Oni-Oni 585 Johnson St Victoria, BC Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00 am to 6:00 pm Phone: (778) 432-0664
Yes, I make no bones about it, I love rice balls. A long time ago, a Chinese-style variant included a deep-fried type where the gooey cheese interior made for all the difference. This was before I discovered Onigiri, a healthier Japanese snacking version to which I’ve never looked back in my switch.
Oni-Oni is a satellite operation ofSakura Sushi and is a place I’ll definitely return to when I need my sweet rice vinegar fix! They have fifteen flavours of onigiri to choose from! Not all of them are always available, but if you call ahead, it’s possible to get what you want made to order. Eating one is not enough, and for a hearty individual like me, I can eat up to four of them in one go. These bites are like snacks, and aren’t the huge ones people sometimes see in anime. They’re about the same size as the ones bought at Fujiya’s on Shelbourne. Plus, this store has Okashi and Nomimono too!
Shug’s Ice Cream and Soda Fountain Pike Place Market 1525 1st Ave Seattle, WA
Hours: Thurs to Sun 2 pm to 8 pm Phone: (206) 602-6420
I miss making my annual trip in March to Seattle, Washington. One reason is that this city is home to Emerald City Comic Con, the largest show celebrating pop culture for the Pacific Northwest (Canada included)! Last year’s event didn’t happen because of the pandemic. I was making my plans, but when Seattle became famous for being a hotbed of possibly getting infected, I knew I had to cancel.
ReedPOP made the wise call to “postpone” their event as nobody wants to get COVID-19, and while they are scheduling to resume for Winter 2021, just whether that will fly will depend on the global situation. Vaccines are being delivered and by Summertime, I should be a card carrying member of almost immune to COVID-19 club. I’m still going to wear a mask everywhere I go and have hand sanitizing wipes though! Upon landing, I know I’ll be making a beeline to Shug’s Soda Fountain and Ice Cream. They offer late night treats when the sugar craving calls! Throughout the year, plenty of seasonal flavours become available, but my plan is to attack the Big Eddie again–or I may order something different.
The City of Victoria has an equal amount of designer ice cream parlours and traditional (i.e. franchise) you can shake a scooper at. Plenty of them reside in the downtown area, and a few are just a few blocks away from the core. Some operations get their supply by Island Farms and there’s nothing wrong with that. For a taste of the truly bizarre (or kinky), sometimes finding that definitive list requires hitting more than a local blog or google search engine.
Summer is here in Victoria, BC and ice cream parlours all over the downtown area are no doubt going to see a surge in business. There’s at least one per 3×3 city block. Pretty soon, I think I will have to rate the five or so businesses that I’ve sampled over the and during the years when the craving hits. With Milkcow being the latest and a franchise-based operation, I have to ask myself if they are worth the wait?
Korean dessert shops don’t seem to have a long life-span in Gordon Head, the area which I live. One space at the corner strip mall has been turning over from one sweet shop to churros (run by a Korean) to still another sweet shop all within 2-3 years. Hopefully, in Downtown Victoria, they can last longer.
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.
Molly Moon’s Ice Cream
The only difference between Victoria, BC’s Cold Comfort operation to Seattle, WA’s Molly Moon’s is perhaps the latter has several operations than one. The quality of the cream is similar (both are hand-crafted in store), the service is super friendly and the variety … perhaps the same. During a wet Pacific Northwest night, the craving for ice cream certainly hit me.
Now that summer is here, I’m reflecting on which ice cream parlors I miss. Both operations have a cozy place to hang out in, and I have to say they are equal in exceptional variety and quality!
Sustainability is key to both operation’s success. While there were issues with my home-based operation not able to provide exacting details to satisfy the Canadian Food Inspection Agency requirement to provide sufficient labeling to sell in groceries, I’m sure at Molly Moon’s they could if they wanted to.