By Tana Kosiyabong
It’s fair to say that Asian food is my favorite. However, every once in a while, I’ll crave hearty, North American dishes. But my western food palette is quite primitive compared to the eastern one. I enjoy simple, bold flavors in home-cooked meals rather than anything delicate, dainty, and, okay I’m going to say it, bland.
Earlier this week, my taste buds once again called for a North American food intervention. So I headed toward Urban Fare, an upscale grocery store, for a western fix. At the Coal Harbour location, there’s a cafeteria on the premises. Some items on the menu boards are way over the $10 limit. But if you know what to order, you can dine here under $10. (I’ve never spent more than $8.)
This cafeteria is very popular among the locals and the office workers. It is normally packed during lunch hour. For a leisurely lunch, try to go there after 1 pm.
My favorite dish at Urban Fare is the rotisserie chicken. It comes in three different flavors—Barbecue, Cajun and Italian. Since I love spicy food, I always order the Cajun. A quarter rotisserie chicken (white or dark meat) is priced at $4.59. HELLO! Something is out of whack here. I don’t understand why they priced white and dark meat the same. A half chicken is priced at $6.99 and $10.99 for the whole bird. Although I think the quarter leg and thigh is overpriced, I normally choose it over the breast meat. Dark meat is tastier (and usually cheaper). For a nicer photo, however, I opted for the white meat.
Along with the chicken, I usually get a side—mashed potatoes, rice, or roasted vegetables— for an additional $3. They give you two generous scoops of any side of your choice. I always ask for half mashed potatoes, and half roasted veggies.
The menu board has an option to add gravy for 99 cents. But they’ve never charged me for it. This time I got so bold I asked for the second ladle of gravy. Still no charge. Did I unknowingly emit an irresistible sexual vibe? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure people would rather look at Brad Pitt’s feet than my face. Oh well…whatever.
After I paid the bill ($7.59 plus tax), I headed to the dining areas. One of the two areas is very bright and pleasant. The big glass panel windows allow customers to people watch while dining. Luck was on my side. There was an empty table available by the window, so I rushed there before someone else took it. The other area is also great for those who hate sunlight, like Count Dracula, for instance.
After a few quick food shots, it was time for the taste test. The rotisserie chicken was well cooked. The skin was thin and slightly crispy. Most of the fat had dripped off it in the cooking process. I knew I’d be able to enjoy it without worrying too much about the excessive fat. The Cajun spice added a little kick to the flavor profile. The breast meat, however, was too dry. The dark meat I ate from previous visits was much juicier. The mashed potatoes were velvety and well seasoned. The roasted vegetables–carrots, sugar snap peas, green and yellow zucchini, broccoli, and green beans–were nicely cooked. They were al dente, just the way I like them. The brown gravy was thick and delicious. I was glad I asked for the extra ladle.
About three quarters into it, I started to feel full. Urban Fare noticeably gave bigger portions for dine-in orders than the take-out that I normally had. Good to know. No more unnecessary take-out for me.
Overall, I quite liked Urban Fare’s hearty rotisserie chicken meal despite the dry breast. However, I wasn’t happy with the one price policy for both white and dark meat. I could have saved more and enjoyed my lunch better if they priced the leg and thigh portion correctly.
URBAN FARE QUARTER ROTISSERIES CHICKEN WITH MASHED POTATOES AND ROASTED VEGGIES: ©©©3/4
©2009 Tana Kosiyabong and CheapAppetite.com™. All rights reserved.