585 Johnson St
Hours: Tues-Sun 11:00 am to 6:00 pm
Phone: (778) 432-0664
Yes, I make no bones about it, I love rice balls. A long time ago, a Chinese-style variant included a deep-fried type where the gooey cheese interior made for all the difference. This was before I discovered Onigiri, a healthier Japanese snacking version to which I’ve never looked back in my switch.
Oni-Oni is a satellite operation of Sakura Sushi and is a place I’ll definitely return to when I need my sweet rice vinegar fix! They have fifteen flavours of onigiri to choose from! Not all of them are always available, but if you call ahead, it’s possible to get what you want made to order. Eating one is not enough, and for a hearty individual like me, I can eat up to four of them in one go. These bites are like snacks, and aren’t the huge ones people sometimes see in anime. They’re about the same size as the ones bought at Fujiya’s on Shelbourne. Plus, this store has Okashi and Nomimono too!
Now in its fifth year, Esquimalt Ribfest is growing in popularity and it may well be exceeding the capacity of how many people can be at Bullen park. I finally made it back to this show. For once, I was not ill or down with a sprained ankle. Three years have passed since I was here last, and while nothing much has changed — especially when it’s moreorless the same group of ribbers — I feel changes are needed if it’s to accommodate an ever increasing crowd and be versatile. Grizzly BBQ is a new entrant, but their scents were not enticing as I was letting my nose be my guide for which ribber to hit.
James went on Saturday with a date (he’ll argue otherwise and I was amazed). When he told me, of course I had to ask him for his thoughts so I can provide a summary about this event. He too thought it needs changing. He hoped to get his drinks and meat side-by-side than to hop across the field. I told him that’s how this event has always been, and it’s his fault for not getting his alcohol first and meal second. He arrived during the mad dinnertime hours and lucked out getting in. People were entering in small numbers, equaling those who left. Once inside, he looked at the scary lineups of everyone craving protein and was thankful the time it took to get to the till was not long. He enjoyed the food and wasn’t here to review since he was with his girlfriend. But I grilled him for opinion anyway and he had a lot to say in how space was used. He did give high marks for Gator BBQ‘s beans tho’. He thought it included either honey or molasses.
Cherry Bomb Toys in Victoria, BC is expanding. Not only do they have the National Toy Museum of Canada, on the second floor, which showcases approximately 80 years of love for childhood knickknacks, but soon, they will be opening their basement for people to use on a by appointment basis. The official opening is tentatively set for the end of March.
This area will not be limited to families wishing to celebrate their child’s birthdays (or an adult’s) in a venue that does not have to be their home. B Woodword, manager of the store, explained that not everyone has the space, especially if they live downtown, and cleanup for a whole home can be a chore. This operation’s idea is to offer a safe space so people can have fun in. There’s an arcade area filled with classic gaming consoles (Nintendo and SEGA were spotted) and four separate television screens so anyone can game with. People can bring their own next-gen consoles, but the purpose of this space is to stay retro. A dining room type area (with a few basic kitchen essentials) exists so people can mingle in. Of course, washroom facilities is down the hall.
Included in the rental party package ($200 for 2 hours) includes LEGO product promotions. Anyone celebrating a birthday here gets a build-a-fig product to take home. The honouree gets a $20 gift certificate and lots of bricks to play with while here.
612 Head St.
E: I’m finding that the out-of-the-way Japanese diners do better at serving up delicious meals than those in town. In the municipality of Oak Bay, there’s Osaka and in the district of Esquimalt, there’s Kyubey. In Saanich (Lower), there’s Yoshi. While there’s none to find in Gordon Head (yet) maybe one day that will come. Sorry Sushi Island, but there’s nothing ‘traditional’ I find in your dishes. While they do serve Okonomiyaki, I’m finding that going out to the docks on the opposite end of the city is where I need to be to get my serving.
The thought of the shrimp pancake offered here had me pulling James away from his plans in the morning and diving deep into this municipality for a touch of authentic fare.
J: Hope Key is one of those places I was introduced to by a friend a few years ago. Although I have previously visited here, I’ve never tried their food or their drinks. My only experience with Hope Key was relaxing in their loft while my friend enjoyed her bubble tea. But now things are different, I was hungry and they were offering a dinner buffet after many restaurants in downtown Victoria had closed for the night. With Ed just as desperate to find a place to eat, he stepped through the doorway willingly.
E: On a late night, we were without a chance in hell to find a place that would be open after 9pm. James keeps on thinking we’ve run out of places to hit to review, but I always point out that it depends on how much you’re willing to spend on a meal. Given his frugalness, that pretty much eliminates many places.
I wasn’t prepared to spend a lot either since my dollars were depleted after several travel excursions. Vancouver and Seattle can do that. We were without a hope until he mentioned this place.
Atomic Vaudeville’s (AV) Sunday Funday at the Victoria Fringe Festival is a highlight for many local veterans acquainted with the craziness that goes on. This event has been a staple for many years, and it’s a highlight for most long time Fringers. They advise this show is a must see! This event brings the talent pool from this organization along with some performers from this year’s show, to put on a fun-filled night that runs approximately 90 minutes, starting around 11pm. Doors open at 10:30. and last night, it was a full house at the Victoria Event Center.
From reinterpretations of 50 Shades of Grey ala Doctor Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham to World Wrestling Entertainment mash-ups (with Jeff Leard present), attendees will thrill to and cheer. Even the Birdman stripped down to his skivvies all in the name of trying to bring the house down. This show is a fundraiser to build a fund to keep the Victoria Fringe Festival going for years to come. The highlight is a Pink Floyd musical mash-up with the dancers providing a light show (using flashlights) set to music from “The Wall” and ending with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”