Birthday dinner #3 – Locals Restaurant at the Old House

We spent the holidays over on Vancouver Island this year.  There didn’t seem to be too many fine dining choices in the Comox Valley area, but it was recommended we go to Locals Restaurant in Courtenay, so for my official birthday dinner celebration with Hitman that’s where we went.  They’re known for sourcing their food locally whenever they can (hence their name).

It had a very warm and inviting atmosphere.  There was even a fully decorated Christmas tree at the entrance with stools for you to take pictures on.

However, some parts of the service left much to be desired. Read on to find out!

Locals Restaurant: Bison Tartare on Asian Salad Amuse Bouche

We were promptly seated as we had already made reservations.  While we were looking through the menu we were offered an amuse bouche of Bison Tartare on Asian Salad.  It was a bit tart, and I thought that covered any hint of gaminess the bison might have. The salad portion was an interpretation of an “Asian” slaw.

Locals Restaurant: Grains bread with chickpea spread

For the complimentary bread, it was multigrain bread from the local bakery Grains.  Alongside was Locals Restaurant’s house-made chickpea spread.  I wasn’t too fond of the spread as it was too bland for my liking.  Hitman really enjoyed it though and he even tasted hints of cumin in it.

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Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe

I’ve heard a lot about Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe, especially in magazines.  However it wasn’t until recently when GRock’s friend started working there as a baker that I’ve succumbed to lots more praises and recommendations from GRock. The final nail in the coffin was when GRock showed me a picture of this magical looking poached plum tart that they had for the Fall season.  I had to have it, so finally I made a date with Miz Brown Sugar, C-Dizzle, and Erin to visit the bakery for a sugar coma fest.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe: Baked Goods

There are a ton of baked goods to choose from obviously, but they have a pretty extensive cafe menu too.  We were instructed by GRock to arrive no later than 10:45am on a Friday for the best selection.

And it was a wise decision, as we saw that the store was constantly busy.  We were lucky though that their signature item the Almond Croissant was still plentiful even by the time we left, as were a lot of their other goodies.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Latte

Miz Brown Sugar is vegan so all she had was a latte (every baked good has eggs in it).  She was very excited about the latte art.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Cheese Scone with Porchetta & Smoked Cheddar

Since we arrived so early, I hadn’t had a chance to eat breakfast yet.  Neither had C-Dizzle and she quickly hopped to it and ordered a Brioche with Duck Prosciutto, Rillette Mayo, Red Oak Lettuce, Candied Walnuts & Apple ($9.5, not pictured).  I was originally just here for the sweets, but once she unwrapped her sandwich, I knew I had to get one too.  So I picked the Cheese Scone with Porchetta & Smoked Cheddar ($9.5, pictured above).

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Ah Meow aka Choco Cat Cafe 啊貓地攤

Hitman and I first heard of the concept of cat cafes about a year ago.  He read about them in one of those free daily papers and became really excited, and we planned on visiting one in Asia someday.

Then we sorta forgot about it for a while.

Ah Meow Choco Cat Cafe

Then, on Fannypack’s and my last day in Seoul, which was a Saturday, we were doing one last round in Myeongdong and I saw a cat mascot.  I walked over to see what it was and it turned out to be a mascot for a cat cafe nearby.  In fact, there were about 3 of them in the vicinity.

In the end, Fannypack didn’t want to go, and we don’t leave each other alone, so that was that.

But when I got on the phone with Hitman, he strongly urged me to find one in Hong Kong, which was our next stop.  I found one, and since I was meeting up with my cousin I decided that we should go there.

Ah Meow Choco Cat Cafe

Thank god for my cousin.  I never would’ve found Ah Meow on my own.  It’s located at the centre of Causeway Bay near Times Square and so it was very busy.  Plus the cafe is up on the 3rd floor of a pretty run-down looking building with no flashy signage.  I could only confirm it by looking up and actually seeing a cat by the window.  The elevator up is equally sketchy.  The building reminds me of the ones you see in Hong Kong triad movies where you go up and find multiple brothels.  I must admit I was a bit nervous.

Ah Meow Choco Cat Cafe

However it turns out that on the same level was a classy looking Japanese-goods store and another restaurant I think.  The front door was cute so by then my nerves were calmed.

On the door it says “Members Only”, but really they just need you to fill out a small form and to get a card and that’s it.  I’m not sure they even need to see it when you visit.   This cafe’s official name, as listed in Google search, is Ah Meow.  However, it’s previously been known as Choco Cat Cafe and is also known as simply Cat Cafe, or Cat Store.  In fact, that’s the name that’s printed on their membership card.   啊貓地攤 is the only name they have in Chinese though.

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Montana’s Cookhouse

Hitman won a pretty fab prize pack from work (some Safety thing lol) and one of the prizes was a $50 gift card for any restaurant in the Cara network, namely Swiss Chalet, Milestone’s, Montana’s, Kelsey’s, Harvey’s, etc.

He originally wanted to go to Milestones, but the closest one is not close at all…there’s downtown, White Rock, Richmond….now we figured we could go to the Richmond one, but it turns out it’s at the airport AFTER security…so a no go on that either.

So, we ended up deciding on Montana’s.  We wanted ribs!!!

Montana's Cookhouse

The closest one to us would be at Coquitlam Centre.  Still a pretty far drive, but it’s not the usual common fare a la Milestone’s, I was ok with it.

We decided to forgo appies since it was a Reward/Cheat day for us we were going to indulge in dessert anyways…Hitman adorably had a craving for something very, VERY indulgent-chocolatey-fudgey =)

Montana's Cookhouse: Beef Ribs with Southern Baked Beans and Garlic Mash & Gravy, cornbread

We both decided on ribs since that’s what Montana’s seems to be known for.  Since I’ve already called dibs on the pork ribs, Hitman had to settle for the beef ones =P

You get to pick 2 sides and they always come with cornbread.  Hitman picked the Southern Baked Beans and Garlic Mash & Gravy…he says the beans are good with the cornbread.  However to him the cornbread was too sweet and cake-like.  He much prefers the savory version.  You also get a choice of one of their four bbq sauces…he picked Texas Bold.

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Cookies of Course

Cookies of Course

I’ve recently joined a bunch of those “Daily Deal” sites and I must say, I was skeptic at first but it’s been treating me pretty well.  They are usually very good deals and the coupon for Cookies of Course was one of my first purchases from Groupon.  The coupon allowed for 2 dozen cookies for $9.  J and I took a trip down to finally get our fix.

It was kinda hard to find though.  If it helps, this store is actually located inside the Harbour Centre.

Cookies of Course

It seems like this deal had brought them a ton of  business, as they asked if we’ve called ahead.  We didn’t, but we definitely will next time.  The owner(?) was very considerate.  Even though the coupon specifically said that we had to redeem all 2 dozen at once, he allowed us to get 1 dozen first and get the 2nd later.

The flavors I got was Chocolate Decadence, Chocolate Chip & Chunks, Oatmeal Raisin, Peanut Butter, Butterscotch Pecan, Peanut Butter Milk Chocolate, and Maple Walnut.

Cookies of Course: Butterscotch Pecan

Butterscotch Pecan

They. Were. So. Good.  Soft, gooey, chewy, rich, and yummy.  I really liked all the flavors.  The cookies are so full of ingredients, for example, the Butterscotch Pecan was full of pecan pieces and the butterscotch flavor was very prominent.  Oatmeal Raisin was so chewy and I convinced myself it was healthy~ 😉

Cookies of Course: Chocolate Decadence

Chocolate Decadence

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