Monday, September 26, 2011

Food for the rainy season

Well, that was a rainy day in Victoria. It was a Vancouver kind of a day. Scarcely a hint of light all day. Whatever our reputation, we don't usually go in for that kind of thing here in Victoria. Ilana and I spent a semester in Vancouver when she was finishing the coursework for her midwifery degree at UBC. And there it rained. I mean it really rained. All day, unrelenting, heavy rain. The kind of rain that makes you want to leave your porch light on all day. But here in Victoria we usually glimpse sunlight sometime in the course of a day, even in the depths of the rainy season. Today there may have been a tiny glimpse, but that was a stinker.

It put me to mind of food for the rainy season here in Victoria. The food I like tends to be good rainy weather food. You won't regret heading to Stage (still a delight, despite the "for sale" sign) when it is raining. But I've recently been to two fine noodle places that I'm trying to promote.

I Kyu Noodles, at 564 Fisgard St., is the best meal I've found in Chinatown. The restaurant is casual in the extreme, the menu is very limited, and service is not an area of emphasis. But you could do much, much worse on a rainy day in Victoria. The chef makes fresh noodles and dumplings every day, presenting both in various soups and sauces. The food is fresh and the flavours clean. You'll leave I Kyu clearer headed and warmer chested than when you went in. Not bad on a rainy day. To read more reviews, click on the spoon below:
I Kyu Noodles on Urbanspoon

I am also really keen on on new place, Lao Vientiane, 701-771 Vernon Ave, which is located on Blanshard Street as you leave Victoria, right in the middle of the "Little Edmonton" district that is still under development there.

I can tell you absolutely nothing about Lao cuisine. To even begin, I would have to do precisely what you might. But no matter, I had something spicy off of the chef's specials and was very pleasantly surprised. A noodle dish crowded with meat and veggies, it was nonetheless restrained and precise. The flavours came together with purpose. Their was no greasy overlay to the dish: it was fresh, clear, and well articulated. The staff were eager, anxious, and lovely. The place only opened this summer, and they are nervous and hopeful. They've made a good start in finding a talented chef. Hopefully success can follow, and they'll be able to move out of their current location into Fernwood Village.

To read more rave reviews of Lao Vientiane, click on the spoon below:
Lao Vientiane Restaurant on Urbanspoon