Saturday, February 25, 2012

Mummy`s GoGo Juice

I have come to a place in my life where I love coffee. Maybe it`s the  middle of the night wake up, the never ending laundry or maybe it`s the coffee. I adore Caffe Fantastico. I go there when ever I can, usually bringing a kid or two with me. The staff are great, friendly, hilarious and never too smug to joke around with a five year old. I love their red eye. For those of you who get 8 hours of sleep at night and don`t feel the need to mainline caffeine in the morning, I will explain what this is. It is a cup of coffee ( a big one in my case) with an extra shot or two of espresso tossed in for good measure. My daughter calls it mommy gogo juice. Some days, i swear it is the only thing that keeps me going. Once, on a whim, i got a red eye at Starbucks. The Worst! It actually made me feel pretty ill. I started going to Fatastico because it has a laundromat attached to it. I am a fiend for clean laundry so I spent a lot of time there. The laundromat has a bunch of great toys and books that keep my little one occupied while I sip coffee and fold laundry. Ah, heaven!
Fantastico also has some great food. Not the muffins, some of them are super dense. Not my thing at all. But they have croissants that I swear are just crunchy butter. The other day I was there and they had apple, Maple, BACON fritters! I am not sure I ever actually lived before that day.
So ya, I love this place. Super awesome staff, great coffee, yummy snacks and the music is pretty great too.

Caffè Fantastico on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 5, 2011

Halibut House

Ever heard of Halibut House. Ya, me neither but now we live near it so I drive by it all the time. It's a chinese place and the name was so adorable that I had to look it up on Urbanspoon. Lo and behold, it had a super high rating. Huh? So we ordered take out and it was so great! We had the house special chow mein, the ginger chicken and the sweet and sour pork. When I picked it up, the women I spoke to was lovely. I think she must have been one of the owners. She was talking to someone who must have been a regular and the regular obviously adores the restaurant. The inside of the place is pretty whatever but we did pick up and don't really care what our local chinese place looks like anyways. The food was hot and fresh when I got it home. Everything was great. The chow mein was not greasy and the meat and shrimp were plentiful and identifiable. The ginger chicken had a great sauce that was not overly gooey or sweet, just right. The sweet and sour pork was tender and had just the right balance of sweet and vinegar without the use of too much thickening corn starch. An A+ all around. Can't wait to order again and try out some of the other dishes. This place definitely deserves our business and I am so stoked that there is an awesome chinese option outside of downtown.

Halibut House on Urbanspoon

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bon Rouge

This review will be a quicky. I think i am becoming too picky. I have heard great things about the Bon Rouge but the two times i have been there have been really meh. My wonderful and lovely boss likes this place and twice we have gone there for a kinda celebratory work lunch. the first time I had the Steak Tartar. It is not something i would order in a lot of places, but this is a french restaurant. The decor is lovely and the chairs are comfy and i happily awaited my tartar. it came. meh. The meat was not the highest quality and the cutting was done without delicacy. i know this sounds totally snobbish, but this is raw meat! When you serve meat in it`s natural state, it has to be the best quality and preparation possible. I just don`t see the point in serving it otherwise.
The next time i went, it was a very cold day and i was very pregnant so no cold raw meat for me. i ordered a small salad to start and the bouillabaisse as my main. OK victoria restaurants, what is with the huge lettuce leaf salads. in a bowl no less! how am i supposed to cut up my salad in a bowl. and why am i expected to cut up my salad. it`s either that or shove huge pieces of greenery into my face, something i am just not that into.
the bouillabaisse was bland, the fennel woody, there was very little seafood and the muscles were just past fresh. not scary past fresh, but with that little bit of tangyness that will turn any pregnant woman`s stomach.
Am i a total bitch. am i asking for too much from this city of a million restaurants. if i am, let me know.  i long to be impressed and comforted by the food in this city and some places consistently hit the mark, its finding new places that seems to be tough.
tomorrow, i have a dinner reservation at Ulla. fingers crossed!


Bon Rouge Bistro on Urbanspoon

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Shine Cafe

I don`t like breakfast. I am not a fan of eggs, so when people invite me out for breakfast or brunch i usually pass. Shine has been the only place that i will hit up for brunch. They made a really good chicken wrap and it was a bright and fun place to go and chill. I have also had friends who worked there and really enjoyed it. i like to eat food that happy employees make.
That being said, i went a few weeks ago and the food was sooooo bad! no more chicken burger at all. Ok, i get the fact that you now make your burgers from scratch so you have taken t down to just beef or veggie. cool. I like beef burgers. i happen to make them at home sometimes so it`s nice to have chicken when i go out, but whatever, i will en joy it. I notice that the burger came on a whole wheat bun but that they had another sandwich that came on focassia. I don`t like whole wheat buns very much and am a total sucker for foccasia so I requested that they trade the buns and add some caramelized onions to my beef burger. And this is why that meal was fucking sucky:
  1. The meat. Plain and simple it was plain and simple. Ever smelt plain ground beef as it cooks. it tasted like that. no seasoning, no love. I make burgers at home so i know how easy it is to make a really good burger. if you wanna do things from scratch, awesome! but you should make sure that you do justice to the ingredients you use. That poor cow never had a chance.
  2. When you have caramelized onions as an option on your menu, please caramelize them. fried onions that have been sitting in a bin since yesterday will taste nothing like caramelized onions. If caramelized onions are too time consuming maybe make an onion confit. you can keep it in a bin and it will still taste good and keep longer.
  3. The bread. FUCK!!! where did you get this stuff!!! it is like the Antichrist of foccasia bread. we live in a city of great bakeries. there is no excuse for this kind of tired out, bitter dried herb, stale loaf. it was in now was able to stand up to the meat and topping, and was just totally offensive flavour and texture wise. it was the kind of thing you would expect to find on the shelf in a really crappy corner store. Go to cascadia  and try theirs. no excuses, you can do better and if you can`t you shouldn`t sell such a crap product.
  4. the fries were way too salty. easy on the seasoning salt!!!!
  5. the chipotle mayo was just red mayo. no flavour, no spice. Boooo!
So my friend had the eggs benny. i don`t eat eggs so i have no idea what they should taste like but i know what a good meal should look like. I cook eggs for my love all the time. when someone requests medium poached that means that the eggs white should be all white, no clear slime and the yoke should be thick but still a little runny. this egg had gone to the other side. it was so over cooked that there was no way that the yoke was moving anywhere. add to that the fact that the avocado was totally sick looking and you have a breakfast fail on your hands. This is one of the bigest problems with victoria restaurants. You are allowing food to leave your kitchens that you wouldn`t serve to friends who came over to your home for dinner. and you expect people to pay you for it!!!!I understand that you need to make some money out of this and that food needs to be used, but not if the end product suffers.
So i will give shine a few months and see if they can get back on track. I hope they can. They are a great little place to eat and an awesome restaurant success story  in our city.

Shine Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And the Winner of the Search for better Sushi is......

Ebizo.
That's right. Ok, my review wasn't exactly glowing but the actual sushi was the best we had. It was fresh and authentic (we think) with a good balance of filing to rice. it was cut small enough to fit in any ones mouth without embarrassment.
For rice with sauce, the winner was japanese village without question. i have come to find out that is in indeed the original and they have good reason to brag about it.
As for general cooked things like tempura and such, shiki won. I hate saying that because i hated just about everything i ate there, but our cooked food tester, sara, has decreed that it was the best of the bunch.
But the really important part was the sushi, so Ebizo, we salute you as at least of of the city's best sushi places.

Ebizo Sushi on Urbanspoon

Shiki Sushi - In search of better sushi Part 3

this is the final review in our search for better sushi. i should preface this by saying that i am writing this on a new lap top that i haven`t figured out yet. one of the things «i haven`t figured out is some of the punctuation so, questions marks will have t be implied. ok, onward with the final sushi review
This is an old review. i have been very busy and this blog has fallen fallen from my list of priorities. Basically, i am very pregnant and sleepy. But awhile ago i went to Shiki with Nathan and Sara for the final instalment in our search for great sushi. This lunch was a revelation that Sara doesn't actually like sushi very much. Huh? she's not a fan of fish or seafood in general. WTF! Ok, so she would be commenting on the other areas of japanese cuisine that nathan and I were sure to overlook.
I had my usual rice with sauce, spicy tuna roll, tempura roll and to keep it interesting  had a tune and green onion cone roll (negitoro cone).
Nathan had a bento box of assorted sushi and sashimi and sara had the plain udon.
I will start with Nathans: when i read assorted sushi and sashimi that is exactly what i expect. What he got was two or three pieces of california roll (uggh) and a few pieces of raw fish on rice. the rice was tired looking, had no sheen of freshness. The prawns were really one prawn split in half to make two rolls. i hate it when they do that!!! it is just the cheesiest thing. ok, not very impressed.
Sara really liked her udon. she had no complaints about it at all. We also all split some tempura and agreed that it was fresh and very tasty, not over battered or over cooked at all. big thumbs up on that.
ok, I had the rice with sauce. Booo! the rice was ld, the sauce was luke warm. it was just a salty goopy mess. maybe japanese village spoiled me but this was so sub par it reminded me why we started this search in the first place, because victoria restaurants have become complacent and they need to know that people won't pay for gross slop. or at least this person won't.
The negitoro cone was actually very good. nathan and sara had never seen one before and there was a fun discussion on how we would consume it on a date and still look human. It would make a great street food. all the other rolls had way too much rice. like over flowing, belly aching amounts of rice that made me hate rice. there was no way the flavours of the fish or spicy sauce could stand out in any way. I suppose i could have deconstructed the sushi and tried the actual filling to find out how good t was, but i wanted to eat it as the chef had served it.
So, for my purposes, shiki sucked. there was nothing there that i would gt excited to order again. they did have some really neat roll combinations but they were all about 11 bucks each. would totally consider it if they were cheaper and only piece or two, but i am not that into having one huge insane roll for a meal.

Shiki Sushi on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bicycle Ride

This is going to be tough. i am extremely full at the moment, bordering on comatose but you deserve to know that truth and I will only remember this meal for a few minutes before I descend into a meat haze.
Ok, Pat and I went out to the Pink Bicycle today. I have been avoiding this place because all the hipsters seem to love it and i just can't be bothered with that kind of hype. Same reason I waveband hit up Foo yet, waiting for the buzz to die down. Today we went.
  • Atmosphere: Surprising actually. I really expected something more akin to Ferris'. It had a pretty high class feel to it. The clientele were all business attire clad and that would come as a surprise when i got my food and saw how messy it could be. The decor was lovely, an artist i love but can never remember then name of. good lighting, not too loud.
  • Service: Really good. We were greeted and seated promptly, brought menus, drink orders taken. They cut our food for us and the waited even suggested a dip when we ummed for a few moments too long. Bill came as we finished and we were out of there in good time for a lunch break.
  • Food: Ok, so Pat and I spilt our two burgers so that we could both form various opinions about yumminess. here is the breakdown:
    • Pink Bicycle Burger with bacon. This was awesome. Everything a Burger should be. The pink bike sauce was not something i would order as a side because it is simply the perfect beef burger topper.
    • Fries. I have heard many complaints about the fires at this place. Pat explained to me that while he has had bad fries he has also had amazing fries so you always order the fries just in case. These fries were fine, nothing offensive about them in the least. We had the lemon dill mayo and the roasted garlic mayo. I barely tried the lemon dill because I was enamoured with the roasted garlic and it was one thing I wasn't about to share (Sorry Pat!, how was the lemon dill?).
    • Blue Cheese Lamb Burger with caramelized Onions. Ok, the name should have tipped us off. Not lamb burger with blue cheese, They put blue cheese first. We should have taken that as an indication about the seriousness of the blue cheese situation. You really couldn't taste ANYTHING else. There was supposed to be some kind of apricot something or other on it too, but I have no idea if it or the onions even existed. the only reason I know the meat was there was from texture alone. maybe if you love blue cheese this burger would be great, but for me (and I think Pat too) it was too much. There was no delicate play between the sweet and savory and smelly. Too bad, won't go near that one again.
We also ordered two Sodas. So two burgers with fires and two sodas. wanna bet how much it cost? Over $40 plus tip! Oh right, that's why I avoid these fucking hipster places! Maybe as a date night for me and my love, this would be a great place but for a work lunch? hardly. The food is good and local, and I am sure the market for food at this price is there, but at the end of the day, these are burgers. They are simple comfort food. I am happy to pay for that, but not this much.

The Pink Bicycle on Urbanspoon