723 Pandora Ave.
[This guest review is by Naomi DeBruyn of Void Girl. She was the former editor of Linear Reflections E-Magazine. In her last visit to Victoria, BC, sometimes visiting old establishments is not perfect. She was with friends in this outing ….]
Touted as ‘The place to eat in Victoria!’ I found this dining experience to one of the most pathetic I’ve ever endured. Yes, endured. It was more than an experience, it was an agonizing waste of time.
Having only two hours before our movie started, we decided on ‘John’s Place’ for our dinner. It was virtually empty, even with the addition of the three of us, the customers were still under ten in number. We were awaiting a fourth, but decided to order anyhow. A good thing we did, believe me!
There were multiple staff and the place was decorated with ‘star personalities’ who had eaten there, and old time sports memorabilia. Well, lucky those stars were who they are as I’m betting it influenced the service.
723 Pandora Ave
There are times where I think my writing partner James Shaw is wrong, totally wrong. He thinks we should not look at the popular establishments and we should really focus more on the mom and pop operations. That’s fine, but when I’m out and about more than he is, I’ll do what I like. I feel we should at least give some few recognized establishments our take anyways. My buddy’s opinion is always dated; he draws on experiences from more than ten years ago and I tell him you can’t base everything on the past. Sure, they shape who we are (in other aspects), but when it comes to food and some operations, management can sometimes change.
The Templeton Restaurant
1087 Granville St.
E: Lining Granville Street are numerous eateries of various design. When James wants to go cheap, he certainly knows how to find ’em, and sometimes I feel reluctant to go the route of just the basics, ma’am. In a diner that’s been around since the 20th century (the 1940s), that’s not too much of a bad thing.
For a late night snack, I can appreciate The Templeton for what it is. But I will have to give James the evil eye for not being willing to put up with the lineups at the Fritz European Fry House cause I was tempted by the New York style presentation of what looked like delicious fries… the only deterrent was my appetite since James could eat a whale, and I was thinking of splitting the order.
424 W Pender St
E: Smile, you’re on candid camera! In this case, that’s the name of this diner that has been used in many a television production. This operation certainly has a vibe to being used in front of a camera. One such show that’s been said to have featured this diner is Delete, a sci-fi drama that featured Janet Kidder, Jaylee Hamidi, Jessica Lee, and Mike Azevedo. Another program was Caprica and I’m sure if you look carefully, its exterior might be noticed from afar in productions like CW’s Arrow.
I may have to start looking back at programs filmed in Vancouver just to see what other shows used this pleasant and cozy place. For me, it was like going back in time to a simpler place for some good ole’ fashioned eats.
De Dutch Pannekoek House
60-1055 Canada Place
“There’s only two things I can’t stand in this world,
people who are intolerant of other people’s cultures and the Dutch”
— Nigel Powers (Michael Caine)
J: I don’t think one can convince Austin Power’s dad to visit a Dutch pancake house, but Ed and I took a little prodding. In fact with a 10% discount card for De Dutch from the Marriott Pinnacle for being their guests, I was perhaps more excited than Ed to enjoy a nice Dutch served breakfast. Although there was no smoke and a pancake, I could feel the groove as I walked into a time warp. The decor of this popular restaurant and even the photos on the front of the menu screamed 1960’s. People looked at me as I entered. I wonder if my pants were too tight.
The Old Fork
140 Trans-Canada Hwy
The Old Fork can easily be missed when driving through Duncan, BC to further points beyond. This diner is tucked inside the Travelodge and although established in 2013, the feel of this place is rustic. Photos of Duncan from its historic days decorate the entryway and inside, I thought I’d find a ghost or two to tell some tales. I had to wonder what stood here before this motel. Perhaps the land has history but not necessarily the building.
The waitress was welcoming and on a quiet day, I could sit anywhere and enjoy the old world ambience. Looking at the photos reminded me of the fact that there is more to this town. Wayfarers should be reminded there more to this township than just a highway. The Whippletree Junction may well be a more colourful and desirable place to visit in the tourist sense but sometimes the best secrets lay on the beaten track. You just have to stop, listen and look.