723 Pandora Ave
There are times where I think my writing partner James Shaw is wrong, totally wrong. He thinks we should not look at the popular establishments and we should really focus more on the mom and pop operations. That’s fine, but when I’m out and about more than he is, I’ll do what I like. I feel we should at least give some few recognized establishments our take anyways. My buddy’s opinion is always dated; he draws on experiences from more than ten years ago and I tell him you can’t base everything on the past. Sure, they shape who we are (in other aspects), but when it comes to food and some operations, management can sometimes change.
John’s Place, a welcoming place for many, has a solid reputation. I tried their famous meatloaf which was profiled on You Gotta Eat Here on the Food Network. The Eggs Benedict and Waffles & Chorizo are also other highlights, but when it comes to dinnertime, I was looking at the traditional staple for many an American household, the meatloaf. When considering I come from another country and we get our yummies from a Crispy Pork Belly Recipe (Siu Yuk – 烧肉), can I change my tune? I’m normally not keen on ground meat mixed with corn bread (and other ingredients) shaped to look like a piece of bread in general. The idea is much like haggis, but I love haggis. In what John makes is a “southwestern” style of ‘loaf and I can sing its praises, especially when what sold it for me was the mushroom-flavoured gravy smothered over it — and the beautifully crisped battered onion bits to make my tongue dance.
The animation nerd loved what this dish was called: Cloudy With a Chance of Meatloaf (influenced by the film Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (you can buy on Amazon.com) and I could have done the regular serving: with two slices of loaf than one. I opted for one since I was not sure if I’d really like the product or not.
The combination veggies stole the show. It was seeping in a lovely buttery taste; the cucumbers were cooked to retain some crispness but yet was soft in the centre. The carrots were simply farmed fresh delectable. Freshly made bread (still warm) was offered as a starter and I could not stop since I had a severe case of the munchies (of the food kind). With the left over butter, I added it to my mashed potatoes. This dollop of starch had a sparkle which I liked; some skin (red potatoes were used) was retained and that made a difference!
With some time to spare (I was in town for a show at the McPherson Playhouse), I pondered over what to have for dessert. The coconut cream pie was certainly scrumptious, but I found the crust a bit too hard instead of flaky and soft. The filling and whip cream was perfect. I know contrast is needed for some pies, but not everything can be seen as perfect as my pallet for desserts side on softness all over so I can make love to it.
The service was great. I alerted my server that I had a limited amount of time for a meal, and everything arrived within 20-30 minutes of ordering. I stuck to water to remain hydrated.
Given my recent Pokémon GO addiction, this place is perfect since there’s a Poké Stop nearby that I can refuel from. While my body was getting sustenance, my game was getting the resources needed to continue playing (and get the odd pocket monster which is flying by). If I wanted to, I could have set up a lure to catch one because a “stop” is that close. I kept the game running only to see if any rare Pokémon might show up but all I caught was mostly pidgeys. With this operation being well-known as a stop for locals and tourists alike, not even a Pikachu or Snorax appeared interested. At least for this Trainer, I am and will return to sample more of their wares. Their soup of the day is definitely recommended!
If there’s ever a running joke to be said, I gotta try Bob Dylan‘s Meatballs. Now that I have tried Meatloaf and heard him sing live when he came to town to perform some months back, I ask who can top that?
4 Blokes out of 5