Cook & Pan Polish Deli & Cafe
1527 Amelia St
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).
Chorizo & Co.
807 Fort St
Hours: Tues – Sat 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone: (250) 384-6066
The buzz around town about the “closure” of Chorizo & Co. last year (in May) was that they were not likely to continue. When I have churro cravings and the Gordon Head diner has not been in operation for more than a year now, just where can I go? There’s La Taquisa and Chorizo in the crazy downtown core. The former makes them nice and hot (but lacks variation) for a nice price of $5, and the latter–when I learned they are back open (since mid-October 2018)–I knew its time. All it takes is the craving for a particular dish to have me walking through this revamped operation.
Chuck’s Burger Bar
538 Yates St
Hours: 11am to 10pm daily
Phone: (250) 590-9866
ES: Chuck’s Burger Bar has come to town! Yes, this Sidney, BC operation is popular enough to have them decide to open up shop in downtown Victoria, on lower Fort Street. Don is the Burger King and when he told me about it, I knew we had to go there as soon as possible. For the basics, burger and fries for dinner, you can’t get any better than this! Or so I thought…
DK: There is an unwritten rule that any restauranteur would happily write down and staple to your forehead should you break it: never review a restaurant within its first two months of operation.
It’s a good rule. It takes a while for a team to build chemistry and deliver consistently. Can I tell you whether Chuck’s Victoria location is any good? Not yet (our visit occurred on their first full day of operation for fuck sakes). I will, however, speak to this newcomer’s potential.
Cenote Restaurant and Lounge
768 Yates St,
Hours: 12:00pm to 12:00am
Phone: (778) 433-4848
Cenote is a fun little nesting place to dine in. They do host small performances (music) at night. I often walk past it and often wonder if hipster style diner is for me. The place was recommended by one former employee of the Victoria Film Festival (I wish she still worked for them) and a few friends who live downtown. When it’s located underground, down a level on Yates st., next to Lyle’s Place (or is that underneath?), seeking some places out reminds me of a certain movie. As Above, Down Below was an okay horror film about encountering strange evils in the catacombs beneath Paris, but I can think of better.
The etymology of this operation’s name does speak to me. Not everyone knows the original word is Mayan in origin (dzonot), meaning “well.” That is, unlike a traditional design of an aqueduct, the pipe connects to an underground body of water to which citizens can draw water from.
E:Ne Raw Food and Sake Bar
Address: 737 Pandora Ave, Victoria, BC
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.
Shanzee’s Biscuit Cafe
529 Pandora Ave
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