Real, raw, & relatable me. Enthusiastic food & lifestyle blogger living in Vancouver, BC!

Month: October 2013 Page 2 of 4

Society Dining Lounge

This is my latest revisit to Society. The first in a long while and the last for a time to come. Tonight was a bustling Saturday, and as a result our party of eight were one of the five large groups sitting on the covered patio. Scalding from the burn of team lamps, we at least weren’t going to catch a cold on this night. Lap blankets were available for those who needed more heat than the double row of over head lamps, and the free standing heat lamps scattered around the space, could provide. The entire patio was covered in a weather resistant plastic. It blocked the view, but protected us from the elements. We were essentially in a steam box. I found the heat freeing as I was able to eat unrestricted in my tank top.

It’s weird to never set foot in to a restaurant that you are eating at. I looked longingly into the darkness of the actual building. I admired their trademark large pink chandeliers from where I sat. They looked like they were made from pink candle wax, and they appeared to dripping from the ceiling. And as is the Halloween tradition, they had orange pumpkins lining window sills and cotton spider webs hanging from columns. Just the minimal amount of spooky to stay festive.

I appreciate the busy-ness a place like this might bring in on a weekend night. However if you have to pay an automatic 18% gratuity for coming in as a group larger than eight, you expect and deserve a level of service. And tonight, for us, it just wasn’t cutting it, in both service and food. The tables were set with pre cut pieces of parchment paper. An easy way for fast table bussing. Though something that took away from an attempt at a more sophisticate theme. But judging by the paint cans that they were stored in; the rolls of parchment was a temporary fix.

In reflection, our server was actually the regular bartender. During last month’s visit I remembered him being our bartender and doing a fine job in his usual role. So I suspect the following is an anomaly. Call it training or call it covering a sick call, but the guy was trying his best. Though without the proper training, at an event like this, on a night like this, it was a waste. The guy very honest, almost to a fault. He was vocal enough to admit what he did like, it wasn’t much. And when giving recommendations he took it literal, and could give no more than what he would eat. Only the Nutella and Oreo milkshakes to drink. And a salad for dinner. He wasn’t able to successfully sell me on any dish. And I was really left to decide on my own; despite my pleas, persuading him to give suggestions. At this point, knowing the menu and being able to refer to a customer’s favourite or a popular seller is the solution.

Things got complicated when a few in the group ordered appetizers for their whole meals and others had entrees. The appetizers came first and the entrees 45 minutes after. And as a result those who waited, to not have to eat before and watch others then after, were forced to attempt to enjoy their food cold. We waited 1 hour, for everyone to get their food; with the expectation that everyone would be able to dine all at once. It was a long hour as we looked longingly each time a server passed us. After speaking to the on duty manager the confusion was explained that appetizers always come out first and the entrees after them. That our server made the mistake of not inputting into the computer to have it otherwise.

I don’t know if it was because the busy night forced them to rush, but the kitchen was not putting out a descent caliber of food. Reading other reviews, majority say this is a common occurrence. In general “Society” is not known for their food, as it’s appeal comes from their drinks and their use of pink cotton candy in them. I have never had a major issue with their food as I am an adventurous eater, with a system that can stomach anything. But today I found that the food was not worth finishing. Those who dared to venture away from the safety of ordering poutine and burgers were made to feel regret.


I love milkshakes, and they only get better when you add alcohol into the mix. The results are these creamy and sweet “Spiked milkshakes”. They all tasted amazing, as you are unable to make out any of the burn from the spirits being used.
“Peanut butter cup”. Peanut butter, chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and crumbled peanut butter cups.
“Nutella”. Frangelico, Nutella, and chocolate flakes.
“Oreo cookie”. Creme de cacao, an Oreo cookie, and chocolate drizzle.
“Strawberry shortcake”. Pinnacle whipped, strawberry purée, vanilla simple syrup, and graham cracker crumbs.


This is their trademark drink, a perfect cocktail for bachelorette parties and all events girly. “Candy Collins”. Bombay sapphire gin, fresh lemon soda, topped with their own in house spun cotton candy. The actual cotton candy machine is behind their bar for easy delivery.


“Signature appetizer platter”. Signature meatballs, poutine, Mac and cheese balls, chicken wings, lobster corn dog, cheese burger pizza pockets, and a garden salad. There is a required two person minimum in order to qualify, this platter was split amongst three. Therefore several elements came only in threes, as it was meant only for one per person. This was the plate that was left untouched for 30 minutes as the others in our group waited for theirs to arrive. Majority of these appetizers were deep fried and better enjoyed hot. So after a few disappointing and soggy bites we had asked for this to be taken off the bill and a way from the table. The manager offered us a new replacement order, but seeing as we had waited long enough, and getting a new one would result in the rest of the table now waiting for this order to be created as their entrees got cold, we politely declined. Besides after you try something cold, having it hot wouldn’t do much as you are already scared off.


Caesar salad.


“Poutine”. Hand cut French fries, cheese curd, chicken gravy. Simple easy, not hard to mess this one up.


“Chicken gnocchi poutine”. Chicken gravy, onions, fresh herbs, and mozzarella cheese; with an arugula salad on the side. We didn’t quite understand how this qualified as a poutine. The cheesy bread that was unmentioned on the menu was ironically the largest component of the dish. The serving of gnocchi was not enough to be considered an appetizer portion, and this was suppose to be an entree for a grown adult. There was hardly enough chicken have have it lead the title of the dish. By far one the most misinformed dishes I have ever seen.


“Society burger”. In house ground beef, vine-ripen tomato, signature sauce, hand cut fries. In this, we added $1.50 for a dollop of guacamole and $1.25 for a scoop of pulled pork. You can’t really go wrong with a burger. The beef patty was only ok, but there was enough of everything else and ketchup to keep the burger tasty.


The “Fall in love menu” was a $25 feature available through October 16-27. On it you choose between two starters and two entrees, with a s’mores dessert to round off the set. Both myself and another guest made this our regrettable choice. The starter was either a split pea soup or the bruschetta. We both had the latter. “Basil pesto mini bruschetta”. I think they attempted to craft the dough into a heart shape, to play off its menu theme of “love”. But they did a poor job with the consistency of it, as you can see when you compare the two orders side by side. I have only had bruschetta made with crunchy bread. So this chewy and hard to cut version left me disappointed. It didn’t appear to be fully cooked. It resembled a rubbery sponge that soaked up all the oil from the dressing. I was hungry enough to finish this, wilted veggies and all.


“Lobster Pappardelle”. Lobster, chanterelle mushrooms, in a saffron rose sauce. This felt like another case of false advertising on the menu. Despite liking the rough cut pieces of pasta used to make this dish, there is nothing else nice to say about it. No lobster meat, and even less lobster taste. As a whole this plate was pretty bland, my guest who ordered it couldn’t get enough Tabasco on it to make a difference.


“Chicken potpie Wellington”. Carrot purée and ricotta mushroom caps. I am a visual eater and this did not look good. The mushroom caps were the tiniest I have seen. The taste of the gravy was decent but the texture of everything else soured the plate. The pie looked messy, as if someone just rolled the ingredients into a sheet of puff pastry and called it a day. A large service would have been done to this plate had they just used a ramekin or something to hold the pie together. The pastry was soggy, this was nothing more than left over thanksgiving stuffing. Definitely not something I would feature.

IMG_3129And they forgot to give us our “triple decker S’mores” dessert that would have came with a peach purée. When asked about it our server said sometimes people just order the appetizer and entree and that he didn’t charge us for the dessert. The dessert would have been the best part to the set menu, what I was actually looking forward to the most, and the main reason why I choose the meal in the first place. He could have asked before assuming on my behalf.


The night was a bust, left impatiently waiting our moods fell. I felt bad for our server but we were hungry and therefore getting grumpier at the slowly worsening situation. The worst part was that the birthday girl was so guilt ridden over her choice in venue, that she apologized several times to us. On a night where she should have been tipsy and happy she was upset and embarrassed. She was apologizing almost as much as our server was, for all his mistakes. An attempt was made to make things better with complimentary shots, from him to us. Not everyone wanted to drink so half the shot glasses were sent back full. Though honestly he had already poured them, so he might as well leave them all for the table, to be divided by those who did drink. What a waste to have to discard them. I hope they didn’t try to give our unwanted leftovers to another table.

We wanted to leave, to carry on our celebration at a different venue. But were convinced to stay thanks to the charismatic manager on duty. He pleaded for us to remain seated, saying he wanted us to leave tonight with a better taste in our mouths. “I want to make you happy.” He offered us complimentary desserts, which we honestly wanted to go without. At this point we had been there for 3 hours and we just wanted to leave. But here were were waiting another 15 minutes for it to arrive. I wish I could say it was worth the wait.


“Junk food platter”. A cotton candy cornucopia of caramel popcorn, sugared doughnut holes stuffed with white chocolate, a decadent chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, and Nutella creme brûlée. Everything was at room temperature. The caramel corn was hard and stale. The doughnuts dry with hardly any filling. And cookies came with some rock hard and other chewy. The best element on the platter was the creativity found in the Nutella creme brûlée, a chocolaty smooth pudding topped with burnt sugar.

When it came time to pay I was glad they automatically waved the 18% gratuity fee for parties over eight. I would have never paid it, given tonight’s events. have never been so happy to exit from a restaurant. Away from the loud patio made unbearable. Servers shouting to one another across the room, worse when it was done over customer’s head. And the loud over 20 person group of teens, under 20 who sat across from us. There was so much high pitched yelling and picture taking was going on. I swore a heard a “YOLO”. I believing in a loud environment takes away from
your other senses. Ones that you need to be fully immerse in your food. I am too old for places like this.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
If you compare this, my most recent post to the one I wrote on “Society” over a month ago, (click here to read that review) you can see when you visit makes a world difference in your experience. Though this shouldn’t be the case. Consistency is the key. The customer who enters at 5pm for dinner service should be treated just as well as the one who wants a seat at 8pm. And the food just keeps getting worse and worse. I enjoy the creativity and the fusing of dishes for clever delivery, but if you can’t make a great idea taste good, it is not worth doing. Given the reputation of other “Glowbal” run restaurants this is an anomaly to me. How can everything be allowed to slide so far down here, while the level of excellence is maintained on Alberni street? Don’t deny your cravings to try this for yourself.

1257 Hamilton Street, Vancouver BC
Society Dining Lounge on Urbanspoon

Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie

IMG_3029 IMG_3028
Reminding us that food is art; with pretty pastries, crispy croissants, and delicate desserts, at this authentic Swiss chocolate shoppe. “Chez Christophe’s” came at a high recommendation from my physiotherapist. As soon as she discovered this newer, just opened gem she began spreading its good word. She noted how fresh the croissants were, and that these were the best in the city. Stressing how much weight her statement carried, as it was coming from a self proclaimed “croissant snob”. We both agreed in the over rated-ness of similar bakeries and appreciated “Chez Christophe’s” more peaceful location in Burnaby, on Hastings.


The building was pretty plain. No awnings, no signs, just their name done in white cursive across the window. The sandwich board in the middle of the road did stop you in your tracks, for a second look. Inside the cafe it was glass counters, high top stools situated in front of windows, stainless steel coffee machines, and chocolate crafted into sculptures. Behind the smudge-less glass cases were evenly spaced desserts. Each looked more like art than it did food. Though realistically food is art. My visit came later in the day, and as a result the selection wasn’t as large as I had hoped. They still had baskets of croissants on the counter; rows of dark, white, and milk chocolate rounds; perfectly recreated cakes, identical from one to the other; and light mousses topped with fluffy dollops of cream. The options were overwhelming for a dessert lover.


Chocolate crafted into a circular, cartoon-like vampire for Halloween, packaged for gifting.


These croissant will be their claim to fame, it was as satisfying as my recommender boasted them to be. With 4 varieties you are sure to find one you like, if not at least come back to try them all. I got a regular croissant and one filled with hazelnut chocolate. They were flaky and rich with buttery flavour, without the attached grease. They tasted like no other croissant I have ever had. So flavourful that adding any spread or condiment to them would be a crime. Heated up or left cold, they were delicious anyway you sliced it. I did wish that there was more of the semi sweet chocolate filling, that was almost evenly spread inside the chocolate croissant. There is never enough chocolate in these sorts of things.


I am not a fan of overly sweet desserts so looking at this caramelized puff pastry eclair, then tasting it, I was pleasantly surprised. The cream was fresh and whipped to an airy perfection. The tiny hint of coffee, had its bitterness balanced well with the sweet caramel. One is enough, but oh what great four bites this dessert made.



The macaroons came separate or prepackaged, ready to be taken to go. At $1.80 per, the decrease in price reflected their smaller size. I found all their textures gritty. It resembled the feeling of chewing toasted coconut. Shame, as it took away from a macaron’s usual lightness, and I was forced to focus on it instead of the unique flavours I was getting. I was able to mix and match and take from the boxed up container, as I liked; doing so to grab up the last pineapple avocado. This was so unique to me. You could definitely taste the avocado, and the colour was spot on to reflect this. The maple syrup and lime basil were also new flavours I have never seen in a macaron. The rest were the more commonly seen chocolate, strawberry, and passion fruit. My favourite part of having macarons is seeing if they taste like what their descriptive names suggests.



Maple syrup ganache cake with candied pecans and Chantilly cream. I am not a big fan of maple syrup so appreciated its subtly in this dessert. The pecans gave an otherwise mushy bite some needed crunch. And the peaked cream laced with vanilla bean brought everything together. It was decadent in its lightness. I could not do more than a thin slice. A cake like this needs to be savoured, and I recommend consuming it at a slower pace.


IMG_3042Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
The area is convenient for me and driving was a breeze, with a plethora of free parking nearby. Two things lacking from other bakeries offering fine macarons and petite desserts. The selection was board to encourage repeat business. And with enough seats, this quiet space made the prefect lunch break stop or meeting point for two friends to reunite. More importantly the food was great, and the chef/owner has been known to introduce himself to customers and offer them a sample of his latest creations. I appreciate someone who is this passionate about what they do. Don’t deny your cravings.


4712 Hastings St, Burnaby BC, V5C 2K8
Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Fresh Slice

IMG_3061Wanting to catch a movie, without having to pay for movie priced food?

45 minutes before the next showing of the movie you want to watch, and you are hungry. What are your options? Tonight I was at the Silvercity in Metrorown. The food court was too far, and therefore too much work. The movie already cost $20, and I didn’t really want to hand over another $20 to eat movie theatre fast food. Their quality of food is no better than anything I would come across at McDonalds, but ironically at double the price. Ridiculous. So clearly my only option was the “Fresh Slice” pizzeria, one floor down from the theatre at Metropolis.

As their name suggests their focus is on pizza, stressing the fact that their’s is made fresh daily. However as it is still premade, it still needed to sit under a buzzing heat lamp, in order to keep its toasty temperature. Though with time and at a request, they are able to whip out and bake you a whole pie for here or to go.


I just wanted one slice, and tonight my ready choices included a cheesy pesto, a pineappled Hawaiian, a multi coloured peppered deluxe, and a meat lovers with three types of visible meats. I got a slice of the beef and ranch dressing. At $2 this was good enough to have another. Each slice is server on paper plates, and if you eat it quick enough the grease doesn’t permeate. Honestly not the best, but at under a bill for a descent meal in a pinch, there is nothing to complain about.


Interestingly, in a need to branch out, “Fresh Slice” offers a side menu they promote as being, “All baked (and) all good”. They had every quick pub pick you could think of and some dishes you wondered what they were thinking? Wings in 10 pieces, fries done in shoe string, melted cheese atop of bread, icing covered cinnamon sticks, creamy caesar salads, and a round of XL bread. I found the possibility of having an omelette with cheese at a pizza place off putting. Who has an omelette in a mall, for dinner? Their “Crazy baguette”, was obviously a knock off of little Caesar’s crazy bread, without the lawsuit. And their pasta surprisingly came with options. You select your noodles, a choice between spaghetti and lasagna. You pick you sauce: white, tomato or pesto. Then you choose toppings to finish it off. There was no list to read from, but the picture at least showed tomatoes, lettuce, chicken, and cheese. As great as variety is, and as much as it is the spice of life; I think I would caution sticking to their pizza to avoid disappointment.

Three employees behind the counter meant you got service as soon as you approached the sneeze guard. They don’t do much past grabbing your desired slice, but at a place like this, it is the expectation. Everything is immediate, with seating meant for quick eating before you get up and go.

Would I come back? – Yes. My quick and easy cheap food requirements were met. Any slice goes for $1.79. This is good if you are in a pinch over time and price. You can also order their full feast pizzas to go. Customize size, style, crust, sauce, and toppings; before taking your pie home. Plus, what other pizza plac considers their pizzas, “Vancouver style pizza”. What does that even mean?
Would I recommend it? – No. Nothing exciting or special to report. Nothing good or bad, it just is. You walk in knowing exactly what you will be getting. And therefore have no right to complain about taste or quality. For $2 you know what you are getting yourself in to. Don’t deny your cravings.

4700 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 4M1, Metrotown
FreshSlice Pizza on Urbanspoon

Gem Chocolates

IMG_3002I am a sucker for a pretty package, and have been known to buy things I don’t want, need, or even like because of it. And if my wasteful consumerism can teach us anything; it is that, what is on the outside sometimes is as important as what is on the inside. It’s about your priorities.

Being a food blogger means my friends bring me to places they like. This is in hopes that I will also like them, and it ends in a good review for the restaurant. For them the relief comes when I agree that I liked the place too. Today I was at ” Gem Chocolates”. I don’t like chocolate. This wasn’t a good start.


The shoppe is fairly new; as told by its sleek, un-scuffed white counters and it crisp blue paint job. The decor is minimal. A polished 3D sign declaring their name, blown up photos of their chocolates, and framed awards proudly displaying their accomplishments. Intermingled in this was your usual Halloween dollar store decorations. Shame, as it brought down the obvious value of the sleek shoppe. Even though the spiders, witches, a webs were were both day and month appropriate.



Tonight it was just the owner in. He stood behind the counter engaged in busy work until we walked up to his counter. Immediately he directed his full attention to us. Everything was pretty self explanatory. A tight selection of chocolates sold by the drop, with a colourful bins of gelato and sorbeto to the left of them. Each item came with a sign detailing its name and a rundown of its ingredients. Half the fun is pressing your face against the glass and going through them all. I choose by look, my guest choose by flavour.



There were over 25 varieties of chocolate, some sold individually and others prepackaged for travel. Of the selection a few were spray painted with edible colours and others speckled with pastel dots. This helped to differentiate one from the other, giving the overall experience a boutique feel. A few flavours came in more than one look. This increased their appeal as they were arranged behind the glass in a alternating pattern. This caught my eye and took my money, as they made everything jump out around them as well.

IMG_2999As I mentioned, I am not a fan of chocolate. So therefore I didn’t really enjoy any of these. I found them either too sweet, or that you couldn’t make out what was actually in your taste. What is the point of getting a passionfruit caramel when you can’t taste either caramel or passionfruit as it melts on your tongue. We selected six balls to go.
“Matcha”, Japanese matcha tea in a white ganache.
“Calypso”, a lime and coconut infusion in a white ganache. It didn’t look like white chocolate, despite its convincing name and name card suggesting otherwise.
The “Caramel Creme” won the top luxury caramel award 2012 , for best flavour and texture. This caramel got his kick from the sea salt sprinkled on top.
“Abricot”, apricot and vanilla in a white ganache.
“Passionfruit caramel”.
“Lai Chi” lychee infusion in a white ganache.

One of their other award winning chocolate was the “Berry Blue”. It won silver in the International chocolate awards. This was for the filled chocolates-flavoured dark, and flavoured dark ganaches categories. The “Berry blue” is rooibos and blueberry mix in a milk ganache. Side note, who knew there were such specific awards being given out? Who knew chocolates could even win awards?
Other fun chocolates included a cardamom and vanilla in a dark ganache, a lemon and lime infusion, and a mint flavour made with real crushed up pieces of mint leaves.


And if all that is not enough one-of-a- kind uniqueness for you, for $40 you can customize your own piece of chocolate. This price is not including the actual cost of the chocolate itself. The above fee is the printing and designing cost attached to the labour needed to create a program that prints anything onto a small piece of chocolate, including pictures. Though who wants their face on a chocolate?

The owner clearly loved his product and was proud of his accomplishments. His excitement over chocolate was easily transferred on to us. He was open and shared with us the story behind his soon to be famous, ” lost and found” chocolate. This was an unflavoured dark ganache. Fortunado No. 4, 68%, Peru. The story as told by him, and quickly texted on to the notes app of my iphone by me. This ancient chocolate was first discovered in 1903, many years ago. It has the lowest bitterness of all chocolate, when compared naturally. We had a sample of it unflavoured. What you picked out of it depended on your pallet and it’s sensitivity. Fruit, nuts, spices, it was always a different after taste with this one. So unique was this find that it won three gold medals in California for its showing. What a great back story. We were hooked and he graciously gave us a sneak peak of what would be the wrapping to his new “Lost & Found” bar. It was snazzy in brown and lime green. Lost on the wrapper, found on the chocolate.

IMG_2996Would I come back? – No. As I am not a chocolate connoisseur nor am I actually a fan. I don’t like how sweet chocolate can be, and don’t find anything incredibly satisfying in the aroma or flavouring of chocolate. It is lost on me.
Would I recommend it? – Yes. Unique chocolate combinations that I have never heard of, trapped into bite sized wonders. Also, this is the only place I know that customizes chocolate from sayings and initials to symbols and portraits. And if you didn’t actually come in wanting chocolate, enjoy one of their caffeinated beverages or ice creamed flavoured desserts. Don’t deny your cravings.


2029 West 41st Avenue, Vancouver BC, V6M 1Y7
Gem Chocolates on Urbanspoon

Adonia Tea House

 IMG_2958Slowing time down with pinkies up. Enjoying rose petals, doilies, and silver spoons. Getting off work at 3pm and being too early for dinner means you get to enjoy high tea. There is something whimsical about dining in a space that is an over the top girly, meant to make you feel like a princess.

The shoppe was themed in a vintage pretty. And made to feel like you are walking into a doll house or the home of your peculiar great aunt. The space is lined wall to wall with a floral wallpaper, printed in pink pedals and green leaves. A large pale green shelf lines the wall. It is home to over 80 or so varieties of loose leaf teas. A few of the more popular requests get individually bagged up for an easy take home-ability. On this shelf is also an offering of what looks to be two different varieties of lip balms. A glass and mirrored cabinet safety displays ornately decorated teacups and saucers. They are a similar style to the one on display in the showcases, above the serving counter. It was here, behind this counter that the employees gathered behind. Their hands blocked, their faces staring ahead. It looked peculiar. They worked to prep food and package teas.The walls were hung with framed photos and shadow boxed pieces of art. Oil canvases of green countryside framed in a gold foiled frames. Chinese paint brush characters stroked on to a scroll. And carving of wild beasts done in gold and a maze of patterns done in iron. It was a lot of North American vintage mixed with Asian cultural artifacts. To finish this off miniature chandeliers hung from the ceiling, dainty. Tables were done in wood, glass or clothed in a yellow linen. Like the tables, the chairs were a grab bag of variety. Missed, yet matched.


On this Tuesday afternoon it wasn’t busy, which made our reservations moot. We only one of the 5 mandarin groups that took seats for tea. I commented that everyone here was all Asians. My guest who chose the place said, “it’s Kerrisdale, what do you expect?” And after looking at the menu I had realized why. At the very bottom it was pointed out that all their teas that had stars in the corner for their names, indicated they were brews that helped in the anti aging process. Something prized by many Asians. Maybe that is why we look so young for so long?

I felt a little better to not be the only one taking all these pictures. A little eight year old girl, with a phone a lot better than mine, was also snapping pictures of the decor and food. Probably for her various social media friends. In retrospect, not better, I felt more embarrassed.

IMG_2961The tea menu was an impressive double pager. Laminated and categorized by variety. Fruit melange, rooibos, white, black, green, Japanese, herb and spice tea. There were so many different combinations, so many different ingredients; how could you wade through it all? Seeds, fruits, flowers, and nuts. After giving up on reading through it all, I asked our server what would be their weirdest and most unique tea available. So for the sake of trying something new, I had to go for the tea made with curry powder. She described it as a chai tea, thanks to its notes of spiciness. “The surprise”. Black tea and fruit blended with cool, sweet, and spicy tastes. Black tea, pineapple, apple, peppermint, curry powder, and pink pepper. With the first sip it reminded me of Chinese medicine. A dark coloured liquid strained from the boiling of a variety of spices and roots, given to children for various ailments. The tea grows on you and is not the least bit offensive, as one may think. The curry is definitely the most dominate flavour note. I found it actually complimented the savoury portion of our food selection.


The teas are served in glass pots with a built in strainer. They are placed on a riser suspended over a lit tea light. This ensures your tea remains the perfect drinking temperate. We sat for
over two hours and each pour was accompanied by spirals of smoke from the pot’s spout. I prefer this style over the tea pot cozy. Not only did this version look better, but it also stayed heated for longer. I also appreciate being able to see the colour of my beverages through my vessel.

The tea cups provided were “Royal Alberts” one of the better know high end tea ware producers in England. You could tell these cups stood the test of time and saw much love. Their gold trim rims were worn, with what were prints of the many lips before you taking a sip. Eerie.

IMG_2984My guest wanted the “Red grape extract”, a flavoured rooibos with a taste of red heap. However they were unable to open the bottle, and ask that we make another selection. My guest knew exactly what her second choice would be, and repeated it several times before one of the servers walked away. Eventually the same server did come to ask what we had wanted. Guess she missed hearing us call out “paradise” a few times. “Exotic paradise”. A flavoured passion fruit white tea with blossoms. White tea, coconut, rose petals, sunflower petals, and marigold petals. This was fragrant and made you wish it tasted as sweet as it smelled. But alas you were disappointed with the first sip. This is definitely one of those teas that require milk and sugar to even out. It had a bitter after taste and continued to have it, even after the addition of more water. Milk and sugar were definitely needed. Though unfortunately, even after asking both servers for a set, we waited forever for nothing to come. I only got up to ask for it when one of the servers walked out of the shoppe with her jacket and bag. The brown sugar came in a coarse gravel-like size. I was harder to melt with its more solid, yet unique shape. The sugar was not overly sweet and tasted good enough to have as a mouthful on its own. I tried. Another tea that percolated my interest was the “Latte Macchiato”, a black tea flavoured with the taste of coffee. As unique this was, I thought why not just get coffee…


Slip over how hungry we really were we ordered both the “Afternoon Tea” and “Mini Afternoon Tea”. Both are an assortment of homemade sweets and savouries; including finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones. Served with your choice of tea. The difference between the two was the allotment and a $10 difference in pricing. They combined both servings onto the one serving rack. The following is a list of what we had as described from what I tasted. Savoury to sweet, like how we ate it all. The food tasted as I described it, by its simple ingredients. It was just as is. Good, not great. But then again you weren’t here for the food and definitely weren’t paying for it.


Bottom tier: Ham and mayo finger sandwich. Cucumber and cream cheese finger sandwich. Egg salad, lettuce, and cucumber mini bun. Chicken, apple, and lettuce on a croissant.


Middle tier: Smoke salmon, cream cheese, and rosemary; on a poppy and sunflower seed whole wheat loaf. Salmon and spinach egg quiche. Shrimp topped potato salad.


Top tier: Raspberry and blueberry mini cupcake with whipped cream. Fruit tarts. Chocolate brownie with gold leaf flakes. Chocolate Cake. The chocolate cake was too sweet with chocolate frosting on chocolate cake.


Side plate: Cheese and cranberry scone served with a side of cream and jam. We both found the cranberry scone too sweet. You did not need the addition of jam. I did like the extra sugar on the top that gave the scone a crunch. The cheese scone had a great flaky texture. Strawberry, chocolate, and vanilla mousse. The Neapolitan cream tasted as artificial as it look.

Side note, it is such a shame that tea is a diuretic. I ended up using the washroom five times during my two hour stay, after consuming two pots of curry tea.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
I come for the ambience. Places like this make you feel fancy. You wouldn’t want your home styled in this decor, but once in a while you enjoy being immersed in it all. So much so that you are willing to pay a higher price for the mediocre food. I have never really had great food at any tea service. I go to a place like this for girl talk. Me and my girlfriend hunkering down for hours catching up, and inevitably our conversation is steered towards boys and sex. It’s almost as if the place brings it out, tapping into our girly sides to do so. But of course men can enjoy places like these too. So don’t deny your cravings fellas and ladies.


2057 West 41st Ave, Vancouver BC, V6M 1Y7
Adonia Tea House on Urbanspoon


IMG_2933Boca  Latin inspired food to go.  A new small shop opened up near work, so naturally I was obliged to check it out. To my delight, today was their grand opening. There is something about being the first to try a place and gathering intel for others. Though it didn’t seem that long ago since the Greek place before it was still serving tzatziki filled wraps. In fact it was only a little over two months since I wrote about it. But here today stood the new Boca. Like the Greek place, it fed those in the area looking for a quick bite during early lunch or dinner. Given the limitations on space there was not much else they could do. Everything was made fresh daily, but packaged to be able to be grabbed and go-ed with ease. A very useful point for those wishing to dip in for a quick bite, between busses at the nearby stop.  IMG_2935 As a consumer, with a career in retail management I am a stickler for great customer service. I will always spend more if I am given great service. At time it has even been able to make up for poor food. And today the overly friendly staff had me buying four sandwiches and a soup. Yes, all for myself. (Which no I didn’t finish. After a bite of each I gave the rest to my colleagues, it pays to eat with me when I am blogging.) IMG_2934One employee was at the door passing out samples. A few pieces of sandwiches managed to get satisfied “yums”, and others a return visit for lunch. And once inside the samples didn’t stop there. The shop was fairly simple, no fuss or muss. Nothing to take away from their already cramped quarters. A wall painted in a sharp teal. Their logo, largely stamped on the opposite side. A refrigerated unit for their pre-made dishes. And their menu printed on a large board behind the counter. Majority of their customers take out, but for those dining in, five stools are available for perching. Three of which are situated at their window bar, facing the street.  Today was a big day for this little shop, and there were four members working behind the counter to accommodate it. Two women worked the front and the other two pressed and packaged sandwiches. Each tasted panini was slid into wax a paper bag. sealed with a logo-ed sticker. There were four sandwich options at $9 each, I ordered one of each. All the sandwiches were made with crispy bread and a variety of ingredients that gave each one a unique depth of its own. They do warn that in order to maintain the integrity of their food, they are regretfully unable to make any substitutions to their food. Given that everything is pre-made it is quite understandable.  IMG_2947 “Mermen spiced pollo”, Chilean braised chicken. I was given the option to have my chicken panini served with their either their “Chimi Verde”, a green chimichurri sauce served cold; or their “Chimi Rojo”, a red chimichurri sauce served hot. I took the recommendation and got the green, which was promised to be a more unique flavour. A cold creamy sauce, which would make an excellent contrast to a warm toasted bun. She wasn’t lying. This ended up being my favourite bite. The chicken was seasoned well and grilled beautifully. The addition of cilantro and cucumber made everything taste fresh. Even the creaminess of the thick sauce did not weight this burger down.  IMG_2948 “Puerco en Chicha”, Salvadorian roast pork. The pork was pulled to a light tenderness. It was the traditional moist pulled pork with a Latin twist. The crunchy cabbage slaw added texture, and the pickles gave it a kick. It was reminiscent of a taco, but made hardier with the thick bread.  IMG_2949 “Pastel de carne”, Columbian meatloaf. Truthfully out of all of them, this sounded the least appetizing. It looked like pate with the texture of spam. The taste was okay, but I think I made up my mind solely on looks alone. Compared to the ones before it, this was a little dry and the texture more crumbly. My least favourite out of the four.  IMG_2950 “Verduras de la temporada”. Roasted vegetables, guacamole, frijoles, queso fresco. The vegetables were fresh, you could taste the grill and see the char. This reminded me of a gourmet veggie pizza, all wrapped up in a handheld sandwich form. The avocado gave it a creaminess that would be cheese if on a veggie pizza. It tasted healthy and a little Greek with the addition of feta.  IMG_2951 As I waited for the individual pressing of each panini, one of the women asked if she would be able to tell me about their soup of the fail and house special bean dip. She spoke with such excitement that I couldn’t bare to stop her speech. With her arms waving, I ended up adding a bowl of soup to my already large order. Today’s soup special was the “Chicken tortilla soup”. With actual pieces of tortilla chips stirred in. They used paneer cheese in the soup, an out of the box idea that gave it a unique twist. The soup was hearty, earthy, and brothy. A subtle taste, instead of the common overpowering one of a tomato base. Despite its colour this was not too tangy. All the flavours assimilated well. But together, too much to pair with any of the sandwiches above.  The “Frijole mole” was their house special bean dip, made with a dark rich chocolate. They loved saying their name as much as they loved promoting it. I wasn’t keen to buy, but willing to try. It was rich and chalky. An interesting taste, but not my kind of dip. I was a little jealous that the two other customers after me got their dip samples served with chips, fresh from an just opened bag.  If that doesn’t sound like enough food, tack on a side. Choose from their “Peruvian potato salad”, their quinoa salad, or a salsa fresca. Each portion colourful and scooped into a plastic disposable container to travel.  Hearing the staff speak, you could tell that they were definitely proud of their products. They spoke with delicious adjectives that could make your mouth water. They were not selling, they were educating you on their products.  Would I come back? – No. Truthfully this is not my type of food. It was great to try, but not something I would immediately steer too when hungry. However their service wowed me enough that I would recommend it to those wanting the simplicity of a sandwich with the complexity of a full meal. Easy to eat and satisfyingly filled with a unique list of ingredients. Don’t deny your cravings. 


1513 West Broadway, Vancouver BC
Boca on Urbanspoon


IMG_2807 IMG_2812     Sake bar and bistro. Slack service proceeds lack lustre food.

30 mins to find an early dinner, and I had to be craving sushi. Having eaten a week’s worth of instant cup noodles and greasy burgers in the last two days, I needed a change. My body shook with the need to eat something more wholesome. I passed the first shop on the block. Choosing this, the second sushi place around the corner of Robson and Granville. The sole reason was that it was newer and therefore nicer looking. However I soon regretted my decision, as my wait would have been lessen at the smaller, first stop.


I walked into a room that I imagined more impressive, basking in dim light with a cocktail in hand. The bar was the lead in, and a strong one. Given that this was the Granville strip, I can imagine the bodies that must come in for a drink or two nightly. My entry was cut off by two girls coming in for appetizers. And I forced to wait to be addressed. I mentioned I was taking out to the host as she directed me to a four seater right in front of the entrance. Usually when it is a take out order they deal with you quickly as they want you to come and go, to make way for those who wish to stay and eat in. Yet I was left seated, forgotten.


It was all dark. Hard wood floors and black tables. Brown leather seats with low backs or booths in the similar upholstery. It was a fairly deep restaurant, with group seating all the way to the back. Bar seating included ones at the bar meant for drinking and others at the bar that served up hand rolled sushi. I guess seeing as this restaurant is on the Granville strip, the seating option and quantity was needed. And if you missed it, the blow up Sake bottle hanging from the ceiling was a good reminder that they served alcohol. I noticed their focal wall behind the bar. It was a mural made with stone and metal. Abstractly it looked like rocky waves and bronze coloured fish swimming in those waves. The bronze pieces were lit from the back and offered the artwork some shadowing for interest. The lamp in the corner was done with leaves and twigs. This matched the table top version on the bar. Very earthy elements.

So I sat and waited for someone to pay me notice, to take my money, so I could be on my way. Eventually I got tired of waiting and switched my seat to face into the restaurant, instead of my back, as it had been ignored up to this point. I still was forced to wait. All this and the two girls who entered before me already had three plates on their table. Being on a time crunch and watching the server, who finished a conversation with the bar tender before walking back into the kitchen, and ignoring me; I got up and asked the bar tender for service. He suggested I order with him. Thinking he would come to my table I headed back, only to realize I need to be at the till in order to place my requests. But first I had to go back to my table for my menus to know what I wanted. He told me the wait would be another 15minutes. I tossed back that I was in a rush and had they offered to take my order sooner I would not have to wait for so long now. I almost walked out, but they already started making my food and I felt bad to have it go to waste. Though it retrospect I was better off without it. They are probably use to people coming in to loiter and therefore being able to take their time serving this particular type of customer.

They had no house rolls or specials. And the regular California or Dynamite rolls no longer cut it for me. It was hard to decide what I wanted as nothing was able to peak my interest.


I eventually choose my sushi off their lunch specials page. A laminated sheet of options at a price available until 4:30pm. The “Negi-Hama Roll” fell under today’s fresh fish selection. It is minced yellow tail and green onion in a roll. Taking this to go I was extremely disappointed in the size when I opened up my styrofoam box for the first time. Yes the fish is gourmet and fresh, but this was not $5.50 worth of food. It made me wish I ordered the California roll for less money and more in portion. I was hungry and this wasn’t going to satisfy that need. Luckily I ordered rice too. The rolls themselves were tasty. The fish had a good texture to them, but the green onion over powered their gentle flavour. For a roll that tasted like green onion I expect to pay $2.50 for it.


“Oyako Donburi”. A rice dish topped with egg, onions, and chicken in a sweet soy sauce. Despite this description I thought there would be more to this chicken bowl. Like a floret of broccoli, a sliver of carrot, a handful of bean sprouts. I guess I wanted a teriyaki chicken bowl. Usually not all ingredients would be listed on a menu’s description. I just wanted something for colour and taste. Like this, it looked unappealing and bland with its one tonal colour. I can’t be sure if its like this normally, because I did ask them to rush. But looks alone this was very disappointing. And after my first bite I knew the taste matched the look. More rice and onion than chicken. After four bites I was eating onions and rice, with hardly enough sauce to lend taste to the plain mix. The best part about this dish was its solid take out bowl. A hardy seal and an easy to hold shape. That is saying something. Needless to say I didn’t finish this.


I was unable to order dessert because it didn’t travel well. I appreciate them not wanted to serve an inferior product, but they lost a sale doing that. Had they confirm with me it wouldn’t travel well, I would have said I was ok with that. All they needed to do was make every attempt to pack it up gingerly. Or maybe the dessert was baked into a ramekin they would not be able to spoon out and box up. None the less they lost out on $5 and I was sad to have missed out on trying the green tea pudding with black sugar sauce and soy powder. Especially with the “must try” printed in the description. I wanted to. I tried to.

Would I go back? – Not as a first choice, but I wouldn’t be apposed to trying their dinner menu to get a better take on their food as a whole. Though I don’t see the chance. Parking is difficult around this area and I don’t see myself visiting Granville for dinners. Granville street is more popular for drinking and dancing.
Would I recommend it? – No. Not after that rocky take out. I didn’t see anything worth mentioning in the service or on the menu. However this may change if I decide to come back for dinner. Don’t deny your cravings.

833 Granville St, Vancouver BC, V6B 2C9
ShuRaku Sake Bar and Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tap & Barrel

IMG_2732Celebrating the best of BC. As hard as I may try, sometimes I have no choice but to visit the same restaurant twice. Something I try to avoid, in order to bring a variety of flavours to this blog. However when the person who is treating me chooses the destination, I shut my mouth and enjoy the generosity.

This is a revisit. However a second visit differing enough from the last, that it warrants a completely new review.


My first visit was during the peak of summer, at a busier time. I recall being seated indoor and upstairs with the sun’s glare blinding me to the point of continuous squinting. Today was a sunnier crisp fall day. With no rain or clouds we opted for the patio, for our 3pm late lunch. A move meant to take advantage of the spectacular view we would get out there. I was hoping for the patio upstairs, but settled for the one on the ground level, as it was the only one open for seating at this time. Though we were disappointed to learn that it was covered with a see through plastic tarp. The covering not only kept the seating area dry and wind free, but it took away from what would be a spectacular water level view of Science World and False Creek. The patio was kept toasty with multiple over head heaters. They were so effective, to the point that the continuous stream of heat stared to burn. And after asking our server to turnoff the heat we smelled enough propane gas to ask if it was an usual occurrence.


The lunch menu is a one pager of pub classics. Fast food turned upscale with unique ingredients and a list of what seems like crazy ingredient combinations. It all works and it gets you wanting to try. Peanut butter & jelly or poutine in burgers, beer in macaroni and cheese, pretzels in cookies and cream desserts, and chips made from bacon.


At a place with a long bar, almost the length of the room. With a row of over 50 taps lining one side of it, it almost felt like a requirement to have to order a beer or too. And the best way to do this is through their beer flights. Flights are taster sized portions, meant to give you variety. This way, you get to try three different beers, ones that you wouldn’t otherwise commit to as a pint. They were sold out of the fruitier, sweeter ones that I was eyeing: a banana & clove wheat beer, a grapefruit blonde, and a blueberry wit. So I settled on the three new additions that took their place. Think less summer and more fall. Chestnut ale, pumpkin ale, and tree brewing raspberry I.P.A. The chestnut was sweet with a thicker syrup like consistency. The pumpkin tasted like the pie, not the gourd. And the raspberry was light and refreshing.


We had their pizza, which is hand stretched dough, topped with locally inspired artisanal ingredients, all baked up in a wood stone hearth oven.


“Sweet fennel sausage”, provolone, and roasted peppers in a homemade tomato sauce. Wished it was as flavourful as it was colourful. Each bite was tasteless, unless intentionally taken with a piece of salty, peppery sausage. Though the cheese was fresh and the dough was baked to a perfect chewy consistency.


“Roasted pork belly”, soft cooked eggs, caramelized onions, and smoked mozzarella. The eggs in the description peaked my interest. I always try to go for the unique. And this would be my first pizza with egg as a topping. It was good, but you always left like you were missing something. My guest and I concluded that the addition of apple or pear slices would be ideal. They would accent the pie with its sweetness and bring a crunch to an otherwise soggy bite. The pork was tender and juicy, I was just disappointed that there was not more of it. There was a larger onion to pork ratio. And therefore should be called the caramelized onion pizza.

It was a slow service, which allowed our server to be free enough to be attentive. Though we found it weird that she had a break, and then was off, all in the two hours that we stayed. Having been in the hospitality industry and knowing people who are still in the business, we found it surprising that she even had breaks, when she still had diners. It didn’t hurt the experience, as her colleagues and replacement filled in the gap nicely.

My gripe is the washroom situation. A one stall common use washroom, with toilet and urinal. At a bar with plenty of drinking you cannot expect your customers to be able to wait comfortably for their turn with the only stall. There were other available upstairs, but by the time you got there, chances are this one would be freed up. Or maybe you would have to wait for the ones upstairs. Either way. 50 taps, 5 stalls? Good balance, no?

I preferred this my second visit. Away from the sun’s blinding rays, in a chair overlooking one of the best dining views that Vancouver has to offer, and all while enjoying great beers and delicious food. And the best part is, at this time of day parking at the Olympic Village is easy and free. As this is my second post, I will definitely come back and absolutely recommend. Don’t deny your cravings.

To read my original post click HERE.

1 Athletes Way, Vancouver BC, V5Y 0C2
Tap & Barrel on Urbanspoon


You know when you get that craving for something and no substitution will do? Meet my cinnamon bun craving. And just in luck, I had an entertainment book coupon that entitled me to buy one large bun and get a second one for free. This was perfect to ensure I would not be left wanting more, after I devoured my first and then second. I was thrilled that it came to less than $2.50 per cinnamon bun. 

There is nothing really special about this long standing shop in Metrotown. For locals and regulars it just stands as a place to get authentic, and in my opinion, the best cinnamon buns in town. Stores around it have undergone construction, changed names, and closed down but this continues to be a staple. I remembered shopping at Superstore with my mom over 15 years ago then getting a bun after each run. I was a large child. 

Today I approached the counter in their open and inviting space. They bake throughout the day, but everything is already pre prepared for grab and go ease. My choices, other than their trademarks goodies are mini bite sized buns, and cinnamon twists. Essentially the same recipe and same ingredients done in 3 different ways. But I only go for the original. You get the option for extra frosting at no additional charge, so of course I took it. Best eaten warm, these things also do well when taken home and reheated in the microwave. 

I have had so many other cinnamon buns available else where. You are almost guaranteed to find one at most coffee shops or cafes. Though I find the best is still from the original, “Cinnabon”. I like unrolling the bun and eating the middle first and working my way outwards. The middle is the most moist and the most packed full with cinnamon-y flavour. I can never finish a bun in one sitting so this ensures method of eating ensures I eat the best part first. 

Would I go back? – Yes. The next time I need to satisfy this specific craving. 
Would I recommended it? – Yes. After all, I consider this to be the best version of cinnamon buns in the lower mainland. as the “Cinnzeo” slogan states, “it is okay to indulge”.

1155 – 4700 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H4M1

Cinnzeo on Urbanspoon

Tamarind Hill

IMG_2557 The unmistakable smell of Southeast Asian spices, boiling coconut milk, and savoury curry powders had me salivating with my first breath through the threshold. Though the foggy smokiness of the place had me confused. If something was burning, at least I couldn’t smell it. 

I decided to try this restaurant on a recommendation from a fellow Vancouver based food blogger, “Fat Panda”. After seeing a picture of her meal on Instagram and not recognizing the name, I made plans to go. With me was my Malaysian food loving companion. “Fat Panda” swore by the roti and laksa, which happens to be two of my favourite dishes, ones I grew up eating. So naturally I had to take her up on her suggestion. A food blogger doesn’t refer to something as being “the bomb” lightly. 


It was lunch, the sun was out, and streams of light filtered into the room. This ended up highlighting the overwhelming clouds of smoke that lingered in the air. 
There was not one server assigned to one table. We had three different hands seating us, taking our order, and serving us our plates. It was hardly busy with the number of servers running the floor, and the six other tables of guest seated and served. Yet you could feel that the staff were rushing. Chopsticks came dirty, we sent them back only to have them returned wet. One of the girls dropping a used fork off the stack of plates she was busing. This fell on to my guest. I simple sorry would have been the clear fix, but without a word she looked to my companion, as she waited for her to pick up the soiled utensil off the floor. I little questionable. 

Any attempts to try Malaysian dishes that are new to me is foiled, when I leaf through the menu and spot my favourites immediately. At least this way I get a good reference point between the different restaurants I try. 


“Roti canai”. The order comes with two pieces of the signature Malaysian soft sweet bread. The crust is pan fried to a golden crisp. And the dish is severed with a spicy curry dip. I knew this would be disappointing just by looking at it. You could see the large amount of oil glistening and shining off every fold. This definitely translated into its taste. It was good, but not what we expected. We wished for fluffy bread, over the crispy edges that we got. Luckily the curry was mild and flavourful, and as a result, the saving grace of the dish. 


“Stay chicken”. Bite sized pieces of meat on skewers; marinated with lemon grass, turmeric, onions, and coriander. The four sticks per order was served with a delicious peanut sauce for dipping in. As a whole this  was only good, nothing outstanding. Filling chicken, tender enough and made tastier with the sauce. You can’t go wrong with a peanut sauce. Crunchy with a hint of sweet. 

The entrees came right after, with no time in between to enjoy our appetizers. We rushed our eating, less dishes got cold. All our plates were served in silence. I don’t need small talk, but a little explanation as to what is landing on our table, and a few well wishes for a good meal would be nice. 


“Nasi Goreng”. A popular Malaysian style fried rice dish made with beef, shrimp, egg, tomato, and green beans. I liked the raw tomatoes segments and raw cucumber slices. This is defiantly an acquired taste. They added a crunch and a level of freshness that you just can’t get with cooked vegetables. This is a very Malaysian thing. 


I never knew there were so many variations to laksa, until my visit here and the reflection of their menu. My favourite dish “laksa” so it was quite the challenge to choose between the three varieties that they serve. The “Malaysian style” is made with a stronger curry essence. The “Singaporean style” is described as being more coconuty. And the “Assam seafood” flavour was a little more sour than the others, with the taste of tamarind. I stuck with what I knew and chose the “Singapore laksa”. Spicy vermicelli with shrimps, shredded chicken, bean spouts, a boiled egg, tofu puffs, and fish cakes; all swimming in spicy coconut soup. It was delicious and one of the more authentic varieties I have tried. The portion was plentiful, the broth flavourful, and the ingredients came in an abundance. 


Would I come back? – No. The trip out to New Westminster is a little far for me, especially as we have a few good Malaysian restaurants in Vancouver. Restaurants that are not only closer to my home, but with easier parking and friendlier service. However if I did, it would be to try their other two flavours of laksa. 
Would I recommend it? – Yes. Their roti might not be the best, but their laksa was up there. And I suspect this may be one of the few, if not the only Malaysian option in New Westminster. Don’t deny your cravings. 

Unit 103, 628 6th ave, New Westminster BC, V3M 6Z2
Tamarind Hill on Urbanspoon

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