Thursday, May 29, 2008

Eating out: baked chicken lunch @ Pita Fresh


Here's my first post on eating out.

It happened thus: we were at the historic Sinclair Center for some reason, and we were very hungry. Being my usual self, I wanted to resume my hunt for those fabulous lunch places of downtown legend before they morphed into disappointing food joints, as they usually do when they're discovered. Tina didn't agree, and I'm glad she didn't.

We ended up having lunch at the Sinclair Center food court. It's a pretty official-looking place, so it's not really where you'd expect a good bite. Pita Fresh was barely a few weeks old, just starting out; they sold Mediterranean dishes for fast food prices. We had baked chicken lunch, which is one piece of baked chicken, rice (pulao or pilao, actually) and two sides you can choose from humus and pita bread, tabbouleh, Greek salad, beans, garden salad and more.

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It was fantastic, and it didn't taste like fast food at all. The chicken was perfect; think of McDonald's minus the so-called spicyness and the sawdust, but only way better and with a homely feel, and, of course, a different bakey flavor. Actually, I shouldn't even be trying this. There's no comparison, at least with McDonald's. I tried digging up the recipe for Mediterranean baked chicken; but I'm pretty sure it's not it. Anyway, you might want to try it at home.

The humus is still the best I've had in town. In fact, the first thing I remember about Pita Fresh is its humus... (here's a humus recipe for you to try out). The pita bread could've been better, but we really didn't care. In short, if you're ordering this you humus and pita bread ought to be one of your sides. For the other one, I choose beans, tabbouleh and these days Greek salad, depending on my mood. In all cases, I can't resist a jalapeƱo or two.

The owners of the place are nice, too. In fact, they're already all set to open a shop downtown that will offer lunch and dinner service. Of course, baked chicken isn't everything they sell: they have lots of other dishes (including shwarmas and kebabs) and even sweets (baklavas and rice pudding). But let's leave them aside for future posts. (PS- everything in this place is halal and lard/MSG free.)

The price of the baked chicken meal? $3.99. I'm generally full after I've devoured it, but you can 'upgrade' (hey, this blog is called 'techqi' after all ;-D) to a 2-piece meal for $5.49, and a 3-piece meal for $6.99.

I've done quite a bit of eating around, and mark my words: you won't find a cheaper meal that tastes this good anywhere else in Vancouver! Perhaps except... (let's leave that as a secret).

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