Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Benjarong Thai: Mini portions, all too sweet

Been craving pad thai for a while now, so why not use my Groupon deal?

Benjarong Thai Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoRestaurant: Benjarong Thai Cuisine (visit their website here)
Location: 2120 West Broadway, Vancouver
Cuisine: Thai
Price range: $25+ per person

Date of visit: September 9, 2015
Atmosphere: 3/5
Staff/service: 3/5
Food variety: 5/5
Food quality: 2/5
Buck worthy? 2/5

The Groupon was $25 for a Three-Course Thai Dinner for Two (one shared appetizer, two entrees, and one shared dessert). Felt like a pretty good deal, and we also ordered a bit more on the side. Our first appie was Crispy Calamari ($6.00). There were four pieces on the plate, the batter was soggy and oily-- and the mayo sauce made it more sickeningly unappetizing. Honestly expected a crispier experience with more pieces.

Our other appie was the New Zealand Mussel with Thai Herb ($6.50). This was less disappointing, but again, tiny portion with 6 mussels in the pot. The broth the mussels were cooked in was overwhelmingly herby to the point the mussels didn't taste like mussels. Neither were the mussels fresh... they were just frozen mussels. The house special spicy seafood dipping sauce was good though, with a hint of mint in it!

Onto the mains, I ordered a Pad Thai with Chicken ($12.00) to curb my cravings. I think they have an abundance of sugar in the kitchen, as this was super sweet. I felt like I was having dessert for a main. Aside from that, the noodles were nice and chewy and the beansprouts added a refreshing texture to the dish. Might I also mention is was very oily?

Our second main was a Choo Chee Prawn and Scallop Curry ($15.00). This had 4 large prawns, 4 scallops, and some veggies. It came with a bowl of rice and again, the curry itself was too sweet. The scallops were cooked well and the shrimp were fresh. Didn't quite care for this curry but it was one of the better things of the meal.

I ordered a Guava Juice ($2.50) to go with my meal and this was definitely from a can and well, nothing special. Adorables had an equally underwhelming Thai Iced Coffee ($3.00).

The Mango Sticky Rice 1P ($5.95) was by far the highest ranked item on the list of things I'd like to send back to the kitchen. Aside it from being tiny, the rice was hard. Yes, it had undercooked bits mixed with overcooked bits. They got the flavor down, but how can you mess up opening up a can of coconut milk to pour over dessert? The mango was sweet and perfectly ripe though, quite the MVP of this meal.

I don't know if portion sizes are different if we're using a Groupon, but if they weren't... Their prices aren't a good reflection of the quality and quantity delivered. Service was mediocre, they were friendly but it did take some effort to flag anyone down for anything. And as much as I love sweets, I won't be back.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Le Pizzo Bella: A large for $10? YES PLEASE

Super hungry from work and craving pasta, I found this place that was open late and kind of on the way home to meet Adorables!

Le Pizzo Bella Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - ZomatoRestaurant: Le Pizzo Bella Cafe (visit their website here)
Location: 465 East Columbia Street, New Westminster
Cuisine: Italian, Pizza, Pasta
Price range: $10-$15 per pizza

Date of visit: September 1, 2015
Atmosphere: 3/5
Staff/service: 4.5/5
Food variety: 3/5
Food quality: 4/5
Buck worthy? 5/5

I actually wanted to get their seafood pizza, but unfortunately it's no longer on the menu (the guy working told me it's not good anyways). So I got the special for that day, which was a large pizza for $9.95 with 3 toppings! Sounds legit.

I got salmon, chicken, and bacon. This was topped with cheese on a bed of their house sauce. I liked the thickness of the crust, very chewy and the cheese melty. I found the salmon a bit dry though (Adorables thought it was chicken breast). The amount of toppings was generous and I quite enjoyed the pizza.

Since well, I came here with a pasta craving too, I ordered a lasagna ($8.95). This was a bit disappointing because the tomato sauce was rather runny and the pasta too soft. I felt the ingredients were fresh and "real" though (like.. not canned tomatoes in there). Kinda satisfied my pasta craving I suppose.

Adorables got another pizza to go, with Italian sausage, capicollo, and bacon. It was a lot more flavorful than what I chose.. and pretty darned good xD Overall, it was a good experience since the person taking orders was super patient and easy-going, plus for the price, it's a great deal! (I could get two and a half of these pizzas with the price I usually pay for at Panago xD)

Friday, 31 July 2015

Hearthstone Pizza: Wonderful service, pizza needs work.

Having been invited to try their pizzas since opening, I finally got around to dropping by for a visit!

Click to add a blog post for Hearthstone Pizza on ZomatoRestaurant: Hearthstone Pizza (visit their website here)
Location: 2755 Lougheed Highway, Port Coquitlam
Cuisine: Pizza
Price range: $10-$15 per pizza

Date of visit: July 31, 2015
Atmosphere: 4/5
Staff/service: 5/5
Food variety: 4/5
Food quality: 2/5
Buck worthy? 2/5

I came here excitedly with Elephant for our dinner run, this was located really close to Michaels in the Poco Mall. Inside, it was quite busy for 8pm and we actually had to wait in line.

They had a large selection of toppings to go with your pizza and you get to choose sizes. We got a regular 11" pizza ($8.95, small is 9" for $6.95). I forgot exactly which toppings I got, but definitely not all of them! I got white sauce, mozzarella cheese, chicken, bacon, Italian sausage, pepperoni (on half), anchovies (on half), olives, artichoke, tomatoes, mushrooms and zucchini. Overall the pizza was too burnt on the sides, and the ingredients too salty-- especially the Italian sausage, sauce, along with the anchovies. I liked the presentation of the pizza and service was wonderful at the store-- though my combination of ingredients and baking of the pizza was underwhelming.

Their stone oven was visible and I liked the clean, simple layout they had, but ingredients need a bit of work. Looking forward to improvements, considering they're only one month old (happy one month!!).