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Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

While Dine Out Vancouver is happening, did you know there’s also Hot Chocolate Festival? In fact, this is the 10th annual Hot Chocolate Festival. 44 different locations offering more than 110 flavours over a 4-week period, up until Valentine’s Day. Of course, I take this opportunity every year to discover local chocolatiers and find whimsical, creative hot chocolates.

First stop this year is the new 1931 Gallery Bistro at the Vancouver Art Gallery. They have recently renovated the bistro space upstairs from the art gallery and renamed it. They are also part of Dine Out Vancouver but I thought its $45 menu wasn’t quite worth it and they didn’t make it on my list.

Anyway, onto the hot chocolates. I was very intrigued because all their creations were inspired by art. Unfortunately, they were having technical difficulty so at the time of my visit they could only offer 2 of the 4 creations listed on the official website. As per my usual, I ordered one of each.

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Where have you been so far for Dine Out Vancouver? I was quite excited to see The Rise Eatery on the list. Last year they did their own prix fixe menu for $30 and I took Mama Lam and Papa Lam there. It was a good deal and we really enjoyed the food. This year, it’s $35 and I still think it’s a solid menu; I had them on my list of recommendations. So when I got the invite to preview their menu, yes all the way!

Food

Brilliant as ever, the menu is a page of food puns. Let’s go over it one by one.

Chicken Seoul Good – as suggested, this is Korean style fried chicken, but with a twist of a mushroom gravy. The chicken was crispy and moist, and the scent of truffle can be smelled from miles away.

A Curve Ball is a vegan dish. (more…)

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Halloween is just around the corner. Are you hosting a party, having friends over? Are you looking for cool yet easy entertaining ideas? How about a 2-ingredient cocktail?

Recently, I was sent some samples of Hounds Vodka. What’s special about Hounds is that the vodka is black in colour and naturally, I thought of using it for Halloween. What’s an easy cocktail recipe for this mysterious looking vodka? The classic Screwdriver came to mind.

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Another bubble tea shop opens in Vancouver. Hailed from Taiwan, Baroness is by design a boutique franchise with only 3 locations in Taiwan, 1 in Hong Kong, and now 1 in Vancouver. They are located near Broadway and MacDonald.

Baroness specializes in brown sugar pearls, so when you order pearls, you are guaranteed to get the brown sugar pearls in your drink. The franchise owner created his own recipe of brown sugar and he continues to oversee the production of this secret recipe to ensure quality.

Drinks

I was invited to a tasting of some of its signature drinks. They included:

Brown Sugar Milk (pictured right below) – Obviously I had to try this drink, since I’ve been on the hunt for the best Brown Sugar Milk. The drink was quite tasty. There was a lot of caramel flavour from the brown sugar, without being super sweet. I found the pearls to be softer than others but after talking to the franchisee, they explained that their pearls are typically softer in the first hour, while they are still warm. It worked out because as the drink was being brought to temperature with the ice, the pearls were of just the right texture for me. It had a softer exterior but nice and chewy inside.

Purple Yam Milk (pictured left above) – What a pretty drink! (more…)

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This year, Vancouver International Wine Festival features the wine region of California. It’s impressive that the state of California alone can be the featured region. Why? California produces more than 81% of all U.S. wines – and if California were a country, it would be the fourth leading wine-producing nation in the world, only behind France, Italy and Spain. There are close to 560,000 acres of vineyards in California, with more than 65,000 registered California wine labels.

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Similar to last year, instead of aimlessly drinking my way around the big tasting room, I focused on one type of wine. Since I’m not a huge chardonnay drinker, and I like Zinfandel in general, I picked out the California Zinfandel to taste.

 

California Zinfandel

One of the bolder varietals, Zinfandel teases our palate in a wide range of notes, from raspberry to black pepper, to cloves and licorice. Being one of the oldest and most revered vines, Zinfandel is a signature grape in California.

Although it’s the same grape, depending on the region, the flavourful profile of Zinfandel can be very different. Some may be more jammy, more fruit-forward, while others bring out the pepper, anise and clove note.

Here is a list of Zinfandel I’ve tried at the tasting room. My favourites are the ones highlighted in orange. Overall, I gravitated towards the ones that were more fruit-forward, jammy and round in body. And 2016 seems to be a good year for me. Some was a bit harsh for my liking; perhaps some more aging would make it smoother.

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Going to Starbucks is often a treat for me, or any coffee shop for that matter. I don’t go there for drip coffee — that’s what you have at home, at work, at brunches. One of my go-to drinks at Starbucks is its Earl Grey Tea Latte aka London Fog. Maybe it’s the vanilla syrup, but I just really like its flavour. So when Starbucks launched the Black Sesame Tea Latte earlier this week, I was intrigued.

Black Sesame Tea Latte – Starbucks Official Pic

I was particularly intrigued because black sesame is also one of my favourite flavours when it comes to bubble tea. Reading its description, “black tea steamed with milk and a rich, black sesame sauce topped with a tasty black sesame brittle,” I immediately thought of black sesame bubble tea. And I’ve liked my black sesame BBT hot. Now I really have to try this.

So I did. Verdict?

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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

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

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