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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1-1064 Trans-Canada
Cache Creek, BC VOK 1H0

250-457-9999

M-Su: 10am – 7pm


Anie's Pizza and Bakery on Urbanspoon

January 2, 2011

Another stop in Cache Creek!  Mr O and I drove through there over the weekend and stopped at Anie’s Pizza & Bakery for brunch at its new location along the highway across from the Dairy Queen.

After a few awkward moments of standing around the front door, we eventually learn that you have to seat yourself (we should’ve known really).  We gave the menu a quick look-over to see what was available.  You can choose from a list of different appetizers and pastas, but their main feature is the pizza page which is packed with different varieties.  That was something I actually wouldn’t have mind trying, but it was only 11am and pizza didn’t quite fit within the parameters of ‘brunch food’ in my lil’ world.  As well, at each table there are small piles of paper slips that you can fill out to essentially create your own sandwich, and that was what we both decided to go with.  This is fairly subway-like in its idea, but we found the execution to be far better.

Once you decide what it is you want to eat, you have to mosey on up to the front counter to drop of your orders.  Then you head back to your seat and sit pretty until they bring the food out to you.  Or… you can do what we did and check out the display of freshly baked breads and locally made jams and jellies for sale like we did.  There was also a frozen display of several types of homemade pastas, meat pies, pizzas, and fruit pies for sale that you can take home and warm up at your own leisure.

It wasn’t long until our food arrived.  With our sandwiches, we both decided to add on a bowl of soup, which was between a choice of today’s chicken noodle, or vegetable.  These soups are made on site and we were informed that the chicken noodle wasn’t *quite* done simmering yet.  We could’ve waited another few minutes, but we decided to change directions instead and went with the veggie soup.

...all these veggies... mama'd be so proud!...

With our soups, Mr O had the BLT on whole wheat bread and I had a chicken salad on whole wheat also.  His BLT must’ve had at least 6 strips of bacon in it because we counted 2 layers of this porky goodness.  And my chicken salad was chunky and creamy all at the same time, with just a simple dash of salt and pepper, while sitting on top of a layer of sliced cucumbers.  But the star of the show was really the bread… Oh the bread!  These sandwiches came with the fluffiest homemade bread I’ve ever had, and sliced just a tad thicker than conventional bread.  I can just go on and on about the bread alone!

...bacon-L-T...

...chicken salad sammy...

The sandwiches were almost too big and I was only able to finish half of mine.  Well actually, I went and forced myself to take a couple more bites out of the second half before calling defeat because I felt bad for wasting such good bread.  But for this waste I blame on the soup because I ended up being too full from it.  The veggie soup turned out to be so delicious that I went and finished the whole bowl.

Tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, celery, peas, onions, beans, potatoes, squash, and the kitchen sink.  The veggies were chunky and easy to distinguish, and yes… even my grandmother would recognise this food!

So with our bellies full, we pushed ourselves to the front to pay and was lured by the presence of glistening rows of sticky buns.  How could we resist?  We grabbed 2 to go so that we could continue with our gluttonous ways on the road, as well as purchasing a loaf of white bread.

Dearest Anie… she asked me if I was going to put the picture I took of the buns up on Facebook.  I told her ‘no’, which was only a half-lie.

...what a sweet ending...

These buns were yeasty on the inside as you pulled the rows apart, and the glaze coating was delightfully gooey with just a touch of crunch.  Imbedded within the dough are small chunks of apples which gave the buns a nice lingering sweetness.  It was just the perfect thing to hold us over until we got home.  And when we did… we sliced into that loaf of innocent white bread, toasted it and corrupted it with a layer of creamy butter.  But oh baby, those calories were so worth it!

99 3rd Avenue S.
Williams Lake, BC V2G 1J1

250-398-6831

November 16, 2010

Lunch today was at the Hearth Restaurant located at the Cariboo Friendship Society, and I was joined by Mrs C.  She’s never been here before, and I’ve eaten here once but that was many moons ago, so this was technically a new venture for the both of us.

There were a surprising amount of tables available without making the place look cramped, and that might be attributed to the large windows that gave the place a nice bright feeling inside.  I arrived first and noticed that the first thing that welcomes you is the wonderful aromas of home cooked food.  As with most restaurants in Williams Lake, you seat yourself and the young man with a pleasant smile was quick to greet me with the menu.  After Mrs C arrived, he was quick to return to take our orders.

There’s a daily lunch buffet available for $9.50 that offers a variety of hot foods, but we decided to order off the menu instead.  There is quite the selection of hot and cold entrees and sandwiches, as well as a wide range of food for those with smaller appetites (a category I’d never find myself in unfortunately).  What I also thought was unique was the page on the back of the menu dedicated to those on the weight watchers program.

Now, I keep hearing good things about the bannock here so I knew I wanted to work that into my meal somehow.  Today’s soup happened to be beef & vegetable, which our server promised was very good, so I went with that… A bowl of the good stuff and a bannock to go along with it.  Mrs C also wanted to try the soup, and had that with an egg salad sandwich.  It was pretty cold today after all, about minus 5, and that soup would hopefully warm us up.

And you know… that soup was really REALLY good!  It was so flavourful and woke my umami taste-buds up… savouriness anyone?  The chunks of beef were aplenty and tender, and the yummy broth was home to celery, onions, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, turnips, and broccoli.  Have a mentioned how good it was?  It went well with my cube of bannock, which I was surprised to find that it was of the baked variety, as I was expecting a piece of fried dough.  It was warm and dense on the inside and crusty on the outside.  It didn’t have much flavour to it, which made it all the better to soak up the soup.  I wanted to slather butter on what was left of it, but since none came with my meal I figured it wasn’t proper protocol.

...soupy goodness...

...bannock anyone?...

Mrs C’s sandwich came toasted and you can really see the egg pieces in it.  There didn’t seem to be too much of any other fillers in it, and she said it was lightly seasoned with just a bit of salt and pepper.  As a bonus, it came cut up into cute lil triangles, which really appealed to my inner child.

...lil sandwich triangles!...

As an afterthought, I ordered a cinnamon roll to satisfy my sweet tooth.  It came halved and toasted, which gave it a pleasing texture, and the dough was soft and yeasty.  All in all, a great way to end a meal in my opinion.  But I’m still left to wonder… can we put butter on our bannock?

...toasted cinnies...

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.

1108 E Trans Canada Hwy
Cache Creek, BC  V0K 1H0

250-457-6735

Sun-Thurs: 7am – 8pm / Fri & Sat: 7am – 9pm

Chum's A Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

September 26th, 2010

So we spent another weekend down at the Coast to celebrate my FiL’s 70th birthday (…not bad eh?) and chugged along slowly back home.  Somehow we managed to hit up Cache Creek again around dinner time so we decided to give Chum’s a whirl this time.  It looked promising because there were quite a few cars parked outside.

The interior was quite dated and pretty much all the seats along the windows were taken up by other patrons, so we were seated along this half-wall that separated the sitting area from the serving station.  I can’t recall if there was any music playing in the background… but I sure was updated on the latest gossip amongst the employees!  It was an experience which bordered on charm and annoyance.

The girl that ended up taking our order was a bit curt.  I thought it was just the result of an aloof personality, but Mr O thought she was being a bag.  *ouch*  However, the girl that ended up bringing us our food was very friendly and balanced out the frostiness.

I ordered the Monte Cristo and Mr O asked for a Clubhouse.

Now, I’ve never had a Monte Cristo before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, nor know what it was supposed to taste like.  I decided to be naughty and asked for it on white bread, and something that looked like a sandwich dipped and fried in egg arrived in front of me.  Between the bread were slices of black forest ham, roasted turkey, and swiss cheese.  The ham was salty, the turkey was bland and it had an overall taste combination that left me confused.  I wasn’t quite sure if I liked it.  I definitely didn’t like the way the bread was soggy and the insides seemed to be dripping clear liquid onto the plate.  Had something been re-steamed?  The second half of my sandwich had to be conquered with a fork and knife because by this point the bread was too limp and everything was falling apart in my hands.

...Monte Cristo...

...ready for a close-up?...

Mr O’s clubhouse arrived but it looked more like a BLT.  We’ve got the bacon… the lettuce… and the tomatoes… but the turkey appeared to be missing.  He figured that it would take too long to rectify the situation so he just ate it.  He thought it tasted pretty standard… hard to mess up on a BLT I guess.

...clubhouse?... blt?... hmm...

...bacon-y...

The fries looked like the pre-frozen variety and it came out nice and crispy.

By the time we were done eating, I was feeling like I was still missing something and thought about ordering a slice of pie to see if that would fill me up.  But when waitress #1 came along to clear up our plates, she stuck our bill at our table and walked off before I was able to ask for dessert.  So we flagged her down again and asked for a slice of the blueberry pie, heated with no ice cream.

Well, I polished it off pretty quick despite it looking like the pie filling came from a can.  The crust of the pie was pretty piping hot but the filling was still cold so I’m gonna deduce that the microwave was implemented in warming it up.  No worries, it did the job and filled my sweet tooth, saving me a trip to the DQ.

...pie time...

Verdict?  I can’t say I’m a fan of the food.  Even Mr O, who normally doesn’t care where he eats, would probably say “no” to another visit.  So I think it’s safe to say that we’ll try another place next time in Cache Creek.

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...

3075 Highway 97
150 Mile House, BC   V0K 2G0

250-296-4235

Opened 7 days a week for breakfast and lunch, closed for the winter.

Thyme For Tea on Urbanspoon

December 20, 2009

It was an impulsive all-girls day at the tea house!  The girls from the clinic: Miss B, Miss D, Miss J, Doc Kay, Doc Bee, and myself decided to spend a lovely Sunday afternoon at Thyme For Tea (it shares its space with the Yellow Umbrella which happens to be a really nice gift store).  Since Doc Ar is a boy, we decided to invite his wife instead, Lady Ar.

This was my first time here, or in any tea house for that matter.  It was soooo cozy and just the perfect way to spend hours at a time with a group of girlfriends.  Because it was so close to the holidays, there were Christmas decorations and gift ideas everywhere you looked.  There were a few essential oils that I was tempted to buy and a really nice necklace that caught my eye but couldn’t justify buying… so I instead took enjoyment in window shopping.

There was an enormous amount of teas to choose from, all categorised.  Since I wasn’t really familiar with “western-type” teas, I stuck with a simple Green Tea (unadventurous, I know…)  The pots came encased in cute little cozies and everyone had a different style of china cup.  Our table was really starting to look like a tea party!

 

...I'm a little tea pot...

...more tea please!...

High Tea was available for $40 and consisted of tea and assorted sandwiches and pastries for 2 people, but it was much past lunch time and most of us were famished (yours truly included) so we opted to order from the actual menu.  I had the chicken salad sandwich, which had chunks of chicken, shredded almonds and dried cranberries on whole grain bread.

...soooo warm...

...chicken salad sandwich...

Overall I found it pretty tasty, but slightly on the bland side.  It came with a bowl of tomato pasta soup that really warmed me up, considering it was probably about -20C that afternoon.  (In fact, I think everyone also opted for the soup with their meals.)  Miss D ordered the garden sandwich, which was literally a salad stacked between slices of bread and she really enjoyed it.  Lady Ar and Miss B had the cucumber sandwich, Doc Bee ordered a quiche, Miss J got the egg salad sandwich, and Doc Kay (who actually already had lunch prior to arrival) ordered the scone, which came with butter, jam and devonshire cream.  (I’m soooo getting the scone the next time I’m there!)

...scone and jam...

For dessert I had the Christmas Platter, which turned out to be a plate of assorted goodies including a brownie, nanaimo bar, sugar cookies, a raspberry tart and a square of carrot cake.

...Christmas Platter...

Miss D had a slice of the Triple Layer Chocolate Cake, and Doc Bee split a slice of the Cranberry Cheesecake with Lady Ar.

...Cranberry Cheesecake...

In the end, I ended up falling in love with the chocolate cake and my plate of goodies was actually more in line with what Miss D felt like eating, so we ended up swapping desserts.  Oooh come to me!  So dense and cocoa-y, and not overwhelming with the frosting at all!

...Triple Layer Chocolatey goodness!...

I’m definitely coming back for that High Tea, even if I have to drag Mr O with me!