- Runs Aug 22nd to Sept 2
- Various venues in Downtown Victoria
Victoria, BC’s Annual Fringe Festival is not only a terrific way to cap off the summer but also it’s a place to watch performers simply experiment with new ideas. In those that are runaway successes, they will return to stage as regular shows.
I have been attending the events for close to a decade now, and have seen a huge gambit. I naturally gravitate towards comedy, musicals and anything nerdy. However, I do not limit myself to them either. In those that I have seen outside my favourites, they are surprising. Of course, I never tire of the endless bounty of delights. The limitation is only with the imagination, and the journey to the Twilight Zone.
The following are my picks of this season. Please visit http://intrepidtheatre.com/festivals/fringe-festival for showtimes and to buy tickets.
Gelato Express N2
320 Robson St
Hours: noon to 10pm
Phone: (604) 428-9926
Frozen treats during a cold day is not a good idea. Just how some businesses stay in operation during the slow winter season is a mystery to me. When Spring and Summertime roll in, I can see many have a full staff keeping order. Strangely, there was nobody around at the front desk when I decided to make a stop in, before a concert. I had a meal elsewhere prior, but a sudden craving had me finding this operation on the way towards Rogers Arena.
To watch your gelato made fresh—flash frozen with nitrogen gas—is certainly more of a novelty than an innovation. The flavours will vary from month to month, and I had a vanilla peanut crumble. The extra depth to the creaminess is very nice, and I had mine in a cone than a cup. While this product is certainly on the pricey side, it’s not going to be for every local to rush on down to.
This operation is located close to BC Place. For visitors to the city who want to avoid the more expensive arena food, at least there are options outside of this stadium. Just be sure to fill up before entering. No outside food is permitted unless it’s already in your stomach.
3 Blokes out of 5
1725 Cook St,
Hours: 11pm to 9pm
Phone: (778) 265-4227
Usually, when I drive down Cook Street near Royal Athletic Park, I take mental note of the eateries. When the side streets do not offer a lot of parking and the lots in the strip malls are just as minimal, to find a place to stop is not easy. A walk along this street which defines the border between North Park and Fernwood has quite a number of lovely stops. Sadly, a few operations come and go quite fast. I hope Jones Bar-B-Que is here to stay.
This city needs a proper BBQ joint. When the craving hits for simple smoked flavours, I should not be waiting for Rib Fest in Esquimalt come Fall. I can stop by this eatery anytime. I’ve been Jonesing for it for quite some time. I’m sure that is the reason behind this diner’s name, and they offer fantastic fixin’s and I’m sure my Texan friend Susan will give a seal of approval to. She lives on this island now, and I see her from time to time, and I love hearing her stories of life and the tastes from down South.
EXP Restaurant + Bar
309 W Pender St
EXP Restaurant & Bar has been operating since late 2012 and sadly, by the time I visit this place again, it will be closed. I came across this article about the problems of keeping such operations afloat in a tough as nails city core. I can only hope and let readers know that if the Rio Theatre can be saved by Deadpool himself, is there hope for EXP? Sadly, no.
Their latest Facebook post made the news of closing official. I’m posting this article in memoriam and can only hope a future exists in another space. I get the feeling the owners and operators are not going down easy. They may have an alternate plan in the works but do not want to jinx the future.
Reprinted (in part) from otakunoculture.com:
After experiencing the 4th annual Car Free YYJ, I’m looking forward to Year Five. Can more of Douglas Street be used? Can carnival rides get offered at Centennial Square? That’s the feeling I got while thinking about what will draw me back. This event has music which I enjoyed, food to snack on, shopping local and seeing exhibits to highlight the best of what Victoria, BC can offer. I know more is possible. The Downtown Victoria Business Association has a good plan to revitalize the city core, and I can only hop on my soapbox to offer my suggestions.
Phone: (604) 620-4679
Yaguchiya Ramen has a secret and they are willing to tell noodle lovers one of their recipes “of toppings for nice ramen.” Okay the grammar is odd, but I suspect the following image I took makes up their soup base.
I’ll have to try this recipe with refrigerated (not instant) ramen at home. But it will not compare to the succulent and drool worthy spicy dish offered by this operation. Simplicity and offering something slightly different from other traditional ramen shops has certainly earned this place an extra mark.
The aromas from this broth were a delight and the texture from the house made noodles were mouth-watering. The dish can be improved upon with your standard add-on options, from corn to poached vinegar egg. I had the spicy ramen, and the combination floored me. I just could not stop savouring the base enhanced with the right kind of heat. Very rarely will I find a broth that is perfection.