Kababji Grill - South Surrey

I actually hesitated to try Kababji Grill because there were a few poor reviews on Zomato but I always say (OK so I haven't said it for a while) that you should review your reviewer. I realized that all the negative reviews came from people who had not written any other reviews or who wrote mainly negative stuff. I don't know these people and they are probably fine humans but if they only take to the internet to complain (Really? Do people do that?), I certainly can't trust that they are unbiased or even reasonable. So I decided to give the place a try because the menu is interesting with a few items I am not familiar with and I happen to love Lebanese food.
Located in The Shops at Morgan Crossing, try not to get frustrated by the stupid parking lot. Kababji is a one or 2 person show. The gentleman who takes your order will cook your food and deliver it to your table. Truly a multi talented fellow but not exactly warm and welcoming. I kind of expected that from other reviews but he warmed up considerably when I showed some appreciation for his craft and joked about the garlic breath I would be taking with me. Be friendly with people and they will reciprocate. In the meantime, there is nothing wrong with being serious in this world.
And oh my! First was some fine Baba Ghanouj. Smokey and rich and bathed in lovely olive oil, this was almost a meal unto itself. The accompanying pita was less than spectacular but I hardly noticed.
Next came Arayes, ground beef stuffed grilled pita. The beef was aromatic with middle eastern spices. It made me think cinnamon but I believe there is a little more to it than that. Topped with a garlic sauce that is insane! This is a dish you must try!
I am a Falafel Pita fan even though they are not exceptionally photogenic. Even the interior is not pretty but it was such a satisfying and tasty wrap!
Unlike burritos which tend to be filled with rice and beans and very little viand, this boasted tasty, cuminy falafel as the main ingredient along with vegetables and messy tasty sauce. Very nice! On another occasion, we got a Mixed Grill Platter to go. At $19.99 this was enough for two. 
It consisted of 3 skewers, one each of lamb, chicken and kufta (ground beef). They were each nicely charred around the edges. The kufta had that delicious middle eastern spicing again and made me smile. The chicken and lamb were both moist and tender. They were perfect even after a thirty minute drive home. They came on a bed of lovely basmati rice obviously cooked in stock and spices. The platter also came with sides.
A salad which was by no means a cynical throw in piece or two of lettuce, as well as very good hummus and amazing garlic sauce. The garlic sauce deserves some note here. Although Lebanese garlic sauce (Toum) looks like and is made the same way as mayonnaise, the emulsifier is a ton of raw garlic instead of egg! I had no idea that this was even possible! Google it! It is often cut with mayonnaise to tone it down but regardless, this is a delicious sauce guaranteed to keep vampires and probably the flu at bay! I am officially a big fan of Kababji Grill!
Kababji Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Carvery - South Surrey / Sub Par Significant Other

This is both a review of a pretty decent little sandwich shop and a confession as to what a bad life partner I am. Last weekend, Marie was having some pretty serious pain and we took her to ER in Langley both on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning before we finally found out that she has a kidney stone. So they sent us home with pain medication and the plan was; manage the pain and the stone will pass. By no means a pleasant situation for her but not life threatening. Unfortunately things went south pretty fast from there. Her sister took one look at her a couple of days later and said, "We are taking you back to emergency!" We got there (to Peace Arch this time) to find that the kidney stone had gotten stuck, she was dangerously dehydrated and had infection (where was I during this, you may well ask?). They swooped into amazing action in the emergency room and continued it in the ICU and she is now a few days later, on the mend but not a happy camper in her new role as pincushion for many monitors and medication delivery devices and blood tests and...she wants to go home in the worst way but that is still a few days away, I am afraid.
The lesson here is, if you need to be taken care of, I am clearly not your man. I consider myself a pretty decent electrician, a mediocre to fair food blogger but clearly I am not to be entrusted with human life. Thank goodness for Marie's sister and the folks at Peace Arch Hospital. So having selfishly gotten that off my chest, I am spending as much time with Marie at the hospital as I can...but a guys still gotta eat, right? You know, there is a little sandwich place called, The Carvery near here....dare I? In my defence, my partner is getting better, she has a constant stream of visitors and she is not really a fan of sandwiches anyway....so a bit sheepishly, I sneak out for a sandwich...well, maybe a couple of times!
Found just off King George Hwy in not the most exotic of locations adjacent to Avis Rent a Car, The Carvery is an 11 to 4 kind of place, serving pretty good lunches to folks who know where to find them! On the weekends, they do porchetta and brisket, so I chose the Porchetta Sandwich with a bowl of  Cream of Broccoli and Cheddar.
The bread was very good (filone) being nicely chewy. The pork itself was not bad but when I think porchetta, my mind travels to Meat And Bread in Vancouver and this one did not quite measure up to that standard nor did it have the wonderful cracklings. In fairness, The Carvery is not going the same  route and the sandwich has very  
 nice greens, tasty chimichuri and paprika aioli. The soup was wonderful and rich.
On another visit, I ordered off their regular menu which has a lot of tempting combinations and classics to offer.
A Cubano! I am not an expert but this was a revelation! Roasted mojo (garlic, cumin, oregano and citrus) pork shoulder and smoked ham, with Swiss, pickles and mustard on Cuban loaf, brought me close to tears! Put this on your bucket list!
Finally, I got a Lambwich Panini to go. This was also a great pleasure with roasted pulled lamb shoulder, chimichuri, sunny fetta spread (not quite sure but feta?)  and greens on ciabatta. Nice! Check out their menu but remember that they have daily specials. Taco Tuesday? And there was a Ham, Macaroni and Cheese Sandwich special when I dropped in.
Definitely worth the effort to find! And Marie is better as each day passes. I will keep you in the loop.

The Carvery Sandwich Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ramen Butcher

I complain when the weather is too hot but I'm not keen on getting rained on constantly either. Some people are never happy. The one good thing about rain is that it signals the commencement of ramen season. OK, so you can eat ramen anytime but it is wonderful on a rainy, dreary day.
As I was working my way through that weak logic, we suddenly found ourselves in front of Ramen Butcher in Chinatown!
The message (ramen) was clear. Soup and noodles were called for.
Oh my goodness but the basic product was wonderful (actually, this was Orange Miso Ramen) and we felt warm and fuzzy from the very start. The broth was rich and velvety. The chashu has some substance and we really enjoyed the miso marinated ground pork!
We also ordered Classic Tsukemen where you dip the noodles into the sauce. It is not 100% soup like but really pretty close. again the broth or dipping sauce if you prefer, was something special. The smokiness of Bonito Flakes was really notable. We ordered both meals as combos with Karage Chicken Don with one ramen and
a Curry Don with the other.
Both of these side dishes landed well. The chicken was crispy and the curry was just slightly sweet and not too spicy as you expect from a Japanese curry. There are all sorts of options and extras that you can order including extra helpings of excellent noodles if you can make the broth last. Prices are in line with most ramen places so you can leave satisfied with out lightening your wallet too much.
We found the staff to be quite friendly and the surroundings are comfortable. Give them a try!
The Ramen Butcher Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Crackle Creme

We are always too full for desert but so may places are showing up that specialize in the final course (or bubble tea and the final course) that we thought that we should start there for a change.
Creme brulee is such a classic and wonderful desert (written recipes date prior to 1700) that there should be more places that specialize in it. A wonderful torched and crackly sugar topping, over a delicious custard base, it is not so filling as a giant piece of cake or pie but completes a meal grandly!
We had the Pandan Coconut version with a lovely green custard reminiscent of my partner's Filipino deserts. It was not overly sweet but was smooth and rich.
Desert waffles and toppings formed the next category at Crackle Creme. I ordered it with a condensed milk drizzle also a Filipino favourite ingredient. I found the waffle a little too chewy.
They do macaroons here also (impossibly cute ones) but we did not try them on this visit.
We rounded our desert out with a Latte with was very good. I feel like there might have been a time in the distant past when we did not expects a latte to come with a clever design in the foam. What barbarians we were!
This is a comfy little place at the south edge of Chinatown. Desert is not expensive here, as I was expecting it to be. Why not start with desert and see what you can discover?
Crackle Crème Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Peaked Pies

Admittedly, if you asked me what Australian cuisine consisted of, I might not get much past Vegemite (and shrimp on the barbie of course, but I am loath to make a joke where so many have gone). In my defence, I am sure that if you asked the residents of Perth about Canadian food, you might hear the answers maple syrup and poutine quite a lot. Both countries have more to offer than that as you are aware and, while we are admittedly not France or Thailand as to food, we like our chow. Evidently in Australia they are fond of their meat pies and sometimes enjoy them peaked. We did too!
Peaked means the addition of mashed potatoes, mushy peas and gravy to the top of any of their meat pies.
So we tried the Traditional Aussie, namely ground beef, onions and gravy in a pot pie type crust and it was quite good. Meaty and rich, with a crust that was flaky and did its job admirably. I don't think you could ask for it to be more tender or flaky and still hold this thing together. The peak itself, was somewhat meh. Both the potatoes and peas needed salt and could have been warmer although the gravy made up for that being again, rich and meaty.
One of the fillings available is Kangaroo. We tried this, but got it to go. In transit it became more of a meat pancake but I did salvage enough to give you a view. Looks like ground beef and kind of tastes like ground beef but maybe a little gamier and stronger. I thought it was very good and I guess you could not get any more Australian. There are many interesting savoury filling choices here and some sweet as well. Not bad!
Peaked Pies also serves Australian style coffees and deserts including Flat Whites (we tasted and enjoyed this at The Drive Coffee Bar a couple of weeks ago). Today, we had a latte which was pretty much what you would expect and not uniquely Australian. Quick and convenient you order at the counter and pick it up there also. Nice folks and a pleasant atmosphere in which to enjoy a taste of Australia!

Peaked Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bamboo - South Surrey

The restaurant gods were angry that evening my friends, like like Donald Trump when...well always. We found ourselves in South Surrey and rolled up to no less than 3 restaurants which were closed on Saturday evening! Finally, we spotted Bamboo but to me the name represents the Fraser Valley watered down Cantonese from my childhood. Well it can't hurt to look at a menu.
When we saw that things went a little beyond Chicken Chow Mein and Barbecue Pork Fried Rice, we decided to give it a try and honestly, we did not regret it. A lovely young lady (someone's daughter in training to run this place someday) delivered watermelon before we even ha a chance to order!

Marie spied the Hot and Sour Soup as soon as she looked at the menu and this was a solid score (I had relented as I was eyeing some kind of a Duck Soup special). It was rich and strong flavoured with a generous amount of  pork, mushroom and bamboo.
Cumin Lamb always tops my list when it is available. This version could have been spicier and stronger and it was a tad expensive at $17.95.
I know General Tso's Chicken (in this case General Tao's Chicken) is a North American Chinese dish but I kind of like it and don't see it on menu's that often.
This version was not bad. I'm not sure why I expected it to be spicier. It was mostly sweet but hot out of the deep fryer and we liked it.
Finally, since I always order too much was house fried rice. It was full of good stuff such as big tasty shrimp but it didn't seem like it spent much time in the wok and was a bit on the dry side. All in all, it was an OK experience considering that this is not Richmond or Chinatown. The food was tasty enough and portions were generous.We were not uncomfortable although it is not a fancy room and the stools left a little to be desired. Service was friendly and attentive.

Bamboo Chinese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IT Burger - New Westminster

This place truly fits under the heading, 'hidden gem' so much so that I am tempted to steer you wrong on its location. That would be selfish and just wrong however, plus its really not that hidden in the literal sense.
Located in the inside corridor area of Royal Square at 8th and McBride, this is a food court eatery. BTW, why are so many places in New West called Royal? It hasn't been the capital since 1866. Can't we move on? As malls go, this one provides a very nice 'dining room' for IT Burger! 
Complete with a beautiful 2 story wood carving and skylights, and seemingly, minimal traffic, we ate in a mall and didn't hate the surroundings! 
Now we don't usually seek out 'mall food' but I had read about IT Burger in a couple of trusted local food blogs (and this is why you should read food blogs) and knew that the burger was worth coming for! Two beefy nicely charred patties, with bacon and cheese and delightful sweet caramelised onions. These onions must have cooked slowly and forever. They were amazing!
The fries were world class also. Skin on and very crisp, I upgraded to Chilli Fries. This was not a mistake. Marie is not keen on burgers but that's OK as IT serves a variety of other things also. 
She had the Butter Chicken on Rice which was as good as we have had at many Indian restaurants. The chef here has some history having cooked at The Westin Calgary and Buchanan's Chop House and by all accounts, is always present. We had all this food and a couple of Cokes for only $25. Amazing!
IT Char Burger Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

About Us

Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...