Sherman's Food Adventures: 2020

Porkmafia

Sometimes, the best food isn't necessarily found in a B&M restaurant.  It can literally be found at the side of the road on a farm with pigs roaming around freely in Delta.  Porkmafia, run by Pitmaster Jamie, is well-known to its many loyal fans.  However, for many others, this may be the first time they've ever heard about the place.  That was true for myself and Mijune as we were invited to try their BBQ.

Behold!  The platter of meat that was presented to us consisted of Smoked Brisket, Carolina-style Pulled Pork, Smoked Chicken, Burnt Ends and Smoked Oyama Sausage.  Okay, I've been to Texas and for those who don't know, I'm also a certified PNWBA judge.  So I'm pretty confident that the BBQ I tried at Porkmafia is completely legit.  The brisket point was at its fatty and moist best with a balanced smoke.  Good varied flavour from the rub as well.  Naturally, the flat was not as juicy due to the lean nature of the cut.  However, it wasn't dry and was just as tasty.  The star of the platter was the legit burnt ends which were large, smoky and ate like candied meat.  Although it didn't look it, the pulled pork was moist and tender.  Pitmaster Jamie did the chicken his way and it was not dry and full of flavour.  Lastly, the custom collaboration with Oyama made for a delicious and meaty sausage that had a firm snap.

One of the biggest surprises was the Smoked Pork Steak St. Louis style.  You would think that the pork would be dry due to the leanness of the meat.  However, it couldn't have been any further from that.  Rather, it was moist with the rub penetrating the meat as well as the smoke.  There was a slight sweetness that went well with the appealing tanginess.  The meat ate really well where it didn't need any sauce.

Lastly, we got to the sides including Coleslaw, Smoked Mac n' Cheese and Smoked Pit Beans.  Okay, don't laugh, but this has to be one of the best versions of coleslaw I've ever had.  Fresh, crunchy and tangy with a slight kick from horseradish, I couldn't stop eating it.  Mac n' Cheese should've been renamed cheese with mac because there was so much cheese in it.  No roux.  Just cheese.  Pit beans were smoky with plenty of smoked brisket.  A meal in itself!.  I can't say this enough, this BBQ has to be the best I've tried in the Lower Mainland.  Pitmaster Jamie doesn't take any shortcuts and it shows with the quality of the BBQ.  Don't just take my word for it, try it for yourself.  Make sure you pre-order otherwise you won't get any.

*All food was complimentary*

The Good:

- Legit

- Made with care

- Even the sides are legit

The Bad:

- Well, a bit restrictive when and where you can get it, but worth the effort!

ChiMec

A by-product of my quest to find the best fried chicken sammie in the Lower Mainland has been stumbling upon places that were never on my radar.  Case-in-point, my visit to Alphabet City yielded not only another fried chicken sammie contender, the rest of the food was really good.  Now the quest has brought me to ChiMec Fried Chicken & Burger out on Denman.  Run by the same good people from one store down at MDG, the chances of good fried chicken were pretty good.  Jacqueline and I dropped by for a tasting of their wares.

Not going to talk about something else and get right to the ChiMec Burger presented 2 ways.  First, we had the original with 2 deep fried chicken thighs and then the spicy with 2 pieces of deep fried chicken breast (that equals a whole).  As you can see, they were massive and fully loaded with creamy coleslaw, pickled onions, cheese and pickles on a brioche bun.  My preference was the dark meat as it was juicier.  In terms of original vs. spicy, definitely the spicy for me as the kick was noticeable and impactful.  Well worth the $12.00.

Now their Wings were pretty darn good as well.  We got them in Sweet & Spicy Korean and Salt & Pepper.  I found the coating to be a hybrid between batter and breading.  It wasn't heavy though and stayed crunchy throughout.  The skin was nicely rendered and there was sufficient seasoning even without sauce.  However, the Korean-style glaze was pretty tasty with the usual sweet and spiciness one would expect. 
This carried onto their Fried Chicken with a firm, yet not overly heavy coating.  Nicely seasoned and completely rendered skin.  Meat was super juicy, but didn't degrade the crunchiness outside.  Not much to say about the Fries and Onion Rings as they did the job, but were pretty standard.  However, the most important part of the menu, the chicken, they do it well and I do not hesistate to recommend it.

 

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:

- Well-seasoned, juicy chicken with rendered skin and crunchy coating

- Large sandwiches

- Reasonably-priced

 The Bad:

- Fries could be better

Alphabet City

Happenstance.  Sometimes I stumble upon a restaurant not because I knew about it or that even someone tipped me off.  Take Alphabet City on Main Street for instance, it has been open for a year and I had no clue it existed.  I even walked and drove by it several times while going to pick up cakes at Trafiq!  Located in the old Splitz Grill location, I only found out about the place because they noticed my fried chicken quest and asked if I would like to try theirs.  I was absolutely game and brought Mijune with me after our meal at Shin Ka Gyuu (yes, second dinner...).  We definitely ate their chicken sammie as well as many other items as well.

Before we got to the sammie, we had their popular Tuna Bites dusted in an array of spices including togarashi.  Yah, the tuna was seared just enough on both sides that left the centre rare and tender.  But the real draw of this dish was the layers of heat and spices with every bite.  It was hot enough to make our tongues tingle without destroying the actual delicateness of the tuna.  Served on the side was a soothing sesame ginger mayo.

Continuing with the same theme of spiciness, we had the Pound o Wings with "D" spice consisting of cayenne and paprika.  These were coated with rice flour (hence making them gluten-free) and dusted with plenty of dry rub.  These were pretty crunchy with properly rendered skin.  The meat was moist and juicy while the heat from the spices made for some tingling lips.  Really good wings.

Let's not stop there with the heat as we ventured into "F" spice with the Fried Boneless Chicken Leg (thigh and drumstick).  Once again, the rice flour batter resulted in a crunchy exterior.  This was even juicier than the wings as the liquids ran amok from the meat with every bite.  The spiciness from the F spice was very noticeable leaving a lingering burning sensation on my lips and tongue.

Of course we can't forget about the real reason I was here - the ABC Chicken Sammie in "E" spice.  OMG.  This was totally unexpected, but I'll happily take it - this sammie was delicious!  The fried chicken breast was explodingly juicy with plenty of heat.  Tangy and crunchy, the slaw brought the heat down a notch while the pickled onions added tanginess.  Toasted brioche was on point, holding things together.  One of the best sammies I've had in town!

Other than their fried chicken, another prominent part of the menu is dedicated to their burgers.  Stacked high thanks to a mess of house-made hickory sticks, The Smokeshow consisted of a 6oz patty, whiskey BBQ sauce, bacon, smoked provolone, green relish, garlic mayo, pickle and the aforementioned hickory sticks.  This was surely a hearty burger with a well-charred patty that was not dry.  Lots of textures and full-bodied flavours including smokiness, sweetness and meatiness.  The fries on the side were also excellent with a crispy exterior giving way to tender potatoness.

Almost anti-climatic after trying the smokeshow, the Classic Jr. sported one 3oz patty, American cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayo and LTOP.  Yes, this looked more like a lettuce burger than anything, but for those who don't want to eat something heavy like The Smokeshow, then this would be it.  There was still meatiness to be found here, but the burger ate light with a toasted soft brioche and the usual condiments. 

As if we needed anymore food, we had the ABC Nachos with chorizo, refried beans, cheese, pickled jalapeños, onions, cilantro and house made tortilla chips.  On the side, we found pico de gallo and sour cream.  This was prepared and served on a sheet pan so that every chip was kissed with toppings.  As such, this was a hearty serving of crispy nachos.  Lots of different flavours and no need to layer the ingredients and get everything wet.

Lastly, we had the Mac n' Cheese with a 3 cheese blend, panko/parm crust and chives.  The noodles in this were al dente despite being bathed in a creamy cheese sauce.  There was definitely ooey gooey cheesiness that was mild and subjected to a crunchy aromatic topping.  Overall, I thought the food was solid and definitely filling.  The spice levels here are spot on and can satisfy a variety of tastes.  If you go for the spicier letters, beware, they aren't playing around here!

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:

- They don't mess around when it comes to the spice level

- Good portions

- Solid eats

The Bad:

- You might not be able to handle the spicier "letters", start slow (we loved it though!)

Shin Ka Gyuu 辛火牛

There once was a time where AYCE (all-you-can-eat) anything was super popular in the Lower Mainland.  Yes, there are still some kicking around, but with the ever-increasing amount of foodies, those places are not seen as "The" places to go especially for posting on IG.  Hey, I agree since the food quality at AYCE joints tend to be lower and the execution can be hit and miss.  If we look at AYCE hot pot, it can get even dicier as the prices aren't exactly cheap.  Add in the surcharge for broth(s) and sauce(s), it can quickly add up to North of $50.00 easy (depending on the class of restaurant).  So when Shin Ka Gyuu opened up in the old Joey location on Broadway, I was pretty skeptical as it was charging even more than that for their AYCE sukiyaki menu.  Mijune and I were invited to try it out recently, so it was a good chance to see what it was all about.

They have 2 dinner menus at $58.00 and $78.00 each with the pricier one featuring more variety of meats including Wagyu.  There is a special going on where you can get the $78.00 menu for $58.00 during the day before 4:00pm.  Although the menu is AYCE, there is a limit on the Sashimi where we got 4 pieces of Atlantic salmon, 2 spot prawns, 4 pieces of hamachi and 4 pieces of hokkigai. Too bad there was a limit because the quality of the sashimi was quite good.

Moving onto the Sushi, we were served Ebi Aburi and Salmon Aburi Oshi as well as SKG Dragon Roll and Ka Gyuu Roll.  The sushi rice itself was a little on the wetter side, but it wasn't bad at all.  The rolls and oshi were constructed well.  Although the aburi was torched enough for effect, there was a bit too much mayo/sauce on top.  The salmon and ebi underneath were nicely textured and fresh.  I would say these were more than acceptable given they were unlimited.

There was also a bunch of Appetizers available including Tako Wasabi, Seaweed Salad, Cucumber Salad, Jellyfish Salad, Tuna Avocado Salad and Tofu Salad.  I thought they were all pretty solid and in fact, appetizing.  In particular, the tuna salad was full of tuna and salmon.  We asked for more of that without the mayo and voila, more sashimi (see below)!  Even though the soft imitation crab on the softer tofu was all the same texture, I got another.  I liked it for some reason.  Jellyfish salad and seaweed salad were typical, but appealing.  Tako Wasabi was a bit sweet, but also a nice appie.

We got a few more things before the sukiyaki.  They included Onsen Tamago, Chicken Karaage and Kimchi.  Somehow, we didn't get the takoyaki and gyoza, but we had more than enough food already.  Egg was perfectly silky in the centre and the seasoning was just enough.  Chicken karaage was a bit small, so it was more crunch than chicken.  Kimchi was tangy and slightly spicy.  Wish there was some fermented shrimp in there.

Now the main event with the Sukiyaki with the original broth as well as Karai.  We preferred the sukiyaki broth as it was flavourful with depth.  Even though the karai was spicy, it needed more salt.  We had all the meats including Pork Belly, Beef Short Plate, Wagyu Beef Short Plate, Prime Boneless Chuck Flap, Beef Chuck Eye Roll and Chef's Choice (we didn't know what that was...  LOL).  All of them were tender and moist, even after cooking all the way through.  The quality of the meats was high and that alone justifies the price.

We sampled all of the desserts (of course we did, Mijune wouldn't want it any other way) and it was hit and miss.  The highlights included the Green Tea and Black Sesame Ice Cream as well as the Matcha Tofu. That tofu was so silky and just sweet enough.  I could have many of those.  So in the end, much like any other AYCE, we could pick at some of the faults.  However, given the modern dining space (which had great Covid protocol), high quality of the meats and some appealing appies, it was really worth the price.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good: 

- Excellent meat quality

- Nice dining space

- Decent variety

The Bad:

- Dessert can be hit and miss

Zia's Cafe and Grill

The "industrial park" restaurant is one that we've seen before.  Hidden within warehouses and offices, the place is usually non-descript, have limited hours and offers up generic food for the workers in the area.  However, that is certainly not the case with Zia's Cafe and Grill located in 13700 Mayfield Place in Richmond.  Sure, they still serve burgers and such, but that is only a small part of the menu.  In addition to that, we find made-from-scratch Persian, Indian and Middle Eastern dishes.  I recently made my way out there with Jacqueline for a taste of their wares.

We began with their Vaziri consisting of both Kebab Koobideh and Joojeh Kebab with saffron rice and grilled tomatoes.  This was a large plate of food that would serve 2 people easy.  Both the chicken and beef were tender and nicely spiced.  The ground beef kebabs were juicier with a nice onion finish while the chicken breast kebabs were a bit drier with the essence of saffron.  I would've liked a bit more char, but these ate very well nonetheless.
 
The next set of dishes included Gheimeh (Split Pea Stew, Ghormeh Sabzi (Herb Stew) and Kashk O Bademjoon (Eggplant Dip).  We could really tell these were made from scratch and resembled more like home-cooking than restaurant food.  Hence, the dishes were salty nor too greasy.  I found the lentil stew to be mild with tender beef and light tomato notes.  The herb stew was very subtle with herbaceousness and tender beef as well.  Complimented by mint, garlic and yogurt whey, the roasted eggplant dip went well with the soft flatbread.  I also thought the flavours in this was also subtle.

By looking at the colour of the Butter Chicken, it didn't appear that they used tomato paste.  In fact, it looked like they used fresh tomatoes.  Hence, the flavours were creamier and again, I'll used the word, subtle.  I was able to get the earthiness of the cumin and just the slightest hint of spice.  Nestled in the sauce, we found tender nuggets of chicken.  Again, this was served with saffron rice.

Now the fact they serve different things other than their core menu has mainly to do with offering more lunch options in the industrial park they reside in.  But their Famous Charbroiled Burger was far from a throw-in.  I thought it was fantastic as the fresh beef patty had a great meaty texture and flavour.  Furthermore, there was a smoky sear that complimented the natural taste of the meat.  Sure, their fries were not house-made, but at least they used Cavendish (Costco Fries) because they were good.

One of the best, if not the best, things we tried was the TFC Burger featuring crispy tandoori chicken bites nestled in a brioche bun with jalapeno mayo.  They were indeed crispy with some spice and plenty of impact.  Chicken was moist and the whole thing just ate well with a variety of flavours and textures.  I would say this is the thing to get here as it is unique and cheap at $10.00 including fries!  I would say that the food at Zia's is reasonably-priced considering that everything (well, almost everything) is scratch-made and not loaded with salt and preservatives.  Good option if you are in the area.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Scratch-made food
- Reasonably-priced
- Wonderful people

The Bad:
- Since it is homemade, things are milder and more subtle

Free Bird Table and Bar

Normally, when a new restaurant opens up shop, there is some form of media coverage, whether it be by traditional means (newspaper, TV, radio) or social media.  But one place opened up quietly during these Covid times and hence, I had no idea about it.  Free Bird Table and Bar, replacing the Irish-themed Ceili's in the Richmond Executive Inn, was not something I had on my radar when I first began my quest to find the best fried chicken sandwich.  In fact, when I finally heard about it, I thought it was related to the other Freebird in town.  Alas it isn't and in fact, joins a growing selection of elevated restaurants in the Executive Inn brand of hotels (such as Seaside Provisions and Hydra).  I recently stopped by to try their fried chicken sandwich as well as some other Southern-themed dishes.

Before we got to the meat of the meal, we went vegetarian with the Crispy Veggies featuring brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, lemon, parmesan, feta and pumpkin seeds.  What better way to make veggies sexier by deep-frying and then roasting them with cheese?  This dish closely resembled some of the other deep fried brussels sprouts offered in town except with the addition of other veggies to the mix.  There was a variety of textures and flavours including the tang from the lemon and saltiness from the cheeses.

We didn't get too creative with the next item as we got a half-dozen of Effinghams.  However, sometime simplicity yields the best results.  It was the case here as the oysters were fresh and properly shucked.  No shell fragments to speak of.  These had a subtle sweetness to them with plenty of brininess.  Background brightness and frankly, they could've been eaten without the supplied mignonette or cocktail sauce.  Maybe a squeeze of lemon and you are good to go.

Getting right to the dish we really wanted to try, the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich was fantastic.  I would call this the "sleeper chicken sandwich" because it is so under-the-radar, that most people would never even know about it.  I hope they do now since it just looked the part even before we took a bite.  With that jaw-stretching bite, we were greeted to a crunchy chicken breast that was well-spiced and tender.  Lots of heat and spices from the batter itself and combined with the chipotle mayo, we had layers of flavour.  The coleslaw was thick-cut and firmly crunchy.  Completing the sandwich was a sturdy, yet soft toasted brioche bun.  Really good and should be talked about more often.

We couldn't just try the sandwich and not also go for the Fried Chicken sporting buttermilk-braised chicken with waffles, pickled mustard seed, coleslaw and truffled honey.  This type of fried chicken is unlike what we usually see up here in Vancouver.  This featured a hard thick batter that was nicely seasoned.  The chicken underneath was a little dry since it had been cooked prior to the deep-fry.  I did enjoy the truffled honey as it added a pleasant sweetness to the chicken and soft waffles.   This was a lot of food though as this was essentially half a chicken on the plate.

So I've been to New Orleans before and so my expectations for Shrimp & Grits maybe a bit different than what we are familiar with locally.  Therefore, when the dish hit the table, I was confused at its appearance.  Thankfully, this ate well despite its "neat" plating.  Normally, it would be more rustically set upon the plate with the residual juices and oils from the blackening the shrimp and sausage.  With this version, the cheesy and creamy grits were good.  So was the spiced andouille sausage and the perfectly cooked shrimp (it could've been more aggressively blackened though).  The runny sunny-side egg did help provide moisture to the plate though.

Lastly, we tried the Mini-Shrimp Po'Boys that once again, didn't resemble the ones I had in New Orleans, but were go in their own way.  Instead of a French roll, these mini-sandwiches were served on a buttered and toasted split brioche bread.  I personally love this type of vessel especially with lobster rolls, so that didn't bother me at all.  Inside, we found golden and crispy fried shrimp with a bit of honey mustard.  A few cucumber ribbons on top for colour and crunch.  Non-traditional po'boy, but tasty nonetheless.  Overall, Free Bird offers up Southern cuisine which is not commonly found in Vancouver.   Something a bit different and the chicken sandwich is the dish to have here.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:
- Something different
- Loved the renovated space, nice and bright
- That chicken sammie

The Bad:
- Fried chicken could've been more moist and flavourful

Yep, the blog turns 12!

Ah yes, the blog keeps going, albeit limping along right now due to Covid-19.  Whatever the case, it still exists.  I'm still doing as many posts that I can at the moment, while trying to be as safe as I can be.  I have to say that most of the restaurants that I have visited have been following Covid protocol and are doing their very best.  I feel for the restaurant industry as they have been hit hard.  Some have pivoted well and are able to do take out as their primary business.  Some don't do well with that format, in particular, fine dining.  I really hope things work out for most as these people are hard-working and are trying their best to survive.  With all that being said, here we are at 12 years and I will keep it going despite what is going on in the world.  I do encourage you to follow me on Instagram:@shermansfoodadventures though as I post things that I may not blog about.  So as customary, I'm holding the yearly draw for a $100.00 gift cert to anywhere you want in the GVRD (as long as the offer GCs).  Just leave a comment with your first name and last initial and I will draw the winner in 2 weeks!

Superflux Beer Company

For those craft beer connoisseurs out there, I'm sure you've heard of Superflux before.  Emerging out of the shadows of Callister and Strathcona Brewing since its inception in 2015, Superflux opened its B&M store back in August 2020 with takeaway sales and limited takeout.  As of last week, they are going full-tilt with a dine-in lounge with their full array of beers on tap.  Furthermore, Chef Justin Lee (formerly of the Crowbar), is at the helm of the kitchen with a simple menu of 3 gourmet hot dogs and 3 salads to start.  Jacqueline and I dropped by for a preview before they went live.

Let's get right to the point of this blog post - the beer!  They didn't have actual flights per se, but to get a sample of what they had offer, we got 6 x 6oz tasters.  From top left and clockwise, we had the Green Hill Cider, Colour & Shape, Fresh Foam, Happyness, Coconuts and Velvetone.  My favourite of the bunch was the happyness, an IPA dry-hopped with mosaic.  This was aromatic and light with a pleasant sour finish.  As much as the velvetone is a double-IPA hopped with galaxy, citra, mosaic and nelson, it wasn't that intense.  In fact, it was balanced with a nice crisp finish.  The most surprising was the coconuts as I was expecting something too sweet, but in the end, it was aromatic with a pleasant bite.

Off to the eats, we tried the salads including (from left-to-right) the Purple Queen Turnip "Not" Caesar (with cannellini, parmigiano vinagrette and crispy butter), Castelfranco Radicchio Nahm Jim (with radicchio, green bean, fermented tomato nahm jim, fried shallots and peanuts, Endive Bolzanese (with Belgian endive, Italian egg salad dressing, pickled onion and crispy potato.  Don't let the fact these were salads fool you.  They were excellent.  The turnip in the "Caesar" was crunchy and bright while the butter soaked croutons (aka crispy butter) were sinfully addictive.  Absolutely enjoyed the South Asian flavours in the castelfranco that featured tang, aromatics and slight spice.  Creamy and eggy, the crunchy endive was also the beneficiary of the added texture of the crunchy and nutty potato bits.

From the 3 salads, we went to the 3 hot dogs including The Mortadella (with a Black Forest Premium Bavarian dog, corn ragout, mortadella, lemon mayo, pistachio, grana padano and olive oil), Beet Ranch (with the same dog, beet and white onion salad, baby cucumber, house ranch, dill, potato crum and olive oil), and The Oscar (with Two Rivers all-natural dry-aged beef dog, oven-dried tomatoes, dressed rock crab, bearnaise sauce, smoked paprika, chives and olive oil).  Our favourite was the beet ranch with its combination of textures, dill and sharp onion.  In the oscar, the tangy impactful tomatoes really brought the hot dog alive as well as providing a jolt of acidity to the creamy bearnaise.  As you can see, the food is limited at the moment, but they really do go with the beer (even the salads!).  Nice spot to grab some superflux bevvies to go with your food.

*All food and beverages were complimentary*

The Good:

- Well, the beer!

- Surprisingly good salads

- Solid hot dogs

The Bad:

- Dining space limited due to Covid

Moxie's Grill & Bar (Richmond)

Believe it or not, I've not been to a location of Moxie's since 2011.  Back then, it was for late-night eats and we came away satisfied.  Since then, there have been changes to the menu and more recently, I was invited to try their happy hour and dinner menu at the Richmond location attached to the Sandman Hotel.  We were seated in the outdoor "solarium" section of the restaurant that could be converted to an outdoor patio.

Looking over the menu, there was a little of everything that would satisfy most appetites but there were a few items that stood out.  As simple as the Roasted Tomatoes and Whipped Feta sounded on the menu, it turned out to be one of our favourite dishes.  Creamy, tangy and full-flavoured, the airy feta was perfectly balanced by the blistered tangy tomatoes.  The combination of olive oil and garlic added even more aromatics.  The flax seed sourdough drizzled with olive oil was fluffy, yet still firm enough to be the complimentary vessel.

Another eye-pleasing appetizer was the Fresh-Smashed Guacamole served with fresh white corn chips & pico de gallo. Prior to Covid-19, this would actually be prepared table side.  However, there was no mistaking that this was made-to-order.  The ingredients were fresh from the ripe avocado to the tangy tomatoes and sharp onions.  I would've liked to see a lime wedge on the side, so we could adjust the acidity for ourselves.  We loved the corn chips as they were light and crunchy while not over-salted.

As much as Calamari is pretty much a staple at most restaurants these days, this version at Moxie's stood out.  Rather than preparing the squid in rings, they were cut up "Asian"-style, that allowed for more texture.  It was a nice balance between being tender while still offering up some bite.  Light on the grease, the crispy batter was well-seasoned and fried just right.  Loved the charred half-lemon, where we could really brighten things up with the entire dish.

Our last happy hour item was a complete flavour bomb.  We weren't expecting the Shrimp Tacos to blow our minds, but it did with a combination of spiced shrimp, spicy black bean crumble, pickled red onions, corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole and spicy mayo.  Warm and soft, the tortilla encased a combination of textures, heat, sweetness, acidity and aromatics.  Shrimp was on point with a snap.  I would gladly eat this again!

Served on a pretzel bun with sauteed mushrooms, horseradish, roasted garlic aioli and cheese, the Beef Dip was satisfyingly filling.  It was loaded with tender roast beef that was actually rather lean.  Nice flavours already from the cheese, mushrooms and aioli, but the au just was super flavourful.  It was salty on its own, but combined with the robust pretzel bun, it was balanced.  On the side, the fries were crispy with plenty of potato goodness left inside.

For myself, I didn't get too creative because I'm currently on this fried chicken sandwich kick.  Hence, I had to order BT's Crispy Chicken Sandwich in the spicy version with Louisiana hot sauce.  Ultimately, this became a buffalo chicken burger and it was pretty good.  It featured a large whole chicken breast with a thin layer of panko on the outside.  The chicken was moist while the panko was crispy (even with the sauce).  With 2 large dill pickle slices underneath, it added a nice tart crunch.  I would've personally liked to see a brioche bun, but the bun was still soft and toasted.

Neatly plated atop ancient grains and green beans, the Chipotle Mango Chicken was finished with pico de gallo and avocado.  Coated with a sweet & smoky rub, the chicken was not lacking in impact.  Except for the very thin tip, the chicken breasts were tender and moist while sporting an even char.  Mango puree on the side added a kick of tropical sweetness.  Loved the chewy grains underneath as they were full of texture.  Green beans were cooked perfectly too.

For our pasta dish, we tried the Chicken Madeira Rigatoni with pan roasted chicken, creamy mushroom and madeira wine sauce, fresh rosemary and lemon. This was a large portion of al dente rigatoni where the sauce was full of depth from the umaminess of the mushrooms combined with the meatiness of the chicken.  Furthermore, the madeira came through without being too strong.  It was also a good thing that there wasn't too much moisture on the plate either.

At first, we were a bit skeptical of our dessert - the White Chocolate Brownie.  Normally, white chocolate anything is overly sweet.  However, we found this brownie to be purposefully sweet without going overboard.  It was rich and gooey with chunks of dark chocolate inside, chocolate sauce underneath and French vanilla ice cream on top.  We shared this and still thought it was rather large!  This was a nice finish to a solid meal at Moxie's. 

Nice to see they are adapting their menu with the times.  Plenty of tasty choices to be had within an environment that is following Covid-19 safety protocols.   

Now if you want a chance to dine at Moxie's to see and taste for yourself, I have teamed up with Moxie's for you to win one of two $50.00 gift certificates to be used at the Richmond location.  To enter, go to my Instagram page.  Follow @moxies and @shermansfoodadventures, tag a friend asking what food or drink they would like to try on their next visit *1 The draw will be held in one week and will be announced via Instagram story. 

*All food and beverages were complimentary* 

The Good:

- Plenty of choices on the happy hour menu

- Well-portioned dishes

- Some bold flavours

The Bad:

- Could replace the peppers in the pico de gallo with spicier chilis for more impact 

*1Giveaway is only open to residents within the BC Lower Mainland. Winners will be required to pick up their gift certificate at Moxie’s Grill & Bar Richmond location and are entitled to use it on food and non-alcoholic beverages. Contest closes on October 27, 2020 at 11:59 pm PST.

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