Chachi’s

Note: All food and beverages were complimentary. Opinions are based on personal experience.

Thanks to Sherman, a group of food bloggers and I were invited to a menu tasting at the new Chachi’s located in the food court of Metropolis at Metrotown.

Chachi’s goal is to “make mall food better” and this is their first location in BC with plans to expand to other locations in BC. The focus is on sandwiches, but they also have a variety of salads and sides. All ingredients, including cheese, meats and breads are locally sourced. The bread is fresh from a bakery in Langley daily.

You can choose from the set sandwiches on their menu, or build your own.

They also have three of their own lemonades and iced teas.

Freshly made cookies are available as well. The ones we tried were quite healthy with oatmeal and raisins.

Other than their homemade drinks, they also have a select few bottled drinks. Surprisingly, my favourite was the Cherry Iced Tea. It had a light cherry/raspberry flavour to it. Their homemade drinks are overall slightly on the sweeter side, but not bad.

Asiago Caesar

We also tried two of their salads, including the Asiago Caesar which features crisp romaine, bacon garlic crostini, Asiago, Caesar dressing and topped with turkey.

Arugula

My favourite was the Arugula, which had arugula, sundried tomatoes, artichokes, red onions, goat cheese, and a balsamic sauce with turkey. You can choose your type of meat or have it without. I loved the sweetness of the artichokes along with the acidity of the balsamic. The salad was slightly overdressed though, so a little less dressing would have been perfect.

Cali

Onto what we really came here for – the sandwiches! We tried almost all the sandwiches on the menu, inclduing this Cali, which was filled with chicken breast, double smoked bacon, house made guacamole, cheddar, tomato, romaine, and spicy mayo. I really liked how the bread wasn’t too tough.

Bahn Mi

The Bahn Mi was Chachi’s take on the Vietnamese sandwich. It was filled with beef brisket, asian marinade, pickled carrots, cilantro, jalapeno, and garlic aioli. The beef brisket was very soft and tender, but the sandwich was slightly too saucy.

Hot Philly

The Hot Philly is not for the weak as this is one of the spicier options. Filled with rib steak, bell peppers, onion, jalapeno, provolone, garlic aioli and spicy mayo, this is a delicious spicy sandwich.

Smoked Bacon Breaky Sandwich

They also have some Breaky Sandwiches, including this Smoked Bacon Breaky. I didn’t try this but it looks quite similiar to a McMuffin.

Pork with Mac

My favourite sandwich was the Pork with Mac. This is filled with tender pulled pork, sweet chili, BBQ sauce, and topped with loads of mac ‘n cheese. The pulled pork was so tender and sweet, and the mac ‘n cheese was savoury with a slight spice. Amazing creation!

Dill Chips

They also have homemade chips with a variety of flavours. We tried the Dill Chips, which had a nice pickled flavoured. The chips are kettle cooked and reminded me of Ms. Vickie’s. Addictive!

Spicy Mac ‘N Cheese with Capicollo, Mac ‘N Cheese

The Pork ‘N Mac Sandwich was good, but I would actually just skip the sandwich and order their side of Mac ‘N Cheese. These come in two versions: the original or the spicy with capicollo. These were so smooth and creamy and some of the best mac I’ve had! If you enjoy a bit of spicy, I would highly recommend the Spicy Mac ‘N Cheese with Capicollo.

Overall, Chachi’s is a great addition to the food court by offering a more gourmet sandwich option with quality ingredients. The sandwiches are priced slightly higher at $8-$12, but I can understand since the ingredients are all locally sourced.

Chachi's Metrotown Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Keg (Alberni)

I always tell S to skip the chain restaurants, because there are just too many new and more exciting restaurants to try in Vancouver. Not that I don’t like chain restaurants, but you sort of know what you’re going to get. But since I had a $100 gift card to The Keg, I might as well use it, right? I suggested we try the somewhat new location at Alberni in Downtown and was blown away by both the beautiful interior and amazing food.

Complimentary Bread

Dinner started off with Complimentary Bread and whipped butter. The bread was served warm and super fluffy. We loved this!

Filet Mignon

I decided to choose the Filet Mignon with a side of mashed potatoes and vegetables. Served medium rare, the tenderloin was wrapped in applewood smoked bacon and was literally what they describe it on the menu as “ultimate in tenderness”. This was served with Béarnaise but I found the meat itself was already very well flavoured. One of the best cuts you can get and didn’t disappoint!

Prime Rib with side of Lobster Tail

S chose the Prime Rib and went all out by adding a side of a 6oz Atlantic Lobster Tail. Best choice ever, because the lobster tail was cooked absolutely perfect! Buttery and tender, this was delicious dipped in the lobster oil. A must order! The prime rib was also very tender although there were some fatty parts which were difficult to chew. The prime rib was rubbed with Keg’s unique blend of spices and hand-carved. It is served with horseradish and red wine herb jus which further enhances the flavours.

Billy Miner Pie

For dessert, I suggested we skip the other choices and stick to Keg’s top dessert, the Billy Miner Pie. Perfect for sharing because one slice is huge but I could probably have it all to myself… Does mocha ice cream on a chocolate crust with hot fudge, caramel and almonds not sound delicious or what?

Overall, I have to say I was impressed with The Keg and would happily come back here for a great steak. I guess they have been doing this for so many years, that they clearly know how to cook steak. Plus, you know the service is going to be great here.

Pros:
– They know how to cook steak perfectly
– Portions are great

Cons:
– Dishes are more traditional, you won’t see much fancy stuff going on
– Some of their cuts can get pretty pricey (this location appears more expensive as well)

Price Range: $30-50/person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

The Keg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Buckstop

I had won a dinner for two at Buckstop from the 12 Days of Giveaway of Nomss so we headed to the cozy restaurant on Denman on a Friday night. The winning was a Social Shopper voucher for the American BBQ Feast for 2 valued at $59 for the price of $28.

The restaurant is very narrow with a bar at the front. Seating is a bit tight but I loved the ambiance with the dim lighting. Service was alright even though we were using a Social Shopper.

Phillips Blue Buck Ale

On Friday nights, they have select pints for $5. We chose the Phillips Blue Buck Ale since we like lighter beers. I noticed that they ended up charging us $6 (their regular price) but I didn’t want to fuss about the $1 difference since we were already using a Social Shopper voucher.

Fried Dill Pickles

The American Feast for 2 comes with all of the following items I’ll mention. First were the Fried Dill Pickles which was served with a cajun aioli. These were lightly battered and had a nice crunch. I did find them a little too sour but they were good when eaten between the meats.

Hush Puppies & Corn Bread

Next up were the Hush Puppies and Corn Bread which were served with a honey butter. These were still warm and I quite enjoyed the hush puppies as they were not too dense.

American Feast for 2 Platter

The main platter of the American Feast for 2 is more than enough food for two. This included two Smoked Chicken Legs and Thighs which had a nice barbecue flavour to it, but the meat was a little dry. In the middle was the Pulled Pork Sandwich featuring a Portuguese bun filled with a ton of pulled pork and sauce. It was odd that only one burger came and that it wasn’t cut in half for sharing. S and I really enjoyed the burger though as it was very flavourful and the meat was moist. However, the sauce was very wet so the bun became soggy. On the far right were St. Louis Pork Ribs. The meat was extremely tender and fell right off the bone. Flavourwise, it was rather bland. It needed the help of the homemade BBQ sauce to make it right. For sides, my favourite were the  Kennebec Fries. They were not the crispiest, but when dipped in their homemade ketchup, they were amazing! The ketchup had a bit of an onion flavour to it. The Navy Beans reminded me of chili as they were smokey and not your boring canned ketchup beans. Not bad, but again, they were rather dry. The Dijon Aioli Slaw was underwhelming and we didn’t end up finishing it.

Overall, we were quite happy with Buckstop. There are some hits and misses but overall we didn’t have too many complaints. Plus I really enjoyed their homemade sauces and most of their meats were tender. Nice spot on Denman to grab drinks and Southern food. Will revisit to try other items.

Pros:
– Most meats were tender
– Awesome homemade sauces!

Cons:
– Pork ribs fell short in flavour
– Seating is narrow and a bit tight

Price Range: $20-30/person

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

Buckstop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Joe Fortes (30th Anniversary)

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A few weeks ago, Joe Fortes Seafood and Chop House celebrated their 30th anniversary with select items during lunch at their 1985 prices. S and I decided to head over on Friday at around 11:30am to join the crowds. Of course, there were tons of people waiting and we left our name and number with the hostess who said they would text us when a table was ready. She told us it would be probably a two and a half hour wait, but we stuck with it anyways.

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More than two hours later, we still didn’t hear back so I suggested we go back and check. Turns out there were no patrons waiting anymore and that apparently she had texted us about the seat. I was pretty choked since we were starving and the hostess had clearly entered the wrong phone number into the system. To make things worse, the $12 steak that we were excited about was sold out by now… We had waited so long already, so we settled with it and were led to their upper floor where the patio was. The patio was very nice and was heated so we didn’t need to bare the cold. They also had a beautiful bar on the patio.

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After placing our orders, we were served complimentary bread with lobster oil and balsamic vinegar. This is always a plus at Joe Fortes since the lobster oil is delicious!

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Shrimp Cocktail

Of course we got some items from their anniversary week menu, so we chose the Shrimp Cocktail which was discounted to $5.95. I had imagined them to be big plump shrimps, but they turned out to be baby shrimps already premixed in the cocktail sauce and topped with fresh horseradish. Slightly disappointed, but the shrimp was still very fresh and you got a good amount.

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West Coast Fish Cakes

I didn’t know that Joe has Blue Plate Specials every weekday during lunch, where a dish is on special each day of the week. On Friday, it was the West Coast Fish Cakes for $9.95 so we got that to share as well. These were delicious! Lightly battered with well seasoned fish.

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Blackened Rock Fish

And since we couldn’t get the extremely good $12 deal of New York Steak, we opted for the Blackened Rock Fish which was also offered only for $11.95. The rock fish was actually very moist and the blackened crust had a peppery taste to it. It came along with roasted potatoes and market vegetables. A good deal for sure.

Overall, the food at Joe Fortes didn’t disappoint. However, we were slightly disappointed with the service that day given that I’ve had really good service in my previous visits. Our waitress completely forgot our order and had to come back to ask and she also didn’t appear very friendly until near the end of our meal. Perhaps she was flustered with the busy lunch hours with the anniversary week…

Pros:
– Dishes are well executed
– Nice ambiance

Cons:
– Service we got that day was quite poor

Price Range: $20-25

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 1.5 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 2 Overall: 3.5

Joe Fortes Seafood & Chop House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Li’l Cheese Steak Spot

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Li’l Cheese Steak Spot recently opened up in Royal Centre’s food court. Since I was nearby for work, I headed over to grab take out. The food takes a little longer to get prepared since they make the sandwich when you order. You can wash the cook grill your steak and veggies on spot. They also have other sandwiches and soups to order.

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Cheese Steak Sandwich

I went for their signature, which is the Cheese Steak Sandwich. It doesn’t look appealing because it was all wrapped up and the sauces got all smothered, but this was delicious! If you love steak and cheese, this is for you. The beef was tender and you actually got quite a lot of it. It was also filled with onions, melted cheese, banana peppers, tomatoes, and a white sauce. Only downside is that the sandwich is quite pricey at $9. Nevertheless, it’s filling and the quality of steak is great.

Pros:
– Steak is tender
– Sandwiches are made to order

Cons:
– Pricey sandwich for food court

Price Range: $10

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3.5 Service: 2 Ambiance: 2 Parking: 3 Overall: 3.5

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JOEY (Broadway)

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JOEY on Broadway is your typical chain restaurant where you can expect decent food and service. The NR team arrived for our wrap up lunch and the restaurant wasn’t too busy. It appeared that they were doing their staff training while we were there, which I thought was a little odd… Anyways, the interior is pretty nice with comfy seats and wooden decor. They also have a bar/lounge area and they offer happy hour from 3-6 pm.

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Japanese Gyoza

We started off with the Japanese Gyoza, which features pork dumplings with hot mustard and a spicy sauce. These are pretty pricey gyozas, since an order comes with only 6 gyozas and costs $12. Everyone quite enjoyed these as the sauce was delicious and they were pretty well made. J did mention that she wished they came sizzling hot. They were rather lukewarm.

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Rainbow Roll

The Rainbow Roll featured Ahi tuna, salmon, crab, and topped with a sriracha aioli. I was surprised that it was actually pretty well executed since it’s not a Japanese restaurant and the flavours worked well together. Basically a Califronia roll but topped with salmon and ahi tuna. We all agreed that the rice was a bit cold and seemed like it was premade and refrigerated though.

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Ahi Tuna Club

For my entrée, I was sad to hear that my favourite Beef Dip was removed from the menu. Perhaps it’s because beef is so expensive now! Anyways, V and I both ended up getting the Ahi Tuna Club and paired it with a Caesar salad for my side. The sesame bun was filled with two large slices of Ahi tuna that was grilled to medium rare, bacon, onion rings, and some sweet pepper relish. It was a mouthful but the tuna was seared on point and I liked the crunchiness and sweetness of the onion rings. I wasn’t a huge fan of that sweet pepper relish though. The salad had just the right amount of dressing and was topped with a generous amount of Parmesan cheese and croutons.

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Bacon Cheddar Burger

M got the Bacon Cheddar Burger and paired it with sweet potato fries. A classic and it seemed like he had no complaints about it.

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Sashimi Tuna Salad

S got the Sashimi Tuna Salad which had seared rare Ahi tuna, mango, peanuts, avocado, tomatoes, and a cilantro ginger dressing. The tuna was seared perfectly with the edges being slightly seared and the center a beautiful pinkish red. Delicious and visually pleasing as well!

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Beach Salad

J got her go to Beach Salad, which comes with strawberries, quinoa, candied pecans, avocado, lemon poppy seed dressing, and grilled chicken breast. It normally also comes with goat cheese, but she asked for it on the side.

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It was all tasty and good…until she found a piece of chicken that was still raw. We notified the waitress and she had the kitchen cook up a brand new set of chicken.

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Baked to Order Apple Pie

To finish, we had their famous Baked to Order Apple Pie. This is a must order if you like pie! The menu claims that the pastry is hand-folded, and I’m not sure if that’s true, but the pastry is the star of the dish. Extremely flaky and one of the best pie crusts I’ve had. The pie is filled with cinnamon coated apples and toasted almonds, and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It also comes with maple syrup which was asked to have on the side. A delicious way to end our meal!

Overall, the food at JOEY Broadway is pretty good (other than their failure to cook chicken). Service though, is a hit or miss. I’ve had some pretty good service in the past, but this specific time was terrible. Our appetizers arrived rather quickly, but then the wait began… Our entrees took literally another 30 minutes to come and our waitress seemed lost and confused. She even came back to confirm our orders, so it seemed like she had forgotten our orders. It took so long that our lunch ended up being almost 2 hours… And we also did not get any apology or reason why our food took so long at a not so busy restaurant.

Pros:
– Food is consistent and usually well-executed
– Ambiance is pretty nice and comfortable

Cons:
– Wait for food to arrive was extremely slow this time
– Our waitress seemed lost and confused…

Price Range: $20-30

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 2 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3 Overall: 3

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Amsterdam Cafe Pub

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Canadian Beef Dip

I actually didn’t try many new restaurants this time around up at Whistler since I wanted a relaxing trip where I could just eat and enjoy my food without needing to get pictures before. We did end up trying Amsterdam Cafe Pub for an early dinner. They have a patio area outside with heated lamps, so great since we were up on the mountains on a rainy and chilly weekend. The pub has minimal service, with you going in and looking for your own seats and a waitress coming to take your order. We shared two dishes including the Canadian Beef Dip, which featured a roasted beef inside a toasted baguette and a side of au jus for dipping. It also came with a serving of fries. At around $12, this was a relatively reasonable price knowing that Whistler can be quite expensive for average food. I like it when my roast beef is medium rare, but this was definitely well done, so it more rough and dry than I’d like. The good thing is that you get the au jus to dip in, so it moistens the beef. However, the au jus was overly salty. Fries were average.

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Honey Garlic Chicken Wings

The other dish we got were the Honey Garlic Chicken Wings which came with a ranch dip. The wings were dressed heavily in sauce and topped with chopped green onions. I thought they were okay and would’ve gone great with beer. Wings were crispy on the outside and moist in the inside.

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Overall, based on the items we tried at Amsterdam Cafe Pub, I thought it was average. Your typical pub food, so don’t expect too much. Service was also a bit slow since it was basically one waitress running around to serve all the tables. Good spot if you want food at Whistler that’s priced reasonably though.

Pros:
– Reasonable prices
– Decent eats but not amazing

Cons:
– Service can be a bit slow

Price Range: $10-20

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 3 Service: 2 Ambiance: 2 Parking: N/A Overall: 2.5

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McDonalds’ Great Canadian Taste Adventure

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Yes, I am extremely behind in my posts… and it has been more than a month since McDonalds’ Great Canadian Taste Adventure ended… Anyways, in June, McDonalds in Canada had a limited time offer where they promoted 5 of their Canadian menu items for each province. The big one being the McLobster, which I had been dying to try and I had made it my must try if I went to the east coast. Well, luckily we were able to try it at home here, so off we went to grab take out at the first McDonalds in Canada – the one on No.3 Road in Richmond…(who knew, right?).

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McLobster

Not the most glamorous picture here, but the McLobster is their feature for the East Coast. The sandwich is a bit different here as it is in a roll, and it is filled with lobster chunks, lettuce, and a mixture of celery, lemon juice and mayonnaise. We actually had a decent amount of lobster, but I heard that others had experienced less in their lobster rolls. The lobster was actually pretty good with a nice chewy, bouncy texture to it. However, the sauce had way too much lemon juice to it and I didn’t like that celery flavour. It’s also quite pricey at $7.49 for just the sandwich and it is literally the size of my hand… More like a snack, but a pricey one.

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To feature Quebec, they had the maple and Bacon Poutine.

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Maple and Bacon Poutine

I’ve actually never tried their original poutines, so I was surprised when the fries used for the Maple and Bacon Poutine were the exact same fries from their original menu. The only difference is that there is bacon, cheese curds, and maple gravy on top. This was okay, with the sauce being sweet and salty at the same time. However, I’d much prefer the fries on their own. It was also quite pricey at almost $5 for a small box.

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