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Archive for the ‘Drinks’ Category

Durian – yay or nay?

This tropical fruit has a hard, spiky exterior. Inside, you would find pieces of soft, creamy fruit meat embedded in several segments. Growing up in HK, I watched market vendors went to the extent to use a screwdriver to ply it open. And fresh durian smell is more pungent than frozen ones. We could only find frozen durians here in Vancouver and the smell is nothing compared to what fresh, ripen durians smell at those markets in HK.

Durian is definitely an acquired taste. Those who love it would find the fruit sweet and fragrant. Those who hate it would say the fruit stinks like rotten egg. In fact, the opinions are a split in our household. Mama Lam wants nothing to do with it, yet Papa Lam enjoys it once in awhile.

Right now, for a limited time only, participating Chatime locations are selling Durian Milk Tea and Durian Roasted Milk Tea. I was provided complimentary drinks to taste test it.

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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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