The Seven Hour Tour … to Tropical Island?

Tropical Island
3690 Shelbourne St #1
Victoria, BC

Phone: (250) 477-2538

DK: We wanted thick toast in a floral tea bar that rides shotgun with a fitness studio. Instead, we got fried milk and Usher & Lil Jon’s “Yeah” soundtracking voyeursque video of a woman doing squats (I was snooping on the table behind us). More on the tea bar in a future mission. For now, we discuss the compromise.

Tropical Island has an air of reliable tameness that seems to make it popular with old people and families. Buffet fare served a la carte is the general vibe.

ES: I don’t recall how long this operation has been around along the Shelbourne Street corridor, but in all my years living in this municipality, have I thought about going? It certainly looks popular, as Don has said, because of the many apartments nearby. The service is nice and friendly. The food is a mix of various Southern Asian influences.

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Crispy Churros Dessert Cafe

Crispy Churros Dessert Cafe
2A – 4071 Shelbourne
Victoria, BC

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!

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The Return of the Burger King (at Lee’s Restaurant)

Lee’s Restaurant
3960 Shelbourne St,0
Victoria, BC
Phone: (778) 432-2111

ES: I’m not sure how many times the diner next to Save-on-Foods at University Heights has changed. I recall it was once an Italian style place offering up tasty gyros, Japanese with sushi and now it’s a Chinese. The big question is what it will become next? I’m honestly left wondering if it is under the same management or its someone new?

Until I can figure it out, this place is certainly a stop for many a Chinese person to grab a quick bite. Every time I walk past, the patrons there are usually Asian. I suspect many are students from China who have come to this city to study at the University of Victoria. This institution is approximately 15 mins away from here and this municipality has a larger than usual presence of Asian operations.

Donald Kennedy and I will be continuing in the Two Hungry Blokes tradition to explore eateries. We met up at Gauntlet Games (great place to hang out to play Magic the Gathering BTW) to get try out Cthulhu Tales, a card game I bought, and afterward, we were hungry. The dishes came out fast and a bit of home can be tasted in every dish made.

DK: Lookie, lookie Ed found a cookie! And by cookie, I mean washed up local food blogger whose face you vaguely recognize.

“Have I seen this guy online?” You’re asking yourself right now. “Did I print a blogspot photo of him ten years ago and paste it to a vision board under the title ‘RELATIONSHIP GOALS’?” Of course, you did, but turns out you were more into Choclair than Maestro because you did not Stick To Your Vision. Did all your dreams die? Did you STAY HEALTHY and EAT RIGHT? Did you TRAVEL to MELBOURNE? POTENTIAL, PROSPERITY, FOCUS, EARN! How far did you get? I’d love to know, but we’re here to scrutinize small business food offerings, not your lack of follow-through.

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Just How Long is a Pho-Ever?

pho-everPho-Ever
1669 Pear St.,
Gordon Head
Saanich, BC
(250) 388-0028

For as long as I can remember living in the Gordon Head area, Pho-Ever has been around for … well, forever. I have not thought about visiting this place because it’s in a tucked away corner of Shelbourne Plaza and it’s the type of place some would not give a second glance to. As unobtrusive as this establishment is, they can serve up a mean Pho, and it had me savouring every bit of broth from the P-4 I ordered. That is, I had a serving of traditional noodle with bits of rare steak, tendon and tripe mixed in. The traditional plate of bean sprouts, cilantro, lime and hot pepper is offered and beyond that, was there anything that leapt at me?

Not really as there was nothing special in the presentation of the meal. It’s not like I was walking into a trendy restaurant over an every man’s place. The broth was exceptionally well made. It was clear and after applying some hot chilli oil to give it tang, the zest I was craving made the meal. The ratio of the various ingredients were adequate, and I did not realize how hungry I was. I was practically wolfing down the meal as I did not have a proper lunch earlier.

A word of warning: while the serving size of the bowl is perfect, to add any more product on top can get quickly expensive. The charge for adding extra portions of meat, prawn, noodle or vegetables averages $4, making that $11.95 meal turn into $24 if James was here. I stuck with the basics to evaluate the staple of quick Vietnamese street food.

This spot is great for Pokémon GO players. Not only is there a stop but also there were pocket monsters which popped in, eying my meal. I caught mostly common types, but I guess Psyducks love stopping by more often.

Sadly, during a non-busy time, the service was lazy. I had no water refill and the waitress only checked in once on my meal. While I lucked out and got my meal within minutes of ordering, I wonder what this place is like when it is actively busy during lunchtime? Between this operation and another, that’s a block and a half away, I think I’d rather go to the other. I like how they make their Bánh mì sandwiches — they are toasted up and are kept wrapped until I peel the foil out for nibbling when enjoying the view while up on Mount Tolmie.

When I glanced at this Pear St. operation’s menu, I did not find any sandwiches to order. Even though my heart was set for some pho, my eyes kept on glancing at Pokémon GO for some elusive critters that I hoped might appear while here. They used to pop up a few great nest migrations before, but I guess even they are deciding to avoid this place instead of congregating.

3 Blokes out of 5

The Stubborn Chef 拉麵館 changes the Ramen Scene ‘Round with AsUsual Cafe – 老地方

stubborn_chefStubborn Chef – 拉麵館
AsUsual Cafe – 老地方
3960 Shelbourne St
Victoria, BC
(778) 432-3818

Only James can think Kuma Noodle Japan has the best ramen all around Victoria. He’s most likely right, but he’s not had the complete Japanese experience (I had it in Japan, a place he has yet to travel to). Yes, I’m relentless in teasing him about this fact and one year, we will visit the Land of the Rising Sun to sample the food together. Back in Victoria, in the meantime, competitors eventually will emerge to challenge my buddy’s statement.

Trying to schedule his willingness to go out with my Pokémon GO adventures (I need to fuel up somehow) is like dragging a closet gamer out of the comfort of his own home to see the light, er sun.

We have tried a few places together. Foo Ramen Bar has been running for a while and unless you know which Japanese restaurants to go to, they will have this common staple buried along with the Udon and Soba. Next to the Victoria Public Market downtown is Ox King Noodles. In Gordon Head, The Stubborn Chef specializes in a variety of noodles. James finally checked out this place during one of his rare departures from Langford. By then, I’ve been here for the third time. Interestingly, the chef is a third generation noodle-maker. He’s been trained by the best and I’m glad he’s settling into the Gordon Head culinary landscape. The folks who ran this operation used to operate out of Chinatown in the past five years. And when it was sold a few years ago, I’m assuming the change of pace is because this municipality is closer to home. There’s less distance to travel. I’m thinking the owner/operator is taking a cue from James’ book. Why travel far when you can enjoy the comforts of home?

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Local Tsukino-Con Reveals Kensho Ono as Japanese Voice Guest

Originally published by Otaku no Culture.

KenshoOnoVictoria’s local anime and cosplay convention has managed to obtain a Japanese idol for their guest list. Last night Tsukino-Con announced on their official Facebook page that voice actor-singer Kensho Ono will be attending their event.

Ono has already racked up an impressive number of credits to his resume. Muggles will know Ono as the Japanese voice over for the lead character of the Harry Potter films but anime fans will know Ono as Tetsuya Kuroko from the series Kuroko no Basket. In the more recent animated series Ono has voiced Souji Okita on Bakumatsu Rock (where he also sang the series opener), Slaine Troyard of Aldnoah.Zero, and Mikaela Hyakuya in Owari no Seraph.

Ono has also appeared in a number of Japanese films and television programs including Hôtai Club (2007), Dive!! (2008), Kujira no Ita Natsu (2014), and Fuji TV’s Senjou no Yuubinhaitatsu (2006).

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