• MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Roots Cafe

    Overall Rating 4.5/5

    6502 Main Street, Vancouver, BC

    (604) 568-8303

    Monday to Friday: 8am – 7pm

    Saturday: 9am – 6pm 

    Sunday: 9am – 5pm

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    Our first cafe along the journey was Roots Cafe. We actually made two trips to Roots Cafe because they serve breakfast and lunch so we had to try both.

    Roots Cafe is described as a ‘homey Canadian cafe’ and that it is. A very relaxed vibe is obvious once you walk through the door. The feeling we got is that this is a very chill coffee shop where both local high school and college students come to hang out after school, construction workers come for their morning coffee and lunch, and local employees grab their coffee before work. A busy place at certain times of the day and quiet at other times.

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    We ate breakfast there at about 9:30am and it was clearly a quiet time. When we got there there was only one other person there. We had no issue with it as we got to enjoy a quiet breakfast as a family.

    Their breakfast menu is brief with only 3 options. 2 classic breakfasts with eggs and the usual sides and one breakfast sandwich. I ordered the big breakfast (house made hashbrowns, bacon, turkey sausage, curried baked beans, toast, & 2 free run eggs, scrambled) and Sam had the breakfast sandwich (2 free run eggs topped with cheddar cheese, mixed greens, tomato, onion & mayo on Texas toast. Served with house made hashbrowns). Before we get into the details, let me just say, you need to eat here; everything we ate at this place is fantastic and we never left hungry.

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    The Big Breakfast ($9.95) had plenty of food as you can see from the picture above. The food was seasoned perfectly, this kitchen knows how to use and not abuse salt. The hashbrowns were delicious as they were crispy on the outside and soft cooked perfectly on the inside and seasoned perfectly with a flavour I’m not sure I’ve has before. It almost tasted slightly curried but I can’t say for sure that’s what it was. One thing I’ve never seen on a breakfast plate before is curried beans. Those were very interesting and I must say I enjoyed them although I didn’t finish them. It was such a unique taste that may tastebuds couldn’t take too much of it, but I suggest you try them yourself because it’s an experience in itself.

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    Sam’s breakfast sandwich ($6.95) was large. Large enough that she couldn’t finish it and I got to try what she couldn’t finish. It is presented beautifully with the marbled Texas toast and a side of their house made hashbrowns which was generous as usually breakfast sandwiches don’t come with a side in my experience. As a breakfast sandwich should be, the yolk was runny throughout the sandwich which is a must in a egg sandwich. The mix of the yolk and mayo made a perfect sauce that covered each bite.

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    Salted Caramel Latte (left) and white chocolate mocha (right)
    Since Roots is a cafe we both decided to try a beverage with our breakfasts. Neither of us are regular coffee drinkers, however we gave their white chocolate mocha and salted caramel latte a try. I loved my mocha – which is saying a lot since coffee is not a favourite flavour of mine. Sam enjoyed the salted caramel latte, even though I found it too salty. I don’t believe the latte is available all year round, likely a seasonal beverage. Needless to say breakfast was a hit.

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    While there, we noticed an award for their butter chicken poutine ($10.95), and since we didn’t have room to try it after our breakfasts, we decided we would come back another time for lunch. The award was not lying. Sam and I shared the butter chicken poutine along with two more beverages – white hot chocolate for me and a dark hot chocolate for her. The portion was generous, we’re glad we shared, and it tasted amazing. The fries were nice and crunchy despite being topped with butter chicken. The spiciness of the butter chicken was above average and there was a paste in the middle that had an extra kick was was nice but overall a great balance of flavours and textures. We would suggest mixing the paste in with the rest of the butter chicken. It was the best thing we’ve eaten on this journey so far. We both loved our hot chocolates also, not to sweet but full of flavour.

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    Roots-9
    Dark hot chocolate (left) and white hot chocolate (right)
    Overall, this was as close to a 5/5 as you can get without being a 5/5. If I had to tell give a negative about the place it would be the lack of choice of bread. Usually with breakfasts that include toast you get to choose your bread. White seemed to be the only option here and I expected to have a bit more variety. One last thing was the lack of choice of jam for the toast; I was given strawberry which I quite enjoy but for someone who doesn’t like it I could see this as a problem for them. And, I was only given one thing of jam for 2 slices of toast. I’m sure if I asked for more I could get some but it would have been nice to be served with what was needed. One thought Sam had here was that the beans were meant to go on the toast. As this place is famous for their poutine, a french dish, and beans on toast is a Quebec thing. But again, for someone who doesn’t like that, sufficient jam should be available. Service wasn’t fantastic but as this is not an actual restaurant I’m not sure what was to be expected. Nobody asked us how anything was at any point during being there. After we ordered, we didn’t talk to another employee at all actually. That is just us nitpicking at minor issues, though, because overall everything we ate was fantastic and we left satisfied.

    A couple final things to mention, they are licensed. They have Steel & Oak’s Red Pilsner and Blue Buck on tap. They also make all their sandwiches that you see in the case in house. Go check this place out and make sure to try the butter chicken poutine, you won’t be disappointed.

     

    Food – 5/5 – can’t find a complaint about the food we ate

    Service 4/5 – some sort of interaction after ordering would have been appreciated

    Kid-friendliness- 4.5/5 – no kids’ menu but very accommodating of kids and had a high chair

    Decor – 5/5 – modern, fun, homey feeling

    Value – 5/5 – hot drinks were cheaper and better tasting than Starbucks or any other corporate chain and the food prices were comparable to most places with the added value of a home-cooked feeling

    Never stop adventuring!

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Best Quality Sweets

    Overall Rating – 4.5/5

    7260 Main St, Vancouver, BC

    (604) 324-6677

    Open 7 days a week 9am – 8:30pm

     

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    We’re back. This time we went Indian. Best Quality Sweets is an Indian Vegetarian restaurant. Sorry, no butter chicken here. It was a different style of restaurant as it wasn’t strictly a sit down restaurant but it wasn’t a take out restaurant like Canan either. As you walk in you’re treated to the sight of an amazing arrangement of Indian sweets behind a glass display case. Everything is meticulously organized and it satisfies the OCD within all of us. The cases gave the restaurant a deli-like feel. The whole layout adds to the deli-like feel with display cases, ordering at the counter (for sweets and take out), and a corner with some tables and chairs for eating.

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    Nixon loved looking at the well organized sweets
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    The savoury treats

    We got the feeling in Best Quality Sweets that it is a popular hangout among the local South Asian community as there were mothers with their kids coming in for an after school snack, grandparents sitting and enjoying some sweets and couples in there for a lunch date. We were the only white people in the place but as many of you know, South Asians are extremely hospitable. It felt as though we got some sort of special treatment possibly brought on by the feeling that it isn’t a place frequented by white people. This is just a hunch, we have no idea if that is accurate but it’s the feeling we got and it’s by no means a bad thing. Not only were the employees super friendly and hospitable but the other customers were as well. Nixon has only been walking for about a month and that’s all he wants to do these days. We’re pretty liberal about letting him roam free as long as he isn’t interrupting or disturbing others. There was a family sitting next to us who loved him. They would smile back at him, wave at him and encourage his walking. Everyone here was a pleasure to be around. The place was way too busy for us to take any time to talk to the workers about the place so we didn’t get much other information. For now, let’s just say we felt more than welcome in a place where we were the minority.

    As we sat down we were promptly brought a menu and some water. After browsing the menu we settled on two things. I have said that I will always order the most popular dish and Sam will order whatever seems most appealing but on the menu was the ‘Best Quality Combo’ which came with “Veg. Pakora, Veg. Samosa, Panner Pakora and Alu Tikki”. Since we can’t eat 4 main course-sized dishes we felt that this combo was a great way to sample the 4 different dishes. We also added a garlic naan to our order because anywhere garlic naan is on the menu, garlic naan gets ordered by Sam.

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    The food was mostly excellent. I say mostly because one part of the combo was sub par. The paneer pakora was the sub par dish. For those like ourselves who had no idea what this dish was, it is “cream cheese fritters served with chutney”. The fritters were very dry on the inside and had minimal filling. This was the only disappointing thing throughout our whole experience at Best Quality Sweets. Not even their fantastic chutney could save the panner pakora, though. The veggie samosas were delicious. I’m a sucker for any type of samosa so I was really hoping this was not going to be like the paneer pakora and thank god it wasn’t. The samosas were fantastic. It was very well seasoned with a perfect ratio of potato to the other veggies and a crispy, not greasy crust brought my mouth into samosa heaven. The veggie pakora was Sam’s favourite. Vegetable pakora is “mixed vegetarian fritters served with chutney”. As you see in the picture, the plate is finished with a serving of these fritters. There were plenty of them and they were great. The vegetables from what we could tell were cauliflower, potatoes (regular and sweet), bell peppers, cabbage and eggplant. They were deep fried and the batter was so tasty that even if you don’t like one of those vegetables, chances are you won’t even notice. The Alu Tikki was my favourite. It is a spiced potato patty that is deep fried. Basically, it was a very tasty, slightly spicy, deep fried mashed potato patty and I loved every bit of it. I have nothing bad to say about it. Our combo was served with two chutneys, one which was a fresh pesto-like spicy chutney of cilantro, mint, lime juice, and green chiles. The spice was definitely noticeable but not over powering although if you aren’t a fan of spice it would likely be too much for you. If that’s you, then you would love the other chutney served with our meal which was tamarind. It is a sweet and sour chutney and Sam lathered it over everything she ate. It was her favourite. I enjoy spice a little more so the first chutney was my favourite. The garlic naan was great as it was served warm and we got 2 big pieces. An easy way to ruin naan is for it to be dry, this was not. They also threw in 2 spring rolls that we were pretty sure we weren’t supposed to get but they were yummy too. Overall, the combo was great and we would definitely order it again. We didn’t finish all of it between us so we had a snack later that evening. A bonus – Nixon loved most if it as well!

     

    The name of the place is Best Quality Sweets so we couldn’t leave without trying some sweets. The most appealing to us was the gulab jamun which is “deep fried cake balls dipped in honey, served warm”. My experience in the past with Indian sweets is that they are terribly sweet. Neither of us would consider ourselves sweet tooths so we were hesitant. Our hesitancy was not needed. The sweetness was well balanced throughout the cake ball (basically a Timbit) and serving it warm just felt right. The inside was moist and the honey provided a perfect amount of sweetness. We were given 2 and it was the perfect way to finish the meal.

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    All in all, the value was tremendous. $7.99 to enjoy 4 dishes with enough food that we took home leftovers? Yes please! The naan was $2 as were the 2 gulab jamun. In total we paid $12 for a lot of delicious food.

    The decor was nothing fancy. There were a few interesting pieces of Indian art but other than that it was nothing worth going back for. Good thing we didn’t go for the decor and we went for the food. Much like Wo’s, we didn’t have high expectations for decor and therefore it wasn’t a disappointment.

    The restaurant had a high chair that we saw after but we had already started our meal and we didn’t bother with it. There was no kids menu, not that we expected one here, but they had no issue with Nixon wandering around the restaurant so we were happy.

    Overall, we would definitely go back to Best Quality Sweets and we were very happy with our 3rd stop on Main Street Eats.

    Food – 4.5/5 – one dish was sub par but the rest were excellent

    Service 5/5 – very welcoming and didn’t have to ask for anything

    Kid Friendliness – 4.5/5 – no kids’ menu but very accommodating of kids and had a high chair

    Decor – 3.5/5 nothing special but not ugly

    Value – 5/5 – lots of food for not a lot of money

    Never stop adventuring!

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Canan Pizza

    Overall Rating – 4/5


    Open 7 Days A Week 4pm – 12am

     

    Thanks for coming back to check out our next restaurant review for Main Street Eats. This time, we had pizza. It’s hard to hate a pizza, right? For us, there are two things that can ruin a pizza: too much crust and not enough toppings.

    Canan Pizza is strictly a take out or delivery pizza place. They have 4 seats inside for people waiting to pick up their order but otherwise there is very limited space inside, we’re talking maybe 100 square feet. In the picture below I’m standing at the entrance with no zoom to give you an idea of how small it is. To my left where the table with magazines on it is is right beside the 4 chairs. The counter in the middle is where you order and to the right of the man is a very small counter to pay at.


    We went in to order our pizza. We wanted to talk to whomever was working so we could talk a little bit about the place and find out what their most popular order was. They have no website but if you want to see the menu online you can use this link. After reading through their menu (they have paper pamphlets at their counter where you pay, just like the one in the link) Sam decided the most appealing thing on the menu was their Chicken Caesar Pizza; here is the menu description of it: Chicken caesar dressing, blended cheese, crumbled bacon, onions and tomato all topped with savory parmesean cheese. Sounds like a chicken caesar salad to me, minus the onion, we don’t put onion on our chicken caesar salad, but maybe you do. After talking to the very polite gentlemen at the counter we found out that their most popular order was the House Special; here is the menu description of it: Pepperoni, ham, onion, mushrooms, green peppers and black olives. We felt this was a pretty standard house pizza description. We ordered it without mushrooms and black olives. I don’t like black olives, or any olives, and Sam doesn’t like mushrooms and it wouldn’t be fair to Canan if we reviewed their pizza with ingredients we didn’t like because for us it would ruin the pizza.

    So, how was the pizza? Like we mentioned earlier, we don’t put onion on our chicken caesar salad so having onion on that pizza was a little bit weird for us. It added a nice textural component with the crunch it provided but the taste threw off the overall chicken caesar feel. That being said, the rest of the pizza was great. Caesar can be overpowering but they seemed to find the perfect balance because you could taste it, but it didn’t overwhelm your taste buds. I do wish there was more bacon though because, well, who doesn’t like more bacon? I couldn’t really taste it and honestly until I read the menu again I didn’t even know there was bacon on it. The amount of chicken on the pizza was very generous which we both appreciated. Overall, this pizza is an easy 5/5 with more bacon and less, or no, onion. For now, it gets a 4/5; the lack of bacon and the onion each knock it down half a point.

    House Special Pizza
    Chicken Caesar Pizza

    What about the House Special? This pizza was pretty standard in terms of what we expected. It had a generous amount of meat, one full layer of pepperoni and one full layer of ham. Unfortunately, this pizza had an onion issue also. The onion was the first topping laid down after the sauce. So, imagine you’re making a pizza and on the crust goes sauce then onion, then pepperoni, then ham, then cheese, then green pepper (and black olives and mushrooms if you order it with those toppings). That’s how this pizza was made. The onion on the bottom of the pizza and the green pepper on the top added a crazy amount of crunch. The problem was, too much onion! In every bite you had at least 10+ pieces of diced onion; to us, that’s a little bit excessive. This onion issue was greater than the chicken caesar onion issue so this time it knocks it down a full point because it did overpower most bites. So, again a 4/5.

    We haven’t talked about the crust yet. Well, this is what kept both pizzas at a 4/5 and didn’t bring them down further. This was one of the best crusts we’ve ever had. It’s not fair to compare it to what we ate in New York earlier this year (read about that trip here is you wish) because most New York pizza is thin crust. Canan had what we would call regular thickness crust, but it was awesome. The outside had a great crispness to it that provided a good crunch but under that it was soft and easy to get through. The ratio of crust to topping was perfect. We’ve all had a pizza with way too much crust and not enough toppings, right? That’s an easy way to screw up a pizza as we mentioned earlier. Canan nailed it. Fantastic crust.

    Your can see how well proportioned the crust is

    It isn’t fair to rate Canan’s kid friendliness because they’re strictly a take out/delivery restaurant. The decor also isn’t really fair to rate for the same reason, you’re spending no more than 5 minutes in there at a time.

    We will rate their service, though. After we ordered we were told it would be about 25-30 minutes. We walked out of there with our pizza after 28 minutes. It’s hard not to give a 5/5 for service after that. Plus, like we mentioned earlier, the gentleman who took our order was very kind and had no problem discussing the menu with us.

    In the comments last time, one reader mentioned they would like to see us talk about value. Did we feel like what we paid was fair for what we got? Their prices are quite reasonable and they market themselves as a ‘2 for 1’ joint. The price inside on their wall menu assumes you’re ordering 2 pizzas:


    We ordered 2 medium pizzas and after tax it was $24. $12/pizza we felt was very reasonable. If you order from Panago, their specialty pizzas will cost you about $15 for a medium so we consider this to be excellent value because it has that homey feel vs a corporate joint.

    Overall, we enjoyed the pizza we had, and we enjoyed it the next day also as there was one whole pizza of leftovers, and the value was great. Fix the onion issues and this place was close to perfect for us.

    Food – 4/5 – less onion, more bacon

    Service 5/5 – right on time

    Kid Friendliness – not applicable

    Decor – not applicable

    Value – 5/5 – can’t complain about the prices

    Never stop adventuring!

     

  • MAIN STREET EATS

    Main Street Eats: Wo’s Chinese Restaurant

    Out next newest segment on the blog, Main Street Eats. Our goal is to eat at every restaurant on Main Street in Vancouver. We will be starting at Wo’s Chinese Restaurant on the south end of Main Street making our way north along the east side all the way to Waterfront Street then back down the west side of Main Street heading south back to Marine Drive. We will skip chain restaurant but stop at every other joint that sells food. Sam will always order whatever looks most appealing on the menu and I will order whatever the most popular meal is.

    Throughout this series, we will be rating the restaurants on the following categories: food, decor, kid-friendliness and service.

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    This is what the front of the restaurant looks like from Main Street.

    A few days ago we ate at our first restaurant, Wo’s Chinese Restaurant. You know those restaurants you see and you think to yourself ‘there’s a 50/50 chance I come out of there with food poisoning’? That was this place. But this place is also a ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ place because it was excellent.

    As you enter Wo’s it feels like any other restaurant, tables, chairs, people. Nothing special about the decor, just regular wooden tables and chairs. It’s a seat yourself place; at least it was for us.

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    Wo’s provides high chairs for families that need one.

    We were quickly greeted and tea was brought to our table along with a menu. We poured the tea ourselves and it was your standard Chinese tea, which we both love. They also offered us a high chair for Nixon which we appreciated because, to be honest, we weren’t expecting them to have one. The waitress brought one over and set it at the table. This was awesome because Nixon doesn’t sit still so putting him in an adult chair is always risky. He’s fallen off them before but he doesn’t learn lessons very quickly so it’ll take a few more falls before he learns. Maybe. Hopefully.

    As you can see from the menu (add about $1 to each of these prices as they are old), the food is very reasonably priced for lunch. Our one issue with their kid friendliness is they don’t have a kid’s menu. This is an issue because the adult portions are so big. Or not an issue if you feel like sharing with your kids, depends how you look at it. The dinner menu is slightly more but not by much, depending on what you order. I ordered Chicken Chow Mein and Sam ordered Fried Shanghai Noodles with Pork. Both came with your choice of hot & sour soup, chicken corn soup or a pop. I ordered the hot & sour soup and Sam ordered the chicken corn soup. The soup was our only issue with the food at Wo’s. The soup has a very gelatinous texture. The taste is great but if you’re a texture eater like Sam then you won’t enjoy the soup. They were, however, nice enough to bring a kids bowl and kids spoon for Nixon to use which we really appreciated.

     

    Now, the main event, the food. Well, both meals were excellent. I would say top 5 Chinese food I’ve ever had. Everything was seasoned very well, tasted great and the portions were massive. Sometimes I worry about these places cheaping out on the protein but I had plenty of chicken and Sam’s meal had a very generous amount of pork. I was impressed. The portion was so big that neither of us finished our food. I got about two thirds the way through my meal and Sam got maybe halfway hers. Needless to say, dinner was taken care of that night. The waitress happily packed up our leftovers into the classic styrofoam containers for us to take home. All that for less than $20!

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    Less than $20 for lunch (and dinner leftovers) for 3!

    A few things to note about Wo’s: They are closed on Tuesdays, seems like a random day to be closed to me but that’s their day off I guess. Nobody in the restaurant that served our table spoke great English. It was good enough to get by but while we were ordering, Sam wanted to make a substitution and the waitress didn’t understand so we just left it; it was a minor deal but it can be frustrating for some people. The last great thing about Wo’s, free parking. If you drive around to the back, there is a a little 4-stall parking lot that

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    Nixon’s stamp of approval after a full belly of Chinese food

    Overall, we would highly recommend Wo’s Chinese Restaurant to anyone looking for some quality, but well-priced Chinese food. See our ratings below:

    Food: 5/5 – excellent all around

    Decor: 2/5 – boring but we didn’t go there for the decor

    Kid-friendliness: 4/5 – would have been 5/5 if they had a kid’s menu

    Service: 4/5 – poor English, otherwise it would have been a 5/5

    Never stop adventuring!