The Vicious Poodle
726 Johnson St,
Weekdays Noon to 10pm
Weekends: 11:00am to 10pm
On a quiet day, nobody would immediately know the Vicious Poodle pub is one of the new centres where LGBTQ can find terrific eats and enjoy an evening burlesque or drag show. One look at the menu, the focus is obvious. Also, the decor tells all. After my visit to nerd row, I was hungry and didn’t want to hit any of my regular food spots.
Any dining operation can struggle to stay afloat during a pandemic. Not every patron is willing to “come out” to support their favourite diner, especially with all the stay safe for your health restrictions in place. When owner/operator Socrates Diamant worked on converting the Sockeye Sushi Japanese diner (it had a lot of box seating) space and made it open spaced and inviting, my heterosexuality was not challenged. Instead, I saw my quest for perfect French fries ongoing. After the first bite, I was ready to sing ou la la and do the can-can.
Sült Pierogi Bar
609 Yates St
Thurs- Sat: Noon to 8pm
Phone: (778) 265-7858
Although not young by any means, a certain Pierogi Bar is hardly an old Sült. I’ve been meaning to try them out and they’re roughly a few years old. I’m not always interested in dumplings–there’s so much variety and it’s tough to beat mom’s wonton’s. Gyozas are a different manner, but for the traditional European version, I’m sure this place is terrific. However, after seeing that they’ve partnered with Papa’s Poutinerie, I had to walk in.
Going west–to downtown–has an all new meaning. It felt like I was entering a cowboy saloon. Although the operation was very empty at the time I was there (it was just as the city was entering stage two of reopening), the staff there was very friendly and I daydreamed “How the West Was Won” as I glanced at the menu. Food-wise, this meal was a poutine with garlic, bacon, cheese curds, sour cream, green onions and smoked sausage gravy piled on top. It was superb!
Tap & Barrel
Convention Centre Location
76-1055 Canada Place
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Phone: (604) 235-9827
The Tap and Barrel is a contemporary pub located to one corner of the Vancouver Convention Centre and it’s conveniently placed for hungry visitors to any event, namely Fan Expo Vancouver, to hit. Even after summertime shows like Anime Revolution (taking place Aug 9 to 11), I’m sure this place is bustlin’.
The prices are very reasonable for the standard staples that feed budget minded con-goers. There’s hamburgers, fish and chips and sandwiches. For a quick breakfast, I got all the fuel needed to tackle the said convention without having to venture far. Until the organizers decide to switch buildings, this eatery is a less than a stone’s throw away.
Cenote Restaurant and Lounge
768 Yates St,
Hours: 12:00pm to 12:00am
Phone: (778) 433-4848
Cenote is a fun little nesting place to dine in. They do host small performances (music) at night. I often walk past it and often wonder if hipster style diner is for me. The place was recommended by one former employee of the Victoria Film Festival (I wish she still worked for them) and a few friends who live downtown. When it’s located underground, down a level on Yates st., next to Lyle’s Place (or is that underneath?), seeking some places out reminds me of a certain movie. As Above, Down Below was an okay horror film about encountering strange evils in the catacombs beneath Paris, but I can think of better.
The etymology of this operation’s name does speak to me. Not everyone knows the original word is Mayan in origin (dzonot), meaning “well.” That is, unlike a traditional design of an aqueduct, the pipe connects to an underground body of water to which citizens can draw water from.
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
EXP Restaurant + Bar
309 W Pender St
EXP Restaurant & Bar has been operating since late 2012 and sadly, by the time I visit this place again, it will be closed. I came across this article about the problems of keeping such operations afloat in a tough as nails city core. I can only hope and let readers know that if the Rio Theatre can be saved by Deadpool himself, is there hope for EXP? Sadly, no.
Their latest Facebook post made the news of closing official. I’m posting this article in memoriam and can only hope a future exists in another space. I get the feeling the owners and operators are not going down easy. They may have an alternate plan in the works but do not want to jinx the future.
Reprinted (in part) from otakunoculture.com: