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Archive for the ‘Coffee’ Category

On one of the hottest days this summer, with the low hum of an espresso machine in the background, a tanned Italian man named Mario spoke animatedly. This was the setting that transported us to a cafe in Milan as we sipped espresso and discussed Italian style coffee at the Umbria Coffee Roasters’ warehouse in South Vancouver.

With passion and flair, Mario impressed upon us the Italian coffee culture that Umbria represents: an unpretentious experience that simply allows one to enjoy a cup of good quality coffee. He and his colleague Ricardo explained the importance of consistency and balance in the beans, and the science and art behind making a great cup of espresso — the correct ground, the perfect water temperature, the well-timed brew. In addition, the amount of effort their master roaster puts in to blend different beans from across the globe is shockingly similar to what a winemaker does to achieve consistent quality of wine year after year. Mr. and I tasted a variety of their coffee, learned about the philosophy of roasting Italian style coffee, and even had a chance to play barista with their commercial espresso machine.

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There’s a new food event in Vancouver that introduces us to some hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems in Railtown, while supporting a local charity. Running from November 1 to 30, Dine Railtown features nine restaurants in the Railtown neighbourhood, of which proceeds from the sale of their signature dish will be donated to support programming at the Powell Street Getaway, one of 42 sites operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society across Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island.

The nine restaurants include Ask For Luigi (love their pasta!), The Belgard Kitchen, Cuchillo, LanaLou’s Restaurant, The Mackenzie Room (one of my all-time faves!), Pallet Coffee Roaster, Railtown Cafe, St. Lawrence (maple syrup chicharon, hello?) and The Uncommon Cafe. I was invited to a media tour to visit 3 of the participating restaurants.

First up, the brand new Pallet Coffee Roaster. Opening its doors on November 4, this location is the new HQ of Pallet.

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It’s always been on my list to try La Foret but for whatever reason I never did. When I took Mama Lam out shopping at Metrotown one weekend, I decided to take her there first.

The entrance could be deceiving because it seems like a small space, but it’s narrow and long with lots of seating available. You will find numerous 2-tops that can be turned into 4-tops, but also a few long communal tables for big groups.

La Foret

Food

For Mama Lam, she ordered Chicken + Waffle, with buttermilk fried chicken and squid ink waffle. I’ve never squid ink waffles before. The texture of the waffle was quite interesting; it’s denser than typical Belgian waffle yet it’s spongy and lighter than expected. There’s a hint of fishiness from the squid ink. Chicken was boneless thigh meat; batter was thin, crispy, and meat was juicy. It’s a good portion size, quite filling for brunch.

Chicken + Waffle at La Foret

The Sausage Platter was marked as a new item on the menu. (more…)

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In case you haven’t heard, Starbucks Canada opened its biggest location yet here in Vancouver – a new Starbucks Reserve at CF Pacific Centre, at 700 West Pender Street. It’s the second one here in Vancouver, with the first one being on Main Street in Mount Pleasant.

Starbucks Reserve West Pender 04

This new location holds a special place in my heart. Its predecessor being a man’s clothing store was the very place where Mr. rented his wedding suit. It was sad to see it closed but I was equally excited to see a Starbucks Reserve go in its place. Especially it’s very close to work.

Starbucks Reserve West Pender 01

Starbucks Reserve West Pender 05

The store is beautiful. It’s long and spacious. (more…)

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And the draw is: Red Racer Jitter Buzz

Today we have Jitter Buzz, an Imperial Coffee Stout, made with Cold-pressed organic espresso, courtesy of Bean Around The World.

I have a secret; I’m not a coffee fan. I’m a tea guy through and through. Really, the only time I drink coffee is when it’s in the form of a latte or something along those lines. (more…)

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