Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pacific Buffet - BC Ferry

On Sunday afternoon, I came back from Victoria to Tsawwassen and for the first time, tried out their Pacific Buffet.  I heard about this buffet, but never saw it for myself.  Admittedly, I don't travel on the ferry very much, but as soon as I came up from the parking deck, it was smack in front of me, begging me to try it out, haha!  It was meant to be.

The pricing is a up there - $22, but I think it was worth it.....I think.  Sure, the ferry has a White Spot with burgers and other cafeteria stuff, but that's not exactly cheap either.

Like Janice over at Good Eat said, I'm a sucker for mashed potatos as well, haha! I picked up some mashed potatos, some deep fried chicken wings, some pasta, some butter chicken, some sweet and sour pork, and the roast beef for round one. Haha, butter chicken and sweet and sour pork, hilarious. I was talking about sterotyical food items with my boss from my dayjob and we had a laugh about it because we had a pot-luck lunch one day, and he brought butter chicken because he's East Indian, and I brought sweet-and-sour pork since I'm Chinese. He said that he NEVER eats butter chicken at home, and my dad used to laughs at me for being such a banana whenever I used to ask for sweet and sour pork.
Anyway, butter chicken was a little off from what I was used to (Curry Express, haha!), but still very edible......

......the sweet and sour pork was about as good as Foody-Goody ever was - which was crap. The pasta had a bit too much vegetation in it so I ddin't get that on my second round, and the prawns were good and so was the salmon surprisingly, but there wasn't a whole lot left so I stuffed myself with the roast beef, haha!
I know, this doesn't look very appetizing, but they didn refill it, I just never bothered to go back to take pictures because I was too busy stuffing my face.

The server at the roast beef was very accomodating for this greedy customer, haha!  I asked for fat, bloody hunks of meat and he found it for me.  Round one was awesome, and I was debating if I should wait a bit longer for items to be replenished, or go back and start on round two before my stomach realized it was already full.  Needless to say, I went back for a secound plate of roast beef, shrimp and salmon.  There were no mashed potatos when I went back and it was replaced with oven roasted potatos, which I passed on.

The desert section was huge, and had a counter all of it's own (well, so did the salad section, but I skipped that area entirely) and I loaded up on chocolate cakes of all sorts of varieties.  I have no idea what they were all called individually, but everything asted surprisingly good for a buffet.

Overall, I was purdy satisfied with my experience. It was better than the buffet at River Rock Casino, and definitely better than Uncle Willy's, but you're also paying $10 more than Uncle Willy's. Would I go back? Absolutely. I don't ride the ferry very often, but if I were ever on that boat again, and didn't have dinner, I would definetly get in on that action. The view is spectacular (front of the boat), the service was great (all the servers were friendly and very professional (probably of the same calibre as a reputable hotel buffet), and the food was pretty fine.

1-888-BC FERRY (1-888-223-3779)

Pacific Buffet on Urbanspoon

Ali Baba

More phone cam pics.  I went over to the island for work a couple of weekends ago and a bunch of us were waiting in the ferry terminal for our boat.  I wasn't particularly starving, none of us were, but you do start looking at food when you're bored out of your mind. 

I was at my wit's end when I started to eye the pizza by the slice that had just come out of the oven. The name of the shop struck me as a weird place one might find pizza, but they had a hot and fresh pie that had just come out of the oven and I was tempted. Sucker born every minute because the last time I was in a ferry terminal and got pizza by the slice, I was severly disappointed.

This time, I'm not sure if it was because the pizza was literally seconds out of the oven, or if I was so bored, anything would have tasted good, but my slice of cheeze pizza (Yes, I had a slice of pizza with absolutely no meat in it whatsoever) actually wasn't bad, and definitely light-years ahead of Casa

So, the pizza tasted good - fresh.  I seriously doubt it would be any good if it had sat under a heat lamp for more than 10 minutes, but as I had it, it wasn't bad.  One thing that I really didn't like was the price.  It came out to $5.25 for a single slice.  Heavily inflated pricing for what you get.  Next time, I think I will chose boredom.

Ali Baba (Ferry Terminal) on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Keg - Thurlow

My buddy Jeremy's been in Japan for the last three years, and where does one go when they are deprived of some Grade A Canadian beef for so long?  The Keg of course!  Unless your pocket-book allows you to pay a visit to Gotham's, Hy's or Joe Fortes, The Keg is your next best bet.  Not exactly a newcomer to The Keg, nor to the location on Thurlow, I was surprised it rated so high on Urban Spoon (91%) compared to Richmond (79%).  Personally, the Richmond location is my favourite because for all my visits, they have always had the biggest hunks of prime rib compared to any of the other Vancouver locations.  Honestly, Vancouver Keg Size Omega were about the size of a Keg Size at the Richmond location.  Anyway, despite this, we went to the Thurlow location because I'd been there, but just hadn't done a review yet =)

The place has a spacious lounge and bar area, and pretty much looks like all the other locations, except a slightly different configuration. 
My buddy Jeremy is eating "healthy" nowadays and even encorporated something called a salad in our feast tonite.
Of course, I tried to ruin his diet by tempting him with The Keg's whipped butter and sourdough bread.
He refused to eat the bread, but I think he snuck in a spoonful of butter when I wasn't looking, haha!

I of course got the Keg Size prime rib, and it was a decent size.  It was smaller than the Richmond location's usual, but it was still enough to get me full.  I did pound back more than half that loaf of bread though, haha!
It was neat the end of the night and I was concerned that they wouldn't have any bloody bits left, and I would end up with a grey prime rib, overcooked medium-well, but I was pleasantly surprised some drippy bits were still available.

Jeremy ended up getting some more of that vegetation with his rib.
The service at the Thurlow location is as expected of any Keg, and our server was very professional.  I actually opted out of the Scotch tonight and settled for a glass of lemon water, and our server made sure that cup was always full.  Would I go back?  When do I not go back to The Keg?  Despite Richmond being the best Keg around, I'll still pop into any of the Vancouver locations for a night of savagery.

Keg Steakhouse and Bar - Thurlow on Urbanspoon


Once again, I somehow managed to get duped into going to an AYCE place.  Haha, I shouldn't say that because I did go there of my own free will, but despite it being an AYCE place, Ninkazu didn't disappoint me as many of my recent AYCE experiences.  Related to Tomokazu, I could feel the family resemblance the minute I walked in.  It was almost exactly like Tomokazu, except the stupid name.  It sounds Japanese, but means absolutely nothing and sounds absoultely bizzarre in Japanese.

The wasabi was prepared well in advance, as is in most AYCE places.  Ours wasn't done too far in advance because it was still bright green and moist....some places leave it out so long they dry out and turn brown.

Despite knowing that the oysters would come in eggtart trays (I love eggtarts by the way), I ordered a bunch of these.  I dunno, guess I was hungry.  They were using some other cheap Japanese mayo though, it definitely wasn't Kewpie (probably Shirakiku watered down with Miracle Whip and cheese).  When I ate through most of the kaki motoyaki, there was the standard ocean of oil at the bottom. 
My buddy Jay loves rolls, especially California Rolls.  He can eat thousands of them, haha!  We threw in a few spider rolls just to confuse him, adn they turned out not too bad.  The soft-shelled crab was still crispy and the rice to filling proportion was at a decent level. 
The gomae sauce was porbably made with Skippy peanut butter, but didn't taste bad.
The sunomono sucked, but helped clean the palette after eating the deep-fried stuff.  Why did it suck?  The noodles were hard, and there were as few shrimp in it as Aji Taro's offerings. 
The gyoza were surprisingly good, clearly cooked in a reasonable time from order, to the time it was delivered to the table.  The bottoms were crispy, which meant they weren't sitting in a warm vat of oil waiting to be served, and the skins weren't overly thick.  Overall, thumbs up here.
The beef short ribs were pretty good here, nice fat to lean ratio and we packed away tons of these.  I could have spent all night eathing the short ribs, but there was a lot of other stuff on the menu was well. 
The beef sashimi was served on the same dish as the tuna, which was sort of weird, but I guess they wanted to save on dishes and ponzu sauce.  Some of the beef was slightly overcooked, so instead of blue rare/sashimi, we got medium-well beef with some ponzu. 
The sashimi came all on the same dish as well and it all seemed very fresh, though some were cut into odd shapes.  Some were clearly end pieces, but hey, it's AYCE.  The ika was actaully pretty tasty, and I wanted to eat more. 
What managed to make me smile was that ikura was on the menu.  What made me giggle was lobster was as well.
The ikura was decent, and they didn't seem to skimp on this.  I hate it when you order ikura and you can see the rice under the roe.  Ninkazu managed to layer on the ikura thick enough that you coudn't see the rice at all. 
The unagi was pretty standard, tasted pretty good.
I know, I know, it'a AYCE and I shouldn't have had any expectations whatosever when I saw lobster on the menu, but I was curious and had to try it.  This was crap.  It was imitation crab meat with an attempt to flavour it like on both ends.  If they drowned it with more mayo, it might have been a pass, but because it was so dry, it needed to be chased down by some watered down tea.  At least some places manage to squeeze in "imitation crab meat"...this one just says lobster on the menu. 
The yam tempura was another surprise.  The coating was thin and crispy, and the yam was nice and fluffy inside........
.....however, the ebi tempura was a fail.  The thick batter was raw in some parts, and I ended up (I have never, ever done this before) peeling off the coating and disgarding it. 
The wings were plain, and would have tasted good with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a side of ranch dressing...why this is ever offered in a Japanese restaurant is still my question....haha, a bigger question would be why the hell did we order this =).
Holy crap, I didn't notice this till I was almost full, but they had kaki ponzu. I was also hesitant because my friend puked her guts out after eating raw oysters from Tomokazu.  Being the daring person that I was, I did order this and only paid for it with some mild dysentery that evening and into the next day.  I can't say for sure 100% that my rotten guts were the result of the kaki ponzu, but something I had at Ninkazu must have been the culprit.  The reaction was quick folks, let me tell you.
More rolls were ordered.
My pal Vince loves to tell me how he gets screwed with the Jell-o over at Tomokazu.  Ninkazu wasn't shy about dumping a huge wad of Jell-o on us.
And what AYCE place would be complete without some mango pudding to finish 'er off?  This tasted better than Jell-o, but that's not saying much.

So what's the verdict?  I would say it's probably better than Tomokazu, even though it's the same company.  Would I go back?  Well, I probably wouldn't say no I was with a group and they insisted, but that's just because of my personal take on AYCE places.  The place isn't a total fail..

Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Total Pageviews