Monday, November 24, 2014

Patty King Jamaican Style Chicken Patties

From the Patty King International website:
A golden flaky pastry shell filled with delicious seasoned ground chicken. Ya man it’s fantastic.

Filling: Ground chicken, bread crumbs (wheat flour, yeast), textured vegetable protein, onions, salt, chicken soup base, beef soup base, spices, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.

Pastry: Flour, water, beef suet, sugar, salt, vegetable oil shortening (soybean, canola, cottonseed oils), colour.

Allergens: Wheat and soya.

On sale this week at No Frills is butter, ribs, and 6-packs of Patty King International patties at $3. This works out to 50 cents per patty.

It looks great in ad copy, it is not oily in your hand after microwaving, and there is a nice cracked-black-pepper flavour to the filling, but there are a few drawbacks with this product:
  • It's so peppery that's all you taste.
  • The recommended microwaving leaves you with a crust that is not exactly soggy, but somewhat chewy.
  • Read the ingredients carefully (I didn't and I bet lots of people don't): It has chicken, but also "textured vegetable protein" and "chicken soup base", meaning it's not clear just how much real chicken is there.
  • It is about 80% crust, 20% filling. Yes, it's that skinny.
Still it is 50 cents per patty. A fatter patty (with maybe 50% to 75% more filling) will cost you about $2 at The Patty Shop. Might be worth a try for the convenience though you might end up eating the whole box of six just to make a filling meal.

A competing product at a comparable discounted price this week -- also at No Frills -- is Schneider's Hot Stuffs. Packs of 2 for $1. But at less grams per dollar, it's unclear whether they will give you any better bang for your buck.

Cobblestone Farms Fully Cooked Pork Back Ribs in Honey & Garlic Barbecue Sauce

Lots of good deals at No Frills this week, including 454g sticks of Lactantia butter at $2.97 -- and (as of Sunday morning anyway) no limit on the amount you can buy. I also picked up at $5.97 Cobblestone Farms Fully Cooked Pork Back Ribs in Honey & Garlic Barbecue Sauce.

It's a big box with a big bag that has a generous amount of barbecue sauce. My pack had a total of 7 ribs. The box is definitely way bigger than it needs to be. Give it a shake and you will know just how deceptively big it is.

What I liked about this product was that it was hard to mess up since it's already cooked. In the worst case, you can just heat it up and eat. I have a small electric grill and a Cookina Barbecue Mat, so I gave it a go with those but the instructions allow microwaving and using an oven.

Cooking instructions were simple and good enough. And with the excessive amount of sauce, you have plenty to spare after you account for loss from dripping off the grill. The Barbecue Mat saved me from using too much, but by the time cooking was done, the sauce that had dripped onto the mat was thoroughly burnt into crackers. Still easy to clean, though. And I have about a cup and a half of sauce left over.

The meat is not quite fall-off-the-bone but it does come free easily. Basically whatever "cooking" you are doing with this product is to sear the sauce onto the meat if you can. Otherwise you can pour it on later after separately heating the sauce. Definitely don't feel pressured to use all the sauce.

Overall, nothing special here except the sheer easy convenience of cooking and eating hot ribs at home. Regular price is $9.99 so this week is definitely the week to try (or stock up).

Monday, November 10, 2014

Fruity stuff from Yak & Yeti Bistro

Yak & Yeti Bistro on UrbanspoonIf you've been to their sister restaurant Gurkha Himalayan Kitchen (a Mealshare supporter), you'll find Yak & Yeti quite a different experience. While a few items on the menu are the same, the rest is quite different. Price for portion is also pretty good and the filling entrees are $13-$16.

It's a long and narrow restaurant, so if you have a larger party of 6+ persons, you'll definitely want to try to make a reservation so that they can move some tables around if necessary or reserve the U-shaped dining area at the very end that can accommodate maybe 6-8 persons.

For my visit I opted for the two curious involves-fruit dishes but the momos, goat pickle, and masala fish were also quite good based on the feedback from the other diners in our group. Masala fish curry was served with brown rice, while jackfruit curry and goat pickle were served with white rice.

Wings ($9) Mango-mustard wings
  • This had a tasty sauce on it, but it tasted neither like mango nor mustard, if you absolutely need either flavour.
  • Works out to over $1 per wing, but that's sort of the going rate for appetizers these days. Plus it's tasty.
  • Despite the name, we got all drumsticks.
  • Served on a bed of token salad. If you also ordered momos, maybe save some of the mint chutney to use as a vinaigrette.
Jackfruit Curry ($14) Green jackfruit or “the vegetable meat” mixed cooked with bell peppers, onions, basil and special Himalayan spices. Exotically delicious. Served with white rice.
  • The portion didn't look very big but the long boat-like dishes were actually quite deep, so the portions of curry and rice were both actually a decent, filling portion.
  • Here, they use the unripe jackfruit instead of the sweet yellow ripened jackfruit. So if you know of the fruit from elsewhere (cans or maybe bubble tea houses), it's not the same thing and it's not a sweet curry.
  • It's basically tasteless in the curry. What you get is a very moist "meatiness". The fibrous nature of the fruit makes it look like pulled stewed chicken dark meat. Makes a decent looking fake-chicken.
  • Overall it's a pretty tasty curry at a good portion for price. If you want it spicy, boldly ask for that. Otherwise it's going to come out rather mild.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Red Robin Big Sky Burger

Red Robin on Urbanspoon

I registered for Red Robin rewards earlier this year, but never really made it out for the birthday goodies and what not. Then recently I got an e-mail about their new Big Sky Burger, and since my friend had an Entertainment Book coupon for $5 off, we decided to go try it out as well as catch up after months apart.

As pictured, the burger looks pretty big and just bursting with goodness. And it is a big burger. Half pound patty. Just nowhere as mouth-watering as in ad copy, but I think everyone knows that already.

For one the patty didn't look as blackened as pictured and that grilled flavour didn't come through. The patty itself, however, was big and moist, and as burger patties go, is really decent.

The onion ring pictured looks like a generous portion, but it is actually a pretty small onion ring, about the size of Red Robin's smallest onion ring in their 13-ring stack appetizer. The diameter was probably just under 2 inches, compared to a burger that is over twice that. This burger could definitely have used two or three such rings for the flavour and crunch to have any chance of coming through.

The creamy goat cheese is a nice touch along with the sriracha (which doesn't come across as very hot after everything is taken into account). It's also a pretty messy burger to eat, and by default you get ONE napkin. I recommend you immediately ask for more.

The bun pictured is a round burger bun, but we got ours in a square focaccia that was on the dry side and that really hurt the overall experience. Combined with not having any wetter ingredients like tomato, despite the goat cheese this was a dryer burger and comes in at about 3/5.
The burger did fit everything inside its area, which helped with the sloppiness factor and not having ingredients slide out too much.

Price is $16.79, and it comes with a modest amount of fries, which you can change into poutine for $1.99. I recommend you do not since they basically just throw poutine gravy and some cheese on it. Don't waste your $1.99, especially when there is a generous portion of nice tangy dip for your fries already.
That dip could also be spread in your burger for a bit of extra zip.

The best that could be said for this meal is that for your $16.79, you got one heckuva filling meal. Don't even think of bottomless soda or a milkshake as you are unlikely to finish that without help.