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.

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112 South 2nd Avenue
Williams Lake, BC   V2G 1Z6

250-392-6012

Karen's Place on Urbanspoon

Jan 18, 2011

So with the hubbing and the bubbing of Christmas and New Years now well behind me I can finally look forward to enjoying a day off of work with absolutely *nothing* to do… what bliss!  So really, the only thing on my schedule today was lunch with Miss L at Karen’s Place, and my biggest challenge was deciding what I wanted to eat.

You probably know by now that Karen’s Place had undergone some extensive renos in the past couple months and have expanded their space (and if you didn’t… now you do!)  It is much roomier now, while still retaining its homey atmosphere.  A huge mural done by Dwayne Davis adorns the entire back wall of the extension, and they’ve de-cluttered the layout of the original restaurant, even adding in a nice bar for those who want to eat in a hurry.  It’s so reminiscent of a diner!

I suppose the biggest change to Karen’s Place (besides the extra 900 or so square feet of space, of course) is the addition of an all-you-can-eat buffet that’s available on certain days.  I’ve already heard great things about it, and dying to try it out myself, but unfortunately it wasn’t available today.  So instead I decided to order the Chicken Thai Salad, while Miss L had the Veggie Wrap, with the addition of a meatless patty.

It was fairly early when we had arrived, which was a good thing because we weren’t in there for too long before the place literally filled up with other customers.  Goodness… minus 18 weather and people are still venturing outdoors for lunch… that’s what makes living in the Cariboo so great!

After thoroughly warming ourselves with hot coffee, our food arrived and it was a very colourful arrangement.  No one can say we didn’t eat enough veggies today!  Keeping in mind that nothing comes out of a bag, all the veggies in my salad were painstakingly chopped into bite-sized pieces and included carrots, green peppers, tomatoes, cucumber and romaine lettuce.  A bed of noodle sits on this, and sliced chicken breast is fanned out on top with a healthy portion of their home-made Thai sauce and sesame.

...chicken thai pt 1...

...chicken thai pt 2...

The salad was more about the noodles than the lettuce, but I didn’t mind, and all the veggies were crisp and pleasantly crunchy, to which I gave myself a mental pat on the back for feeding my body something so healthy today.  And although the salad came with extra dressing on the side, I found that there was an adequate amount of it already drizzled over the chicken.  And holy bejeezus did that sauce pack a punch!  Karen makes it herself and she sure likes to test out that scoville scale on her customers!  It was incredible tasty… sweet and peanutty, but strong on the chillies for a wimp such as myself… I must’ve downed 2 glasses of water by the time I was done my meal.  And by the way my face was… glowing… (Okay, so I was schvitzing)… I felt like I had accomplished something momentous like running a marathon, when all I really did was finish my plate of salad (which is actually an accomplishment in itself as far as my Momma would be concerned).

It didn’t take long for me to find my bearings again and as I felt feeling return to my mouth I asked myself… “Would I order this again?”  Oh, heck yes!

Miss L, on the other hand, ate her wrap in a more relatively calm manner.  Her wrap consisted of romaine, cucumber, and green and red bell peppers, as well as the extra meat-less patty that she had asked for.  It came with your choice of sides and she went with the garden salad with the sun-dried tomato dressing.  The wrap was very generous and was packed full with ingredients, and her salad was as equally fresh as mine was.  However, she admitted that she wished that the wrap had just a *tad* more flavour in it, all the while eyeing me down in the state that I was.  I’m pretty sure that she was smirking when she said this, but I was too busy pouring water down my throat to call her on it.

...veggie wrap...

...a salad for your veggies please!...

Unfortunately, we were both too full for dessert, which I kind of regret when I saw the carrot cake and chocolate cake that was sitting in the cooler on our way out.  I promised myself that I can try it when I go back the next time, perhaps after filling myself up at the buffet… hopefully.

54 MacKenzie Ave N.
Williams Lake, BC  V2G 1N5

250-398-8983

Gecko Tree on Urbanspoon

November 4, 2010

Today I have a lunch date with Miss M, who had just returned from a 5 week sojourn in Thailand.  I figured that last thing she wanted to eat was something heavy so I suggested the Gecko Tree as our meeting point.

I arrived first and sat myself at a small table close to the window and admired the textile brocades that were hanging up on the walls.  There always seemed to be a rotating collection of local art up on display on their walls which lends it a very eclectic and homey environment.  And if anything ever happens to catch your eye, you’ll be happy to know that it’s all for sale!

It wasn’t too long until Miss M walks through the door, and after a quick hug and brief catch up, our waitress came by to take our orders.  A chalk board hanging on a beam post tells us today’s specials, which happened to be a pizza loaded with all sorts of veggies, a roasted garlic tomato soup, and cherry chocolate cake.

This place had formerly catered to vegetarians in the past, but a few years ago they started adding meat items to their menu.  They use organic beef and chicken that are all locally grown and supplied from the local butcher, and everything else is made fresh on site.  The menu is pretty extensive and includes a full page dedicated to all-day breakfast foods, salads, wraps, and other deliciously healthy items.

Miss M opted to go with the soup special, and I decided on the Thai Salad.  Just as we had our orders taken, Miss B walks in through the door… what a delightful surprise!  She had already eaten so she had just ordered a vanilla latte and a Yum Bar.  Coffee here is locally roasted from Uncle Paul’s, and their decaf stash is supplied by Kicking Horse.  Her coffee came quickly and I eyed her Yum bar enviously as I was quite hungry.  It was a thing of chocolate wonder holding together all sorts of wonderful seeds, oats and grains.  Luck was with me though… for one, my mom made sure I knew my manners, so I was able to refrain from grabbing it from her plate, and two… my food arrived!

...yum bar...

My salad was much bigger than I had anticipated… and man was it ever a salad!  It had cold noodles, green and red bell peppers, zucchini, red onions, tomatoes, sprouts, red cabbage, and marinated tofu.  All of this sat on top of a bed of green romaine that had never seen the likes of a triple-washed and bagged environment, and was prepped on-site.  A homemade peanut sauce dressed the contents and the salad was almost too big for the plate as I tried to amalgamate all the ingredients together.  The bites were big too when I tried to incorporate a little bit of everything onto one forkful, so things got a big messy, but it was well worth the constant napkin action because this salad was good.  Not “good” like the five cent version, but…

SO.

GOOD.

...yummy thai salad...

...sproutsy!...

I was so hungry and it was so yummy… what a perfect combination we made!  But somehow I was only able to finish half of it.  I was defeated by a salad??  That was fine, because I was able to bring the rest of it home with me for dinner.

Miss M’s soup looked amazing as well.  It came piping hot, and had a very creamy texture.  It smelled incredible.  When Miss M insisted that everyone have a taste, I jumped at the opportunity and found that the mild flavour of garlic went really well with the earthy tomatoes.  I’ve never been much of a tomato soup fan, but this had me rethinking my views now.

...to-mah-to soup...

Of course, lunch just isn’t complete without a little dessert!  Miss M also ordered a Yum Bar.  I debated about trying out their cake special, but I knew my heart was in it for one of their homemade brownies, so that was what ended arriving in front of me.  Yes, this place is great for eating healthy food that gives you a good feeling inside.  However, this brownie was not one of them.  Insider sources have told me that this rich and decadent treat contains a startling amount of real butter.  Butter!  But this was Julia Child’s favourite ingredient after all, so this indulgence makes it okay in my books.

...*drools*...

I finished the whole thing… all by myself!  And I felt so sinful!  But I figured everyone’s allowed indulge once in awhile… right?

23 Oliver Street
Williams Lake, BC  V2G 1L6

250-392-5911

opened M-Su (lunch and dinner)

Oliver Street Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Nov 1, 2010

My lunch companions today were not the usual suspects… WTWL’s very own Cailin and LeRae were able to take time away from their hectic schedules to join me for a meal at the Oliver Street Bar & Grill on this very sunny autumn day.

I haven’t been to this establishment in years!  Seems like I could never find the time to make it out this far, which is sadly irrational.  I mean… it’s not like the downtown core is that all-encompassing by any stretch of imagination, and yet… somehow my mind has created this substantial distance between here and there.  Oh Oliver’s… why must you sit so far away?… er… all the way down there at the end of the street?

But I digress.

On a weekend when I should really be stuck at home diligently studying away for a midterm I instead find myself reacquainted with this place!  Now, for those of you who have never been here, it’s a seat-yourself establishment.  LeRae and I arrived first and decided on a table that sat fairly close to a large screen TV, just in-case we needed to catch up on the latest football score (turns out we didn’t).  Our waitress was quick to greet us once we sat down.  She was attentive and very personable as she took our drink orders and informed us of the special, which happened to be a roasted beef and cheddar sandwich, with a bowl of turkey vegetable soup.

Shortly after that we were joined by Cailin.  We gave her a few minutes to peruse over the menu and the waitress was quick to return to take our orders.  I ordered the pulled pork sandwich, Cailin decided to try the special, and LeRae, our vegetarian friend, asked for a spinach salad, which was slightly customized to meet her needs.

How was it customized?  Out, darn bacon… out I say!  A chopped up veggie patty replaced its stead, and I must say, from a practising carnivorous point of view, the patty actually looked like real meat.  The salad also included tomato wedges, sliced cucumbers, a sliced boiled egg, and shredded mozzarella.  Two slices of garlic bread and a small container of vinaigrette finished off the dish.  The veggies looked very fresh, although LeRae commented that it was perhaps a tad on the unimaginative side, which I had to agree with.  A little carrot for a splash of colour, or sunflower seeds for some crunchy texture probably would’ve bumped it up a notch or two.

...veggie patty...

...spinach salad... redux...

Cailin’s sandwich arrived on whole wheat bread and contained tomatoes, lettuce, cheddar and roast beef.  However, the bread was not toasted like she had asked and it was a bit too cold for her taste.  But once again, the ingredients looked very fresh and overall it was good sandwich.

...le special...

...soup and sandwich...

My sandwich arrived in burger form.  The pulled pork was very tender and saucy, the coleslaw in it quite creamy, and a good blend of flavours.  But unlike most pulled pork sandwiches that I’ve had in the past, the meat was cold so I didn’t get to experience the contrasting temperatures of hot meat against the cool coleslaw that I was expecting.  As well, the buns came un-toasted and the poor things didn’t have a chance in holding up against all the saucy goodness.  The whole thing soon became a limp, soggy mess that required the use of fork and knife.  The fries that came with them were pretty hot though, and appeared homemade and were very tasty.

...bbq pulled pork sammy...

...super fries!...

Throughout the entire meal, our waitress checked in on us occasionally and refilled our drinks without request.  The atmosphere inside was very casual and relaxed, and I imagine it would be a really great place to watch the game or enjoy a cold one in front of the many different TV screens.  In fact, while LeRae enthralled us of tales of meals that would typically take up to 4 hours in Italy, we actually ended up staying there for close to 3 hours!  Perhaps a testimonial of how much we dug the ambiance?

We had a great time.  And while I will say that the food was quite good, I felt that it had the potential to be something so much more with just a bit of polishing.

160 2nd Avenue
Williams Lake, BC  V2G 1Z6

778-412-BAKE (2253)

M-F: 10am – 3pm / Weekends & Holidays : closed

Beeotcheese Bistro & Bakery on Urbanspoon

August 5th, 2010

It’s been a terribly long time since my last lunch date, and today I had the opportunity to rectify that.  Miss M is back in town from her long and worldly travels and so it was a date with Miss B, Miss D, and yours truly.

We arrived at Beeotcheese and seated ourselves at one of the paper covered tables.  A little container of crayons is found at each table which you can use to draw amusing sketches onto the paper, or entertain yourselves with games of tic-tac-toe.

They have a permanent menu, as well as a revolving menu which changes on a weekly basis.  I quite enjoy this concept because you never know what’s in store for you each time you come in!  Miss B, Miss D and I ordered from this week’s menu, while Miss M opted for something from the standard one.  I decided on the Beef Dip, which included a side of potato salad.  The other choice of sides included a nice garden or caesar salad.

 

...beefy dippy...

The beef was quite tender and accompanied by a thin layer of sweet sauteed onions.  I thought that it could’ve used more onions, but that was probably a good thing anyways since I had to go back to work afterwards.   The overall sandwich was very tasty but not as warm as I would’ve liked.  As a result, the bread was also just a bit too firm for my tastes and I think perhaps if the bread had been toasted it would’ve gone up just a few more notches in my books.

The potato salad was nice and creamy without the potatoes being too mushy.  There was also a nice ratio of celery and green onions, and the paprika is a very nice touch.

Miss D ordered the Roast Pork Club, which consisted of thinly sliced roast pork, sprouts, tomatoes, swiss cheese, and a light scallion mayo all spread on top of a whole wheat bun.  For her side choice she also decided on the potato salad.

 

...healthy sammie!...

Miss B decided to try the Sunflower Salad which looked to be quite the colourful artwork with its shredded blood red beets, bright orange carrots, baby greens, sunflower seeds, and what we surmised to be julienned jicama.  Miss M had the My Big Greek Chicken salad, which was made up of sliced grilled chicken breast, green peppers, red onions, cucumber, tomatoes and feta cheese all on top of a bed of spring greens.  Both salads came with a slice of fresh white bread and looked absolutely delicious.

 

...my big greek whaa?...

...edible rainbow...

We all ate well and cleaned our plates off like good lil girls while Miss M enthralled us with her adventures in Thailand and India.  Her trip sounded amazing!  But I felt bad for letting her do all the talking during our meal as the three of us were all done eating while Miss M was barely even halfway through her salad!  Of course, that meant there was time for dessert so Miss B and I both ordered a carrot cake.

 

...carrot cake...

It was very moist and sat on of a nice layer of caramel sauce.  Instead of the usual nuts and raisins, there was instead coconut and pineapple in the cake.  That changed the texture of the cake only slightly and it was very delicious, especially with that rich cream cheese icing on top.

Beetocheese is also home to the famous biscuit cinnamon rolls which are simply amaaaaazing!  The biscuit is very moist and tender on the inside and lightly crusted on the outside.  The cinnamon filling is not overwhelming at all and the light layer of icing on top is just the perfect compliment to the entire ordeal.  I took one to go from their little bakery section found at the front of the restaurant so that I could enjoy it at home at my own leisure.

When I did get it home after work, I was already half way through eating it when I realised I never took a picture of it!  So here it is, some of it still intact… oh yum!!

 

...sooo good...

23A First Avenue South
Williams Lake, BC  V2G 1M4

250-398-7170

January 28th, 2010

I can’t remember how I pulled it off, but Mr Odie had popped into the clinic this afternoon to take Miss B out to lunch and I somehow got myself an invite!  Naturally, I suggested to drag Miss D out with us too so that I wouldn’t have to play third wheel *heh*.  My understanding is that Mr Odie is quite fond of Trattoria’s so that was where we went.

Oh how I love the smell of pasta and their oh-so-rich sauces!  But carbs are bad for me!  (Well, at least for another couple months anyways…) It was salads for me *boo* but Miss B was on a diet too so I had company in the leafy department.  My pick for today is the meal sized portion of the Hot Chicken Garden salad.  It was warm chicken breast, sliced up and laid ontop of a large bed of romaine hearts, zucchini, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and spring green onions.  It was quite delicious.

 

...hot chicken garden salad...

Miss B ordered the  Cajun Chicken Caesar salad, also in the meal size.  Sliced up spicy chicken breast, croutons, and parmesan sat on her plate of romaine.  Miss D had the Cajun Chicken fettucini and Mr Odie had the Chicken and Mango linguini.  He also indulged in a glass of red house wine.

 

...cajun chicken caesar...

...cajun chicken fettucini

...chicken & mango linguini...

The food came quickly and the establishment was very cozy.  It filled up with people in no time and the noise levels rose, but it was the comforting sounds of people gossiping, catching up, and generally have a great time with each other.  A breeze of cold wind would be let in every time someone let the door open though, and a sweater would be recommended if dining here during winter like we were.

Nobody had room for dessert, but I’m told that the cheesecakes here are to die for, and I noticed that they have bubble tea here (!)… Unfortunately, it appears that they’re only offered in the summer and they use powder instead of fresh fruit.  Who knows… maybe I’ll be able to enjoy a bubble tea right here in Williams Lake in a few months.