Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feb 24th - Post Quarter Final Hockey Earl's - Fairview, Vancouver

West Coast Prawn Salad
The Sicilian Pizza
D's niece stayed with us last night. She's such a polite kid. She sat there for over an hour as we sat and watched the historic Quarter Final Hockey game between Canada and Russia. I would have been willing to move to go see something if she wanted. I would have suffered a bit and been tied to my blackberry but I would have. She didn't mind even though she isn't a hockey fan. It helped that it didn't seem like D had any intention of moving off the couch even if she had wanted to go somewhere. We stayed a bit longer to watch the women's Speedskating relay. She's a speedskater herself. You'd never guess seeing how tiny she is. She's a slender 11 year old. She loves the sport though fears the future of her thighs! :-) I think the muscle tone on speedskaters is amazing, I told her.

We won the Hockey game. No. That is a massive understatement. We have not beaten Russia at the Olympics since 1960! That's 50 years people. We crushed them 7 - 3. While watching the game, we gave her loads of options of what we could eat. She only requested that we not have pizza or pasta as she had just had that. Then she threw in that she would prefer not to have asian as she had had alot of that recently. On the casual end of the dining out scale, there isn't alot of non Asian options in Vancouver. Think about it, if you're from here. There are great fusion or western places in the $$$$ end of the scale. She was visiting from Montreal and not as used to all the Asian cuisine. She loves it and had sushi, thai and chinese while here. Regularly, though, at home they have alot of Italian or French food. Her father works in on of Montreal's most famous Italian restaurants and so he is a big foodie. They always only cook 1 meal for the family. No fish fingers!

We decided to take her to the neighbourhood Earl's. It's a westcoast chain of bar/restaurants that are probably most famous for their Robert Palmer-esque servers. It's hilarious. If you sit down with a bunch of girls, the cleavage hands off to a black shirt clad, gelled haired male counterpart. They used to be great for this one salada which was a take on a Nicoise but with salmon. They took it off. Shame!

I was worried that it would still be full from the game but it must of emptied out just after the end. We got a great booth with a perfect view of the screens to watch the speedskating rerun and some aerials. We ordered the Calamari to start. D got the Sicilian pizza, F got a Cajun Chicken Caesar and I ordered the West Coast Prawn Salad.

The calamari are fairly standard. They're made to order and the Tzaziki is tasty. The raw red onions on top of the calamari are too sharp and could do without them. Sometimes they are too oily at Earls and they were not at this location. The rings are always these baby ring sized rings. The only thing I noticed was that they gave us considerably smaller portion than I've seen in two other locations. Generally nice.

D used to work in Calgary after undergrad so Earl's used to be a second home. The Cajun Chicken Caesar was his oxygen. It comes on a large frisbee sized plate. It is heaped with a pile of bite sized cut romaine, generously dressed but not drowned. It was topped with freshly grated parmesan, loads of garlicy crouton with a side of a hunk of focaccia. The chicken was a bit spicy for F but she did eat quite alot of it. I helped finish the croutons :-D

My salad was really nice but for 1 thing. It too came on a large plate but was neatly mounded in the middle. I thought it seemed a reasonable main dish sized salad but with the quinoa, it was actually quite alot of food. I made it through. The salad was a mix of baby greens dressed in a simple vinagrette, slightly too much....slightly. It was tossed with pecans and walnuts, shredded carrots, avocadoes and.... strawberries??? Really? Strawberries? There was also cous cous intermingled in the greens but not too over mixed. The ingredients were well portioned so you had carrots or nuts in each bite. However, I really found the strawberries puzzling. Why would you include strawberries in this otherwise savour dish. The whole salad was topped with half a dozen, warm perfectly sauteed prawns.

I ordered this dish because I went to Earls a few months back with work and my friend W ordered this dish and ordered something that had JUMBO prawns in the name. It barely had any shrimp and those I did have were certainly not jumbo. I enviously eyed W's succulent coral curls and decided the next time I find myself needing to go to an Earls I would order it. I think next time I'll ask for the strawberries on the side or not at all. Out here, you do do find yourself 'needing' to go to Earls for one reason or another, convenience, children, work, sporting events or proximity to a theatre. So it's good to have a goto dish.

D's had their pizza in the past. I've never ordered a pizza there. He said the crust is quite good. Light, not too bready. The sausage was spicy and tasty. He ploughed through his pizza if that is saying anything.

Cost: $$-$$$
Ambience: Dark and loud. They have a separate more quite dining area.
Cleanliness: It is more a restaurant than bar. It does not smell of stale beer or barlike.
Staff: Not very attentive and a tad too much cleavage for my liking. Also, had to flag for our bill for 15 minutes and then have it corrected. In their favour. She billed us for only 10% of our total.
Earl's Restaurant

901 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
(604) 734-5995
Vancouver, BC

Earl's Broadway (at Laurel) on Urbanspoon

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