueduct, the pipe connects to an underground body of water to which citizens can draw water from.
505 Burrard St
Hours: 11:00am to 3:00pm
Phone: (778) 927-1477
I make no clucks about it. This hungry bloke is spreading his wings, and when I’m at Fan Expo Vancouver 2018, I’m not interested in those sponsored/recommended stops. This year’s guide had restaurants advertising discounts for going there. One interested me, but I let my nose be the guide. After a long day at this event just how far I have to go for a meal depends on how worn out I feel. Not all of this show’s recommended stops are located conveniently nearby.
As I recall, The corner of West Pender and Burrard used to host Japadog. These days, it’s Frying Pan, a neutral name for what? Well, it’s chicken of course! The portions are perfect for lunch, and one order is enough to fill me up. There must be an oven and deep fryer inside the truck. I found the taste sweet (because of the sauce; I tasted a hint of citrus, a beautiful touch) and the texture not all that crispy hard. The coleslaw addition just made for a beautiful contrast. The chicken meat was not dry, and I feel they can give the Korean Fried format a run for its money.
A joke can be made: why did the chicken cross the road? to avoid being caught and cooked up at this operation.
Shanzee’s Biscuit Cafe
529 Pandora Ave
Hours: 8am to 3pm
Phone: (778) 433-9089
The fact you can see your meal made fresh in an open-air kitchen at Shunzee’s Biscuit (formerly Bitchin Biscuit) says a lot towards this operation’s success. If the scents of bacon crisped on the spot do not wet your appetite, then the other tantalizing delights of pork on the grill will. The reason behind the change of name is obvious for those who are from the Pacific Northwest; In Seattle, Biscuit Bitch is the queen of Capitol Hill. Technically the area is actually Downtown Seattle (i.e. Pike Place Market). When I’m staying nearby, I make this place my go-to breakfast stop. Back home, Shunzee won me over. If she was a person than an operation, I’d most likely be courting her.
Her warm biscuits are soft and worth nuzzling. With the cold months ahead, I can certainly find a lot of comfort here in these digs, and in the food they offer. The eggs can be prepared any way you like. They taste farm fresh. When I’m savouring free range, I’m cock-a-doodle doodling in approval and have to wonder how much of this operations product comes from local farms.
I should find out where they get their Louisiana sausage. The jalapeno kick certainly nailed a lot of my pleasure centers. The meal itself is not too big. I have to make comparisons. When I was in Seattle, the meal I bought for breakfast was more than enough. I saved half for lunch. For Shunzee, the portion is just right. I wolfed it all down and still had an appetite for more.
I can easily visit this place for brunch. After more than a few visits, this operation certainly satisfies for morning or afternoon meal. They don’t do dinner for obvious reasons. Although should one show up later in the day, the possibility exists to might miss the bacon train. They usually use Hertel bacon (very renowned throughout the Canadian side of the Pacific Northwest). The day I went, they had to rush to the nearest market and obtain a different brand to keep up with demand.
The scents of bacon still drew me in, but when it’s not the right kind of pork, maybe it’s better to say sorry, “we’re sold out.”
4 Blokes out of 5
J & J Wonton Noodle House
1012 Fort St
Hours: 11am to 2pm,
4:30pm to 8:30pm
Phone: (250) 383-0680
When an operation touts their specialty is with wonton, my craving for this wonderful dumpling is better served at home, here in beautiful Victoria, BC than going to the mainland. The shrimp & pork style is the best. For those craving one protein than both, the single variety can be ordered. This operation was very accommodating by taking my order while I was waiting for a seat. Like a ramen shop, I easily popped in for a bite even though other people were here for dinner. When people are opting for the latter, I recommend making a reservation!
Wor style is preferred over traditional. Not only are the dumplings bigger, but you get more bang out of your buck. In this visit, I opted for simple and it’s my fault for not realizing how hungry I was. Even on a quiet day, to see this place is always busy is very good.