Belgian Fries

 

 

Belgian Fries: 1885 Commercial   Drive, VancouverBC

4/5 stars

 

A Commercial Drive staple, Belgian Fries offers a selection of sandwiches, fried foods, and beverages.

 

Located on Commercial Drive at 3rd Avenue, Belgian Fries is a spacious place with about 30 seats indoors and more on its outdoor patio. With its relaxed and casual atmosphere, I would consider this a restaurant for a quick bite. But at the same time, it is inviting enough for you to feel welcomed to stay longer and chat with friends. It generally does not get too busy, so the restaurant staff are not pushy to have you eat and leave. However, the wooden chairs can get uncomfortable.

 

Orders are placed at the cashier and you are given a ticket. Once your order is ready, your number is called and you retrieve it from the counter. Iced water and condiments are self-served. Service is quick; I waited around five minutes for my order.

 

The menu features several poutine options, ranging in price from roughly $7 to $11, with medium and large portions available. Poutine is a Canadian dish, originally from Quebec, made with french fries, covered with a light gravy and cheese curds. Belgian Fries has vegetarian and meat poutine topped with smoked meat, egg, or veggies. I ordered the classic poutine, and it was what you would expect. But the cheese curds were not melting, which lessened the experience for me, because they just ended up tasting rubbery and cold.

 

The menu also includes burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, and fried finger foods such as chicken wing, but the dessert items stood out the most for me. Not every day are you able to find deep fried Mars bars or deep fried ice cream. I gave them both a try, and immediately heard my guilty conscience speaking to me. It tasted like a tsunami of oil and pure sugar in my mouth. While the first bite was delicious, it was simply too much for me to consume.

 

Overall the variety of poutine options as well as the deep fried desserts are what draw me to Belgian Fries. There is a good selection of items available, and I enjoyed the laid back atmosphere here. It is a good place to grab a snack, with an emphasis on fried foods.

 

 

Peaceful Restaurant

532 West Broadway, VancouverBC

43 East 5th   Avenue, VancouverBC

2394 West 4th   Avenue, VancouverBC

www.peacefulrestaurant.com

3/5 stars

 

A popular Chinese food restaurant with an extensive menu. Definitely not lacking grease and MSG.

 

Peaceful Restaurant’s West Broadway location was the first to open, and is constantly busy, thanks to it being centrally situated among offices, shops, and close to bus stops and the Skytrain. It is a small space, and tables are close together. You could easily eavesdrop on the next table’s conversation. When it becomes busy, patrons are asked to share tables. Because this location is so busy and cramped, it automatically has a fast-food vibe; service staff, who speak fluent English, Mandarin, and Cantonese, are always rushing to take your order, to clean, and to serve. This means service is prompt, but at the same time, don’t expect attentiveness.

 

The menu consists of soup noodles, saucy noodles, stir fried noodles, mains (for sharing), appetizers, dim sum, and alcoholic beverages. The beef roll and xiao long bao (steamed pork dumpling) appear to be favorites among customers. We ordered the stewed lamb noodle, Beijing ‘zha jiang’ noodle (saucy noodle), and xiao long bao (‘XLB’) to share. The broth is delicious and portions are good for the price. There is a good variety of meats and veggie in the noodles. But the presentation is not exactly grade A; it appears that all the items were thrown together into the bowl in a messy fashion. The xiao long bao arrived later, and were rather ordinary. I have had my share of these tasty bite-sized delights and Peaceful’s XLB were average at best: The dumpling was thick, the broth oily, and pork inside was overly seasoned. The dumpling was also prone to break as soon as I set my chopsticks on it. Good XLB should be filled with clear broth, juicy pork, and complete with a thin yet sturdy wrapping. For the reasons, and the fact that I could only taste MSG and grease, I wouldn’t recommend them.

 

Overall Peaceul is standard restaurant to fill your cravings for Chinese food. Prices are reasonable and there is a good selection. It is suitable for large groups to share, and also for single patrons who want to grab a quick bite. Given the long line ups and the recent opening of two new locations, it must be a favorite among locals. Just be prepared for greasiness. But be warned: the washrooms will send anyone obsessed with cleanliness running.