Thursday, 29 December 2011

Best and Worst of 2011

So I've only been doing this blog for less than 2 months.. but it's the end of the year so I decided to give the best and worst of what I experienced while blogging the dining experiences of Fort McMurray.

                                                                        The Best thing I ate:
                                                          Clubhouse with Poutine at Table 63
I don't know if it was the overwhelming positive changes the restaurant made with it's renovations but when I dined at Table 63 I was impressed with not only the new decor but also this Clubhouse with Beer Battered Fries Poutine. The sandwich was one of the best clubhouses I have ever eaten in my 29 years of living.  The poutine was amazing. I do have to say this though, I went back and had the clubhouse since I did the blog and it wasn't nearly as good as the first time I had it there. I don't know if it was a different cook or maybe I wasn't as hungry as I was then but it was lacking.. something. I would still recommend trying your luck on it. I'm probably going to try one more time to ensure if it's the real deal or I just lucked out one time.

                                               What I ate 10-20 times in the past 2 months:
                                                         Wor Won Ton at Frontier Dining
I know this probably isn't the greatest bowl of wor won ton soup known to man. But it certainly is the best bowl of wor won ton known to me. And since I am famous (Fort McMurray Today did a profile on me.. yes I will be doing an autograph session at the next restaurant I am attending) that counts for something. Remember, add hot sauce to it to make this great dish even more amazing.

                                                                      Worst thing I ate:
                                                        Firecracker Stirfry from Wok Box

This was a horrible horrible dish. If you can't continue eating and then go to a Mcdonald's to get something thats BETTER than what you just ate, then there's your review right there. Wok Box tries to give you something unique and always comes up short and bland. Avoid at all costs

Best Service in Fort McMurray:
I've drank and dined at this bar on numerous occasions and not only has the food been great (best thing I've had so far would be the Longshots Burger) but the service has always been amazing here. Friendly staff, very fun atmosphere, and just the ideal place to go out, have great pub food and have a few cold ones with your friends. I always know I'm going to have a good time if I know I am going to Longshots. My only recommendation is this: If you're going to try Poutine Wings or the Hot Chocolate Wings just remember just because you like them all separate, combined isn't always going to equal the same response. 

I think that's going to wrap up my Best and Worst of 2011. Check back into 2012 where I will be experiencing other locales in Fort McMurray. Please leave a comment and suggest on places I should try out. 

Remember, Be well, and eat even better.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Mucho Burrito

I decided to check out Mucho Burrito today for lunch.
It's located down in the same area as Wok Box and Source Adult.

This is the newest restaurant/fast food in town. This is a franchise that has locations in Canada, the United States and other countries over the world.

As you can tell by the name of the franchise this is based around Mexican cuisine. Now I know we have a taco bell (which is the worst) and we also have a taco time (which is almost as bad as taco bell) so it's nice to see a place that boasts fresh daily salsas and other fresh ingredients.

At 1pm this place was pretty busy, there was a line up of about 8 people ahead of us. I'm trying to figure out if it's busy because it's new of if it's busy because of the food. The people working the counter were polite, quick and friendly. This is something I haven't seen in a fast food place in a long time. With the 8 people ahead of us it didn't take too long for me to place my order. I got a Burrito. Yeah I know.. real original. I had rice and vegetables and I could have had beans, and then for your protein your options are sausage, steak, chicken, some sort of fish. I went with the chicken. Now for salsa (WHICH IS FRESH!) I had a corn based salsa with some hot salsa thrown in. Add some cheese, sour cream, fresh cilantro, jalapenos and BOOM you got yourself lunch baby.

For 12 dollars I had this burrito and a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. Now I need to say Guacamole is an extra dollar but it's worth it. So much flavour, heat, and freshness in this meal.

The service was quick, the place was clean, the food is great. It's worth more than you'd pay at McDonald's and is there any other fast food place in town boasting fresh?

Check this place out I highly recommend it. I only hope that this place continues to stay busy and doesn't lose customers as it becomes part of the Fort McMurray foodsphere.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Islander - December 14th

I decided to check out the Islander today for lunch.
The Islander is located up in Gregoire in the same group of buildings that The Experts (formerly Pizza Experts) and Frontier Dining are located in.

And as you can see they have a lunch buffet. Now I had a hard time deciding if I should do a blog on chinese buffet food. I asked several of my coworkers who more or less pointed out that buffet food isn't the best food that a place would offer. This is very true. You can't argue buffet food would be on the same page as their regular menu, the food is out under heat lamps, being mauled by every hungry customer who wants just a little bit more, just a little bit more.  It was actually my brother @daveenwood who said that the point of the blog is to suggest food, so in this case, would I suggest the buffet from The Islander? It was with this sense of understanding what this blog is capable of that I decided that yes, I will try the buffet.

Now if you've never been to the Islander, you'll be almost confused by the decor as the decor in Frontier Dining.. I totally get it's Christmas, and there are lights and what not for being festive, but they also have a huge TV on the end of the bar area with sports on it. Today was Tennis. Now I don't know about you or your Aunt June, but whenever I go to a Chinese restaurant I'm not going to catch up on the latest tennis match. Also green? Is it needed? No. I don't ever envision the person who was moving into this location to pick this decor as the best way to exemplify their vision.

This place was much busier than I anticipated but I am assuming with a buffet most places are busier than they deserve to be. The service was surprisingly not bad considering it was one person manning the whole front end. Some places (frontier dining) could really learn from this. I am not saying tending to patrons is an easy task but it seems like this guy actually puts in an effort and I commend him for it.

Okay anyways, to the food!
It was a fairly typical Chinese layout for a buffet. There was a few soups, about 12 hot dishes and a small selection of desserts. The food was pretty good considering it was a buffet, and the only real complaint I had was the rice was crunchy at times. I don't know if it was because it was over cooked or under cooked. I am not a rice wizard who can magically make rice so I don't know how it's made I can only assume it wasn't cooked to the right level of awesomeness. Can you honestly go wrong with deep fried food? Well in a healthy eating situation yeah but.. still..  One thing that was curiously not on the buffet spread was Chicken balls. I'm not a fan of chicken balls so it wasn't something I was going to frown about but it's still kinda odd. They push chicken balls in every other Chinese place.. but not here I guess.

The highlights on the buffet was the sweet and sour chicken stuff. I would also like to note that the desserts were more or less store bought. This is understandable as well seeing that I've never heard of a Chinese Restaurant specializing in desserts. But guess what, Seriously guess! I'll wait.. Nope you were wrong. They had lime jello! I rocked out on that stuff. Speaking of rocking out. They had quite the eclectic mix playing. Chinese music, and Billy Joel? Don't mind if I do.

When it comes down to it, the food wasn't bad, the place looks pretty messed up they were missing some  classic western Chinese staples and they ruined the rice.. I would recommend this place regardless of these mishaps. The price wasn't bad either.

So check it out or don't. I'm on the fence with this experience. I wish I was more decisive. Would I go back again? Yeah probably but it'll be a long long time until I do that again.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Aurora Bar & Grill - Dec 6

Today I was meeting up with an old co worker for lunch, he suggested to go to the Aurora Bar & Grill and since I haven't reviewed there yet it made sense to go check it out.

The restaurant is located at the  Radisson hotel up in Gregoire. It's across the street from the Mcdonald's and beside the United Furniture. Like most places in this great great city of Fort McMurray, parking isn't always the best but there is plenty of parking along the sides or in the back.

The place isn't the most well lit and while the decor is tasteful it's also fairly bland. There isn't anything that really draws your eyes except for maybe the stained glass but even that seems a little drab.
Mind you from the picture that they use on their website it looks a lot better than how I took it.
Mind you I don't think they had this much lighting on the go or that they were trying to make the place look elegant today when I walked in.

The service wasn't bad, but that could have depended on the fact that we were one of the only two tables that had people there at 1pm. I'm going to assume that this place doesn't get too busy at all, but that's an assumption. I've been there once on a friday and I think they have a fish special and there was more people there but that was also about 5 months ago so what do I know? I suppose I could have asked how busy they got but I am shy goddamnit. 

I decided on copying Josh and got the Angus Burger with fries and gravy. 

Now I wouldn't expect a restaurant in a hotel to make their own patties and obviously I was correct in this assumption. I'm always iffy on ordering a burger. When it's freshly made juicy is awesome. When it's frozen, juicy doesn't really work. The texture doesn't really come together and it becomes fairly unappealing if you're paying attention to what you're eating. The fries were okay, but honestly it's pretty much impossible to screw up fries. The gravy is run of the mill. Nothing in this meal was over all appealing, although it wasn't horrible either. Just like the decor, it works but nothing really stands out.

To sum up the experience I had at Aurora Bar & Grill, the place isn't memorable. I seriously had to google to get the actual name right and I had to text Josh to find out what we ordered. I know I can be forgetful but I think if anything really stood out I would have remembered something.

Sidenote: This place used to be Fog and Suds, which was one of the first places in town that offered the Tower of beer. They also had beer from all over the world, it was kinda a neat idea. Obviously it didn't work out though and now we are left with a very bland restaurant in it's place. And I wondered if this place ever got busy? I think I figured out my own question.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Longshots November 30th

I've heard rumblings on twitter and from word of mouth that there was a place in town that served Poutine Wings.. Yes, gravy, cheese, and fried chicken wings. This place is Longshots. This is the reason behind my adventure. I must try these wings.

If you haven't been to Longshots before it's across the street from the Bridgeport Inn down town, close to Mrs. B's (I'll do a review of that place sometime I'm sure). This place is a sports bar, and it's a Rough Rider fan's place to be come game time..

I've been to this pub many times, and every single time I have had great service. The staff is friendly, sociable and make you feel like this is a place where your business is wanted and appreciated. A few weeks back we had a tweetup at this pub, they reserved a section for us and we had a great time. Well, I had a great time. I got extremely intoxicated and danced. There's video somewhere online of this.

But this post is not about me tapping my toes while intoxicated. It's about food!
So I ordered the Poutine Wings and since I didn't feel right rating just wings I also ordered a clubhouse with a Potato and Bacon cream soup.

Okay, the waitress wouldn't say that these taste good, only that they were different. This is the best way to describe it. Gravy? Good! Cheese? Yes Please!! Wings? Yep! Gravy, cheese and wings? NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. It doesn't work. I applaud the attempt of thinking outside the box but it should be put back in the box, sealed, and stored away in a terrible memory. I talked to Nolan afterwards (we are all on a first name basis or nickname on this blog now keep up) and he said the Salt and Pepper is the way to go or their Rough Riders wings which are concocted with some sort of hot sauce I am going to assume is green.

The clubhouse was good.. I talked to Alex and David about this. It's rare you'll find an amazing clubhouse (I DID AT TABLE 63!!) It's either good or processed. This was good. It filled the right spot and I would order it again for the sake of knowing I'm getting something that isn't terrible. Now the highlight of the night was the soup. Cream of Potato and Bacon. This was the best thing I ate tonight. It filled the void I had from working in the cold today and it really warmed me up. There's something nostalgic about a cream based soup, especially in winter time.

Longshots is a great pub, I would honestly say for the atmosphere, food, and general good times this is one of the better spots to go for a bite to eat and a pint of your favourite Ale (bud light here, so if you see me you already know what I like to drink and yes I'll have one. Thanks for offering.)

I like the idea of going outside of the standard presentations of chicken wings but Poutine Wings fell flat, the clubhouse wasn't processed so it was good but not amazing and the potato and bacon soup was the highlight.

Sidenote: While most places in town celebrate wing Wednesday Longshots doesn't. They use Sunday as that special day of fried goodness. Also before Longshots came to be the location housed a steak house that was named Cedars.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Table 63 - November 24

For lunch today I went to Table 63 which is located at the Quality Hotel. Now I've been in Fort McMurray for a while now and I've been to this restaurant when it was a different name, and when it was a changed name. It always looked the same, but had the same poor food. I was hoping to see some sort of improvement and I was blown away. They have transformed the restaurant with a whole new renovation. It looks classy, it's open, sophisticated and a real attempt to bring some class to the hotel. I must say that an issue I had when I first went is I wasn't sure if I was to wait to be seated or to just seat myself. What I did after waiting at the front was I stood at a table until she said I could sit there.

They have a lunch buffet on I think every week day but I decided against it. I would also like to mention that the buffet they do have there is much smaller than the saw ridge's but I cannot tell you what was served or how it tasted. What I can tell you is they removed the bathrooms and opened up that area and the whole restaurant looks amazing.

I decided for something simple. Clubhouse on whole wheat with a poutine.
The fries are dipped in beer batter and are absolutely amazing. The clubhouse has to be one of the best I've ever had in my lifetime of clubhouses. I cannot explain to you in every precise detail how much I loved this sandwich fry combination. I was in food heaven. I've had clubhouses that have been horrible and fries that you need to drown in ketchup to get through but this here, this was enjoyable from the beginning to the end. My bill was over 20 dollars. I know that the sandwich with fries was supposed to be about 13 dollars but I think they charged me for a poutine and then a pop which seems kinda odd.. it should have been an extra dollar or two at the most on the sandwich but it wasn't.

It was still worth it though. This is the first meal I've had since I started this blog that I can sit here and fully say I loved it. I loved the restaurant, the food, the atmosphere, everything.  Go check out Table 63, try the fries and eat the clubhouse, I promise you that you'll love it. If you don't you're no friend of mine mister.

Side note: I used to work at the Quality when it was called the Mackenzie Park Inn. I was a front desk supervisor and I was totally awesome. 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Wok Box - November 23rd and delivery from Boston Pizza Timberlea

Today for lunch I went down to the Wok Box. In case you're not aware of the location it is down in the business corner like across the street from Keyano. It's also right beside Adult Source Video (where I worked for a couple of days a long long time ago). When I walked in I saw a poster they have pushing some new food to try. The poster was colorful, and eye catching so I decided to try the Firecracker Stirfry.
(picture taken from
I have to tell you, I've had okay food from Wok Box (butter chicken), I've had great food at Wok Box (mongolian beef) and now I can say I've had horrible food (firecracker stirfry).
The sauce is very spicy, hence the term firecracker and it's something I did enjoy out of it. It has pieces of bacon (poorly cooked and not really appealing) and chinese sausage (quite tasteless). The issue I have with this meal was the green stuff in it. I don't know if that's kim chee. Is it? If that's not Kim Chee then  I am going to classify as seaweed (it tasted salt watery and disgusting). There was something else in my meal that Sean said was Kim Chee and it was cold and horrible to have in a mouthful of hot spicy noodles.

I ate less than half my meal and when we were driving up to work we went to the McDonald's drive through and I had a quarter pounder with cheese and bacon and nothing else on it and I want to tell you I don't know if it was because of my previous poor food choice but that hamburger was simply amazing. AMAZING!

I am on the fence with the wok box. I appreciate what they are trying to do with their menu, it's broad in it's options which can be a good thing but I've found it more often than not missing the ideal mark. If the food you are looking for is authentic then you came to the wrong place. If you want something that's a knock off, then this is up your ally. If you've only experienced butter chicken from wok box you honestly have no idea how amazing it is and what you really are missing.

Now tonight we ordered Boston Pizza for supper.
I'm not going to get into what the food tasted like (it was okay, never amazing, but serviceable). What I want to talk about is how they have a hard time getting the order right. After Megan read back the order to me and I confirmed it with her she still punched it in as 1 chicken fingers when 2 orders was placed, also I ordered a salad to go with my hamburger and it came with just the burger. No fries, salad, no note telling me to go fuck myself. NOTHING. Also, the delivery was about an hour. I've had worst times but it seems the bare minimum for delivery is an hour.

Unfortunately when it comes to delivery there aren't as many options as there is to eat out. I didn't want to dedicate a full blog to delivery food but I mean it's not always bad to get food delivered. While waiting I watched hockey, ran on the treadmill, and talked about sports and music with my good friend Steve. 

If you want to try the Wok Box, I'm not saying don't try it, just please avoid the Firecracker Stirfry and the butter chicken and if you're doing the delivery route with Boston Pizza read back the order, ensure it's right and be prepared to be waiting for at least an hour.

Side note: The location that is the Wok Box used to be 2 different bars, one of which hosted open mic nights about 10 years ago. Does anyone remember the names of those bars? 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Frontier Dining - November 16th

I get an hour long lunch break. Now I know some of you are dying to have an hour long lunch break, or some already have them and like them. Me personally? I hate them. If I bring a lunch, I am done eating within 20 minutes and then I have 40 minutes to kill. My work place doesn't have a lunch room or anywhere to really go and relax. So I have to go out for lunches.

Today I went to: Frontier Dining!
Yes, this is the place that is a "steakhouse with Chinese cuisine" They seriously need a different name, different place mats, different decor. If one restaurant was able to get a restaurant makeover I would submit Frontier Dining.

I ordered a small Wor Won ton. Now even though it the title has small in it, it's a meal:
Besides the typical won tons, you get pork, chicken, shrimp bokchoy, some noodle things and a whole lot of flavor. Heres a great idea: Get some hot sauce to go with it. It will blow your mind. I absolutely LOVE this wonton. I will admit I am not a connoisseur when it comes to won tons, but I know what I like and I like this.
The soup and a glass of pop was like $16.00 which isn't on the cheap end of lunch but I mean you go get a sandwich somewhere else it'll cost you like 10 bucks. This soup really hits the spot on a cold day. I cannot recommend it enough.

The service was good, they don't seem to be pushy but they also never come by to check if everything's okay with the food or if you need another drink. Which could be a good thing seeing how so it's not free refills on the pop.

So while the decor is to be desired, the name of the place should be changed, and the service while adequate could be more conscientious of the patrons, the wor won ton soup is worth it all.

Sidenote: Frontier Dining was one of the very last restaurants to give into the no smoking policy. Want to know other ones? OJ's and Dairy Queen. Yeah, Dairy Queen.

Friday, 11 November 2011

Moxies - November 10th

I got off of work and it was decided my friends and I wanted to go out, have a meal, and get drunk.
This is what we did.
The place that we went to was Moxies. In case you haven't gone down to Moxies since they have done their renovations I recommend you do. The atmosphere in the lounge area is great, the lighting is great, the seating makes sense, it just works.
Our server was Jasmine, and she was super nice, pretty quick with our drinks and just someone who looked after us fairly well.
David went with his usual chicken tenders and beef vindaloo, Al went with chicken fingers and fries, Bill did fish and chips, Spank had the beef dip, and Rojo had dry ribs. Now before I get into my meal I just want to say that spank gave his beef dip a 4 spanks out of 10. And Rojo said that the dry ribs while had a lot of meat on them weren't salted enough for him.
Moxies has a holiday feature menu that ends in late December so I decided to try a starter from that. I got the Lettuce Wraps:
As Spank pointed out, it looked like I was given a head of lettuce. Now I've never had a lettuce wrap before but I was really looking forward to trying something new. The chicken and noodles were spicy and had a lot of flavour which was great to see. The only issue I have with this starter is that it's extremely messy. I ended up having the sauce spill out of my wrap, over my hands and the table. I know, classy right? I asked for some moist towelettes and Jasmine was great and hooked me up with 4! 

For my starter I went with something I normally wouldn't order. I got the Citrus Chicken Salad:

the salad had a lot of flavour to it, but it could have used more avocado. The avocado that was in the salad was extremely mushy and it didn't look too appealing. So to sum up the avocado situation: I wanted more but it was mushy and unappealing. The greens seemed fresh, I didn't see any bad pieces that I seem to have a tendency of finding, and the tomato was a nice touch. I did have a problem with the chicken though. It lacked flavour. They nailed it with the chicken in the lettuce wraps and then came up short with the salad.

Would I recommend Moxies? Absolutely. Great renovation makes it feel more updated, casual, and an excellent atmosphere. Mix that in with good service and why wouldn't you want to come here? Would I recommend the food I had? I recommend the lettuce wraps, I do not recommend the salad. I've had great food from Moxies in the past but while doing this blog I'm trying to step out of my comfort zone and try new food and perhaps come across something great (lettuce wraps). To find something new and exciting it is certainly worth trying something different.

A note about Moxies: They are one of the few restaurants that do not post their food content (calories, sodium, etc) If you search around on the internet there are people who have tried to get nutritional information about their food and they refused to do it. This is one of the reasons why I try to stay clear of Moxies, it's great food but sometimes I like to know what I'm eating.

Be well, and eat even better.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

November 09 2011 - Alexander's

With news that there was an accident on the NB bridge after I got off work I decided it'd be best to hit up my friend Sean to see if he wanted to meet downtown for supper and to wait out the traffic. Not only was he game but he even offered to pay. What a guy! He suggested Alexander's and I decided that since he was paying he should have the say.

Now if you've never been to Alexander's let me give you a heads up as to the location of the pub. It's at the Merrit hotel kitty corner from Keyano College. The parking isn't that great, but honestly, it's Fort McMurray, tell me where there's great parking. Please. The decor seems to be a toss up between a sports bar (various tv's hanging everywhere) and a lounge, low lighting, an area for open mic night. I honestly think the idea behind Alexander's is trying to get anybody in, doesn't matter what kind of crowd, as long as they come in.

Our waitress was great, we got our beer and we ordered soup for starters. I must say, the Clam Chowder was pretty great. I don't have a whole lot to compare it too because I've never tried it before but I really did enjoy this bowl of chowder. I ordered the blackened chicken melt as my meal and it seemed like it was an attempt at chicken in a grilled cheese situation. The toast was soggy from the butter and it wasn't appealing to eat. The flavors were fine, you can't screw up chicken and melted cheese too badly. I just think that the sandwich presented to me could have been executed in a better fashion. No one likes soggy toast, unless you're putting it in tea.

Also worth noting, we had no silverwear and when our food was brought to us the guy asked, "Oh is there something wrong?" and I said, "Could I get silverware please?" His response as he went to go get me my silverware: "Silverware, now that's a novel idea" What do I do to respond to this?

To sum it up, Alexander's wasn't horrible, it wasn't great. Service was good to great, food was poor to great. Would I recommend it? Not really. Would I ever go back? Yeah I would there are only so many options in town and there are certainly worse places out there.

Side note: I'm trying to figure out how to add my sarcasm, humor, and attitude into a blog. It'll get better. I promise.