At Home with Island Poké

Island Poké
1674 Douglas St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Open ⋅ Closes 9 p.m.
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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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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[Burnaby, BC] Cold Treats on a Cold Day at Sulmida Dessert Cafe

Shaved IceSulmida Dessert Cafe
4697 Kingsway
Burnaby, BC
Phone: (778) 379-8935

When ordering shaved ice desserts as delicate as a fresh snowfall is tasted off season, some folks may think I’m weird. I couldn’t care less as when Winter is in full swing. Technically, I was here in October, and I can imagine this place struggles during the cold months. But when I’m away from home more, I like to explore.

The evening was mild and I had to check out Sulmida Dessert Cafe, located on the opposite side of where Metrotown is in Burnaby, BC. I had the strawberry vanilla and slowly savoured the sweet milk center. I attempted to consume it like a tootsie roll made by Jack Frost and had no luck. A spoon was needed. My love for local BC berries were met with my taste buds feeling conflicted. They are out of season. I suspect this operation makes do with what they can get from wherever (Mexico).

The single sized servings start around $12 and go higher for share me. After one spicy meal in the area, I had to go for icy to cool my stomach down. The larger fruit slices are soft. When mixed with flash frozen, I was curious as to why have both. I took time to savour my treat as the ambient temperature was chilly enough to prevent everything from melting or softening. At another season, I’m sure these dishes will melt fast.

I knew I should not take too long too, before it became a slushy mess. The vanilla ice cream on top was tops and tastes like Breyers.

It’s a safe bet to assume this place is very popular during the summer months. Shaved ice is a treat in both Asia and Polynesia. I don’t often come across this type of operation in the wet Pacific Northwest but they have been popping up on the Lower Mainland more than the island I call home. Perhaps I should move.

3½ Blokes out of 5

[Seattle, WA] The Dong Thap Noodle Challenge

dong thap

Dong Thap Noodles
303 12th Ave S
Seattle, WA

Phone: (206) 325-1122

If you are ever in the heart of Seattle’s International District, a visit to Dong Thap Noodles is a must. Sadly, with James rarely traveling with me these days, I doubt I can take on this diner’s Pho Super Bowl Challenge alone. I needed his help with this dish, and whatever’s going on in his head, I can only guess. Either he’s lost the passion (with this blog) or he’s afraid of really getting heavier if we continued our foodie adventures. His ongoing joke with me is that whenever we’re dining around in other cities, he always feels far more bloated by the end of the trip. There’s also the possibility he can not stuff his stomach like he used to.

I needed a hearty bowl to re-energize. After spending two-thirds of the day at the Washington Convention Center, I was starving. I met up with local friends afterwards and we went to Dong Thap. Upon entering the establishment, I gazed at the half empty gigantic-sized bowls on tables which still needed to be cleaned up. If only my pals had the appetite (you have to reserve in advance for the challenge), then maybe we could do it with a group of three. I can see five people tackling a single order and succeeding, but I had to wonder if rules exist for this challenge?

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Defining Tacofino, or finding it in a Maze of Mexican Diners in One City Block?

Tacofino_Logo_colour-1_400x400787 Fort St
Victoria, BC
Phone: (778) 406-1787

I think too many Mexican “taco” centric diners are located too close to one another in Victoria, BC. When one operation is busy, the hungry taco consumer can easily walk across the street to another to find a place to sit down for a bite. Located within the same city block is La Taquisa, Tacofino. La Taqueria and La Fiesta Cafe. In terms which operation stands out, none of them truly do. Well, maybe La Fiesta since they have Mexi-Fries (taters), and a condiment station with freshly made toppings (which range from mild to hot) but for the others, they all tout the same thing: locally sourced ingredients. Each of them have their own spin.

Tacofino began their operation in Tofino, the west coast of Vancouver Island and have broadened to a large franchise operation which includes Vancouver. The others have their own stories, but in brief Taqueria is from the mainland and Taquisa is family-owned. Each have their own range of goods. I simply rolled a dice to decide where I wanted to go and landed on ‘fino for bite.

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