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Posts tagged ‘Chili’s’

Restaurants Revisited

Based on some recent experiences, I thought I’d do something different and review restaurants I’ve already reviewed and gone back to. Sometimes the experience has improved, but more often than not, most of these places have somewhat slipped.

Vendome Cafe
Vendome is still among one of my favourite cafes; however, in recent years, I’ve notice a decline in food quality. What was once flavourful and inspired me to start restaurant and cafe reviews has fallen to the wayside. Their most well-known dish is their duck confit. It used to be the reason I always wanted to spend time in Kensington. The two or three times I’ve gone, the texture of the meat hasn’t been quite right (the only way I can think of describing it is that it’s kind of grainy or has a powder like texture in my mouth). Besides that, the meat was way over-salty, to the point that I had blisters on my tongue and lip.

Van Gogh’s
The tzatziki sauce is still one of the most amazing I’ve ever had, but now service is lacking, prices are incredibly high, and portion sizes have shrunk. Since the restaurant used to be busier, there used to be more servers and as a result, there was a higher standard. Though I know I shouldn’t eat too much and smaller portion sizes and higher prices will help to discourage me from over-eating, I’d still want to get my monies worth.  I will still come here because I love the tzatziki until this place closes down.And I don’t think that this restaurant will last much longer. I mean, considering how “isolated” our community is, I’m not surprised that the only traffic this place usually sees is from its residents. And with no other restaurants around, there isn’t all that much competition which would drive it to maintain better standards.

Empress Palace Restaurant
I go back and forth with this place. When we first visited this place with my family, it had just been open for a few weeks and it was horrible, the second time (when I wrote my review) it wasn’t all that bad. However, just recently I returned there and they served pringles with my chicken. Why? I wanted the shrimp chips that the fried chicken is normally served with, not salt and pepper pringles. They were just so out of place and weird. Other than that slight transgression, this place, for the most part, is getting much better.

Chili’s
It’s hard to believe that I once sang praises of this place. I’m not sure if the time I had affects anything, but the first review was written was during dinner service, while this second visit was during lunch. For one thing, when I recommend a restaurant to someone,  it reflects favourably or negatively on me depending on their experience. When we walked in, it was about 1pm and there was only one family waiting in front of us. Once they seated that large party, I approached the desk where the host typically stands and the host never returns. After about ten minutes I decided to take a seat and wait for someone to come out. It took nearly another twenty minutes before someone acknowledged us and another five before we were seated. Once seated it took fifteen minutes before our waitress came over to take our drink order. The restaurant was empty, I didn’t understand why it would take so long for the waitress to come and do that. It took her another ten minutes to bring the drinks and take our order. Food came out relatively timely, but as we were eating, my boyfriend finished his drink and was looking for our waitress to get another. From his vantage point at our table, he could see her standing in the kitchen just chatting. We tried getting her attention and she either ignored us or just didn’t see us (because she wasn’t paying attention). We finished our meal and took another fifteen minutes. By this point I was furious particularly because I had suggested going here and my boyfriend was pretty hungry. When she finally brought the bill, I didn’t want to go through the hassle of waiting longer because she had to go get the machine. I actually was angry enough that I didn’t want to even tip her. However, my boyfriend made me so I tipped about 10% which I feel was overly generous. This was about two weeks ago and I am still so angry about it. I won’t go as far as saying I’ll never go back because the food’s pretty good, but the likelihood of me returning to that location is fairly low. I might give it another chance, but that will be in a few years.

The Fine Diner
Sometimes restaurants have a rocky start when they first open, so I usually give it a second chance unless my first impression/experience was horrible enough to keep me away for good. I came to here again for brunch with my cousin to introduce my boyfriend to the family, a few people at a time. Although we made reservations and ended up getting there a bit late (maybe 15-30 mins late), my cousin and her boyfriend who arrived on time hadn’t even been brought their drinks. I understand that it was very busy (as I’ve said on numerous occasions, brunch is very quickly becoming the thing to do on weekends) and that they were understaffed, but something as simple as a drink should not take 15-30 minutes. And though in my last review of this place I said I wouldn’t be coming back, I most certainly will not be coming back after this experience. The only good that came out of this visit was that the waitress was cheerful despite being completely overwhelmed and overworked and she didn’t look like she hated everyone there like the last waiter we had here.

Chianti’s
I’ve never had any problems with the Crowfoot location, but on our six month anniversary/boyfriend’s birthday, we discovered an amazing appetizer platter that he’s come to love. I think from now on, every time I go I’ll have to get it. (For reference, it’s called the Antipasto Italian Platter).

Scopa
I returned to this place when my best friend visited from Vancouver back in July, to give it a second chance. I had the calamari to start and I ordered their mushroom pizza. Oh. My. God. Amazing. The mix of chili peppers with the calamari was a very delicious combination. And as I found out later, they’re actually best known for their pizza and honestly, their pizza is to die for. I also found out what a cannoli was. From now on, if I come back to this place, it’ll be for the pizza and the calamari.

 

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Restaurant Review: Chili’s

Location: 1632 14 Ave NW
Website: http://www.chilis.ca/

Chili’s is a fun restaurant to go to with friends or family. Most of the food is great, but it’s not a restaurant that you’d want to keep going to again and again. It’s more like a restaurant you’d go to once a year. I’ve been there with my family many times and they’re food isn’t too pricy, especially the 2 for $25 or 2 for $30 deals.

Tonight I went with my cousin and sister who I consider more as friends than family. As usual we started with an appetizer: the triple play. The three appetizers we chose were: the boneless buffalo wings, the jalapeno poppers, and the crispy chicken crispers. Despite it’s odd name, the crispy chicken crispers was by far my favourite of the trio with it’s honey mustard dipping sauce. Unlike most honey mustard dipping sauces, this one was heavier on the honey and only a hint of the mustard was detectable, but enough so that you knew it was there. The chicken was well breaded (by that I mean that the breading was not heavy and oil, but crisp as the name entailed) and very moist on the inside. As per usual, the buffalo wings (aka the hot sauce on them) was sour enough to choke you up upon inhalation. It’s typical paring with a blue cheese/gorgonzola ranch dip made it an ordinary dish. The jalapeno poppers were also quite average, although they were very crunchy and the inside gooey as it should be, I could taste very little of the spicy of the diced jalapenos inside. We also decided on a second appetizer, a quesadilla explosion salad. I must say, this is one of the better salads I’ve had. I’m not usually one to order salads unless it’s a side to my main course. Though it is not even in the same league as the Asian Steak Salad at Milestones, but it has its strong points. We decided to go with steak since the triple play already had chicken we didn’t want to have another chicken dish. It was a good choice. The tartness of the balsamic vinegar really stimulated our appetites and the balance was so perfect that there was no one element overpowering another. My only complaint about the dish was that I got a charred piece of steak and I’m talking completely blackened and tasted awful, but that was really minor.

For our mains, I ordered the Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos, my sister had the Sweet and Smokey Burger and my cousin had the Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla. In the past I’ve had horrible experiences with shrimp tacos. Most of the time they are dreadfully underseasoned so I was wary of trying a shrimp taco, but as there was already chicken in the appetizer I didn’t want to get chicken tacos. Plus I get more than enough chicken at home…My main was three tortillas topped with zesty coleslaw, pico de gallo, sautéed garlic chili shrimp & fresh sliced avocado. Served with chipotle rice and beans. It also came with a spicy sauce on the side. It was the most amazing sauce I’ve ever tasted. I want that sauce on everything. They were great on the tacos, but even better on the fries. There was an actual kick to it. It actually made my throat burn, but in a good way. The rice was dry and hard to swallow while the beans were wet and tasted too salty and strange to me. For me the Sweet and Smokey Burger was nothing special. It advertised that there was a mango infused BBQ sauce, but the mango taste didn’t really come through, nor was there any BBQ sauce on the side. I think they mistakenly gave us a chipotle sauce instead. The Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla wasn’t anything special either. I mean I’ve never had bacon in a quesadilla, but they’re all pretty flat and don’t have much filling.

Of course at this point everyone is stuffed, but nope, gotta get dessert. The waitress recommended we get the Skillet Toffee Fudge Brownie and my sister really wanted it so we ended up getting it. It was very sweet…good for satisfying my craving for chocolate and sweets, but not something could eat by myself.

As the menu has changed slightly from the last time I was there, I can’t remember which burger I had, but it was huge. I could not finish the entire thing. Even half of it killed me.

Overall the prices are quite reasonable and the servers are super friendly. The server we had tonight was super awesome and it’s too bad the receipt she gave us doesn’t have the survey code cause I would have praised her for her excellent service. Ah well, can’t have everything you want. As this is not a restaurant I would return to on a regular basis I would rate it a 3.5/5.

Triple Play: Jalapeno Poppers, Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings and Crispy Chicken Crispers

Triple Play: Jalapeno Poppers, Boneless Buffalo Chicken Wings and Crispy Chicken Crispers

Quesadilla Explosion Salad

Quesadilla Explosion Salad

Sweet and Smokey Burger

Sweet and Smokey Burger

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Spicy Grilled Shrimp Tacos

Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla

Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla

Skillet Toffee Fudge Brownie

Skillet Toffee Fudge Brownie

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