Thursday, August 16, 2012

Pirate Pak Day at White Spot

White Spot (Cambie/12th) on Urbanspoon Wednesday night was probably the one time I've ever seen lineups outside a White Spot so long that people were waiting outside. And it was 8pm! I'd never heard of it before, but apparently there is an annual Pirate Pak Day for grown-ups (you must be over 10 to buy it, otherwise it's the kiddie menu for you) and people love it.

Pirate Pak Day comes with your very own paper pirate ship, of course. It didn't seem like many people took them home, so I hope they weren't re-using those... Anyway, each Pak includes:

  • One drink. On the webpage it says soft drink, but I was allowed to pick a fruit drink instead.
  • A tiny, sad "creamy" coleslaw that was only slightly chilled, bordering on lukewarm.
  • "Endless" signature fries that were thicker (almost 1 cm thick) than fries you get at just about everywhere else. They were hot and presumably freshly done, but seemed pale and  slightly undercooked near the middle.
    • You could substitute (for about $1 more) a salad instead. My friend went with "The Spot's Salad". You get a small quantity of this, which is fine since your burger meal will be filling enough. Mostly this tasted quite boring except for the tomatoes, which were possibly sitting in the dressing or separately marinated. Whatever the case, the tomatoes were the very best part, with a good taste of the tasty vinaigrette.
  • Your choice of a burger. The "Legendary Burger" is a whole 2.50 less than the other premium choices. We both chose the Portobello Provolone Veggie Burger as it was my vegetarian dining companion's favourite veggie burger ever, and I was curious why she was so impressed.
    • The burger normally contains a chargrilled veggie burger with Provolone cheese, Portobello mushrooms, grilled peppers, zucchini, onions, and lettuce; and lemon basil aioli.
    • Turned out a bit dry-feeling. Also, by the time the burger hit the table, the cheese had already solidified.
    • As burgers so, this was quite well put together, with no slippery bits trying to escape from between the multigrain bun.
    • There was a nice smell and flavour to the veggie patty, and this burger is clearly designed to look and feel like a burger with the patty featuring prominently -- unlike the invisible-patty-there-for-protein-and-bulk burgers from the vegan food cart Loving Hut Express (not to say those aren't tasty -- just that the patty is secondary).
    • Can't say it's the very best burger, but it's pretty decent.
  • One scoop of "premium rich ice cream" -- vanilla, strawberry (with small chunks of actual strawberry), or chocolate.
    • We both picked strawberry, interestingly enough. When they came, it was one big round scoop, but it was also sitting in melted ice cream, which suggested that these scoops were pre-prepared to serve the masses looting White Spot for the Pirate Pak. Can't say melted ice cream is all that appealing, but at least most of the single scoop was intact and very round.
    • It was OK. What do you expect from a scoop of basic ice cream?

Price-wise, you can't simply say the Pirate Pak is a $13.50 burger. Even if you discount the token coleslaw and ice cream, you got a soft drink and a decent amount of salad side or endless fries. The latter is probably worth about $5 in total, so this burger actually weighs in at closer to $8, and if you could get just the burger for $8, it'd be pretty decent value.
Unlimited fries is also hard to beat (if you're not a french fry snob who might refuse to touch White Spot's Signature Fries) and theoretically makes their package deal well worth the cost.

From the regular menu, the Portobello Provolone Veggie Burger is $12.99 but no ice cream. So the Pirate Pak promotion is actually fair value in comparison, even before figuring that White Spot donates $2 to Zajac Ranch for special needs kids. (During the promotion, kiddie Pirate Paks also qualify for White Spot's donation).

If it matters to you, the staff are friendly young hotties, all female as far as I could tell. The front desk looked pretty worn out by the throngs, but kept their cool and were polite and organized. The Pirate Pak rush was more or less over shortly after 8pm and the line-ups were gone, so if you can have a later dinner, you can fit a larger party and have a more relaxed time if you swing by at 8pm. The Cambie/12th location closes around 10pm.

2012-Aug-15 White Spot Pirate Pak Day

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