3420 Dunbar Street
(604) 224 4720
With tremendous apologies to the legendary Bill Withers, there “ain’t no sunshine where I’ve gone“.
I always do this to myself when a combination of factors come into play…
a) I am in a rush
b) I am hungry
c) In an area/location with few previously visited and known options
d) Feeling tired from working to go home and cook
… and most of all, like a fatigued punch drunk boxer, I let my guard down and am willing to accept any viable place to get a meal.
Sunshine Restaurant was my opponent on this evening, innocently lulling me in with an Ali-like rope-a-dope as I drove by and spotted the brightly lit open sign still on. With easy parking access right in front, like a moth to a flame, I calmly walked in and easily got a free table. A few members of the staff were sitting at one as well, which probably should have been my cue to do a quick 180 – as you know things can be well when the workers are lounging about where customers normally should be. Seeing a large menu board that was filled with drink items such as fruit smoothies, other hot and cold beverages, and bubble tea plastered above the main counter, I wondered what limitations there would be with the food.
Well, I didn’t have to wait long to find out. I received a menu booklet filled with the usual boring staples of Canadianized-Chinese food, and picked out what I had hoped would be a safe bet in the Mapo Tofu served over rice. As it was brought to my table, I knew right away it was nothing like this. The ground beef (though pork is the preferred meat in mapo tofu) was bland and there was not a lot of it spread on the plate. The expected heat level was bordering on ultra mild. And the binding texture itself was this artificial, gelatinous semi-liquid, almost like that clear glue you probably used in elementary school arts and crafts class. I swear I could make better Mapo Tofu with an instant sauce pack. And worst of all, the tofu was obviously a simple consumer packaged kind, cut up into small bits, and not the large chunks of fresh tofu that would be ideal.
After getting through maybe a third of the plate, and feeling like my hunger pains had been somewhat tamed, or rather shocked in submission by the sorry representation of my dish, I quickly settled my tab and exited. It was so bad I almost walked to the nearby Orange Julius to grab me one of those pathetic hot dog offerings, but alas I chose to go home and drown things out with a nice cold brew. Lesson to be learned here ladies and gentlemen, much like in your social life, never settle. You’ll only regret it later. But I know I will continue to make this mistake with other restaurants in the future. Yes, I’m weak.
“I know, I know, I know, I know….”