[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.

Victoria Fringe Festival 2018, on Death and Fake Ghost Tours!

Amazing things are happening at the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival. More touring acts are starting (Tues night offered a quick preview at The Metro Studio), and if Death from Ingmar Bergman’s Seventh Seal is waiting on the wings, I doubt he’d want to hang out with comedian Rob Gee. This figure would fall apart in laughter. I digress. The rhythms from this slam poet and the fact he can keep it up for close to an hour is simply amazing in itself.

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Location:
VCM Wood Hall
900 Johnson Street
Victoria, BC

Remaining shows:
Aug 30 8pm
Aug 31 7:30pm
Sept 1 10:45pm
Sept 2 8:15pm

Death, a Romantic Comedy certainly positions Rob Gee as a tour de force! His past work, Kevin, King of Egypt and Pandemonium, are gonzo. This year’s Death, A Romantic Comedy is intriguing enough and I wonder if my appreciation of gallows humour is why I’m drawn to such a morbid subject.

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Takes from the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival & Parties around the Capital Region

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

The 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival is full steam ahead, running now till Sept 2, and the following takes are from the first three days.

Monday’s lineup is light, but when many exciting events are happening in the garden city of Victoria, BC, to cap off the final dog days of Summer—including Greek Fest over the long weekend which I will one day return to (I hope they’ve found a method to keep away wasps) and the 25th annual Blues Fest (Aug 31 to Sept 3, always a terrific staple at the Inner Harbour) coming up in the region—picking and choosing was very tough!

Even a new creative arts studio, Kre8, is getting into the act! They offered late summer classes for those in the arts interested in getting into professional voice-over work (the theme for this season). Their sessions mix up a bit of Ted Talks with workshops. Some have the knack for it and others trained for years, but get into any specialty does require guidance. Winter classes are being prepared, and for this school, it’s about being able to get your vision out there instead of keeping it known to a small group of friends.

For the Victoria Fringe, my reviews will come in package summaries. In addition to these posts here, please visit the sister site, Otakunoculture.com for even more reviews. The links go to showtimes and online ticket purchasing.

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[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