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

Get Your Nom Noms with The Cookie Guy

IMG_19261122 Blanshard St
Victoria, BC
Phone: (778) 430-4444

Not too many dessert type shops exist in Downtown Victoria proper. While plenty of chocolatiers are sprinkled around the touristy areas, namely Roger’sOh Sugar and Empire Doughnuts, these companies fills a gap.  There’s other operations I’ve walked by, but am I being picky? I’ve often wondered if other delectable confectioneries will set up shop to sate my sweet tooth.

The Cookie Guy fills in a much needed gap which certainly satisfies my inner cookie monster when that craving comes. Best of all, they make them just like grandma! Even better, they are warm, soft and oh so gooey. Their turnaround is very fast since it is all baked in-store; Honestly, you can not get any fresher than this!

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[Guest Review] Not Everyone Jones’ for John’s Place

John’s Place
723 Pandora Ave.

Victoria, BC

(250) 389-0711

[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.

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There’s No Need for James at John’s Place

johns_place1John’s Place
723 Pandora Ave
Victoria, BC
(250) 389-0711

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.

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