Monday, January 29, 2018

Dine Out Vancouver 2018 - Bufala

Bufala Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato For Dine Out Vancouver 2018 my friend's pick was Bufala for a late Sunday afternoon lunch. We got in late-ish almost at 2pm I believe and seating was pretty easy, no reservations required. They were however out of two of three desserts on their Dine Out menu! So you might want to take that into consideration.

The Dine Out menu is basically their whole menu minus some smaller appetizers. The $20 appy and pizza deal is almost half price and a goodly amount of food!

Their pizzas are very thin Neapolitan/Napolitana style with a pretty generous amount of edge crust. To help you eat that crust there are three flavoured oils (that you can slather over your pizza ingredients too if you like): Chili, Herb, and Parmesan. Flavours of the oils are on the subtle side but unless you drown your pizza you (or at least I) won't feel the same heavy feeling from food being too oily.

Kale Caesar Salad (normally $13) green & purple kale, grana padano, anchovy, bacon, salt-cured egg yolk
  • Fluffy and light and kale not particularly bitter.
2018-Jan-28 Bufala - kale caesar salad minus bacon

Beet Salad (normally $12) salt-baked golden & purple beets, arugula, ricotta, cucumber
  • Mix of sweet and bitter tastes. Fun cucumber shapes and colourful slices make presentation pretty. Otherwise ok.
2018-Jan-28 Bufala - beet salad

2018-Jan-28 Bufala - beet salad

Funghi Pizza (normally $19) roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, watercress, pecorino tartufo, bianco
  • Pretty decent tasting but goat cheese may not have been as evenly distributed as it could have been because I missed the pungent flavour.
2018-Jan-28 Bufala - funghi

Artichoke & Olive (normally $16) fior di latte, kalamata olives, artichokes, garlic confit, basil, marinara
  • Really decent but watch out for salty olives. They add some zing to the pizza but when clumped too close together can be pretty salty.
  • Also watch out for soft cloves of garlic. Shouldn't be a problem unless you pick it right off the pizza thinking it's a piece of artichoke and pop it in your mouth. (Guess who did that...)
2018-Jan-28 Bufala - artichoke and olive

2018-Jan-28 Bufala - artichoke and olive pizza

Bufala Lemonade ($5, not included in Dine Out, non-alcoholic) peach purée, rosemary, soda
  • Pretty decent. Sharpness of lemonade greatly tempered by sweetness of peach.
  • Not overloaded with ice!
2018-Jan-28 Bufala - Bufala Lemonade

2018-Jan-28 Bufala - flavoured oils

We were too full and skipped dessert. The server was kind enough to leave it open during ordering -- that is, she offered to retroactively change our order from 2-course Dine Out to 3-course if we wanted to add dessert later. I had been interested in the Lemon Curd with fennel seed but they were out. In any case we were full enough that we didn't want to force it down and just left with our leftovers -- half a salad and almost one pizza worth of slices.

Overall food is good, enhanced by presentation and Dine Out value for price is really excellent. Regular price is also quite okay considering the portion size. Pizza might not be quite as filling as a big chain like Pizza Hut (for example) just because the crust is much thinner. They aren't shorting you on ingredients though.

Service is friendly and tries to be helpful!

They mis-stepped slightly and mis-timed our pizzas such that they came out of the oven while we weren't halfway through our salads. Partly our fault for yapping so much and so long.
  • If you want to definitely avoid that so that you can focus on your pizza while it's fresh and hot out of the oven, you might want to ask them to hold off on actually baking it until they clear your appetizer plates. Neapolitan pizzas don't take that long to bake anyway.
  • This situation brought to the fore the issue of table sizing as it was really a squeeze to get both pizzas onto the table while our big salad bowls were there as well. In such a case you might consider taking the long communal table (if it's not busy) and just having much more room to move and grab slices off each other's platters.


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Gluten Free Expo 2018 - Spokes puffed potatoes - Mango Habanero

Thanks to Yelp I got tickets for this year's Gluten Free Expo (last year it was called the Specialty Food Expo).

There were no shortage of one-per-person-please bags of Spokes puffed potato chips for the taking right when you entered the convention centre. Maybe the tamer flavours were all gone because these were no-punches-pulled spicy-hot Mango Habanero flavoured.

For once, a chip that is actually spicy-hot when it has a picture of a chili in the ad copy. Unfortunately, the rather wildly inconsistent seasoning means you could get a really hot chip, or a sweeter one, but generally there's some buzz and flavour to each chip.

These are light chips and if not for the spicy heat could go very quickly. I found they were very good to get my appetite whetted and mouth salivating.

2018-Jan-13 Spokes puffed potatoes - Mango Habanero

2018-Jan-13 Spokes puffed potatoes - Mango Habanero

2018-Jan-13 Spokes puffed potatoes - Mango Habanero

Gluten Free Expo 2018 - Enjoy Life - Soft Baked Mini Cookies - Chocolate Chip

Thanks to Yelp I got tickets for this year's Gluten Free Expo (last year it was called the Specialty Food Expo).

Enjoy Life was handing out samples pretty much right when you entered the convention floor. These soft baked mini chocolate chip cookies by Enjoy Life are quite okay. Life a lot of gluten free baking, it feels grainy and in this case also seems to have a very slight gummy feel. However for tiny bites, they are pretty packed with chocolate chips so a little bit -- like one tiny cookie -- can go a long way if you take time to savor each cookie.

2018-Jan-13 Enjoy Life - soft baked mini cookies - chocolate chip

2018-Jan-13 Enjoy Life - soft baked mini cookies - chocolate chip

2018-Jan-13 Enjoy Life - soft baked mini cookies - chocolate chip

Gluten Free Expo 2018 - Forno de Minas Cheese Rolls

Thanks to Yelp I got tickets for this year's Gluten Free Expo (last year it was called the Specialty Food Expo).

You're probably already familiar with Quesava Kitchen and their veggie poppers (among their various products). This year at the expo I noticed Forno de Minas, which had a plainer Brazilian cheese roll, not heavily flavoured like Quesava (which is not to say the strong flavours in the Quesava Kitchen ones were a bad thing -- they were actually quite delicious).

What struck me about Forno de Minas cheese rolls was how the inside seemed much lighter. Maybe they were fresher out of the oven and would harden up later into a similar consistency. Not sure. I was curious enough to buy a couple packs to try at home however (convention price was $7 for 1 pack, $12 for 2 packs, $15 for 3 packs).

I'd made Brazilian cheese rolls (with this watery recipe so easy even I could do it) before and they do harden up once they get cold. It'll be curious to see how these ready-to-bake ones compare.

2018-Jan-13 Gluten Free Expo 2018 -

2018-Jan-13 Gluten Free Expo 2018 -

2018-Jan-13 Gluten Free Expo 2018 -

2018-Jan-13 Gluten Free Expo 2018 -

The Fried Chicken Works - boneless chicken 12-piece combo

The Fried Chicken Works Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Very crispy chicken! But also not your typical crispy fried chicken, so if you're used to KFC, be careful about assuming you'll like The Fried Chicken Works.

I figured I'd want to eat it piping hot so I opted for their handy boneless option. If you've ever held a drumstick that had only minutes before come out of the fryer, hoping to eat the chicken while it's still hot and juicy, you'll know what a literal pain it is to hold onto the heat-retaining bone.
Price for portion is a bit scary at around $1.50 per chunk of chicken but you get a drink with that, a not insignificant amount of really decently done fries, and there's more filling meat here than a gourmet burger for the same price.

Apparently fried to order, and I got to eat it hot and juicy.
The crispiness appears to mainly come from the skin-on chicken. The chicken skin/fat is fried to literally a crisp and there's nothing fatty or chewy left about it. It is, however, definitely crispy and not oily, if that is the main experience you are going for.

The chicken is also apparently not seasoned (or only weakly so), so if you're used to the Colonel's secret blend of herbs and spices or what not, you'll have to settle for their weak and watery sweet sauce, or the common condiments available at the counter.

Skin on and no seasoning means you taste chicken. Skin on means you also taste chicken skin/fat, which is a different type of oily taste and you may want to smother that with condiments.  I personally didn't like too much of that flavour but you may have a different experience.

2018-Jan-13 The Fried Chicken Works - boneless chicken (12-piece combo)

2018-Jan-13 The Fried Chicken Works - boneless chicken (12-piece combo)

2018-Jan-13 The Fried Chicken Works - boneless chicken

2018-Jan-13 The Fried Chicken Works - boneless chicken

2018-Jan-13 The Fried Chicken Works - menu

2018-Jan-13 The Fried Chicken Works - menu

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Green Basil Lunch Special

Green Basil Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Caught up with an old friend today at Green Basil Thai Restaurant this afternoon (her choice -- she likes Thai apparently) and checked out the lunch special. Rather rare to find a decently filling lunch for under $10 these days and for sure it exists at Green Basil Thai.
There's a lunch rush around Noon but dies right down shortly after 1 pm. Lunch is served till 3pm.

G9L. Chicken with cashew nuts in Thai Chili sauce ($8.75)
  • Rated 3-chilies but not spicy hot at all. My suspicion is they go easy on the spiciness to accommodate more palates. You'll probably have to double check how spicy something is if you really want spicy-hot food.
  • Overall okay taste.
  • Dish portion is good, and what helps make this a filling lunch is the bowl of coconut rice, bowl of soup, and vegetarian spring roll that comes with the specials (some specials that are noodle dishes do not come with rice).
  • Spring roll was oily. Sauce was weak.
  • Tom yum soup was weak. Drink it while it's hot.
Service is friendly and not pushy at all about upselling you anything.

2018-Jan-4 - Green Basil Thai Restaurant - G9L Chicken with Cashew Nuts

2018-Jan-4 - Green Basil Thai Restaurant - G9L Chicken with Cashew Nuts

2018-Jan-4 - Green Basil Thai Restaurant - tom yum soup with lunch special

2018-Jan-4 - Green Basil Thai Restaurant - vegetarian spring roll with lunch special

2018-Jan-4 - Green Basil Thai Restaurant - vegetarian spring roll with lunch special