Four Spice Does more than Kickin’ it Up a Notch!

20200703_181232Four Spice
2637 Quadra St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Weds – Mon : 12pm to 12 am
Phone: (250) 590-9647

ES: Palagio Pizza & Poutine66 used to be a couple in Quadra Village some years ago. Though I’m not in the area often, I’m used to seeing both signs proudly coaxing locals and pizza aficionados in. I’m not entirely sure Poutine66 is gone as they are no longer its own separate space. They still have an operational webpage.

In its place in this little corner of this huge mall is Four Spices, and these meals can get extremely hot! Sizzling in fact… I didn’t burn my mouth just yet as it was Don who made the order, and I was ready with my Peptol just in case…

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DK: Yes, the medium spice here is a true medium. Sorry grandma; get your tepid Tikka or Tandoori somewhere else. Seriously though–is the spice level truly gut-busting? I wouldn’t say so, but I did see sweat rolling down Ed’s face.

ES: Okay, I’m not the best at handling heat. I’m the type of bear who will hibernate in the coldest of the days and hottest too, just to avoid the deep freeze or summer blaze. Hm, maybe I should say the type of bear who’d jump into a river on those blistering days of Summer just to stay cool.

DK: What, however, struck me most about this place was how familiar it felt. Not just because each new tenant hasn’t updated the interior much, but because the flavours and fellow diners felt so known. Amongst all this confounding Covid bullshit, it was an oasis of melt off the bone goat biryani and poetry readings (experiences may vary; we can’t all be lucky enough to have a man reliving the glory days of Ontario rave culture recite Poe and Whitman to us as he’s waiting for his curry).

What say you, Ed? Am I romanticizing too much? I felt like Four Spice offered good, simple food in a friendly, simple space.

 

ES: As long as they continue to offer the flame seared prawns in that mint sauce, I’m sold! It was moist but yet crispy. I can only imagine what this appetizer would be like if smoked up too.

The owner/operators could do with jazzing up the area a little bit. One of those sticky fly coils was hanging nearby and that was a turn off for me. I made a point of not sitting anywhere near that area. If you’re going to dine-in, there’s a limited number of seats. In these Covid panic times, I’d say no more than six people can be allowed indoors.

I can see outdoor dining become available for the summertime and there’s a bit of space for it. To avoid the heat from beating down on me, the mango lassi was perfect! It’s a tough strong but I loved it. The balsamic rice was also just as much of a highlight since they added a bit of pepper to give it that gentle spring that food from India is well known for. The garlic bread–smoke me a kipper and I’ll be back (here) for breakfast. Well, there’s nothing specific to this particular meal of the day, though I’d to see what they can come up!

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One thing I must say is that there was a vegetable chow mein on the menu that I’m very curious about. Isn’t that supposed to be a Chinese dish?

DK: I didn’t notice the vege chow mein! Worth a second look for sure.

Ed, did you clock that the prawns were the only dish we didn’t end up with leftovers of? Definitely the hit of our parade. The chicken korma was really the only underwhelming thing we ate (and it wasn’t bad, I’ve just had better). Overall they serve satisfying grub and I’d be back in a lub-dub.

Four Spice is a fine addition to Victoria’s improving Indian food scene. It’s comfort food that is truly comforting.

4 Stars out of 5

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[Vancouver, BC] Nouveau Kokomo! Soba & Ramen in one place!

Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba
Seymour St,
Vancouver, BC

Hours: 11a.m.–10p.m.
Phone: (604) 559-8872

When Japanese tradition gets nouveau, it’s time to hit the Kokomo! Japanese Chef Takuma Ishikawa invented the mazesoba dish and has expanded the franchise out to Vancouver. I’ve been busy of late with my other preoccupation (fandom/comic conventions) and when hunger strikes, I still pay attention to my foodie desires. This large diner has been the talk of the town since it opened two years ago. When I heard fellow Fan Expo Vancouver attendees talking about where to go for ramen, my ears perked. A hop, skip and jump of about four blocks had me faced with the difficult choice of which one of the three dishes should I have? Should I have ramen, a don or mazesoba?

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[Seattle, WA] Katsu on a Feeling

Katsu Burger
Multiple Locations
Seattle, Washington

Hours: 11:00 am to 10:00pm

Hamburger patties can flame grilled, air-cooked or microwaved (for those in a rush). Frying it in a vat of oil is not altogether strange. That’s what make certain innovations interesting. Katsu Burger is a Seattle-based chain offering deep fried hamburgers. It’s supposed to be one of the latest things coming out of Japan, but one look online shows they are lightyears ahead with other innovations–like adding lotus root, fried noodles or using rice-based buns to a classic fast food dish.

The idea using fried bread is not above me. The thought of a protein patty sandwiched in between Indigenous style bannock is going to have me experimenting.

In what makes a Katsu katsu is with breading the meat before getting deep fried. With pork or chicken, the meat is pounded until it’s suitably flat. Though with ground meat, that’d be tough to do. Slabs of beef can be buffeted with honey to have a shine, and it’d certainly change the flavour profile.

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[Seattle, WA] Kedai Makan is Stealing my Heart

Kedai Makan
1802 Bellevue Ave
Seattle, WA

Phone:
Hours: Weds-Sun 5pm to 11pm

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Where’s a place in Seattle to dine?

The answer: Capital Hill at Kedai Makan. On an evening exploration of all points east of the Washington State Convention Center, the search for something new to try was worth it! Between all the conventions I come to this city for and my carnivorous desires for this particular food scene, there’s no denying it’s easy to find something new each trip.

This operation have spicy frog legs and catfish! Though considered a mostly Southern American dish, I was torn in what to order. The Malay style roasted peanuts was practically a meal in itself and had enough heat to get my feet smoking. It’s mixed with anchovy oil, lime and roasted chili. It was a snack to share, than anything else, and I saved it for my cooler noodle dish. It needed to be hotter than hell. It looked so good, and by the time I left the building, I was feeling very well done.

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Clucking In with Masutama Ramen

Marutama Ramen
270 Robson St,
Vancouver, BC V6B 0E7

Phone: (604) 687-0487
Hours: 11:30am–10pm

Like McDonald’s, ramen shops are popping up nearly everywhere, no matter how big the town is. I saw more had sprung up in the downtown core of Vancouver when I was here last. Yes, I admit this blog has become a noodle haven lately, and I go where my stomach tells me to visit. A change will happen soon, I promise!

On the path to Rogers Arena, there were at three places I could hit. Masutama Ramen opened a year and a half ago and is making waves. They offer a chicken-based broth over the usual pork. The taste takes getting used to and when roasted onions are added on top, the blend made sipping the broth a joy. On its own, it’s very rich and really needed toning down.

The noodles were savoury enough and portioned on the low side, which made me realize I should have ordered a double to fill me up. Yes, I have to live up to “Too Hungry” somehow, and on a cold winter evening, it was needed! I’d rather not pay the inflated prices for food or liquid products within the concert venue.

Doubling up on the succulent cha-shu was on the nose. Its smoky flavour was only enhanced by the broth. The egg was well prepared and was perhaps soaked in soy beforehand to give it the brown outer skin. Unlike traditional seaweed, this operation uses sea lettuce, which made for a different ramen eating experience.

Their dumplings are not quite on par with The Gyoza Bar. They were crispy enough to satisfy, and again, I needed two orders than one to sate the craving within me. Patrons usually do not linger in a ramen bar for long. They want a nice hot meal and be out as soon as possible. During lunch-time, I imagine this place has a high turnover. On the later parts of the days, it’s possible to linger around and wait for friends to show up. I was meeting Ira Hunter of Absolute Underground Magazine, and by the time he arrived, I had finished.

My advice: when dining with friends, make sure you all show up at the same time. These bowls are served quick. By the time others show up, you may be done and be craving for more.

3½ Blokes out of 5

Making a Beat to Miku Vancouver

nullMiku Vancouver
200 Granville St #70
Hours: 11:30am – 10pm
Phone: (604) 568-3900

Around the Vancouver Convention Center are plenty of eateries. They range from the cheap with Subway to expensive with Miku. This Japanese restaurant is certainly worth the price, and when I was in town for Fan Expo Vancouver, I can finally answer the question of where to go if money is no object. Normally I don’t fall into this trap of hitting those operations in this area. But with Star Wars in my head and a pang of hunger the size of the moon … those lights staring across the street from me from where I stayed had drawn me in like a mosquito to a flame.

Miku has an excellent location to watch the sunset fall and to nibble on the best sushi in Vancouver! The servers are very friendly and were easy to talk to. I asked where they get most of their fish. Unlike Fudo back home, they don’t import as far and wide. They do source from Japan, but the uni I had was British Columbia than from California. I was told by a patron next to me that some of the best are near Santa Monica. We agreed that this place is one of the very best.

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