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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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!

770 Brunswick  Street
Prince  George, BC  V2L 2C2

250-563-0121

Su-Th: 5pm-9pm / F-Sa: 5pm-10pm

Shogun Japanese Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Jun 26, 2010

The 2nd International Fascia Research Congress took place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  The replay of the event took place in Prince George, BC…. Can we guess which one I got to attend?

 

Well, to my disappointment, it wasn’t the one in Amsterdam.  But the replay was very informative.  (Yes yes, useless information I know… but I’m trying to build up a climax here!)  Friday evening I drove up here with Miss SH and Miss CD.  Miss CD and I stayed at the Coast Inn of the North.  Two of the more well-known restaurants in town are located within the hotel, one of which is Shogun, a Japanese steak house.

We made reservations to have dinner there on the Saturday night and was joined by Miss SH’s boyfriend, B.  Because Shogun was known for it’s teppanyaki, I had asked to be seated grill-side so that I could get the full on experience of teppan style cooking.

I ordered a 2-pc spring salmon nigiri starter and split an order of california rolls with Miss CD.  For my main course I asked for the Ozeki combo, which included a striploin steak, cooked to order, and prawns (shrimp and scallops were my other seafood options).  Miss CD ordered the Kobe combo, which featured a lobster tail, and scallops.  B originally wanted to order the beef tenderloin and seafood donburi, but was talked out of it by the waitress and changed his order to the Ozeki combo as well.  Miss SH wanted nothing to do with cooked food and asked for the sashimi boat dinner, which included fresh pieces of tuna, Hawaiian tuna, salmon, surf clam, red snapper, octopus, mackerel, and sweet raw shrimp.

 

...here fishy fishy...

The salmon on my nigiri was a deep red colour, which makes me think the fish is wild and not farmed.  It was tasty fish, but the rice seemed bland and broke apart far too easily when I tried to pick them up with my chopsticks (yes, I know… it’s *supposed* to be finger food!).  When I moved on to the california rolls, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it had REAL crab in it.  But it didn’t taste as good as I had hoped… the taste of crab was a bit more overwhelming that I had anticipated.  I’d probably wouldn’t order it again, but I’ve never been a huge fan of california rolls in the first place.

 

...sake nigiri for one...

...california rolls for two...

The Shogun salad is included in the dinner and it was a simple green garden salad served with a ginger dressing.  It was a lovely dressing but there was too much of it on my plate and after several minutes the greens were quite drenched in it.  We actually all agreed that it was too much dressing for one plate.

 

...greens and ginger...

The main attraction was the teppanyaki, of course.  The chef was quite funny in a corny kind of way and poked fun at my camera skills in a good natured manner… (the lights were DIM! and I forgot my tripod! and flash didn’t make the food look appetizing at all!)  Alright… enough with  my excuses!

The first burst of flames was HOT… it reminded me of the Back Draft show down at the Universal Studios.  The seafood was the first thing cooked and dang did his hands move fast!  I tried… REALLY tried to take pictures but those crazy limbs were just too fast for my camera!

 

...swoosh!...

 

...where are the hands?!...

My prawns came back succulent.  There are two types of dipping sauces to choose from: a mustard sauce and a ginger sauce.  I couldn’t decide which to dip my prawns in because both were very nice… so I alternated!

As we noshed, Miss CD’s lobster and our steak were thrown into the fire.  I had asked for my steak to be done medium-rare so it didn’t take too long before it was sitting on my plate.  Oh the meat was so tender and juicy… it was absolutely delicious!

 

...lovely steak...

By this point we were all approaching the stage where we were all stuffed to the gills, but who could resist the grilled veggies that came next?  A medley of bean sprouts, onions, zucchini, carrots, and asparagus was cooked with some soy sauce, and included a display which involved black lights and sesame seeds.  The kids will definitely like this part.

 

...onion volcano?...

...goes boom!...

As we filled in all the nooks and crannies of our bellies with the veggies, the chef ended the evening with a short and entertaining drumming routine.  All in all, the evening took about 1.5 hours.

Miss SH’s boat came with dessert, while ours didn’t, so we all sat back in our seats to digest while she had her ice cream.

It was a great way to spend a Saturday evening.  Next time… I’ll have to remember to not fill up on the rice!

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.