L.A. Trip 2019: The Habit Burger Grill (LAX)

I was in Los Angeles in January 2019 for a week – and on the way back to Vancouver, I had a burger at The Habit Burger Grill at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

It was a good thing I checked in fairly early. It literally took 25 minutes for the order to be ready – even though they had said “15 minutes” when I placed the order.

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I had never heard of this franchise before – but the staff was friendly. The only issue was the speed of the service.

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This is pretty standard nowadays – an electronic device given to the guest to let him/her to know when the meal is ready. Yes, this was order #5, but as I said, it took 25 minutes. Perhaps the number is random…

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After that, it was time to board the flight and return back home!

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Aladdin Cafe (Vancouver)

On a Friday afternoon, AJ and I wanted to grab something quick for lunch. We decided to try Aladdin Cafe on Robson and Seymour Street in downtown Vancouver.

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I went with the Shawarma Plate, and what can I say? The pictures tell a thousand words… 🙂

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I mean, the one other time I visited Aladdin, I wanted the fries that was advertised on their menu – but they didn’t have it because they’d just opened for that day and the fries wouldn’t be ready for while.

I ended up not getting anything that day, but the Shawarma Plate on this Friday afternoon was just what I needed.

Unfortunately, not everybody has had pleasant experiences here. The following is feedback left by a New Westminster (BC) resident on Yelp.ca from July 2018:

The food here was just okay. I found it a little overpriced, given the complete lack of ambiance and presentation. The Chicken Shawarma Arabi was better than the Lamb Shawarma Platter, and cheaper by a couple dollars, so I’d probably go with that if I came back.

Bizarrely, the man who served us would not provide us with tap water, and he charged us for bottled water even though my father didn’t say we’d buy any, which I found quite rude. I’m not sure I’ve ever been refused a cup of tap water before. Even the ultra-cheap places like Fresh Slice will give you a little styrofoam cup of it.

I don’t think we will be giving this place a second chance.

The person who left those comments gave Aladdin a one-star review. Yikes.

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Patsara Thai Restaurant (Re-visit)

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This post covers several visits to Patsara Thai Restaurant, which is located at Seymour and Robson Street in downtown Vancouver.

Back in mid-May, I was there for lunch and ordered their Moo Karitem Kai Dao off their lunch menu. This dish was their stir fried pork meal with garlic and served with fried egg and rice.

It also came with a starter of a small salad and fried dumplings.

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I just wanted to try this dish, but really, I wasn’t a big fan of it. The servers were friendly, though. They had smiles on their faces (which, for some reason, you can’t even take for granted these days anymore at so many other establishments) and refilled my glass with water every chance they got.

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On another visit, I had a different meal off their lunch menu. This time, it was the Panang, which was red curry in coconut milk with the meat of your choice (among chicken, pork, and beef). It also came with rice.

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Once again, the dish came with a small salad and fried dumplings.

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As for the meat that I chose for the Panang, I picked beef.

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I definitely liked this dish better than the stir fried pork. In fact, I would say I loved the Panang.

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I would say the one thing that’s been consistent in all of my visits has been the service. People seem to be cheerful and friendly at Patsara, unlike the customer service folks at certain London Drugs stores or Starbucks. What can I say? It is what it is.

Finally, one more visit some time later… This time, I had the Red Duck Curry, which didn’t come with rice (and you had to order it separately). This one was AWESOME!

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Since these three visits, I’d been back but I will post about those other meals next time! But Patsara is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the downtown Vancouver area. The service has been great and the red duck curry and panang have definitely been winners!

Pho Don Vietnamese Restaurant

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I had, over the years, passed by Pho Don Vietnamese Restaurant (East Hastings and Renfrew) literally hundreds of times without ever stepping foot inside – until just recently.

During this visit, it was a fairly quiet Thursday evening without a lot of diners. I was seated and given a cup of tea and a menu upon entering the restaurant.

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I picked the Sauteed Beef with Spicy Lemongrass dish, which was served with either rice or fried noodles. I opted for the latter, since I’m not much of a rice fan. Actually, I’m not much of a noodle fan either, but I thought it was at least better than rice.

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The menu indicated that this dish was spicy (one chili symbol). I didn’t think it was any spicy at all, but I guess the problem was that the beef was rather chewy.

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Obviously, this being a typical Asian restaurant, there was not much of any “service” – it was just the bare minimum, much like any other Asian establishment.

There was a flatscreen in either end of the restaurant, but they were not tuned into the sports channels. (It was Game Seven of the Winnipeg-Nashville series.) As for background music, it was – I guess – some sort of satellite radio station with continuous music.

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With Asian places, you can’t take it for granted that they accepted plastic – for example, many places in Richmond are “cash only” establishments – but in Pho Don’s case, they do take debit and credit.

The Slocan (Re-visit)

This must have been the umpteenth time I visited The Slocan,* but this time I tried their Southern Fried Chicken for the first time.

*As a writer, I want and need my routine. It keeps the creative juices flowing. What can I say….

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Their southern fried chicken was a two-piece meal (drumstick and thigh) and came with a cup of soup along with coleslaw and your choice of fries or mashed potatoes. For C$3.99, you could add an extra piece of chicken.

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As for the chicken, well… I did get an extra piece, but I probably should have tried it once before doing so. The chicken was a tad too dry for my liking. It wasn’t the type of chicken I was accustomed to. The one thing that sticks out was how dry the chicken was.

But hey, I’ve been back since that visit and will probably be back again in the future. I mean, The Slocan is a great place for food and sports… If there’s a hockey game on, you can bet it’s on the multiple flatscreens in the restaurant. Great place.