Thai by Thai – Basil Chicken Lunch Special, Pad Thai Lunch Special

The Food

Thai by Thai - Soup

Thai by Thai - Pad Thai

Pad Thai – with soup, salad and a spring roll
Price $7.50

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Thai by Thai - Basil Chicken

Basil Chicken– with rice, soup, salad and a spring roll
Price $7.50

Rating: ★★★★½ 

 

The Review

** As a disclaimer this review is about the lunch specials that Thai by Thai has, we have been there on numerous occasions for their regular dinner menu as well, but trying to keep with the cheaper eats theme of our blog,  we decided to only review the lunch specials.

Many years ago we used to frequent a Thai restaurant on the corner of 108th and King George. It wasn’t that clean, it wasn’t in the best part of town but the food was amazing! It was the place where we first tried many of the classic Thai dishes. We were young and foolish, so we would get the dishes as hot as they could be. Tears would run down our red faces as we ate our Tom Yum soup.  Since that place shut down we’ve searched for the next best Thai food place. We’ve had Thai food all over the lower mainland and in many parts of the U.S. as well. Some were good, some were great, but many were simply a let down from our first Thai food love. The only one coming close was Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, which many consider to not only be the best Thai restaurant in North America, but the best restaurant in North America period!

We found out that there was a new Thai food place on Scott Road. The location where Thai by Thai is has been many different incarnations of South Asian restaurants since the building was first built. However, this is the first Thai restaurant that has been at this location and we were excited to try it out!

During our first visit, which was not during lunch, we ordered our regular Thai staples, Tom Yum soup, Pad Thai, Lard na, etc… I mentioned to the waiter that the Pad Thai we ordered was very similar to one that we used to have at the original Thai restaurant we loved so much. It turns out the reason for the similarity is because it is the same Thai chef! After many years of working for others, and over 10 years later, he decided to open up his own restaurant. We were in love again!

On the first visit to Thai by Thai we noticed the large banner hanging outside the building that mentioned the lunch specials  so we knew we would have to come back and try them out.

As the lunch special includes only one main entree with a side of soup, salad, rice, and spring roll, we decided to order two dishes and share them between the two of us. We ordered the Pad Thai and the Basil Chicken.

The Pad Thai was, as usual, the best Pad Thai that I’ve had anywhere. It is a deep rich sauce that is spicy, tangy, sweet, and salty all at the same time. Of course everybody has their own interpretations as to what makes a great Pad Thai, but for me this is it. It has the usual accompaniments of chopped nuts, sprouts, and sliced green onion, but the winner is their sauce and the way the noodles are prepared.

The Basil Chicken was also very good with just the right mix of fresh veggies and chicken. Our opinion is it could use a little more basil, but we love fresh basil and could always use more! Along with the chicken are onions, red and green peppers, green onions, and of course fresh basil all mixed with a spicy sauce.

Did I mention the sauce was spicy? Well, something was definitely up the day we had their lunch specials. The spice level was off the charts. In fact, we were not the only table asking and mentioning the level of spice. The table directly behind us couldn’t even eat their meal it was so spicy. I think it must have been a new brand or a new jar of hot sauce or peppers as it was insanely hot. However, I believe this was a one time issue as all other times we have been, both before and after, we have never had that level of spice.

The sides were surprisingly good as well. Usually with this type of lunch special one is to expect half decent entrées, but lack luster sides. This was not the case. The soup was a very flavourful, rich broth with spinach and other veggies within. The spring roll was very good as well, not greasy as many places tend to be and came with a small dipping sauce. The only issue with the spring roll was that it was a tad on the cold side. I suspect they are prepared prior to lunch and just plated when lunch is ordered. However, this didn’t deter from the fact that the spring roll was better than many others. The rice was fresh, hot, and perfectly al-dente as rice should be…not hard and not mushy. And finally the salad was a fresh, simple salad consisting of iceberg lettuce with a little  cabbage and carrot thrown in for good measure. However, the house dressing was very good and left me wanting more.

We have taken several people to Thai by Thai, and ourselves have been numerous times for dinner, lunch, and delivery and it continues to be consistently prepared (other this one very spicy lunch!), have fresh ingredients, is reasonably priced compared to the quality, has great service, and is enjoyed by all who have gone.

Reviewers

M – Pad Thai
B – Basil Chicken

Thai by Thai
9164 120 St, Surrey, BC
Tel: 206.621.1090
http://www.thaibythaibc.com/

 

Thai By Thai on Urbanspoon

Burger Burger – Bacon Cheeseburger Special

The Food

Burger Burger - Bacon Cheeseburger
Bacon Cheeseburger
Special – Bacon Cheeseburger, hand-cut french fries, and a drink.
Price: $5.65

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

The Review

Having driven by Burger Burger for a number of years it was just one of those places that I just never had the chance to stop at. One sunny day I found my self driving into New Westminster after leaving work early and decided to give it a try.

The decor of the place reminds me of a 1970’s Chinese Restaurant, pretty outdated, a little worn, and simple (salt & pepper shakers on table, along with napkins, plastic ketchup & mustard bottles). However, this was not a turn-off, in fact it brought back a lot of memories and was a nice change of pace from all the cookie cutter fast food joints out there.

After looking at their menu I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted, when the lady (who I presume is the owner along with her husband) recommended the special to me, a bacon cheeseburger, fresh cut fries, and a can of pop. I’ll take it!

The burger had a fresh, thin patty with a good “meaty” flavor, the burger came with thousand island dressing on the bun and a choice of toppings, however I chose only lettuce. The meat patty was actually wider than the bun and the outside had a nice crispy texture as it was cooked on a flat top, just like in the good ol’ days.

The cheese was a single slice of american cheese. Obviously not the best quality, but what can you expect for this price? Because the patty was thin, you could actually taste the cheese on each bite, which was a nice little surprise.

The special also came with excellent fresh hand-cut french fries. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and served very hot. For the drink, I chose a can of iced tea. I also ordered gravy on the side, which tasted good, but was a little runny for dipping the fries.

Overall, a great meal for a great price. I can’t wait to drive by again so I can try some other items on their menu!

Reviewers

B –  Bacon Cheeseburger Special

Burger Burger
340 6th St., New Westminster, BC, V3L 3B1
Tel: (604) 525-4229

Burger Burger on Urbanspoon

Embers BBQ House – Beef Dip and Pulled Pork Sandwich

The Food

Embers BBQ - Beef Dip

Beef Dip – Thick cut oven braised beef with onions and cheese served with an au jus dip  Price: $9.00

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Embers BBQ - Pulled Pork

Pulled Pork Sandwich – slow roasted pulled pork with red onions and their own coleslaw and homemade BBQ sauce.  Price: $8.50

Rating: ★★★★½ 

The Review

Embers BBQ House has been on our radar for quite a while but we haven’t had a reason to be out in the Mission area. Finally a Saturday rolled around without any plans and we headed east for a drive along Lougheed highway. Embers is tucked behind the main street in Mission. If you weren’t looking for it you probably wouldn’t know it was there. Heck, we were looking for it and we had trouble finding it. Even our GPS took us in the wrong direction along Logan!

We arrived around lunch time so the menu was limited to mostly sandwiches and wraps as the meat plates are only available after 5pm. We ordered the pulled pork sandwich with fries and the beef dip with caesar salad. As we were waiting for our meals, we watched the cook staff in the open kitchen pull large pieces of meat from the ovens. When you are hungry, this sort of show can make you down right famished!

A couple of years ago we attended the Canadian BBQ Championships up at Whistler (if you haven’t gone before it is a must for the BBQ fan!). While sampling the beef brisket from all the different BBQ teams, there was one that really stood out to me. It was a team from Calgary Alberta and what made their brisket a little different was their rub. It wasn’t the traditional paprika based rub that most teams put on their BBQ. Paprika was in it but there was something more, something different. It tasted more Mexican. Yup, their rub had all the tell tale signs of the seasons you would taste in a taco. Cumin, coriander, etc. It wasn’t exactly taco seasoning though, it was a highly calculated mixture of a traditional BBQ rub and Mexican flavours, and it really stood out.

Where am I going with this? Well, the pulled pork sandwich that I had at Embers BBQ House had a very similar flavour. This time however it seemed like it was coming from their BBQ sauce and not the rub, although it may have been both. Not having anything else in this meal with BBQ sauce, it was hard to tell if that is where it was in fact coming from. But where ever it came from, I liked it. I liked it a lot. It is a unique BBQ flavour profile I have only tasted once before and I want more of it. Once the weather gets a little nicer it will be one of my goals to recreate this unique flavour within my own rub.

As far as the french fries go? Well, it really depends on what kind of fry you like. I really enjoyed these, although I know there will be a lot of people who will not. They are full of french fry flavour but kind of on the limp side. The easiest way for me to describe their fries is to compare them to the fries at the classic Dick’s Drive-ins in the Seattle area. These are exactly the same in taste and texture, the only difference is the fries at Embers were a little thicker cut. Dick’s Drive-in fries are infamous in the Seattle area, most people absolutely love them or hate them, and I can see Ember’s fries being the same.

Not surprisingly, the other meal was once again a beef dip sandwich. The meat was juicy and stacked high on the fresh bun.  The cheese was well melted, the onions were carmelized well, and the au jus was dark and full of flavour. Just a really great beef dip sandwich. The only disappointment was the caesar salad’s size. The salad itself was perfectly dressed and had good flavor. There just wasn’t that much of it (three or four bites) especially compared to the heaping mound of fries that came with the pulled pork sandwich.

We wish this place was a little closer to home. We have yet to be able to get out there for dinner as they are closed at 8pm every night and are not open on Sundays or Mondays. If you happen to be out in the valley, Embers is a must stop for good BBQ.

 

Reviewers

M – Beef Dip
B –  Pulled pork sandwich

 

Embers BBQ House
#107-32559 Logan Ave,  Mission BC
Tel: (604) 826-1191
http://www.embersbbqhouse.com
 

Embers BBQ House on Urbanspoon

American Cheesesteak Co. – The Philly and The Cowboy

The Food

The Philly

 

The Philly – beef and cheese. With sauteed onions. Cheese Whiz.
Price: $10.00 for the large

Rating: ★★★★½ 

The Cowboy

The Cowboy – shaved prime rib, crispy fried onions, homemade spicy BBQ sauce, bacon mayo and aged white cheddar
Price: $12.00 for the large

Rating: ★★★★½ 

The Review

What better way to relieve the holiday food monotony than with a messy, juicy cheesesteak? We went out on a grey day with hopes of filling up on cheesesteak and then geocaching the calories away with our dog. By the time we got downtown, the skies had opened up into a torrential downpour, killing our geocaching fun but not our shot at a great cheesesteak.

As we rounded the corner, the fabulous smell of beef and onions cooking on the grill cut through the damp air. Through the window from the street, you get a view down the grill as they brown meat and melt cheese. We had our dog, so we took our sandwiches to go. This means it would be too difficult to juggle any of their side dishes (garlic and Parmesan fries, onion rings, ice cream sandwiches, etc) but from what I could see from the window, we need to go back and try them out too.

In the car, we unwrapped the sandwiches fully to take in all their glory (and snap these photos). We got the sandwiches “large” sized and both were heavy and messy but that is where the similarity ended. It was our first time at the American Cheesesteak Company so at least one of us had to have the standard Philly. The Philly was everything you would expect from a good cheesesteak sandwich. Hot, thin sliced beef with flavorful caramelized onions and a soft bun slick with melted cheese whiz.  I was happy to find that while the bun is soft, it holds up to the juicy fillings, staying together until the last bite. The sandwich was really filling. Next time we go and  if we plan to have sides, I’d go for a smaller one or split a large.

Although the Cowboy had the same base (bun, beef and cheese), it was a completely different beast. The BBQ sauce and bacon mayo changed the flavors dramatically, and the cheese being sliced white cheddar was melted throughout. Thinking that without the wetter Cheese Whiz the sandwich would be a little dry, but it was not, the BBQ sauce was mixed throughout and the bacon mayo ladled along the top really added to the moistness. But the real winner is the crispy fried onion strings that get put on top, they add just a small amount of crunch that offsets the perfectly moist sandwich!

We’ve never been to Philly and therefore have not tried their world famous sandwiches, but we have had several both in Canada and around the United States. In fact, we like them so much that we have a freezer full of pre-sliced ribeye philly cheesesteak meat and make them quite frequently. But the freshness, quality of meat, and topping combinations really stand out at the American Cheesesteak Company.

Next time we’re in the Davie neighbourhood, we will definitely be back for these great sandwiches and to try out their sides as well. When the Cowboy is a calling, it will be hard to ignore!

Reviewers

B –  The Cowboy
M –  The Philly

American Cheesesteak Co.
781 Davie Street, Vancouver, BC, V6Z 2S7
Tel: (604) 681-0130 americancheesesteak.com

The American CheeseSteak Co. on Urbanspoon