[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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Getting Trounced With Delights at Bodega Bar!

tmp_20215-IMG_20160705_2221081841346096254Bodega Bar
in Trounce Alley
1210 Broad St
Victoria, BC

(778) 406-1210

 

ES: Victoria, BC does not have a lot of late-night dining options and sometimes a visit to Trounce Alley is required to find a few of those operations that are running to midnight. Thankfully, on the busier days of Wednesday to Saturday, there are two: Bodega Bar and Park’s Kitchen. After a movie downtown, we happened upon the former first, and for once, my buddy was not being cheap. I find it easy to rack up quite the bill at a tapa type establishment.

JS: This place is very classy. It’s so much better than hitting a seedy bar.

At least here Ed and I could sit out on the porch in the beautiful night air and take part in what the chef had on the menu. It is easy to spend your money at a tapa bar (especially on drinks). The food delivered to the table isn’t much to look at when it comes to size even though it was highly decorated. Surprisingly, it managed to fill the Two Hungry Blokes. We ordered three items, the ceviche, a porchetta sandwich (Ed’s choice) and — a meal that rang my dinner bell — a mackerel potato salad.

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[Vancouver, BC] Cartems Donuterie’s Sweet Rise!

IMG_9214534 W Pender St.
Vancouver, BC 
(778) 708-0996

E: The next time James and I seek out a breakfast style place (or hunt for a quick bite), I’m recommending that we return to Cartems Donuterie. After feeling well-travelled to taste the donuts of the Pacific Northwest region (I’ve visited Top Pot in Seattle and Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland) I feel Cartems can put Top Pot to shame once word gets out. At home in Victoria, Empire Doughnuts is getting plenty of love in the nerd and downtown core community.

This Vancouver operation may not get as crazy as what Voodoo Doughnuts can offer, but I say it’s at a good start by offering a whiskey bacon doughnut to wet my appetite.

J: Better known as the bee sting, I was fearful of bees as I ate this doughnut. I’m sure I would give off a scent to attract the local population or one very hungry Pooh Bear. The entire shop has a rustic theme going on. I guess they want their customers to think of down home back country made doughnuts. And as long as there is no racoon scavenging through their garbage I am good with that image.

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Is Hanks Just “A” Restaurant?

IMG_20160325_183900096

Hanks * A Restaurant
Unit G2A – 1001 Douglas St.
Victoria, BC
(778) 433-4770

I have to wonder if Hank’s in Victoria has separated from the Ucluelet operation which does Untraditional BBQ. Because if they did, that might explain why there’s inconsistency in their product and menu offerings. I’ve noticed on their page no mention of the city operation. Despite my concern, after seeing the Douglas street operation closed for a few weeks, I was glad to see them reopened, with new signage, look and everything.

Yes, they’re open, and no, they did not suffer from the curse this particular space seems to suffer from. On a busy Friday early evening, it was populated with hungry hippos (men) craving drinks and protein. Their Wagyu meat offerings certainly explain why this place is popular. For those who do not know about this particular breed of cattle, they’re known for a marbled fatty texture and are from Alberta.

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The Pita Pit Is Where It’s At for Late-Night!

IMG_0896 Ira SmallWhen it comes to evaluating franchise operations, I can certainly say that hands down, The Pita Pit is better than Subways. Although they are tucked away in a corner of downtown Victoria on Wharf Street, they are open late at night to cater to the hungry late-night crowd. I’m surprised there isn’t an operation closer to the University of Victoria, as that was where this franchise got its start from (to cater to the student crowd), but alas, maybe they can get better digs in due time.

When it’s late a night, and my buddy Ira Hunter, Editor-in-chief of Absolute Underground Magazine (that I’m a frequent contributor to), had a food craving and so was I.

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