Earls: Overall, Good for Group Dinners

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to write a post! Life is busy, but then again, when is it not? Not much of a summer for me this year but ah well, that’s life. Anyways, this is actually a visit to Earls back in July but at least these photos get to see the light of day now! Since this was from a while back, I can’t recall all the details but I’ll try my best to recount the experience :)

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Mediterranean Calamari ($13):

Served in an ample portion, the squid had a nice bounce and chewiness to it. The batter was relatively light and the calamari was lightly seasoned so that I could take a few extra pieces without it being overwhelming. It definitely did not feel oily at all.

 

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Chicken Wings ($6):

Since we were there on a Wednesday, we were able to partake in “Wing Wednesday”, where the wings are half price! I know we chose salt & pepper for half of them but I can’t seem to remember what the other flavour was. I guess it doesn’t matter though, because salt & pepper was clearly the winner and was finished off first. The wings were acceptable but a bit dried out.

 

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Italia Pizza ($15):

Virginia ham, salami and chorizo, provolone cheese, parmesan, fresh basil, san marzano tomato sauce, hand tossed thin crust pizza. Never expected that I would be eating pizza at Earls! The pizza had a nice crispy thin crust and a spiciness that I enjoyed. Toppings seemed really sparse though because I could barely pick out the meats!

 

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Braised BBQ Back Ribs + Cajun Chicken Combo – Half Order ($25.50):

The ribs were tender and flavourful with the marinade. It was a large enough portion even for a half order. The cajun chicken, I remember, was too dry and not that appetizing. The potato salad was actually quite delicious, seasoned but not too heavy and the texture with the peel on was much appreciated. The crunchy coleslaw also provided a nice acidity that helped break down the heaviness of the other components.

 

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Mediterranean Linguini w/ Sautéed Prawns ($18.75):

The pasta was nicely cooked with an al dente consistency and the shrimp had a good bouncy texture. However, the dominant flavour of this dish was a sourness that overwhelmed the whole thing a bit. The tartness wakes you up, that’s for sure!

 

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Mediterranean Linguini w/ Chicken ($18.25):

The same flavours as above but I think the shrimp is a better option than chicken as the chicken was slightly too dry.

 

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Fettuccini Alfredo w/ Prawns ($18):

I was not able to try this but it looked quite appetizing :)

 

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Bacon Cheddar Burger w/ Yam Fries ($18):

I also didn’t get a chance to try the burger but the yam fries were crispy with a natural sweetness that you don’t get with regular french fries.

 

In general, I enjoyed my visit to Earls. While there were some misses with certain dishes, the food overall was delicious and there are a lot of options to suit everyone’s tastes. The service was attentive and friendly with constant check-ups. When dining in a big group, I don’t expect much but I had a pretty good experience at Earls!
Earls Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon

Golden Oscar Cafe & Restaurant: Good Food, But Drinks are Too Expensive

HK style cafes. I always have mixed feelings when someone suggests this type of food. I love that it’s cheap but at the same time, I hate that the service is crappy. I love that the portions are generous but at the same time, I hate that the food can sometimes be inedible. Not to mention the fact that I always have to head out to Richmond to get decent food and let’s not even get started on parking there… But seeing how Golden Oscar is relatively close to home and I’d rather go anywhere than 54th Ave Cafe, I decided to pay a visit to the place that’s never really caught my eye.

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Cold Lemon Tea ($3.50):

I think it’s kind of stupid how not all dinner entrees come with a drink. Sigh, making me fork over $3.50 just for a drink… It was pretty standard with a strong tea-taste and I appreciated the little cup of syrup on the side so that I can adjust the sweetness.

 

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Ice Cream Float ($3.95):

Yea, shame on my brother for paying 4 bucks for coke and a scoop of ice cream. How hard is it to make an ice cream float?!? Definitely not worth it.

 

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Baked Pork Chop on Rice ($9.85):

With two giant pieces of pork chop resting on a bed of egg fried rice and covered under the tomato sauce, this was a large portion of food. I did enjoy this though. I liked that the tomato sauce was creamier than other restaurants, without the prominent sour taste of ketchup. The pork chop was breaded nicely with a crispy exterior and the meat was still juicy. The fried rice effectively soaked up the sauce to mask some of the dryness.

 

Golden Oscar was decent, but I wouldn’t come back unless I was in the area with no other options. Although the portions are large, which is typical of most HK style cafes, I find that the price is too high compared to other restaurants. The restaurant was kept very clean and the service was actually exceptionally friendly, so points to them for that!
Golden Oscar Cafe & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Fujiya: Fresher Sushi Than T&T!

I’ve been super busy and haven’t been able to even use the computer leisurely for the past few days! And when I had the time, who knew trying to catch up on a few day’s worth of Urbanspoon reviews could be so time-consuming… So since I have a shorter amount of time than anticipated to churn out a blog post, I’m going to be writing about pre-packaged take-out sushi today! Yay! …no one else is excited? Trust me, it’s not that bad :)

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Salmon Roll ($3.45):

This roll is definitely meant to fill you up for a cheap price since there were 12 pieces. I appreciated the fact that the salmon was actually buttery in texture and had a pretty fresh flavour. As expected, the rice was a bit dry and very mildly flavoured but it was still better than the same sushi offered at T&T, for example.

 

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Chopped Salmon Roll ($4.50):

Out of the two, I preferred the chopped salmon roll more. The flavours were stronger and I liked the subtle spicy kick that I tasted.  It helped mask the mediocre rice and the salmon also tasted quite fresh in the roll surprisingly.

 

Nothing much to say, I was satisfied with the quality and taste coming from a grocery store. It’s convenient for the times when you need to pick up some sushi quickly on the go and definitely better than the sushi offered at T&T (which is where I usually go to for a quick meal). I might consider dropping by more often since I was pretty happy with what I got.
Fujiya on Urbanspoon

Tasty Wok: It’s Cheap and Does the Job

Everyone has a guilty pleasure when it comes to food. Something that they’re ashamed to admit that they enjoy eating. For me, that would be takeout Chinese food. I know, what could possibly be good about radioactively-coloured sauces and deep-fried chunks of fat more than meat? Trust me, I don’t even understand myself sometimes. But there’s just something about it that I can’t resist. Maybe it’s the MSG? Regardless, westernized Chinese food tastes pretty darn good when I’m exhausted and just want to eat something that can’t possibly be healthy for me.

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I decided to go for the 2 item combo with fried rice, choosing the fried fish and eggplant with tofu. I think this was around $7? The fried fish was actually freshly cooked from the kitchen so it tasted A LOT better than usual. The fish was moist on the inside with a crispy exterior. It was lightly seasoned with salt that wasn’t overpowering and there was a bit of spiciness. I can’t remember if the eggplant with tofu was supposed to be spicy or not because there was no heat at all. The eggplant had turned mushy from sitting around for who knows how long and the tofu was nothing remarkable. I appreciated the ample amount of vegetables in the fried rice that was a bit dry.

 

I don’t expect much from Tasty Wok as long as I can satisfy my weird cravings. In fact, I don’t even want to know how long some of their food sits under the heating lamps. However, if I’m too lazy to travel far and I’m craving westernized Chinese food, then Tasty Wok will suffice.
Tasty Wok on Urbanspoon

Pho Real: Decent Food for the Neighbourhood

It’s actually taken me a while to try out Pho Real which is surprising since I live close by. But then again, Vietnamese food isn’t at the top of my list so I never find myself craving it. I have to admit though, Vietnamese food is cheap and tasty so it’s always a popular choice for a lot of people. Where else can you get filled up for around $10? Hmmm maybe that’s why I always went out for pho when I was a teenager…

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Shrimp Salad Rolls ($6):

I think $6 is a little expensive for 2 rolls that aren’t that large either. The shrimp was a bit small and didn’t have a nice snap to them. The rice wrapper had a good chewy consistency and wasn’t too thick though. The salad rolls tasted fresh and and light on the whole.

 

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Lemongrass Chicken & Spring Rolls with Vermicelli ($10.50):

Well, I have to say that the presentation was actually given some thought, just look at the way the spring rolls are placed! The chicken was tender and juicy, but it seemed like it was pan-fried, not grilled so it was lacking that smoky flavour. It did have a strong lemongrass taste though. The spring rolls, unfortunately, were a complete fail. They tasted like something you get in a frozen pack at Costco, bland and soggy in texture. Vermicelli was perfectly cooked though :)

 

I wasn’t that impressed by Pho Real but at least it wasn’t downright terrible. There aren’t any other Vietnamese restaurants in the nearby area so I guess they can get away with slightly higher prices and cut corners for a few things. I wouldn’t mind coming back if I wanted Vietnamese food and I’m too lazy to travel far but I definitely would skip on the spring rolls next time!
Pho Real on Urbanspoon

Nando’s Flame Grilled Chicken: Pretty Good for a Late Night Snack

Is it sad that this was my first time trying out Nando’s? I’ve heard from some people that it’s the best thing ever and from others that it’s nothing special so I wasn’t too excited to try it out. My brother personally is a fan though, so when he suggested Nando’s as a late night snack, I figured it would be a good opportunity to finally try it.

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1/4 Chicken (Leg + Thigh) and 2 Regular Sides ($12):

I kind of wished they didn’t place the food on such a large platter since it makes all the portions look so tiny. For the sides, we chose the garlic mashed potatoes and classic fries. The chicken was quite tasty, tender and juicy with a spicy kick from the peri-peri sauce! It wasn’t mind-blowing but I wouldn’t mind getting it again if I’m in the area. It’s a pretty small portion for the price though :( The garlic mashed potatoes were delicious and the classic fries were typical and oily.

 

After my first visit to Nando’s, I can see why it’s liked by many people. The food is pretty delicious although it’s nothing extraordinary and it’s a bit pricey for what it is. But if you have cravings for some bbq chicken and want a quick fix, then Nando’s is a good option.
Nando's Flame Grilled Chicken on Urbanspoon