Resto-Rants: Seasons In The Park

If you didn’t enter this restaurant with a reservation, you’ll have plenty of them by the time your meal is served.

Seasons In the Park

Their blurb: none, thankfully.

MENU

Address: West 33rd Avenue and Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC
Open 11:30am – 10pm
Booths? No
When I dined: Victoria Day (Monday) at 2pm
Noisy? No
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? Seasons? The service made me think of a long cold winter, and the food had all the freshness of autumn. Spring and summer were not present.

I came here with a friend and her family, four adult diners. When we arrived on time for our reservation the hostess was expecting 3 adults and a child, but that got sorted without difficulty and we were seated by the window overlooking the park and with a view of the city. This is the selling point of the restaurant I suppose, and luckily the staff can’t fuck that up short of pulling some blinds down.

It wasn’t very busy when we arrived and it became less so as we waited. It was some time before our server showed up and while he was very pleasant, his presence was frequently missed. Throughout the visit I pined over my oft-empty glass of formerly water.

We ordered the vegetarian tasting board, which was the only item to arrive promptly. Everything on the board was listed on the menu but it was mostly very sad. The grilled asparagus, as lifeless as it was, was still probably the highlight of the dish. A tiny bowl of mixed nuts and tiny salty pickles made me shake my head. There were only three small pieces of bread that came with. If it weren’t for the complimentary bread that came some minutes afterward, we would have had to dig in to the mediocre camponata and hummus and eat it off our cutlery or filthy fingers. That complimentary bread, by the way, was good and warm, but the butter that came with was cold and hard, prompting me to tear open the bread and bury a chunk of butter inside the bread in a vain hope that the butter would at some point become spreadable.

The QE Burger, according to my friend, was ok – not great. I tried one of his fries and they were nothing to write home about. The brunch pizza with roast potatoes, egg, bacon and onions sounded and looked promising, but a bland, floppy crust neutered it. Only the zesty dill cream cheese offered any redemption there. Apparently the seafood linguine carbonara was the winning dish of the meal, but since I don’t eat seafood I didn’t touch it. My loss.

My own food consisted of two items.

Firstly, cauliflower gratin, which was reasonably priced for brunch but was seriously underwhelming. I left half of it uneaten.

The lowlight of the meal was, for me, easily the stir-fried chicken with soy sesame sauce. Friends, I am here to tell you, this dish was an insult to my mouth, my pocketbook and probably all Asians everywhere. You know that hole-in-the-wall Chinese fast-food joint Buddha’s Orient Express at the Commercial/Broadway skytrain station? The place that is basically mall food fair Chinese “cuisine” but not as good as most mall food fair fare? Season’s was a quarter step above that. Now I don’t consider myself a food snob – maybe you like Buddha’s Orient Express and if you do, more power too you. But I ate there once. ONCE. And Season in the Park’s stir-fried chicken with soy sesame sauce is some low budget sloppy-ass prison food.

DO NOT RECOMMEND.

Biggest Rave: Now that I have experienced the view and the lackluster food here I can look forward to a bright future of never having to come here again.

Biggest Rant: The menu here is more expensive than I’m used to, so I hoped that the food and service would match the cost. My hopes were drawn and quartered. Before I got my food, I held great resentment for the couple next to us who arrived well after we did and were served their food well before us. After I got my food, I held great resentment to everyone else.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

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Resto Rants: Red Wagon

They say the signature dish is the pulled pork pancakes with Jack Daniels syrup, so naturally I ordered something else.

Red Wagon

Their blurb: “A neighborhood joint”

MENU

Address: 2296 E Hastings St, Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 568-4565
HOURS: All over the place. Look it up.
Booths? Tragically no, since this would be the perfect place for them.
When I dined: Saturday afternoon
Noisy? Yes.
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? I didn’t look very hard but I didn’t see any wagons, red or otherwise.

There were no tables available when my group of three arrived so we elected to take a seat at the bar vs waiting for a table. I’m not a fan of sitting at the bar but it’s definitely the lesser of two evils since waiting for food is never preferable. Once there, the stools were fairly comfortable but there was no room for my bag and I sat next to a pile of menus. Fair deal, I suppose.

I had the 3-egg omelette with mushrooms, smoked brie, caramelized onions and arugula. The omelette was fine, the sourdough toast was good (hard to screw up), and there were lackluster homefries (all one word on the menu).

Overall, not impressed but I would absolutely give it a second chance. They seem like they’re trying hard. The website says Red Wagon Restaurant but the URL is redwagoncafe.com – what’s the deal Red Wagon? WHAT ARE YOU???!!?

Biggest Rave: I liked that when I asked for peanut butter they didn’t give me a tiny disposable plastic tub but rather a steel bowl with a scoop of PB from a giant jar. The other best thing about this restaurant is that there’s a bubble tea cafe on the same block that makes an excellent matcha slush. This bubble tea place also offers passport photos.

Biggest Rant: The ‘homefries’  did not taste good. I’m not sure what it was, but I recognize the flavor of not-good potatoes. It’s very distinct. I don’t know what causes it but I suspect freezer burn. I had to pour a fair amount of ketchup on them to disguise it. Sadness prevailed, since potatoes are usually the best part of a breakfast.

This photo comes from Yelp. Yelp allegedly has atrocious business practices so I allegedly feel okay about stealing the image.

This photo comes from Yelp. Yelp allegedly has atrocious business practices so I allegedly feel okay about stealing the image.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

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Bunker Punks

News from Toren!

Royce Hall, a character in the upcoming game Bunker Punks will be voiced by Toren!

http://bunkerpunks.com/

http://bunkerpunks.tumblr.com/

https://www.facebook.com/BunkerPunksGame

 

 

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Toren’s Guide to Star Trek: Voyager Season 3

Click here for Season 1
Click here for Season 2
Click here for Season 4
Click here for Season 5
Click here for Season 6

BASICS PART 2

Grima Wormtongue is back! Conveniently he dies so he is remembered as a hero and we don’t have to develop his character any more. 6/10

FLASHBACK

Tuvok remembers Captain Sulu! Tie-in to Star Trek: the Undiscovered Country. 6.75/10 mostly due to Sulu.

THE CHUTE

Paris and Kim are prisoners on a space prison where a device makes them aggro. Paris gets shanked. Captain Janeway crosses a line getting involved in alien politics. 5.5/10

THE SWARM

The Doctor starts forgetting stuff so they have to activate the holographic Dr. Zimmerman EMH diagnostic program. The only way to fix the doc’s brain is to overlay the brainy-matrixy-blahblahblah from the diagnostic program holographic dude onto the doctor, which means there will be no more diagnostic program. Oh, also a swarm of aliens attack the ship. 6.75/10

FALSE PROFITS

Tie in to the TNG episode “The Price” in which two ferengi are lost in a wormhole. Now they’re in the Delta Quadrant doing their ferengi thing. Neelix pretends to be a ferengi and it suits him. Also probably the most perfectly-named episode of any Star Trek episode. 7/10

REMEMBER

Torres’ dreams are used by a psychic alien to bring to light genocide in their recent history. 6/10

SACRED GROUND

For no good reason, Janeway’s “faith” in science is put to the test when she has to perform a bunch of dumb rituals and believe in magic in order to save Kes’ life, which was inflicted by alien monks for no good reason. 5.5/10

FUTURE’S END (2 parts)

OF COURSE Voyager travels back to 1996 Earth! But they don’t stay because that would be temporal weirdness. Ed Begley Jr and Sarah Silverman act! 6.75/10

WARLORD

Kes’ body becomes the host for a male warlord but he continues to put girly makeup on his new body, and it’s weird for his wife. Jennifer Lien gets to act like a cartoon villain. 6/10

THE Q AND THE GREY

Q is back and this time he wants to have baby-making sex with Janeway and isn’t the kind of omnipotent being to take no for an answer. Why? There’s a civil war going on in the Q and naturally it takes the form of the American Civil War because otherwise how could our tiny minds comprehend? The Return of Suzie Plakson as Q’s ex-wife, who takes the form of a woman, of course, because otherwise how could our tiny minds comprehend? 5.5/10

MACROCOSM

The ship is infected with a macrovirus and Janeway gets all Ripley on it. Notwithstanding actors struggling with CGI monsters, pretty good! 7/10

FAIR TRADE

Neelix becomes a drug dealer when he reunites with an old Talaxian associate. Also there’s a space cloud. 5/10

ALTER EGO

Kim falls in love with a holodeck lady but then the hololady falls in love with Tuvok but then the lady turns out to be an alien and she’s a big creepy nerd. 5.7/10

CODA

Janeway dies and goes to the afterlife where she hangs out with her ghost dad. Surprise! Ghost dad is an alien and he wants to eat her soul! But she refuses to go and the Doctor revives her. 6/10.

BLOOD FEVER

Vorik the Vulcan gets the pon farr and wants sexy times with B’ellana Torres, but she punches him. Then Torres goes into heat and tries to sex up Tom Paris, which would normally be fine for him except she’s not able to give consent in her crazed state, induced by a psychic whatever from Vorik. Then Vorik fight it out and that cures them because I guess fighting is like sex. 5.4/10

UNITY

Chakotay crashes on a planet with ex-borgs who were severed from the collective. The ex-borg have split into two warring factions. To heal his wounds Chakotay must join the ex-borgs’ scaaaaary neural link. Chakotay then goes to the dormant Borg cube that Voyager finds and against Janeway’s orders reactivates a doohicky that links all the ex-borg together so there’s no more fighting between the factions. This episode is a prelude to some species who are so powerful they can defeat the borg. 6/10

DARKLING

Kes gets romantically involved with a douchy alien because apparently she broke up with Neelix. Meanwhile the Doctor becomes all Mr Hyde evil Doctor and wants to destroy the good doctor that’s still inside him. Hammy and dumb. 4/10.

RISE

On a mission of mercy, Tuvok and Neelix are trapped on a space elevator. They get mad at eachother during a murder mystery. 5/10

FAVORITE SON

Harry Kim learns that he is not a human – he’s actually a member of a race of space succubi, except of course he’s not really. 3/10.

BEFORE AND AFTER

In a prequel to the episode “Year of Hell,” Kes experiences time weirdness and reverts back to a fetus. 6/10

REAL LIFE

The Doctor creates a holographic family so he can experience “real life” but the program gets too real when his daughter suffers a fatal accident. Meanwhile, crazy space anomaly is dangerous. 6.5/10

DISTANT ORIGIN

Lizardman scientist tries to convince the religious leaders of his planet that they evolved from Earth dinosaurs. 7/10

DISPLACED

Aliens con the crew into thinking they switching places with them by accident, but actually the aliens are trying to take over the ship. 6.8/10

WORST CASE SCENARIO

The safety protocols are disengaged in the holodeck thanks to the ghost of Seska and Tuvok’s mutiny simulation. 6.9/10

SCORPION PART 1

An extradimensional species is destroying the Borg and if Voyager wants to pass through Borg space to get home Janeway will have to cut a deal with them. 7/10

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Some Art I Made Recently

Please enjoy responsibly

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Resto Rants: Old Spaghetti Factory

A place where white people go.

Old Spaghetti Factory

Their blurb: “Fresh Food, Refreshing Prices”

MENU

Address: 53 Water St, Vancouver
Phone: (604) 684-1288
HOURS 11am-10pm, except on weekends.
Booths? Yes
When I dined: Weekday lunch
Noisy? Only when it’s busy.
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? There was spaghetti and it did taste like it came from a factory but I hope it wasn’t old.

I’ve been here many times, mostly in the distant past killing time between sound check and hitting the stage with my Lovecraft band. More recently I’ve come for lunch. Previously I was seated in the old timey train caboose that they have, which is kind of fun but whenever the server boards the car everything jiggles a bit. The host never asks whether or not I want to sit in a booth, which is unfortunate, because I always want a booth, and on my most recent visit she sat me in a dark corner next to the the server station.

I asked the server what was the tastiest thing on the menu. She told me the ribs (NOT the spaghetti!). I could have gotten fries or spaghetti as my side and I normally prefer fries but since it was the Old SPAGHETTI Factory I thought I should try them out for this review. It came very quickly. The salad here is nothing special, even the blue cheese dressing couldn’t make it exciting. The spaghetti, which as I said I’m never a huge fan of, was fine, nothing special. it needs cheese and there wasn’t any at my table. They should do that thing where they bring a block of parmesan and grate it right at your table like other restaurants do.

The servers here are generally attentive and courteous.

Biggest Rave: You get a fair amount for your money. Most meals come with free bread with 2 kinds of butter, coffee/tea, and best of all, a bowl of ice cream – I always choose spumoni because it is clearly superior to the other option vanilla.

Biggest Rant: They played the worst song in the world “Big Yellow Taxi (Pave Paradise, Put Up A Parking Lot).” Apart from that the music was straight up pop and about 20% too loud.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

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Resto Rants: Incendio Pizzeria

I went to a pizzeria and ordered anything but pizza.

Incendio Pizzeria

Their blurb: “Specializing in brick oven-fired thin-crust pizzas and pastas, Incendio is Gastown’s original pizzeria, having served the neighbourhood since 1996″

MENU

Address: 103 Columbia St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2R4

Phone: (604) 688-8694
11:30AM–3PM, 5–10PM weekdays except Friday till 11pm, Not open during the day on Saturday, other weird hours on Sunday.
Booths? No
When I dined: Weekday lunch
Noisy? Kind of, from people.
Candies with your bill? No
Lives up to it’s name? I suppose

First off the main doors aren’t the main doors, the side door is the main door. Luckily I came with a friend the first time otherwise I may never have made it into the restaurant. The restaurant is a decent size (I’m so over tiny cramped restaurants in this town) but the tables are still a little too close together in some areas.

I have been to the restaurant twice, both times they seated me in a corner, which is fine and actually usually preferred, however it was very cold in the restaurant. The service has been fine both times I’ve been to Incendio.

The wait for the food was not excessive. The food was ok. I had a caprese salad the first time I went and it was decent. The second time I had the lasagna (they don’t specify whether it’s meat or vegetarian on the menu – it’s beef) and it was disappointing. It wasn’t terrible but for $17 I expected much better. Or if not better tasting, than probably 25% more volume. My companion asked what vegetables were in a pasta dish she wanted to order and the server gave her a list that did not include onions. The dish came with onions which she can’t digest so that was another disappointment, also she said the onions seemed past their prime.

In short, there’s nothing in this restaurant that will have me coming back when there are so many other restaurants in the area, like Sitar or even Old Spaghetti Factory, which while not a purveyor of the highest quality pasta at least you get a bunch of other stuff including ice cream for the money you pay.

Biggest Rave: The bread with olive oil & balsamic vinegar was tasty.

Biggest Rant: Why is it so cold in your restaurant? With a name like Incendio, i shouldn’t need to keep my jacket on.

Enjoyed this review? Check out all my Vancouver restaurant reviews at http://www.thickets.net/toren/category/resto-rants/

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Pie Trek Wheel of Deciding

SERIES DECIDER

SEASON DECIDER

 

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Movies I’m Looking Forward to Seeing in 2016


THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Is this a 2015 movie or 2015 movie? Doesn’t matter I guess…


THE REVENANT looks great!


KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS. A lot of white folks providing voices for Asian characters in this one but Laika has a good track record.


NICE GUYS trailer makes me want to see it.


CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR. blern


X-MEN APOCALYPSE.


HAIL, CAESAR! Coen Brothers always deserve a chance!


THE LOBSTER. This looks weird. I’m into it.

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GHOSTBUSTERS.


WE ARE TWISTED FUCKING SISTER.

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY.


PEE-WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is one of my fave movies of all time.

2015-12-29_12-47-42_983
DOCTOR STRANGE


FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM. A Harry Potter movie without Harry Potter? Sold

HLATFK
HOWARD LOVECRAFT AND THE FROZEN KINGDOM

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BOURNE 5. I’ve seen all the previous Bourne movies, I’ll see the next.


KUNG FU PANDA 3. I really enjoyed KFP 1 and 2 so here’s hoping the trend continues!


Was never a Deadpool fan and the trailer doesn’t do much for me but Marvel is going strong so hopefully this won’t be crap.

SPECIAL MENTIONS…


STAR TREK BEYOND. As a Trekkie, the reboot is not to my liking. Will wait for the reviews on this one.


THE WITCH. Historical horror films are the best horror films


SYNCHRONICITY. Michael Ironside in obvious Blade Runner inspired Time Travel flick.

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Movies I Saw in 2015

2015 was not the year of 365 movies, but I did watch a bunch of films. Of the movies that were release this year, here are my thoughts:

Image of The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water

The Spongebob Movie: Sponge out of Water
Not as good as the first one, but some good gags. 6/10

Image of Chappie

Chappie
Total disappointment. No characters the audience can (or should) identify with. Cool guns. 5/10

Image of Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron
Didn’t like Ultron as a villain, everyone has the same amount of sass. Give the sass to the sassy characters and let the other characters shine on other merits. 6/10

Image of Ex Machina

Ex Machina
Great performance, great story, great ending. 7/10

Image of Mad Max: Fury Road

Mad Max: Fury Road
Not much of a story, but everything comes together visually and you don’t have much time think about the holes. 8/10

Image of Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland
Tragically didn’t’ live up to its potential. 6/10

Image of Inside Out

Inside Out
Frankly this movie bored me. I appreciated what they were trying to do but ultimately I think they missed the mark. 6/10

Image of Slow West
Slow West
Not much of a story but impressive visuals and great moments. 7/10

Image of Ant-Man

Ant-Man
Is Marvel in a rut? If so, it’s a fun rut. 7/10

Image of Taken 3
Taken 3
The usual. 5/10

Image of Mr. Holmes
Mr Holmes
Great character study and performance. 7/10

Image of Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie
Super fun! Funny. Perhaps my highest recommendation of 2015 despite the fact that I only give it 7/10

Image of Jurassic World

Jurassic World
I’m not a superfan of Jurassic Park, but I like dinosaurs and movies. This movie was a bad joke. It made me laugh. 4/10

Image of Turbo Kid

Turbo Kid
Likeable characters, post-apocalyptic, silly, fun, but even so relied a little too much on the nostagia factor. Worth seeing. 6/10

Image of Terminator Genisys

Terminator Genisys
What a mess. 5/10

Image of San Andreas

San Andreas
Ridiculous but mostly entertaining. 5/10

Image of Z for Zachariah

Z for Zachariah
Post apocalyptic movies are for me. This was a good one without mutants and tricked out cars. Reminded me of The World, the Flesh and the Devil. 7/10

Image of The Martian

The Martian
Smart, fun, good. 8/10

Image of Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials

Maze Runner: Scorch Trials
Another post-apocalyptic film filled with young adults and also Lili Taylor! 7/10

Image of Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs
I don’t know anything about Steve Jobs. I watched this movie and still don’t know anything about Steve Jobs except he was an asshole and a bad father. 7/10

Image of Sicario

Sicario
Pretty intense and engaging, even though I didn’t understand some of what was going on. 7/10

Image of Bone Tomahawk

Bone Tomahawk
Intense, disturbing, satisfying. 7/10

Image of In the Heart of the Sea

In the Heart of the Sea
I didn’t really buy Chris Hemsworth in this role but the tale was satisfying and darker than I expected. 7/10

Image of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Total rehash of New Hope but we don’t expect much from Star Wars these days, do we? 7/10

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