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.
1674 Douglas St
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.
Chimac Korean Pub & Fried Chicken
512 Yates St
Hours: 11:30am to 1am
Phone: (250) 590-5098
KFC can mean either Kentucky Fried or Korean Fried Chicken. While some will say it’s tough to eat that secret blend of spices, I think the latter is far tastier. The fact the process involves double dipping during the frying process speaks to me. The way the chicken was treated was like a perfect french fry.
Anyone thinking of doing take-out should live nearby so none of that crispy goodness disappears. When considering the many ways this chicken can be eaten, from side-dips to other toppings, I’m definitely coming back to see if my stomach can handle the hot sauces. I was with my bud Jake and we met up to grab dinner and a movie. Because time was tight (he did not get off work until much later), we opted for fast food and ended up at Chimac.
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.
Koto Sushi Izakaya
510 Fort St
Phone: (250) 382-1514
Late at night, folks do not have to wait long to get a seat at Koto Sushi Izakaya. Just how they compare to other places depends on what you are wanting to have. I usually go for the sushi rolls, and it was tough to decide on what to get without killing my wallet. Since this place specializes in Izakaya, where you are able to get quick bites (pub-style food), I went for the simple dishes first, hoping they will fill me up. The baked oysters were certainly wonderful, warm and lucid to the tongue. I also ordered deep-fried quail eggs, and could have gone for more. They were the highlight of my meal, given how filling they were over the rest of the items I ordered. The grilled fish was unusual. Sanma is a mackerel which had a distinctively salty taste. It was quite soft and was like eating a sponge cake. The texture took little getting used to, but I found enjoyment after the third piece.
533 Yates St
Phone: (778) 265-9575
El Furniture Warehouse is a strange name for a dining establishment. They began operation in Vancouver, BC and they made a name for themselves with reasonably priced meals — mostly in the pub style variety — for $5 or less, and since then they have expanded. After a fair number of years on the mainland, they decided to become island bound and set up shop in Victoria, BC.
The evening I was there was busy. I asked if I can grab a bite in under an hour as I wanted to get to a live theatre production in time. I was promised that’s possible and given a seat by the bar, the only space available. I like the fact this place is well stocked with a variety of beers, but I stayed sober if I had to run to catch my show.
I also knew what I wanted and placed my order in no time. My meal arrived fairly quickly, and it was not what I thought I’d get. I asked for a salad. Given how loud this place can get, I’m betting the waiter I ordered from could not hear.
I got a burger and fries and did not bother noting the change to the server. I ordered “The Works” which had no tomatoes or lettuce despite saying so on the menu, and the bacon — I hardly was able to taste it. The in-house specially made sauce gave the burger a good kick but there was nothing to make me think this place is special. If folks want cheap bites to help sustain them for a few hours, it’d be a place to hit. For filling bites, I’d go elsewhere.
Unlike other operations which gives you heaping amounts of fries, this place offers a reasonable portion to complement your meal than be it.
I may one day return to give this place another chance, but my first impression was not good. Another server came by with the salad I wanted and I saw it came with a burrito. I said I was given my order already and he walked away confused.
2 Blokes out of 5