Sept 10-12, 2021
Don and I made it Esquimalt’s Ribfest! Though we met up for dinner elsewhere to sate our appetites (review coming in two weeks), my suggestion to check out this festival was with no regrets.
We saw a new tent that may well be part of the annual show. And, it gave us reason to return since we didn’t want to deal with the long lineup for The Colossal Onion. on the evening we went. We both agree that this event is not the type to return to every year. Our criticism is that the “competitors” hardly change. When compared to similiar shows elsewhere around North America, there’s tons of operations out there who can bbq up a tasty pork or beef rib. Either they’re not as well known to get invited to the island or they’re not into national-level challenges.
527 Fraser Street
September 10th to 12th
Esquimalt’s Ribfest is on this year, and it’s following in the heels of British Columbia’s rollout of the vaccine passport. There won’t be any gatekeeper checks. But for anyone people concerned about catching that virus are best advised not to attend (entrepeneurs would make a killing through Uber Eats or Door Dash should this suddenly pop up), but for those craving the best pork/beef ribs (and chicken too) that House of Q, Prairie Smoke, Gator, Grizzy, and Boss Hog are cooking up–nothing’s gonna smoke ’em out now. The operative word should be stop, but will Two Hungry Blokes be there?
Memphis Blues BBQ House
430 Robson St
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.
2360 Beacon Ave W,
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
Hanks * A Restaurant
Unit G2A – 1001 Douglas St.
I have to wonder if Hank’s in Victoria has separated from the Ucluelet operation which does Untraditional BBQ. Because if they did, that might explain why there’s inconsistency in their product and menu offerings. I’ve noticed on their page no mention of the city operation. Despite my concern, after seeing the Douglas street operation closed for a few weeks, I was glad to see them reopened, with new signage, look and everything.
Yes, they’re open, and no, they did not suffer from the curse this particular space seems to suffer from. On a busy Friday early evening, it was populated with hungry hippos (men) craving drinks and protein. Their Wagyu meat offerings certainly explain why this place is popular. For those who do not know about this particular breed of cattle, they’re known for a marbled fatty texture and are from Alberta.
Hank’s Untraditional BBQ
1001 Douglas St
March 9, 2016 Update:
Hanks is back in business at this location! The mystery closure was apparently because they were renovating.
There are times where I wonder if Unit G2A in the square by the bus stop on Douglas Street is cursed. At least three different eateries existed at this spot in the past eight years, and neither of them lasted long. I recall it as a pizza joint once, a cheese sandwich shop the next and was a BBQ style joint where the fixin’s get tasty. They offer wings, meat on biscuits, BBQ and smoked mains.
I wanted to return to sample more of the latter half of this list but by the time I get a craving to visit, they’re closed! I didn’t find any signs indicating what’s going on but I was concerned. Not many places offer game meat for their dishes and when I am hankering for some, I see the signs say the operation has closed and to keep an eye out on their website for updates. The day after, even that sign is missing! Now all I have to go by is my memory of the Duck Egg Bolognese Pasta.