Sunday, 26 October 2014

Chef in a Box

181 Brant Road
Saint George, ON 


In her opinion:
We recently drove by Chef in a Box on our way home from Brantford and I noticed a lot of people standing around what use to be an old gas station. This made me think that something was up...but I just filed the information away. Then friends of ours asked us if we had tried Chef in a Box. Of course the gas station turned "food truck" of sorts. So this last Friday we took the 12 minute drive to Chef in a Box and let me is awesome.

We opted for a few things to try...we ordered the "lobster mac and cheese", "pork belly double cheese burger" and the "baked meatball sandwich". We also added a "maple creme brulee" to our order.

Let me start with the lobster mac and a word...awesome. Big chunks of lobster in a three-cheese alfredo sauce with a panko crust. It as creamy, delicious and well seasoned. Most importantly this was a bargin at $10.

The pork belly double cheese burger was juicy and delectable. This was a really good burger. I really enjoyed it.

The baked meatball sandwich was also quite good. This was my least favourite of the three things I tried but when you are comparing it to the deliciousness of lobster mac and cheese and the scrumptiousness of the burger it is easy to see why. Having said was still a really good meatball sandwich.

I am really glad that Edgar talked me into the maple creme brulee.  This was dessert heaven. Incredible smooth and tasty. An excellent creme brulee.

I had an opportunity to speak to the owner/chef, Jason Gibson about his culinary experience and how Chef in a Box is his "retirement plan". What a nice guy. I would say that Chef in a Box is a gourmet food truck with really amazing food. Go give it a try...believe me, you'll thank us for this tip.

In his opinion:
One look at the online menu for Chef In a Box is enough to get anyone that genuinely loves food pretty excited. Then you find out that it's a food truck of sorts, sits on an abandoned gas station and a local chef is the brains behind it and not only the curiosity peaks but your mouth will also water.

Arriving at Chef in a Box you get the idea that this isn't your average food truck and definitely not your average setting for a food truck or establishment. Taking advantage of the old gas stations location is a genius move and maybe one of the reasons why there is always a line up when I drive by it.

The menu boasts some pretty impressive food choices that range from "Lobster Mac and Cheese" for $10, 4 choices of Poutine, Pork Belly and Tur-Duck-Hen burgers and Maple Creme Brulee for dessert. Lots of options that would easily make a "foodies" top choice dishes list.

On a breezy Friday evening, just before their closing time, we decided to get a few dishes to share and a dessert to top things off. Packed in to-go containers, the food was as appealing as if it was served on fine china. The location does have a few picnic tables for those wanting to eat "on the premises".

Starting with the Lobster Mac and Cheese I would say that it was top notch. Generous pieces of poached Lobster laid among the macaroni noodles and the three cheese alfredo sauce. The dish feels light but filling at the same time and it is plenty for a one person serving. The texture that comes from the panko bread crumbs on top put this dish to another level. I would probably find it hard to locate another lobster dish that rivals this one, coming from a food truck.

The next dish was the Pork Belly Double Cheese Burger and overall it is a filling, tasty and well thought off burger. The pork belly comes in the form of a topping to the two flame broiled burger patties. Served on a kaiser bun and topped with onions, pickles and tomatoes, this burger is a joy to eat.

Lastly we had the Baked Meatball Sandwich. This sandwich was my least favourite of the day but was still good. The marinara sauce was actually very good and not overpowering as I usually find. The meatballs made of beef, veal and pork are baked and served on an Italian roll with melted Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses on top. Tasty but missing something to elevate it to the quality of the other 2 dishes.

For dessert we had the Maple Creme Brulee. I really should just leave it at that as the name itself says it all...heaven...but I will point out that it was even better than I expected.

The Good: Great food selection from the most unlikely sources, friendly staff and a great location with amazing visibility.
The Bad: That great location happens to be a drawback as well as many people don't venture towards those parts unless they need to. They need to now...
The Verdict: Truly a "foodies" dream for a quick bite or take-out. A gourmet version of a food truck without the Bistro location that you would expect this food to come from. A must try in my opinion and only less than 10 min south of Cambridge.

I give it 3 1/2 out of 5 Olives as rating

Chef in a Box Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Mother's Pizza

4391 King Street East
Kitchener, ON


In her opinion:
We finally tried the new Mother's Pizza! I think that for most of us having dinner,  it was an attempt to return to our youth. You see Mother's Pizza once existed in Cambridge before it closed in 1989 and went away for good leaving a lot of people with only memories. 

We were some of those people...when I had heard that Mother's Pizza was reopening and that they had picked the old Kelsey's location as one of their new restaurants, I was thrilled. 

This new restaurant opened in April, 2014 to huge line ups going out the door. That was the same situation six months later. We arrived with some friends for an early dinner and were lucky enough to get a table.

Our server took our drink orders right away...I was glad that they had Coke products, so I ordered my usual Diet Coke. After studying the menu, I decided to order from the Mother's Classics Menu. This meant that along with my entree, I could also have a choice of soup or salad (house, Caesar, or Greek), fresh baked garlic bread and a scoop of spumoni ice cream.

I decided on the Lasagna (described on the menu as onions, mixed peppers, mushrooms, meat sauce, fresh tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese) with a Caesar salad.

The Caesar salad came in a small side salad bowl. The salad was actually quite good. The croutons were huge and it was covered in bacon.

The lasagna was nothing like it was described on the menu...I didn't see a single mushroom or pepper or piece of meat for that matter. It was okay...not great...just okay. My homemade lasagna is so much better to be honest. In fact, the frozen lasagna I buy for a quick dinner is even better. Okay, I think you get it...not great lasagna...disappointing is actually what I should describe it as. I just expected better. The piece of fresh garlic bread that came with the lasagna was tasteless...worse garlic bread ever.

The spumoni ice cream was actually quite good. I don't think you can go wrong with spumoni ice cream.

I don't get it. As I was leaving, I looked around. The place was packed. There was a crowd of people waiting to get in. WHY? Was it nostalgia that was bringing these folks in? I can honestly's not the food and I will definitely not be back.

In his opinion:
I will start off by saying that the nostalgia piece was practically nonexistent with me, as I grew up in Europe and only know Mother's Pizza from trying it once in one of the 5 times I visited Canada as a tourist. I recall liking it but then again I practically loved everything about this country growing up, so not a very good gauge.

The structural place is still the old Kelsey's for all intents and purposes, just revamped and with a more inviting feel to it. Lineups and waiting times are still predominant in this establishment as the public seems to still be flocking to it 6 months after it opened.

I was very glad they had Mill St. products and started off with my more than usual Organic pint. As I browsed the Menu I hesitated between choosing between items from the classic menu or just having Mothers traditional pizza. In the end I decided to stick to the classics and ordered the Veal Parmigiana. 

With the classics you get a choice of soup or house salad, Greek salad, or Caesar salad, fresh baked garlic bread and a scoop of spumoni ice cream.
My Caesar salad was very tasty, fresh and topped with big tasty croutons and lots of bacon bits so a great start to the meal.

As my entree arrived, a different waitress yells out Chicken Parmigiana to which no one responded as there was no such order. I proceeded to tell her that a Veal Parmigiana was ordered and she tell me, yes that's what I have in hand. I didn't actually really need to cut into the meat to know that it wasn't veal but I did anyway just to ensure it. They promptly took my plate back and by the time I got my food back from the managers hand, most people at the table were practically done and it's never a good thing to eat your meal alone in a full table.

The Veal Parmigiana was hand breaded fresh veal, fried golden brown, served with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, fresh tomato and fettuccine noodles. I found the veal a bit dry and the cheese melted over it was what was giving it most of its taste. The noodles were well cooked but the marinara sauce was very bland. The garlic bread was not any better, lacking flavour and probably why they push for you to upgrade melted cheese garlic bread.

The spumoni ice cream ended up being the highlight of the meal and was received by everyone in the table with glowing remarks. It was light, fresh, layered properly and very tasty.

Overall the restaurant itself looks nice and given that this was a lot of people's favourite restaurant in the 80's, it will continue to bring massive amounts of patrons, looking to relive those moments of their childhood.

The Good: Our waitress was very attentive and pleasant, the restaurant boasts an inviting and warm atmosphere and the menu is extensive. 
The Bad: Food was not great by any means, mistakes happen in orders but own up to the mistakes instead of trying to make customer eat the wrong food. Every one in our table of 7 was disappointed with the food.
The Verdict: I sat there baffled at why this restaurant was so full and that is all the time. Are we hurting that much for restaurant choices that this is the only thing that comes to mind? Is it still the novelty after only 6 months? Is it the nostalgia of what it represented to people in the 80's? I still would like to try the pizza as it may give me a different outlook on the food served but on this day I didn't so I can only blog about my experience and not what could have been. As I write this blog post the approval rating of this restaurant is down to 26% on Urbanspoon, so I feel like I'm not alone in the disappointment that came from this experience. Maybe what was good in the 80's was just good for the 80's or maybe we just remember things from our childhood differently now that we are "grown ups".

I give it 2 out of 5 Olives as rating

Mother's Pizza on Urbanspoon