Cats and Coffee? What Can Go Wrong?

cats logo.pngCat’s Coffee & Cake
1213 Douglas St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Phone: (250) 590-1699
Website: https://www.catscoffeecake.com/

This cat certainly wants to come back to the cafe on Douglas Street because of the treats and sweets offered. Not only is the company logo designed by local artist Gareth Gaudin, but also I figure it’s his favourite hangout spot when not behind the till at Legends Comics. I believe they also offer catering services too, which is a bonus for any downtown operation wanting to support local enterprises. 

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I was feeling peckish the day I was in town. The signboard detailing Cat’s Coffee & Cake specials caught my eye. Kimchi and bacon in a croissant sandwich? I knew it’d be a flavourful combination, but there was a small lineup. I had another errand to do and when I returned, there was none. 

At first I thought I’d be entering a cafe with cute felines around, but alas, that’s another operation in the works (Mask and Mantle Cat Cafe are still searching for the ideal location to set up shop). This operation is apparently a passion project of master pastry chef Yi Catherine Yang who decided to set up shop in the busiest intersection of Downtown Victoria. She’s well known in China as the host of several TV cooking shows. Through these programs, she’s been promoting culture through the exchange of how to make up flavourful treats. While she may not be living in this city and working this particular kitchen (her resume lists her as the creative force behind New York’s Gigi Blue), to have her endorsement is enough.

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Finding a Niche at Miche Cafe

donatmiche734 Aldebury St #101
Victoria, BC

Hours: Mon to Fri: 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Phone: (778) 440-5335

Menu: michecafe.ca

ES: Tucked in the industrial side of Victoria, BC (in the municipality of Esquimalt) is Miche Cafe. It’s been under various ownerships in the past and I’ve lost count! I’m rarely in this side of town mostly because I’m not a supporter of the nearby operation, Wholesale Club, (family loves shopping here for the bulk goods but I don’t) but when I have to chauffeur, it’s playing Pokemon GO in the area, or coming to this corner deli style stop for a bite because of the atmosphere and down home cooking!

DK: Don’t think we forgot about the bread price-fixing scam. Am I right, Ed? 

ES: Don’t get me started!

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Almost Home on the Range with Prairie Inn Neighbourhood Pub

Prairie Inn Neighbourhood Pub
7806 East Saanich Rd
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 11pm, Sun to Sat
Phone: (250) 652-1575

The Prairie Inn is one of those cozy out of the way places for good bites to fill you up! I’ve been here a few times with pals who live in this Brentwood Bay area. They heartily recommend it, but with my critical tastes, it’s hard to say what’s worth ordering every time.

Plus, when this operation is older than me and has their faithful clientele, it’s tough to beat that reputation. I see that they keep up with the traditions of themed nights for every day eats. Although, with the season, the ambience is says it all more than the bites. I’m fairly sure the building is also haunted, and I’d love to return on a paranormal expedition!

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A Touch of Home at Red Brick Cafe in Sidney, BC

Red Brick Cafe
2423 Beacon Ave #106
Sidney, BC

Phone: (250) 655-1822
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

When I’m in a rush to the BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminus to my next great adventure (which I’ve been doing a lot more of lately), not a lot of options for a quick stop for a meal exists. When trying to make the first ferry of the day, it’s nearly impossible to grab a warm breakfast. I could pay more and charge into the Pacific Buffet lounge on the boat–which is what I often do–but I was with friends this day and they were on a tighter budget than I was for what to grab to eat.

A taste of home-made and no thrills can found in the early mornings in Sidney, BC. That was the consensus with the pals I was with. We enjoyed the morning sea breeze, chatted about our plans for the geek fest we were headed to while sipping fancy coffees–varying from lattes to expressos to basic (for me, anyway).

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Foraging at the Cook & Pan Polish Deli & Cafe

Cook & Pan Polish Deli & Cafe
1527 Amelia St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 9 – 5 p.m.
Phone: (250) 385-5509

ES: The Cook & Pan is an out of the way Polish cafe. They were formerly located out by Cook Street proper but now they’re off Amelia Street. A social media post highlighting their delicious sausages was not the draw, but when I saw they’re offering a dill pickle soup, not only was my interest piqued but my mouth was already watering. No drool bucket was needed.

After a late morning film with Don at the Vic Theatre during the Victoria Film Festival, I asked if we should seek out brunch.

DK: Ed proposed and I said yes! To brunch! Put a bacon ring on my finger, Ed and rip that pierogi garter from my no-longer teasing ankle!

Speaking of love and desire: Ed’s lusting after dill pickle soup was matched by my limerent euphoria upon finding dessert pierogies in the Cook and Pan freezer (blueberry variety).

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Cravin’ the Bacon at Shunzee Biscuit

Shanzee’s Biscuit Cafe
529 Pandora Ave
Victoria, BC 

Hours: 8am to 3pm
Phone: (778) 433-9089

The fact you can see your meal made fresh in an open-air kitchen at Shunzee’s Biscuit (formerly Bitchin Biscuit) says a lot towards this operation’s success. If the scents of bacon crisped on the spot do not wet your appetite, then the other tantalizing delights of pork on the grill will. The reason behind the change of name is obvious for those who are from the Pacific Northwest; In Seattle, Biscuit Bitch is the queen of Capitol Hill. Technically the area is actually Downtown Seattle (i.e. Pike Place Market). When I’m staying nearby, I make this place my go-to breakfast stop. Back home, Shunzee won me over. If she was a person than an operation, I’d most likely be courting her.

Her warm biscuits are soft and worth nuzzling. With the cold months ahead, I can certainly find a lot of comfort here in these digs, and in the food they offer. The eggs can be prepared any way you like. They taste farm fresh. When I’m savouring free range, I’m cock-a-doodle doodling in approval and have to wonder how much of this operations product comes from local farms.

I should find out where they get their Louisiana sausage. The jalapeno kick certainly nailed a lot of my pleasure centers. The meal itself is not too big. I have to make comparisons. When I was in Seattle, the meal I bought for breakfast was more than enough. I saved half for lunch. For Shunzee, the portion is just right. I wolfed it all down and still had an appetite for more.

I can easily visit this place for brunch. After more than a few visits, this operation certainly satisfies for morning or afternoon meal. They don’t do dinner for obvious reasons. Although should one show up later in the day, the possibility exists to might miss the bacon train. They usually use Hertel bacon (very renowned throughout the Canadian side of the Pacific Northwest). The day I went, they had to rush to the nearest market and obtain a different brand to keep up with demand.

The scents of bacon still drew me in, but when it’s not the right kind of pork, maybe it’s better to say sorry, “we’re sold out.”

4 Blokes out of 5