From Farm to Tractor(ing) Everyday Healthy Foods at the Inner Harbour

Tractor Foods · Everyday Healthy FoodsTractor Everyday Healthy Foods
805 Government St
Victoria, BC

Hours: Mon to Sun 8:00am to 8:00pm
Phone: (778) 247-0354

Menu: tractorfoods.com

ES: From sandwich shop to soup kitchen (if it can be called that), the deli turned health food stop certainly knows how to serve the soups and stews up warm and fresh. They also know keeping a few luncheon staples folded between breads is still important. The operation is now known as Tractor. They have farm fresh in mind, and my meal was cozy enough to warm me up on a wet day while downtown Victoria, BC.

DK: While waiting for Ed a young man in a suit passed by along Government Street. Not a suit, suit. More an “I’m here for a conference and I need to look fresh and clean when the gang goes out on the town” suit. Anyway, while striding by one of his companions asked if he’d ever been to Tractor, and what his opinion was. “Nice aesthetic, but pretty expensive,” was the man on the street’s reply.

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We Made it to Esquimalt Ribfest and Surviving the Colossal Onion

20210911_184634Esquimalt Ribfest
Bullen Park

Sept 10-12, 2021

Don and I made it Esquimalt’s Ribfest! Though we met up for dinner elsewhere to sate our appetites (review coming in two weeks), my suggestion to check out this festival was with no regrets.

We saw a new tent that may well be part of the annual show. And, it gave us reason to return since we didn’t want to deal with the long lineup for The Colossal Onion. on the evening we went. We both agree that this event is not the type to return to every year. Our criticism is that the “competitors” hardly change. When compared to similiar shows elsewhere around North America, there’s tons of operations out there who can bbq up a tasty pork or beef rib. Either they’re not as well known to get invited to the island or they’re not into national-level challenges.

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Cats and Coffee? What Can Go Wrong?

cats logo.pngCat’s Coffee & Cake
1213 Douglas St
Victoria, BC

Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM
Phone: (250) 590-1699
Website: https://www.catscoffeecake.com/

This cat certainly wants to come back to the cafe on Douglas Street because of the treats and sweets offered. Not only is the company logo designed by local artist Gareth Gaudin, but also I figure it’s his favourite hangout spot when not behind the till at Legends Comics. I believe they also offer catering services too, which is a bonus for any downtown operation wanting to support local enterprises. 

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I was feeling peckish the day I was in town. The signboard detailing Cat’s Coffee & Cake specials caught my eye. Kimchi and bacon in a croissant sandwich? I knew it’d be a flavourful combination, but there was a small lineup. I had another errand to do and when I returned, there was none. 

At first I thought I’d be entering a cafe with cute felines around, but alas, that’s another operation in the works (Mask and Mantle Cat Cafe are still searching for the ideal location to set up shop). This operation is apparently a passion project of master pastry chef Yi Catherine Yang who decided to set up shop in the busiest intersection of Downtown Victoria. She’s well known in China as the host of several TV cooking shows. Through these programs, she’s been promoting culture through the exchange of how to make up flavourful treats. While she may not be living in this city and working this particular kitchen (her resume lists her as the creative force behind New York’s Gigi Blue), to have her endorsement is enough.

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A Blast with the Past with Mr Mikes

985 Whirlaway Cres
Langford, BC

Hours: 4–9p.m.
Phone: (250) 590-3222

Available for Take Out by phone (menu)

Going to Mr Mikes Steakhouse Restaurant is a blast of the past–a tradition from my youth. This franchise operation is renowned for their burgers and it was sad when they nearly disappeared from the local landscape in Victoria, BC in the late 80s. Like Fuddruckers, both operations were very well known and the quality was a step above what the fast-food joints offered. To make a comeback will be tougher.

I’m not just thinking of the current covid-19 stay at home order to flatten the curve and whether diners are fussy. This company needs an advertising campaign to let old timers like me (yes, I’m admitting it) that they are still around. Continue reading

The Songhees Have a Beat at Victoria Clipper

this-is-canadas-first-aboriginal-food-truckSonghees Seafood & Steam
Victoria Clipper Terminal
254 Belleville St
Victoria, BC

Visitors arriving at Victoria, BC via The Clipper will be in for a treat! Not only are they arriving in a city originally occupied by this First Nation, but also they have an opportunity to partake in this culture’s yummy in my tummy traditions. From fried bread (I love this over Naan) to salmon, their selection is delectable. Their homemade jam (usually made from blackberries) makes for a perfect dip with the bread they offer. At the end of the day, they may give away the leftover supply so a fresh batch can be made for the next. For this dough, it’s best experienced warm than cold. With my extra piece which I could not finish, I got to try both extremes.

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In what this place supplies is basically comfort food. You’ll find french fries too (I don’t believe this is a cultural product, but that’s okay), and I had their version of poutine and it was very filling. The fries were very good, and the paprika mayo dipping sauce certainly helped make this dish over the top!

Next time, though, I will have to try one of their burger combinations. There’s the choice between salmon and portabella as the main source of protein, and both sound good. My money is on the latter on my next visit. As much as I love bison, I find it hard to believe that some of these creatures roamed to this land during the last Ice Age to settle here. They may have but I find prairie type of oxen better tasting!

3½ Blokes out of 5

[Guest Review] Not Everyone Jones’ for John’s Place

John’s Place
723 Pandora Ave.

Victoria, BC

(250) 389-0711

[This guest review is by Naomi DeBruyn of Void Girl. She was the former editor of Linear Reflections E-Magazine. In her last visit to Victoria, BC, sometimes visiting old establishments is not perfect. She was with friends in this outing ….]

Touted as ‘The place to eat in Victoria!’ I found this dining experience to one of the most pathetic I’ve ever endured. Yes, endured. It was more than an experience, it was an agonizing waste of time.

Having only two hours before our movie started, we decided on ‘John’s Place’ for our dinner. It was virtually empty, even with the addition of the three of us, the customers were still under ten in number. We were awaiting a fourth, but decided to order anyhow. A good thing we did, believe me!

There were multiple staff and the place was decorated with ‘star personalities’ who had eaten there, and old time sports memorabilia. Well, lucky those stars were who they are as I’m betting it influenced the service.

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