Cactus Club Coal Harbour

I’ve been hearing about how great the views are at the new Cactus Club at Coal Harbour and a new Tap and Barrel opened there too. It’s getting to be quite the hub for restaurant go-ers. There’s even a new Rogue Kitchen and Wetbar nearby. My friend and I didn’t sit at the patio despite all the attention it’s been getting. I just prefer sitting indoors. I guess I’m afraid when I’m not looking some bug might decide it wants to try my food too…

Cactus Club Coal Harbour

We decided to share an appetizer and an entree because we weren’t feeling too hungry. I was surprised that the Calamari was so big! It’d make a great entree by itself! It was served with a chipotle aioli dip and a tzatziki dip. The calamari was crisp and light and flavourful enough by itself. The fresh dill complemented the flavours well and I loved how the red peppers were fried too. We couldn’t stop eating this! It felt like one of the best calamari dishes I’ve had!

Cactus Club Coal HarbourThe other dish I had always wanted to try was the BBQ Duck Clubhouse. The sandwich was stuffed with peking duck and roasted chicken! I was kinda excited for this but it was actually very difficult to eat. I found that there was way too much hoisin sauce which kept dripping all over the place and it didn’t actually help the fact that the duck/chicken was quite dry. The pecan fruit bread gave it some added sweetness but mostly all you could taste was the sauce so it just felt very one dimensional. =( They offered to cut it up for us and serve it on separate plates along with fries. They could have used a smaller plate though because it made the portion look even smaller. The fries tasted rather bland compared to the delicious calamari we had eaten earlier. I would stick with a different sandwich next time.

The ambiance here was very good though and we had a terrific view of Stanley Park. I would recommend this location if you’re trying to impress some guests with a nice view!

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The Factory: Cheap Eats

If cheap eats and loud music is your thing, you should check out the Factory. Located just half a block down from The Famous Warehous (also famous for cheap eats), the factory offers a similar package for $1 more. Hence everything is $5.95 instead of $4.95. Not a problem to me! In fact, there were no line ups here compared to the Warehouse too so that was another incentive to venture further down the block. If you’ve been reading my blog posts you may have noticed that I am not too fond of extreme darkness. So guess what? This place was DARK. There were a few small TV’s playing the sports channel and the walls were covered in some interesting posters? The menu was small but contained the usual variety you would find in a pub. I knew that the food wasn’t suppose to be good so I tried to keep my expectations low.

The FactoryFor some reason I wanted to try Enchiladas and I wasn’t hungry enough to order a burger. The enchiladas contain pulled beef topped with cheese, tomato sauce, and sour cream along with a side of Mexican rice. This felt like something I could get in the frozen section of the supermarket but covered with tomato sauce… The Mexican rice lacked flavour and felt dry but the copious amounts of tomato sauce certainly helped.

The Factory My friend ordered the Spaghetti Bolognese. The noodles were pretty soft and the sauce did not have much flavour at all. The portion size was good for the price though.

The Factory Excuse the super blurry pic. It was dark and I had to use flash and blind everyone. We also shared a Poutine. While I enjoyed the crispy thin cut fries, the gravy was way too salty and thick for my liking. Plain fries would have been alright though.

The quality of the food was similar to the Warehouse. I’ve only been there once so I can’t really say for sure. Maybe if it’s the same quality it’s not really worth a dollar more? The environment here is very casual and the service was quick and fairly friendly. It’s cheap and you get what you pay for. There are probably certain things that are worth ordering more. Anyway, I heard the Anaconda sandwich here is highly recommended.

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White Spot: Adult Pirate Pak Day

I was super excited this year to try the adult pirate paks from White Spot! Every year they have a special day in the middle of August where adults can purchase the pirate pak and White Spot will donate $2 from each meal to the Zajac Ranch for Children. I visited the Oakridge location at lunch and the line up was about half an hour long so it wasn’t too crazy thankfully. My parents never really took me to White Spot when I was eligible for for the pirate pak so I’ve only had it twice before. I kept that cardboard ship for many, many years after though much to their chagrin.

White Spot Pirate Pak Day

The pirate pak menu is limited to four items but they all come with endless fries, coleslaw, pop, a chocolate gold coin and ice cream! All for $13.99 or less. My friend and I both chose the Bacon Cheddar Bigger Burger. The word bacon was enough to entice us. If you’re not interested in pirate paks, all of their regular menu items are still available.

White Spot Pirate Pak DayHere’s my burger! It really was very big especially compared to the space available in the ship. Even the slice of pickle was big. The bun was soft while the patty was thick, moist and juicy. It’s like the archetype of a classic bacon and cheddar burger. Completely satisfying. I couldn’t even finish it. The coleslaw and fries were standard. Since fries and pop are refillable, you will be very full afterwards.

White Spot Pirate Pak Day I was totally saving room for ice cream. Available flavours are chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. No need to say what my favourite flavour is!

White Spot is the place for classic Canadian comfort food for families but don’t expect anything fancy! They also seem to be innovating more with their menu items. I wouldn’t mind coming back next year for another pirate pak too.

PS. I kept my pirate ship and put my minions in it. =)

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Milestones-Free Birthday Entree*

For my friend’s birthday, she decided to go to Milestones at English Bay after she found out Cactus Club was full. The hostess informed her that she could print out a free birthday entree voucher online. This only works if you go with 3 friends and then your entree is free! Find out more details here.

The English Bay location was very busy and we got seats with a great view of the water. I had the American Burger with aged cheddar cheese and double smoked bacon.

Milestones Restaurant

All burgers come with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle and mayo as well as rustic cut red skin fires. This burger was average to me but the patty was quite thick and juicy. The fries were quite disappointing though because even though they looked brown and crispy, they were actually way too limp and soft. They were well salted though.

Milestones RestaurantAnother friend of mine had the Seafood Fettucine with shrimp, mussels and salmon. It looked delicious and he thought it was pretty good too. I didn’t get to try all the food since I didn’t know these people very well. Pictures are worth a thousand words though right?

Milestones Restaurant

This was the Certified Angus Beef Top Sirloin simply grilled to medium. The other option is to have it with black peppercorn sauce which will cost an additional $2. The mound of mashed potatoes that came with the sirloin was very impressive!

The birthday girl had the Grilled Seafood Salad with shrimp, avocado, papaya, salmon and crisp noodles.

Milestones RestaurantSorry it’s not a great picture due to the sunlight. The salmon was too dry but she still enjoyed this salad.

We also somehow ended up with a free Caesar salad. Yay free food! We decided to each have a few bites and split it. My friend was also served complimentary cookies and ice cream in honour of her birthday.

Milestones RestaurantWe all enjoyed our food here and the only set back was that our food took a bit longer to come since it was so busy but that was fine since it gave us more time to chat. The location here is definitely one of its selling points especially in the summer!

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Pig on the Street: Bacon All the Way!

I was wandering around downtown yet again and I had my eye on food trucks again. I just have so many on my list to try! Since they’re all around the same price, I decided to go for Pig on the Street (love the name). Bacon makes everything taste good right? They had a selection of four handcrafted flatbread wraps with bacon and one veggie option as well.

Pig on the StreetWhile all the options looked equally delicious, I settled for the Southern Piggy. I love how cute the names are! After you place your order, you get to choose a pink wooden pig with funny famous pig names on it and that’s the name they call when your order is ready. I had the Hogfather.

Pig on the Street This wrap was heftier in size than I imagined!

Pig on the StreetThe double smoked bacon was crispy and smoky and everything bacon should be. The bacon was balanced out by the roasted corn, peppers and greens. The bourbon BBQ sauce and chipotle mayo made it a bit spicy but I found that the cheddar was lost in the wrap. They were not stingy with the bacon since there was at least three pieces yet they gave you ample amounts of veggies to make it “healthier” too. The wrap was interesting because had a more doughy feel to it but wasn’t too thick either. The whole wrap was packed with flavour and I loved every bite of it. It didn’t feel greasy either even though there was a lot of bacon. Super delicious and satisfying! Oink!

Pig on the Street is about to be named my favourite food truck! Okay I really haven’t tried that many yet but I’m making my way through my list! I would probably choose this over Mom’s Grilled Cheese but it’s not really fair to compare. I like that they try to be vegetarian friendly too but I doubt many vegetarians would stop by a business that specializes in bacon?

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Cactus Club-Burnaby

Previously I was sold on the hype that surrounded the opening of the new Cactus Club at Coal Harbour. I have yet to visit though so I settled on the Burnaby location which is right across from Metrotown. You can probably guess what I was doing before dinner now. We just felt like going somewhere slightly more upscale that day. We should have made a reservation though because they did have a short wait during dinner time.

Cactus Club Their Signature Sangria seemed good so I decided to try it. What won me over was that the description said there would be a splash of bellini.

Cactus ClubMy friend had The Burger with bacon, cheddar cheese and sauteed mushrooms along with a side of yam fries.  The burger was a good size and juicy so there were no complaints. Yam fries were nicely done too addicting as always.

Cactus ClubI had trouble deciding between all the options since I don’t frequent Cactus Club much. I finally decided on the Jambalaya Rice Bowl. This rice bowl had shrimp, chicken, sausage, veggies and black bean salsa. I found the chicken to be too dry but I loved the flavours of the rice bowl. There was just the right amount of heat to it and the portion size was very good. I also liked that they give you a choice of white or brown rice. I chose brown rice and it tasted so good I almost couldn’t tell it was brown rice! They also offer a chicken teriyaki rice bowl and also a salmon rice bowl as well. Overall, I thought it was better than I expected. Might go for the short rib sandwich next time!

We had a nice experience here and I really don’t see anything wrong with visiting chain restaurants. The service was pleasant and our food and drinks arrived promptly.

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Me-n-Ed’s Pizza: Non-Traditional Crusts

I went to Me-n-Ed’s Pizza last summer and I was surprised at how thin their crust was! So my friend and I decided that it was time for another yearly visit. This time I wanted to try their breadsticks too. They offer cheese bread, garlic bread or Ed’s bread. We went with Ed’s bread which were soft and chewy breadsticks covered in Italian herbs and cheese. They were super soft and delightful to eat. I would be satisfied just eating their breadsticks! You also get a choice of Ranch dressing or tomato sauce for dipping. I’m a Ranch fan so I went with that.

Me-n-Ed's Pizza One thing I like about Me-n-Ed’s is that they have mini sized pizzas! I think they’re about 6″ and since the crust is so thin it won’t be too filling either. We had a mini of the Soprano which had Boccocini cheese, tomatoes, capicollo and onions.

Me-n-Ed's Pizza I was expecting the tomatoes to be a LOT smaller though. I obviously have no idea what Roma tomatoes are. I also thought the basil leaves should have been incorporated into the cheese and not just floating on top. Nonetheless it tasted alright. You can also ask for a whole wheat crust for a healthier pizza! By the way, capicollo is an Italian cold cut meat made from pork shoulder.

Me-n-Ed's PizzaThey also let you create your own pizza as well so we had a mini with Italian sausage, onions and spinach with sundried tomato sauce on a whole wheat crust. Mmm this was much better than the Soprano! I’m so proud of my little creation hehehe On the other hand, I realized how easy it is for spinach to get stuck in your teeth… good thing I don’t have braces anymore!

I enjoyed my visit here again and their restaurant is pretty quiet usually due to a lot of take out orders. See my last visit here! We also had a friendly server as well but you don’t really get much service here. This is the place to go for pizza with a non-traditional crust!

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Hog Shack Cook House: Meat & More Meat

It’s officially summer and who doesn’t love a good BBQ right? Succulent  meat slathered in a tangy BBQ sauce sounds like a great meal to me unless you’re vegetarian of course. My friend and I went all the way out to Steveston to try Hog Shack Cook House. I was pretty excited but I can’t eat that much so we tried not to over do the ordering which sometimes happens when I’m around x)

Hog Shack Cook House From reading other food blogs, I had heard about their famous Burnt Ends that aren’t featured on the menu so of course I had to ask for it. Luckily they did have some left! Yay! I feel like an insider hahaha These are actually the ends of the beef brisket that they recook for some extra flavour. They were super tender and soft and fell apart easily. Super delicious! All the entrees also come with two sides and we chose sauteed veggies and potato wedges. The veggies were nicely seasoned and cooked but the potato wedges were not a good idea since they were pretty big and very filling. We should have got more fries instead. They also offer the burnt ends in an appetizer side aka without the sides.

Hog Shack Cook House

Hog Shack Cook HouseWhat else did we get? Ribs of course! Hog Shack St. Louis Style Side Ribs to be exact. I asked the waitress what the difference between the baby back ribs and the St. Louis ribs was and she said that the baby back ribs were more tender while the St. Louis had more meat so we went with the latter. We ordered a half rack and it had six ribs and they did have a good amount of meat. Also they didn’t slather it with too much BBQ sauce either. For our sides we had coleslaw and yam fries with a garlic aioli dip. The yam fries were pretty good but the dip was average and didn’t taste like much. Or maybe I just had too much BBQ sauce so I couldn’t tell. The coleslaw was a bit limp so the veggies didn’t seem as fresh and crunchy.

If you’re going to Hog Shack Cook House, remember to ask for the burnt ends! Don’t be shy! Although at this rate they won’t be a secret menu item for long… Or you can also get their beef brisket. I thought the ribs were pretty solid but I ain’t no BBQ expert. If you’re not interested in ribs, they also have burgers and a variety of appetizers.

Have a great long weekend!

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Five Guys Burgers and Fries-A Case of Missing Bacon?

I paid a visit to Five Guys last week during lunch time and they had quite a line up going and the restaurant was packed. Thankfully the line moved quite fast. The burger concepts were quite simple. They served hamburgers, cheeseburgers, bacon burgers and bacon cheeseburgers. They also had “little” versions of these burgers too as well as grilled cheese sandwiches. I wasn’t that hungry so I just had a Little Bacon Burger. There was a lot of hype surrounding the opening of Five Guys so I was excited to see what it was like.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries VancouverAt Five Guys, you can have a lot of free toppings to choose from which is the best part. I was trying to save calories so I  decided not to get everything. I had pickles, fried onions, lettuce, tomatoes and BBQ sauce. I should have got more toppings though because I found the burger to be dry and lacking in taste and flavour. It was just really boring. ALSO I think they might have missed the bacon… I was busy analyzing my burger and didn’t even notice that earlier! Unfortunately I had already left because I ordered it to go and it was too late. =( I am 99.99% sure it was missing. If it was there I would have enjoyed the burger more right?!

I thought that Five Guys was similar to Vera’s and I don’t have any other burger joints to compare it too. Maybe I will get more toppings next time but overall it seemed average to me.

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Hub Restaurant and Lounge

I finally managed to gather a bunch of my friends for dinner last week and we headed to Hub Restaurant and Lounge. Everyone seems really busy now except me… The restaurant was lined with a lot of TVs covering different sports and the interior wasn’t too dark. It had the typical bar/lounge feel to it. It’s extremely close to the Yaletown station though it’s literally across the street. On the menu they have “hub’zas” and eventually we figured out that they were Hub style pizzas.

Hub Restaurant and Lounge

I ordered the Ring of Fire which was a burger with “Frank’s hot sauce, chipotle mayo, sweet texas bbq sauce, jalapeño and roasted red peppers, [and] jack cheese”. I love spicy food so this burger was calling my name. The roasted red peppers were pretty spicy due to the hot sauce but in an addictive way. The bun was plain and could have been more interesting but it served its purpose. The entire burger was a mess to eat due to all the different sauces dripping out and yes, it was actually spicy! I had to occasionally pause before eating again. The Caesar salad was fresh and they used just enough salad dressing. It also helped balance out the spiciness from my burger. I’m glad they don’t charge extra for a side of Caesar salad.

Hub Restaurant and Lounge

My friend had Mama H’s Meatball Linguine. She said the marinara/tomato sauce made it too sour for her.

Hub Restaurant and LoungeMy other friend had the Beef Dip with a side of Caesar Salad as well. I tried the beef which was made from prime rib and it was quite tender and tasty.

Someone else ordered fries but we found them to be too dry and crunchy and perhaps overcooked? It’s hard to screw up fries though but these were below average. =( We were not that impressed with the food but it was alright for pub food. I did like my spicy burger though. Hub might be a good place to watch sports games at a great location and the pricing and portions were reasonable for the Yaletown area.

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