Uncle Willy’s

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Uncle Willy’s brings back memories when you were a kid and buffets were the  best things ever. And that’s exactly why K and I were craving it… I mean it’s still around, so we decided to go check it out to see if the food has improved or what.

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Arriving on a Saturday night, the place was actually decently packed with 80% of the tables filled. Dinner on a weekend goes at around $17 after tax, so it’s not exactly the cheapest thing ever to get a meal for dinner, but quite a good price for a buffet.

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I had read reviews beforehand that pictures were not allowed in the restaurant, so I had to sneakily get these at my table. The choices are quite your typical and basic. I started off with some chicken noodle soup, corn, pasta salad, lasagna, lamb curry, mashed potatoes, ham and their famous fried chicken. I mean, everything was just average or below average. The fried chicken was decent, but the skin wasn’t very crispy. The ham is sliced when you ask, and I found this to be too salty for my liking.

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My second round was a different type of pasta salad, some more mashed potatoes with gravy, the roast beef, and fried chicken again. The mashed potatoes here are done quite well and the gravy is also not too salty. The roast beef was much better than the ham, and this is also sliced when you ask the server to. All in all, everything was mediocre. You could try to fill up on the roast beef and fried chicken to get your money’s worth.

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The main courses were pretty average, so I decided to go for their desserts. Most of their desserts look either overly sweet or just did not look appealing. Looked like they had sat there for quite a while, so I skipped the cakes and pastries. Instead, I went to another favourite of the regulars here which is their soft serve ice cream. I also got a bowl of jello, which of course is a no brainer to make. You can also get chocolate sauce on your soft serve. This was pretty good with the soft serve being quite thick so it wasn’t watery.

Overall, Uncle Willy’s is what it is. It’s a place to go back because it’s nostalgic, but K and I have both agreed that it’ll probably be our last time. Unless you can eat tons of roast beef and fried chicken, you’re better off spending that $17 elsewhere. Plus, the ambiance wasn’t the prettiest thing. I almost felt like it was a bit dirty…

Pros:
– Fried chicken and roast beef are pretty good
– One of the cheaper buffets around town

Cons:
– Rest of food was mediocre or below average
– Ambiance isn’t nice and felt a bit dirty

Price Range: $10-20

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

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

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Alibi Room

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Seared Albacore Tuna

For K’s birthday, we went to Alibi Room in Gastown. It’s located almost at the end, where it’s a lot more quiet, but Alibi Room is always still packed with people. A super chill environment, with dimly lit lights and communal tables, Alibi Room is a great place to hang out with friends and have some drinks. They are famous for their beers, but I opted for one of their ciders. We decided to share a few dishes and started with the Seared Albacore Tuna. The tuna was lightly seared on the sides and very fresh. It was topped with a green olive tapenade and a side of greens. The star of the dish was actually the red lentil puree though. I’m not even a fan of lentils, but the way they seasoned the puree was perfect. Very flavourful and we cleaned up this dish in no time.

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Mezze plate

Next, we got the Mezze Plate, which came with housemade rosemary flatbread. These were sort of soft but slightly chewy. It came with a white bean and green olive dip, goat feta, caponata, cucumbers, and marinated olives. The dip actually tasted sort of like a guacamole. Pretty good, and I liked the caponata mixed with the dip to bring more flavour.

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Mushroom & Hazelnut Pate

Lastly, we had the Mushroom & Hazelnut Pate, which was flavoured with truffle oil.The truffle flavour was actually very strong, or it could have been the mushroom flavour that I was tasting. It came with crostinis for dipping, but they were rather hard. On the side, there were garlic confit to accompany the dish. Not bad.

Overall, I thought the food was average. Nothing too special worth coming back, but I like the ambiance here for get togethers with friends for drinks and snacks. I thought that service was friendly, but rather slow. Our drinks came first, but our food took more than 30 minutes to arrive. We ended up finishing our drink before the food even arrived. Something they will need to work on.

Pros:
– Casual, hip ambiance
– Great place for drinks and late night snacks

Cons:
– A bit on the pricey side
– Long waits

Price Range: $20-30

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

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

Alibi Room on Urbanspoon

Gramercy Grill

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For K’s birthday, I took her to Gramercy Grill for dinner. Unlike these few days, the week before was full of sunshine and it was still sunny in the evening! We were asked to choose to dine indoors or outdoors, and we opted indoors since we were afraid it would get chilly later in the evening.

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Each day, they have different specials. We went on a Tuesday, and there was an oyster deal. We aren’t huge fans of oysters though, so we didn’t end up ordering any. Their menu also seems to be a little different from the one on their website and some prices have been changed as well. I wish I knew that they had a happy hour deal as well! We were only 3o minutes late for that!

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The interior is quite classic with carpet flooring and wooden furniture. The crowd is a bit older, and it seems like there are some regulars. They also have a bar where many people came to watch the hockey game. Service was alright, but they essentially only have three people working the floor. There was one man, who was extremely friendly.

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Calamari

Since not many of the main entrees really appealed to us, we ended up ordering three appetizers to share and an entree of mussels. We started with the Calamari, which we had imagined to be fried. Perhaps I didn’t read the description clearly, because it ended up being calamari served in a saucy broth. It ended up to be decent, but not what I was craving for. The calamari were cooked to tender and the sun-ripe tomatoes and olives gave the broth some flavour. I guess this was much more healthy!

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Beef Carpaccio – truffle puree aioli, fried capers, shaved parmesan & crostini

Next up, I wanted the Beef Carpaccio. The beef was sliced extremely thing and topped with lots of parmesan, truffle puree aioli and fried capers. In the center, there were a few slices of crostini to accompany the carpaccio. I thought that there was a little too much parmesan, and wished they gave me a few more crostinis because the pairing worked so well together. The capers brought some flavour, but overall, I thought it was just okay. I’ve had better beef carpaccio elsewhere.

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Gramercy Meatballs – Italian parsley, grana padano & house made tomato sauce

K had been to Gramercy Grill before, and she told me the Gramercy Meatballs were one of her favourites. Three large meatballs came sitting in a dish of tomato sauce. These were indeed quite delicious! The seasoning was just perfect and I started to crave some spaghetti to accompany these meatballs…

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Local Mussels & Pommes Frites

Lastly, I wanted the Local Mussels & Pommes Frites. Unfortunately, we didn’t come on a Wednesday, because on Wednesdays, they have a deal for $10! Anyways, the portion was decent and each shell was filled with a plump mussel. The sauce reminded me of some curry/ indian inspired flavour actually. I don’t quite remeber what our server told us the sauce was comprised of, but on their website it says tomato sauce and merguez sausage. I didn’t find any sausages inside, however. So perhaps, it was a different broth. I only remember it having frozen corn in it. The fries on the other hand, were extremely crispy. I believe they are hand cut, as they taste homemade. They were extremely good!

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Chocolate Torte

To end off our dinner, we decided to share the Chocolate Torte. They don’t have a dessert menu on their website, but they do have a selection of desserts to choose from. This had to be the best part of the meal. At first, I saw the melting ice cream and thought that this was presented so unpleasantly, but you will understand why once you bite into that torte. It’s almost like a brownie/ lava cake and the chocolate is so warm that it just melts in your mouth. Along with the ice cream that brings a hint of coolness, it is just amazing! There’s two pieces of the chocolate torte, and comes with a scoop of ice cream and whip cream, so it’s plenty to share between two. It takes some time to get served though, probably because they need to heat it up. A must try though.

Dinner at Gramercy Grill was alright. I didn’t find it to be spectacular, but it’s a nice place to spend your evening. The restaurant definitely caters to the older crowd as most of the items are quite classic. Prices are also on the higher range for the portions you get. However,  that chocolate torte makes me want to come back!

Gramercy Grill on Urbanspoon

La Bocca

The next morning at Whistler, we decided to go for our team breakfast before we headed home. This time, we finally got the whole team sitting together. We ended up at La Bocca, which is next to La Brasserie, and they look basically the same. It was confusing to find it when a couple of us were late and were looking for the rest of the group. The place looks pretty diner style, but they don’t just serve breakfast food. It’s also located right in the heart of Whistler Village, so extremely accessible.

Sunrise Breakfast – 2 eggs served any style (sunny-side up) with hashbrowns, strip bacon, breakfast sausage and whole wheat toast

M got the Sunrise Breakfast. He said that it was pretty decent and that he would rate his meal 7/10. That’s pretty good! It looked like a pretty good breakfast since you get a variety of your favourite breakfast foods. I believe he mentioned that the toast wasn’t that great though…

Traditional Benedict – sliced black forest ham, soft poached eggs and homemade citrus hollaindaise on an English muffin, served with hasbrowns

I got the Traditional Bennedict, which was surprisingly really good. I think I had low expectations coming in because I saw that the ratings were terrible on Urbanspoon. The only bad thing about it was the English muffin, because I swear it was so difficult to cut into. If it takes me so much effort to cut into my eggs benny, it doesn’t make me happy! But, other than that, the eggs were poached nicely, and I liked the hollandaise sauce. The hash browns, which were really tater tots, were the best part. They were crispy on the outside and surprisingly weren’t super salty. They were perfect with the ketchup on the side. Overall, it was a pretty good breakfast. And the portion was actually good since I was able to finish all my food and be full, but not overly full. However, I felt that service wasn’t extremely good. The server wasn’t too friendly, and actually seemed a little annoyed by our large group. After getting home and reading the reviews again, I realized that most of the dissatisfaction was based on their dinner or lunch menus. So I’m guessing their actual entree food is probably not too good, but as for breakfast, I thought it was quite decent! Not so much like a tourist trap, like many said.

La Bocca on Urbanspoon

Eagles Buffet in Seattle

Day two of my Seattle trip, we started heading back towards Vancouver and made a stop for the Seattle Premium Outlets. We were getting hungry and decided to stop by the Tulalip Resort Casino and have our lunch at the Eagles Buffet. Second time here actually, but we are always pleased at the variety of food they offer. Much better than the one we have at RiverRock in Richmond! I don’t remember exactly how much lunch was, but it was around $15 and definitely under $20 – so much cheaper than the buffet at RiverRock! Just some of the pictures of what I ate, but they offer so much more! They even have a ice cream section, which I was I was already unfortunately too full to grab some! Definitely a great deal for lunch or dinner if you stop by the Premium Outlets in Seattle, since it is basically right next to it.

Eagles Buffet on Urbanspoon

The Naam

Gold Dragon Dragon Bowl – mix of Naam fries, cheese, miso gravy, steamed veggies, sprouts, carrots & deep fried tofu

Tempeh Reuben – Marinated tempeh with melted cheese, grilled mushrooms, mustard, sauerkraut & grated beets, on a whole wheat burger bun

Always heard about the Naam, but never got to try it till now! The Naam is a very busy vegetarian restaurant, and you can tell just by the lineups outside. Our wait was around 15 minutes I guess – not too bad. It’s located in the Kitsilano district on Main St, and is open 24 hours everyday! They say they only close on Christmas. That’s pretty crazy! Around half an hour after we got in, live music was also going on. We later found out that there is live music of folk, jazz, and blues every night from 7-10 pm. Not a huge fan of that type of music, but definitely an interesting and lively experience. The decor inside the restaurant is also very funky with wooden furniture and flooring. The restaurant has been given awards from Best Organic Restaurant to Best Vegetarian Restaurant, so definitely well known and worth a try. And the food is really full of veggies, and lots of it! The portions are huge and you can actually get full from all those organics. The burger that my friend tried had tempeh, which was basically a slice of tofu-like patty that is made of soybeans. Pretty interesting! So if you’re craving some veggies or just want to eat healthy, this is the place to go! Open anytime except Christmas, so no excuse to not get some vegetarian food!

Naam on Urbanspoon

Cheesecake Factory in San Francisco

Tropical Smoothie

Mango, Passion Fruit, Pineapple and Coconut All Blended with Ice.

Pasta Carbonara

Spaghettini with Smoked Bacon, Green Peas, and a Garlic-Parmesan Cream Sauce.

Mahi Mahi Mediterranean

Crumb Crusted Fresh Mahi with Tomatoes, Artichokes, Capers,Fresh Basil and Balsamic Vinaigrette. Served over Mashed Potatoes.

Grilled Rib-Eye Steak

Served with French Fries and Onion Strings. Also Available Cajun Style – Marinated for 36 Hours in Spices and Herbs.

Filet Mignon

Our Most Tender Steak. Served with French Fries and Onion Strings.

White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle

Creamy Cheesecake Swirled with White Chocolate and Raspberry.

Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake

Moist layers of Red Velvet Cake and our Original Cheesecake covered with our special Cheesecake Factory cream cheese frosting.

Cheesecake Factory can be found all over the States, so if you live in Vancouver, you can head down to Seattle nearby to try it! The portions are extremely large for the price you pay. Line ups are always a little long, but it’s worth it. Be sure to leave room for their famous cheesecakes or get take-out! The cheesecakes are so delicious!

The Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

Wicked Spoon

From Top Left (Clockwise): Potatoes in Creamy Sauce. Hash brown, Sausage, Scrambled Eggs. Stuffed Pasta in Cheddar Sauce. Pizza Flatbread.

Top: Assorted Desserts (marshmallow, chocolate dipped strawberry, chocolate macaroon)
Top Right: Passion Fruit Pudding/Jello
Bottom: Shiu Mai, Shanghai Dumplings, and Assorted Sushi

In Bowl: Mango Sorbet
The dessert that looks like an egg, is an egg shell coloured in silver, with mango pudding and a mango jelly in the center, which I’m guessing is supposed to represent the yolk. It’s topped with a purple macaroon! Delicious! My favourite dessert here.
Bottom: Orange Macaroon

More Desserts!

The Ice Cream Bar: Eggnog, Gingerbread Crunch, Biscotti, and Peanut Butter, just to name a few exotic flavours!

Candied Apples

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Assorted Chocolate and Marshmallows

Assorted Desserts

Assorted Desserts

Assorted Desserts kept in Fridge

I’m a bit late, but I’ve finally uploaded my photos from my trip to Las Vegas over the Christmas break. Of course a trip to Las Vegas means splurging in those delicious buffets the hotels are famous for! Here are the pictures from my favourite buffet of the trip: The Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan. Funny enough, we weren’t intending to eat at the Cosmopolitan, but those confusing connections between each hotel made us stumble into the wrong buffet! But I guess it was a good thing, because the food was the best out of all the buffets we had! The environment was really nice and service was quick. We actually were seated when breakfast was still happening, so I got to grab some breakfast food as well. I love how a lot of dishes came in little silver pots so that you didn’t have to scoop your own potatoes or pasta. They looked much more professional and each pot allowed the food to be still sizzling hot. I’m a dessert junkie, so of course I left my stomach empty for the sweets! The variety of desserts served were by far the most I’ve seen from the buffets I’ve gone to. Most of the desserts were also kept behind glass so you had to line up and ask the chef to bring the dessert out for you. I guess this way the desserts wouldn’t be ruined and allowed the desserts to be plated much more attractively in the fridge. Ice cream was also served by the chefs as well, and line ups were extremely efficient.  I definitely recommend the Wicked Spoon if you are off to Las Vegas. The pricing was actually even cheaper than all the other buffets I had. The Cosmopolitan is located in the new City Center, so it is fairly new. Must try!

Wicked Spoon (Cosmopolitan) on Urbanspoon