Tuesday, May 29, 2012

May/June 2012 Garage Sale

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Moving Sale / Garage Sale
5796 Sussex Avenue
Burnaby, BC V5H 3B6

Daily 10am to 2pm.
Parking easily available very close by.

Feel free to make an offer on any plants, furniture, furnishings, knick knacks, or anything else that catches your eye.

All prices negotiable.
Cash only.
Owner is downsizing, so no returns please.

Monday, May 28, 2012

McCain's Traditional Crust Pizza 4 for $10 at IGA

On and off I've written about cheap frozen pizza. Typically they hit a low price of about $5 for a typical large pizza. Well now there's frozen pizza that's even cheaper. This week at the IGA Marketplace near Metrotown, they are selling McCain's Traditional Crust frozen pizza at 4 for $10. That works out to $2.50 per pizza, AND you can save an extra $0.03 if you bring your own bag instead of taking one of their plastic bags.

The crust is thin enough to approach being "thin crust", and doesn't expand significantly when you bake it. Since other thin crust pizzas weighing in between 450 and 500 grams can be $5, this is a fantastic deal that's on this week. So what's the catch? Well...
  • It's slightly smaller than the other pizzas. It's hard to tell just by looking at the box, but the suspiciously lower weight should that away.
  • The tomato sauce is drastically reduced. In fact, there are many locations on the "Deluxe" pizza (pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom) I tried to day where you can see clear to the crust.
    • Yup, it's very skimpy on the sauce. But before you balk at this, consider:
      • It's still a savoury and salty-enough pizza.
      • Do you really want that much saltiness/sodium in your pizza?
    • It's an interesting trade-off to be sure. If you don't miss all that sauce, then this will be a passable line of pizzas.
There's nothing really special here about McCain's Traditional Crust pizza, but nothing wrong about it either. Taste-wise, it's comparable to other frozen pizzas. What's special is this week's 4-for-$10 deal at IGA Marketplace -- which, in case you didn't know, also delivers. So if you want this in *real* bulk quantities for that summer kids party or whatever, you might consider paying $6 for the convenience. Here's the blurb:

We Deliver
$6.00 local delivery
$3.50 for seniors
Free Delivery on Tuesday for Seniors (min. $35.00 order)
Delivery Service Hours: 8am - 8pm Everyday

McCain Traditional Crust Pizza

Eating at Richmond's Summer Night Market

Summer Night Market 夏日夜市 on Urbanspoon This year, Richmond features two night markets. The "Richmond Night Market" near Bridgeport Station and the casino, and the "Summer Night Market" near IKEA and Home Depot. I've heard the term "Richmond Night Market" for both, but if you are looking for the location near IKEA and sort-of near the Knight Street Bridge, where the Richmond Night Market used to be, then this year you're looking for the "Summer Night Market".

In general, the eats there are food-stall or food cart type prices--that is, individual portions slightly overpriced. Some items are grossly overpriced.

  • Noodles and some "dim sum" style items like char siu pao or siu mai are so-so priced, especially if you get a combo plate with some noodles on it. For about $6, you might be hard-pressed to get the same price for Chinese restaurant take-out, but you'll get more food per buck.
  • I saw the one stall selling very large char siu pao, but when I saw it being eaten, the actual amount of barbequed pork inside was remarkably little. The amount of fluffy dough here looked to be almost twice the thickness as the buns you might pick up at T&T, which already have fairly thick buns to begin with. Since you can't outright see how much filling you're getting, I guess it's caveat emptor.
  • There was the one stall selling barbequed meats in the southern US style. Standouts there were turkey drumsticks and $3.25 pulled pork sandwiches. The used regulation sized soft potato buns, so for $3.25, you're getting pretty good value compared to, say, Re-Up, which uses a slightly larger Portuguese bun but costs $7. And they have the grill right there on-site, versus having the meat prepped off-site.
  • One of the vendors was selling "Seaweed Rolls", which  were intriguing until I tried it. The small order was $3 for 3. It turned out to be vermicelli wrapped in seaweed paper (like the stuff they use for sushi). This is then dipped in something and deep fried. Whatever they dipped it in, it came out super-crunchy! Not very oily. Fun to eat, but as each was about the size of your thumb (er, depending on the size of your thumb, I guess), at $1 each it was very pricey.
  • The fad of the evening seemed to be "hurricane potatoes" (tornado fries): A potato on a skewer sliced thinly into a single long spiral. Comes with a sprinkle of seasoning or long squirts of sauce. Most of your money goes into the fact that it's fun to look at and eat.
  • Similar in concept but looking very different are Korean Corn Dogs or Ugly Corn Dogs. These are chopped potato (or sweet potato) somehow molded into a long corndog. Also comes with seasonings or sauce.
  • Desserts are probably the best value at the market, and seemed to be priced about the same as you might find in a bubble tea cafe. There are some pretty big portions to be had for around $5. Scout them out first so you don't overeat snaking on savouries.
Overall, I wouldn't try putting together dinner at the Summer Night Market. It's just not good value for your money. Go for just a snack or dessert while you're browsing the wares, which at the Summer Night Market last Friday accounted for maybe only half the stalls.

If you're looking for space to eat your food in peace without bumping into people, the seating near the food stalls is okay but crowded. Instead, make your way to the other end of the market, all the way out of the food stall area and even past the merchandise vendors to the spacious and unpopulated perimeter. No seating, but lots of space and no stress.

Solid Value at Jamaican Pizza Jerk

Jamaican Pizza Jerk on UrbanspoonThe chef looks a bit like a friendly pirate with his gold earrings and broad smile revealing a row of gold teeth. On the hot Saturday afternoon I was there with a couple of Food Bloggers, the place was completely dead except for the three of us, although a couple of people drifted in later. A second chef/helper came in much later, so they are probably busier in the evening.

The menu on the Jamaican Pizza Jerk website has an odd stutter and slow-load-time considering its simple layout. Also, don't trust the few pictures that are there. We didn't order any irie bowls this time around, but the picture of cowfoot definitely didn't match up with what I got.

Cowfoot is only available on Saturday and at 1pm, it was "almost ready", so that's what I got, plus a slice of Rumba Cake to share. The other orders were Jerk Chicken and a Jamaican Patty (chicken). Water came with a small wedge of lemon, which is a courtesy you don't always see nowadays. Instead of bread to start, we got a complimentary small plate of freshly fried and (very) salted plantain chips.
  • Cowfoot
    • This picture on the website suggests a little mound of meat, but what came to the table was a long plate separated into three sections:
      • Coleslaw -- on every "meal order". About 1 small bowl's worth.
      • A tight bowlful of rice with large red beans -- also on every "meal order". This was the bulk of the plate and what gets you nice and full for your money.
      • Some large chunks of bone with stew-softened tendon and skin/fat. NO meat. About 1 bowl in volume. Very tasty stew/soup.
    • The stew with the cowfoot was nice, but the actual cowfoot, being just tendon and skin, was boring. It's interesting to try as an ethnic food, but I can see how it wouldn't be for everyone.
    • It comes across more or less like a very firm jelly. Rubbery, but now chewy. Not too much taste to it at all -- all the tastiness is from the stew/soup.
    • It doesn't sound particularly exciting that one third of your plate is rice and another third is coleslaw. And in the grand scheme of things, it isn't, especially if you consider these to be "fillers". But what sets Jamaican Pizza Jerk apart from, say, PCOV, is that the chef goes the extra step to give it interestingness without overdoing things.
      • It's not "just rice", but rice boiled in large red beans, giving the overall presentation an interesting colour and the added taste and texture of the beans.
      • The coleslaw adds a nice orangey colour by de-emphasizing the usual white cabbage; and gives a balance of taste to the plate, opposing the savoury stew and helping with the comparatively plain rice.
  • Jerk Chicken
    • This came with coleslaw and rice, as above.
    • The meat on this seemed a bit reddish, so it might have been a bit on the "medium rare".
    • There's definitely a slight spicy kick, but it wasn't hot per se -- almost on the mild side for my accustomed-to-hot-curry palate.
  • Jamaican Patty - $3
    • This was about the size of two iPhones. Looked deep fried, but it wasn't very oily at all, so it was actually hard to tell.
    • There are three types: Chicken, Beef, and Vegetarian. I didn't get to try this, but the person who ordered it seemed okay with it. Not thrilled, exactly, but not complaining about it either.
  • Fay's Rumba Cake - $3.50
    • Looks like chocolate cake, but it's actually a sort of fruit cake. There's definitely fruitiness to it, but it's all ground in and not clearly visible. A dense, moist cake.
    • Served with possibly canned mango chopped into bits and with syrup.
    • For $3.50, it was a good sized portion, about the size of a Long John donut -- More cake than you might see for $6.00 in other places.
Overall, I think there's interesting food to be had here, and I'm though the vegan pizzas are probably not very Jamaican, I'm curious to go back to try it. For your money, Jamaican Pizza Jerk offers fair, solid value through full-sized filling portions on their meal plates. Not so much with the Jamaican Patties, but at $3 it's not out of line with how take-out street-food style portions tend to be priced (a single samosa, for example, could set you back about that much pretty much anywhere you go).

There was actual table service -- the Chef himself brought the food out to us, and checked in on us mid-way (which was awfully nice since he had to also juggle prepping the kitchen for the day as well) -- but since you pay at the counter, you might be inclined to forget the tip as it's not mentioned and not included in the bill. There's a cup at the counter for tips.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Western Family Turkey Cranberry Lean Sliders

I recently wrote about the disappointingly wooden tasting PC Blue Menu Chicken Sliders. A very similar product in composition of the patty (but obviously with different seasonings) is the Western Family Turkey Cranberry Lean Sliders. Slight cranberry flavour, but similar not-very-meat-like patty that may very well contain a good amount of "soy protein product" meat extender. Curiously, I can't find it on the Western Family website anymore, so it may have been discontinued.

Western Family Turkey Cranberry Lean Sliders

Monday, May 21, 2012

PC Blue Menu Chicken Sliders

PC Blue Menu Chicken Sliders: Mini Lean Chicken Burgers: "mini burgers made with tender breast meat prepared with red bell pepper, sun-dried tomato and a hint of herbs and spices - the perfect appetizer for summertime entertaining".
Ingredients: Chicken, water, toasted wheat crumbs, textured soy protein, dehydrated red bell peppers, salt, sugar, spices, sun-dried tomatoes (contain sulphites), spice extracts, flavour, garlic extract, onion extract. May contain egg.

On the plus side, the sun-dried tomato and other seasonings do give these burgers a little pep. If not for the "meat", I think it would have made a decent burger.

I say "meat", because I'm not sure just how much chicken is in each patty. While there is a bit of chicken taste (and chicken isn't exactly the most flavourful meat to begin with), the overall taste of each burger is so bland and wooden that the seasonings can't save it. And if you cut the burger open and have a close look, it sure doesn't look like chicken meat, ground up or otherwise. In fact, it has a porous look, almost like dried tofu.

The remarkable rubbery firmness of the burger is also disappointing. And that it is firmer than even chicken breast meat (depending on how dry your breast meat is) makes me suspicious of how much non-chicken filler in it. The ingredients include "textured soy protein", which is a common meat extender -- that is, it replaces some of the meat in a product so you get less meat without losing the protein.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cheap Eats - Cheemo Perogies

On and off I write about really cheap frozen pizza. Last week's Mother's Day flyer from Superstore introduced me to really cheap perogies. I haven't tried the Superstore No Name brand yet (which are even cheaper), but Cheemo does make some really decent tasting perogies, and the small 907g boxes were selling for just $1.98 -- which you can compare with frozen pizza deals typically at $5 for around 800g (less if you go for thin crust).

Obviously there's less interesting colour and ingredients if you go for perogies over pizza, but in return you are getting a comparatively great price, convenience, and time savings (they are pre-cooked, so they can be ready quite quickly). They are also easier to transport if you are prepping them for brown bagging your lunch.

So far I've tried the Three Cheese and the Potato, Bacon, and Romano Cheese varieties. I prefer the latter as it has a pronounced bacon flavour to jazz it up a bit more. Overall, the perogies look quite fat, and have a thin edge/seal to them, so they are clearly maximizing the fillings (even if it is mostly potato inside) for your dollars spent.

If you have a bit of time on your hands and want to kick things up a notch, the Cheemo website has many easy recipes using their perogies. Some are quite inventive and interesting, such as Perogy Clam Shells (recipe). They do use more of their product line in their recipes such as bite-sized perogies and whole wheat perogies, so you might have to adapt a bit if you're stuck with the basic selection at Superstore.

The instructions on the back warn not to deep fry the perogies. This is probably because the perogy might expand and break open, or if you throw them in frozen, there could be an explosive hot oil and steam bubble-up. I've fried them before (safely) and they just result in a chewier crust, so there's no real advantage over searing them in a frying pan. In fact, deep frying will just result in more oil, as opposed to pan frying, especially if you use a no-oil-required non-stick pan.

Cheemo Three Cheese Perogies

Cheemo cooking instructions

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Excellent Chocolate Cake at Little Nest

Little Nest on UrbanspoonLast Friday I went back to Little Nest to meet an old friend back in Vancouver after traipsing around the world doing underwater welding. We met up at around 12.30pm, but walked her dog first, so we didn't get to Little Nest till later. We'd thought the lunch rush would be over, and it sort of was, but the place was still quite lively.

I offered to get her lunch, or at least a snack, but she insisted she'd had something to eat prior to coming out, so all she would agree to was a coffee. Which turned out trickier to order than I thought. "Just a coffee" is not explicitly listed on their menu board. They have Americano and Cappucino, if I remember correctly. I tried to explain my friend and I just wanted "a coffee" each, and the fellow at the till had to make the call. He wrote down "8N x 2", if I remember correctly. We both got a large cup of very strong coffee.

I also picked up a slice of "flourless chocolate cake" for $4.50. This came with an elliptical scoop of something that was probably house-made ice cream, except it was warm! -- YUCK! The cake, however, was a winner. It's not quite as "wow" as the vegan chocolate cake at Wallflower Modern Diner, with its generous oozing of chocolate sauce, but it's still really decent. On par with the large slab of gluten-free flourless quinoa chocolate cake from Bandidas Taqueria and around the same size and price.

The cake is quite heavy, and combined with the volume you get can make it a light meal all on its own, or a good sharing size for as much as four persons (providing no one person tries to hog it all).

The chocolate sauce is firm at room temperature, so it's safe to take home without fear of it making a wasteful melted-chocolate mess in your brown take-out bag. It's very dark, and the chocolate is on the bitter side. There's a slight grainy feeling in your mouth, like the quinoa chocolate cake from Bandidas, but otherwise no big deal.

Overall, it's a really nicely done chocolate cake, and the portion you get for $4.50 makes the price quite attractive as well, compared with other cakes and desserts you might get at coffee shops and restaurants.

After a somewhat lacklustre brunch the other day, it's nice to see they do some really mean treats. I'm definitely putting them back on my "to go" list for another dessert some time.

What you get from cheap PR building services

Here's a blog comment Blogger intercepted before it was auto-posted to last December's free cupcake giveaway from Marble Slab Creamery. They are an ice cream dessert company that, as far as I know, does not sell blocks of granite.

2012-Apr-26 granite exporters blog comment

Of course it's possible that a comment on that blog post might still actually nudge up a granite exporter's website page rank due to keyword relevance, but if I were the client, I'd ask for my money back, better links, or better staff handling my account.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


Portuguese Club of Vancouver on Urbanspoon My friend who lives near Commercial Drive raved about it. He said it was good food, big portions, and no HST! Something about the Portuguese Club of Vancouver (PCOV) being a private club meant it didn't have to charge HST. And it was true -- no HST. Sadly, this was probably one of the best parts of our meal there.

On my friend's recommendation (I'll never believe him again!) I organized a little outing for the Culture Sponges, hoping to get some interesting Portuguese food that wasn't Nando's.

When I got there shortly before 7pm on Saturday evening, half the restaurant was full with two long tables on the left side. It turned out there were two large parties that night, and organized into two long tables. The rest of  the club was empty except for a few idlers watching hockey on the big screen TV. It took maybe 10 minutes before anyone who looked like staff approached me.

If I hadn't had a reservation and weren't waiting for friends to arrive, I would probably have left by now. I mean, no staff? Really? Whether you want to excuse PCOV for being a club instead of a restaurant, you will have to deal with the fact that they aren't really a restaurant.


It's a club. It's run for club members. You're probably allowed in because it makes them money to serve non-club-members. And don't expect club members to be all friendly and what not.

There were two waitresses for the front end of the restaurant. Everyone else was presumably in the back pumping out the set menu for the two parties. Only one of the waitresses was smiling. Swell. Fortunately, she did seem genuinely friendly and she was our server for the evening. Neither of them were in any sort of uniform, so they could well have been just a couple of club member kids dragged in to run the restaurant for the evening. Hard to say. However, our lovely and friendly server did seem very at ease as a waitress, so she may have been a professional instead of a volunteer.

I was there at around 20 minutes to 7pm, and was told that because of the large parties, they were serving them first, and the rest of the restaurant wasn't therefore open per se, until maybe 7pm. I was, however, invited to sit and asked if I wanted a drink. I went with water for the moment as my fellow Meetup members were due soon.

Around 7pm, the server came by to give us the scoop. Because of the large parties, the menu was chopped down to just soup and one of three set plates with either basa fillets, roast chicken and gravy, or roast beef. For dessert, there were two choices: Tuxedo cake, and rice pudding.

I really wished they could have told me this because our Culture Sponges group generally aimed to order a bunch of ethnic dishes to share. Basa fillets with rice and salad didn't really qualify. Neither did roast chicken with steamed veggies and roasted potatoes with tomato sauce. No one ordered the beef so we didn't see what was on that plate.
On the other hand, I think they didn't take my phone number when I made the reservation, so they couldn't have told me. I'm willing to accept a fraction of the blame here since I didn't think to volunteer my phone number either.
Anyway, we were told the regular menu would be available after the two parties were done, but the waitress couldn't guarantee a time (and it turned out the regular menu didn't become available till closer to 9pm).
It was very possible that the kitchen just wasn't all that big, and their usual number of patrons isn't very large; and if they hadn't limited the menu, it would take forever to fill all the orders for the two large parties that night.

Oh, and no water was brought to the table. I can't remember if we were asked if we wanted any beverages, but possibly not since no one got anything till much later. However, they did bring us a large plate of (bitter) green olives which I suspected were "recycled" -- that is, whatever was left over ended up on the next table. (It was a lot of olives. I didn't think they'd throw all the excess away.) We also got a basket of Portuguese rolls which I didn't touch because we hadn't ordered yet.

After some debate, our small group generously forgave me and sort-of agreed that they were equally there for the company as for a food adventure. So we went with the "specials". Soup was extra. One person just got a salad. We had two orders of basa fillets, two orders of chicken, a pint of beer, a half-litre of house (white) wine, and one order of Tuxedo Cake.

Salad - $5.50

  • I didn't see too much of this. Looked like lots of lettuce and maybe some tomato. $5.50? Really?

1/2 Litre House Wine - $13.00

  • I'm not a drinker, so I'll have to go with the opinion of the ladies who tried this -- They said they were pleasantly surprised and that it was "crisp".

Beer - $4.75

"Specials" - $12.95

  • Boring food here, sadly.  The food isn't "bad" per se, but it's sort of very plain, like what you could just do up at home.
    • The basa fillets were small but you got several pieces, so it worked out. Fried to a nice golden brown, but it hit your plate soft, which suggests quite a bit of preparation instead of being made reasonably fresh. Came with rice and salad.
    • The chopped up chicken had a goodly amount of gravy and mine was okay, but the other plate had a large chunk of dry white meat. Came with roasted potatoes with some sort of tomato sauce; and steamed veggies (broccoli and baby carrots).
  • You do get a full plate for your money. Each plate comes with either potatoes or rice, and add to this one big Portuguese bun about the size of two tennis balls and you've got a really full meal. For sheer mass of food, $12.95 isn't bad. Whether you'll be satisfied with the quality and interestingness of what you get is a different story. My personal feeling is that for $12.95, you should be able to find something more interesting and tasty if you look hard enough (Little Nest if brunch or lunch; maybe Bandidas Tacqueria if dinner).
Tuxedo Cake - $4.50
  • You got one slice of two layers of chocolate cake with white cream in between; plus about 5 mm of chocolate cream on top, and tiny spheres of crunchy chocolate wafer or biscuit. It approximates to about the same volume as two 16-piece packs of Dentyne stacked together.
  • Hard to say if it were made in house, and after the lacklustre dinner I'm inclined to think not. In any case, what's important here is that it was moist and delicious. Still a bit on the pricey side for $4.50, though.
The moral here is to check first if you will end up with a limited menu at PCOV. And definitely check if they will limit you to their "specials" or some sort of set menu if your party is more than 6 persons. If you're looking for Portuguese fare, the specials will be anything but. Go on a less busy day to get a proper chance of genuine Portuguese cooking.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Fat-Free Cooking with Titanium

I had a few free tickets for the EPIC Sustainable Living Expo in Vancouver (just this past weekend, May 11th-13th). I donated four to the Crisis Centre and saved two for myself and Posh Pudding to attend. Sunday, May 13th was, of course, Mother's Day, so I had my eye out for a little something for mum.

Initially I was thinking of maybe a Swiffer Floor Sweeper since she didn't have anything quite like it and I didn't want her bending over all the time. But then I saw Plasmaic! At EPIC, there was a booth where this guy had a bunch of pots and pans laid out, and one on a portable stove. He first demonstrated the non-stick no-oil-cooking of his titanium frying pan by making a quick less-than-2-minute 1-egg omelette. After pouring in the egg, he let it fry for a moment, then loosened it from the pan by merely shaking the pan. After the omelette, he burned some milk in the pan and casually wiped it off without there being any sticky mess left behind.

The secret was the titanium coating. He explained that titanium was not porous like other metals, which meant less surface area for food to stick. And unlike Teflon, it was not toxic and there was no worry about using, for example, a fork on your frying pan (though, really, why would you want to deliberately subject your frying pan to a fork?). You can read more about it on their website.

Anyway, I was sold!

How much? $200!


In the end, I did get a smallish deep-dish frying pan (model 520) for my mom. $219 plus tax, and comes with see-through glass lid.

Bone Marrow at The Greedy Pig

Greedy Pig on Urbanspoon It was around 2pm on Saturday when Posh Pudding and I were finally done with EPIC and wandered into Gastown looking for proper food. We meandered here and there, and then remembering that Meat & Bread (Gastown) was somewhere thereabouts, went by to see if we could get in now that the lunch rush was over. Well, we were wrong. At 2pm it was still packed to the gills and with a small lineup even!

Then I remembered The Greedy Pig. Once upon a time it was the new hip place to get sandwiches. With so many casual eats popping up in Gastown, being new and hip won't get you more than 15 minutes of fame nowadays. I was expecting to settle for a tame sandwich and my usual peppermint tea, but two things on the menu jumped out at me: Marrow & Toast, and Ginger Beer.

Marrow & Toast - $15 - roasted marrow bones, garlic confit, sea salt, truffle oil, arugula, bacon crisps, toasted sourdough

  • I'd had (a bad experience with) bone marrow at Pourhouse, but being a sucker for strange eats, I ordered it. I did ask about how oily it might be, and the server asked the kitchen to go easy on whatever oil they used. The result was a much less oily marrow.
  • Not sure where the garlic confit and sea salt were. Bacon crisps turned out to be short strips of bacon, probably inserted after. On the plate was a black liquid that looked like vinaigrette and was both sweet and sour; this was presumably the truffle oil but it sure tasted like some sort of vinegar.
  • Like Pourhouse, they cut the bone into three sections and provided a butter knife and a small spoon. I had to give up the spoon early because it was too wide to fit, so I couldn't use it to scoop out any marrow. Fortunately, the butter knife worked out nicely: I used it on the inside surface of the bone to loosen the marrow from the bone, and a bit of light shaking caused the marrow to come out more or less intact.
  • The marrow wasn't as jelly-like as at Pourhouse, and there was no redness to it. Oily, but not spilling all over the place.
  • At this point, it helped a lot to use the black vinegar-oil-thingie on the plate to help offset the fatty taste of the marrow. The toasted sourdough (from what was possibly a baguette style long loaf) was mostly toasted on one side, and not crispy to the point of crumbling when you bite it. Each bone marrow piece was a heaping portion for a single piece of sourdough. Could have used something more tangy like pickles or maybe more sauce.
  • Overall, it's not something I'd order again. I really only got it to compare with my experience at Pourhouse.
    • If the bone marrow is done this way -- cut into three and possibly oven-roasted -- then I'd advise not to order it. It's just too oily and the marrow itself doesn't have any great taste to it.
    • This is not to say that it's done badly at The Greedy Pig. It just is what it is--just know what you're getting when you order it.
    • If you do get it, I recommend something tangy to drink, like a citrus fruit drink.
Ginger Beer - $4
  • This turned out to be a nice, refreshing accompaniment to the marrow and helped it go down without the heavy feeling that can come from having something too oily.
  • It leaves a somewhat strong ginger burn from the drink at the back of the throat, but the taste is simply a medium sweetness, with nothing hot about it. If you're worried about (or looking forward to) a strong gingery taste, then this drink is not for you. It comes across almost like water with sugar, except with the burning in your throat.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tasty Hash Browns at Deacon's Corner

Deacon's Corner on Urbanspoon Deacon's Corner is in that Gastown-east sort-of-quiet neighbourhood where ten years ago you might have seen more disreputable types and heard stories about being mugged in broad daylight. In fact, one of my friends did get mugged. Nowadays, with some nicer establishments popping up in and around it (like the Alibi Room just across the street), you can probably feel safe enough walking to it for brunch.
On the Saturday morning, two police cruisers were parked outside and there were three officers in it. And shortly after 10am, there was a lineup at the door, so you can at least feel the safety in numbers if the neighbourhood still has a bad rap with you.

The restaurant is mostly a lunch/brunch place. According to our friendly server, on weekdays they mostly get the lunch crowd from the courthouse. On weekends, its busy for brunch. Presumably things quiet down a lot after that.

I had my eye on the "Classic Southern Beer Meatloaf", but though it is still on the online PDF menu (as of the time I am writing this), it has now been taken off the menu because not enough people ordered it and they can't just whip one up on the spot. (BTW, I really hate that -- seeing something interesting on the menu, only to discover it's not available in the restaurant!)
I wasn't up for a big brunch, so I picked out a house special -- Deacon's Pulled pork S/W. My dining companion, an aspiring fitness instructor who's thinking of losing 10 pounds, somehow ended up with one of the "Deacon's Big Hearty Breakfast" choices, which showed up on the bill as "Hungryman Biscuits 'n Sausage". Her coffee was $2, extra bacon (2 strips) was $2.50, my Numi certified organic caffeine free "Simply Mint Moroccan Herbal Teasan" tea was $2.
  • Deacon's Pulled Pork Sandwich ($10.50; Slow cooked Smokey BBQ Pork Butt with our secret rub served on a Bun)
    • The sandwich is, I think, on-par with what you can get at Re-Up, but with a lot less coleslaw in it. Considering you get a side with this, it's okay value unless you are looking for something fancier or more interesting tastes to your burger. A pulled pork sandwich highlights the pulled pork and the typical formula is pulled pork plus coleslaw; it's not really like they can throw in just anything to jazz it up.
    • Strangely, it looks like it is lacking in sauce and on the dry side, but it doesn't feel that way when you eat it.
    • The pork is pulled quite finely, and at times looks nearly as fine as meat floss. This seems to definitely help with the tenderness. In many other places, you sometimes get roughly pulled pork with the odd chunk as big as your thumb.
    • The best part of my order had to be the hash browns. The order comes with your choice of salad, fries, or (maybe just on that day) hash browns. These were shredded potatoes with some mix of spices in it that make it savoury-tasty. No additional condiment needed. Sadly, these things go cold really quickly, so eat fast.
  • Hungryman Biscuits 'n Sausage Big Hearty Breakfast ($13.50; Two House made flaky Biscuits with Country Gravy & three Sausage patties)
    • The biscuits are about hockey puck sized and have distinct layers, like you might see with puff pastry. The sausage patties are about the same diameter but maybe a third of the height.
    • The plate also comes with three eggs your way, plus either country fries or hash browns.
    • My friend is about an average-sized gal (not sure why she's angling to lose any weight...) but she couldn't even finish the biscuits and sausage and had to take the rest home. Anyway, her feedback was that she probably should have asked for more gravy.
    • I got to try a bit of sausage and biscuit. Decent, but nothing to write home about. And egg is egg.
    • Whatever you want to say about the price, this is definitely a "hearty breakfast". The eggs and hash browns took up two-thirds of her plate, but I in weight I think the sausage and biscuits were close to half.
Overall, I think Deacon's Corner offers okay value on solid, filling, diner fare and there's not a lot of competition in that particular area. If you have to travel, though, for more interesting food/burgers at a comparable price, there's no shortage of places to go. Downtown locations would include Loving Hut Express and the American Cheesesteak Company.

Bonus points for Deacon's Corner include friendly service and relatively easy weekend brunch parking (albeit pricey metered parking) right out front. Even at 10 am when we walked in that Saturday, there were several empty parking spaces either out front or across the street.