A&W – UBC

There was once a graduate student (who has graduated the previous year) in our lab who, for a couple of years, would always eat A&W teen burgers for lunch. Apparently, he has done some calculations and determined that the teen burgers at A&W gives the best calories per dollar out of all the fast food chains. Now I haven’t checked the calculations myself (personally, I’d assume that McDonals would have the better deal), but I was quite a big fan of A&W in highschool: my favourite things to get were their teen burgers and onion rings. Having not visited this place for years, I decided to check out the UBC location recently after finding that the international food court was completely filled and had no seats. I had a Teen Burger with Root Beer & Onion Rings.

Teen Burger + Root Beer & Onion Rings ($6.49 + $5.40):


3/5
The burger contained a patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, and various veggies. The patty was relatively juicy and flavourful. I couldn’t reallly get much of the bacon or cheese. It was also on the smaller side (I’m not sure, but I think that they might have reduced the size over the years). The onion rings were kind of lukewarm, but still had a good crispiness and was not overly battered. I quite enjoyed the root beer (the only type of beer that I enjoy).

I don’t know if they have changed their burgers or if my memories were flawed, but I found the teen burger to be considerably smaller than I remembered and quite skimpy on the bacon and cheese. The prices were also a bit steep for a fast food chain (I don’t know how our former grad student did the calculations but I’m 100% sure now that McDonalds have the better calorie per dollar value). Overall, I do feel a bit disappointed by my revisit, but it isn’t a bad spot in a pinch.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3/5
Recommendations: N/A
A&W Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Duffin’s Donuts

I’ve spent most of my winter break watching movies, one of which was the Edge of Seventeen. It was good; I didn’t think it was laugh out loud funny or anything, but it was pretty charming and enjoyable. Even though it was supposedly set in America, the movie was clearly filmed in Vancouver. How do I know? Because one of the scenes took place in Duffin’s Donuts, which is located quite close to my house. I’ve never actually visited the place however, and after watching the movie and hearing Woody Harrelson recommending the donuts there, I decided to finally check the place out. In addition to the aforementioned donuts (which they serve in about two dozen different varieties), the place actually has a pretty large menu consisting of sandwiches, burgers, fries, and Mexican food. I got four donuts (Chocolate Peanut, Angel, Buttermilk with Custard, and Bear Claw), two Pupusas (Pork and Bean and Cheese), and a Beef Steak Sub.

Pork and Bean Pupusa ($2.99):


2.5/5
The corn tortilla was soft and had a nice fragrance, although I did find it to be a tad on the dry side. The bean did provide a nice creaminess. I couldn’t really taste much of the pork however, and I do find the amount of filling to be a bit stingy in general.

Cheese Pupusa ($2.99):
2.5/5
This was similar to the pork and bean pupusa, except with cheese. Again, I found the amount of filling to be too scant: I actually had difficulty detecting the cheese. The surrounding tortilla was enough to make it enjoyable, however.

Angel Donut ($1.25):


4/5
This is a yeast donut that’s filled with chocolate icing and coated in shredded coconut. The donut itself was reasonably light and fluffy. There was a generous amount of icing, which while a tad greasy, had a nice chocolaty flavour. I really enjoyed the coconut, which provided a great fragrance.

Chocolate Peanut Donut ($1.25):
4/5
This is a chocolate cake donut that’s filled with flaked/ground peanuts. The donut is quite tender and moist. The peanuts provided a wonderful fragrance; I couldn’t really detect much of the chocolate flavour, but that’s fine since I really enjoyed the peanuts.

Beef Steak Sub ($5.29):


4/5
This was filled with pieces of steak, mayo, pickles, vegetables. It usually comes with avocado, but because I’ve got an allergy, I asked them to remove it. The bread was really nicely toasted, being crispy on the outside and had a nice crispiness on the outside. The meat was also quite tasty, and was well seasoned and not too tough; the amount was a bit stingy however. I really enjoyed the mayo and vegetables.

Buttermilk Donut with Custard ($1.25):


4/5
Their buttermilk donuts comes with several varieties of fillings; I had their custard version. The donut had a cakey texture, and was tender and moist. I did find the custard to be a bit too hard/goopy; I think think that one of their jam fillings is probably better.

Bear Claw ($2):
3/5
This was a yeast donut that was filled with cinnamon apples. The dough was once again soft and fluffy. The apples still had a nice crispness to them. I did find the donut to be quite bland however; the apples were tart without much sweetness and there wasn’t enough glaze on the exterior.

So Woody Harrelson was right: the donuts at Duffin’s Donuts were quite solid and quite reasonably priced too. And while I didn’t care for the pupusas, the sandwich was tasty. This is definitely a place that I’d recommend visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Donuts, Sandwiches
Duffin's Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vera’s Burger Shack – UBC

During my recent to the UBC location of Pizza Garden, I passed by Vera’s Burger Shack and realised that it’s been some time since I’ve had a burger. Thus, I decided to visit the spot the next day. The place, for those of you that haven’t visited, serves customizable burgers as well as about a dozen “Hall of Fame” varieties, along with hot dogs and various sides (fries, poutine, onion rings etc). They do also have daily specials where, for $14.5, you get a burger (which changes depending on the day), fries, and bottomless drink. Since it was Friday, I had the choice between any of the burgers from Monday-Thursday specials. I got a Stinger Burger and also substituted my fries for Jalapeno Bottle Caps for an extra $3.

dav
The only hall of fame I care about

Stinger Burger with Jalapeno Bottle Caps ($14.50 + $3):


3.5/5
The burger came with jalapeno bottle caps & cheddar. The burger itself seemed relatively small, but was fairly thick and surprisingly filling. The patty was quite thick and juicy, and all the sauces and fillings made it quite flavourful. The jalapeno poppers were quite crispy on the outside, and had a nice bit of heat; it was a little lukewarm and mushy on the interior, however.

In the end, I do think that all the jalapenos might have been a bit too much (not going to go into details, but I did have regrets a few hours later). The burger was fairly tasty, although I do find their prices to be a bit steep for the type of restaurant. Personally, I do much prefer Red Robins, but I think that this is still a decent place for a burger.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Burgers
Vera's Burger Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pizza Garden – UBC

Probably the first food that I’ve had at UBC was pizza from Pie R Squared. A considerable number of new pizza places have appeared over the years. One of them is Pizza Garden, which is located at University Village, right next to an A&W. In addition to whole pies, they also offer premade slices, which they’ll heat up for you (they also have a few chairs available if you want to eat in; otherwise, they’ll pack your slices in a box for you to go). I had their Hawaiian, Pollo Eccllente, and Calabria slices.

Hawaiian Slice ($2.85):


3.5/5
This was topped with prosciutto and pineapple. Even though the pizza wasn’t hot by the time I got to it, the crust was still quite crispy. The outer edges were a bit too tough/chewy, however. The amount of topping was a tad on the sparser side, though still substantial enough to make the pizza tasty and flavourful. Although according to their website, the meat here is supposed to be prosciutto, I think it’s actually ham (it tastes like it at least). I quite enjoyed the pineapple (yes, I’m on that team) with provided a nice sweetness.

Pollo Eccllente Slice ($2.85):

dav
Pollo Eccllente Slice

3.5/5
This was topped with grilled chicken, spinach, red peppers and onions. the chicken was white meat, and was hence a bit on the dry side, but was at least well seasoned. I enjoyed the onions, which lent a nice flavour.

Calabria Slice ($2.85):

dav
Calabria Slice

3.5/5
This was topped with sausage, capicolla, and hot soppressata. This was probably the most flavourful of the three slices that I’ve tried. My favourite was the soppressata, which had a great bit of heat (be warned if you don’t like heat).

The pizza at Pizza Garden was fairly enjoyable: their crust were crispy even when cold, and while they weren’t overly generous with their topping, it was still substantial. The prices aren’t exactly cheap, but not unreasonable either. This isn’t my favourite pizza place, but it’s worth stopping by for a quick bite at UBC.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pizza Slices
Pizza Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My Home Cuisine

When it rains it pours. For the past 2 months or so, all of my experiments have been disastrous. My gene cloning kept on failing (which is one of the most basic protocols in the lab, and is something that I’ve been successfully doing for several years), and I couldn’t figure out the source of my problem. When I told my supervisor, he told me that I was “degrading” because I haven’t been doing enough cloning lately and has gotten sloppy from lack of practice (which isn’t true because I’ve actually been cloning up to until the point when my cloning suddenly stopped working out of nowhere).

Anyways, feeling pretty low, I didn’t really have the energy to travel out far to find a spot to eat. I decided to just stick to the vicinity of UBC, and made my way down to the International Village. I decided to check out My Home Cuisine this time. They are a Chinese fast food shop with a menu consisting of combos, which comes with your choice of rice/noodle and 2 or 3 of their pre-prepared items (also the staff speak Mandarin, which was nice, as I can finally understand them and not look like an idiot like I did at Cafe Gloucester recently). I had their 2 Items Combo with Fried Rice and Sweet & Sour Pork and Sesame Chicken.

2 Items + Fried Rice (Sweet & Sour Pork, Sesame Chicken, $8):


3.5/5
Their combos comes with your choice of 2 items and either plain rice or fried rice/noodle for an extra 50 cents (I went with the fried rice). The sweet & sour pork and sesame chicken were both very meaty, well-seasoned and coated in a sweet sauce. They weren’t crispy, but that is expected since it’s fast food. I did find that the two meats were very similar flavour-wise; apart from being different meats, they did taste almost identical. The rice didn’t have much flavour on its own, but was fragrant and paired well with the meat.

I was pleasantly surprised by the food at My Home Cuisine. For a fast food joint, I found their dishes to be quite solid. The prices are also more than reasonable. This is a pretty solid place at UBC for some quick and tasty lunch.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: N/A (they only have combos)
My Home Cuisine 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

Curry Fusion

Not too long ago, I had a naan wrap from Crave India, which I thought was seriously incredible. More recently, I decided to check out Curry Fusion, an Indian fast food shop located on Robson, not far from the public library. They have a basic menu consisting mainly of wraps and about a dozen different curries, some varieties of which vary daily. I had their Combo Special, which came with rice, naan and a choice of two curries (I had butter chicken and chicken vindaloo) and their Tandoori Chicken Wrap.

Tandoori Chicken Wrap ($9):


3.5/5
This is a naan wrap that’s filled with tandoori chicken, vegetables, and curry sauce. The wrap was quite tasty and flavourful, with the chicken being tender and well-seasoned and the vegetables fresh and crisp. I did find the naan itself to be a bit over-charred and dry in some spots, although it did have a nice chewy texture. It was not as good or large as the wrap I had from Crave India not too long ago, but still tasty.

Combo Special without Drink ($11.43):

3.5/5
This came with rice, half a piece of naan, and your choice of two curries; you can also add a drink for about $1 extra. I had their butter chicken and chicken vindaloo. Both curries were pretty good and flavourful, with the vindaloo having a nice bit of heat while the butter chicken was milder, creamy and had a nice bit of sweetness. I did find the meat to be a bit too dry however. I was also a bit disappointed that they didn’t use basmati rice; I did find their rice to be a bit too soft and didn’t hold up as well to the wet curry.

I’m glad to have checked out Curry Fusion. Their food wasn’t the best, but still fairly tasty, and the prices are decent. Although I prefer Crave India, this is still worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Naan Wraps
Curry Fusion Indian Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Belgian Fries

Probably my favourite “Canadian” dish is poutine. Seriously, how can you say no to a big pile of delicious French fries smothered in cheese and gravy? Especially when you jazz it up even further with delicious toppings. I seriously having a massive hankering for poutine lately, and to satisfy my craving, I decided to check out Belgain Fries. The latter is a poutinerie on the Drive serving up a good variety of different flavours of poutines as well as dips. In addition to more common varieties (smoked meat, bacon, pulled pork etc), they offer some more uncommon flavours such as merguez, butter chicken, and kebab. You order at the front counter and is giving a buzzer, which goes off once your food is ready. I got a large Triple Decker Poutine, which came with chorizo, bacon, and smoked beef.

Triple Decker Poutine (Large, $16):

dav
Triple Decker Poutine (Large)


4/5
This consisted of fries topped with gravy, cheese curds, bacon, chorizo, and smoked beef. Of course, the fries soon got soggy from being drenched under all the gravy and meat; the ones that did not get soaked were quite crispy on the outside with a nice starchy centre, and were well seasoned. There was a very generous amount of meat present. The sausage had a nice bit of heat, the bacon was smoky while the smoked beef was incredibly tender and flavourful. The cheese curds appear to be “authentic” in that they did not melt, and had a nice chewy, bouncy texture. I found the gravy to be a tad starchy in texture, but quite flavourful with a nice bit of pepperiness. I did find the dish to be just a tad on the saltier side; it’s probably best enjoyed with some beer (or water, since I’m not a drinker).

My visit to Belgian Fries have certainly satisfied my craving for poutine and then some. Their portions are also quite generous; I actulaly ended up taking a quarter of my poutine home for later (hey, the fries are already soggy anyways from being soaked in all the gravy/meat). All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the food here, and I highly recommend checking it out if you enjoy poutines.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Poutine

Belgian Fries Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The American Cheesesteak Co

I’m generally not the biggest fan of sandwiches – I find them to be kind of boring – but there are exceptions. I do enjoy a good donair or burrito (although I guess those are more “wraps” than actual sandwiches. And a good sandwich overstuffed with loads of meat and cheese is certainly hard to resist. I encountered the latter at American Cheesesteak Co, a fastfood joint specializing in variations of Philly cheesesteaks. I decided to get myself a Koagie and a Big Shot.

Kaogie AKA Korean Hoagie ($13):


4/5
This contained prime rib, american cheese, kimchi, sauteed onions, peppers, and spicy miso mayo. The sandwich, although not particularly large, was filled with a very generous amount of filling. Even though I’m not the biggest fan of beef, the meat here was very tender and juicy, and had a wonderful richness when mixed with the american cheese. The kimchi and spicy miso mayo blended very well together, and provided a tremendous amount of flavour. The bread itself was soft, slightly chewy and lightly toasted. This is quite a wet sandwich, and the juices and sauces tended to soak through the bread – I ended up using quite a few napkins to get through this.

Big Shot ($13):


3.5/5
This sandwich contained prime rib with wild mushrooms, provolone, truffle aioli and crispy onions. Once again there was a tremendous amount of filling. I absolutely loved the mushrooms and truffle oil, which provided a great fragrance. The crispy onions also had a great flavour as well as texture. With the absence of sauce, I did find the beef to be a bit bland, although it was still very tender and juicy. This sandwich was considerably drier compared to the Kaogie and much less messy to eat.

I thoroughly enjoyed the sandwiches at American Cheesesteak Co. Although the food did take a while (probably 20 minutes) to prepare, they were worth the wait in my opinion: the sandwiches were very tasty. I do think that their prices are somewhat high – however, I do prefer their food over places like Meat & Bread.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 2.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Koagie
The American Cheesesteak Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ho Ho Yummy

I’ve always unabashedly loved Chinese fast food. Yeah, I know that it might not be my mom’s cooking, but isn’t that the point? Why would I want to go out to eat food that I can get at home for free? I was having a hankering for some sticky sweet Chinese food recently, and decided to give Ho Ho Yummy a try. They are a small shop on Davie serving up pre-made Chinese fastfood. I decided to go with their 2 Item Combo, with Noodles, Sweet & Sour Pork, and Sesame Chicken.

2 Item Combo ($7.35):

dav
2-Item Combo (Noodles, Sweet & Sour Pork, Sesame Chicken)


2.5/5
The combo come with your choice of rice or noddles and two toppings. I went with their noodles, Sesame Chicken, and Sweet & Sour Pork. The noodles were surprisingly good and was flavourful, with a slight chewy texture. I quite enjoyed the sauce for the sweet & sour pork, which was thick, sweet and tangy (just the way that I enjoyed it), but I found the meat to be tough with too much batter. The sesame chicken on the other hand was considerably meatier, but I did not like the flavour nearly as much, which was quite salty without much sweetness or heat, and more importantly, not a single sesame seed.

I was a little underwhelmed by the food at Ho Ho Yummy. Yeah, I know that I shouldn’t expect anything gourmet, but I’ve had better food at other similar places. The prices are decent though, and the lady at the front counter was quite friendly. All in all, while the place wasn’t bad, it isn’t really one that I’d recommend either.

Summary:
Food: 2.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3/5
Recommendations: N/A
Ho Ho's Yummy Food Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato