1527 Cariboo Hwy 97 South
Williams Lake, BC  V2G 2W3

250-392-4225

M-Sa: 11a – 10p / Sun: 10a – 9p
Sunday Brunch: 10a – 2p

CJ's Southwestern Grill on Urbanspoon

October 21, 2011

After months of being asked if I had tried “that new restaurant” out yet, Mr O and I finally found ourselves seated at CJ’s Southwestern Grill for dinner one night last week.  Upon entering, we noticed that the interior didn’t seem to have changed much from the Big Mama days; still retaining the same furnishings and hockey memorabilia.  We were seated in the lower level right next to the big screen projector, which actually had Mr O entranced for a moment because he had been without TV for so long, being out in Bella Coola without cable.

Their menu included a selection of items from appetizers, rice dishes, salads, meats and southwestern entrees.  As well, they also have a temporary menu that details their specials for the month.  The first thing I noticed right away from that menu was that they have fresh oysters for two dollars a shell!  I ask you… when do you ever see raw oysters in Williams Lake?  Needless to say, I was extremely excited for all of a second before reality came crashing down when Mr O reminded me that I was not supposed to eat raw food for the next year – a quote right out of my doctor’s mouth.  Sheesh… what a downer.

So instead of luscious oysters, I settled for their Veggie Flatbread appetizer, which was an elongated grilled pita topped with roasted peppers, onions, fresh spinach, basil, a smoky tomato sauce and crumbled goat cheese.  To follow I decided to get the half rack of the baby back ribs dinner and Mr O ordered the Memphis Chicken sandwich.

The toppings on the flatbread were really fresh and you can taste the flavour of each ingredient individually.  When I had ordered it, I had envisioned the goat cheese to be slightly melty, but there were sprinkled on raw and so that particular flavour was too strong for me.  On the other hand, Mr O, who is a goat cheese fanatic, loved it and took the white pickings off my plate with no hesitation whatsoever.

...veggie flatbread...

...lotsa goat cheese!...

You can choose to get your ribs smothered in your choice of Texas, Southern or Guinness barbeque sauce.  I chose to coat mine in the Texas sauce, which is supposed to be on the sweet side, and I decided on the potato croquette as my starch.  With it came a serving of roasted root vegetables like parsnips, carrots and beets.

Although the meat on the ribs were fall-of-the-bone tender, there was, unfortunately, very little flavour to them.  I also found the sauce to be on the bland side as well, and had me wishing for something a little more intense and tangier.  Perhaps next time I will try the stronger Guinness sauce.  The veggies were also tender and the croquette was simply amazing.  It’s nicely seasoned mashed potatoes that is shaped into an oval, stuffed with a bit of cheese and covered in a nice crumb coating before it’s deep-fried into crispy perfection.  Like I said, it was very delicious.

...the meat...

...and the potatoes...

Mr O decided to have his meal come with fries, which was also nice and crispy, but he was definitely giving my croquette the envy eye.  A grilled chicken breast was the main star of his sandwich, alongside with fried maple-pepper bacon, Havarti cheese, guacamole, roasted peppers, lettuce and tomatoes.  It was an overall good sandwich, served on ciabatta bread, but he detected something slightly spicy in his sandwich which nearly overwhelmed the other flavours.  A thicker layer of guacamole probably would’ve evened out that balance, as the avocado did cool his mouth down a bit.

...Memphis Chicken...

As for the ambience, it was a casual and very comfortable place to unwind and relax to a meal.  The service that night was very attentive to our needs; not once did we have to ask for drink refills and our food was quick to appear.  Despite our taste buds’ preferences of differing flavours, we had a really enjoyable time at CJ’s and would to come back to try their Prime Rib buffet dinner, which was also available at that time.  And believe me; as soon as that year is up, I’m coming back for those raw oysters on the half shell.

177 Yorston Street
Williams Lake, BC  V2G 1G6

250-398-8727

July 5, 2011

Earlier in the week I had dinner with Mr O and some of his co-workers at Joey’s Grill.  I must admit that it’s been ages since I last ate here so I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with the place.

Despite the out-dated interior, Joey had a very homey comfortable feel to it.  Its menu is pretty extensive and has just about a little bit of everything to suit your tastes.  There is an array of appies, steak, chicken, pasta and various ethnic inspired dishes (some souvlaki to go with your schnitzel perhaps?)

With a menu this varied, it usually takes me awhile to reach a decision.  When I finally did it was to order one of their specials from the insert… the Guinness Barbeque Ribs with a baked potato.  Mr O opted to go with the Seafood Cannelloni.  Both meals came with your choice of soup or salad.  Today’s soup was potato based, and I figured that I didn’t want to overdose on starch so I ordered the garden salad like a good grown-up should, and so did Mr O.

The starter salads came out pretty quickly.  And while the produce was fresh, the salad itself was pretty unremarkable.  It was made up of primarily iceberg lettuce, with a frugal addition of red cabbage, sliced radishes, chopped carrots, celery, three slices of cucumber and a wedge of tomato.  I was pretty proud of myself for eating it though, especially since I knew my meal to follow up with is pretty much a meat-fest, and I’m all about eating a well-balanced meal… no, really!

...salad... meh...

Welcoming the main meal was a bit trickier.  Since there were quite a few people at our party, it was unsurprising that there was some confusion over who ordered what.  After a few moments of musical plates and pass-the-dish I was presented with a large arrangement of ribs.  Oh yeah baby, come to me!  It’s a full rack of meaty baby back ribs smothered in the Guinness barbecue sauce, a large baked potato, a serving of garlic toast and good portion of steamed veggies.  The ribs were fall-of-the-bone tender and had a very generous meat-to-bone ratio (had I mentioned they were meaty?)  The sauce was a vinegar based barbecue that was full of flavour and packed a pretty strong punch near the end.  It was very tangy and zippy and finger lickin’ good.  Yeah, I know there’s a finger bowl for me to use, but what’s a few more extra calories at this point right?

...ribs make me go grrr...

...so juicy... so tender...

The potato comes plain and you get to dress it yourself with butter, sour cream, onions and bacon bits.  It’s so simple but I loved it… never having had a baked potato growing up I think it’s just about the greatest thing ever and, as an adult, order it whenever I get the chance!  So potato and ribs aside, the steamed veggies were just okay and definitely not the highlight of the meal.  Yet again, it was pretty fresh and composed mostly of onions and squash.  But there were also pieces of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower.

...friends for the potato...

Mr O’s cannelloni was pasta filled with a crab and shrimp mixture, spinach and cheeses, then covered with a marinara and parmesan sauce and baked to piping hot perfection.  Amidst all the blowing to cool the cheeses down, the flavours of shrimp and garlic and cheese is a real pleasure for the tastebuds.  It was an incredibly rich dish and ooey-gooey good.  Yes, Mr O would definitely order it again.

...cannelloni fun...

All the meals came in generous portions.  I was only able to finish half a rack of my ribs, and Mr O probably had close to a third of his meal left in his dish.  We didn’t even glance at the dessert menu… what would be the point?  There was no way we could’ve eaten another bite of anything!  But definitely next time you can count us in for something sweet.

1527 Hwy 97 South
Williams Lake, BC  V2G 2W5

250-392-4225

M-Sa: 11am – 10pm / Su: 10am – 8pm

 

Big Mama's Steak House on Urbanspoon

September 19, 2010

What do you do if you’re anchoring for lunch and your (fairly) significant other is still in the mind for breakfast?  Why… you go to brunch of course!  And Big Mama’s Steakhouse is where we found ourselves one lazy Sunday afternoon.  For $16.00 between the hours of 10am-2pm you can have pretty much anything your heart desires at their brunch buffet, regardless of whichever meal it is you’re trying to satisfy.

Mr O and I were seated at a table with a beautiful view of the lake, and we had our coffee orders taken before approaching the buffet.  I went straight for the lunch section, whereas he headed towards the breakfast arena.

My eyes immediately zoomed in on the beef ribs that were sitting all pretty and meat-like in their tray and I made a straight bee-line for that.  I also piled on steamed veggies, potato salad, and baked chicken.  But as I passed by the carving station, I thought… “what the heck” and opened up some real estate on my plate.  Beef or ham… ham or beef?  I believe a slice of roast beef will do… a *thin* slice mind you… I had to make sure I had room for dessert you know.

The made-to-order omelette station just so happened to be located next to the roasts and that was where Mr O had one made up for him with the works:  sausage, ham, bacon, onions, mushrooms, cheddar, bell peppers, and tomatoes.  Erm… hold the jalepenos though.  And while that was cooking away, he picked up some French toast, sausage links and bacon, roasted potatoes, lemon fish, and a piece of baked chicken to his plate.

...workin' an omelet...

The ribs were delicious… nothing like knowing on a beef bone to feel like one of the Flintstones!  The sauce was very flavourful with a nice tang and had pieces of tender onions in it.  It went very well with the potato salad, which was very creamy and had nice chunks of potato.  The chicken was very tender and cuts very well with the butter knife (which was good because I didn’t realise I had walked right pass the steak-knives in my haste to get to the ribs).

...ooohhh... hello ribs!...

...chick chick...

I even went back for seconds to get another rib… and don’t think for a second that I’m ashamed of it.  Another rib with more veggies, and I took more time to peruse the salad bar.  Besides the potato salad, there was also a pasta salad, Caesar, and Greek, to name a few.  I settled for a bowl of the fruit salad which looked very fresh, and added to it some chopped strawberries, preserved peaches, and preserved mandarin slices.

...see? I can do healthy!...

Mr O tackled his omelette with relish and cleaned his plate up rather well.  He raved about the French toast which was made out of thick slices of French bread.  Slathered in syrup and butter, it was almost like a dessert rather than breakfast!  I wasn’t surprised when he went back for some more of it!

...breakfast dessert... bressert?!

...bacon's good...

Speaking of dessert… did we have room for it in the end?  Of course we did… but just barely.  The sweets display was almost overwhelming: rich chocolate cake, assorted cheesecakes, slices of pie, cups of jello, cute lil cupcakes, and what we figured to be Portuguese custard tarts but wasn’t sure.  Well, whatever it was Mr O grabbed one of them, along with a slice of cheesecake and stole a bit of the strawberries from the salad bar.  I helped myself to a nice slice of the chocolate cake and was walking back to the table when something terrible caught my eye.  Sitting in a bowl of ice, trying to be all innocent and failing horribly, was a container of whipped cream.  With *NO* supervision!?  Goodness, it took a bit of restraint to watch how much of it I put on my cake.

...oops... couldn't wait!...

The chocolate cake was very rich and, along with the caffeine, was a really nice way to end the meal.  We were both very full and pleased with the food.  Would there even be a need to dinner?  Guess we’ll just have to lay down, digest and enjoy the rest of our Sunday to find out!

1640 Broadway Ave S
Williams Lake BC V2G 2V3

250-398-5554

Sun-Thurs 10am-12pm, Fri/Sat 9am-2am

The Point on Urbanspoon

August 7, 2009

My body was an absolute wreck… the end result of my sudden enthusiasm for exercise these past two days.  Every joint hurt and my muscles screamed for mercy.  To top it off, I had a very long day at work and as I limped my way out towards my car, all I could think was TGIF.  And to hell with cooking… I’m gonna persuade Mr O to take me out to dinner tonight!  I had wanted to go to the local sushi joint, but as it turned out they were closed for holidays.  So instead we headed towards the outer borders of town and had dinner at The Point.

oh so delicious!

oh so delicious!

The Point is probably one of the nicest restaurants in Williams Lake and it’s located inside the Chances Signal Point Gaming Casino.  The restaurant’s interior had undergone an extensive renovation roughly a year ago and the current ambiance is very contemporary.  The main dining room is very well lit and bright, surrounded by large windows that afforded a very nice view of the lake.  Further into the establishment there is a lounge sitting area which boasts tones of dark leather and wood.  One doesn’t come to Williams Lake expecting this kind of modern decor.

In the summer, two patios are opened for those looking for an outdoor eating experience.  And after dinner, you’re but a hop and a step away from the bingo and gambling facilities.

We ordered the calamari to start, cuz I just love the stuff… and believe me, it was soooooo good!!  I’m quite confident with the opinion that the calamari here is the best you can find in the Cariboo region.  The squid had a nice snap to it without that rubbery sensation that associated with squid that’s been overcooked, and the crispy coating is well seasoned and not heavy at all.  Served with it is a small bowl of pepperoncini sauce, which is absolutely delicious and much superior to the regular ol’ tzatziki.

For my main course I ordered the 6 oz sirloin steak and asked for it to be medium rare, with a side of baby potatoes and steamed veggies.  My steak arrived more on the medium well-well side, but it was tender enough that it didn’t matter too much.  (I’m not one to send food back unless there is something detrimentally wrong with it.)  The veggies kept my meal light and the potatoes were pretty fun to eat… they’re crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.  They’re like round french fries.

meat & potatoes

meat & potatoes

Mr O had the beef ribs which was a plate of 6 long ribs coated in a smoky-honey glaze.  He said that there was a fair amount of meat on the bones, although it was probably fattier than those you might get at an actual steakhouse.  There was also an uneven distribution of the glaze, so while most of the meat was tasty, there were parts that were rather dry and bland.  I had stolen a large chunk of his dinner and really enjoyed the texture of the beef, but I had to concur with him on the sauce issue… there definitely could’ve been more of that sticky honey coating on it.

So as I was taking pictures of our meal for this project, our waiter informed us that there were no cameras allowed within the facility… Oopsies!!  My bad!  I’ve completely forgotten that we were inside a gambling establishment where no recording devices were allowed… Tee hee!  He was very nice about it and I apologised so no scene was made.  And the best part is I got to keep the pictures on my camera… bwahahaha!

The Point has a really good creme brulee cheesecake that’s very hard to get because it’s always sold out and tonight was no exception :(  Which was just as well I suppose because we were stuffed.

...moo!!...

...moo!!...

Overall we had a really good time and enjoyed ourselves, but the night came to a rather disappointing end.  While the food was quick to come, the service was slow, especially when the restaurant started to fill up with people.  We had to ask for our bill two times before finally just making our own way towards the debit machine after about 10 minutes of waiting.  It wouldn’t have been too bad to just sit and chat, but they had unfortunately already cleared our table and we didn’t have anything to drink or peck at.  To give them credit, there was a lot of space to cover inside the restaurant, and it *was* a busy Friday night.  And the waitstaff was friendly the whole night.

We’d still come back.