Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cheap All You Can Eat at Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut on Urbanspoon AYCE (All You Can Eat) is not available at every Pizza Hut, so you'll have to ask around. One location that has it is the 4775 East Hastings (at Gamma Avenue) Pizza Hut.

This smallish place has booth seating and a small stand for their Monday to Friday 11.30 am to 1.30 pm lunch buffet. Not on holidays. And only $6.99! This kind of cheap is practically a public service!

Not much service to be had here for an AYCE, but that's to be expected. You will probably have to ask for water, maybe a whole pitcher of it if you are a larger party. I think they forgot to turn the heat lamps on high because we got there shortly after Noon and any pizza not clearly fresh from the oven was basically lukewarm.

You may also have to ask for less popular pizzas like Hawaiian and Vegetarian. Service isn't exactly ace as they are probably geared toward take-out and delivery, but it isn't surly either. It's probably just a combination of inexperienced and tired of giving smiling service to people who don't care. I recommend being nice to them anyway, especially if you want to have a particular type of pizza and it's the last half hour before the afternoon buffet closes.

The pizzas are small size and cut into approximately 12 thinner slices. Since it's AYCE, this actually helps you moderate your intake so you don't have too much left over. Even so, there is a lot of evidence that people "cheat" by eating just the toppings off the crust. At a sushi AYCE you might end up being charged for these leftovers, but not here, which is awfully nice of them.

Also part of the AYCE lineup was pasta, chewy breadsticks that my dining partner identified as garlic bread despite it not giving off any aroma of garlic, a simple "salad" of basically chopped lettuce with caesar dressing available, and a dessert pizza which was basically pizza dough topped with sweet syrupy chopped up fruits.

By around 1 pm the place was basically deserted. Lunch rush over, I guess, and no more screaming kids. Lots of parking. One hour is more than enough to make up for missing breakfast earlier in the day and dinner afterwards.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Buitoni the saltiest frozen pizza so far

For years now, you can get very cheap full-sized frozen pizza for about $5 at Superstore. Smaller "gourmet" ones used to come in at around $8, but this week there are some for sale at around $3. I picked up a couple of Buitoni at $3.32 each (limit 2) and one McCain Ultra Thin Crust Roasted Mushroom and Garlic at $3.
I'm feeling veggie conscious so I picked only vegetarian pizzas.

The Buitoni Spinaci Fresca was the first ever Buitoni product I've tried and it was shocking. The Nutrition Facts (which I never read beforehand) confirmed it wasn't a factory fluke -- 500 mg Sodium per 90 gram (quarter pizza) serving.

The McCain Ultra Thin Crust Roasted Mushroom and Garlic wasn't significantly better at 310 mg Sodium per 86 gram (quarter pizza) serving, but the taste was what made the Buitoni pizza so surprising: It was as if someone had sprinkled extra salt on a pizza. It wasn't an experience of savoury-salty ingredients or sauce, but more like a direct taste of salt -- that's how salty it tasted. And it was so dominating that it almost covered up the flavours of the other ingredients.

Luvo isn't available in Canada yet, but they are known for healthy food and keeping sodium levels low. Their Caramelized Onion and Mushroom Flatbread has just 45 mg Sodum per 94 gram (half pizza) serving.


By the way, if you want freshly made pizza at a cheap price, AYCE (all you can eat) pizza deals can still be found if you look around. There's Pizza Hut, for example. Not all stores have the offer, but the one in Burnaby at 4775 Hastings (at Gamma) has it at $10 $6.99, Monday to Friday, 11.30 am to 1.30 pm, NOT on holidays. Included in the buffet is (sad) garlic bread, salad, and dessert pizza. You may have to ask for the type of pizza you want if all they've put out is deluxe and pepperoni.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bishop's still the ace choice

Bishop's on UrbanspoonMy relapsed-vegetarian friend who had already gone to all the veggie hotspots in town had her birthday recently, and all I could think of for a safe place to take her was Bishops. It has no vegetarian mains, but the kitchen had done very well previously with an impromptu vegetarian and vegan dinner.

As it turned out, my friend was back to a sort-of-omnivorous diet which allowed fish and poultry, so we did fine with the regular menu. Plating is beautiful, and the food isn't anything really fancy. It's just very well done, with some surprisingly good:

Virgin Cocktail ($5.50)
  • Even if you are non-drinker, look through the drink menu for the virgin drinks tucked in there. I didn't even think to do so, and was fortunately introduced to it by our server when I asked for any unusual non-alcoholic beverages. The intriguing item recommended to me had some sort of Vietnamese vinegar in it. It looked like water with ice and one ground-up chili (red skin and seeds and all). It was reminiscent of not-too-sweet lemonade with some gingery bite to it. Not much of a lingering after-taste. Try it, it's good.
Organic Tomato Appetizer ($16)
  • This was one of the specials of the day, limited by the tomatoes they had.
  • It looked like someone had just chopped up tomatoes and put it on a plate for me with a generous helping of basil leaves. But the vinaigrette on it made all the difference and magically transformed "just tomatoes" into a pretty darned tasty appetizer.
Other items we had were the beet appetizer ($15), arranged into a little forest with the trailing root standing straight up; duck ($37) served with odd scalpel-like steak knifes; wild salmon ($36); stone fruit dessert ($14), composed of fruits and candy similar to almond brittle; and a fresh ricotta cheese dessert ($14) that was a limited special of the day.
They still offer bread at the table and they don't push special sparkling water or whatever on you -- which has always struck me as a rather gauche way of embarrassing you into paying for water. And an amuse bouche of the day, of course.

Service is ace for a rather busy restaurant. Our reservation was for 8pm and the restaurant was still buzzing-busy when we left. We had a very unhurried time, with plenty of space to talk and enjoy our food. Staff was courteous and when we departed, staff were on hand to wish us well at the front desk, and someone was already holding the door open for us.