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Restaurant Review: Pampa

Location: 521 10 AVE SW Calgary
Website: http://pampasteakhouse.com/calgary/

This was my first time going to a Brazilian Steakhouse, and I have to say, I will definitely be coming around more often.  While it is amazing it is also very pricy, so I’m really glad that one of our cousins, Tanna, had the sense to purchase a groupon for the event.  While this place does have a salad bar (for all the sides you might want to go with your meat), Tanna has the right idea grabbing just the cheese bread (pão de queijo) and a smallish bowl of soup.  Since it was Sandra, Cynthia, Val, and my first time here, we got a little more from the salad bar than was probably recommended which we would all regret later.

For those who haven’t been to a Brazilian Steakhouse, it’s essentially servers walking around with giant skewers of meat to which you can have as much as you want.  They will stop once they see you flip your card from green (yes, please) to red (no, thank you).

We started off with drinks.  Sandra, Cynthia, and Tanna didn’t order any drinks, Val had the Brazilian Lemonade and I had the Brazilian Shirley Temple.  The Lemonade consisted of lime juice blended with condensed milk, topped with ice and the Shirley Temple used guaraná, (an Amazonian berry) orange juice, and grenadine.

On this evening they had their usual ten meat skewers:

Beef Top Sirloin
Beef Rumpsteak
Beef Garlic Steak
Chimichurri-Basted Beef Tri-Tip
Pampa Pork Sausage
Parmesan Pork Loin
Rosemary-marinated Pork Shoulder
Bacon-wrapped Chicken Thighs
Marinated Chicken Drumsticks
New Zealand Leg of Lamb

As well as four seasonal ones:

Coconut-Lime Shrimp
Slow-roasted Beef Ribs
Caramelized BBQ Pineapple
Marinated Chicken Hearts

I didn’t try the marinated chicken hearts because I’m not usually one for offals and I did try a little bit of the leg of lamb.  The gamey taste of the lamb was very mild, but it still wasn’t really for me.  Of the ones I did try, the bacon-wrapped chicken thighs, parmesan pork loin, Pampa pork sausage and chimichurri-based beef tri-tip were my least favourite.  The bacon was soggy and limp, the pork loin was dry, the sausage was nothing special and the chimichurri, which amazingly tender, was way over salted and the texture was more like a stewed beef (which is nice, but also not my favourite preparation of beef).

Some of the other beef dishes were also quite salty, but I had expected as much.  The deliciousness of the cut made up for the over salting.

I will say, that this place is not for the faint of heart.  There is a lot of food and it’s very easy to overeat and go into a food coma.  Especially since the groupon comes with dessert.  For dessert we got a passionfruit mousse, a chocolate mousse, a coconut flan, and a orange roulade.  The mousses were served on top of a pao-de-lo cake/sponge, which absorbed the compotes and made them soggy.  I felt as though there was a little too much liquid on the plate from the compotes and that the mousses themselves were amazing and would have been even more amazing if the sponge had not been drenched with sauce.  The coconut flan was the most ordinary dessert we had.  It’s flavour was very light and delicate, making it very easily overpowered by the tastes of the other, more decadent desserts.  The orange roulade was my least favourite.  I had expected an appetizing orange flavour that would aid in the digestion of my dinner (as Chinese often have orange peel in their desserts as a digestive), but that was not the case.  It was fairly dense and sweet and after one bite I essentially gave up on eating it.

As I said, I would definitely return here without question, but not alone and not without a groupon. I would rate this place 4.5/5.

pampa 5

PAMPA!

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Interior View 1

pampa 3

Interior View 2

pampa 2

Yes, please!

Brazilian Shirley Temple

Brazilian Shirley Temple

Brazilian Lemonade

Brazilian Lemonade

Meat 2

My plate with way too much food (and a piece of Chimichurri-Basted Beef Tri-Tip in the corner

chicken

Chicken Drumstick

Pampa 1

Beef Top Sirloin and Garlic Beef

pineapple

Pineapple and Sandra

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Restaurant Review: Japanese Village

Location:  317 10 Ave SW

From the first time Val went, she was raving about the steak sauce.  She even bought a bottle of it at Christmas for my ex, Braeden (who unfortunately let it go bad without even trying any…what a waste of money).  I knew that if she had liked the steak sauce that much, I had to try it.  After all, Val and I have similar tastes and if she really like this place, it must be good.

We made reservations here for 6:30, but since I got off work at 3:00 and Val ended up finishing up her meeting thing at 6:00, but the restaurant was a three minute walk for her, we both ended up there super early.  We waited for a while before they said that they could seat us.  Although neither of us checked our watches or phones for the time, I’m pretty sure they seated us earlier than 6:30.  We were seated at the remaining two seats next to a party of five.  It took some time, but our orders were taken and our chef appeared.  He clearly had a showman’s persona and that level of involvement with a character like that, that close and personal made me a little uncomfortable, but I’m not the kind of person to judge before trying something out.  The meals we ordered came with soup, salad, rice, green tea, and a dessert.  Being unsure that there’d be enough food (since I’ve never been) and never passing up the opportunity to eat squid, we ordered the ika karaage.  The dish was quite small, expensive, and honestly, not that good. I’ve definitely had better.  We were first served the soup, which was an egg drop soup.  It was nicely flavoured and the temperature was just right, but it wasn’t anything special.  It was followed by a salad that also wasn’t that special.  The only thing I remember is that it was high acidic, which made me pucker a couple times at how sour it was.  All the while, we watched and listened to our chef crack jokes and throw his cooking utensils around.  I became especially uncomfortable when I was looking down to finish my salad and the minute I looked up he shoved a gigantic block of softened butter in my face, saying something to the effect of have some vanilla ice cream.  My mouth fell open in shock and the only thing I could do was pretend to eat it.  It was too late.  There was no recovery from that.  It did make the people at the table laugh, so I guess not all was lost.  Slowly, we started getting served food.  Shrimp with yum yum sauce (not really sure what that is…) and a lot of veggies (that I didn’t end up finishing).  The highlight of the evening was, of course, the onion volcano (unfortunately I have to upgrade my WordPress account for me to post the video.  I tried to post it on Facebook, but Facebook says the file is too small).  Both Val and I ordered steaks, which are cut into cubes for us, but the seasoning wasn’t really all that special.  That’s where the steak sauce came in.  The chef had already put some into the dishes in front of us and on our rice if we wanted, so I had tasted it.  I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was exactly in the sauce that I didn’t like, but there was something in it I didn’t like.  Val said there was a lot of onion, which I’m going to take her word for because she’s really good at discerning components of sauces and other mixed foodstuffs.  After the meat, I was pretty much full (hence I didn’t finish my veggies), but there was still tea and dessert.  The green tea was tasteless; it was like drinking coloured hot water.  And the green tea ice cream isn’t creamy and matcha-y like I’m used to.  There were parts of the ice cream where you could literally crunch on ice crystals, which isn’t really a quality I look for in my ice cream.

Overall, I’d say I wouldn’t come back here again, but I’d say that it’s something that everyone should experience once and decide for themselves if this is something they would like.  I know that the birthday girl in the party of five next to us said this was her favourite restaurant and she has come back repeatedly, but I wouldn’t.  I just want to enjoy my meal in peace without having someone heckling me every few seconds and cracking jokes that I’m forced to laugh along with.  But the experience wasn’t all bad.  It was nice how considerate they were of the dietary concerns of the person sitting next to me.  She had celiacs and they were constantly checking in with her to make sure everything was okay and if she wanted them to prepare something separate for her in the kitchen so that it was guaranteed to not contain gluten.

Unfortunately, I would have to rate this experience a 1/5.  Not because the food was particularly bad or the service was lacking, but because I don’t feel like this dining experience was one that I enjoyed or was comfortable with.

 

Restaurant Review: Villa Firenze

Location: 610 1 Ave NE
Website: villafirenze.ca

Although this is not my first time at this restaurant, it’s my first time coming here that isn’t a work function.  I do apologize for not uploading this in a timely manner, but with the weekend I’ve had it’s been hard.  I’ve been trying to battle this cold/flu, finished off a rotation in litigation, started a rotation in corporate, and went to a wedding.

Every experience I’ve had here has been a pleasant one, this was no exception.  After work, a friend, Carmen, and I set off to the restaurant.  It was a short 10 minute walk from her law firm.

We were promptly seated and presented with menus.  We decided on two appetizers: their famous Portobello Mushroom and a Caesar salad.  I decided to try the Gnocchi Pesto alla Panna and Carmen had the Linguine con Vongole.  The Portobello Mushroom was absolutely delicious.  With it’s mild grilled flavour and a texture that was slightly reminiscent of steak, smothered in a cream sauce.  There wasn’t a speck of mushroom or sauce on the plate when we were done with it.  The Caesar was more classic.  It was a little more aggressively dressed than I would have liked, but the amount of garlic was just perfect.  Sure some may say it was too garlicky, but as you guys know, there’s no such thing with me.  By this time I was actually almost full.  I probably could have just done with a calamari and called it a night, but no, our entrees came.  Gnocchi, being potato and pasta, is a lot of carbs and therefore, is very filling.  I barely got in more than five bites before I had to call it quits.  It was good, but it wasn’t exactly what I had expected.  It was clear that the pesto was made in house, which I appreciated, but I wanted a little more olive oil and a lot more garlic.  While I don’t know exactly what Carmen’s linguini was like, clams in white wine is a classic combination and based on the fact that she cleared her plate, I knew she had really enjoyed it.

Based on this experience and past experiences I would definitely come back.  Although next time I do hope that I won’t be sick and that I’ll be able to better appreciate the intricacies of the flavour profiles that each dish has.  Next time I would want to try the calamari and perhaps even a dessert…say a tiramisu?

I would rate this experience a 4.5/5.

Appies

Appetizers: Portobello Mushroom with a Cream Sauce, Caesar Salad, and complementary bread with olive oil and vinegar

Gnocchi

Gnocchi Pesto alla Panna

Linguini

Linguini con Vongole

Restaurant Review: Wami Ootoya

Location:  130, 3820 Brentwood Rd NW
Website:  http://wamiootoya.com/

On this cold miserable day, I had a rare day to myself and since Val had an appointment in the afternoon, and the restaurant we originally decided on didn’t open until 12, which would be cutting it close, we decided to come here.

We arrived when it just opened so there wasn’t exactly a line up or need for a reservation as the website suggested.  At first, we were seated at a table for two, but after seeing how much food we ordered, the waiter asked if we wanted to move to a larger table, which we did.

The dishes came out with surprising speed.  First was the wakame, which was pretty standard, followed by the beef tataki.  The tataki was also quite ordinary, but was covered with a lot of onion (2 varieties, both raw, one green, one white) and fried garlic.  Instead of a ponzu sauce, it had tataki sauce (whatever that is, it was milder than ponzu sauce and more like a soy sauce).  I don’t usually eat beef tataki, so I don’t have as seasoned of a palette when it comes to it, but in Val’s opinion, it’s better with ponzu.  She also made an observation that I agree with.  While I love onions, there’s such a thing as too much onion.  Shortly after, the takoyaki arrived.  There was an inconsistency in size and texture.  Val got some with a crunchy exterior and soft interior, while mine kinda just fell apart.  Next the Ika Geso Age came.  Like I’ve said in many reviews, squid/calamari/octopus is my favourite thing in the world.  So of course we had to get something squidy.  The tear shaped bowl was a perfect choice for presenting the dish.  The portion size was also pretty good because deep fried food can often be heavy and greasy.  The chili mayo was a little different from most of the chili mayos I’ve had in the past, there was more of a tangy note to it which definitely helped with the greasy heaviness.  The sashimi and tuna poke tower came at the same time.  Val was really impressed by the thick cut of the sashimi.  She described the tuna as being toro-esque, meaning it had a visible grain and had an almost melt in your mouth quality, but not quite as good as toro because well…toro is toro (toro=tuna belly).  The tuna poke tower was the biggest disappointment (although not the only one, it was the first of many to come).  First off, there was a serious lack of sauce.  Pokes usually have soy sauce and sesame oil and a blend of seasonings that are unique to different restaurants that make them appealing.  Rereading the menu, I realized that it was supposed to come with a wasabi dressing, but that apparently never happened.  This was honestly just a stack of avocados, tomatoes, ahi tuna (that was pretty hard to find), and a “brick” of imitation crab topped with an ebi sliced in half.  There was some kind of onion and tomato salsa served on the side with 6 triangle shaped wontons that reminded me more tortillas.  Overall, the tower was bland and boring and I wouldn’t order it again.  I didn’t know/notice this, but on the sign out front, if we ordered more than $50 worth of food, we would get a complimentary katsu don.  The curry, though not Japanese, was delicious.  The rice was cooked on the drier side, so that you could make out the separate grains when you ate it, which is the way I like it.  I could honestly eat a bowl of rice with just the curry sauce (which had coconut in it) with no need for the katsu.  Finally the rolls came last.  The Hip Hop Roll had spicy tuna, fried onion bits, spicy imitation crab, tobiko, cucumber, and mayo.  Whatever it was they added to make the tuna spicy left it tasting really weird.  I didn’t like the overall taste it left in my mouth.  The Sakura Blossom Roll looked really pretty with the mango, avocado, scallop, masago, salmon, topped with key lime thyme pepper aioli sauce, but taste was a completely different matter.  First off, I didn’t even see that there was scallop in there, which I don’t particularly like raw anyways. The key lime thyme pepper aioli…I don’t even have words to describe.  I’m sure it would be delicious on anything else other than sushi, but on sushi…no, just no.

At the end of the meal, they presented us with a complimentary dessert: coconut jello.  The wooden spoons were so cute!  But the choice to serve it in a shot glass was an interesting one.  It made it hard to get out of the glass to eat.  Coconut jello is coconut jello.  Regardless of which restaurant, it’s prepared from the same mixture, so it all tastes the same.

The table settings were very cute.  The dish for the soy sauce was a little fish, the cast iron teapot (though very heavy) was very intricately designed, and the metal chopsticks (slightly modified from the flat Korean chopsticks) were very sleek.  And although I couldn’t see it, I really love open concept kitchens.  It gives me something to do while I’m waiting for my food, and also, allows me to see when my food is coming.

While my dad had a disgusting experience when he came to this restaurant, nothing in this visit indicated that to me.  I would definitely try their ramen the next time I come because in a short conversation Val had with our waiter, they make the ramen in house, so that would probably be their primary focus (and what they want to be known for as their specialty).  In addition that, they have a cafe upstairs serving bubble tea, snacks, etc.

Based on my experience today, I would rate it 4/5 and would come back.

open kitchen

Open Kitchen

tea pot

Cast Iron Teapot and Table settings

wakame

Wakame Salad

beef tataki

Beef Tataki

takoyaki

Takoyaki

ika geso age

Ika Geso Age

sashimi and tuna stack

Tuna and Salmon Sashimi; Tuna Poke Tower

katsu don

Wami Katsu Don

hip hop roll

Hip Hop Roll

sakura roll

Sakura Blossom “Roll”

coconut jello

Coconut Jello

 

 

Restaurant Review: Cactus Club Cafe

Location:  101 – 6070 200th Street, Langley BC
Website:  https://www.cactusclubcafe.com/

For the longest time I’ve wanted to return to this restaurant.  The first time I went was many years ago with my family, but the Raincoast Greens made such an impression on me that I’ve always wanted to return, especially since I had now developed a palate that could discern “good” from “bad.”

We had tried going back in Calgary when Julia visited for wedding dress shopping, but the restaurant was so full, we weren’t able to get a seat.  It was kind of the manager on duty to offer his business card, stating that the situation could have been handled better and would call us to invite us back.  However, as kind as the sentiment was, we never received a call back.  While I was disappointed, it did not diminish my desire to try this place out.

After much delay, we finally got to go!  As we were running some errands in the Langley/Fort Langley area, we decided to stop in at the Langley location for lunch.  We made it at about two, so it wasn’t quite happy hour, but no matter.  We were going to eat here regardless.

After a quick perusal of the menu and calculation regarding our course of action, we decided on an all appetizers lunch.  We ordered the Tuna Stack, Calamari, and Ravioli + Prawn Trio (we ended up adding one so we each got two).  I, again, was starving and the kitchen was pretty quick in getting our dishes out to us.  All three appetizers came out at the same time.

The Tuna Stack was essentially a tuna poke, using ocean wise™ albacore, citrus tamari vinaigrette, nori, sesame, avocado, micro cilantro, and wonton chips on the side.  One bite and I was in love.  Maybe it was because for the last little while we had been having fairly greasy food and this fresh, citrusy dish was a bright and welcome change to what we had we been having the last few days.  Everything was well seasoned, the flavours were balanced and complimented one another beautifully.  If I could, I would eat the entire thing on my own, despite not being able to handle raw fish all that well.

The calamari was the most disappointing of the three dishes.  With ingredients like peppers and jalapenos, I had not expected much because that was pretty much the norm.  Tzatziki sauce is pretty common as an accompaniment to calamari, but the chipotle aioli was something different.  Unfortunately not a good different.  Both sauces, with their creaminess, exacerbated the deep fried oiliness of the calamari.  Most of the calamari was well cooked, but there were a few that were overcooked, dry, and hard.   I had thought that the addition of dill would have been a saving grace, but the dill did not provide any additional flavour to the overall dish.

In contrast, the Ravioli + Prawn Trio was a masterpiece.  I have never been more impressed by a pasta as I have been by this.  The ravioli was a butternut squash and mascarpone ravioli, lightly accented by a truffle butter sauce, each ravioli topped with a single sautéed jumbo prawns exquisitely seasoned and sprinkled with pine nuts.  The dish we ordered was the appetizer size, but now I know, I would gladly order the entree size and guiltlessly consume the entire dish.  Even with the price being slightly over $25 for the entree size, I would still order it.  The richness was done just right so that it wasn’t heavy and did not leave me feeling bloated or sick.

All in all, this was great experience.  The wait staff were very attentive and ready to help whenever necessary.  They didn’t act like the staff at the Calgary location we had originally gone to (haughty and snobby).  I would 100% return to this restaurant.  This was one of the best dining experiences I’ve had the pleasure to partake in.  I’d give this restaurant a 4.5/5 and would definitely recommend this place to all those who wish to indulge.

cactus club

Cactus Club Exterior

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Cactus Club Interior (behind)

cactus club 3

Cactus Club Interior (in front)

cactus club 2

Tuna Stack (front), Calamari (top left), and Ravioli + Prawn Trio (top right)

Restaurant Review: Bobby Sox 50’s Diner

Location: 22596 Lougheed Hwy, Maple Ridge, BC

This was unfortunately another instance of where the menu looked better than the chef’s execution of the dishes.  Like the night before, I would be disappointed yet again.

We took a short walk from Julia’s condo to the restaurant, uphill in the blustery cold (nothing compared to Calgary, but when you’re not completely prepared for the weather, it is a bit chilly).  We entered the restaurant and were greeted with a choice: the booth seat or the table in the back corner.  Richard made the executive decision to sit at the table.  As I had no preference, it didn’t matter…or so I thought.  The booth was generally avoided because they had placed a broom and dustbin right next to the table, while the one in the back corner was situated right next to the other door, which would blow cold air at those unfortunate to be sitting there.  We, of course, had the misfortune of experiencing that.

Since we were self-seated, my concern was the same as it often is in these kinds of restaurants: how long would it take for the staff to notice the arrival of new patrons?  Luckily, we were noticed quite quickly and menus presented to us.  While they don’t have a website, places like zomato had images of the menu that patrons has uploaded and I had taken the time to look through to decided what I wanted.  Even so, I still had some difficulty at the restaurant what I wanted.

It took some time before our waitress returned to take our drink order.  All three of us ordered milkshakes; Julia and I had the cherry chocolate milkshake, while Richard ordered the butterscotch milkshake.  For a cherry chocolate milkshake, it didn’t have very much of a cherry taste.  So, it was essentially a chocolate milkshake.  Richard, for reasons unknown, decided he was going to add pancake syrup to his already, very sweet butterscotch milkshake (while I did not try this, in my experience, butterscotch is sickeningly sweet).

Another waitress came by to take our lunch order a short time later.  Julia got the French Toast, Richard the Tuna Melt, and I ordered the Mac and Cheese Burger.  Julia’s was the first to arrive:  three massive slices of French toast smothered in a strawberry sauce and whipped cream (which Julia had upgraded to, she had the choice of BBQ pulled pork or the strawberry sauce with whipped cream, she chose the latter).  It was followed by Richard’s, which was somewhat ordinary.  Mine, as per usual as of recently, arrived last.  The fries appeared somewhat lackluster, limp, pale, and unappealing.  For a mac and cheese burger, I expected something more innovative than the regular burger fixings (lettuce, tomato, red relish, mayo, cheese, and pickles) and mac and cheese just laid down between two buns.  My first thought was “maybe they’ll make the buns out of mac and cheese.”  To my disappointment, they did not.  The burger did not hold the mac and cheese well and the moment I picked up the burger and took my first bite, practically all the mac and cheese had fallen out.  The taste of the mac and cheese was so unnoticeable that had someone else ordered it for me, I would never have known that that’s what made this burger unique.  Normally, I would say that looks aren’t everything, but when it came to the fries, they really were everything.  They were unsalted, so bland and limp just exactly as they looked.  Luckily, I was able to find a few salvageable crunchy pieces. Julia’s French Toast was delicious, especially the strawberry sauce (which I’m sure Braeden would have loved), but it was so sweet that there was no way that I would have ever been able to finish the thing.  One bite was all I needed.  Especially considering the fact that our milkshakes were already pretty sweet, this took it a little over the top.

Based on today’s experience, I can’t see myself coming back here or recommending it to others to try.  I’d give it a 2/5.  My final gripe is that the apostrophe doesn’t belong there. (50s not 50’s)

Bobby Sox

Bobby Sox Interior

Bobby Sox 2

Bobby Sox Interior

Bobby Sox 8

Bobby Sox Interior

Bobby Sox 3

One of the signs on the wall above the pass (where food comes out of the kitchen)

Bobby Sox 4

Cherry Chocolate Milkshake

Bobby Sox 5

French Toast

Bobby Sox 6

Tuna Melt

Bobby Sox 7

Mac and Cheese Burger

Restaurant Review: State and Main

Location:  129, 6455 Macleod Trail SW
Website:  https://www.stateandmain.ca/

Today was a ridiculously busy day.  In the future, I would never recommend trying to hit up three bridal shops in one day.  Before we even finished our first shop, some of us were starting to feel hungry, so by the end of the second shop we, or at least I wanted to cannibalize some of the bridal party.

We stopped at one restaurant before this one, but it couldn’t accommodate a group of seven at that time.  Since we were ravenous, we looked for the next best alternative and since we were going to be stopping at Chinook to see if we could find some wedding stuff we thought State and Main would be the best option.

As it is the holiday season, parking at the mall was scarce, but we were lucky enough to find somewhere relatively close.  Since we didn’t want to be turned away from another restaurant, we had called ahead to see if there was space and they reserved a table for us of their own accord, which I thought was really nice.  The others in our party weren’t so luck in finding a parking spot, but they eventually all made it.

We were the first of our party to arrive since we had the good fortune of finding a parking spot.  We started with an appetizer, calamari, of course.  I love calamaris that have all the “extras.”  State and Main choose to serve theirs with a medley of jalapenos, onions & bell pepper with a roasted red pepper aioli.  This is one of the better calamaris I have had, but that may be because my opinion is influenced by the fact that the jalapenos, onions, and bell peppers helped to balance the greasiness that is characteristic of fried foods.  Compared to Boston Pizza, which has pretty much the same medley, State and Main is a little more refined.

The majority of the party ordered tacos, three ordered the Long Beach Fish Tacos with the Ginger Cilantro Slaw, and I ordered the Gogi Tacos with Fries and a dill dip.  As per my food ADD/ADHD, I love trying multiple things so Julia and I planned to swap a taco so we’d have the chance to give more than one menu item a try.  The fish tacos consisted of lightly spiced mahi mahi topped with avocado, shredded lettuce, tomato, green onion, chopped cilantro, fresh lime, and a salsa.  After eating many fish tacos, I have learned that I do not like mahi mahi.  There’s something about the taste of the fish that is off putting for me.  Besides that, this taco was rather ordinary.  It’s like every other taco you have ever had in your life.  A taco is unique only in its toppings and seasoning and these are the basic.  There was nothing special about the Long Beach Fish Tacos, but the Gogi Taco on the other hand was phenomenal.  My protein of choice has never been pork.  I’m not saying that I won’t eat it or that it can’t be prepared deliciously (ref: crispy suckling pig), but if there’s the choice of beef or chicken or sometimes even fish, I would choose them over pork.  The problem is it is usually overcooked which makes it dry and tough to eat and some places there’s either a freezer burn taste or a very strong porky taste.  You may think, what the heck, of course it tastes porky, it’s pork, but it’s not what you think.  It’s a very distinct unsavoury flavour that reminds me all too much of raw meat.  But the Gogi Tacos were nothing like that.  The meat was succulent and flavourful.  The Gogi Tacos consist of Korean inspired pork topped with ginger cilantro slaw & sriracha mayo on the side.  The sriracha mayo isn’t totally necessary, but it’s still nice to have a little for dipping since it provides a little bit of heat.  The ginger cilantro slaw, though there was very little of it (I mean, you can only fit so much into a taco), it packed a punch.  It provided the refreshing bright notes that the Long Beach Fish Tacos lacked.  Now I don’t normally rave about fries, but I think these fries were worth raving about.  They are the perfect thickness, balancing the satisfying crunch of the exterior with the smooth softness of the interior.  Paired with the dill dip elevates it to the next level.  It’s creamy, but not heavy because the dill provides that touch of zinginess to prevent it from being just another fatty mayo dip.

The others ordered a Burrito Bowl, California Chicken Wrap, and an Eggs Benedict.  I’m not sure how they liked it, but based on the fact that they finished it all, it was good.  The Burrito Bowl looked pretty big and was probably really filling.

Since we wanted to get on with shopping and save some money on the bill, we didn’t have dessert, so next time I’ll definitely have to come back for that.  Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to split the appetizer between everyone, so I ended up having to pay for the entirety of it, making my bill seem ridiculously expensive, but I guess if I took it off, it would seem pretty reasonable for a lunch.

The hostess and our server seemed a bit distant.  At the end, she didn’t even come to pay out our bills, she had another waitress come by with the machine and collect for her.  She nearly missed one of us, until we pointed it out to her.

I would certainly return for the food, but I’m not sure about the service.  I’m willing to give them another chance since it could’ve just been an off day for her, but based on my experience that day I’d have to say my rating would be 3/5, but I would recommend this place for the food for sure.

State and Main

State and Main Interior

Calamari

Calamari

Fish tacos

Long Beach Fish Tacos with Ginger Cilantro Slaw

Gogi tacos

Gogi Tacos with Fries and Dill Dip

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