Shanzee’s Biscuit Cafe
529 Pandora Ave
Hours: 8am to 3pm
Phone: (778) 433-9089
The fact you can see your meal made fresh in an open-air kitchen at Shunzee’s Biscuit (formerly Bitchin Biscuit) says a lot towards this operation’s success. If the scents of bacon crisped on the spot do not wet your appetite, then the other tantalizing delights of pork on the grill will. The reason behind the change of name is obvious for those who are from the Pacific Northwest; In Seattle, Biscuit Bitch is the queen of Capitol Hill. Technically the area is actually Downtown Seattle (i.e. Pike Place Market). When I’m staying nearby, I make this place my go-to breakfast stop. Back home, Shunzee won me over. If she was a person than an operation, I’d most likely be courting her.
Her warm biscuits are soft and worth nuzzling. With the cold months ahead, I can certainly find a lot of comfort here in these digs, and in the food they offer. The eggs can be prepared any way you like. They taste farm fresh. When I’m savouring free range, I’m cock-a-doodle doodling in approval and have to wonder how much of this operations product comes from local farms.
I should find out where they get their Louisiana sausage. The jalapeno kick certainly nailed a lot of my pleasure centers. The meal itself is not too big. I have to make comparisons. When I was in Seattle, the meal I bought for breakfast was more than enough. I saved half for lunch. For Shunzee, the portion is just right. I wolfed it all down and still had an appetite for more.
I can easily visit this place for brunch. After more than a few visits, this operation certainly satisfies for morning or afternoon meal. They don’t do dinner for obvious reasons. Although should one show up later in the day, the possibility exists to might miss the bacon train. They usually use Hertel bacon (very renowned throughout the Canadian side of the Pacific Northwest). The day I went, they had to rush to the nearest market and obtain a different brand to keep up with demand.
The scents of bacon still drew me in, but when it’s not the right kind of pork, maybe it’s better to say sorry, “we’re sold out.”
4 Blokes out of 5
J & J Wonton Noodle House
1012 Fort St
Hours: 11am to 2pm,
4:30pm to 8:30pm
Phone: (250) 383-0680
When an operation touts their specialty is with wonton, my craving for this wonderful dumpling is better served at home, here in beautiful Victoria, BC than going to the mainland. The shrimp & pork style is the best. For those craving one protein than both, the single variety can be ordered. This operation was very accommodating by taking my order while I was waiting for a seat. Like a ramen shop, I easily popped in for a bite even though other people were here for dinner. When people are opting for the latter, I recommend making a reservation!
Wor style is preferred over traditional. Not only are the dumplings bigger, but you get more bang out of your buck. In this visit, I opted for simple and it’s my fault for not realizing how hungry I was. Even on a quiet day, to see this place is always busy is very good.
Neptune Wonton Noodle
4405 Central Blvd,
Phone: (778) 379-0639
There is more to the Neptune franchise name than just their Seafood Restaurants in downtown Vancouver and Coquitlam (to name a few). Yes, I’ve been visiting Vancouver quite a bit, and it’s tough for me to not say a thing about many an established chain on the mainland.
For regular Asian customers, it’s a place to hit (especially in Burnaby) and the staff treats them more kindly than Caucasians. I’m sorry, but this detail was particularly jarring when I suggested to my friend that we check this place out. We were in the area for a book signing at Chapters. Instead of a bite in Metropolis in Metrotown (Burnaby, BC), we opted for an establishment close to our hotel. While behaviours from the older generation never change in regards to other cultures wanting to come in to explore ethnic tastes, I question whether they should be working in the dining / public service sector or not. Continue reading
Memphis Blues BBQ House
430 Robson St
Hours: 11am to 10pm
Phone: (604) 682-6220
Multiple Locations in Lower Mainland
One criticism people raised down south (from the States) around Louisana often make when they see an establishment that’s not from the region and based out of another country is if the food is authentic, or are they trying to go for a schtick to get folks not from the region in?
Memphis Blues BBQ faces that challenge. Can they convince a West Coast boy like me or cajole friends of mine, who are from the South (but moved here for a cooler climate or other reasons), that they truly did bring the tastes of the region up to the Pacific Northwest so they can be reminded of home? I know two: one born in Texas (she now lives up island) and a Facebook buddy who was from there. I discovered this place while in Vancouver for a concert and did not want to wander far from my hotel to sate certain cravings. I love ‘gator, crawfish and gumbo. This diner has one out of the three. Maybe on another visit, I can try Le Crocodile, a really expensive upscale place to make comparisons between budget and trendy. I’m okay with this franchise operation. I went to their lunch stop on Robson.
2360 Beacon Ave W,
Phone: (778) 426-3442
Over at Woodshed Restaurant, the pizzas are fired quick and they come out nice and hot! No, a slice has not burned my tongue, but to smell what’s coming from that roaster, especially with the right dish, is particularly mouth watering. I’ll usually hit this place first since it’s not far from the Mary Winspear Centre. When I’m there for an event, I’d rather not venture too far to get back here for the fun that’s to take place in the evening. I was here for Van Isle Comic Con, a terrific event that does not even try to copy others with high profile guests. They get comic book illustrators and people involved behind the scenes. I feel this show will go farther than Capital City. Their huge selling point is that entry is by donation and not motivated with revitalizing a stagnant city core!
Woodshed is a pub style establishment where pizza is their specialty. They offer chicken and ribs too, and also traditional pub style appies. The next time I’m here, I’ll have to sample. When given the wide choice of toppings for pizza, just what should I get? I opted for the #10, with Anchovies, roasted garlic, marinated tomatoes, olives, mozza on tomato sauce. My muscle memory is already salivating and I enjoyed the combination. With this particular fish, the taste can be overpowering especially when too much is used. The talent behind the kitchen got the mix just right.
The plate used to hold the pizza keeps the heat around so none of it tastes cold. The service was good. Sometimes I had to make a psychic shoutout that I wanted a refill of water, and they heard.
The place has a rustic tone to it, to make relaxing here easy. Had I not have to worry about the long bus commute back home on a lazy Sunday, I’d say here longer and enjoy the ambience. A walk down to the dock and boardwalk would have made being here all the more pleasant.
3½ Blokes out of 5
Gelato Express N2
320 Robson St
Hours: noon to 10pm
Phone: (604) 428-9926
Frozen treats during a cold day is not a good idea. Just how some businesses stay in operation during the slow winter season is a mystery to me. When Spring and Summertime roll in, I can see many have a full staff keeping order. Strangely, there was nobody around at the front desk when I decided to make a stop in, before a concert. I had a meal elsewhere prior, but a sudden craving had me finding this operation on the way towards Rogers Arena.
To watch your gelato made fresh—flash frozen with nitrogen gas—is certainly more of a novelty than an innovation. The flavours will vary from month to month, and I had a vanilla peanut crumble. The extra depth to the creaminess is very nice, and I had mine in a cone than a cup. While this product is certainly on the pricey side, it’s not going to be for every local to rush on down to.
This operation is located close to BC Place. For visitors to the city who want to avoid the more expensive arena food, at least there are options outside of this stadium. Just be sure to fill up before entering. No outside food is permitted unless it’s already in your stomach.
3 Blokes out of 5