Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba
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?
2706 Government St
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)
Phone: (250) 383-9886
ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!
DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.
Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.
83 Spring St
Seattle, WA 98104
Hours: 11 am to 11 pm
Phone: (206) 340-8880
I should not be surprised that Seattle is becoming much more like Victoria, BC at every new visit I make. Yes, I’ve been spending my holidays here and that’s because this city is easy to reach, and not all that expensive to get there. The food can be pricey at times, but the less I spend on transportation, the more can be explored with various operations here. I feel more Japanese eateries exists in this city per square block than any other. Competition is stiff, and I don’t feel the need to return my go to places when there’s more to discover every visit.
Nijo is a comfortable place to have something old and something new. I had dishes which were not the staples for many a meal. Yes, I can get tired of tuna and salmon fast.
The Crawfish King
725 S Lane St
Hours: 12:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
Phone: (206) 623-3622
Eating too much fried food, as anyone will tell you, is bad for your health. With The Crawfish King, my advice is to be prepared for a lot of exercise in the week after dining here. On one side of the menu is tons of crispy goodness. The basket allows for one main course and two sides (thank god they have soup and salads). On the other, a boil, has a lot of seafood offered up somewhat Louisiana style. I should have gone for that instead. When my plus sized friends love their grease, the smell was almost overwhelming but it gave me an opportunity to try nearly everything this operation offers.
Sadly, the menu does not list prices. Anything from the sea is based on current market value for such goodies as crawfish, shrimp, lobster and etc. It’s easy enough to ask, but was I prepared to pay more than $50 for a meal? Sure, if I was sharing with friends. On my own, I could do it, and have leftovers for the next day. Next time, that will be my plan.
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.
Red Brick Cafe
2423 Beacon Ave #106
Phone: (250) 655-1822
Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
When I’m in a rush to the BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminus to my next great adventure (which I’ve been doing a lot more of lately), not a lot of options for a quick stop for a meal exists. When trying to make the first ferry of the day, it’s nearly impossible to grab a warm breakfast. I could pay more and charge into the Pacific Buffet lounge on the boat–which is what I often do–but I was with friends this day and they were on a tighter budget than I was for what to grab to eat.
A taste of home-made and no thrills can found in the early mornings in Sidney, BC. That was the consensus with the pals I was with. We enjoyed the morning sea breeze, chatted about our plans for the geek fest we were headed to while sipping fancy coffees–varying from lattes to expressos to basic (for me, anyway).