New menu items at A & W (New Westminster)

A and W's new menu

A & W has been slowly revamping their menu at certain locations with slightly more “upscale” fast food offerings like yam fries and veggie burgers as well as adding actual dishware for dine-in to compliment their traditional frosted glass mugs.  Their latest additions are various grilled cheese sandwiches and poutines which I set out to inspect.  When I eat fast food burgers I go out of my way to pick A&W due to their beef now being hormone, antibiotic, and even preservative free, plus the fact you can choose a whole wheat bun at no cost (hopefully they take the health consciousness a step further and cut down on the ridiculous amounts of sodium they use).  I picked the New Westminster Skytrain location, somewhere I eat fairly regularly and normally I find their staff quite friendly and have never had issues.  Today was a different story with some horrendous service but I won’t get into it and will give them benefit of the doubt, assuming it was a new staff member.  The place is clean and never so busy that you have much of a wait for your order, and the addition of an optional self serve kiosk for ordering and payment makes things even faster.

A and W: Grilled Cheese Sandwich

For the grilled cheese sandwich ($4.25) you first choose your bread from white or whole wheat, then two types of cheeses (they have mozarella, Balderson cheddar, and processed Armstrong jalapeno cheddar), an optional (free) slice of tomato, and whether you would like bacon for an additional 75 cents.  Each sandwich comes with a pickle spear as well.  I had cheddar and jalapeno havarti on whole wheat with a slice of tomato.  With the cheese being of the single thins variety two types are just the right amount, and the jalapeno really had a nice bite to it.  The tomato was a large slice and very fresh, and I found the bread had just enough butter on the outside so it wasn’t too greasy.  Really enjoyable and I think the price point is pretty fair.

A and W: Korean BBQ Poutine

They have a few new types of meal-size poutines now to compliment their classic one.  One was a cheddar bacon, one was a “works” poutine that seemed to be along the lines of a stuffed baked potato with its choice of toppings, and then this monstrosity.  The Korean BBQ Poutine ($7.95).  Traditional A & W french fries with cheese curds, breaded chicken slices, and iceberg lettuce, all smothered with Korean style BBQ sauce.  The idea sounded fairly unappetizing but I gave it a go for fun, and I have to say I can’t see anybody ordering this more than once after the initial “fun” factor has worn off.  To be fair the outside areas with minimal sauce weren’t too bad, but once I got to the middle and bottom parts the sauce was just way too overpowering.  It’s thick and molasses-ey, both sweet and spicy.  Not bad as far as BBQ sauces go, but as a gravy substitute it just doesn’t work.

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Pho Maxima Restaurant

Pho Maxima Restaurant exterior

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… I LOVE PHO!!!!  So when I found a good pho place close to home, I was ecstatic.  I noticed that a good pho broth is hard to find nowadays…most places are either not concentrated enough or it’s much too sweet.  Maxima seems to have a good balance of both.

We’ve always driven past it and one chilly night we finally decided to try it out.  It has your usual suspects.  They’re also a bubble tea and banh mi restaurant.  Usually the addition of bubble tea raises red flags for me.  But we’re happy to say we’ve been pleasantly surprise (much like the visit to Kim Anh).

Pho Maxima Restaurant: House Special Pho

I always order the House Special ($7 for small).  I just enjoy the variety of meats offered.  The soup was fragrant and salted just right.  It does look a little on the lighter side but the taste is there.  One complaint though, one time instead of thinly sliced beef, they gave me thick strips of meat instead which did not cook well, and were extremely chewy.  But that was just one time from the few times we’ve went.

Another thing is…this restaurant is pretty damn chilly…

Pho Maxima Restaurant: Tendon and Brisket Pho

Hitman always orders the Tendon and Brisket ($7.50 large) combination here.  He really doesn’t have much to say but he doesn’t complain when I ask to come here, so I’m assuming he likes it here too.
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Old Bavaria Haus

Old Bavaria Haus

Wendy and I don’t usually eat out with others.  Probably because my schedule is pretty messed and it’s already tough enough to go out with Wendy!  So it was a pretty night to be on a ‘triple date’ with a very good buddy and his girlfriend and another couple of whom were his friends.  The occasion was his birthday.  It sucks because he is still younger than I am! LOL  Anyways, we arrived at Old Bavaria Haus at 1900 hours in hopes of a good time!

Old Bavaria Haus interior

It took a few minutes for our orders to be done. We ordered some red wine to fully appreciate our main courses and a couple of appetizers.

Old Bavaria Haus: Champignon "Au Gratin"

This was the Champignon “Au Gratin”.  Outside of the word ‘da’, my German comprehension skills are at zero.  According to the menu, it is decribed as  “mushroom caps, topped with shrimp, bearnaise, melted cheese”.  I found it to be pretty good for an appetizer to get my cravings going.  Wendy thought it was alright, nothing out of the ordinary.

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Marble Slab Again

Marble Slab coupon

OH YEAH!  Summer is nothing but an excuse for….wait for it…. ICE CREAM!  Nothing gets me going like a 2-for-1, BUY 1 GET 1 coupon!  Needless to say, Wendy and I were pretty excited to head to Marble Slab once again.  We were really headed for Walmart, but Marble Slab was definite on our minds for another visit.

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BK Mushroom Swiss Steakhouse Burger

BK Mushroom Swiss Steakhouse Burger

Originally since it was Wednesday, I wanted to take advantage of Whopper Wednesday and get a Whopper.

However, as I pulled near the drive-thru window, the big huge advertisement for the BK Mushroom & Swiss Steakhouse Burger caught my eye and it was too enticing to pass up.

So I gave up the $1.49 Whopper and splurged on the much more $$$ Steakhouse.

Burger King fries

I could’ve behaved and had the burger by itself.  But no, I had to get the “Value Meal”.

Good thing they had good fries.  Having worked at a BK before, I totally knew how ghastly the fries would’ve been if they have used old oil.  These were a nice pale golden color, tasted fresh, with no hint of old oil.  I’m usually partial to McD’s fries but these were seriously not bad.

BK Mushroom Swiss Steakhouse Burger

Even before I opened the wrap I could smell the “flame-broiled”ness.

However, I must say, they did a pretty bad job on assembly.  They could’ve used a bigger bun ie. the Whopper bun but they had to use the Whopper Jr. bun.  Honestly, it doesn’t take that much effort to make a burger look presentable.  Whoever assembled must really not care.

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