Nuba

I don’t consider myself to be too picky of an eater (although my mother may disagree), and in general, I’m quite open to trying new and different foods. For one thing, I get quite excited whenever an “exotic meat” (a.k.a. anything outside of the usual realm of pork/beef/chicken/lamb/duck/seafood) is available on a restaurant’s menu. Well, this food adventure didn’t feature any exotic meats, unless you consider lamb to be exotic, but it was still exciting in that it was my first time trying Lebanese food.

Nuba is a popular chain in Vancouver, with four locations located throughout the city. Gawa and I decided to lunch at the location on Main and 3rd one Saturday afternoon. It’s kind of an odd location, and, true to the spirit of the city, surrounded by apartment buildings in various stages of construction. Still, it ended up being a good choice for lunch, especially for Gawa, as it has an extensive selection of vegetarian items.

DSC_0001The waitstaff were especially helpful and enthusiastic to help us make our choices, and good thing too. Despite my unfamiliarity with Lebanese cuisine, everything on the menu sounded delicious. In any case, we started off our meal with a Mango and Orange Juice for Gawa, which was the juice of the day in addition to the usual flavours available. Gawa generously allowed me a sip, and, to be honest, it tasted mostly like orange juice, with the mango flavour being not as apparent. It was still refreshing and enjoyable, but I would have liked it more if the mango flavour had been more pronounced. But then again, I’m not much of a juice person. As far as juices go, it was tart, refreshing, slightly sweet, and ultimately satisfying. And honestly, what more can you ask from juice?

DSC_0005

As for our mains, we both ordered off the “Plates” section of the menu, where the entrees are accompanied by hummus, salad, pickled cabbage, pita bread, tahini (a paste made from ground sesame seeds), hot sauce, and a choice of either roasted potatoes or organic brown rice. Gawa chose to have her Eggplant Stew with the potatoes, while I had the rice. Although she enjoyed the meal as a whole, she had more than a few critiques of the food. She found that the salad wasn’t well-dressed, and the dressing itself wasn’t anything special, while the hummus could have been more flavourful. Still, she enjoyed the olive oil that had been drizzled onto the hummus, which appeared to be of a good quality. As for the other sides, she especially liked the pickled cabbage, which, being extremely sour, served as a refreshing palate cleanser. As for the stew itself, she thought that it could have used some other types of chunkier vegetables, to add variety of texture as well as dimension of flavour, as it ended up being a bit too mushy and one-dimensional. Despite these complaints, she thought that the experience was a positive one, and would definitely consider returning.

DSC_0003

I decided on the Lamb Kafta ($12), a grilled grain-fed halal lamb patty, served with the same sides (although with the rice instead of the potatoes). I enjoyed the lamb, although I thought it was served with way too much tzatziki. The dollop of tzatziki was pretty much the same size as the lamb patty itself, which was just overwhelming. Anyways, the tzatziki itself was fine, being chunky, sour, and tangy. It was a nice complement to the slightly gamey, salty flavour of the lamb. The rice tasted exactly like how I expected it to taste, with the texture being more apparent than the flavour of the rice itself. As for the sides, my opinions echoed Gawa’s, although I especially enjoyed the hot sauce, which was the type with a subtle spicy kick rather than an obvious heat.

DSC_0006Both of our meals were accompanied by some Pita. Gawa thought that the pita should have been thicker, but I personally had no opinion about it one way or the other. To be honest, I was quite hungry so I inhaled the food without too much thought. And although it seems like we had a lot of complaints about the food here, we genuinely enjoyed our meal, although that may be in part due to our hungry hungry hippo-ness on this particular day. More than the food, we enjoyed the atmosphere here. The dining area was clean and modern, and the service was friendly and accommodating without being overbearing. And, of course, the menu is a refreshing change of pace from the overwhelming dominance of Japanese food in Vancouver (although, as you know, I enjoy Japanese food as much as the next person). I would definitely return to Nuba to try some of their other dishes, especially Najib’s Special, which is apparently the dish to get here. I guess we’ll save that for next time.

Nuba
146 East 3rd Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Nuba on Urbanspoon

Advertisements

Toshi Sushi

Probably the cuisine I longed for most during my two-month European adventure was Japanese food. Authentic or inauthentic, we are blessed in Vancouver to be able to enjoy sushi, ramen, and other Japanese foods to our hearts’ content. Sometime soon after I returned to Vancouver, SB and I decided to try out Toshi Sushi, one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Vancouver, at least according to Urbanspoon.

Despite its popularity, I’d never been to Toshi before. Located on East 16th and Main, the tiny restaurant was bustling with activity. At least they have a system in place. Basically you just walk in and record your name on a list posted near the front door, and the servers seat people via this list. We had to wait half an hour for our seats after recording our names, but the weather was nice enough that we just took a walk around the neighbourhood.

We were finally seated at the bar. I personally love sitting at the bar because it allows me to observe the chefs at work. The sushi chefs here were clearly skilled, but also immaculate in terms of hygiene and cleanliness, which I think is a must-have for a restaurant where raw fish is a major ingredient.

DSC_0025

We started off with four pieces of Maguro Sashimi ($5.75). We actually watched as the chef in front of us cut the slices, so the anticipation was that much greater. The sashimi was buttery soft and served in slices that were thick enough but not overly so. The thickness of the slices allowed us to really savour each piece as it melted in our mouths. The fish was also noticeably fresh and incredibly smooth, and an excellent way to start our meal.

DSC_0026

Next up, we also had four rolls. The two rolls on the left, the Spicy Tuna Roll and the Spicy Chopped Scallop Roll made up the Spicy Combo ($7.75). We also added on the two rolls on the right, which were the Negitoro Maki ($3.50) and the Family Maki ($4.25). In general, I enjoyed these rolls, as they were clearly made with care. The rice had just the right hits of sugar and vinegar. The spicy tuna and the negitoro were quite similar in terms of the texture of the tuna used, which was pleasantly creamy. The naturally mushy texture of the tuna was nicely complemented by the use of cucumber and green onion, as well as the addition of spicy sauce in the spicy tuna roll. I was particularly happy with the negitoro roll here because of the sheer amount of tuna used, since most sushi restaurants in Vancouver serve the negitoro roll in a smaller portion. Anyways, the spicy sauce, which I believe was some kind of variation on Japanese mayonnaise, was the type with a subtle sting rather than overt heat, if that makes any sense, making it not too spicy. The same sauce was used for the spicy chopped scallop roll, so the two rolls naturally tasted quite similar. The family roll was basically a salmon maki with ikura on top, and mainly relied on the briney flavour and the texturally pleasing pop from the roe more than anything else. It was simple but delicious, just the way that sushi should be.

DSC_0027

We had even more tuna in the form of a Tekka Don ($10.50). The rice, which didn’t taste too strongly of either sugar or vinegar, was topped with very fresh tuna sashimi. In fact, the rice almost tasted like simple, regular steamed white rice, with just a bit of vinegar seasoning. There isn’t much to say about this, except that the tuna was fresh and had just the right amount of fat, while the cucumber slices included were a nice touch.

DSC_0030

We were still hungry, so we added on two more items. The first was the Chicken Wing Karaage ($4.95). I swear, at least five other tables ordered this while we were eating, and every time it left the kitchen, I could smell the delicious, deep-fried goodness from a mile away. The couple seated beside us also added this to their order once they saw us devouring it, so there you go. It was definitely worth the anticipation, being very crispy, hot, and freshly fried. The bones were separated so that the wings were comparatively easy to eat, and the chicken meat itself was juicy and tender. They were also lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, almost reminding me of the Taiwanese salty peppery chicken nuggets that I love so much.

DSC_0029

And lastly, we had the Ika Tobi Kyu Roll ($3.75). I generally shy away from ordering squid at most restaurants, unless it’s calamari, as squid tends to be tough and difficult to chew. However, here, the squid was quite tender, with only a slight chewiness. The tobiko added that nice pop, and the cucumbers were fresh and crunchy. Still, I thought this was the weakest of the rolls we sampled, as there was simply too much rice. The rice was also a bit too warm, which distracted from the taste of the other ingredients.

Overall, though, we had a lovely time at Toshi Sushi. Other than the wait, our experience was flawless, from the delicious food to the friendly service. I mean, I hate waiting for food as much as anyone, but as the saying goes, all good things come to those who wait, right? The next time that I’m shopping at all those adorable boutiques on Main Street, Toshi will be high on my list of possible dinner locations.

Toshi Sushi
181 East 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Toshi Sushi on Urbanspoon


Sushi California

One night in February, SB and I had dinner at the Coquitlam location of Sushi California, and it was a terrible experience. I had a salad, the contents of which obviously came from this prepackaged salad mix sold at Costco (my parents often buy the exact same mix), and our sushi rolls were practically falling apart, with the rice having no hints of vinegar or sugar. Because of this, I was quite wary about visiting the newly opened location on Broadway. But since it was late, and I was too tired to think of another option, we ended up going there anyway.

DSC_0002

I ended up ordering the Kimchee Yaki Rice ($7.95), kimchi fried rice topped with seaweed, diced green onions, and a fried egg. This isn’t a dish available at a lot of sushi restaurants, but it is available here, since the restaurant is Korean-owned and operated. Despite being Korean, I don’t eat a lot of kimchi fried rice at home, as my mom only makes it for lunch, which I’m rarely home for. The table beside us was devouring this with such enthusiasm that I felt I had no choice but to order it, and it ended up being a good choice. The rice was sufficiently moist without being too oily (although it was a bit oily, obviously, being fried rice). I didn’t enjoy the pieces of meat (which I believe were pork), as they were quite dry and tough; I would have much preferred smaller, fatty pieces of pork to complement the acidity and crunchiness of the kimchi. The egg yolk added another dimension of savouriness. I was also satisfied with the portion size as well as the moderate level of spiciness, which makes it a good dish to order even if you have low tolerance for spicy foods.

DSC_0001

For his main, SB went for his usual in the Tuna and Salmon Don ($9.95), served with huge slabs of fish, as you can see. Both types of fish were sufficiently fresh but didn’t taste overly fishy, especially with a squeeze of the lemon included on the side. The tuna also retained its shape and wasn’t too mushy, while both types of fish retained their natural sweetness. Unlike the version we sampled at the Coquitlam location, the rice here was sweet and appropriately seasoned with vinegar.

DSC_0004
To share, we ordered two rolls, the first being our standard Negitoro Roll ($2.75). This wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing of rolls, as you can see, but the toro was naturally sweet and mushy as expected, while the green onion added a nice textural crunch. The nori, meanwhile, was also sweet and a bit chewy, which we liked. Overall, this was a good value, and basically had what we were looking for in a negitoro roll, so we were satisfied. The only thing that they need to work on is the aesthetics.

DSC_0003

In an attempt to be more adventurous with our choices, we ordered the Yellow Town Roll ($3.95), which was described on the menu as a California roll with crab meat, smoked salmon, onion, green onion, cucumber, red tobiko, crispy flakes, and mayo and mustard sauce. This roll made me realize why we stick to our usual choices. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, but it just wasn’t our taste. I personally don’t enjoy rolls that have the toppings kind of sitting on top of them in this way. It’s difficult to eat, plus the toppings sounded exciting but the mayo sauce made it taste like some type of potato salad. Nothing really stood out in this roll, and so we would not order this again.

Despite the Yellow Town Roll at the end, we were satisfied with our visit to Sushi California, which is a huge improvement from the first location in Coquitlam. The ingredients seemed fresh, the menu relatively diverse, and the service was efficient and friendly. Although there are many sushi restaurants along Broadway, Sushi California would most likely be my first choice.

Sushi California
388 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC

Sushi California on Urbanspoon


The Wallflower

I’m having trouble thinking of a decent, clever preamble for this one–so let’s just jump right into it. It was a typical July day in Vancouver (raining, dreary, cold)–Lamb was visiting from Korea, and Pickles had just returned from her trip to Europe. (So jealous!) Originally, GoddWong had wanted to eat at The Foundation for our lunch–but of course, we got there and the restaurant was full. Not wanting to wait, the four of us just walked across the street to The Wallflower. The Wallflower, too, was quite packed, but somehow the four of us managed to snag a table.

The restaurant was quite busy and the servers obviously overworked. It took us a lot longer than we’d have liked to be given menus and have our orders taken. The food also took quite a while, and while it was nice to enjoy each others’ company, it was a little stuffy inside and the tables were quite close together. Sometimes this can be a pleasant experience…and sometimes, it isn’t. Anyways, moving on to the food…

GoddWong, being the healthy person she is, had the Spinach Salad, which came with spinach, strawberries and balsamic vinegar. She chose to add grilled tofu, but opted out of the goat cheese. In the end, she didn’t really enjoy her salad, as the spinach was soggy and quite oily. To me, the vegetables also didn’t look very fresh. As far as a salad goes, I don’t care as long as the veggies are fresh–and this salad was disappointing.

 

Lamb chose the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich, with a side of fries (you can also opt for soup or salad). The sandwich was served on garlic toast, with swiss cheese, onions, mushrooms, and peppers. Overall, she thought it was a good sandwich, but not something she would get again. The bread was hard, and the bread-to-filling ratio was off. Dipping the sandwich in the provided au jus softened the bread considerably, but made it a little too salty. She thought that the meat, cheese, and pepper complemented each other well, though. The fries were mediocre, being dry and neither greasy nor salty. They tasted baked, not fried, but were much too dry.

Pickles was debating between the eggs benny and the Shrimp Bacon Avocado Wrap, and eventually decided on the latter. In addition to the shrimp, bacon, and avocado, the wrap was served with a side salad and also included guacamole, lettuce, and tomato. The wrap was generic and quite bland, since it included no sauce. It was quite large, but very dry. The shrimp was rather disappointing, since it was the tiny, frozen, watery kind. Still, the bacon was crispy and the avocado soft and creamy. The side salad was fresh and not overdressed.

There were quite a few options for bennys, but I just opted for the classic Benny, with the typical English muffin, ham, poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. It was quite a rainy, dreary summer day (oh, Vancouver) and I wasn’t feeling very adventurous. This version was nothing spectacular. The eggs were runny as they should be, but the hollandaise sauce was a little too thin and a little too bland. I enjoyed the side salad though, which was the same as Pickles’s above. The best part of my meal, however, was the hash browns. They tasted real and were satisfying crispy, but not too greasy.

In the end, I felt like I enjoyed my lunch at The Wallflower–although that was probably due to the excellent company I had rather than the food. The restaurant seemed severely understaffed, and the food was nothing spectacular. In fact, the four of us didn’t feel that the food was anything great–(obviously, since my favourite part of my meal was the hash browns). I think this would be a good place to go if you have a larger group of people, since there are quite a few options on the menu, and there are even vegan options to accomodate a variety of diners. However, next time, I would prefer to wait for a table at The Foundation.

The Wallflower
2420 Main Street
Vancouver, BC

The Wallflower on Urbanspoon


Les Faux Bourgeois

Looking for a place to go for my birthday was a difficult task: I wanted to go somewhere exciting, but not so exciting that I wouldn’t be guaranteed a good meal. I also didn’t want to break the bank, and I didn’t want to go too far. I’m picky, I know. After hearing rave reviews about Les Faux Bourgeois from my friend Andy (yes, French food excites me), I decided to give it a try.

Not that the decision was a particularly hard one. I knew from Urbanspoon that I’d most likely have a good time there– everyone seemed pretty impressed with the food, and I knew from calling there that the place is always, always packed. So I didn’t really have high hopes when I called a month in advance asking for a table for 4 at prime dinner time. Lucky for me, they had one table left during the time slot! One of my friends commented that this was my birthday gift from whatever Roman deity it is that looks over dinner reservations (those crazy Ancient Romans had gods for just about everything).

We were seated at the back of the bistro side, close to the kitchen, and away from any form of natural light (but it was cloudy that day anyways). Choosing our dinner was an easy choice, lended both by their small menu and our hungry stomachs. We started off the night with some bread and butter, which unfortunately didn’t come fresh from the oven. The bread was still soft and crusty, and the butter tasted especially yummy. Nothing too special there.

Our first appy was the Soupe a L’Oignon Gratinee, which Samson and I shared. From the top down, this came with an ooey-gooey layer of mozzarella and gruyere cheeses atop some bread (I suspect it was simply 2 pieces of the complimentary bread and not croutons). Next was the soup, heaps of caramelized onions, and the mother of it all– bacon slices. I liked this soup as everything was just right– the cheese was appropriately cheesy, and the soup wasn’t extremely salty, so I felt that I could have finished the whole thing by myself if I really wanted to (I usually can’t). I could taste the beef stock and aroma of the onions, which were sliced thin and caramelized to the perfect point.

The next appetizer we shared as a table was the Escargots de Bourgogne. Yum, snails– that’s kind of adventurous, right? These came smothered with garlic and butter, and sat atop four pieces of crostini that quickly soaked up all the garlicky buttery flavours, but were still crunchy when we bit into it. The escargot were tender and not rubbery at all, but they did lack a little in terms of flavour (if you didn’t have any garlic on top of it, the flavour was barely there). Unfortunately I didn’t notice that pork rillette was on the specials board until our appies came, or else I definitely would have ordered that– who doesn’t love spreadable, braised-in-its-own-fat and shredded pork?!

Our entrees came in short order, with my dad’s Le Steak Frites being the first on the table. The pre-cut steak was a perfect medium-rare, and looked incredibly juicy. It tasted that too, and as well it was quite tender. The only thing lacking for this was in the flavour department, as it was quite bland, but the red-wine shallot jus it came with (there’s also the choices of herb butter or green peppercorn cream sauces) saved the dish with its subtle hints of wine. I personally like my steaks a little more flavourful and with a slight crust along the edge, but to each their own, I suppose. This came with a heaping pile of fresh-cut frites (fries) that were crispy, albeit a little on the thick side.

My mom decided to be adventurous and ordered Le Cote de Porc— not that pork is especially different, but because she’s never had pork chop at a non-Asian restaurant before. My mom is more of a steak person, but she went with this for the blog’s sake (aww) and was pleased that she did. The chop was cooked perfectly with a crisp crust on the outside, while the meat itself was juicy. The roasted garlic potato salad came topped with crispy onions, and was served warm, which was a welcome change. The onions were light and didn’t taste too oily. My mom’s dish also came with a side of apple gastrique, a salad consisting of apples, pecans and watercress. Nothing really to say about this other than that it was fresh.

Samson’s Longue D’Agneau came with a side of caramelized cauliflower and garbonzos (chick peas), and this all in turn was served with a minted pea creme fraiche. The lamb was, like the steak, cooked a perfect medium rare, and didn’t exhibit too much in the way of gaminess. We both liked the minty creme fraiche as it really complimented the lamb, as did the jus that came along with the dish. The dish seemed to be on the smaller side, with only four pieces of lamb, but was actually adequately filling for Samson (besides, he could always have some of my fries…).

Lastly, I had the Moules Mariniere, cooked in white wine, garlic and parsley and served with the same frites that came with my dad’s steak. These mussels were fairly large and plump, and tasted only slightly of the sea (which is good). Only 1 mussel out of the entire dish was unopened. The broth wasn’t too salty and tasted very strongly of garlic, which I enjoyed immensely– instead of dipping my fries in the mayo they provided, I dipped it into my soup (which made them a bit soggy, but GARLIC!). Definitely a solid offering, but nothing too exemplary.

We went all out for dessert tonight, and ordered not one, but two! Honestly, they all sounded great and I would have ordered them all but I was really full (and they’re $7 each). The four of us shared the Nut-Crusted Chocolate Silk Cake, a decadent dessert that came nicely dressed with raspberry coulis and yogurt. The cake itself was rather rich, and I’m glad we shared because I wouldn’t have been able to eat it all myself. The coulis and yogurt did help balance it out, though. For our second dessert, we had the Classic Creme Brulee, which featured a light, not-too-sweet custard beneath a thick layer of sugar. I loved the contrast between the hard, caramelized sugar and the creamy custard, as the sugar hit from the top balanced out with the slightly blander bottom. I think this is my newfound favourite dessert… mostly because you can’t get this at just any restaurant or cafe.

Overall, despite the slight hiccup with the steak, I felt that dinner was very enjoyable. The prices were quite reasonable for French food (our total bill came to just under $30 a person, which is significantly less than what you’d spend at a fine-dining French restaurant), but of course the price was reflected in the atmosphere, as there certainly were no uniform-clad waiters waiting at your beck-and-call and the small restaurant itself was quite crowded. I can definitely see why this establishment is as popular as it is– there wasn’t a single empty table throughout our entire meal– and I can see myself making the trip here again. Remember to make reservations well in advance of your dinner, though!

Les Faux Bourgeois
663 East 15th Avenue
Vancouver, BC

Les Faux Bourgeois on Urbanspoon


Lucy’s Eastside Diner

One thing I love about wandering Main Street is that you get to stumble upon so many little restaurants and shops that you’d normally miss if you were just driving or transiting by. On one of our Girls’ Day Out shopping excursions, we happened upon Lucy’s Eastside Diner on Main, about a block away from the Chevron on 12th. Unfortunately, it was quite late at night and so we’d already had dinner (up the street at Burgoo), but I thought I would like to make a visit here sometime.

Fast forward 4 months, and I’ve finally had the time to go. My lunch date for the day was Emo, who had actually just helped me move some furniture, so of course I had to treat him to lunch for being so generous. Lucy’s was a few blocks away from where we were that dreary day, so we quickly found ourselves some street parking, and made our way into the restaurant.

Lucy’s looks quite quaint and diner-y (or at least what I think is quaint and diner-y. I’m sure that differs from what you picture in your head). There are chrome tables with the tops painted a bright orangey-coral, the requisite breakfast bar area, and a few cozy booth seats in the back. We chose to sit at the bar on the turny stools, and even ordered some classic diner-y items so that I (we?) could get the full experience.

We started our meal off with a Strawberry Milkshake, which came with a refill tin. Since we were at the counter, we got to see our waitress make the shake; unfortunately, all we saw her put in was a few scoops of ice cream and a drizzle of strawberry syrup. Maybe my expectations were a little high (diners are typically known for their quickly-served dishes and not for their fancily-made food), but I was disappointed that they didn’t put any actual strawberries in it. I understand that strawberries and other fresh fruits may be on the expensive side, but I honestly wouldn’t have minded if it was just the stewed-in-syrup kind either. Oh well. Since there weren’t strawberries blended in, the milkshake was very smooth and creamy, but a little lacking in flavour– all I could really taste was the vanilla ice cream. It was also less thick than I prefer my shakes (I kind of like the struggle, and I’ll always remember Peter’s Drive-In in Calgary for their amazing shakes that one summer). For the price ($5), I’ve certainly had better, but I suppose it wasn’t too bad going down.

Emo and I each decided on a meal each– that way we could sample a bit more of what they offered. He chose Lucy’s Homemade Mac n Cheese, which was quite a decently sized dish for $6.50. Emo ended up adding bacon for an extra cost (I believe it was about $3) so that he’d have more than just cheesy carbs on his plate– not that bacon is really that healthy anyways, but who can hate bacon? I thought that the Mac was nice and creamy, and was on the milder side of the cheesy scale. I liked that it wasn’t a nasty, radioactive colour (a la Kraft Dinner), which made eating it much more enjoyable. However, I didn’t find the bacon, which was crispy and tasty, to be worth that much extra, but then there was still quite a bit of food for under $10. This was probably one of the better macs I’ve had recently.

For myself, I love a good omelette, and was pleasantly surprised by their extensive and eclectic filling options. I was stuck between the caramelized onions, mushrooms (!) and bacon and the Artichoke Hearts, Marinated Roasted Peppers, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese 3-egg Omelette, but I chose the latter instead. I liked the different choices available for the filling– no boring, plain old Denver omelettes for me! This omelette was packed full with ingredients, all of which tasted fresh (well, as fresh as a marinated pepper can be). The eggs were fluffy and the goat cheese provided a good salty kick to the plate, and it all just worked well together. Along with the omelette (not very nicely presented, but whatever) were some hashbrowns and toast. I’d have to say that the hashbrowns were a bit of a fail, as they were far too potatoey for my taste and were quite bland despite the seasoning you see– I had to use a ton of ketchup, which isn’t something I normally do. The toast was alright and well, toast-ish. I liked the main better than the sides in this dish, and I’d gladly come back to try their other omelettes too.

So this visit to Lucy’s was a hit-and-miss. I liked some aspects, and disliked others, but overall it was an ok experience. Perhaps if I find the time to go back (maybe during school, since it’s close to the 99 route) I’ll try a different drink and another omelette, or their other offerings of burgers, hot dogs and other diner-y entrees. It certainly helps that Lucy’s in open 24 hours, so if I’m in need of a place that is both meal- and allnighter- material, I have one more place to go.

Lucy’s Eastside Diner
2708 Main Street
Vancouver, BC

Lucy's Eastside Diner on Urbanspoon


Burgoo

This Reading Week I decided to document all my spending, since I’ve been trying to cut back. Turns out I only spent 60ish dollars! Funny thing is, the only real lasting purchase I made was nail polish–the rest of the money was spent on food…anyways, we (meaning me, Samantha, and co.) made it out to Burgoo, the Main Street location.

Burgoo is very…hm…cozy. By that I mean the tables are very close together, and the lights are slightly dim, but in a cozy way, not dark in that cool, trendy way (ie. Joeys, Cactus Club). I liked it, but it was slightly difficult to maneuver between the tables as we were being seated and as we were leaving. I was kind of scared I would knock over someone’s soup…since that’s what most people had (including myself).

That was a clumsy segue…but anyways, I had the French Onion Soup. I really like the way the dishes are presented here (looks like a piece of art!). This was a pretty generous portion at only $8. I figured for $8 it wouldn’t be enough to fill me up, so I also ordered the biscuits, but that turned out to be too much food. So technically I would have been content on a meal for around $10 at a nice restaurant. Sweet. Anyways, this had pretty much everything I want in a French onion soup: gooey cheese on the top, and a rich broth below with sweet onions and soggy croutons. (I LOVE croutons. Seriously. I eat them as a snack). By the time I was more than three quarters done though, the soup was quite salty and I couldn’t really make myself have many more of it. But that’s happened pretty much every other time I’ve had French onion soup, so no big deal. I really enjoyed this and wouldn’t mind having it a second time on my next visit.

So as mentioned above, I also ordered the Burgoo Biscuits. The menu describes them as warm Cheddar and parsley biscuits. They weren’t as warm as I would have liked them, and I didn’t really think the accompanying butter? margarine? was necessary. They were still quite pleasant to eat though, and definitely had that homey, comfort food quality that I’m sure Burgoo strives for. Yum!

Jeri had the Tastier Chicken Sandwich, which comes with a choice of salad (either caesar, spinach, or winter greens). She chose the greens. The sandwich consisted of roasted chicken, melted brie, apple, red onions, and other greens. She thought it was too bland. But then again, the only cheese  she can tolerate is cheddar…so she ended up scraping all the brie off her sandwich. Sam had the same sandwich and thought it wasn’t too bland. Her salad came dressed in a garlicky house vinaigrette (?). She ended up putting some of the vinaigrette on the sandwich to add some flavour.

Yvonne had the Soup and Sandwich combo with the Crab Bisque and the BLTCG (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Cheddar, and Guacamole), respectively. The sandwich was stuffed with ingredients and therefore a bit difficult to eat, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She found the avocado to be overwhelmingly creamy and thought the sandwich would have benefitted from the use of more salt. She let me try a little of the bisque and it was spicier than I expected. Again, there was an abundance of crab meat in the soup–they don’t skimp out on the ingredients here. We were all impressed with the size of the sandwich as well as the accompanying soup–definitely a good deal for $15.

Hui had the Macaroni and More. In addition to the usual mac & cheese goodness, this also included breadcrumbs, bits of bacon, and peas. This was quite a big portion and full of ingredients as well. I usually find that mac and cheese is one of those foods you get sick of pretty quickly, but Hui managed to finish this. (Very impressive for a girl her size!) There’s not much to say about this, except I guess I’m not so sure that it’s worth $13. It was definitely good and warm and comforting and all, but I wouldn’t say it was one of the better values on the menu, especially if you’re like me and get sick of mac & cheese very quickly. Plus for $15 you could enjoy both a soup and sandwich…also, all the sandwiches alone (which actually come with salad) were priced under $15, so if I had to choose, I think I would pick the sandwich instead. To each their own though, I suppose. To summarize, it was an enjoyable dish, but not as great a value as the other items on the menu, in my opinion.

So Sam had the Sandwich and Soup Combo with the Tastier Chicken (same as above) and the Boston Clam Chowder as the soup. The chowder was very filling and contained lots of seafood besides the clam, like baby scallops. There were also potatoes, bacon, and onions. It was not too salty and as a whole it was above average and again, a good value. She enjoyed the sandwich more than Jeri, probably because she kept the brie.

So to summarize! As a whole we enjoyed our experience at Burgoo and would probably want to try the other locations as well. The service was quite friendly and the bill was brought to us in one of those circular dim sum steamers, which was a nice touch. Overall, we found Burgoo to be a good value.

Burgoo
3096 Main St
Vancouver, BC

Burgoo (Main Street) on Urbanspoon