1644 Hillside Ave · (778) 406-2101
228C-1150 Douglas St · (250) 590-1170
El DeBarge’s tune “Who’s Johnny” will come to mind for a few who is not familiar with this burger chain. When I saw the signs by The Bay Centre of another burger chain opening up in this garden city, I was slightly curious. I’m aware of them since I see them nearly everywhere in Los Angeles, California, and I like the 50’s theme. Their first operation opened last year over the early Summer and the other had their grand opening at the start of Autumn. A few months later, I hope their consistency stabilizes, otherwise this franchise is in trouble.
A few of the ideas remain in their international operations — with vintage photos decorating the walls and a few stock furnishings — but the image is not complete. The only holdovers are with the condiments sitting at every table instead of walking up to a center kiosk like in a MacDonald’s or A&W. If I want to the real deal, like visiting Arnold’s from Happy Days, someone needs to develop time travel technology.
1218 Wharf St,
Phone: (250) 590-7370
When the waitresses at Shima admit Victoria, BC has way too many Japanese restaurants, I have to wonder when some will close up shop out of frustration to get a regular clientele or which operation stands out as the best? I’m sure there’s a list out there which locals has voted on as the best. I can’t say I completely agree either.
This operation has been around since 2010. While I have walked by on many an occasion, the desire to try this place out was limited. The menus on display showed prices were above average and they did not offer anything unique when compared to other operations.
For some reason, James Shaw tagged along. I did not invite him to join me and despite him saying he’s quitting the foodie’s life, he still follows me to places I intend on reviewing. Either he does not know what he wants to do with his life or he trying say (by being present) he wants to return. Despite trying to shake him off, he wanted to see where I was going. As we both settled in a cozy corner, we both eyed the same item on the menu: a clam miso soup. I had to go for my traditional staples, a sunomono salad (perhaps one of the best I’ve had since the chef did not skimp on the octopus) and a deluxe platter of nigiri. To sum up my buddy’s thoughts on the said soup: you get your money’s worth ($6). Not only are the servers very generous in the serving of this mollusk, but also the aroma had feeling I ordered the wrong starter.
Marcela’s Creole Cookery
106 James St
If you have not been to Marcela’s Creole Cookery in Seattle, Washington, please do yourself a favour and check them out before they close on December 22, 2017. I discovered this operation while wandering Pioneer Square on a Sunday night. I heard of this diner and was often a passenger in a vehicle whenever my friends and I passed by this area. As much as I would have liked to say let’s stop by here on those past visits, those pals are not obsessive foodies like me.
By the fortune in the need to refuel (I walked over from the nearby Chinatown-International District) and craving something other than American cuisine, this place not only hit the mark but was spot-on. Not many inspired diners offer enough or they are just not authentic enough to give me the tastes I so desire. I ate a little more than I should, and that’s okay.
Instead of going by order of what I ate first, I have to give their crawfish roll high marks for putting the classic Asian spring rolls to shame. I’ve have many varieties over the years and while a few have a pleasant combination of vegetarian flavours, this mountain lobster really adds a taste to make the crumble wonderful. More meat could have made this single serving perfect; instead it was found in the center like a tootsie roll. Instead of plum sauce, perhaps what I had is a pineapple cayenne mix. Other ingredients included the holy trinity in cooking this style of food with carrot added on top.
533 Yates St
Phone: (778) 265-9575
El Furniture Warehouse is a strange name for a dining establishment. They began operation in Vancouver, BC and they made a name for themselves with reasonably priced meals — mostly in the pub style variety — for $5 or less, and since then they have expanded. After a fair number of years on the mainland, they decided to become island bound and set up shop in Victoria, BC.
The evening I was there was busy. I asked if I can grab a bite in under an hour as I wanted to get to a live theatre production in time. I was promised that’s possible and given a seat by the bar, the only space available. I like the fact this place is well stocked with a variety of beers, but I stayed sober if I had to run to catch my show.
I also knew what I wanted and placed my order in no time. My meal arrived fairly quickly, and it was not what I thought I’d get. I asked for a salad. Given how loud this place can get, I’m betting the waiter I ordered from could not hear.
I got a burger and fries and did not bother noting the change to the server. I ordered “The Works” which had no tomatoes or lettuce despite saying so on the menu, and the bacon — I hardly was able to taste it. The in-house specially made sauce gave the burger a good kick but there was nothing to make me think this place is special. If folks want cheap bites to help sustain them for a few hours, it’d be a place to hit. For filling bites, I’d go elsewhere.
Unlike other operations which gives you heaping amounts of fries, this place offers a reasonable portion to complement your meal than be it.
I may one day return to give this place another chance, but my first impression was not good. Another server came by with the salad I wanted and I saw it came with a burrito. I said I was given my order already and he walked away confused.
2 Blokes out of 5
1420 Quadra St #101
Phone: (250) 381-6141
I can’t say Futaba is a favourite restaurant of mine. They did a bit of change in the menu offerings over the years and the overall result is not convincing me by much. The quality is not quite there anymore as another mutual friend pointed out (see below image) and while the meal I had was certainly tastier on the night I visited here with James Shaw, the improvements were minuscule.
These days, this guy still has an opinion about the places we dine together and he always has to express (to me) what he thinks about the place. I tell him to speak to someone else or resume being a bloke. He stupidly looks at me and I always roll my eyes. I really have no clue why I still hang out with him since he can’t separate from when we are hanging out together as pals to when to shut up if we happen to hit an eatery. He knows I can use his words to put into the next food review. He can’t stop me. In that regard, he’s still continuing to be part of this food-zine (or should I say scene?)
Han’s Korean Restaurant
615 Johnson St
Phone: (778) 265-1760
E: Sadly, the diner Skinnytato closed operations around late Summer of last year, and in its place, the diner went from Polish to Korean. Will I miss it? Not necessarily. Some mom and pop operations can only last as long as it is profitable or the owner/operators wish to keep their business going. Another possible reason is that the people behind Skinnytato decided to retire. I did not investigate to know for sure, but with what James is about to officially announce, all I can do is sigh. He is getting old too.
J: After seven years, I’ll be packing it up and moving on. Also, I am disheartened to see many of the restaurants we have reviewed close up shop. It didn’t matter if a restaurant was good or bad; sometimes Victoria is a tough place to run a place that serves food. We just don’t have the customer base a big city like Vancouver has. Victoria is a little more cut throat.
E: In other words, he’s burnt out (as a mutual friend pointed out). The many labours he has to do at his day job(s) and responsibilities to his family show his mind is elsewhere these days. He’s no Hercules. I’m finding he is not willing to put in the effort into any idea he has or we have come up for this site anymore. He was ambitious and industrious once, but it’s all gone. We were going to pen an article on a variety of novelty sodas we discovered at the Lilly Gobble Sweet Shop early Summer, but even that is constantly getting put off by him than me. I’m willing to bet he wants that article idea to fizzle.
I firmly believe he is making a big mistake by walking away from what we spent many years shaping as this blog’s identity. He does not care and shrugs off everything I suggest to him. Two Hungry Blokes is not ending. I plan on carrying on.