[Vancouver, BC] Nouveau Kokomo! Soba & Ramen in one place!

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba
Seymour St,
Vancouver, BC

Hours: 11a.m.–10p.m.
Phone: (604) 559-8872

When Japanese tradition gets nouveau, it’s time to hit the Kokomo! Japanese Chef Takuma Ishikawa invented the mazesoba dish and has expanded the franchise out to Vancouver. I’ve been busy of late with my other preoccupation (fandom/comic conventions) and when hunger strikes, I still pay attention to my foodie desires. This large diner has been the talk of the town since it opened two years ago. When I heard fellow Fan Expo Vancouver attendees talking about where to go for ramen, my ears perked. A hop, skip and jump of about four blocks had me faced with the difficult choice of which one of the three dishes should I have? Should I have ramen, a don or mazesoba?

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[Victoria Film Festival 2020] Sovereign Soil, A Preview

Screening at the Victoria Film Festival with the director in attendance.

Feb 13 at 5:30 p.m.
The Vic Theatre
808 Douglas St,

Feb 15 at 12:15 p.m.
SilverCity Cinema #3,
3130 Tillicum Rd

If there’s one thing viewers can learn about Sovereign Soil, I firmly believe it’s in the pioneering spirit of those attempting to harvest where agriculture does not come easy. The area around the tiny sub-Arctic town of Dawson City, Yukon is not exactly the easiest land to work in. Some claim it is very rich in nutrients to grow crops in, but to toil hard to find those spots require more than using divining rods and laying a claim. Thankfully, the weather around here is not always cold year-round.

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Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia, er Chiba! Vying more Sushi back in Victoria, BC

Chiba Sushi
2706 Government St
Victoria, BC

Hours:
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)

Phone: (250) 383-9886

ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of  a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!

DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.

Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.

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[Seattle, WA] Surfing Over to Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill

83 Spring St
Seattle, WA 98104

Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
Phone: (206) 340-8880

I should not be surprised that Seattle is becoming much more like Victoria, BC at every new visit I make. Yes, I’ve been spending my holidays here and that’s because this city is easy to reach, and not all that expensive to get there. The food can be pricey at times, but the less I spend on transportation, the more can be explored with various operations here. I feel more Japanese eateries exists in this city per square block than any other. Competition is stiff, and I don’t feel the need to return my go to places when there’s more to discover every visit.

Nijo is a comfortable place to have something old and something new. I had dishes which were not the staples for many a meal. Yes, I can get tired of tuna and salmon fast.

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[Seattle, WA] Dethroning the Crawfish King

The Crawfish King
725 S Lane St
Seattle, WA

Hours: 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Phone: (206) 623-3622

Eating too much fried food, as anyone will tell you, is bad for your health. With The Crawfish King, my advice is to be prepared for a lot of exercise in the week after dining here. On one side of the menu is tons of crispy goodness. The basket allows for one main course and two sides (thank god they have soup and salads). On the other, a boil, has a lot of seafood offered up somewhat Louisiana style. I should have gone for that instead. When my plus sized friends love their grease, the smell was almost overwhelming but it gave me an opportunity to try nearly everything this operation offers.

Sadly, the menu does not list prices. Anything from the sea is based on current market value for such goodies as crawfish, shrimp, lobster and etc. It’s easy enough to ask, but was I prepared to pay more than $50 for a meal? Sure, if I was sharing with friends. On my own, I could do it, and have leftovers for the next day. Next time, that will be my plan.

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When Another Cook, er Comic Book Won’t Do; Zao Dao’s Cuisine Chinoise Brings Worlds Together

Plenty of Chinese cooking philosophy can be learned in the release of Zao Dao’s comic anthology Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food. Dark Horse Comics is publishing the translated edition and it is set for release June 2020.

In what’s key to this culture’s style of cuisine is in different ingredients gel together. It’s not just about the tastes, but also in how it brings people together. It’s said to bring different people of conflicting ideologies together. Just look at Voltron: Legendary Defender. In the finale. Hunk (the Yellow Paladin) believes he can bring feuding empires together at the dinner table. Peace can be made one meal at a time. Mending old wounds can be tough, and when some food has healing properties, perhaps all that’s needed is a careful time to taste that fine red wine.

Not only are the principles of yin and yang involved to bring balance, there’s other facts to be found that nearly all Chinese master chefs share. Key to bringing this balance to the force are also the five flavours–Sour (酸 suān); Sweetness (甜 tián or 甘 gān); Spice (辛 xīn); Bitter (苦 kǔ) and Salt (咸 xián). These specific natures are reflected for those who read Dao’s work when it was originally published in France. Editions Mosquito handled this release and those impatient can hunt Abebooks.com for a copy.

The overlap between food, family, and culture are seamlessly highlighted in this special “cook book.” From insects looking for a meal to a man whose passion for cooking is the only hope of maintaining a family legacy, these wonderfully illustrated stories explore the rich and humorous world within while showcasing the beautiful relationship between Chinese culture and food.

Cuisine Chinoise: 5 Tales of Life and Food has two release dates. Some may consider comic shops are getting the appetizer on June 10, 2020 and hopefully a main course (book signing perhaps?) at bookstores June 23, 2020. The 96-page paperback graphic novel anthology is available for pre-order through Amazon and at your local comic shop for $19.99.