Argo Cafe

When I visited Argo Cafe lately, I couldn’t help but think “Argo f*** yourself”. I’m quite sure that Argo Cafe is not named after Argo the Batfleck movie however (brief digression: I actually quite liked Ben Affleck’s batman), seeing that the diner existed long before the movie came out. The latter is a small but quite popular diner/cafe located in Olympic Village, right by 2nd Avenue. The atmosphere is very casual, and they don’t have printed menu: everything is written on the board. They have a breakfast menu that’s served till 11:00, a lunch menu consisting of burgers, sandwiches, and various Western/Asian/Mexican plates, and a specials menu that rotates daily. I had their Argo Plate and Chicken Chilli Con Queso.

Argo Plate ($17.95):


4/5
This was from one of their specials menu, which rotates daily. It consists of short rib, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin, and roast lamb, and is served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. I found the lamb to be a bit tough and chewy; the pork was quite tender and well seasoned however, and the shortribs were tender and flavourful. The mashed potatoes were also very tasty, and were smooth, creamy and flavourful.

Chicken Chilli Con Queso ($14.95):


4/5
This consists of a thick stew-like chicken with cheese, and is served with either fries or rice. The stew was thick and very flavourful, and had a nice bit of spice. The chicken was tender and juicy (I think they used dark meat, which in my opinion is always superior to white), although I did find it to be a bit underseasoned on its own.

I quite enjoyed the food at Argo Cafe. The price was a bit higher for a diner, but still reasonable. The service was quite casual; the food comes reasonably fast and the staff were fairly friendly but generally leaves you alone. All in all, this is definitely worth checking out.

P.S. The staff asked me if I wanted soup, and I turned it down because I thought that it was going to cost extra (and I was too shy/scared to ask if that was the case). But apparently, after checking their website, the soup is complimentary with their meals. So if the staff asks you, don’t be an idiot like me and turn it down.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chicken Chilli Con Queso
Argo Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rumpus Room

I had the chance to check out the Rumpus Room lately. the latter is a small diner located on Main Street, not far from Broadway. They have a casual atmosphere, and have sofas available in addition to regular tables, as well as various games for patrons to play with. Food-wise, the menu consisted of comfort food: fries, sandwiches, burgers, etc. I had their Chicken and Waffles and Mac and Trees. While waiting for my food to arrive, I entertained myself by going through the game of Never Have I Ever…and quickly realized that I’ve lead an extremely dull and boring life.

Feeling a bit depressed and inadequate, I was glad when my food finally arrived.

Chicken and Waffles ($15):


3.5/5
This came with 2 small waffles and chicken tenders, and was served with a side of gravy and maple syrup. The waffles were a bit dense and hard, but still tasty, and contained sesame, which provided a nice fragrance. The chicken tenders had a pretty nice crunchy crust that was well-seasoned and flavourful, and the meat was quite tender and juicy; I did find some of the pieces to be a bit too small and not meaty enough, however.

Mac and Trees ($13):


3.5/5
This consisted of macaroni, mixed with broccoli, and was served with a biscuit. The noodles were very well cooked, being tender whilst retaining some chew. The sauce was quite thick and coated the noodles well; it was a bit underseasoned however. The biscuit was a bit dry for me, although it did have a nice savoury flavour and fragrance of sesame.

I had a good time at the Rumpus Room. The food didn’t really blow me away, but was still fairly tasty, and the prices were also fairly reasonable. The service was a bit slow, but the staff was very friendly. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Mac and Trees
Rumpus Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Max’s Bakery & Delicatessen

I had quite a dilemma during my recent visit to Max’s Bakery & Deli. They had such a broad selection of cakes, pastries, pies, sandwiches, and other foods that it was very hard for me to choose what to get. Sure, I had the fortunes of having quite a large appetite, but even I have my limits. In the end, after quite a bit of hemming and hawing, I went with a Chicken Pot Pie, Mango Raspberry Cheesecake, Sticky Toffee Slice, Chocolate Decadence Cake and a Red Velvet Cake, as well as an Almond Croissant for my mom.

Chicken Pot Pie ($6.75):


3.5/5
The crust was not particularly flaky, but still relatively tender, with a nice bit of savoury flavour. The interior is filled with chunks of chicken, potatoes, peas and carrots. There was quite a generous amount of meat, which albeit a bit dry, was relatively tender, well-seasoned and savoury.

Mango Raspberry Cheesecake ($5.69):


4/5
The cheesecake was thick and creamy, albeit a bit gummy in some parts. It had a nice fragrance of mango and coconut that was not overly artificial. It was sweet; I would have liked there to be a bit more tanginess.

Sticky Toffee Slice ($4.99):


4/5
The toffee was very thick and gooey, with a great caramelized flavour. The cake itself was a tad dense, but still moist. The cake is on the sweeter side, so you do need to have a good sweet tooth to enjoy it.

Chocolate Decadence Cake ($5.49):


3/5
The frosting had a nice bittersweet flavour; I did find the chocolate to be a bit waxy and stale, however. The cake was a bit on the dry side/hard side, though not overly so. This was enjoyable, though nowhere nearly as good as the version from Trafiq.

Red Velvet Cake ($5.49):


3.5/5
The cream cheese frosting was thick, creamy and sweet, with a nice bit of tang. As was with the chocolate decadence, the cake was a bit on the dry side (and I personally also found it to be a bit too bright red for my liking).

Almond Croissant ($4.09):

dav
Almond Croissant

N/A

From the relatively small sampling that I had from Max’s, I can say that the food was, while not the greatest, still more than enjoyable. The prices were quite reasonable. This is a spot that’s worth a visit.

Summary
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Mango Raspberry Cheesecake, Sticky Toffee Slice, Red Velvet Cake
Max's Bakery & Delicatessen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Zen on Yew

I’m certainly learning new things from eating out at restaurants. Like a couple of days ago, I’ve learned what an orangerie was. More recently, I’ve been subjected to some ancient Chinese wisdom a la Confucius.

dav

If you’re wondering where I got that quote from, it’s from Cafe Zen on Yew. They are a small diner/cafe located not far from Kits beach serving up a small menu of breakfast/brunch and lunch items. In addition to their regular menu, they do also have daily specials that are written on a board. During my visit, I had their California Club Sandwich and Chorizo Bennie.

California Club Sandwich ($14.25):


4/5
This consisted of two layers filled with grilled chicken breast, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and your choice of either avocado or bacon (I went went bacon), and is served with French fries. The bread was nicely toasted. There was a generous amount of filling, which was very flavourful and tasty. The standout for me however, were the fries, which were were hot, cripsy and well seasoned.

Chorizo Bennie ($12.49):


3.5/5
This consisted of large chunks of chorizo on toasted English muffin with poached eggs and hollandaise, and is served with hashbrowns. There was a good amount of chorizo, which is juicy, flavourful with a nice amount of spice. I asked for my eggs to be overmedium and they were more overhard, but I didn’t mind (I actually enjoy firmer yolks). The hollandaise, while thick and creamy, was a bit on the bland side for me. I also found the muffin to be a bit gummy and hard to cut through. I did quite enjoy the hashbrowns, which were crispy and well seasoned.

I really enjoyed my visit to Cafe Zen. Not only was I given some Chinese wisdom, the food was also tasty and reasonably priced. The staff I encountered was friendly and fairly attentive. This is certainly worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: California Club Sandwich
Cafe Zen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Symphonie

I haven’t had much experience with Filipino food. The only time I can remember ever having such cuisine was at Herbs & Spice Cafe several months earlier. Recently, I’ve heard of a joint named Symphonie located near the Bentall Centre. The latter is a small joint that specializes in Filipino food, with some Indian and Western dishes as well. You order at the front counter, and the staff brings you your dishes if you’re eating in (many people appear to opt for take out). I had their Filipino Special with Tocino and Kare Kare off of their specials menu.

Kare Kare ($12):


3.5/5
This is part of their Tuesday lunch special, and consists of beef & pork along with various vegetables cooked in a peanut butter sauce, and is served with rice and some kind of shrimp/fish paste. This is the first time that I’ve had kare kare so I don’t know what it should be like, but I did really enjoy the peanut sauce/broth, which was savoury and had a great fragrance from the peanut. The meat was also very tender; I do find there to be a bit too little meat and a bit to much vegetables however.

Filipino Special with Tocino ($10):


3.5/5
Their specials consist of garlic fried rice, 2 fried eggs, and your choice of either longanisa, tocino, and tapa; I had their tocino. I requested for their eggs to be overhard; however, when I received it, the yolks were still runny (I’m one of the rare people who don’t like runny yolks). They were still tasty however, and were actually quite well seasoned. The tocino was a bit dry and tough, but was flavourful and had a nice hint of sweetness. I quite enjoyed the rice, which was fragrant from bits of garlic.

While I’m not exactly blown away by the food at Symphony, I found the dishes were still quite tasty and definitely makes me want to try out more Filipino food in the future. The prices are very reasonable. This is definitely worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Kare Kare, Fillipino Special
Symphonie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe de L’Orangerie

So I’ve learned a new word today: orangerie. Apparently, back in the day, when oranges are apparently a luxurious commodity, rich people who had nothing better to spend their money on, decided to create rooms dedicated to the storage of oranges.

Cafe de L’Orangerie, however, did not appear to have anything to do with storing oranges. Rather, they are a cute cafe in Marpole serving up a menu consisting of Japanese and Japanese-Western fusion food. I had their Appetizer Chicken Nanban, Croquette, and Spaghetti Carbonara (with Hamburger Steak).

Appetizer Chicken Nanban ($8):


3/5
This consisted of a chicken filet that has been deep fried and is coated in a sweet and sour glaze, and is served with a side of tartar sauce. The chicken itself is white meat, and as such, it’s quite tender and juicy. It was also quite flavourful. However, I did find there to be way too much skin/batter and too little meat; moreover much of the skin was not crispy, but rather soggy and chewy.

Croquette, 2 pc ($6):


3.5/5
The exterior was quite crunchy and crispy. The filling consisted mostly of rice and potato with bits of edamame and ground pork mingled within. It is served with a sauce; I did find the sauce to be a bit too salty however, with the filling being flavourful enough on its own.

Spaghetti Carbonara + Hamburger Steak ($12 + $4):


3.5/5
The spaghetti was tender, while still maintaining some texture, and is tossed in a cream sauce that contained bacon and mushrooms, and was quite savoury and flavourful on its own. The hamburger steak was tender and juicy, albeit a tad bland. I was pleasantly surprised by the portion, which I found to be quite generous for the price.

Although the food at Cafe de L’Orangerie didn’t exactly blow me away, I did still quite enjoy all their food. The prices were very reasonable, especially since they provide quite generous portions. The service was also good: the food came quickly and the staff was quite friendly and attentive. This is definitely worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Croquette, Spaghetti Carbonara
Cafe de l'Orangerie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Middlegate Aroma Bakehouse

Note to self: when going to a shop that you’ve never been to before, check the location on Google maps. That was the lesson that I’ve learned during a recent trip to Middlegate Aroma Bakehouse. The latter was located in Burnaby, on the eastern part of Kingsway. I’ve never been to the area before, and only followed the bussing directions on translink. When I reached the area however, I just could not locate the bakery. After spending about fifteen minutes walking up and down the area where it was supposed to be at, I finally figured out that the bakery as actually located upstairs of a strip of shops in a “Highgate Village”. *Facepalm*. The shop was a European-style bakery offering various cakes, cookies and other pastries. I got several of their cakes (Tiramisu, Chocolate, Mango, and Matcha Mousse) and a Sesame and Almond Florentine.

dav
Mango, Matcha, Chocolate, and Tiramisu Mousse cakes

Almond Florentine ($2.99):


4/5
This was a crispy cookie that’s filled with sliced almonds and coated on the bottom with chocolate. The cookie was thin, incredibly crunchy, and melted in my mouth while the almonds had a nice fragrance. My mom had the sesame version and said that it was very fragrant (and similar to some cookies that we have in China).

Tiramisu Mousse ($4.99):


3.5/5
This was a bit different from what you’d expect from a typical tiramisu: it consisted of coffee mousse and sponge cake sitting on top of a biscuit, and was topped with marshmallow. I found the coffee flavour to be a bit weak, and I’m not really sure if the marshmallow paired well with the coffee (it was also a bit on the sweeter side). It really did not remind me of an actual tiramisu, but it was still tasty.

Matcha Mousse ($4.99):


4/5
This came decorated with a matcha macaron, which had become a bit soggy on the bottom, but was still crispy on the top and was quite sweet. The cake itself consisted of matcha-flavoured mousse on top of a biscuit, and was decorated with some shredded coconut. The mousse was thick and creamy; I did find the matcha flavour to be a bit subtle. The biscuit was tender and crumbly. The coconut lent a nice fragrance that paired well with the green tea.

Mango Mousse ($4.99):


4/5
This was decorated with leafs of chocolate. The mousse was creamy and fluffy, with a great fragrance of mango. The biscuit was tender and crumbly. I did find the chocolate to be a tad waxy and stale.

Chocolate Mousse ($5.50):


4/5
Like the matcha cake, this came topped with a chocolate macaron. The mousse here as again creamy, with a great bittersweet flavour. The biscuit was tender and crumbly.

I was pretty impressed by the treats at Middlegate: the cakes were all quite tasty, as well as the florentine cookies. Their prices are also quite reasonable. This is a bakery that’s definitely worth a visit: just don’t be an idiot like me and go up the stairs to find it.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Florentine, Matcha Mousse, Mango Mousse, Chocolate Mousse
Aroma Bake House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Martinis

A long time ago, when I was still in highschool, I went to Martinis for one of my friends’ birthdays. I had their Veal Parmesan on that occasion, and was completely taken aback when the dish ended up getting the better of me (I couldn’t finish it and I had an even bigger appetite then than I do now). Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one: all of my friends had trouble finishing their dishes, one of whom apparently got full on a calamari appetizer that we all shared and a side salad.

I decided to revisit this place recently. In spite of all the years that passed, the menu appears to have remained the same, consisting of a large selection of Italian/Greek/Mediterranean dishes and pizzas. They also have a menu of lunch specials. While I was tempted to reorder the Veal Parmesan to see whether I could conquer it this time, I was tempted by their lunch specials, and ended up ordering their Breaded Veal Cutlets. I also had their Chicken Tortellini Alfredo after hearing good reviews about the dish from other reviewers. The dishes were served with a side of daily soup and salad respectively; these dishes came out right away while the main dishes themselves took a bit longer (probably 20+ minutes) to arrive.

dav
Lunch specials

Chicken Tortellini Alfredo ($17):


3.5/5
This consisted of spinach & cheese tortellini with chicken breast and red peppers, and is served with salad and garlic bread. The chicken was pretty tender for white meat and well seasoned, while the tortellini was well-cooked, being tender while still retaining some chew. I did find it to be a bit bland however, and the sauce, while creamy, was also a bit underseasoned for my taste. The salad was quite fresh and contained pieces of pineapple. I absolutely loved their garlic bread: they give you a thick slide that’s nicely toasted and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

Lunch Breaded Veal Cutlets ($10.75):


3.5/5
This was served with your choice of fries or salad (I had fries), and a daily soup. The portion for this was very impressive for the price: they give you two generous slices of veal. The meat itself had a nice crispy coating, although I did find it to be a tad underseasoned and slightly chewy/grisly in some parts. The fries were hot, fresh and crispy. The soup I had was some kind of curry vegetable with rice.

Although I wasn’t able to get revenge on the Veal Parmesan, I’m glad to have gotten their Lunch Breaded Veal Cutlets: the dish was quite tasty, and I thought that it was a great deal for the price and portion. I did find the main dishes to take a bit long to arrive, and the server I had, while attentive, was not the friendliest. In spite of the shortcomings however, I did really enjoy, I did still really enjoy my visit to Martinis, and would highly recommend checking it out.

mde
If the Church of Pizza is looking for recruits to spread their word, please call me up.

Summary
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Lunch Breaded Veal Cutlets
Martini's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Petra Cafe

I know embarrassingly little about all the eateries that are around UBC. I’ve only been down to the Internal Food Court probably once or twice, and have never even heard of the existence of Petra Cafe until recently. The latter is one of several fast food places located in the aforementioned food court serving up popular Mediterranean dishes. I had their Beef Donair Wrap and Roast Lamb Plate.

Beef Donair Wrap ($6.80):


3.5/5
Taste-wise this would have been 4/5. The beef was quite tender and well-seasoned, the vegetables all tasted fresh, the pita bread was fluffy and chewy, and the sauces were flavourful. Unfortunately, my main complaint with this wrap is that it was pretty poorly made: it literally tore and all the fillings fell out when I tried to pick it up and eat it like a regular wrap (granted, I do have sausages for fingers, but still). I ended up just eating all the fillings and the wrap separately.

Roast Lamb Plate ($10.95):


3.5/5
All platters came with rice, potato, pita, salad, and tzatziki. The lamb itself was very tender and quite well-seasoned, and didn’t have any gamey flavour that usually puts me off. I did find there to be a bit too less meat (it contained a large bone), but for the price I really can’t complain. The salad was a bit bland and stingy on the feta, but the vegetables did taste fresh. The rice was a bit too soft for my liking, but flavourful, and contained beans and chickpeas. The pita was again soft and fluffy, and the tzatziki thick and tangy.

In spite of the mess from the donair wrap, the food at Petra Cafe. Their prices are also extremely reasonable. This is a spot at UBC that’s definitely worth checking out (I only wish that I had known about it sooner).

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Roast Lamb Plate, Beef Donair Plate
Petra Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BJ Bakery & Deli

I (fortunately) don’t own a bakery. Apart from the certainty of bankruptcy within a week, I wouldn’t be able to come up with a good name for the bakery. One name that I definitely would NOT pick however is BJ since it invokes dirty thoughts in my head and definitely not tasty European-style pastries and desserts. But then again, maybe it’s because I’m an immature pervert.

As you probably have already inferred by now, there is a shop named BJ Bakery & Deli. The latter is located in Burnaby, a few blocks from the Royal Park Skytrain station. They serve a pretty good selection of European-style food, including cakes and pastries, savoury items like lasagna and sausage rolls, and sandwiches and soups (including frozen varieties that you can take home). I had several of their cakes: Tuxedo Truffle, Vanilla Lemon Polish Cheesecake, Black Forest, and Tiramisu. They didn’t have prices listed for most of the cakes, so I don’t know the exact cost, but the total came to just over $16 (so around $4 each).

Vanilla Lemon Polish Cheesecake (around $4):


3.5/5
This was a bit different from the types of the NY style cheesecake; it’s drier/crumblier and I think it’s made with quark cheese (instead of cream cheese). It wasn’t overly sweet, and had a nice fragrance of lemon. I did find the cake to be a bit too dry for my taste however.

Tuxedo Truffle Cake (around $4):


4/5
This consisted of layers sponge cake sandwiching white, milk and dark chocolate mousse. The layers of cake were quite tender and moist, while the mousse was thick, creamy and luscious. It is on the sweeter side, so only get this if you can tolerate sweeter goods.

Black Forest Cake (around $4):


4/5
This contained layers of chocolate cake sandwiching cream and cherry preserves. The cake was very tender and moist. The cream was just luscious while the cherries were tart without being tasting artificial.

Tiramisu (around $4):


4/5
The cake was again very tender and moist. The cream was thick and luscious, and there was a great fragrance and slight bitterness from coffee. This may not be the “authentic” type (i.e. with lady fingers), but it is still definitely very tasty.

In spite of the name (I’m going to venture out on a limb that it’s actually the initials of the owner(s)) I really enjoyed my visit to BJ. The cakes were all tasty, and their prices are more than reasonable. This is a place that’s definitely worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Cakes
BJ Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato