Sunday, May 31, 2015

Last supper at the Afro-Canadian Restaurant

Afro Canadian on Urbanspoon After 25 years, the Afro-Canadian Restaurant will close its doors. The friendly and down-to-earth owner/chef is headed back to Ethiopia.

I was there a couple of years ago and it still had the same cheap decent eats value, though tonight's food looked more fusion than strictly Ethiopian. Three large platters and some dessert worked out to $12.53 per person (including tax, but before tip). Plus we had three take out boxes worth of food -- that's like three leftover meals.

The beef was tasty and tender and that was probably the stand-out of the mixed meat-and-veggie platter. Not the tastiest fare, but decent and very cheap eats.

But tonight is their last night, we were told. As of tomorrow it's gone.

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Mexican, Antojitos Y Cantina

The Mexican on Urbanspoon The Mexican is a small diner that closes at an unfathomably early time of 10:30 PM considering it is in the Granville club zone, unless you're going on Friday or Saturday.

Barrigón - Grilled Pork, Beef and Chorizo, with melted cheese and a secret salsa verde
  • Very nicely grilled meats with tasty burn marks. Quantity might be somewhat deceiving, however, as there's a rather big amount of diced onion as well.
  • Diced for your convenience.
  • Interesting sweet sauce! Definitely use some of this (but don't drown the meat, eh)?
Huarache de Carne Asada ($14.50) Homemade corn tortilla in a bed of refried beans, grilled top sirloin steak, onions, serrano chiles, your choice of rice or cactus leaf, topped with sour cream and feta cheese
  • I was curious about cactus leaves and hoping for Nopales Asados (grilled cactus leaves) but having walked in at just 15 minutes to closing, it was not available. Instead, the waitress suggested Huarache de Carne Asada with cactus leaf instead of rice.
  • After tasting the grilled cactus leaf (which was boring and also somewhat slimy in the mouth) I was glad I didn't get a whole plateful of the yuck.
  • The tortilla is about 5 millimeters thick and makes up the filling carbs part of this meal.
  • Thin slices of nicely grilled steak.
  • Green sauce builds heat a bit slowly in the mouth but is quite hot without being overly bitter. Once put onto the meat or tortilla and other items, it sort of disappears, so don't let tasting the sauce all on its own put you off from using as a condiment.
  • Sour cream and feta also kind of disappears against the flavourful meat.
  • Price for portion is okay, and considering the meat is very nicely prepared and tasty, it's a good price.
Price is okay and food is tasty. Under-$10 menu items available but expect a much higher carb:meat ratio.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Don't get just chocolate at Soft Peaks Ice Cream

Click to add a blog post for Soft Peaks Ice Cream on Zomato
Nice clean hospital-white space with additional bar and communal seating upstairs. The space that is Soft Peaks Ice Cream in Gastown is functional and refreshingly simple.

For over $5 you get a Starbucks "tall" sized cup of soft ice cream with stuff in it. It's woven into your cup with the toppings, so theoretically every spoonful has some topping.

It's hard not to like soft serve ice cream + toppings, but whether you like Soft Peaks or not will depend on how much you value the toppings (and the "invisible" organic-Kosher-everything). So if you are mentally comparing it to a McDonalds McFlurry or a Dairy Queen Blizzard, you are in trouble already.

Whether you go willingly or not, do not just get an "Original Peak" (no toppings) or "Mudslide" (Tim Tam flakes and chocolate syrup) since you might as well go to the "golden arches" for that and probably get more pounds for your pennies. What McD's and DQ does NOT have are Yuzu marmalade and Himalayan pink salt and other fancy stuff, which may make you feel your soft peaks sundae is worth around $6.

(Yeah, yours truly got the Mudslide. And afterwards I thought, "Why didn't I just go to McDonalds?")

UPDATE: (2015-Aug-8) - Sunrise in California ($6.50 regular size) Sweet and sour Yuzu marmalade on our signature twist.
  • "Sweet and sour Yuzu marmalade" tasted quite BITTER. WTH? Where's my sweet and sour?

Ninja Pigs at Bao Down

Bao Down on Urbanspoon Bao Down is a small little place that has seating upstairs (and no table service -- so don't just go upstairs and wait forever for some to come up and take your order).
If it's your first time, definitely have a peek upstairs at the wall art of ninja pigs.

Yeah: Ninja. Pigs.

The concept of Bao Down is easier to explain with pictures. If you've seen that type of bun before, you'll know it immediately. If not, you'll probably be pleasantly surprised.

Price is... pricey if you look at the steamed bao individually. Your experience will be better if you commit to a meal.
Huh? Okay, let me explain.
With each steamed bao you are getting basically half the amount of bread and a third the amount of filling of a burger, at about half the price of a gourmet burger. You could also compare it to tacos, in which case one of these bao is priced at about two to three times the price of a soft-shelled taco, with the same amount of filling but more carbs (bread / bun). Either way, price for what you get looks bleak when you consider the bun-to-filling ratio. The minimum order is two bao, so lunch / brunch will set you back $10+ for sure (or you could bring a friend).
But you'd have to be a light eater to be satisfied with just 1-2 steamed bao, so expect to actually spend $15-$20+ for a proper meal of 3-4 of them. When that happens however, you will feel better because you'll be stuffed from the bread (bao). Then tasty + interesting + FILLING = great pricing. It's magic!

If you actually want a lighter meal, there is the gluten-free option of swapping out your bao / bun with lettuce instead (like having your burger fillings in lettuce instead of a regular bread bun).
Either way, don't wait too long before eating your bao once it comes out of the kitchen -- the steamed bun tends to get sticky on the outside and stick to the paper dishes. And lettuce wraps tend to leak (just saying).

Bao Chicka Bao Bao ($6) Fried lemongrass and garlic marinated free range Fraser Valley chicken breast, crispy garlic, palm sugar & fish sauce glaze, fresh cilantro, garlic scape mayo, pickled carrots and scallions.
  • What I mostly tasted here was something sweet. Whatever nuances of lemongrass, garlic mayo, etcetera was mostly lost on me. Still, pretty tasty.
  • Nicely fried slab of chicken, but smallish looking. Size of one of those chicken wings you get at a chicken wings place, but obviously with no bone.
Jaws ($5) Coconut crusted Ocean Wise Vietnamese catfish, kimchi tartar sauce, Food Pedalers microgreens & cabbage in a Thai vinaigrette.
  • "Vietnamese catfish" is basa. It sounds sexier to say "Vietnamese catfish", though.
  • Overall this tasted better than the chicken one as I actually had the taste and experience of the catfish, which was very nicely fried and still juicy.
Kimchi Fries ($4.50 small, $8 large) House made double-fried kennebec potato fries, crispy pork belly, sweet soy, crispy garlic, bean sprouts, garlic scape mayo and scallions
  • We were there right when they opened, and the crispy pork belly here was... old? Meat was definitely drier and tougher than expected. Thin layer of crispy fat but hardly any soft fat.
  • There was definitely some spicy kimchi here, but I think everything else piled onto these fries (sweet soy?!) was overkill and kinda ruined it.
  • If you like interesting poutines, this is it.
Soup of the Day: Hainanese Chicken Soup ($5?)
  • Tasted like chicken soup with way too much stuff in it (tons of bean sprouts).
  • Obviously won't be just broth or broth with some chicken (which may have made people think "rip off"). But it also doesn't make you think Hainanese chicken.
Overall the steamed bao are nicely composed and tasty, but individually they are priced for tourists in Gastown. I can see how the pricing would be easier to handle if they were a food cart where prices are generally higher to begin with and eats are "to-go" casual.

Free water from coolers with either watermelon or pomegranate + lime. Go for watermelon unless they refresh their pomegranate + lime cooler.

Aside: A friend who was at Eat! Vancouver 2015 claims that they were about 25% bigger during Eat! Vancouver than what they are serving in store now. Can anyone else confirm?

Friday, May 15, 2015

KiBo Restaurant and Lounge revisit

KiBo Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon It's been over a year since I first tried KiBo Restaurant and Lounge. This time I went during a weekday happy hour when all the nearby Yaletown restaurants were basically dead -- which means you can expect dedicated service instead of harried servers rushing around a busy restaurants.
So, service at KiBo was ace -- even though we were also using a Groupon. Beautiful day out, not too hot, so we sat on the patio instead of the lounge-like interior which hadn't been dimmed and lit for after-sundown service since it was still broad daylight out.

Chicken Karaage ($7) Deep fried chicken wings
  • Ten wings for $4 during happy hour.
  • Reasonably sized wings (not the super-small ones you sometimes get at wing places).
  • Moderately thick and fun-crispy batter on the wings, but not really tasty on their own. If they were seasoned, it didn't stand out particularly.
  • We were offered hot sauce for the wings but declined. I think the wings needed something, though.
  • Came piping hot but I recommend against eating them right away when they are too hot, as you are focussing too much on the heat to really savour whatever flavour they have.
Ika Sugatayaki ($11) Whole BBQ marinated squid in our signature sauce
  • Still as good as I remembered it.
  • Citrusy dip provided is not really necessary since there is a lovely grilled flavour mingled with the seared-on sweet sauce.
  • Comes pre-sliced, but some slices not fully cut through, so picking up one could end up pulling the neighbouring two slices as well.
Oysters ($1 each during happy hour, minimum order of 3)

Japanese Short Ribs ($7) BBQ short ribs marinated in a signature sauce
  • Done in the same way as the squid and just as delicious.
  • Really thinly cut (about 3 mm thick?) ribs.
  • Really too cling-to-the-bone to get all of the meat unless you use your fingers.
Kibo Roll ($14) Avocado and cucumber topped with sliced seared tuna and salmon with Kibo sauce
Mango Roll ($13) Prawn, avocado, smoked salmon and basil with mango on top
Volcano Roll ($12) Deep fried roll with spicy tuna and avocado

Sushi was okay. Something about them felt strangely plain to me, and for that reason they also felt overpriced by about 50%.

Our order (plus one more makizushi roll I can't remember at the moment, but probably the California Dream) came out to $80.85 after tax and tip. After factoring in a $11-for-$30-value Groupon, it was still around $20 per person before tip, which is acceptable for dinner.

After taking into account the fact that you are in a swanky Yaletown location, KiBo prices are okay. Still, go during happy hour if you can for more reasonable pricing. If you are a heavier eater or especially hungry, go to somewhere like Sushiholic or Sushiville instead to get more sheer quantity for your money. Otherwise you may still walk away hungry.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Best when freshly baked at Beard Papa's

Beard Papa's on Urbanspoon Finally got myself around to trying Beard Papa's (in Metrotown). I never really had a good look at the place and just thought a ping-pong ball sized cream puff shouldn't cost $2+. Well, it turns out that they are closer to tennis ball sized.

Got there on a Sunday shortly after 11 AM so I was pretty sure the baked products were fresh. Contrary to the Beard Papa's franchise website, only four flavours were available. Not even all the products advertised at the store were available, although that might be due to it being still early on a Sunday.

Cream Puffs
  • The cream puffs held up nicely after the 10-minute commute home and they were still crisp. A very sharp Cutco knife sawed through it cleanly in half.
  • Thin, crisp shell. Nothing chewy about this. Might be different if you go later in the day, though. You might have to watch for them to pull stuff out of the oven for the freshest, crispiest, puffs.
  • Not fully filled, contrary to the in-store ad copy (sort of like burger chain advertising, I guess). So don't be surprised if it's not exactly bursting with cream. Basically you get a single pump of the cream.
    • Extra room might allow for cream to move around when you bite into it.
    • Typically unevenly distributed inside the puff.
    • If you want the cream-plosion experience, try Chewy Junior.
  • "Custard" cream is more watery/thin than I expected but not so much that it'll dribble out like honey.
  • Original Vanilla: Pretty decent cream flavour and has vanilla seeds dotted in it.
  • The Strawberry Cream: Weak strawberry flavour, but it's there. Not recommended if you're looking for a vigorous fruity flavour.
Cookie Crunch Puff
  • Looks like a Cream Puff but even crunchier shell without being any thicker. Also crusted with stuff that lends it more sweetness. A bit more crumbly to eat but taste is better.
Dulce de Leche
  • Vanilla Cream Puff with a few squirts of dulce de leche.
  • Looks like a fluke goof with mine meant the interior was basically a Vanilla Cream Puff and the dulce de leche sauce oozed out during transit.
Overall the safest bet is the normal Cream Puff. Just choose your custard flavour. If in doubt, go with plain vanilla.


Service at this location is okay, considering there was just the one girl running the whole show on typically slow Sunday mornings. Go early for the fresh cream puff shells and just have patience and empathy for solo retailers who have dozens of things to do on top of being nice to you.

Regular menu at Neverland

Neverland Tea Salon on Urbanspoon Last time I was in Neverland it was November of 2013. It didn't feel like much had changed in ambiance -- when it's busy, it's noisy and feels crowded. There's basically no chance for a "quiet" afternoon tea. You want to try elsewhere if that is important to you. Also, if you want to really take your time beyond the 1-1/2 hour seatings during their peak periods, go later. A 3 PM or later reservation should be fine and it's unlikely that there'll be anyone waiting for your table.

Although our party mostly went with the High Tea (using 2-for-1 coupons in the Entertainment Book), I opted for the regular menu this time around, just to see what they had.

Individual red wine braised onion tart ($13) Topped with chèvre, roasted mushrooms, and candied walnuts. Served hot with a side salad
  • Pet peeve time: This was on the online menu, but not in the paper menu at the restaurant. Can they not update the online menus at the same time? This isn't a complaint specific to Neverland -- quite a few restaurants aren't conscientious about this.
Mushroom & Brie Gratin ($12) Radiatore pasta with mellow onion and brie sauce, served over roasted mushrooms, topped with gruyère cheese and persillade bread crumbs (gluten and dairy omitted available).
  • During our particular visit, they were sold out of the "normal" pasta (non-gluten-free) so they had to make mine gluten-free. But it was completely fine and nothing odd stood out about it.
  • Their menu calls it "Neverland's own mac 'n cheese", which is an okay enough description since those are the primary ingredients, but if you are hoping for a mac 'n cheese, it's just not the same thing. It's quite dry and has no creaminess at all.
  • Fairly tasty, but portion (maybe 1-1/2 cups worth) felt small for $12 and no side. This is more like a big appetizer unless you have a small appetite.
Vegan Sandwich ($11) with Kale Caesar (+$2 substitution)
  • Basically a single sandwich using two slices of regulation sized bread.
  • Price for portion is sort of okay if you allow that they are pricing it like a gourmet burger.
  • Taste is pretty good.
  • Salad was heavy on dressing, so you may want to see if you can get that on the side if you don't like too much dressing.
  • Passable as a light lunch so if you're not a dainty eater (which, to be honest, is likely their clientele) you'll probably end up ordering something else.
Hot Choco-tea ($4)
  • Half hot chocolate, half tea of your choice. I went with the recommended Mumbai Chai.
  • Comes out sort of like a London Fog and tastes just as weak.
  • Neither a hot chocolate nor a tea, but an odd mix of both. If you are hoping for a thick or strong hot chocolate, this won't be it as the hot chocolate is obviously thinned by the tea.
  • Make sure you get a strong tea to compete with the hot chocolate.
  • $4 gets you approximately a Starbucks Grande size portion (16 oz).
Service felt pretty short-handed when their dining room was full -- another reason to try a later seating if you can.
Pretty easy to go gluten-free and even dairy-free here, and many counter items (like their assortment of brownies) are standard with either or both attributes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Excellent fried chicken at Revel Room

Revel Room on Urbanspoon

I was last at the Revel Room just under a year ago, and I don't see what I had then on the menu anymore. Which is a good reminder to myself that reviews are really outdated after a year, and even sooner for newer restaurants.

Went in Wednesday night at 5pm for an early dinner before a Yelp Event involving boardgames in the upstairs dining area. Disclaimer: I couldn't go entirely incognito on this dinner. They asked if I were part of the 6pm Yelp event and I had to fess up (since they'd obviously spot me there later!), so from the get-go they knew I was at least a Yelper.
Of course, nowadays, Yelpers are dime a dozen so I'm pretty sure they didn't treat me any differently. Probably.

Kentucky Sweet Tea Fried Chicken ($23) butter mashed yukons, gravy, vegetables, cornbread hush puppy
  • Not a huge plate, but definitely a filling one for your money without forcing you to leave behind leftovers on the plate.
  • Single "hush puppy" that looked like it was a battered and deep fried ping pong ball of cornbread. This means a moister, almost pudding-creamy, interior and a dessert-like sweetness. Very yum! Why don't they sell these on a sharing plate?
  • White meat and dark meat -- looked like basically the easy-to-eat portions of a half chicken on my plate. And it was also about half of what was on the plate -- there's no "cheating" to fill you up with cheap carbs and only a little chicken here.
  • White breast meat was tender (as breast meat goes) and more importantly, moist. No trouble having to force down dry, wooden meat here. Can I give bonus points for this? Dark meat was of course moist and tender.
  • Deep fried batter looked strangely baked maybe, in part because there were some (small) sections that were basically black. Fortunately not enough to interfere too much with the taste. Batter was otherwise excellent - very crispy, not super thick or oily tasting.
  • Vegetables today turned out to be mostly bell peppers, onions, and string beans. If you are hoping for a salad, ask first and maybe ask for a substitute.
Only tried the chicken today, so no idea if the rest of the menu is as tasty. Price considering both portion and quality is excellent.
If a filling dinner isn't for you but you want to try the chicken, the Cajun Fried Chicken Bites are apparently NOT done in the same manner, so check with your server as to your options. Or maybe beg to sub out all the veggies and mashed potatoes for more of them super-tasty hush puppies!

I recommend going earlier (especially during their 4pm-6pm happy hour) to not only avoid the dinner rush but to be able to talk to your dining companions without shouting if there's a band on. You can increase your chances of not having to shout all night by asking to be seated upstairs, where there are air conditioners toward the back as well.
I walked in at 5pm and found the place was completely dead. Dinner rush hadn't started and the place wouldn't really get underway until after 6pm when the live band was playing. Around 8:30 pm, the place was almost at capacity with the small downstairs full, upstairs nearly full, and a few persons on the tight "dance floor" area just inside the door.
The quieter 5pm dining time also means a kitchen free to dedicate to my order and staff readily available and promptly checking on you shortly after dinner is served.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Order only interesting things at The Charles Bar

The Charles Bar on Urbanspoon The Charles Bar sits in the gentrified part of Gastown and offers an airy-spacious room with high ceilings and some interesting seating options, including larger tables with enough chairs for 10+ people. This makes The Charles Bar good for larger groups in a more interesting and less "long-table" way than most restaurants that just piece together group seating by joining square tables together.
Tall windows further reduce the claustrophobic squeeze that other tight-seating-in-the-dark pubs can induce. Something interesting to spot are the makes-the-room-feel-even-bigger mirrors adjacent to the washrooms, mirrors that look like windows into another room until you realize that you are the "man in the mirror".

I was there at an odd 4pm-6pm Monday happy hour and it was nice and calm and with few enough patrons that you can basically get your choice of window seating. Some music but not loudly enough that you always have to lean close to the person you're next to in order to hear anything at all.

Food is interesting but sadly on the pricey side. Like a not-very-huge plate of nachos weighing in at $14.95 -- aren't these supposed to be heaps of cheap-ass food? (They do have a $10 lunch special served Mon-Fri till 2pm). Based on the ingredients the menu probably needs to be priced the way it is. However your happiness when you look at the bill will depend on whether your palate is discerning enough to realize this fact, or whether primitive hunger will protest the pounds:price ratio.

Flatbreads: About a foot long and half as wide. Toppings go pretty close to the edge so they aren't skimping here, though the end pieces get a bit more crust. Probably not enough for a meal on its own, so consider going on $9.95 flatbread Mondays. +$2 to get gluten-free crust.

BBQ Chicken Flatbread ($13.25) San Marzano Tomato Sauce, Smoked Bacon, Caramelized Onions, Smoked Mozzarella
  • I thought this was too heavy on the sauce, which covered up the other tasty ingredients like bacon and onions. Otherwise OK.
Fig & Boursin Flatbread ($12.95) Date Paste, Caramelized Onions, Smoked Mozzarella, Creamy Boursin Cheese, Mission Figs, Truffle Arugula
  • Yeah, date paste. How often does that show up in a pizza, much less a menu? That's probably just one of the reasons it's $12.95. That, plus the smoky mozzarella that you probably didn't even notice.
  • Overall the experience here was the sweetness in the toppings, making this an unusual and interesting pizza that has dates and figs. Bonus: It's an interesting vegetarian item that's not a salad.
Nachos ($14.95) Housemade Corn Tortillas, Smoked Mozzarella, Corn, Black Beans, Pickled Jalapeno, Banana Pepper, Salsa Verde, Salsa Roja, Sour Cream, +$1.50 for guacamole
  • I can't remember the last time I could find non-salty corn tortillas in Superstore so I see why they'd make their own, but I can also believe it adds to the cost.
  • Had a chance to speak with their Marketing maven who said the smoked mozzarella is pricey for the restaurant and in a week or so they may complete a transition to a cheaper cheese which will also result in a heck of a lot more cheese on the nachos.
  • As it is, the cheese is mainly on top, and if you don't tear apart your nacho order fast enough, it will cool, solidify, and then the first person to grab a cheesy tortilla it will likely end up lifting the web of mozza off all the neighbouring pieces of tortilla, stripping them bare.
  • The mozzarella is smoked? -- It probably is, but can't smell or taste that. Might as well be normal mozza, honestly. I don't think anyone is enough of a nacho snob to bother to discern the difference.
  • Salsa roja was feeble in flavour.
  • If you are probably not going to use the sauces, just tell them to hold it so they don't go to waste half-used or lightly used.
Chicken Wings ($11.75 per pound, which is probably about 10 wings but can vary; $6.95 during the 3pm-6pm happy hour)
  • Frank's Red Hot - I hate Frank's because it's more sour than spicy-hot. Totally forgot that and accidentally ate a wing from some else's order. But if you love that stuff, these wet wings were drowned in that goop.
  • Sriracha Salted - Yeah, "salted". Not coated in that pretty hot sauce. On the wings it looked like some parts of each wing were dusted in something red. The wings tasted like tasty chicken skin fat -- you know, like undressed deep fried chicken wings. Maybe ask for more salting if you order this.
Beer Battered Lemon Pepper Fries ($7.75) Rickard's Battered Fries, Housemade Lemon Pepper
  • There clearly a light batter on these, making them fries that stayed crispy for a respectable amount of time.
  • Sharply sour lemon pepper. If you want lemon on your fries, this is it. Some other places do a noticeable but feeble lemony flavour. Here there's no holding back, so you better like lemony before you order this.
  • Price for portion is painful, but you may love this so much that you won't mind. Of what I tried, this plus the Fig and Boursin flatbreads, are the items worth trying.
If you are a McDonalds kind of person, just come for the drinks, the games on TV, and/or the lunch special. If you are actually a foodie, don't order anything that doesn't sound interesting -- look for at least one interesting ingredient. Those items are actually nicely enough put together to warrant the Yaletown pricing. But in the end, this is a drinks place with fancy food -- it's in that part of Gastown that has gentrified cheap eats into extinction.

Trivia: The signature "22" ciabatta sandwich is named after the owner's lucky number after he declined the sandwich he designed to be named after himself.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Late night pizza at Rogue on Broadway

Rogue Kitchen & WetBar on Urbanspoon
I confess I still don't understand why everyone pronounces "Rogue" as "rouge" in French since the spelling is obviously different. Yeah, there's the red "G" in it, but the spelling is still wrong, people.

Whatever you want to say about the Rogue brand, they have nice spaces. Their West Broadway location features generally bright spaces and a variety of seating styles and areas that look nicely maintained.

On Friday night I attended a free Italian Concert featuring Carlo Rotunno and Carmela D'Auria presented by the Federazione Pugliese della BC followed by a mini food fair with free samples. Afterwards we asked for recommendations for Italian food and were directed to Marcello Pizzeria or Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, both on Commercial Drive -- totally oblivious to the protest there that night.
We escaped from the Commercial Drive sardine can and wandered up to West Broadway where we tried Banana Leaf as it had a sign that said "open all day". Nope. Closed at 10.30 PM (how is that "all day" if you are not 24 hours?). Then, following Yelp and "Open Now" restaurants we tried Ebisu. But it was close to 11 PM and literally as we walked to the restaurant, they turned off the lights.
Rogue was nearby, so we just walked in with 2 hours before they closed.

2 pints of beer ($9.98)

2 virgin mojitos ($7.98)

Hand Tossed Artisan Pizza - Chewy super-thin crust Neapolitan style, but probably without the strict certification. About 15 or 16 inches in diameter, which is much better than the 11 or 12 inches you might get at a speciality Neapolitan pizza location like Famoso, and for roughly the same price. Comes with two oils at your table -- a weak chili and a strong olive oil with a large sprig of rosemary sitting inside -- and the standard issue chili flakes.

Pizza - Quebec Whaaa? ($16.99) white sauce, sliced potatoes, braised beef short rib, cheese curds, garnished with gravy, parmesan, & fresh herbs
  • Looked like just one ring of large, thin, potato slices.
  • Pulled short rib was very unevenly distributed. The gravy looked like it mostly settled around the middle. The result was, depending on which slice you got, you may have had a very different experience.
  • Overall, sounded fun but turned out boring and not very tasty.
Pizza - Funghi ($16.99) roasted mushrooms, IPA braised onions, goat cheese & roasted garlic on white sauce
  • Rather salty. Otherwise okay.
Turned out our pizzas were moderately burnt:
  • About 1/4 of the potato slices (the portion curled up off the pizza) was burnt black.
  • The mushrooms were burnt black. they started out brown, but everything facing upward was burnt and thinner slices were crispy black.
  • On the Quebec Whaaa?, the underside had large areas of burnt-to-crispy-black that was bitter enough to dominate the taste, so we tore those off. The Funghi pizza was okay.
The busser who brought it obviously didn't mention anything (surely they wouldn't have served it if they could spot that it was over-baked) so we were willing to chalk it up to "it's supposed to be that way" especially since Neapolitan pizzas are basically flash-baked. But when our server came by and we asked, she confirmed they were burnt and "not supposed to be like that". She said she'd get the manager to come sort it out but no one ever appeared (they may I suppose have gone home since it would have been midnight or after by that time). Anyway, we had been willing to let it go and by then we'd eaten about half of the pizzas, so we didn't make a fuss.

But that experience brought up the question of how much to trust the kitchen and server. I have always been under the impression that the kitchen should definitely know if they've screwed something up. And the server is the second chance at quality assurance before your food hits the table. So when my order arrives, I generally trust that if anything looks off, it's probably meant to be that way and I chalk it up to creative license -- otherwise, chefs wouldn't have any creativity at all if (for example) every instance of a particular sauce must taste exactly the same everywhere.

So our burnt-pizza experience really made me question just when to question the server and possibly send something back. And it was also disappointing that the servers didn't quality control our pizzas, especially when the busser who brought it to our table said the only pizza he hadn't yet tried was the Quebec Whaaa?
On the other hand, incidents like this also emphasize just how important it is for the server to check on diners shortly after their meals have arrived to make sure everything is okay.

Service was otherwise okay.

Curious thing to spot about Rogue: The drinks menu says something about your beer glass having something special on the bottom to release bubbles (?). Didn't spot it on our beer glass, but there was a water-level line on the glass labelled "re-order".