Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Social Nature - Sahale Snacks

The newest free sample I received from SocialNature is Sahale Snacks -- this time very conveniently found at my nearby Superstore. They apparently carry three products, but last time I went, two were out of stock. Today, only one was out of stock, so I bought just the two types available:

  • Pomegranate Vanilla Glazed Cashews (with pomegranate, apple, and vanilla bean)
  • Maple Glazed Pecans (with walnuts, apples, cherries, and cinnamon)

Not gonna lie, at $6.48 for a 113g pack, it's pretty pricey for my budget. But! Flavour is actually, really, amazing.

The product inside of course isn't at perfect as the magnified picture on the outside, but it's reasonable. And of course the main part is the taste, and both types I got were winners.

Obviously they would be gone in a hurry if you ate fistfuls of them like boring salted nuts, so DON'T DO THAT. Savour them literally one nut at a time. The strong, clear, flavours will come through even with just one nut so you're just rushing needlessly eating them by the handful.

At the price point, for me it'd be a special treat or special occasion buy. But I can confidently present them or gift them as a classy, upscale snack. You really can't go wrong with something this tasty.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Red Robin (Burnaby) Birthday Burger

Red Robin Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Back to Red Robin for yet another free Birthday Burger! Easy peasy this time -- our waitress said any burger would qualify. She even sterred us away from the "cheap" Tavern Burgers.
For a change, instead of plain bottomless fries I went with the garlic fries upgrade. My friend who came out with me got a Madlove Burger on her own dime.

The Southern Charm Burger ($16.99) brown sugar glaze, candied bacon, Whiskey River BBQ Sauce, cheddar, caramelized onions, shredded romaine and mayo on a toasted brioche bun
  • Bun was good. Soft, slightly sweet. It compresses very easily, but there's no so much bread to get in the way of tasting the actual burger. The light toasting also added a little something to the overall flavour.
  • Had to review my pictures to find the caramelized onion. Oh look! There's a small ring. Needless to say the flavour didn't come through at all.
  • Candied bacon not very sweet and not very bacon salty either.
  • As burgers go, this felt kind of boring. Basically it's a burger slathered with admittedly pretty tasty BBQ sauce.
  • As premium burgers go, it also seemed kind of small / not very tall.
  • Tasty, sure. Special? No. Certainly not special enough for basically $17 but if you can't find anything more interesting on the menu, it's still safe to go with tasty.
Garlic Fries upgrade (+$2.29)
  • I was initially worried this would just be fries powdered with garlic powder. Turns out it's actually butter-fried garlic. Lightly fried so as not to be browned.
  • This might actually have been a worthwhile upgrade except they didn't seem to have tossed the fries in the garlic butter at all. All the garlic and butter sat on the bottom of the plate, which made it really hard to access with the fries. So it was basically still fries. And if you worked at it you scooped up a bit of the garlic and butter onto your fry.
  • Total waste of time (and money).
Pleasant friendly service as usual, nothing different except all the staff were wearing facemasks because of the Covid scare.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Honolulu Cafe

Honolulu Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato This restaurant has been around for a very long time and still has a decent number of customers -- which is generally a good sign that it's got something going for it.

Overall, price for portion is really good and it's not just filler. Even the smaller "Mini-Set Meal" available from 12pm-6pm and 9pm-1am are of a decent, filling portion though at a couple dollars less than the regular menu. That's what we ordered from for lunch.

Taste is around slightly better than mediocre but on the salty side.

For a Chinese restaurant where the servers weren't good at English, service was really decent. Not brusque like it can be in Chinese restaurants.

CASH ONLY.


CASH ONLY.

25. Curry Chicken or Beef Brisket with Rice ($10.75)
  • My friend went with the Curry Chicken. Chicken not at all overdone so I suspect it might have been freshly boiled and then added to the soup. Same with the vegetables, which were still on the crisp side instead of having sat in curry all day and softened.
  • Even without the rice the portion of curry was good and they weren't skimpy on the chicken.
  • Really salty. And not really spicy either. The saltiness really ruined it but otherwise it tasted like a passable Asian curry.
93. Fried Chicken Wings with Tan Tan Noodle in Soup ($10.95)
Something was lost in translation here but the server tried to tell me (I think) that they were out of the proper noodle. So I think I got less noodle and/or watered down soup. They did offer me instead one extra chicken wing.
  • Chicken wings were not really seasoned. But not at all oily, came hot, still quite juicy on the inside and crispy on the outside. Overall, nicely done, just not seasoned.
  • The soup tasted like instant noodle broth mixed with peanut butter. Slightly on the salty side but otherwise an interesting and tasty combo.
  • Nothing too special here but price for portion is definitely there and you'll walk out full.
  • Comes with choice of drink -- for no extra charge, it's coffee, milk tea, or lemon tea (tea with fat slices of lemon).

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Hunnybee Bruncheonette

Hunnybee Bruncheonette Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Hunnybee is a pretty busy little brunch place with rather limited seating. There's seating outside, but the tables are on the low side and given the neighbourhood I wouldn't really recommend the counter.

Price for portion is good! And that's hard to find these days.
It's diner style so you order at the counter and pay first, and the credit card machine prompts you to tip first, which is sort of weird as you end up with really not much service except they bring the stuff to your table. So if that irks you, look around the interface for how to skip it, especially as the first tip option is 15%.

Shakshuka ($12) red pepper & tomato stew, two poached eggs, lentils, labneh, toast
  • Tasty, and given the portion and price, it's a win. Spicing might be slightly on the tame side, however.
  • Lacking in some of the more traditional aspects, chief of which is not being in a skillet. This means it can get cold really fast, so dig in right away.
  • Based on the presentation my guess is they scoop it out of a huge vat like soup and add in the separately prepared too-perfectly-beautiful poached eggs.
  • Veggies on top a bit too long to be convenient but not a big deal.
My friend got the rather largish sized ricotta pancake, which I didn't get to try.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

J&G Fried Chicken (Robson)

J&G Fried Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato DISCLAIMER: I got a Yelper discount e-coupon for J&G Fried Chicken as an incentive to try the place. I dragged along a couple of friends who live downtown and who happily turned out to have already been curious about it so that between the three of us we could try many things.

The place is tiny. Basically it's a take-out joint, except you probably don't want to take home freshly deep fried food because it'll be horrid by the time you get it home, especially with the current low temperatures.
Seating is minimal, but since people generally walk out with their purchases, you could just eat it right there.

Price-wise there are a couple of meal options but mostly it's snack-sized. So if you try to put together a dinner with the various snacks, it's gonna end badly dollar-wise, just as if you were to try to put together a dinner with just appetizer portions of, well, appetizers.
KFC coupons will probably get you more bang for your buck and comparable tastiness IF you focus on the chicken pieces at KFC -- What J&G does really well is show you the chicken. Their "popcorn chicken" is sized like Chicken McNuggets and uses real chunks of chicken instead of pink paste. When you bite into it, there's no mystery how much chicken there is instead of trying to discern it from the layer of seasoned batter. KFC doesn't have quite the same sort of snacking portion products however, and their "popcorn chicken" snack seems more batter than anything else.

As fried chicken goes, it's juicy and the seasoning is good. But if you demand crispiness, look elsewhere: There's no real crunch to any of it unless you get the deep fried chicken cartilage.



They may ask if you want chili powder on your stuff. I'd go with it on the side until you've had a chance to know what it is. Basically it's chili powder and you do need quite a bit of it to get any real heat going.

The spicy chicken isn't spicy-hot per se. It's spiced but with no heat on the tongue. Also there's a bitterness to the spicing that might not be for everyone.

The custard filled taro balls are worth mentioning for the rather liquid "custard" inside. If you don't pop the whole thing in your mouth, watch out for possible splat.

Overall I felt that taste and value is mediocre. But as snacks go, it's hard to beat deep fried fun.
There are meal options (which we didn't try) as well as some kind of "chicken pizza" (which wasn't available at the time).

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Burdock and Co.

Burdock & Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Caught up with a dear friend over Sunday brunch and Burdock and Co. was her pick. Busy busy busy but they take reservations! Table spacing is tight AND the tables are light and not bolted to the floor, so don't bulldoze your way around.

Didn't get a non-alcoholic drink menu right away so ask about it. Coffee and tea available of course but also a small selection of Fentimans.

Risotto ($17) biodynamic aged rice, sunchoke, walnut
  • Looks deceptively simple and therefore can look initially disappointing.
  • Even if you overlook the biodynamic aged rice portion of the item, it is actually surprisingly tasty thanks to the flavourful oil.
  • Portion may seem small compared to whatever your dining companion is getting but it's not very watery so it works out to be a decently filling portion.
  • Not overly sweet, interesting flavour, and strangely very little aftertaste.
My friend had the rather hearty-sized looking chickpea tagine that comes with two wedges of toasted bread. From the taste I got, I felt the spicing of the stew was rich and promising.

Price overall felt steep probably for the popularity of the restaurant but what they do make is tasty. If you prize quality over quantity the price should look okay. Either that or I lucked out ordering the most intriguing brunch menu item.

White Spot (Cardero) Beyond Burger

White Spot Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Ended up at White Spot for a friend's birthday party. Been absolutely ages since I was at any outlet. Maybe I remember them a bit too fondly but for what I got, price felt outrageous. Even their french fries were so disappointing my mom said not to reheat them and just throw it out for the birds (no really -- she actually suggested that).

Crispy Cauliflower Bites ($10.49) glazed in sweet chili sauce and served with mango herb salsa over cilantro sour cream; toasted almonds.
  • Taste is quite decent although prone to being covered up by the various sauces and flavours on the plate.
  • Not even remotely crispy.
Avocado Beyond Burger™ ($17.49) Chargrilled 100% plant-based Beyond Meat® patty with fresh avocado, pickled onions, roasted corn, lettuce & tomato. JalapeƱo ranch & edamame hummus. Comes with choice of Caesar Salad, The Spot's Salad, or Creamy Coleslay and Endless Signature Kennebec Fries.
  • Mediocre tasting burger. Not even particularly big. At $17.49 it is charitable to say what you get is disappointing for the price.
  • I isolated a good chunk of the Beyond Meat patty to try, and it was actually really rather good. The look of the texture inside wasn't meat-like at all, but it was juicy, taste was good (though not really in a way you could positively identify which animal it's supposed to be), and the texture in your mouth was also ground burger patty like.
  • They charred some of the patty, which is fine as that can give a nice flavour on its own. However I felt there was a bit too much charring such that it dominated the burger overall.
  • I opted for the Creamy Coleslaw and Endless Signature Fries. If you substitute the fries for something else, it's not endless anymore.
  • Coleslaw used sunflower seeds, which made it different and interesting, but at the same time the coleslaw didn't have a crisp, sharp, refreshing bite that coleslaws often have.
  • The fries were limp. One step away from outright soggy. FAIL. I thought that might have been a fluke, so I asked for more fries (since it's endless, right?) and was careful to tell them I wasn't in a hurry and if I could get a freshly prepared order. Result was the same. FAIL.
Overall score would be a fail for such an expensive yet disappointing main. However, White Spot does have some non-food related redeeming qualities, such as being able to host large groups and unlike many restaurants, not being anxious about how long your party is there. Our largish party of almost 20 persons did not get a pre-calculated tip added to the bill.

Bonus point for our server Fergie who brought me my order of fries in a takeout box. It had apparently taken the kitchen long enough to fry up another batch and by then our party was almost ready to disperse. So bringing it to me in a takeout box was the correct move.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Basil Garden Pho

Basil Garden Pho Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Bright clean place that looks suspiciously like a Freshii outlet. Decent-to-good food at a rather good price for mains. Price for portion is actually rather good and they aren't skimpy with ingredients like the chicken in my chicken curry.

46. Basil Garden Chicken Curry (with choice of Vermicelli or Rice; $12)
  • This was a pretty big bowl for what you get. Obviously the curry soup is a part of what you get but they weren't skimpy with the chicken.
  • Sweet potato made this a bit more interesting and gave the soup a slight sweetness. Not especially hot-spicy.
  • Chicken pieces looked dry, unfortunately, but of course there's curry soup all around. Otherwise pretty decent bad and the price for portion is rather good.
1. Garlic Butter Chicken Wings ($12.50 - about $1.60 per wing)
  • Came piping hot, juicy, crispy on the outside. But it was also the last item of our order to come, despite being an appetizer.
  • Overall pretty decent. I think I would have liked the butter and/or garlic flavours to be more pronounced however.
33. Grilled Pork Chop and Lemongrass Chicken on Rice ($13)
  • My friend's order and I didn't get to try it, but I snagged some pics anyway.
I felt service was so-so... Order of dishes, amount of napkins they gave (not really enough), didn't clear dishes from our table. And the dilapidated menus really could be refreshed. But price for portion is really decent.