I truly have impeccable timing. Yesterday I thought “today is the day I finally go to Que Pasa!” which is a Mexican foods company located in the Ironwood industrial complex. In addition to their food production factory, they also have a popular deli that sells fresh Mexican meals. Or rather, HAD a deli. I showed up the very day it closed.
Before I discovered this sad news, I’d bussed all the way to Ironwood, found the factory, and walked up to the door. It was open, but there was a closure notice taped to the window.
Beyond the door, I could see the deli being cleared out; I kid you not, a man shoved a garbage can full of tortilla chips aside as he came up to talk to me. He said the company was apparently bought out by Nature’s Path, and the deli is now kaput. Superstar that I am, I waited until the exact day it closed to visit it. It’s like I have a sixth sense for inefficient use of my time.
Fortunately, I only had to walk a few minutes north to find other eating options. The Ironwood complex is home to a number of chain restaurants including The Keg and Original Joe’s, and there’s also the River Club Pub, Pho Ten, and a brand new restaurant called Bhinder’s Indian Cuisine. I decided on the latter, because if I couldn’t have Mexican, Indian seemed like a pretty good alternative.
Bhinder’s is only three weeks old, and still sparkling with its fresh yellow paint. The restaurant seats about thirty, and is quite casual – their curries and rice are pre-prepared, so both takeout and dine-in are quick. Their specialties are combos; choose a curry, and it comes with rice, naan, pickle, a side dish, and salad. The combos range from $7.98 to $9.78, and include both meat and vegetarian options.
I asked for the butter chicken combo ($8.78), as well as an order of palak paneer ($8.98). It took just a few minutes for my big metal tray to arrive.
My favourite of all was the palak paneer; it was thick, rich, perfectly spiced, and mixed beautifully with everything else on my tray. Paneer is a fresh Indian cheese – a fantastic alternative for vegetarians.
The butter chicken sauce was a little thinner than I’m used to, but it didn’t lack cream! The chunks of chicken were saucy and tender, which is exactly what I love about this dish.
The side dish was spicy chana masala (chickpea curry), and the salad was plain iceberg lettuce with a bit of cucumber. The slice of mango pickle may seem small, but this stuff is awesomely strong. I added a sliver of it to nearly every bite I took.
The only part of the meal I thought was mediocre was the naan, which seemed like a piece of pita bread kept warm in a steam tray. Still, for a huge combo that came to only about $10, I can’t complain much.
The service was very friendly, and I chatted with the owner for a bit. He used to own a place in Surrey, but said the hours had just become too draining, so they decided to open a smaller restaurant in Richmond. The Ironwood complex seemed like a good fit, considering its close proximity to the industrial complex, and the fact there’s so few Indian restaurants in the city, especially the south. Three weeks in, he said lunches have been busy and dinners are also starting to pickup. They’re even offering an incentive to come in later in the day – Happy Hour! Between 2:30pm and 5:30pm, you’ll receive 15% off your order. They also deliver, so if you live in the area and don’t feel like venturing out into the rain, you’re in luck!
For quick, satisfying, and inexpensive Indian comfort food with plenty of vegetarian options, I’d happily recommend Bhinder’s.
After my curry, I immediately felt like baking. I don’t know why, but all I wanted to do was go home and make cookies with ginger or cardamom, or some kind of warming spice in them. I ran out of time last night, but this morning I got up and make ginger cookies.
Not only have they satisfied my spiced cookie craving, but now I have some more Christmas baking done! Because I love the combination of ginger and dark chocolate, I tried something new – squares of dark chocolate tucked into the dough.
A successful experiment? You bet. Maybe if Que Pasa hadn’t been closed, then I never would have happened upon Bhinder’s, and craved ginger cookies, and thought to put chocolate in them. Maybe.
Whatever, now I have cookies to eat either way. And here’s to hoping that the Que Pasa deli will reopen!
Big Soft Ginger Cookies
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons white sugar (for rolling cookies in)
*chopped candied ginger or chocolate (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture.
Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Bake just until the cookies have ‘cracked.’ Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Cash and cards accepted
Plenty of vegetarian options available