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Archive for the ‘Cafe’ Category

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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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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Matcha lovers rejoice! Considered the Starbucks in Japan, Nana’s Green Tea has arrived in North America. In fact, their first ever North American location will be right here in Vancouver! On June 6, their Kerrisdale location will open its door to the public.

Established around 10 years ago in Japan, Nana’s Green Tea was brought to us by Kazuto Kutami. He was inspired by the Starbucks concept while wanting to preserve the history and tradition of Japanese tea culture. Their matcha is sourced solely from Uji, Kyoto. To-date, there are more 80 Nana’s locations around the globe.

Food

Lucky for me, I was invited to a media preview of their menu. Here are a few items we’ve tasted:

(From left) Hoji-cha Shiratama Float, Matcha Chocolate Latte, Azuki Strawberry Latte

These are only taster size. Of the three beverages, my favourite was the Hoji-cha Shiratama Float. Shiratama in this case means sticky rice, which means there are mochi (aka sticky rice) balls in them. Hoji-cha is roasted green tea, so there’s some nutty flavour in the drink, as well as in the Hoji-cha ice cream. It’s quite unique and I don’t think I’ve seen something like this in Vancouver yet.

Azuki (red bean) Strawberry Latte is on the sweeter side, but not overly sweet. There is red bean paste and small pieces of strawberry in the drink so it’s quite fun to drink. It kind of reminds me of the HK style Iced Red Bean Drink 紅豆冰.

Although tasty, relatively the Matcha Chocolate Latte wasn’t super interesting. That being said, the matcha flavour was very strong, with just a hint of sweetness from the chocolate.

Hoji-cha Shiratama Float, Matcha Chocolate Latte, Azuki Strawberry Latte

I should note that there are many other options for beverages on the menu. There are 12 matcha options, 5 for hoji-cha, 5 azuki, and 5 options for just green tea.

Fresh Tuna with Curry Tartar Sauce Donburi

The only savoury dish we tried. This donburi was very good. Tuna was flavourful; the curry tartar (think curry mayo egg salad) was fragrant with a hint of spices.

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[Editor’s Note: The giveaway is now closed.]

I was quite excited when Mon Paris opened up in Burnaby. I was following them on Instagram and the cakes were just beautiful! I also love that it’s near the Metrotown Skytrain station, which means easy access from Coquitlam or downtown.

I took my mom there, who also loves some good pastries. We had the Passionata (left), Opera (right), and a Canele (back in the pic) over Espresso and Americano. I really liked the tartness of passion fruit and mango pieces in the Passionata; the Canele had a crispy, caramelized exterior and soft centre; and the Opera was rich and decadent. We were there for an afternoon pick-me-up and it just hit the spot!

Mon Paris Burnaby

Giveaway

Continuing with our #vanfoodiesturn8 celebration, now is your chance to try some goodies from Mon Paris. (more…)

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For those of you who follow me on social media, you would know that we took a trip to Vancouver Island. It was a pretty epic trip — travelled from Nanaimo to Port Hardy and San Josef Bay in the northwest corner, and everywhere in between — 2,300km in 9 days.

First stop, Nanaimo. It was brunch time when we arrived in Nanaimo. Downtown Nanaimo has no shortage of brunch options, and Gabriel’s Cafe caught my eyes. Gabriel’s is about eat local, farm to table.

Gabriel's Cafe, Nanaimo

Food

Ordering wasn’t an easy task for me, because I was just recovering from a bad stomach flu. I had to pick something light so I avoided pulled pork, braised beef, or anything rich and heavy. I opted for the Breakfast #11 — Coconut Milk Pancakes with Roasted Apples, Seasonal Fruit and Yogurt. I thought coconut milk pancakes wouldn’t be too heavy and there would be a good dose of fruit on the plate. Haha the portion size was not for the faint of heart. (more…)

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Snowy Village opened its Coquitlam location in late December. The cold winter and rainy spring didn’t seem to stop people from getting their shaved ice/bingsoo fix. Everytime I went (3 times now, in the last 2 months), there was always a short lineup at the door.

So we noticed some new items on the menu – Mini Watermelon and Honeydew Bingsoo, Golden Cheese and Injeolmi Toasts, and Cheesy Mochy. Naturally, we gave some of these a try.

Food

Cheesy Mochy sounds like a perfect item for the night market (by the way the two night markets are now open) and would make a nice savoury option here. There were 9 pieces of oblong shaped mochi, topped with gochujang sauce, mozzarella and Parmesan sprinkles. As I picked up the mochi ball I got a tiny bit of cheesy pull, but nothing Instagram worthy so to speak. The texture of the mochi ball was harder than I thought; not jaw breaking hard, but dense and chewy much like the ones at Korean restaurants. The mochi balls are stuffed, with what looks like cheese, but there was zero pull and nothing gooey ooey. And no flavour too! The gochujang sauce was good, sweet, slightly spicy, and with mochi balls they have formed a great combo. But, overall it was a bit underwhelming.

Cheesy Mochy

The Injeolmi Bingsoo is one of my favourite flavours so I was really curious about the Injeolmi Toast. It’s like thick toasts you find at Taiwanese restaurants. It was an almost inch-thick mochi sandwiched between two pieces of bread, toasted.

Injeolmi Toast

The heat of the freshly toasted bread melted the soybean powder on top so it kind of turned into a nutty syrup. (more…)

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