Not Just E:ne for Sake. Raw Food Too?

E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar
Address: 737 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC
Hours: 3PM–12AM
Phone: (778) 433-0363

ES: When it comes to alcoholic beverages, I tend to appreciate sake more than beer. When I heard about this operation opening up in Victoria, BC, my taste buds were titillated. The first thing on my mind was if they carried any of those fruity brews that I see listed in menus whenever I’m in Vancouver dining establishments than anywhere else. Long story short, not all operations are interested in carrying these variations.

As I learned at a sake tasting event a week later, master brewers consider the only good sake is untainted sake. The authentic blends do not include additives. I’m open for experimentation though, including raw food.

As for Wagyu than Kobe beef, they’re technically the same but from different regions. I haven’t had these prime slices for a long time, and I’m glad this sister operation to Nubo Tapa is here. Donald Kennedy was intrigued when I mentioned often seeing lineups for this place and we got together to see what this place was all about. From time to time, though, we saw a little butane device being pulled out and I wondered what the fire regulations were. I patted my head just in case it started smoking.

DK: What was the deal with the torch? Every couple minutes it blasted at random. Blasted into mid-air.

Blasted in the general direction of the bar shelf. Blasted pretty much everywhere but overtop a cocktail, brûlée or anything else that needed finishing. Was the bartender chasing off flies? Just playing? Maintaining? Do I know nothing at all about torch use and maintenance? The mystery of the E:Ne torch lingers like a hungry raccoon round the edge of a campsite.

And here’s another riddle, one I’m much more interested in solving: where can I get a smoked duck hotdog around here? Or maybe a Po Boy? E:Ne’s Peking Duck is good, but I can’t shake the feeling a better delivery method is possible.

ES: Between the various tapas we had, I was hard-pressed to wonder which was more delectable. Their daily specials were of interest, and the maki rolls were a step above other establishments, mostly in being more original in their flavour profiles. There’s only so much cream cheese I can stand. Their beef, say I say I was wagyu my tongue like a hungry dog? It’s been years since I last tasted cow massaged by virgin hands.

There’s a myth concerning cows sipping beer too. By then, the sake was having an effect on me. When drunk, I do not behave like a certain individual from my past seems to think I am. His words and mindset must be limited. At least my behavior opens up some to have fun!

DK: I believe it’s the cows that are virgins, not the ranchers that massage them. Let’s not start a conspiracy theory that strict abstinence enforcement policies within the Japanese beef industry are the real reason birth rates are falling across Japan. I’m sure Japanese ranchers have healthy sex lives, probably healthier than most. Maybe I should become a Japanese rancher…

ES: Or Maybe Don should become a master sake brewer. I feel this establishment is more for the drink than the food. There were lots of varieties to taste from. Some were imported straight from Japan, and a few from local distilleries. YK3 is based out of Richmond, BC and I’m sure there are at least two other ones. When ordering, like wine, you have to know which is best to go well with your dish.

Even though we ordered light meals, we were still hungry and went omakase. We had tempura, more tacos, pressed sushi, dumplings and nigiri. The tuna tasted better than the salmon, and duck meat tacos. Some were solid hits. We were playing tic-tac-toe with the nine items offered to us to taste test. They were playing it safe with half the board.

Raw food of the safer variety this place does have, but it’s not like their neighbouring operation (Nubo) which has monkfish liver on their menu. I’d love it should the two have both menus available, and patrons can choose from either. I’m sure the kitchen is a shared space.

3½ Blokes out of 5

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Paper Street Theatre’s Halloween Treats!

Runs Oct 24th-27th at the Intrepid Theatre
Address: 1609 Blanshard St, Victoria, BC V8W 2J5

Victoria, British Columbia’s Paper Street Theatre knows their pop culture. As an improv group, they enjoy getting audiences to laugh. Some might arrive already in giggles because they enjoy their shows far too much. Their performances take place throughout the year and are themed. That is, they are spiced with a little bit of every literary or oral tradition out there. This themed night had fog machines and ambient lighting room straight out of The Exorcist to get everyone into the mood for supernatural delights!

During this weekend leading up to Halloween, the team has supernatural campfire stories to tell. Some have the taste of urban legend spread all over it and others are truly creepy, Twilight Zone style. Ideas for story titles are taken from a community bucket, and the more bizarre they sound, the more challenging it is to put into a coherent narrative. With improv, the performers do not have time to consult with one another to decide on how the story can go, and everyone has to think quickly as they are under many peering eyes. Under the dimming light, not every glance will glow red.

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[Sidney, BC] Even Nerds Love A Woodshed Pizza

Woodshed Restaurant
2360 Beacon Ave W,
Sidney, BC

Hours: 11:30am–8pm
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

Ed’s Picks of the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival

Runs Aug 27 to Sept 22, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada at various venues

Victoria, BC’s Annual Fringe Theatre 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.

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[Vancouver, BC] Having Gelato Express N2 Style!

IMG_20170702_184624479Gelato Express N2
320 Robson St
Vancouver, BC

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

Jonesing for Jones Bar-B-Que

Image result for Jones Bar-B-QueJones Bar-B-Que
1725 Cook St,
Victoria, BC

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.

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