panz schmanz

On a quick trip up to Vancouver with friends we wanted to try a new place to eat—as much as we loved Foundation Lounge, we might as well explore a little, right? So my friend got on his smartypants phone and found Panz Veggie, which had amazing reviews. Let’s go!

The joint’s classy enough, not garish or trashy, and they’ve got big ol’ shiny menus, but I am so sad to say that’s where my love ran out. The waiter wasn’t listening to half of what we said, as far as who wanted tea and who was sharing what soup, and when my friend asked about the special, tofu cannonballs, he was told, “Well, they’re cannonballs, but made with tofu and filled with…” As if cannonballs are a real food! Seriously, the waiter was crazy condescending, like we should all know. I didn’t even bother photographing them because I’m assuming everyone’s seen tofu cannonballs.

The lack of description absolutely plagued the menu. I had a hankerin’ for fried rice and was kind of excited about how many varieties they had on the menu: Virtue & Kind, Simply Herb, Tropical Style, Yang Chow Style, Vegan’s Favorite, and Tofu with Sauce on Rice…but with no further description I didn’t know what the hell those were. And when I asked—I should have known better after the whole cannonball episode—I got three-word descriptions of them. That is not how you win this girl’s heart.

Wow, so negative today. I promise everyone else was on the same page as me. And ummm, well, most of the food was pretty and edible. See?

No complaints about the wontons. Unless you find shrimp or something hiding in them you can hardly go wrong.

And no complaints about the soup from my friends who ordered it. The portion is gigantic, and even split between two people there was some to take home.

The Spicy Soft Tofu was just that, except not spicy. It’s seriously a giant bowl of saucy tofu. How do you serve a giant bowl of saucy tofu and not include rice?!

This is the Tangy Sweet & Sour Soya Ribs. Never mind that it’s creepy-lookin’ as all get-out, but also…could maybe use some rice? This was so super sweet that nobody could eat it. My friend asked for chili paste but the sweetness still dominated like a short man in military garb (picture history’s favorite dictators). She figured maybe with a lot more chili paste and some salt (and rice) it would have been edible.

No, not terribly exciting, but spring rolls are almost always there for you. These were a bit oily and flat-tasting, but they filled my belly. I think it’s pretty clear from the photo what they tasted like. I see a mushroom and some dead carrots and cabbage. Yup, that’s what they tasted like, all right.

I also got the (unphotographed) tempura. You know how sometimes tempura is perfect and light, and the fresh, crisp vegetables just burst out of their crispy little shells? That totally didn’t happen this time. I could tell when the plate arrived that I was about to eat vegetable-filled doughnuts.

Sorry, guys, I wasn’t trying to be bitchy, really. It just happened. Honestly, I think if I lived in the neighborhood this would grow to be a great take-out option, and I could ask for a side of rice and hit the food with Bragg’s and chili paste in the comfort of my own home. And I would know what to expect.

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