Why Seattle’s Rockin the Ramen in this Look Back – Part Two

Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya
320 E Pine St.
Seattle, WA

Hours: Mon to Sun 11 am to 9:30 pm
Phone: (425) 553-0867

I rarely review franchise operations, but when I was exploring the various diners east of the Washington State Conference Center, the choices are not limited when I was there pre-pandemic! I’m hoping this place survived as ramen shops are the type of operations that would close down during these times. Most traditional shops tightly pack diners in tight and I imagine to keep operating, the space of a chair and half is mandated to keep everyone safe.

When people are allowed to freely travel again, I’ll be there for you, Kizuki! Yes, I’m thinking of a certain TV theme song here, because I recall the camaraderie between the regulars and chefs when I was there last.

I’d be sad if they’re gone, because it’s rare to find an operation I’m definitely in love with. I have yet to find a match with the ramen shops here in Victoria, BC. Kizuki’s food is still prepared the same way as it is in Japan–they have a unique method of roasting bones before boiling. Similar to the French style of making consomme, they were the first in the Japanese ramen industry to employ this method. The result is a rich, flavourful broth that is fragrant and full of depth. They are devoted to replicating the incredible flavour of traditional Japanese ramen. Every operation gets the bulk of their ingredients from this country.

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I’m Screaming for Ice Cream (and to Travel Again)

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.

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A Touch of the Euro at Charelli’s Cheese Shop, Delicatessen & Catering

Charelli’s Cheese Shop,
Delicatessen & Catering
2851 Foul Bay Rd
Victoria, BC 

Hours: Tues to Sat 10am–3pm
Phone: (250) 598-4794

Just why I haven’t been to this deli in the past, when I was studying Applied Communications (now Digital Communications) at Camosun College’s Lansdowne Campus simply boiled down to time. A fit person could race down the hill and hike back up it when there’s an hour to kill between classes, but I’m the roly-poly type who may not achieve it. Plus, I want to enjoy my lunch more than to scarf it down before resuming my work in the a/v edit suite or be in class. Eating during session is obviously discouraged.

This operation opened back in 2003, and I’ve been aware of it for a long time. I needed a proper reason (other than being hungry) to head down, and when I heard they sold truffle oil flavoured potato chips–I was there faster than a bee to a spring flower!

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Chuck’s Burger Bar, One Year Later…

Chuck’s Burger Bar
538 Yates St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Tues-Sun: 12–10PM
Phone: (250) 590-9866

While parts of the world are still in lockdown because of a pandemic, a few places remain as busy as ever. At Chuck’s Burger Bar, that overdue visit to see now they are doing more than a year later was a must. I’ve visited a few times prior, mostly for take out but not much has changed since.

Last month, I visited with other friends. We rented Quasars Arcade for some personal retro gaming time (it’s a great deal when split between friends and the machines are set to endless play). We were all experiencing cabin fever when wave two struck Victoria, BC. It was a week later when news about the UK variant hitting the island made me think twice…. For this blog, I’ll be expanding the content to include food product reviews, films about foodie culture and posts about my last adventure in Seattle’s food scene. I’m thankful I saved a few pieces for this eventuality.

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Almost Home on the Range with Prairie Inn Neighbourhood Pub

Prairie Inn Neighbourhood Pub
7806 East Saanich Rd
Victoria, BC

Hours: 11am to 11pm, Sun to Sat
Phone: (250) 652-1575

The Prairie Inn is one of those cozy out of the way places for good bites to fill you up! I’ve been here a few times with pals who live in this Brentwood Bay area. They heartily recommend it, but with my critical tastes, it’s hard to say what’s worth ordering every time.

Plus, when this operation is older than me and has their faithful clientele, it’s tough to beat that reputation. I see that they keep up with the traditions of themed nights for every day eats. Although, with the season, the ambience is says it all more than the bites. I’m fairly sure the building is also haunted, and I’d love to return on a paranormal expedition!

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Bubble Tea, Dat Tea or Ding Tea? The Troubling Decisions

Ding Tea
Unit #108, 3749 Shelbourne St.

Victoria, BC

Hours:
Sun to Sat 12pm to 11pm
Phone:
(778) 265-8622

Bubble teas aren’t the healthiest of drinks, and it really depends on the quality of the ingredients used. Ding Tea is a franchise operation which takes the latter seriously, and they’ve been around for four years.

When I’m seeing more competing specialty shops open in this city–the latest is Black Ball Taiwanese Dessert Café on Yates–I feel its time to start rating all the operations.

The main office claims this chain has fresh libations, and when I always see a line-up of customers at the Shelbourne Mall operation every time I’m here here to catch pocket monsters in Pokemon GO, I knew it’s time to try them out! The area is a frequent hotspot for good finds and this franchise should seriously consider sponsoring stops when considering there’s diners in every country! Like the AR game, the faithful carry more than one sweet pet in hand. I’m not sure if this loyal fan base is new or old. Border restrictions to prevent COVID-19 have lightened, but they are technically still in place.

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