Sunday, September 28, 2008

Zap Thai, 1207 Esquimalt Road, Esquimalt B.C - - (250) 389-1845

Zap Thai is a sardine-can establishment that offers the only Thai food buffet in the city. Shockingly enough, it escaped my radar for over two years, and has been serving up buffet to thousands of hungry patrons during their busy lunch hour. The unorthodox layout of the buffet turns the line into a game of twister between cooks and customers. There were many times when I had to go behind the counter to grab some Thai spring rolls, narrowly missing water jug yielding waitresses.

There were only six items, and lucky for me, the only two Thai food items I really enjoy were there. Pad Thai, spring rolls, red curry, coconut curry, some sort of beef and vegetable stew and steamed rice were readily available and piping hot. The items were replaced frequently, and the spring rolls were pretty good, stuffed with some sort of transparent vermicelli.
The Pad Thai was what you would expect from any take-out restaurant. I would have liked to see bigger chunks of tofu, and maybe some beef, but it filled my craving.
The red and coconut curry were fairly decent. Just make sure you put enough steamed rice down to soak in the curry runs.

The selection at Zap Thai is a little meager, but for the small size of the restaurant I would say they are fair. Often, I have payed too much for take-out Thai food, only to discover the dishes bursting at the seams with bean sprouts, especially Pad Thai. Coming to Zap Thai ensures that I will get what I want for just a little over ten bucks, but still leaves me wanting more.

Price for Lunch, Fridays only: $11.75

EDIT: Price listed at $10.50 as of July 31, 2009.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Buffet Report

Since the buffet blog does not have celebrity traffic, I figure it may be time to start giving a little more to my faithful followers.

First lets start with Side Dish, a Persian restaurant on Langley Street in downtown Victoria. Their website still claims to have a buffet, but as me and my fellow blog contributor Donald quickly figured out, their buffet no longer exists. We were pretty pissed off about this because we rushed downtown during our quick lunch break from school(we go to school at Hillside and Richmond) and barely found a parking spot. Upon entering Side Dish, we were told the bad news, and then persuaded into buying a lunch "special". There was nothing special about $9.50 for one lamb skewer, a scoop of plain white rice, and a few leafs of lettuce covered in italian dressing. When the buffet was going on, it apparently only cost eight bucks. Side Dish was a big-time rip off. I should also add that because the food took so long to cook, we had to request to-go containers, which really pissed off the cook. "This is a fucking restaurant," exclaimed the chef, who did not know I was literally inches away from him when he made the comment to his waitress. What the fuck were you doing for half an hour? My 8o year old Italian grandmother with swollen diabetes feet could have whipped up this Persian shit-icasy in half that time. What does it take to cook some plain rice and a lamb skewer?
Side Dish fails for wasting my time. It won't last long if their attitude does not change.

In happier news, something amazing is stirring up at Wharfside Eatery down on Wharf Street. According to their website, Wharfside has buffet aspirations. I'll keep an eye on this for you. For those of you that don't know, the Wharfside Eatery is a famous tourist trap that is also famous for its seafood. Lobster tails in a buffet line??? Its possible.

Also, I'm hitting up a Thai Buffet in Esquimalt tomorrow! Blog post will follow.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Marina Restaurant, 1327 Beach Drive, Victoria, B.C - - (250) 598-8555

The Oak Bay Marina is my favorite place to eat buffet. Not only do they offer several quality items, but they also offer a fun place to eat in a relaxed atmosphere with very friendly staff.
The idiot in the back of the above picture wearing the Canucks jersey is myself. I lost a hockey bet with my friend, and my punishment was to wear that jersey and pay for his meal. Even though the buffet was close to 35 bucks a head after taxes, I felt more of a burning sting after being forced to wear that shitty jersey.

The buffet line consists a wide spectrum of dishes; roast beef as seen above, typical breakfast fare including two types of eggs benedict and an omellete station, thai noodles, excellent sushi, and a generous selection of seafood.

There are many different types of salads as well.

Desert offers quite a few options. Blueberry and blackberry cheesecake, mousse, chocolate cake and fresh fruit only touch the tip of the iceberg in terms of selection.

The highlight for me was the seafood. Specifically the prawns.

Fresh and firm, the prawns were easy to peel and very refreshing.

The eggs benedict were one of a kind, rich and creamy. Thick breakfast sausages, while a shock to the system, were grilled to perfection.

Auggie tries to impress with a few prawns nestled beside a plop of cocktail sauce, a sliver of chicken breast, celery with a drizzle of blue cheese and cous-cous. Quite possibly the least impressive buffet plate ever created. I was not impressed.

Having visited this place several dozen times, the prawns never fail, but sometimes the main dishes do. On this particular occasion the main dishes were not overwhelming, but still good enough. The roast beef was on but the thai noodles were nothing special. The important thing is, nothing sucked. When you factor in very high quality seafood into a spectacular atmosphere, it's hard not to leave happy. The service was quick, polite, unobtrusive and helpful. Fresh squeezed juice comes with the buffet and the apple juice is great.

Price for Sunday brunch: $28.95 plus tax

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Breaking Buffet News (sort of)

I just picked up the latest Eat Magazine, and there's a little blurb in it regarding changes to BC Ferries' Pacific Buffet.

Here's the news as it appears in Eat:

BC Ferries is taking the sting out of rising fares and early morning commutes by giving their Pacific Buffet a complete overhaul. Fresh blueberries, a platter with goat and cow cheeses, edamame salad, lox and Indian Candy salmon are replacing the old menu standbys. New glass and plate ware present the changes elegantly. Thank manager of food and beverage Hans Zimmerman next time you find yourself on the ferry with a steaming cup of Salt Spring Coffee, a freshly made omelette with goat cheese, and a ruby red bowl of plump strawberries.

No mention of any changes to the dinner buffet, but I imagine there will be changes there as well. I have no idea what these changes mean for the price of the buffet... guess we'll just have to wait and see.

ps. Guy is back in Victoria, so expect a fresh review sometime soon. On behalf of Guy, and everyone else associated with the blog (namely me) thanks for reading.