Some of the strengths of The Soda Shoppe are immediately obvious: a location that is central to sightseers in Victoria, literally across the street from both the Fairmont Empress Hotel and a Victoria tourist information building. Great classic view of the Parliament building, and much of the inner harbor and the Empress Hotel.
But in addition the service here is very good. One of the great lost drinks, at least in North America, is the ice cream soda. Most everyone had heard of the drink, almost no one knows what goes into one. Even the majority of ice cream shops that I visit don't know how to make one -- I have to tell them the ingredients and how to mix them. That's like having to tell a pit master how to barbecue pork, an absurd situation but somehow ice cream sodas have become a forgotten drink.
I was initially disappointed to see that The Ice Cream Shoppe doesn't have ice cream sodas on its menu. I was all set to order an ordinary float, but asked if they knew how to make an ice cream soda. The guy behind the counter, Fred, said sure and we worked out which flavors to use and he proceeded to make one for me. Fred noted that they don't put ice cream sodas on the menu because people rarely order them, but he said that most everyone at The Ice Cream Shoppe knows how to make one -- the customer just has to know to order "off the menu".
The next five minutes were bliss, as I had my first ice cream soda in several years.
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