Archive for June, 2011

June 8, 2011

Real Food – Sean’s review (aka “He said”)

by HeSaid

We stand outside of the doors to Real Food. It’s a choice location for a lunchtime eatery in the heart of Nanaimo’s Heritage Mews.

The interior is bright and spacious. Bold blues and greens adorn the walls with roomy booths lining the far wall. The art is a series of food paintings done in the style of post-modern tuscan vegetable market, which I quite like. The bright green menus are (criminally) fonted in comic sans, normally a cardinal sin for anything other than a preschool, but I’m hungry so we push on.

Real Food boasts “Real food for the same prices as fast food…”

Soup and a sandwich at Real Food will cost you $10.50. Tax, tip and a $3.00 cup of self-serve coffee and we’re over $30.00 for a deuce. I can go to Wendy’s (the most expensive of the fast food chains) and feed the entire family for about $20.00, so their “fast food prices” are off the mark.

But this is a quality joint and I don’t mind paying a bit more for good food. The pulled pork sandwich seems like it would go real well with the tomato soup. Due to an earlier mishap, there’s only enough left for one of us. I make the chivalrous gesture and opt for a side of slaw.

While we sip on our $3.00 coffee the music cycles through classical, reggae and Frank Sinatra. The owner is pacing nervously around the space and I wonder if she’s onto us. When the food arrives, there are two words that immediately come to mind – portion control. Taste-wise, it’s not bad, not really, but it’s not memorable. The texture reminded me of canned salmon, the taste didn’t remind me of anything.

I spend the rest of our lunch wishing I had another sandwich, but I’m not willing to cough up another $7.50 to get one so I absently pick spelling errors out of the menu.

For a lunchtime eatery, Real Food wasn’t bad, but I just don’t think it warrants the $15+ price tag. Not when there are other delicious choices with bigger portions and/or lower prices.

Food or Fail rating: Fail

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June 8, 2011

Real Food – Alex’s review (aka “She said”)

by SheSaid

I was unfamiliar with the popular Parksville lunch spot, Real Food, until they opened a second location in the Heritage Mews in Nanaimo’s Old City Quarter.  On the recommendation of a friend we decided to check it out.

The web site www.realfoodfast.ca (under construction) shares a vision that includes simple food and unprocessed, chemical-free ingredients.  The menu has a narrow focus with soup, sandwiches, light entrees, and salads.  I’m good with that: do one thing and do it well.  There are too many restaurants trying to be all things to all people.

The menu selection of soups was impressive.  The soups actually available that day?  Not so much.  Apparently there was something about an accident and spillage involving soup meeting floor.  Bummer.

Fortunately there was one serving of tomato-based vegetable soup left.  It was filled with a selection of beautifully tender, nicely uniform vegetables.  What I didn’t expect was the level of spice, which leaned more heavily on the heat than I expected.  (To me, a vegetable soup should be mild enough to feed a toddler.  But that’s just me.)

Sticking to the theme I went for the mixed vegetable sandwich and was a little perplexed when I wasn’t quizzed on bread choice.  The bun it arrived on was delicious and fresh but felt a little small for a carb-glutton like me.  It was, however, stuffed to bursting with fresh toppings.  They were tasty. They were particularly tasty when taken together in one bite.  The unfortunate reality was that things slid around and about and most of the toppings wound up on my fingers and plate.  It was a three-napkin sandwich.

I am a fan of quality ingredients and I do love to eat local where I can but it felt like an expensive lunch, and not in a good way.  Local food is, unfortunately, expensive.  Go figure.

This was real food, it was fast food served in what felt like a fast-paced lunch joint, but the price-point on the meal just didn’t scream “value” to me.  In this economic climate it’s pretty dodgy ground to open your doors on.

Food or fail rating: Fail