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Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Month: May 2015

Turkish Donair

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I don’t know much about the Turkish culture, but wanted to find out what made these donairs different from all the others. Today we were at “Turkish Donair” for a quick bite, the only shoppe serving donairs in this area of North Burnaby. My partner has been before and decided it would be as adequate of a place as any other to have lunch at.

I try not to judge a book by its cover or a restaurant by its exterior, but it is hard not to when the place looks run down. The awning was caked with grime. What was once a black covering with yellow font was now stained a mossy green mess. Though considering that this didn’t deter anyone else from entering, why should it me? I would soon find out.

The front window and sandwich board helped to convey everything they offered in clear photos and precise words. Pitas wrapping either Halal meats or the vegetarian falafel. “Halal” refers to any object or action that is permissible to use or engage in according to Islamic law. The term covers and designates not only food and drink but also all matters of daily Islamic life. “Falafel” is a deep-fried ball or patty made from ground chickpeas, fava beans, or both. It is a traditional Middle Eastern food.

The restaurant held a narrow space. On one side the counter to order and prepare food behind, and across from it several mirrors mounted on the wall. The mirrors helped to give the room the illusion of depth and breath. The black counter was manned by the lone shop’s owner/only employee. It was decorated with spray painted vegetables: tomatoes, lettuce, olives, cucumber, and rings of raw onions. What followed was a picture of a completed donair with all the ingredients above, tucked neatly in to a warm pita. Above it was a half empty chip rack and to its side a fully empty refrigerated display case. I don’t know if the barren fixtures were because it was Sunday in the early afternoon and they would be closing soon. But I do know it made it seem like the shoppe was going out of business. An empty display case dressed with clean dishes and tongs and cake trays with lids holding nothing but air. At least the can and bottled beverage fridge was well stocked. The above could also be probable because they use to sell more sides and snacks, but those sides and snacks were never very popular. So they ended up being more cost than profit to make; to have available, and to not sell. Therefore they were discontinued. Though if that was the case they should just clear it all out and make room for some more appropriate seating.

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The less functional portion of the restaurant was a very ethnic attempt at interior decorating. I will not be able to call specific items by their names, but can none-the-less describe what I saw and how it all made me feel. Towards the back, a set of side tables and chairs stood. They differed from the ones used for dining closer to the door. The arrangement felt like it belonged in someone’s home. It seemed like the space was designated more for the owner’s friends to come and hang out in, then for actual restaurant seating. Side tables to rest drinks on and chairs with armrest for extended periods of sitting. Two small television sets sat in opposite corners. One was tuned to Arabic news, it offered the only noise in the otherwise quite restaurant. Artificial potted plants, assorted frames commemorating various photos, and antique looking clocks and wall pieces in wood and metal crowded the area. Most curious was the wall mounted wire wine rack, it carried a plastic bottle of Brisk ice tea instead of its intended glass bottle of wine. One table had a printed fabric laid over it, a leather piece decorated with a multitude if watercolour. We weren’t comfortable dining in this portion of the room and only considered the bar by the window or the two top tables across from the counter. The thought of hunching over and eating off of tables at knee height was not too appealing. Nor were we very comfortable with dripping juices on to the fabric table covering above.

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You order from the three menus above the counter. The first menu divided the chicken, lamb, and beef donair options from one another. Essentially it was the same array of ingredients across the board, but you change up the protein in each. Six donair flavours influenced by four different cuisine types. The secondary menus offer the same flavours as a platter or as a combo. A deconstructed donair: meat over rice with a side of salad and pita. Or a fully filled and wrapped pita with a side of rice or salad. Essentially they increase their menu listing by offering the same ingredients in different applications. Clever, though at the same time less can be more for such a business. I recommend that they bring it down to one menu and simply do six dishes the best they can. Maybe then I would have actually enjoyed what I had.

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Because there was only just the owner working the front counter, a few guests left, being put off by the minimal wait. It ended up being better for us as our position in line moved up. He was very friendly. With a smile on his face he informed us they were out of chicken. We were disappointed. How could that be? At 2pm, and with chicken being one of the most popular proteins. Though considering they were also out of toilet paper for the whole restaurant, I guess it wasn’t really that big of a surprise.

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The difference between a large and a small donair was pretty obvious upon comparison. I had the small, as after describing what I saw I was not to optimistic about the food.

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I chose the “Lebanese Beef”, deciding that it would be the most flavourful given its use of sauces and spreads like tabaulah, hommous, and tzatziki; along with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. The “Greek” with olive, feta, and tzatziki would have been my second choice. The wax bag wrapped and twisted at the bottom of the falafel was a food idea. Not only did it save my fingers from the inevitability of juice running down them, but it held the wrap together until I got to the bottom. The beef had a spongy texture and wasn’t as good as I had hoped. It would have been better with a shredded texture. It was definitely not fresh, but that was probably because it was reheated in the microwave. You could hear the beep to set it, the closing of the plastic door, and the ding-ing of the bell to indicate it was done. I immediately thought, isn’t the point of such places to have the meat cook on the spit, and for the fragrance to waft in the air and attract customers in? I guess they just weren’t busy enough or a large enough operation for fresh food made to order. In my wrap, I missed the hommous and didn’t get enough tzatziki for taste. At this point I could have used a dish of each for dipping in to. The creamy hommous paste, would have not only given things more flavour, but it would have made this wrap more filling. When eating it, I was missing that hearty substance feeling. A void the unripened slices of tomato and excessive amount of lettuce stem was unable to fill. There was a lot more lettuce than necessary, so much so that we ended up digging most out as we ate our way down.

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My parter ordered the “Maritimer Beef”, not being able to have chicken. He liked the sweetness of the sauce included, but decided it was not complimentary to the spicy beef. Like my falafel above it too came with pale tomatoes and too much lettuce. He had passed on hot sauce, which was a mistake. It needed more flavour, another layer, another element to give it some kick. Crispy fried onions or a tangy slaw. Though both really wouldn’t be very Turkish. I would have been nice to have some tzatziki in this one too, a mix of sweet and tangy, it surely needed something else as it tasted incomplete.

When the crowd had filtered out and all orders had been made, the owner sat behind the bar to watch television. Something that isn’t too professional, but for a small shop like this I don’t mind. However he decided to turn the volume up to combat against the already loud buzzing of the refrigeration equipment. It made our conversations difficult, the need to talk over the voices coming from the television. That and we felt like we had to be quiet so that he could watch his tv in peace. This was definitely not the greatest of eating environments. However we were here to eat and go so tried to pay no mind.

As I made mention to earlier, my attempt to use the single stall washroom was foiled without the presence of toilet paper. I search through all the cupboards before asking, but he had indeed run out. Guess they don’t have many female patrons using their facilities or anyone using it at all. The owner had offered to run and get some, but I rather not have waited. The experience was mildly salvaged by his kind demeanour and friendly nature.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
If I was just ranking service, this review would be different. Despite the intention for an easy grab and go snack, our meal was unsatisfying. I rather not return as I can find far better donairs else where. Or simply choose something else in the neighbourhood. Sadly I have had much better an will travel much farther for it before coming back here. I say “sadly” because the owner was so nice and he made up from the greviences above. I would consider coming back just to support him if it wasn’t for the pungent lingering taste I had in my mouth after I finished eating. I craved a palette cleanser all the way to the nearest gas station to use the washroom. Don’t deny your cravings.

TURKISH DONAIR
4066 Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5C2J3
778-371-0371
Turkish Donair on Urbanspoon

QQ Sushi

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I have written in the past that this sushi shop fills a need in the neighbourhood. That fact still holds true today. For me it is a quick and easy stop for cheap eats. I am most often here close to pay day, buying their 19 piece sushi special with miso soup for $6.50. You can’t get  much for that price, let alone all this. Though sadly during my latest visit I had to add in this insert to my post. The price of my go to combo has now increased, the chef blamed inflation without actually saying those words. The special was now $6.95. And even though the 50 cents isn’t much more, it just doesn’t feel like the same valuable combo any more. Now that I have had it at $6.50 how can I go back? What was worse was I called ahead, as I always do, to have my order ready for pick up, but it had not even been started.

I noted previously that the restaurant setting was not the greatest. All together I find things fairly disheveled. It is an open space, it does not separate kitchen from dining room. Where being able to watch the chef prepare my meal isn’t necessarily a good thing or something I want to see. I instead highly recommend taking out. To eat the food that I want for the decent price I paid for it, in a setting I actually enjoy. The dining area was worn and in need of a refurbishing and that the kitchen seem cluttered and less then clean. Though I have yet to get sick so continue to consume their goods.

But once again instead of my combo being ready after I paid, I was told to wait, that they will start making it now. I couldn’t wait so asked for a refund. To save the sale another chef, who was actually on break jumped in to help. I often take out around 2:30pm when all the staff assemble and have lunch together in the dining room. This happens every day. One ceases each time a guest enters or their service is needed by someone already dining in the room. This is a very common practice for Chinese restaurants, and at this Chinese run Japanese sushi shop it is no different. Not that I mind them taking a break, I just find it unprofessional the way they go about it. You don’t see this practice at a “Joey’s” or even at an “McDonalds”. And if those employees are eating in the dining area they are doing so one at a time, incognito, out of uniform. As the customer you almost feel bad for giving them business. To take a man away from his meal for $7.50 after tax. None the less it is what it is if you want to eat here. And I still prefer this, interrupting the chef during lunch over the curt woman they employ. She is an employee scheduled to work the register during their lunch rushes. She uses the busy traffic as an excuse to rush through the service portion of customer service. She doesn’t say “please” or “thank you”, she speaks with an impatient tone, and genuinely seems to not care about your patronage. I honestly don’t know why I go back to them and essentially condone her actions each time I give then business. Maybe after today I will think twice. There is actually a newer sushi place a block away. However they do charge more, though the great service may be worth the dollar or two more you have to pay.

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I digress, back to my “sushi special combo” now at $6.95. Together two chefs boxed everything in 2 minutes, which made me skeptical of what I would actually be getting. The rolls were from the fridge. I paid 50 cent more for something not made to order? Truthfully this, I think this was now enough to have me taking a break from “QQ”. The special comes with the most popular of rolls from the vegetarian and non vegetation side of things. California and dynamite roll paired with yam tempura and cucumber rolls. Truthfully they all were descent and filling, though none was good to stand out on its own. Creamy crab, crunchy prawn tempura, starchy yams, and crispy cucumber wedges. Standard for North American sushi.

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Below are a few other dishes I have had previous to the above episode. The next five are Japanese dim sum. I call it that because their origins is Japanese, but some how during the preparation process they come out completely different than expected. Something reminiscent of Taiwanese bubble tea shop snacks or Chinese small plates. Japanese dishes made in a Chinese tradition.

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The “Takoyaki” tasted like fish balls, and were just as dense. The kind you have during hot pot. Though they weren’t actually shaped like balls, more domes with flat bottoms. And they were smaller and less dressed than what you would expect from Takoyaki. Not a lot of mayo, hardly any dried herbs or any bonito flakes. There was section of octopus tentacle in the centre but it offered nothing but its rubbery texture. Not worth trying again.

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The “Agedashi tofu” was even more disappointing. This was officially the worst rendition I have ever had. Even with the sauce served separately the squares of tofu were mushy. In no way were they ever crisp from their tempura battered deep fry. And even with a healthy soak in the tempura sauce provided each block of bean curd remained bland. It needed seasoning. The tofu needed salt, and the batter that coated it needed some flavour.
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The “seaweed salad” was pretty standard. I am sure they buy a lot of it premade to serve like this. I knew what I would be getting with this one and was not disappointed. It offered something light and fresh to accompany all the other deep fried appetizers.

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The “spring rolls” were lacking in colour, though their pasty complexion was not a reflection on their crunchy exterior. With more flaky shell then chopped up ingredients, it could have used and taken triple with filling. Though like this they kept their standard fast food spring roll flavour, especially after a dip into the sweet and spicy sauce. Pretty uninspired.

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I could not be certain if the pork “Gyozas” were homemade, but given the above and how delicious these were by comparison, I would think not. Each dumpling was chewy with slightly crisp skin from a thorough pan frying. It was filled edge to edge with well seasoned pork meat. Best enjoyed with the salty dark sauce provided, but not dependant on it. Clearly the Gyozas and the spring rolls were made by two different people.

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The “vegetarian sushi combo”.
I actually prefer vegetarian sushi, I know I am essentially eating vegetables and rice in a travel ready format and that soy sauce over raw vegetables aren’t really that good. But it’s something about them all together that works for me.

The kappa roll was your standard starter roll, a bite of cucumber and rice. The yam tempura roll is best eaten warm, with its filling fresh out of the deep fryer. Then you still get than crisp with all that chewy rice. Leaving it for too long has it going mushy. The vegetable roll was surprisingly very tasty, especially considering that the roll is just raw vegetables wrapped in seaweed and rice. This large bite was filled with avocado, cucumber, carrot, lettuce, and sweet tofu. The sweet and salty sauce finishes it off well.

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The “chicken don” was pretty good. A descent amount of chicken coated in a sweet teriyaki sauce, served over crisp bean sprouts and moist rice. Though not enough chicken when considering the amount of rice you get. At least the rice too is coated in teriyaki sauce, making it easy to consume without a bite of chicken. The chunk of carrot and the floret of broccoli were left on the rawer side. They were tough to get teeth into and hardly worth the effort.  More visual interest than edible element, they gave an other wise brown dish a pop of colour and some appeal. Digging around I did find a silver of carrot and one of zucchini. They made a fine additional to the bowl and I wished for more.

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The “beef don”, like the chicken one before was fairly standard. Served in the same fashion and the same sauce. Thin cuts of beef coated in teriyaki sauce over crisp bean sprouts and moist rice. This was pretty much the blue print for their other rice bowl dishes too. You choose a protein or tofu, it gets coated in teriyaki sauce and is served with everything else. This order could have use more sauce to make up for the dryness of the curls of meat. If possible finish this all in one go, having to reheat it turns the meat even tougher with an unappetizing grey colour to match.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I don’t come here expecting the best sushi I have ever had, or anything all that good in fact. It just beats spending $10 for a meal every day. Though eventually I do grow tired of their special combo and do mix things up. Never the special rolls though, I have learned my lesson, they are not all that good for the extra dollars you shell out. Also keeping it simple with minimal ingredients in a roll proves to be a solid game plan for any North American style sushi shop.
Once again the food isn’t the best, the setting isn’t the nicest, and the staff are not the most courteous, but there is just something about this place. Like they have figured out the magical formula where their quality of food is precisely equivalent to the amount they offer it at. Nothing has been amazing, yet nothing is bad enough to bring to the attention of a staff member or to deter future visits. There is good value and for that alone I will continue to take out with them, but just maybe less frequently.
Don’t deny your cravings.

QQ SUSHI
1640 West Broadway, Vancouver BC
604-568-9018
qqsushirestaurant.ca
Q Q Sushi on Urbanspoon

Jethro’s Fine Grub

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Another restaurant I have taken this long to visit because of its earlier operational hours. They specialize in breakfast and brunch, and only open long enough for a late lunch. We choose their newest and second location for our 2pm dining today. The free parking lot to the side of the restaurant was a plus. It sure set the lunch off right. I have always found their name fun: “Jethro’s Fine Grub”, a catchy oxymoron. And printed on their presumptuous awning, it was even better. “Est. 2010 – Forever”.

I have peaked into their original location and was a little disappointed at the interior here. It looked like the former establishment used their space well. Scuffed floors and chipped fixtures. Not much seemed redone or renovated for the new space for this popular restaurant. The fresh coat of paint on select walls and the pop of teal helped to bring new life, but the friction from the metal diner chairs was quickly wearing parts where chair and wall met.

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One wall featured a streak of black paint that was used as a chalk board. On it their logo was drawn, their trademark font: a retro tattoo style. And on either sides of it, an advert for their social media presence was detailed.  After reading it, I would be posting a picture of us enjoying our food for a chance to win a $20 gift certificate. The opposite wall featured an assembly of frames. Literally just the frame of several frames hung on display. A large one adjacent boxed in their own line of apparel. Tees and tanks featuring the café’s name. Other than that there wasn’t much in the way of theme or decoration. Not that it mattered much, the plates of food to come were eye catching enough, and they didn’t need additional distractions.

The restaurant had a very relaxed vibe. Slow traffic through the doors, classic rock playing overhead, and the servers dressed in tanks, tees, and runners. Our server was friendly enough. She apologized profusely for forgetting our order, for repeatedly having to arrange our table’s condiments and to restock the napkin dispenser as we ate. It was only because we were the last customers in and they were closing in an hour. She was getting a bread start. If she didn’t explain her motions and just burst into our personal space to action the above, it would have been a different story.

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With it on the menu, how can I pass up trying alligator for the first time? It was this or the “Catfish Po-Boy”. Guess it will give me a reason to wake up early to try catfish for the first time. “Alligator Nuggets”. Battered and flash fried ‘gator over basmati rice. Served with a blonde barbecue sauce, and a tossed salad. The alligator bites were very pleasant looking. Fried crisp these nuggets were pop in your mouth friendly. Deep fried crispy on the outside, dry and stringy on the inside. The actual meat was fairly tough, you couldn’t easily bite a nugget in half. It tasted like chicken. The flavour was all in the seasonings and the accompanying dish of sauce. I have never heard of a “blonde barbecue sauce”, but I was won over on the first taste. It was creamy and tangy, and tasted nothing like the ranch dressing it resembled. Better, if possible, and delicious enough to want a second go at it. Though there was not enough of the sauce to help moisten up the equally dry rice. I found it especially hard to swallow towards the final bites.

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My guest, craving something more fresh had the clear choice: their “Obligatory Vegi Wrap”. A fist width burrito filled with rice, black beans, apple fennel slaw, corn, jalapeños, lettuce, tomato, and two types of bbq sauce. The same blonde sauce above and a hickory barbecue sauce as well. Vegetables, lentils, and grains brought together to form a food rainbow. As is the case with most burritos, it is a commitment to finish. The initial few bites were the best and towards the mid point you struggle to keep ingredients from spilling out, and to keep yourself excited over the one note flavour. Even though it essentially had as many flavours as it had ingredients. A mix of smokey, sweet, and tangy. Combined with a crunchy, starchy, and gritty texture. Although many of the ingredients were raw you didn’t get a sense of intended freshness; with the heavy beans, the filling rice, and the over powering barbecue sauce. We would have preferred more grilled vegetables wrapped up in this colourful roll. And less of it all together, this was not a burrito you could finish in one sitting. A half was boxed up to go. Though burritos do not make great leftovers, the tortilla shell often breaks apart from accumulating additional moisture from the ingredients within.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I would like to come back to have my catfish, but to also try their all day breakfast, which they are better known for. The food is really the allure here, your favourites with a slight southern twist. This location seems to see less traffic, so chances are you may be able to avoid the line and wait more prevalent at their original restaurant. So if that was what was stopping you from trying “Jethro’s” before, you have no excuse now. Don’t deny your cravings.

JETHRO’S
3455 Fraser Street, Vancouver BC, V5V4C4
604-620-5292
jethrosfinegrub.com
Jethro's Fine Grub on Urbanspoon

Roadies Burger Bar, Hard Rock Casino

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The Hardrock casino in New Westminster has been open for a year now. So this date night my partner decided it would be spent dining at their trademark cafe. Sadly it does not exist, something we only discovered after the car ride to. Instead they offer five other dining experiences. We were looking for cheap and quick so that eliminated the Pacific Northwest restaurant and steered us into the actual Casino. Clearing the ID check and the security guards we travelled past blinking lights, the clinking of chips, and the rolling melodies to the back of the hall.

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We originally planned to dine at their pub/bar space “Asylum”, but given its popularity during this hockey game that would not be an option for us. Though my partner noticed all the food from “Asylum” was prepared else where and only
ushered there by waiters on trays. Following their travel path led us to three other restaurants, or rather the casino’s food court. So we cut out the middle man and decided just to eat here. The Casino food court accommodated. It knew its demographic and catered to it. 50% off for those 50 and up. Outlets to charge your devices at built-in to several tables. Eating options for the most decerning of tastes. And they even hire numerous youths who found their work place exciting and the later hours enjoyable.

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You chose between three stalls side by side. One a Chinese fast food stand, the second various sandwiches; and the last, what we had, the burgers and fries. The menu was a little harder to read then order off of, three giant screens in a row. Each representing one of the the three food stalls. And each kept flipping between two options: mains and sides. Luckily there was a hand held menu to reference. You pay at and order from the same counter. You are then given a number on a metal stand to identify you to your meal, as you search out your seat. You choose your seat amongst tables and a bar surrounding the perimeter. The checkered floor distinguishes the dining area from the carpeted casino floor. This was all an open space. So you could still see the bright bulbs of the slot machines, and hear the noise of those making gains with each pull of a handle.

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Like a fast food chain all drinks, utensils, and condiments were a self serve affair. Fountain drinks to the right, available after you are handed a plastic cup to fill. To the back a counter organized. Here you choose your equipment and gather all that you need. Chopsticks or forks, chilli sauce or mustard, napkins, the convenient wet wipes, and water dispense from a tap.
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The “starter burger” came by mistake, I snapped a photo before realizing and bringing it back to the counter. This was just a beef burger with tomato, lettuce, and their specialty thousand island-like sauce. It looked good, the patty seemed juicy and thick, and the vegetables were a vibrant hue. However it was not what I was craving for, nor was it what I requested. When I brought my concerns to the woman at the till, the one we paid with, she looked skeptical of my claim. Instead of correcting my order she insisted on checking through the previous receipts. It only concluded she typed our order incorrectly, as my partner said “cod” and even pointed the desired option out on the hand held, laminated menu.

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The fish burger that I really wanted was worth the hassle and the wait. Beer battered cod with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and loads of tartar sauce. The fish was definitely fried to order. It was tremendously oily, and as result the batter flaked off and things literally fell apart. Maybe the process was rushed to accommodate me. But sadly it only hindered the full potential of the burger. It was a messy affair. The tomato was definitely appreciated as it helped to break up all the grease. Overall still a burger I would order again, who doesn’t love a good crispy piece fish and a dish of creamy tartar sauce to dip it in to?

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My partner got the “Bacon cheese burger”. It was your classic burger line up: bacon, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato, and their signature sauce. It was the sauce that set it apart from all other burgers, that and the perfect grilling of the patty. The patty was not over cooked, as is often the case with such quickie burgers. It was moist throughout, with the tiniest bit of pink remaining; it made it all the more enjoyable to eat. This one we made a combo with a side of fries and the fountain drink of our choice.

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We couldn’t go without trying their onion rings, so we ordered it as a side. The rings were cut thick, with a similarly thick coat of breading. It definitely had the crunch of a good onion ring, but was overcooked to achieve it. A burnt taste that lingered with each bite. I couldn’t get past it and the crumbly texture to fully enjoy the crunch. A creamy mayo based sauce would have helped this tremendously. Plus the rings were a little on the blander side.

When we left with our empty papers and used plastic one of the bussers  thanked us for clearing the table. He jokingly offered us a job. I always thought it was customary to minimally clean up after yourself. To clear the table and allow for the next round of patrons to take a seat. Like tipping, it is just expected and you do it not to be judged going against that.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.

I liked the glamour of dining in a casino. I found the food decent and the prices fair enough. But mostly I would like to return to try their North American Chinese food and their in house made chips that paired with their deli style sandwiches. Though for fast food it wasn’t served very fast. I guess good food takes time. Don’t deny your cravings.

ROADIES
Hard Rock Casino
2080 United Boulevard, Coquitlam BC, V3K6W3
604-523-6888
hardrockcasinovancouver.com/venue/roadies-burger
Roadies Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

Honey Doughnuts & Goodies

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The sun has been out and it feels like the city in spring. So we, like many others decided to head outdoors this weekend. One of the more popular areas with a view, is Deep Cove. When in Deep Cove I highly recommend stopping at “Honey’s”, better known for their classic cakey doughnuts, but they offer much more.

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There were plenty of tourists with the locals in today. An increased popularity thanks to an article listing the area as one of the best places to visit in the city. And because their doughnuts have earned their own accolades. The line extended out the door, a few were turned away by the wait, but those in the know, knew it was worth their time.
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The crowd did not let up. Saturday after 2pm, it was peak snack time, but we were here for breakfast. Everyone had a doughnuts on plates, and we were looking for a full meal with our doughnut on the side. Luckily breakfast was served until 4pm, with the possibility of lunch all day. But first the wait. The line had us packed in tight, shoulder to shoulder with the person in front of us. Though the necessary time gave us a chance to read over the menu. Two black boards printed in coloured chalk, separating the breakfast menu from the lunch. Egg combos and sandwiches stacked with cold cuts. Hot sandwiches grilled crisp and cold ones served fresh. Corn beef and Swiss versus shrimp and avocado, to name the more adventurous options. Though in general they served classic North American style breakfast and lunch.

The poor waitress spent most of her time apologizing. “Sorry” for needing to move about, “sorry” for having to get past people to serve others. All things considering, she navigated the sea of bodies well. She also remembered orders and requests.  We, amongst others needed something, a bag for the rest of my doughnut, to go. She promptly brought a wax paper sleeve. She was as polite as the women who worked behind the counter were nice. Peering past them, and further, you could make out the blurs in the kitchen. Multiple chefs preparing multiple dishes.

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When we got to the counter we saw the donuts stacked neatly under glass, chunky cookies wrapped in Saran, and muffins nestled in baskets. The white chocolate cappuccino muffins with walnuts caught my eye, but I kept the other on the prize. Past it, the Honey, Chocolate, Maple, and Cinnamon sugar doughnuts. All the above was well lit by several stain glass lamps hanging over the counter. They, like majority of the decorum, they too made it through the 80’s and found a new home on these walls.
The paint over the block and stucco walls were chipping, the checkered floors were scuffed; and every miss matching table and chair was either dented, scratched, or faded with use. It simply made the restaurant lovingly worn, cozy and warm. It was all well lived in, and all the antiques and Knick knacks only added to this. An old miniature organ was repurposed into a shelf, on it stood a like miniature guitar and an old fashioned radio. Model sized military planes were suspended from the ceiling, and colourful sketches of cars were parked behind framed glass. Corner to corner there was something vintage to catch your glance. Wooden puppets, coffee tins, glass bottles, and metal lamps.

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A few tables sat in the foyer, but given the necessary bumping and the lack of personal space, it wasn’t advised as good seating. Definitely not for those who are claustrophobic. We instead travelled to the secondary room and found a table by the window. It looked out on to their patio and plenty of bodies enjoying the luke warm weather outside. There we waited with our doughnuts and numbered card. The savoury portion of our meal would follow suit.
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Even the plates were vintage 80’s. I had their “Mexican breakfast”, a whole grain and seed heavy bagel sandwiching a fluffy multi egg omelette, with homemade salsa and guacamole. The sheet of egg was made with two types of cheeses, and ended up being double the size of the actual bagel. I have never had an egg so fluffy. The abundance of melty and stringy cheese only made it better. The salsa and guacamole gave this breakfast bagel its “Mexican” flare, and most of its flavour. I could have used more salsa, though it was already pretty messy as is. Dripping in between my fingers and puddles of liquid pooling on my plate.

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My partner got the “Breakfast sandwich”, bacon, egg, and cheese on an toasted English muffin. It was good, but no different than any breakfast sandwich offered at most fast food chains. Though the addition of sliced orange was a nice differing touch.

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No surprise, the donuts were the best thing about this meal. And as expected, worth the travel time and the wait in line. Yes, they are that good, certainly my favourite cakey doughnut. Best taken in a large bites. These rounds were as dense as they were thick. Heavy, hearty, and rich; more cake than donut. I could barely finish my chocolate in one sitting. The chocolate and maple coating only made the cake better, like icing it added texture and flavour; and gave you options. But they would have been just as good plain.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
The breakfast wasn’t anything special. No real innovations in ingredient assembly between slices of bread, but you come for more than that. A place with a view and doughnuts to die for. Homemade flavours served loving. “Vancity Buzz” has listed Deep Cove as one of their “5 happy places for city dwellers to check out in Metro Vancouver”. So stop by and visit “Honey’s” before the rest of the city catches wind of them, and their lines extend around the block. Don’t deny your cravings.

HONEY DOUGHNUTS
4373 Gallant Avenue, North Vancouver BC, V7G1L1
604-929-4988
honeydoughnuts.com
Honey Doughnuts and Goodies on Urbanspoon

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