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
Crispy Churros Dessert Cafe
2A – 4071 Shelbourne
Hours: 11am to 8pm
Phone: (250) 590-2277
¡Ay, caramba! Miss Fruits H.K. Desserts closed up shop, and it changed from Asian style sweets to Spanish—well, sort of. The new operation has shaved ice, designer brand coffee and to its namesake, crispy churros!
When the people behind the counter are Korean, this mishmash of cultures is fine by me! The churro has no clear origin story. It may have come from the Orient. In China, we have our own doughnut, a Youtiao. It’s a starchy crispy delight I love to have with congee (or any other thick creamy soup). In Spain, they have a sweeter version which can be consumed on its own and the dips, ranging from chocolate, vanilla or caramel, only enhances the cinnamon flavour. I could eat them all day if I had the metabolism!
Capital City Comic Con is happening from March 16th to 18th, and the Inner Harbour at Victoria, BC will soon be abuzz with superheroes needing sustenance and speedsters needing their energy fix. No, The Flash is not appearing. Many attendees will not be hopping far to get to panels and exhibits since the venue is side-by-side with each other. Distrikt Nightclub has special geeky Trivia Nights planned but before any of this fun can begin, plenty of hungry geeks will be looking for good places to dine at.
The past guides we wrote in the past are still valid (click here for the 2015 edition, or to read the comprehensive guides), but since then new operations have popped up and others have closed. This 2018 list breaks the list down into sub-categories.
DISCLAIMER: The Victoria Conference Center staff discourages attendees to bring food from other venues into its court. Please finish any snacks or meals beforehand. Water bottles are safe, but any visible food items will be subject to security’s discretion.
Frankie’s Modern Diner
910 Government St #38
Hours: 7am to 10pm
Phone: (778) 265-8575
Many, many moons ago, Frankie’s Modern Diner was once known Ric’s Steakhouse and before then, it was The Cheesecake Cafe. I miss the latter brand name and the rumour I heard was that the owners did not want to pay the licensing fee and rebranded until a name stuck. I seem to recall there was a Nanaimo-based Frankie’s too, but I don’t go up island often enough to find out if they are still around. In this updated post, this operation has moved south and with this corner having new owners, the changes are pleasant. According to some people who have talked to me in person, they are regulars for a reason.
With Capital City Comic Con near, it’s only fair to come in to see what this operation offers. Thankfully, the current management has not forgotten the heydays of when I visited this corner often. I enjoy browsing the window display of the desserts. Although the variety was not the same as I recall from years ago, I’m glad there is a daily feature dessert, instead of the ordering from their four standard staples – apple pie, molten chocolate cake, new york style vanilla cheesecake and key lime. I will have to give an update as I know I’ll be returning for another bite during this show. The ambience of this place is great and service is very friendly. I knew one visit is not enough.
Parachute Ice Cream
105-2626 Bridge St
Hours: 11 to 7pm
Phone: (778) 265-1999
I’m rarely in the area of Rock Bay, where the industrial side of Victoria exists. Plenty of automobile shops and breweries are strewn around. It’s amazing how only a couple of years will see change. Gone are a lunch stop — where I had the best bison burger I’ve ever had (review on Victoria burger blog) — and one of Prima Strada’s locations. They now operate out of Cook St (Fairfield area) and Fort (in the municipality of Oak Bay).
Now, other stops have sprung up, which includes a coffee shop offering nouveau sensations (i.e. ethically sourced ingredients) and a few doors up is Parachute Ice Cream. They opened in May 2016. After walking around to see what’s changed, I should make a point of being in this area more. At night, this location can be dodgy. This operation closes at 7pm every day. During the warmer seasons, I suspect they stay open longer. This detail is important for those who linger around. Down the block is Moon Under Water Brewpub and Saltchuck Pie Company. Both will be places I will want to check out. For beer lovers, they can have their pick of Hoyne, Driftwood or Vancouver Island Brewery to get kegs. All three should have rooms to sample their latest brews.
Sulmida Dessert Cafe
Phone: (778) 379-8935
When ordering shaved ice desserts as delicate as a fresh snowfall is tasted off season, some folks may think I’m weird. I couldn’t care less as when Winter is in full swing. Technically, I was here in October, and I can imagine this place struggles during the cold months. But when I’m away from home more, I like to explore.
The evening was mild and I had to check out Sulmida Dessert Cafe, located on the opposite side of where Metrotown is in Burnaby, BC. I had the strawberry vanilla and slowly savoured the sweet milk center. I attempted to consume it like a tootsie roll made by Jack Frost and had no luck. A spoon was needed. My love for local BC berries were met with my taste buds feeling conflicted. They are out of season. I suspect this operation makes do with what they can get from wherever (Mexico).
The single sized servings start around $12 and go higher for share me. After one spicy meal in the area, I had to go for icy to cool my stomach down. The larger fruit slices are soft. When mixed with flash frozen, I was curious as to why have both. I took time to savour my treat as the ambient temperature was chilly enough to prevent everything from melting or softening. At another season, I’m sure these dishes will melt fast.
I knew I should not take too long too, before it became a slushy mess. The vanilla ice cream on top was tops and tastes like Breyers.
It’s a safe bet to assume this place is very popular during the summer months. Shaved ice is a treat in both Asia and Polynesia. I don’t often come across this type of operation in the wet Pacific Northwest but they have been popping up on the Lower Mainland more than the island I call home. Perhaps I should move.
3½ Blokes out of 5