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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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

Always Wanton for J & J Wonton Noodle House

J & J Wonton Noodle House
1012 Fort St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 2pm,
4:30pm to 8:30pm

Phone: (250) 383-0680

When an operation touts their specialty is with wonton, my craving for this wonderful dumpling is better served at home, here in beautiful Victoria, BC than going to the mainland. The shrimp & pork style is the best. For those craving one protein than both, the single variety can be ordered. This operation was very accommodating by taking my order while I was waiting for a seat. Like a ramen shop, I easily popped in for a bite even though other people were here for dinner. When people are opting for the latter, I recommend making a reservation!

Wor style is preferred over traditional. Not only are the dumplings bigger, but you get more bang out of your buck. In this visit, I opted for simple and it’s my fault for not realizing how hungry I was. Even on a quiet day, to see this place is always busy is very good.

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Takes from the 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival & Parties around the Capital Region

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Runs Aug 27 to Sept 22, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

The 2018 Victoria Fringe Festival is full steam ahead, running now till Sept 2, and the following takes are from the first three days.

Monday’s lineup is light, but when many exciting events are happening in the garden city of Victoria, BC, to cap off the final dog days of Summer—including Greek Fest over the long weekend which I will one day return to (I hope they’ve found a method to keep away wasps) and the 25th annual Blues Fest (Aug 31 to Sept 3, always a terrific staple at the Inner Harbour) coming up in the region—picking and choosing was very tough!

Even a new creative arts studio, Kre8, is getting into the act! They offered late summer classes for those in the arts interested in getting into professional voice-over work (the theme for this season). Their sessions mix up a bit of Ted Talks with workshops. Some have the knack for it and others trained for years, but get into any specialty does require guidance. Winter classes are being prepared, and for this school, it’s about being able to get your vision out there instead of keeping it known to a small group of friends.

For the Victoria Fringe, my reviews will come in package summaries. In addition to these posts here, please visit the sister site, Otakunoculture.com for even more reviews. The links go to showtimes and online ticket purchasing.

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Car Free YYJ in Summary from a Nerd’s Perspective

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.

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At Home with Island Poké

Island Poké
1674 Douglas St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 9pm
Phone: (250) 590-0801

I’m not sure how long it will take to eat all the available salad combinations available at Island Poké. After two visits, I need three more to go. That’s because there are four signature bowls — the Ohana, Island, Salemona and Earth — and the last visit, I craved a build your own crazy combo. Scallops with masago, pineapple, sesame seeds and jalapeno peppers is a crazy combination. I could’ve asked to double up, but didn’t want to set my mouth afire.

When my craving is for seafood burritos, they got a Rock & Roll and CRUNCHii which I have to try out. Each of these have way too many ingredients to list. Instead of naming them all, I will point out the highlights.

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