Too Many Yummy Waffles at Le Petit Belge Might Put a Bulge in Your Tummy

ed and waff340 Robson Street
Vancouver, BC

Phone: (604) 440-8781
Website: lepetitbelge.ca
Hours:
Mon – Fri at 8am – 3pm
Sat – Sun at 8am – 4pm

Sadly, Scoozi’s is no more. This fond breakfast place in Vancouver, BC closed sometime during the pandemic, and in its place is Curry Hut Indian Bistro. I will one day try, but as for why–that’s because I loved the ambience the space represented. Fortunately, Le Petit Belge is a terrific replacement, especially if you love waffles. Unfortunately, it’s located nowhere close to the Vancouver Convention Centre. It’s a fair walk away for those going to this city for events there. But if you’re here for a concert, it’s a hop and skip away from BC Place!

I was back in the big city for Fan Expo Vancouver, which brings nearly everything pop culture related under one roof. My convention report can be read here. This event packs a bit of everything into the large hockey-ring sized gymnasium located in the West Convention Centre building. Unlike that sport, there’s no stadium seating. On the three days I went, it felt jam packed! When compared to restaurants operating at full capacity, finding a chair is based on how long you’re willing to wait. There was a small recharge lounge within the convention though, so thankful people have a spot to unwind.

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Going Vegetarian at Rebar Modern Food

20230204_16432750 Bastion Square
Victoria, BC 

Hours: Weds to Sun 11:30 AM to 8:00 PM
Menu: rebarmodernfood.com
Phone: (250) 361-9223

I can easily do the jailhouse rock at Rebar Modern Food. Or rather, I might get jailed for going vegetarian since I’m better known for going primal, enjoying steaks at home than dining out for them. It saves me money since prices jump when getting somebody else to prepare them. But for fish, I get it; you have to slice those fillets and crisp it just right to bring out the flavour and texture of the meat. 

This cozy restaurant is tucked to one corner in the famously haunted Bastion Square. As we chatted about the paranormal, on her way here, I wondered if this place had any stories. I know the pubs that’ are up a few doors from this place are, but I don’t recall if there are any stories here. Not like it’d deter us from sitting down for a bite. We were greeted by a friendly server, and opted for a seat with a view of the area.

I’m very pleased to say their greens are tops. Unlike other places where I sometimes get something less than crispy, the flavours and tastes for even a salad had me smacking my lips. I loved the cucumber dill dressing that went with my Blackened Rockfish Burger. I wasn’t sure if that’d fill me, as I had a small snack before coming into town to meet my friend from the National Film Board of Canada after a Victoria Film Festival screening. I was more interested in the Q&A since I got to see the documentary, The Colour of Ink, prior. This work is simply beautiful in teaching viewers about what this medium can do. My review can be read on the sister site, Otakunoculture.com.

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Yukatsu&Uburger Has Got Our Soul

120230104_172724008 Blanshard St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Mon to Sun 11:30 a.m.–8:30 p.m.
Menu: yukatsuuburger.love
Phone: (250) 853-2100

DK: Something something Pink Bicycle. Something something beloved downtown eatery. Something Something new kid in town. Something, something shoes to fill. 

Ok, now that we’ve got the preamble out of the way–Ed, what do make of this new, also rather Pink, burger spot on Blanshard?

ES: Other than the fact Yukatsu & Uburger kept some original decor from the former operation, I’m generally impressed. With operations closing down and new ones in its wake, I’m glad the theme is at least kept! As for what this operation entails, it’s tough to say if they’re Korean and Japanese, or just the latter? With a tantalizing video of their deep-fry process playing nonstop, I’m definitely drooling.

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When All You Want is Royal Spice Indian Cuisine

20221217_200051212-815 Cloverdale Ave
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11:00am to 10:00pm daily
Phone: (250) 380-1881
Website: royalspicevictoria.ca

Winter is a good time to have a hot meal, and when I refer to the temperature, I’m actually talking about the spice level that Indian food is famous for. Royal Spice Indian Cuisine knows how to kick everything up a notch, and then some! I was here with another pal since our Call of Cthulhu RPG session with other gamers was a bust–nobody wanted to game in the late month of December. I understand the holidays change priorities, but for us hard core gamers hoping to embark on a mission, it can be disheartening.

This intimate establishment knew how to turn our disappointment around. Even on a cold night, we were warmly welcomed and it was busy. This city had a blast of winter snow, and it didn’t deter those brave the slick streets from dining out.

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Lots of Great Umami Exists with a Kiss at Kissato Sushi

20221116_175220Kissato Sushi
2027 Oak Bay Ave
Victoria, BC

Hours: Tues to Sat, 11:30am to 2:30pm and 5 to 8pm.
Phone: (250) 370-5195

I’m surprised that I never noticed Kissato Sushi before in my sojourns to the municipality of Oak Bay, which is one district over from where I live. The main reason is that there aren’t a lot of areas to park my car. It’s almost a must bus in the zone, given how restrictive the area is for vehicle traffic along the strip.

When I am here, I make the most of my time here. The avenue is even more of a throwback to the yesteryear than any other area, and I’m glad there are no signs of modernisation here, except maybe one operation or two.

The best known operations for eats here include the Ottavio Italian Bakery & Delicatessen and The White Heather Tearoom (review link). For where to buy alcohol, I highly recommend The Cork and Barrel; they are one of the few places that keeps a good stock of Strange Brew’s holiday drinks. Also, the Penny Farthing bar can be hit or miss, but as for buying delicious meats, I heartily believe The Whole Beast is tops. I go there to purchase their maple rosemary bacon. 

With all that said, this district has only three sushi operations still running. Sadly, Osaka Sushi (review link) is permanently closed, and I consider them one of the best. Thankfully, Kissato can fit the bill, even though their selection is not as extensive. That is, sea urchin isn’t available. In what they offer is a terrific catalogue of the staples. The fish was especially fresh since my friend Max and I arrived at the opening, and we had enormous appetites going on. 

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Yule Don’t Have to Be JOIE for Fine French Holiday Dining

20221113_121528JOIE Grillades
104-1175 Cook St

JOIE French Café
1610 Cook St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Daily from 11am to 3pm
Phone: (250) 590-9193
* Reservations recommended

DK: Cook Street between Caledonia and Pandora has always been my favourite commercial district in Victoria. During my 20s, it was home to the best bar in town, the best pizza slice in town, and the best bakery. I’m still grieving the loss of Logan’s Bar, and the 420 slice cravings will never go away. Thank God, Pâtisserie Danielle survives. 

When JOIE French Cafe opened, I was excited by what it could add to the neighbourhood (namely the opportunity to get a decent croque monsieur). It didn’t completely live up to my own hype back then, but I was glad to be back at JOIE to try something else on the menu.

ES: I too miss Logan’s. It’s been a punk rock haven for decades, since one can truly enjoy the acts up close. I was there when Thor (no, not the Marvel Cinematic hero) was in town. Ira Hunter, Editor-in-chief of Absolute Underground Magazine, invited me to come join him, and I think he was hoping I’d write a review of that show, but I digress. I showed up early just so I could hit Cold Comfort Ice Cream. 

But on the day I was out with Don, I needed something to warm me up. On the lunch menu, the French Onion Soup was exactly what I needed to soothe these old bones of mine. Yes, I’m the older one between Don and me, but I won’t say by how much.

20221113_121452

DK: But just like Becel Margarine, Ed is young at heart. What an insane ad campaign that was. Cure your fears of ageing by smearing this oil spread on a bit of toast. Slurp up that fuckin linoleic acid until you’re sprinting around your neighbourhood park like a 4-year-old. Anyway, speaking of healthy eating choices, I went for the salad at Joie. And hoo boy did they ever strangle that spinach in sliced almonds and goat cheese. No skimping here.

ES: While the prices here are reasonable for lunch, I suspect heading over to their main restaurant, JOLIE Grillades, will make a dent in anyone’s wallet. Authentic French cuisine on the island isn’t cheap. What I got as a sampler was certainly worth the $14, if I remember correctly. That is, if you want to feast on fresh salmon, duck or even lamb, their market price can be a shocker, especially if you’re visiting off season and have a particular craving. 

Would Don and I return for that? I’d be on the fence, but would be willing. I will return to this operation for a crepe though! I’m anxious to taste what a chef can do with bacon though. But as for the bigger operation, what say you, Don?

DK: I’m interested in whether their croque monsieur has improved from when they were a younger eatery. Crêpes don’t really get me moving, though. So am I excited to return? No. Does that say anything about this café? Probably not. Enthusiasm for mornay sauce will likely dictate your own enthusiasm for Joie and its offerings.

4 Blokes out of 5
Final score for both operations: pending.