Max's Restaurant

We tend to think of Jollibee as the iconic Filipino restaurant. Yes, probably it holds the crown as the most popular and all you need to do is check out the line up at the nearest location in Tukwila, any given Sunday morning. The good news is that Max's holds its own with over 200 locations in the Philippines and the nearest being on Kingsway near Boundary in Burnaby!
While Jollibee is more or less a fast food restaurant, Max's tends to be more family style and featuring many Filipino favourites. Mharie wanted to take the kids out for lunch so we found ourselves at noon on Sunday at Max's.
As usual, we ordered way more than we could eat, starting with Lumpiang Sariwa. These are fresh spring rolls with a thin crepe wrapper and a sweetish garlic sauce. Very nice!
One of the things that Max's has been known for since 1945 is their fried chicken. It is not battered but marinated in spices and deep fried with very crispy skin and nicely juicy meat. They have stuck to their recipe for 70 years as if it ain't broke, don't fix it. 
You are bound to notice a pattern emerging as the next dish is a marinated, crispy skinned, deep fried pork hock known as Crispy Pata. Served with a soy dipping sauce, it's hard not to love this.
Continuing on the theme of crispy skinned, deep fried meats is my personal favourite, Bicol Express. Pork belly this time and served with a spicy coconut and shrimp paste sauce. Not too spicy and not overwhelmed by the shrimp paste, I would eat this daily if didn't think my doctor would find out!
Sisig, of course, arrived on a sizzling platter filling the immediate area with the wonderful aroma of garlic. Pork jowls are broiled after being marinated in soy and calamansi. It should be present at every Filipino feast!
Mharie is fond of Max's Pancit Canton and I didn't feel bad about seeing a few vegetables on the table! Nicely just cooked both the noodles and vegetables had a bit of al dente to them.
Rounding out the meal was Kare Kare another of my Filipino favourite dishes but I found this dish to be disappointing! Could have been peanutier for sure and this dish was short on the beef shank. Looked a bit more like soup than a stew so I would give this a miss on the next go around. There was rice too but you know what that looks like. 
Despite all the leftovers, some of us had room to at least share dessert.
Halo-Halo is a sort of shave ice and ube ice cream dish with condensed milk and all sorts of surprises.
Max's is busy and noisy. Service is not brilliant. We sat with finished dishes for a long time and some dishes arrived quickly while desserts took a long time. We were not expecting Joe Fortes service though and they were friendly enough. 
This is accessible Filipino food. If you're not familiar, it's a pretty good introduction to the cuisine.
For what it's worth, we give Max's 3 1/2 out of 5.

Max's Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Did's Pizza

In my continuing exploration of Scout Magazine's, "Never heard of it" list, I found myself at Did's Pizza. I would not normally seek out a pizza by the slice place but it can be sort of a guilty pleasure, can't it? There is an interesting and extensive back story which you can read on Scout, making the purveyor almost more of an attraction than the purveyed. I felt like I was meeting a bit of a rock star!
The 3 slices and a soft drink for $9.99 is a good place to start. Did is a man of opinions, as many of us get to be as the years go by. Scout magazine suggested that he can be gruff but I found him to be most friendly, eager to share his opinions and proud of his craft.  
The slices themselves are large but not overly loaded with toppings. I asked for his apparently best-known pesto pizza which he created for me, adding his house-made pesto to an existing slice and giving all 3 of my choices a blast in the oven. The real impressive thing here is the pizza crust (other than the house-made pesto). Crispy and thin yet retaining some chew. The crust was worth the price of admission. Did explained the flour in the crust as Monsanto free. I assume that might mean organic but I couldn't say for sure.
Whatever the case, it is an impressive foundation for a decent slice. Pesto, Pepperoni and Mushroom (with a healthy dose of garlic) and a grapefruit flavoured sparkling water made for a pretty good deal for $10!
Did's also serves pasta (which I'm sure I would try) and ice cream (some folks came in, got cones and took selfies while I was there).
Open until 3 am on Friday and Saturday nights, Did's continues to be an after night club place as it was so many years ago. It's not a bad place for a quick lunch or snack at any time.
For what it's worth, we give Did's 3 out of 5.

Did's Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shameless Buns Food Truck

Back in February of this year, Shameless Buns showed up as an idea on Instagram. As fully 50% of "Yes! We're Eating  Again" is Filipina, I was excited to see what they would come up with as their intention was to serve "unapologetically Filipino" eats. It took us a while but on Monday, we finally made it our to meet Corvette and Matt and to sample their food.
The Filipino touches start with the food truck itself which is based on a "jeepney", a convenient form of transportation in the Philippines. The Shameless Buns truck is not quite as outrageous as some of the vehicles you might see in  Manila but it might be as close as is legal here! Monday was wet and rainy as Victoria Day so often is but we were welcomed to sit down inside Yellow Dog Brewing Company to enjoy our food. 
We started with Adobo Fries which was an all-round crowd pleaser! Decent crispy fries were the vehicle for a generous amount of adobo braised chicken. As the national dish of the Philippines, adobo is meat that is marinated in vinegar, soy, garlic and black pepper and then slow roasted. S.B. serves all this with their adobo gravy and a garlic calamansi aioli for more distinctly Filipino tangy flavour. Seriously delicious!
The main event was one of their feature Shameless Buns. At Corvette's urging (she helped us with a strategy to try as much as we could in one meal!), we had The Little Sausage! This longaniza sausage,  another Filipino favourite is served on the slightly sweet iconic pandesal bread. Sweet and spicy, its hard not to love longaniza by itself but add in a fried egg, siracha mayo, pickled papaya and garlic chips and you have something comforting and delicious. 
In order to get a taste of the other sandwiches, we ordered the 3Some (Yes.I said 3some). Basically wee sliders that give you a taste. These featured spam (more on that later), more chicken adobo and Jackfruit Coconut Adobo. Just a taste of the latter told me that I could live the rest of my life on it. Almost vegan (I am guessing that the aioli has egg) jackfruit is an ingredient that becomes another  vehicle for the Filipino flavours.
I still wanted to try at least one more thing so when the weather improved a bit I sought out Shameless Buns at the end of the VCC Clarke skytrain line.
My goal was to try their Spam Fries. This was a lovely salty, pleasantly fatty greasy, slightly crispy treat. Spam in Filipino cuisine is the result of American forces being based on the islands for many years (not unlike Hawaiian cuisine). Deep fried (OMG! Is there anything that is not better when deep fried?), served with house-made banana ketchup ( A Filipino condiment developed to offset wartime shortage of tomatoes. The bottled stuff is colored red to imitate tomato ketchup) and garlic aioli. Try this! Oh my God!
If you are Filipino, don't come expecting the food that your mother made but open your mind to flavours that will remind you of home. If you are not Filipino, this is a good introduction to the flavours of one of the 3 most populous immigrant groups in Metro Vancouver (We will worry about introducing you to balut later).
For what it's worth (and obviously, we're a little biased here), we give Shamelss Buns 4 1/2 out of 5.
Look for them on the Street Food ap.

Shameless Buns Food Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chong Qing Xiao Mian is a food, culture and travel website that maintains a list called, "Never Heard Of It". It is a list of not so well known but very good restaurants (if they were crap, there would be no point to the list, would there?) in Metro Vancouver. By the time I had discovered the list, I found that we had already eaten at a few of the places including Taste of Africa and Epic Grill Silogs and had others on our radar. What more noble goal than to work our way through the whole group? That's what brought us to Chong Qing Xiao Mian. Chong Quing is another region in China, adjacent to Sichuan and with similarly bold and spicy flavours.
We would never have found it had Scout Magazine not provided the explanation that the shingle of the previous restaurant was still hanging above the door. Let's just say, across from Metro Town, north of the sex shop! We arrived as we often do, at the weird hour of 3 pm at the restaurant labelled Qin Ma Grill, and so had the place to ourselves.
We started off with their chicken wings because every meal should have something deep fried. These were very lightly battered, very crispy and not over spiced. It put me in mind of the White Spot fried chicken of my youth and I mean that in a good way! We would order this again.
We had their Pork Ribs with Rice. Marie really enjoyed the bok choy, which seemed to have picked up the flavour of the spice mixture used on the pork and rice and was perfectly cooked al dente. The ribs themselves were tender and tasty.
The Meat Sauce Noodle was our final dish and was very tasty. We asked for medium spice and this was just enough to impart some warmth while components were all memorable. The broth was rich and bold; complex in flavour. The meat sauce and the noodles were the perfect partners. This was outstanding. 
Several add ons are available including a pork foot for only $2.99 (with the soup). This was a fatty, tendony,  delightful addition that is not to be missed. We finished and left behind quite a considerable pile of bones that I would gladly tackle again. The restaurant is smallish. I have read that the lunchtime line up can be long but folks move through fairly quickly. I guess we can't really say, never heard of it as at least some people have.
For what our opinion is worth, we give Chong Qing Xiao Mian (or Qin Ma Grill if you prefer) 4 1/2 out of 5.
Qin Ma Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Donair Zone - Aldergrove

Welcome to my neighbourhood, Donair Zone! Acceptable quick lunch options, within reach of our office, have just grown by one! I saw the Donair Zone sign some time ago and rolled up to their front door to find them not yet open but yesterday was the day!
Falafel is a healthy, tasty and filling (not too mention affordable) way to get a quick lunch or snack. I am a big fan. Donair Zone obviously is about more than falafel. On my first visit, I tried their regular sized Lamb Donair Plate. At $12.75, this is a decent deal.
On a bed of nicely cooked rice and with a pita, the lamb plate has a bit of several things including a nice salad with beets and feta, as well as the requisite hummus. The lamb itself was moist and tasty and in a generous quantity. I got a falafel to go for later. 
I have proved many a time, that a falafel pita is a challenge to photograph. Sometimes I try taking it apart but then it looks like something exploded. I think I did OK this time.
They make their falafel in house so don't be imagining the frozen things that you can buy at the grocery store (or worse, the dry mix). The vegetable options are several including lightly pickled beets. Tzatziki and hot sauce are among the sauces that can round it out. Very Nice
Poutine is something that I rarely order. Fries, gravy and cheese curds make for a highly overrated almost national dish (since when?) but add some Lebanese ingredients and you have something. I tried their Chicken Donair Poutine with toum for a melty garlic fest! If you have not had toum just Google it. Basically it is mayonnaise made with garlic instead of eggs and is guaranteed to keep colds and vampires at bay. This was amazing!
Among the other things made completely in house are their spit roasted meats, marinated, assembled and roasted here.
This is not their first kick at the can. Donair Zone is related to the Mission branch and previously the Abbotsford store. They know what they are doing and I for one am glad that they have chosen humble Aldergrove for their next stop.
For what it's worth, we give Donair Zone 4 out of 5.


Donair Zone  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

River Rock Buffet

I am not a buffet kind of guy and I guess that I never really was. I don't like eating with the feeling that I have to eat enough to make it worthwhile (of course you don't have to do that). When we were in Vegas a couple of years ago, we decided that we needed to go to a buffet at least once, to complete the experience. Then about a year ago, Marie's kids took us to an Asian buffet in Tukwila, Seattle. Other than that, I think my childhood experience with my parents at the Royal Fork (OMG) in Bellingham was the last time I indulged in AYCE. But the kids wanted to take their mothers out in advance of Mother's Day and so we opted for the River Rock (full disclosure: this was the Sunday before Mother's Day) and to be fair, my impression was that it is a step or two up from the Royal Fork.

We arrived at an odd time (3:00) and witnessed the changing of the guard. The Sunday morning brunch was giving way to the afternoon/evening spread. You would think it was the best of both worlds as there were waffles and bacon while we awaited sushi that never actually arrived. Still...
There was some decent seafood including shrimp (my personal favourite of what was available) and clams and mussels (Marie's favourite).
Not to mention a tasty Seafood Salad with imitation crab and a white fish ceviche which was also good.
There was an acceptable salad bar ( no blue cheese dressing but actual blue cheese crumbles). Also, there was a hot food table with dim sum, congee and breakfast items. There was a carving table with what appeared to be good roast beef and ham. Finally, there were deserts a plenty!
We kind of browsed and hunted and pecked. I thought this plate looked artfully arranged.
Unless you are 10 years old, don't bother with the corn dog!
The large room is comfortable enough with a nice view. We did not have to wait but I have heard stories of long waits if you arrive at peak times. My overall impression was kind of meh but as I confessed at the outset, buffets are not really my thing. The price all day Sunday is $35 for adults and I am both chagrined and thrilled to say that I qualified for a $5 discount as senior's rates start at 55. 
For what it's worth, we give the River Rock Buffet, 3 out of 5.
River Rock Buffet - River Rock Casino Resort Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


While watching the Japanese Netflicks series "Midnight Diner; Tokyo Stories", I learned that there was a wonderful thing called Omelette Rice. We haven't come across it often locally ( it might be that I am just not trying hard to enough to find it). We had it and enjoyed it at Dae Ji Cutlet house but we are certainly not qualified as experts.
Don't blink or you'll miss Marulilu Cafe on Broadway near Cambie. We had browsed their web site and saw that they make several versions of omu-rice and some other things that set us to drooling.
We started with a Rice Burger. This one is a bit teeny but the plate is only $7.99 with a bright tasty salad with sesame dressing and miso soup. The burger is sukiyaki, with greens and a well seasoned and toasted rice bun. Two burgers are only $12.99 so don't cheap out like I did.
Mabo Tofu Don seemed like an interesting bit of fusion. It was mildly spicy ground beef with tofu over rice. The spice was not the Szechuan peppercorn type that I expected. To be honest, I get more spicy spaghetti sauce than mabo tofu. I am not complaining. It was very enjoyable.
Finally, there was the Garlic Omurice with Mushroom Tomato Sauce. The omelette was delicate and perfectly cooked but the rice was definitely not garlic rice. The tomato sauce, rice and egg made a tasty combination but I'm fairly certain that the sauce is basically tomato soup. Once again sort of humble style home cooking is what I am feeling. 
In addition to the Japanese choices, they do all day breakfast, coffees and desserts. The folks here are very friendly. There is seating here for a couple of dozen or so but I'm under the impression that they are mostly occupied. Be prepared to wait a few minutes. We feel like it was worth the wait even though not everything was what we expected. 
For what it's worth, we give Marulilu , 3 1/2 out of 5.
Marulilu Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

strEATS - Langley

This is both our 200th post and the first time that we have been invited for free food! I assumed it was a mistake as our invitation to try out the offerings at strEATS was addressed to "influencer"! Rather than point out the error, I showed up on this lovely Wednesday evening, met the principles and tried a couple of things. StrEATS is located in the new village that has sprung up in the area around 208th and 80th in Langley. We are calling the area Willoughby.
Of course, if any of you actually read this blog, you would know that I have visited and been impressed with their Aldergrove location. You would already have read about how this is a company with a conscience. StrEATS is a company that gives back to their community in a significant manner (at least in Calgary so far, where they got their start). Their priorities include sustainable food sources and they are a small step from being completely garbage free (recyclable and compostable).
And the food is pretty good too!
Listed under poutine (but not really poutine) was the feature, I Am Root! Fries but including parsnip, carrot and beet. Tasty and impressive with the Thai sauce (one of the sauce choices). Not something that I expected to see on the menu but a creative and healthy alternative to the usual potatoes.
Having tried their decent tacos and fish and chips in Aldergrove, I opted for their version of poke, the Ahi Tuna Rice Bowl. Not bad. Not overly generous with the tuna but it was of good quality. The rice was nicely cooked and the rest of the ingredients were fresh and tasty.
The system is order at the counter and your food gets delivered to you. There is seating for a couple dozen including booths and some window seats. I am a strEATS fan because they provide something different and have a conscience. This is not particularly cheap eats (my complimentary meal including a soft drink came to almost $25) but it is so much better than the fast food that we have grown accustomed too.
For what it's worth, we give strEATS 3 1/2 out of 5 and remember, we're influencers now!
strEATS 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...