Category Archives: Food Review

Food Review: Anda Miro Korean Bistro (Kingsway/Vancouver)

Note: This was originally posted on my food blog, Let’s Eat Out Once A Week.

I had not been to Anda Miro Korean Bistro for months until this particular visit in August. In fact, prior to this visit, I had not even eaten out (ie. in a sit-down restaurant) for weeks.

Anda Miro Korean Bistro (Kingsway and Slocan in Vancouver), as usual, was busy on this particular evening. It’s always busy with large groups (families and friends, etc.), but for me I was solo.

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I ordered the #21 Seol Leong Tang which was slow simmered beef and bone marrow broth with noodles and beef. I also had the small Chicken Wings (7 pieces).

As usual, they brought out some side dishes and a bowl of rice. (I really hate it in Chinese restaurants where you have to pay extra for rice.)

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The chicken wings weren’t THAT great. I mean, I’d had better ones than these. They were decent – not great.

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As for the Seol Leong Tang, meanwhile, the soup was very sweet and delicious. The beef pieces were tender, and I felt that there was enough meat in there. I’m generally not a fan of the noodles but overall the soup was wonderful.

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Anda Miro, I think, is a great neighbourhood restaurant that provides wonderful dishes. I would definitely return again at some point in the future.

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McDonald’s “Build Your Own Burger” (#CreateYourTaste)

Note: This post was first published on Let’s Eat Out Once A Week but also appears on other blogs in my network as I have a couple of other food blogs plus a personal blog.

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I was invited to the McDonald’s Restaurant location at 20037 84th Avenue in Langley this week for a walk-through of the next chapter of McDonald’s Canada, as they were promoting their “Create Your Taste,” “McCafe Bakery,” and table delivery service as part of their innovative, personalized guest experience. It was all part of McDonald’s Canada’s brand transformation as they look to target new and past customers back to McDonald’s.

Now, this Langley location I was at, was a newer location as they had just opened in November of 2014, and they were among the first in Metro Vancouver to have the “Create Your Taste” (Build Your Own Burger) feature for their burgers – something you can only get through their order kiosk. (From what I understand, one Toronto location launched it two weeks earlier, and one in Edmonton followed suit a week later. Two other locations in Vancouver – I think, if I heard correctly – launched the “Create Your Taste” at the same time as this Langley restaurant.)

I’d seen the order kiosks before at the location behind the downtown Vancouver Public Library and also the one on Grandview Highway – but had never used them.

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Here at this Langley location I was invited to play around on it and order through one of the four kiosks they had in the store. And like I said, this was among the first location in Metro Vancouver with “Create Your Taste” – where you get to build your own custom burger! Pretty neat!

I didn’t take a picture or video of the ordering process, but as you’re building your burger, a list (or summary points, if you will) of your toppings/ingredients, etc. appears on the left side of the screen reminding you what you’ve selected so far for your custom burger.

This is best summarized in five steps – 1. Choose your bun; 2. Select the cheese; 3. Select the sauce; 4. Choose the toppings; 5. Add bacon if you wish.

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Among the choices for the bun were the Black & White Sesame Seed Brioche-Style Bun, the Artisan-Style Bakery Roll, or the Lettuce Wrap. I went with the first option. For cheeses, there were five options and I went with Crumbled Blue Cheese. For the sauces, I remember you could get as many as you wish – and again, whatever you’ve chosen appears on the left of the screen to remind you – and they even had Sriracha Sauce, Garlic Aioli, Chipotle Aioli, among others. I was told you can choose those only when you order through the kiosk, so that’s not bad!

For the toppings, I believe I had the caramelized onions, red onion rings, and grilled mushrooms, but of course you can go with other traditional tings like tomato, lettuce, and others.

So, after all that, you pay with your debit/credit card and pick up a wooden number plate, and choose a table and wait! They will bring your food out to you when it’s ready. And that’s it!

As far as I know, what happens in the kitchen next is they will prepare your items fresh once the order has gone through, ie. they prepare your bun and cook your beef patties fresh, etc. and put everything together. I even got a chance to take a look behind the scenes as well:

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On this visit, the guys that served me – I believe their names were Brittaney and Megan – were wonderful as they brought the food over and also came back to check on me to see if there was anything else I needed. It was definitely a different kind of McDonald’s experience as they’re adding this table service to a new niche. (Of course, if customers prefer to order through drive-thru or just the regular counter service or to-go, that’s fine too. They can still do that.) Oh yeah, the burger was served on this wooden cutting board and a plastic fork and knife were included. I was talking to two executives who showed me around, and they were talking about potentially each location hiring between 10-15 new staff to work this innovative table service feature (once the other locations are ready for this). Wow! Talk about job creation across the country! They were also eager to give their staff advanced training on various skills needed for the job.

That’s not all.

McDonald’s also has this McCafe Bakery with new pastry items (I didn’t take notes as to what they have but I would guess it will be on their website).

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Overall, a pleasant visit and definitely 10-out-of-10 service on this night! (If you’ve read other posts on this blog, you’ll know that I don’t give those types of scores easily. I’m not particularly picky but I also pay close attention to service – even if I don’t complain to restaurant staff when there are problems. On this visit, there were no issues whatsoever.) Also, to have a chance to listen to the franchise’s vision and future plans from two of their executives was insightful as well. I felt welcomed as a guest indeed, like they appreciated having me come in and try out their burger.

Oh yeah! Almost forgot… the burger was delicious! Also almost forgot… for the meal you could have fries, poutine, or salad. I got a salad. But if you noticed from the picture above, if you got fries, they served them in this little metal tray. Kind of like other food places that do this too. Another thing is because of the sauces I picked, it could be a messy meal – so I definitely appreciated how I was given enough napkins and also the fork and knife.

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As for other notable things about this particular Langley location, there was a flatscreen visible to me where I was sitting – and this was the day the (annoying) Blue Jays won their playoff series against Texas (boo!) and the post-game was shown on the flatscreen. Also, there were outlets for plugs by my seat so I could have used them to plug in my laptop or phone if I wanted to (I didn’t on this visit). A great, neat location indeed! I certainly applaud – and congratulate – them for being among the first in Metro Vancouver with the “Create Your Taste” and for running it so smoothly!

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Fast Food Review: McDonald’s Western BBQ Burger

(This post originally appeared on my food review blog, “Let’s Eat Out Once A Week.”)

McDonald’s so-called “Great Canadian Taste Adventure” of 2015 continued June 10-June 16 with the “Alberta” Western BBQ Burger.

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I was at the Langley Walnut Grove location on 88th Avenue, and on this evening the wait was extra long – not sure what was going on in the back. Apparently, the staff felt it too and, on their own volition, they gave me a “free fries” voucher for my next visit.

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This burger was actually delicious! The BBQ sauce was very tasty, with crunchy frizzled onions. I liken this burger to Triple O’s Smokehouse Burger from several months ago. This McDonald’s Western BBQ Burger tasted just like it – very yummy indeed! It was actually a very simple burger, but delicious.

At this Langley location, this Alberta burger combo was C$8.29. I would imagine, based on past experience, if I were to go to the McDonald’s in Vancouver, it would be 10 cents more expensive (and 30 cents extra for the same item in Richmond).

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McDonald’s Western BBQ Burger Combo (includes fries and medium drink) – C$8.29 (combo price at Walnut Grove Langley location)

Anyway, I liked this burger, more so than the Ontario burger from the week before. I guess it’s a good thing that McDonald’s will have it for just a week, though. It could be addictive, and I wouldn’t want to stop by Mickey Dee’s on a regular basis to get it. According to the McDonald’s website, this Western BBQ Burger “brings you the taste of the Prairies with sweet and smokey BBQ flavour.” Can’t argue with that, and if I were to make a comparison, then Alberta’s burger flavour is definitely better than Ontario’s, based on what McDonald’s has been serving.

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And oh, they had flatscreens showing Game Four of the Stanley Cup Finals on this night at this particular Langley location. I caught parts of the second period – and saw Tampa Bay’s tying goal (though I missed Chicago’s opening score from just a few minutes earlier) – before taking off. Good burger, hockey game, and a good place to relax for a little bit. Not bad at all!

Fast Food Review: McDonald’s Cottage Country Chicken Burger

(Originally posted on my food review site, “Let’s Eat Out Once A Week.”)

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So, McDonald’s came out with this Ontario Cottage Country Chicken burger which was available only between June 3th and June 9th. According to the signs on their menu, McDonald’s is supposedly providing customers with this “great Canadian taste adventure” where they’ll be introducing flavours inspired by different regions of Canada. They were kicking things off with “Ontario” and then doing “Alberta” the following week and finally “Atlantic” after that.

I got this so-called Ontario burger, the Cottage Country Chicken burger combo. Now, it cost C$7.99 at the Richmond McDonald’s location that I was at… but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 20-30 cents cheaper elsewhere. As I’d found while doing some McDonald’s food runs for some buddies recently, the same item would cost 20 cents extra in Richmond compared to Vancouver. Then, it would be 10 cents less in Langley, compared to Vancouver. For example, I picked up the Maple & Bacon Poutine for a couple of people recently, from different locations, and found that in Vancouver it was C$4.59 but in Richmond it was C$4.79. The “Buy One Get One Free” online app coupon that I used, where I ordered a six-piece nuggets along with a Quarter Pounder burger, also featured different prices: C$4.89 in Langley, C$4.99 in Vancouver, and C$5.19 in Richmond – all for the same, identical items!

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Anyway, with this “Ontario” specialty, I thought the only good thing about it was this Muskoka sauce in the burger. I’m guessing it’s some sort of maple syrup-flavoured barbecue sauce that’s good on chicken. According to the McDonald’s website, this burger featured “crispy seasoned Ontario-raised Chicken and a smokey Muskoka sauce [that] bring the cottage to you.” I’ll admit the sauce was good – I initially thought it was some kind of hot mustard sauce – but the rest of the burger was pretty ordinary.

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I suppose eight bucks wasn’t too bad… but given my recent past experiences, I would say it probably costs you 20 cents cheaper at some locations in Vancouver. Maybe 30 cents less in Langley.

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Update: Yikes… As it turns out, I was wrong about the prices in Vancouver. Apparently, at the main Vancouver location I go to, the display sign for this “Ontario” burger there read eight-something (I understand it said C$8.69?!?!!). Meanwhile, at that Richmond location that I was at – a place that normally had its items 20 cents more expensive – it was C$7.99?! Again, these are the prices of the combo, which included the fries and medium drink. Weird.

2nd update: Apparently, at that Richmond McDonald’s location, the C$7.99 price I paid was just for the first day or so. I found out several days later that their sign was changed to say C$8.89 and my comment about this “new” or “updated” price is that the Cottage Country Chicken burger simply isn’t worth it!! Mediocre and overpriced. It was about a dollar difference – so not a big one – but still… if you’re paying nearly 10 bucks for lunch (including tax, this “updated” price becomes C$9.35), you might as well get something more decent than this.

Fast Food Review: McDonald’s Maple & Bacon Poutine

(This post originally appeared on my food blog, “Let’s Eat Out Once A Week.”)

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I stopped by at McDonald’s wanting to get a salad and hang out for a bit to use their free WiFi,… only to notice their display signs at the till and on their menu board that they were having this “new” Maple & Bacon Poutine.

I’m not sure anymore what’s “new” or what’s recycled at McDonald’s since I don’t keep up with their items, but I did get suckered into wanting to try this poutine. So, scrap the salad idea.

This maple & bacon poutine featured French fries with cheese curds and gravy, along with bacon pieces, maple BBQ sauce, and maple brown sugar. It cost C$4.59 plus tax.

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McDonald’s Maple & Bacon Poutine – C$4.59

The poutine was okay, with plenty of gravy. It was certainly better prepared and better tasting than one of their other ones that I had the previous summer. I think, for me, the thing that stuck out the most was the amount of gravy they put in there. And the price was all right too, less expensive than the specialty poutines that Triple O’s has (their Smokehouse poutine was six bucks plus tax). Oh, I also got a pop too, as McDonald’s was having its summer special with all soft drinks at a buck.

As for the all-important question of whether or not I would have this McDonald’s maple & bacon poutine again… I suppose I would, but the best thing would be to have more salad. That was the original purpose of this trip – until I got suckered in by the in-store advertising. These types of poutines can get addictive so it’s best to not even think about them.

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When: May 2015
What: Maple & Bacon Poutine; pop
Where: McDonald’s
How Much: C$4.59 + C$1.00 (total C$5.87 including tax)