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

Month: May 2016 Page 2 of 3

Bridges Restaurant

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With all the sun that we have been getting, Vancouverites are flocking to their favourite patios to take advantage. I consider all the patio views at Granville island stunning, but the one at “Bridges” certainly takes the lead. It’s location is central on Granville island, and it’s backdrop included the staggering city scape at one end; the Granville street bridge, boats at dock, and endless water at the another.

Today, waiting for a table required a wait. However having to kill time by walking water side isn’t anything to complain about. We left our names with the hostess and took a lap, and then a seat at one of the many benches.

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Our assigned table was right by the water, on a nice solid wood deck. A lovely enough two top amongst a sea of others. Their patio space was just as large as the area they had dedicated to indoor seating, but with a day like today, no one was sitting inside.

The only issue we had was that the post we were seated beside easily became a bird docking station. The platform it had attached at the very top gave many birds the opportunity to land with ease. This began the game of they land, and we proceed to shoo them away. The latter would have been letting them decided whether nature was going take its course over us.

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It was Sunday so I started off with a Caesar, on special. It wasn’t anything special, in fact, it could have used more seasonings and seemed to miss its iconic spicy herb kick. The tell-a-tale garnishes were also lacking, along with the rub around the rim that seemed stingy. Overall a pretty boring Caesar

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Similarly, I expected more from the “Roasted portobello mushroom sandwich” with goat cheese and arugula. First I expected more from it, and a bigger portion at $18 for the entire. And even then, typically vegetarian food costs less. The mushroom was easy enough to chew through. If anything it was “meaty” with juices, it left its brown liquid on everything it touched. The crisp arugula added some pepper and the cheese some salt in the sandwich. And lastly, the ciabatta bun was helpful in tying it all together with some crunch and chew, give an other wish spongy mushroom its texture.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Despite the lack lustre food, I would come again. You came and paid from the view. It’s included in the bill and you always leave satisfied with at least it. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BRIDGES
1696 Duranleau Street, Vancouver BC, V6H 3S4
604-687-4400
bridgesrestaurant.com
Bridges Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chad Thai

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Mother’s Day, I wanted to take my mother out for lunch. I was thinking something fancy, she wanted Thai and chose the destination. I obliged, after all it was her day and we only needed to wait six minutes for them to open.

The restaurant was a thin corridor of space, it only allowed narrow tables and a couple of chairs. The seating made sense with their demographic. This was more of a quick lunch spot rather than a destination for large groups to linger at. Perfect for walk-ins and solo diners to curb their authentic Thai cravings, at value prices. We were the first ones in, choosing one of their three tile table tops right by the window. It was a pretty backdrop to the decorative appetizer plates to come. The rest of the restaurant was less ornate. A few canvases showing Thailand through its colourful fruits, boats on water, and famous places.

We had our heart set on pad Thai so only had to choose if we wanted the lunch or dinner portion. We leaned towards the slightly smaller portion of lunch, as it came with a few extras side. Soup and a plate of fried appetizers each.

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The soup was a clear chicken broth with raw carrot chunks. The carrots added a nice crunch to the warming broth. It made for a great start and balance to the deep fried bites below.

It was either three mini deep fried wontons or one full spring roll. We were two so got one of each.

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These were three deep fried wontons stuffed with marinated ground chicken, and served with plum sauce. It had more crunch and more wonton than meat, or as I would prefer. The sauce was needed for taste and did that well.

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The “Vegetable spring roll” had a nice crunch to it. Filled with cabbage, carrot, and glass noodles. But like with the wontons, it was plum sauce that accompanied it, that gave it its taste.

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My mother ordered the chicken pad Thai and I went for the shrimp, paying $1 more for mine, for three. This was delicious plate of stir fried thin rice noodles in tamarind sauce. It included tofu, salted radish, egg, chive, bean sprouts, and ground peanuts.

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It was served from the chef’s own two hands as she brought both serving out to us. The noodle was sticky and tacky as I expected. With fragrant tamarind giving it its distinct taste profile. When you are craving pad Thai, nothing else compares and they do a great rendition of it here. Definitely one of the better that I have had.

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And of course I had to get a serving of Thai ice tea when given the chance. Cream and orange tea with a flavour like no owner. It is sort of like the Hong Kong style coffee-tea mix, but without the lemon.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
When looking for cheap and delicious Thai in my neighbourhood, this is definitely the one I recommend. Great flavours and authentic ingredients with a causal vibe. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CHAD THAI
4010 E Hastings Street, Burnaby BC, V5C2J3
chadthai.ca
604-677-1489
Chad Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Panda Night Market

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The first weekend open of the summer night market and we were here to take part. This was the original Richmond market located by Home Depot and Ikea at Bridgeport. But since the opening of the second night market in Richmond, this one has been since been referred to as the “Panda night market”. I suspect it is to do with the two giant inflatable pandas that stand in front of the back stage.

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For the first weekend open there weren’t many vendor set up yet. Empty stalls were left vacant. But still represented were the cell phone tents, the ones selling socks, a tent for mops and one for swords. But we avoided all this by b-lining it to the food area instead. A single alley way of stalls and another just for seats. The covered tables were a nice change of pace, the ability to purchase and eat in comfort. As apposed to the typical custom of standing and eating in place, surrounded by bodies pushing and shoving their way through. But considering it was still the beginning of the night market season it wasn’t too busy today. There was enough room to visit a few stalls, to share the treats that we ordered, and to take photos of our food filled conquests.

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Our first stop was at “Sea Monster” a booth that specialized in deep fried squid. There were others that did the same, but this one offered the novelty of a whole squid wrapped up in a bouquet. And who doesn’t want a bouquet of squid tentacles?

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We waited, ogling the sample versions tact up to the stand itself. From our position in line we had full view of their operation. The dredging of the squid in egg and floor, the sizzle it created when it hit scalding oil, and the chopping of a clever when anyone ordered just half the squid.

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This was definitely a novelty. It wasn’t easy or fun to eat, or all that tasty. There was an option for a dipping sauce add on at $1. In hind sight we should have grabbed a few containers full. But considering how complicated eating already was with the need of two hands, I couldn’t imagine factoring in a dipping sauce step.

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It was heavy, the two skewers holding the whole squid in place barely helped to support it upright. The breading flaked off even before we could sink our teeth in. Each chomp required the gritting of teeth and the pull and tug of lips. I found it easier to sink my claws into each chewy pieces and pull. But eventually gave up all together. Eating shouldn’t be this much work.

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Our first choice caused quite a thirst, so our next stop was at the lemonade stand. “Happy Lemon” freshly squeezed lemonade. Though they also offered strawberry, lime, passion fruit, and cherry flavoured-ade as well. They were sold out of the raspberry. Though at 7pm it was more that they probably forgot to stock up on the mix.

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We stuck with the classic lemonade and it did the trick. It provided a powerful punch and made for a great palette cleanser for round two.

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Takoyaki is one of those iconic night market musts. Available at a few stalls we went for the one that specialized in just it, with plenty of variety between seafood filling and creamy dressing. The stall’s name: “Takoyaki”.

Behind their sneeze proof glass you could see these round breaded balls being made in mass quantity. They weren’t made to order, but made to be sold. The ones you pay for were already stacked neatly into a cardboard tray, and dressed to order. It was efficient as they have many customers, and this way none needed to wait. But what you got was some luke warm takoyaki.

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“Takoyaki” is a flour and egg based snack mixed with green onion, pickled ginger, and a tempura crumb. It’s filling was your choice between octopus, squid, shrimp, or vegetable. Similarly its topping was your choice too. They did a negi ponzu, negi mayo, and corn.

We went traditional with the classic octopus takoyaki. Topped with teriyaki sauce, mayo, bonito flakes, and dried seaweed. As expected more spongy bread than chewy octopus tentacle, but the taste was spot on. A creamy, tangy, and slightly sour finish.

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What I enjoyed the most was being able to watch them make each round. The flour and egg batter gets poured into each cast iron mould. To it the above mentioned ingredients get sprinkled in, surprisingly it is not mixed in before hand and just allowed to meld together in the baking process. Next goes in the desired sea food chunk. It ends with one side baking golden brown, and the chef flipping it over to do the same for the other side.

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For dessert we couldn’t find the durian that we wanted, and settled for mango instead. Mango from the “MangoHolic” vendor. An orange coloured booth, to the point, and matching their namesake fruit.

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I went for their mango shaved ice that was carved from a block, topped with freshly cut cubes of mango, and drizzled over with condense milk. It was a refreshing taste with the milky ice.

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My guest got the fresh mango slush that had a similar taste. The mangos were just as sweet, but here they were blended with the ice and melted enough to drink through a straw.

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The time in between our snacks and searching for others had us filling up. So having eaten our fill, we explored the different vendors, took in some of the street art performers and weeded our way through the carnival grounds. But there is only so much you could do after eating and we left shortly after.

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Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This night market is still free to enter, parking is a challenge, but if you are lucky there are some free spots available curb side. The wares don’t do much to tempt, but the food will certainly have me coming back. A one of a kind dining experience worthy of exploring again before the summer’s end, when it picks up more steam and have a lot more to offer. I can only imagine the grandiose nature of the ones in Hong Kong. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

PANDA NIGHT MARKET
12631 Vulcan Way, Richmond BC, V6V 1J7
604-278-8000
pandamarket.ca

Chun Hing Cuisine

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When looking for an authentic Chinese mall experience I take my guests to “Yohan” in Richmond. We were here for the real Chinese food court experience. The court consisted of a several drink stalls and stalls serving pre cooked meals in heated metal tubs. It required a few laps around to decide on a stall that could suit all of our needs, and was tempting enough to spend our money at. Though with each, at least the prices were inexpensive, and therefore if you didn’t like something, you weren’t upset by wasting your hard earned money on it.

Out of all the other cooked food stalls we went for this one because one of us wanted wontons. So to make it easy, the others found something here to eat too.

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The stall was pretty straight forward. A visual menu with faded photographs and lists below it. I could tell they have held this spot for a long while, from the worn out nature of the menu amendments made in paper cut outs. It was just easier to order by picking and pointing at the cooked food bins, or looking to the displays of fake food by the register. Although in all honesty neither were all that impressive.

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The $5 wonton soup was made to order. The seran wrapped plastic version showed yellow egg noodles with four dumplings and a few sprigs of greens bobbling around in a murky broth. What we got was thick rounded rice noodles, four frozen wontons, a bushel of broccoli, and a half warmed broth. We wondered why we didn’t get what was advertised, but at the same time didn’t expect much, nor considered it something we needed to address with the staff. We ate our disappointment, and a $5 didn’t even flinch.

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My other guest and I shared their more heavily advertised combo. $8 for rice or noodles with you choice of any three sides and a complimentary soup or tea. Over stir fried noodles with beansprouts we added a scoop of honey garlic spareribs, beef brisket with daikon, and zucchini with black fungus. Over chicken broth we choose a serving of hot and sour soup.

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This was cheap and easy Chinese. You enjoy the first few bites and grow weary with disgust towards the end. You leave greasy, craving tea to cleanse, and a healthier meal straight after. The food was mediocre. The spareribs were chewy and tough, the beef was dry, and the soup was full of soggy strands. The vegetables faired best as they still maintained some crunch and texture to them. But at $8 they did their job and we didn’t leave hungry.

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I honestly don’t know why I keep returning to this food court. The food isn’t that good and the seating area’s horrible lighting makes everything look worse in photo.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
There was nothing worth trying again. Even with the inexpensive cost I rather try something else when visiting this food court. I was unsatisfied by this meal and left most of it uneaten. But then again I am not their demographic. This food court serves the people in the community and is here for those looking for a quick and easy lunch, or a cheap dinner to take home after a long day. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CHUN HING
Yohan Centre
3700 No. 3 Road, Richmond BC, V6X 3X2
604-278-3055
yaohancentre.com
Chun Hing Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vancouver Harbour Heliport

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Fraser Valley wine tour with Sky Helicopters.

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Our host was leaving. This was his last weekend in Vancouver, and he decided to hit it off with a bang. There is no way better to take in Vancouver and reflect on your time here than up in the sky, experiencing a view of the city that most don’t get.

The “Vancouver Harbour Heliport” was a hard one to get to. Located right by the water, there was only one way to reach our destination. The bear with a jetpack outside marked our arrival.

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We registered with the clerk behind the counter and sat in the waiting room for our pilot to descend. The room had a view overlooking the harbour and the “parking lot” for the helicopters. A wooden path leading down to the Tarmac and four pads marked with the letter “H” in yellow.

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The company offered a few tours, ours was the least expensive, but still a hefty price. The R44 Helicopter trip went for $799 + 5% GST tax. It allowed three passengers to ride with the pilot. The experience was visiting “the award winning wineries of the Campbell Valley Wine Route, in your private helicopter flying over the scenic wine region and horse country of the Fraser Valley, just east of Vancouver.” The tour included tastes of reds and whites at Township 7, Chaberton Estate and Vista D’oro.

Our pilot was very friendly. He pointed out general sights and offered to take group photos for us in front of the chopper. It wasn’t the largest helicopter, but it was sleek and quick, getting us to and fro, safely.

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With the amount of stops and starts we were allowed to rotate and everyone got a turn in the front seat. Being in the front was surreal, nothing obstructed your view. You got a look out a window that went from head height to knee level, making the ride more immersive. Just like shot gun in a car, the front seat was the best seat. Although any window out of a helicopter is still a good view.

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When it was time to get off the plane we were told to duck down and jog briskly away, to avoid the still spinning propellers. They do take a while to wind down to a stop. The other rules included no slamming the door, locking it with a lift and a twist, never walk behind the helicopter; and again, standing away from the propellers.

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With several flips and switches from our pilot, the helicopter started. We began to rise up into the air. It takes you a quick second to get use to the feeling of lightness. A sense of unbalance as the helicopter adjusts itself and you firm on your seat. You communicate through your noise cancelling headphones, a pair for each seat. It drowns out the chop of the propellors and gives you the ability to speak to one another through the microphone attached to the headphone. Although as each sentence spoken never really came out clear, and the broadcast was choppy, I preferred keeping quite and just taking the sights in.

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We climbed higher and we began to follow the river out of port. And as the buildings began to shrink, I thought to myself, “this experience is some next level “The Bachelor” shit”. This is the type of romance the television show lays down on first dates. An extravagant date to impress the women vying for a husband and the audience wanting the to be swept off their feet, along with the contestants. A more practical reason to rent a helicopter is to check one off the bucket list, to celebrate a birth like no other, or as an option to make an anniversary more memorable.

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We were going 100 miles an hour in air speed, and were up 1500 feet. Like a plane we felt turbulence when we got caught in the wind. But other than a few bursts of it. the sky was clear and we chose the perfect sunny and cloudless day for our voyage. And although it got toasty in the cockpit, air conditioning provided relief.

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Enroute to the wineries, our guide was kind enough to give us a mini tour of landmarks. He pointed out where we were and called our attention to the general direction we were heading. He pointed out each city and its surrounding area. All the man made lakes and malls with large flags, certain bridges, and beautiful secluded homes. The latter included property with a horse playground that a husband built for his wife.

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To land, our pilot steered us in a large spiral downward. I always thought you sort of hovered your way down. He also gave us the tip, that you direct yourself over the power lines, as those are the highest points.

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Our first stop was at “Vista Doro” in South Langley, at Campbell valley park. Here I learned that Langley is also known as “horse country”.

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“Vista Doro” would be the smallest of the wineries we were visiting. We would work our way up, ending at the largest. This quaint winery and orchard is run by husband and wife team. It is a completely hands on business, with the couple doing everything themselves. He makes all the wine and she turns their fruit into sweet jams. The one wine maker did all the blending and bottling himself. Working his passion, doing it all as natural as possible with no additives.

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They had five acres of vineyards and five dedicated to orchards. On the latter they grew apples, pears, plum, and cherries. They offered samples of all the jams they would become, from a help yourself tasting tray located on the counter. And it wasn’t just your traditional strawberry or raspberry jam. They weren’t afraid to mix flavour profiles and create something distinct. Pineapple with sake and candied ginger, pink grapefruit and champagne, heirloom green tomato and garam masala, plum with vanilla and star anise, and spiced cranberry with ice wine. A makeshift spoon allows you to have a one time taste of each. I wish I had the money that day to splurge on one of each, or a box set of three. They were that good, and they even did travel sizes.

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Their shop space was a house. Their wine tasting counter was in the living room, the dining room served as a feature to highlight their preserves, their kitchen a cooler for chilled whites; and their porch was a great place to spend time after buying yourself a glass. And everywhere else were racks and shelves dedicated to their bottles for sale. We would learn more about their wines during our actual tasting.

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They specialized in an European hybrid of grape, that survives in a more wet climate, like ours. It and their walnut port was their signature flavours. The walnut port was made from unripened green walnut, at this stage it is similar to and can be processed like a fruit. Which is harvested and then sits in clear brandy.

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We tried two whites and two reds. She gave us plenty of description on each, but no change of glasses in between. We left this one not grabbing a bottle, but doing so at the other two, feeling that it was the polite thing to do after trying.

Our pilot was keeping track of our time. He came and got us when it expired. Then up and away we flew to our next and nearby destination.

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Still in South Langley, was “Township 7”. It was a linear building in white, with a patio around the bend, and benches to sit and have a glass at in their picnic area. The perfect locale to host a party, and they did just that with their wine club. Arranging monthly get togethers where members get to try exclusive bottles in their lounge.

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As it was on the outside, they were well organized inside. Even levelled shelves stacked full with bottles. A counter for several clerks to pour glasses for tasting.

Here they are known for their bubbly, champagne-style, sparkling wines. And this vineyard is where they grow most of the grapes needed for this wine. But this is just one of their three locations. The others are in South Okanagan which grows grapes for their reds and grapes for white wine at Naramata Bench.

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Here we were able to taste three of their whites and two of their reds. And they did change glasses between the transition from white to red. Their fruity wines peaked my interest with scents like papaya.

Our wine tasting host was great at presenting her product. She sought our interest and engaged just enough to close a sale.

And once again when it was time, our guide came and got us. And then up, up, and away; we were flown to our last stop.

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They saved the largest winery for last: “Chaberton Estate”. As soon as we landed on their a designated helicopter clearing, we were greeted by one of their employees. He gave us the option for a winery tour and we happily accepted.

We started at the vines to see the grapes. 50 acres of farm land to make 50 thousand bottles. 25% of all the grapes they use are grown on site. They grow cold climate German grapes, as they do well here. They are low maintenance and the staff don’t need to water them. They weren’t very big at this point, our guide recommend coming back in September to see the extent of their growth and observe their harvesting.

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Next we visited the crush pad where the fruits are processed. The journey of grape to juice as they ferment in temperature controlled vats. The wine keeps cool in these tanks. Thirteen thousands bottles of wine gets pumped from tank to tank in this refrigerator room. Some were kept so cold that the stainless steel exterior of the vat was frosted.

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When it’s time for the wine to be bottled, it runs in tubes, through a conveyor belt-like process in the adjoining room/bottling area. The machine first cleans each bottle and sterilizes it. Next a quick shot of nitrogen in each bottles helps to keep air out. It’s presence is noted from the mist that escapes each bottle when you open it for the first time. Wine then flows into the bottle, a cork gets punched in or is capped. The machine screws the bottle tight and a decorate foil is added. The bottle is finished with a wrapped label and then boxed into a case with other. From start to finish, the machines works through 36 bottles a minute.

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The tour ended at the barrel room. Each one is made in France with their own individual characteristics that shape the wine within it. The room was lined in cedar and it smelled like it. We learned that cedar was a natural insulator and that bugs hate cedar.

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The tasting was in their main hall. Here we were given the option to pick our five tastes, but instead we relied on the experience of our tasting guide. We ended up trying two whites, one pink, and two reds. She suggested taking each taste in three steps. The first sip cleanses pallet, the second gets it ready, and last makes you goes “yay!”

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I ended taking a bottle of their “Bacchus” flagship wine home. Its name derived from the Roman God of wines. It is also the name that their grapes share, as well as their restaurant.

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They had a bistro serving French cuisine south facing the winery. Had we known this was here, we would planned a meal into our itinerary. However to add another designation to our tour and to buy more time, would have been an additional $400-500 cost. And that was just a little too steep of a price to tact on.

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Our time here ended with a complimentary bottle of our choosing, as our parting gift.

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Then off we were for our last ride in the helicopter, back which the way we came.

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Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I definitely would like to do this again and and would recommend it to anyone at less once. Though at the asking price, it might be more on the luxurious side. As I mentioned earlier, for a special occasion, or to impress in no other way. But seeing the city this way is like nothing else, you leaving grow a new appreciation for where you live. Looking down like a bird in flight, taking in a view that not everyone gets to enjoy. What a great way to experience our city known for its greenery and beauty. I truly thank my friend and our host for treated us to something so spectacular.

 

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SKY Helicopters
Vancouver Harbour Heliport
455 West Waterfront Road
Vancouver, BC
604-239-0760

Vancouver Aquarium

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The aquarium is one of those places you first go to as a school field trip, and then find yourself returning to during the beginning of a relationship. For the former it is to learn, for the latter, it is an activity that keeps a new couple entertained. There are plenty of conversation starters to take in as a pair explores the space. We aren’t a new couple, and are able to go through lengthy periods of silence in comfort, but my partner has never been and with a new exhibit, we found ourselves here this Saturday.

Located within Stanley Park the parking is plentiful, but not cheap. With no change given back and preset hours, we found ourselves spending over $11 for a two our stay.

The entrance to the aquarium was lined with local artists wanting your money for an on the spot portrait. A water fountain set with a killer whale sculpture greets your admission.

Adults tickets are $31 each, whereas youth and seniors pay $22, kids 4-12 are $16, and under 3 is free. Then there were annual memberships, but at my age I don’t feel the need to come back often, or even again for a long while, so passed. But I can see this as a great hot spot for young families. There were plenty of pay dates here today.

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The honorary money grab stopped you from entering right away. A green screen and the option for you to stand in front of it for a photo momento. We passed.

The aquarium is divided into several sections. We took the time to explore each one. The photos are of what I thought was note, worthy and some of the straight forward and quotes my partner laid down.

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A new feature for me was the orange and blue glowing jelly fish tank. It was built to dimensions that made it the perfect size to use as wallpaper for your selfie. They had better chances of getting people to pose for a souvenir photo and pay for it in front of this. There was even a line to get close. We waited as everyone took their turn turning their backs to it, where as the intention was to stare forward. The jellyfish were hypnotizing with their slow moving, flapping parts. They had a magical iridescent glow worthy of getting lost in.

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There were more jelly fish in the “Pacific Canada” section, if you didn’t want to wait or be in someone’s background.

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The first area we explored was the “Pacific Canada, treasures of the BC coast” section. I remembered visiting the aquarium and deeming this part my least favourite, but after now having visited each of the areas in person, I appreciated it more.

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To see what is under water, inches from where we have stood. Everything became interesting as I recalled memories from each place. And the scenes that we saw when we went.

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When I wanted to take a closer look at the neon algae, coral, and starfish; my partner exclaimed that he was here to see big things, and not use a magnifying glass.

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Therefore he was immensely pleased with the tank all the way at the back. This dissolution featured a shark, a giant sea turtle and a large manta ray, amongst other sea life.

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His first thought was that there was no way the shark could eat the turtle. And it wasn’t because of its size or its hard shell, but because he believed that the turtle was so old and had so much respect from the other marine animals that no one messed with him.

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The “Tropic Zone” with its warmer temperature was my favourite area. I loved how they the air got thicker and the humidity muggier. As soon as you pulled the glass door open it hits you and you know you aren’t exploring the Pacific coast anymore.

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Although I was sad to see that the Amazon tank no longer had its giant fish swimming within the flooded forest, and that the sloth no longer called the court yard its home.

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I enjoyed the foliage of the area the most. The way they used it in detail displays, and how authentic and realistic it made each enclosure feel. Especially in the courtyard where you can reach out and touch it and were forced to move out of its way. You ducked and weaved between the branches that jutted out, and avoiding the birds that flew from right to left.

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The path that led though the space made for a great interactive experience. The birds and wild life were not held behind glass. They weren’t open for touching, or for you to get close to; but gave you just enough nearness to make you feel like this was a more immersive experience.

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Pools of water separated by banisters were home to black rays with white spots and grey fish. On land was a family of turtles huddled by a heat lamp for warmth.

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We took a pause to watch the parrots shimmy along their poles, crunching on apple wedges, and grooming one another with their beaks.

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My partner’s excitement for the crocodile didn’t last after he saw it keep still. “It’s not doing much, looks like it’s on heavy mode”.

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The bats were holed up in a dark room. They fluttered around aiming for one of the two strung up feeders of fruit. According to my partner, for them it was, “fly, fly, eat, shit, repeat”.

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I appreciated the colour that the poisonous frogs developed to warn predators.

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The “BC Wild Coast” exhibit was outside and it was home to the larger marine life. We came in time to catch the tail end of their dolphin show. An announcer broadcasted facts while trainers and dolphins put on the actual show.

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They gave a performance that included high flying jumps and splashes of fins. The dolphins took commands in exchange for whole fish from a cooler. There are also other shows that similarly draw crowds at specific times. Groups gather to see the seals, penguins, and belugas performing.

After the show and the groups of people dissipated, the dolphins returned to their holding areas free for everyone to gawk at from overhead, on a wooden walkway.

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We watched to see if they would jump and chirp without a command and the promise of being fed. Instead we saw the beluga do laps and the “splash zone” barren.

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The sea lions however barked for attention. One did so just so he could poop in plain view and make us his unwilling audience. It was not a graceful thing, a spray of brown and a scent to match.

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The Penguins were a newer exhibit. They were all huddled in a corner, almost hiding in shade and from the watchful eyes and cameras passing by their enclosure.

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I was starting to feel bad for all the animals. Their tanks were left empty to give their audiences an unobstructed view. Like having an all white empty bedroom. There was no where they could be alone, no where to hide.

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There was even an underground viewing area where you could see the beluga in his tank underwater. A 125 degree look with rows of benches for lengthier stays.

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Our last stop was their new heavily advertised exhibit. The one where you could pet actual rays. You begin by washing your hands with soap. And claiming a perch around the room sized shallow pool.

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Our host walked everyone through the process. You just place your hand flat and still in the water and the rays come to you. They seem to enjoy the touch and actually pet themselves using your palm. Fun, but like ice skating, after a few laps you are good and ready to move on.

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In regular tourist fashion, the exit is through the gift shop. If you can walk past their stuffed animals, glass figurines, and stationary without being tempted, you get to leave.

We expected more and that we would take more than two hours to go through it all. But even with this being my partner’s first time, we kept the visit fairly short. I blame technology and our need to constantly being engaging in something new and different.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
To be honest, I don’t think it necessary to return any time soon. We saw it all and we took it all in. As great as seeing all these animals was, it was nothing compared to encountering them in the wild. I see this attraction as one being more for families with yearly passes, and couples going on dates just something to do. They even have evening entry for adults on select days. And during that time you can sip cocktails and explore all of the aquarium without children.

 

VANCOUVER AQUARIUM
Stanley Park
845 Avison Way, Vancouver BC, V6G 3E2
604-659-3474
vanaqua.org

De Dutch

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Looking for an early breakfast by the waterfront, our solution for a nice sit down was “De Dutch”. And having been to a few of their other chain locations, this was most notably the nicest one I have been too. The restaurant certainly dressed itself up for the area and the view before it. A view you were able to and forced to take in, as you walked to the restaurant. It was view of the water, the mountains, the city in front of it, and seaplanes taking off from and landing on the water. All this visible from the patio and through the all glass windows of the restaurant’s exterior. You could hear the latter and even appreciate the sounds and sights of a helicopter as they flew over head. This feature made this restaurant pretty unique.

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At 9:30am the patio was already fully seated, so we were forced inside to wait for a table to clear up, but the wait indoors was just as nice. Wooden tables, upholstered chairs, and c-shaped booths. The room was themed in a soft yellow-green, orange-Amber, and white. There was definitely some consideration of thought put into the place. A ladder-like shelf divide the room with decorations. A collection of colanders, hour glasses, ceramic containers, vases, and pitchers in orange.

Even the menu was dressed up. A bound and metal tipped book with a cloth cover. Everything within it would give you a taste of volendam, in the Netherlands. It was laid out with tabs for drinks + omelettes, breakfast, pannekoeken (Dutch style pancakes), and lunch.

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They get a lot of tourists the the area, you can tell them apart with the amount of luggage they travel with, and the map by the foyer asking you to pin where they came from. They were as many drops as ten times all the people that were dining here today. The city had cruise ships docked in its port today and therefore it was extra busy here.

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You come for the “Pannekoek”. It is a traditional Dutch style pancake, it resembles a western style pancake in flavour; but thinner, flatter, and lighter, like a crepe. Typically it has a circumference of 37” and a diameter of 12”. And traditionally its rolled up and cut into to bite size pieces. But as it is presented flat and topped with ingredients, it is just easier to cut and eat as you go. They had these sweet with fruit and real whipped cream, and savoury from regular ham and eggs to a perogie with potatoes, onions and sour cream. There was even one called the “rio grande” that came with salsa and sour cream. The sweet pannekoekens are served with “stroop”. It is the equivalent of maple syrup on pancakes, but “stroop” is dark Dutch style sugar syrup.

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One guest got the “Boer’s pannekoek”. It came with two eggs, bratwurst, slices of debakon, and ham. All this on top of their signature pancake. It was served with hash browns and their hollandaise sauce. “Debakon” is “De Dutch’s” own savoury, thin cut cottage roll. It is basically twist on Canadian bacon with a similar ham-like texture and taste. When this plate was originally served it had both scrambled and sunny side up eggs, where as the menu only gave you one style of eggs, and he only requested the former. Though through sleuthing we figured out that the double sunnies belonged to the next dish. Either way we sent them back and got new ones. We found a hair in one of the yolks. As for the plate as it was intended, it was a hearty and meaty mix, everything you wanted in a morning meal and their pancake used as a plate for it all.

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How the “boer’s” breakfast was intended and the new set of sunny side up eggs. The sunny side eggs were suppose to be an add on to the “Meat lovers” pannekoek.

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This one came with debakon, ham, sausage, Turkey, bacon, and Edam cheese, topped with tomato slices. I liked that our server took the time to warn us on how all that meat would be presented: chopped up and blended in with the pannekoek dough. It was like a omelette but made with pancake dough. But first this order was also mixed up, a hash with toast showed up first. When we got it, the actual pannekoek was disappointing, we should have kept the hash. What should have been light and fluffy was dense and doughy. The meat’s grease saturated every inch of the dough enrobing it. It was greasy and with the bites with melted cheese, it only got greasier. More tomato would have helped give it some much needed freshness.

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I went with the “eggs Amsterdam” with ham and Edam. I wanted to try a “rusk”. The menu was helpful at calling out traditional pieces from the Neatherlands, and I wanted to try all the highlights. So given the option for the rusk or an English muffin, or one of each, I went all rusk. It was the opposite of a soft and spongy English muffin. It had a texture like a crouton. It was very crispy, so much so that it shattered in pieces from the pressure of a knife and fork. For the eggs I had the option to have them poached or grilled. I just wanted the eggs runny. I also had a choice of side salad or mixed fruit. I choose the former for both, but when my dish came, the fruit did not.

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I had to ask for it, and received a dish with apple slices, tart mango cubes, and a whole strawberry. They were a nice refreshing bite in between luscious hollandaise and deep fried potatoes.

They also had an extensive lunch menu with sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas, burgers, and chicken and fries. Each burger was named after an adjective and a person. The “simple Simon” came with mushrooms. “Gentle John” combined fried egg and dill pickle slices. “Meek myrtle” had fresh onions with bacon and cheese. And “humble Helen” featured an all beef wiener.

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I was intrigued by the “bitter ballen”. This is a popular pub snack from the Netherlands. They are deep fried balls stuffed with beef, vegetables, and spices. The suggested that the way to enjoy them is with Dutch mustard in one hand and a beer in another.

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It looked like how I imagined it, but it’s filling caught me off guard. Instead of minced and ground up meat and vegetable, all the ingredients were whipped smooth like a spread. The exterior was crunchy like a falafel with its perfectly breaded and even crunch from first bite to last. It got better with every additional taste. The peppery flavour grew on you, and it would have been best with beer.

Of note, they even had a page on the menu dedicated to Nutella inspired creations. It was Nutella in everything.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Chalk it up to an especially busy day, but the food was average. The staff were pleasant enough and the view plenty breath taking. We eventually got everything we asked for and they took the eggs off the bill. We were well fed and full, and the cost for it wasn’t too steep. But once again you come for the view and the scenery and the food is just a consequence. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

DE DUTCH
1055 Canada Place, Vancouver BC, V6C 3T4
604-647-7530
dedutch.com
De Dutch Pannekoek House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Living Produce Isle

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Warmer weather means bikini season is around the corner, and with it follows the feeling of body shame, and the need to get fit to rectify it. And if you are as lazy as me, this does not mean going to gym. It means slightly adjusting my diet: eating healthier things, and more vegetables to trick my body into thinking it’s in shape. And maybe my eyes into thinking I look slim and trim in that two piece. So my shortcut is to differ to juices.

I have been meaning to try this place out, but each time I am in the area I have just walked on by. However today, with the warm rays of the sun hitting my skin, I found myself walking straight into this juice bar. I don’t normally think of cold press juices when the weather is miserable, and I am bundled up like a burrito. But with the hotter heat I don’t like to sweat while I eat, so find juice a great meal replacement.

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“The Living Produce Aisle’s” concept and visuals are interesting. The space seems so sterile and so fresh. The shop contains several white pod-like refrigerators, snaking throughout the space. Through each, their windows showcased the various micro greens they were housing. I have never seen or heard of micro greens before today, but noted that they were just miniature versions of the regular stem and leaves that I remembered each regular plant to be. A plot of each in their own cardboard box. Their line up with extensive. An impressive collection of anything addressed as a leafy plant, where their leaves and stems are eaten as vegetables. Basil, chives, kale, green bean, broccoli, and wheatgrass; just to name a few.

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A few units towards the back were labeled by restaurant. I assume these were for the menus at Edible Canada, West Oak, Nomad, Wild Tale, etc. If you wanted, you too could purchase and take home your own garden of micro greens. But I suspect they would be hard to keep alive outside of their perfectly curated ecosystems, here.

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The counter is where you order. Plants ready to be harvested on shelves, jars of seeds on the counter, and any equipment you would need to blend it all up together. Their specialty is their smoothies, $9 each and advertised as being made with all organic ingredients. Eight different flavours with a whole slew of fruit and veggies, and some with milks and/or spices. I found the choice hard as they were all pretty interesting with fun flavour profiles. The menu was easy to navigate with a colour coded dot system. A colour was assigned to each property: low carb, dairy free, and low calorie. And then given to each smoothie in designation.

According to the lone clerk behind the counter, the “Peanut butter cup” with pea shoots, broccoli, peanut butter and chocolate protein powder was the most popular. They also had a “carrot cake” smoothie with carrot juice, strawberry, and pumpkin spice to even out the greens. The “minty mojito” had mango, avocado, and kale with its lime and pea shoots.

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I was a little concerned about their texture and taste, knowing I don’t like the graininess of some smoothies, and could do without the bitter taste from ones with more vegetables. But I got to try the “Temple tonic” from their tray of samples by the window, and was convinced to get a whole cup of something else for myself. The “temple tonic” was smooth and sweet. It was easy to take in and made you want more. It had the mild and friendly flavour of banana as the highlight.

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I eventually decided on the “Green dream” smoothie. I did so by going though each listed ingredient of each smoothie; and choosing one that would have all of which I normally don’t consume on its own. This means I go for the one with most leafy greens, vegetables I normally avoid in entrees and salads. Like kale, which is suppose to be a superfood that is good for you. Pea shoots, kale, grapefruit and aloe vera juice, apple, and banana. This one wasn’t as friendly as the tonic above. Instead it was much stronger, but just as easy to drink. I appreciated the label on the plastic cup affirming that my choice had ingredients harvested from their urban cultivator. I read this is as meaning fresh and healthy.

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Noticing the mini fridge of pre-made soups and juices nearby by, I helped myself to a few glass bottles to go. I went back and forth between the bottles of juice in small and large. At $7 and $11 each, the price needed extra consideration. I eventually went for the smaller sizes to be able to try more variety. I liked the fact that each bottle listed its health benefits, along with its ingredients on the label. The expiry date was on the bottom and the lids were labelled to identify the ones that were made using greens from their own incubators.

The soups were as interesting, but I wasn’t about to head home anytime soon, and couldn’t trust they would keep in the car. Garlic and kale, yam and coconut, sweet beet and cabbage, chicken veggie, and a crimini mushroom with black pepper.

They also offered salads with 100% organic ingredients, harvested to order. You choose any two greens and to it they add a mix of pea shoots, sunflower, radish, toasted hazelnuts, and cranberries. Add roasted chicken for $2, and make it a combo with a smoothie for $15. And if you can’t make up your mind? They also have preset salads like the “Hawaiian” which is made with bee pollen, shredded coconut, and pineapple. The “acai bowl” was both sweet and tart. Whereas the “berry” also had acai, but came with fruit and greens too. And seeing as it was so popular a flavour, they also had the “chocolate peanut butter cup” as a salad as well. It was made with the same ingredients as the smoothie, but with the addition of cocoa nibs and granola. This would have been a fun one to try.

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But back to my take home juices. The “green machine” was told to be a detoxifying agent, a liver aid, and help with disease fighting. It was made with romaine, cucumber, wheatgrass, celery, collard greens, broccoli, sunchoke, orange, ginger, dandelion, spirulina, and lemon. The amount of healthy greens was exciting, especially when your body never gets anything like it. The pressed juice had a strong flavour, but not as bad considering your imagination gets intimidated by the line up. It was most noticeably bitter with a strong undertone of smokey pepper. I found myself shaking it well and more after every sip. The juice tends to separate otherwise, and leaving the thick stuff at the bottom for the last sip isn’t so great.

The “happy rabbit” was telling in its name and colour. A orange cold pressed brew with carrot at its centre. It promised to be a brain and mood booster, great for pre and post workout, and skin health. It was made with carrot, orange, ginger, lime, saffron, and cayenne pepper. The flavour was predominantly ginger, with an undertone of sweet orange. The orange colour was the friendliest and tasted as such.

“Easy green”, as its name suggested, was easier to drink that the first green one. Made with romaine, celery, orange, kale, and lemon. It was advertised as being helpful in detoxifying the body and for its anti-inflammatory and digestion aid. It had a refreshing quality to it with a strong celery flavour. I would have liked to taste more of the orange in this, but then it wouldn’t be so healthy anymore.

The “Matcha Glow” was great for energy, skin health, and protein. I found it also made for a great meal replacement. This drink was made with almond, date, avocado, maple syrup, spirulina, and matcha. It was the best tasting of the four that I took home, like drinking a chilled matcha milk. I didn’t taste anything else, but there must have been some maple syrup because the beverage was on the sweeter side. I barely got the chunk grainy texture that I expected from the protein. With this one, I too had to shake before every sip.

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I would imagine most customers, like me, taking their food and drinks to go, but if you wanted a place to eat in, they had an area available for you to do so at the back. It was set with benches and offered a great study nook. Here they also sold bottles of seeds for you to grow your own micro greens.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Sun brings on the juices and their health benefits! It’s like wearing different armour to level up your own attributes. Bowel movements +5 please. And these juices were one of a kind. No where else do you get to see the ingredients for each being harvest before your very eyes. I definitely recommend checking out their unique shop and their fun smoothies when you are in the neighbourhood. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LIVING PRODUCE AISLE
1168 Hamilton Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 2S2
604-637-2874
livingproduceaisle.com
Living Produce Aisle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Qoola

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Frozen yogurt, a convenient substitute for when you are craving ice cream, but want to go a little healthier on the cream.

With over 18 locations across Canada, “Qoola” have deemed themselves as Canada’s leading self-serve frozen yogurt retailer. There is practically a kiosk or a shoppe in every mall and every shopping district. Today we wanted something sweet in Coquitlam Centre, so found ourselves here.

What sets “Qoola’s” frozen yogurt apart is that they never use powder and their yogurt is made fresh from farm to your cup. It’s sweetness is derived from cane sugar, which is a healthier option; and yogurt is naturally loaded with a high concentration of probiotics. And for those with dietary restrictions, their yogurt is kosher, contains no hormones, and is mostly gluten-free.

This is actually my first time at any “Qoola”, but I am consider myself well versed in the self serve, soft serve and topping bar game. Their open space is inviting with neon lime green patterns and electric purple swirls, set against white walls. Everything was out in the open, easy for you to be lured in to buy and try.

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You start by picking up one of their cups, it is a one size only deal. Clever, as it cuts down cost to make just the one size. It is on the larger side, so you feel the need to fill it with more yogurt and more toppings, than you would normally get in a small or medium size cup. You paid by weight, and the above is how they have you adding more to pay for more. If you filled the cup full it would probably be too much frozen anything for any one person. If you want to go the extra mile, they also had special cups already outfitted with a waffle piece. These were locked up behind an acrylic display, only serious contenders asked the staff for assistance with these.

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With cup in hand, you then move on to one of their frozen yogurt dispensers. A machine constantly churning, each with its own flavour percolating. Pulling its handle has the desired cream spooling out. Vanilla, chocolate, a creamy tart yogurt, forest berries, strawberry and banana with no sugar added, mango, coconut, and watermelon sorbet. Each set of flavours can also be intertwined, like a twist cone. I wanted the latter of the two, but the machine was down and the coconut yogurt wasn’t freezing.

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If over eight flavours to choose from is too much choice, you can make the process easier by asking for samples. These are doled out by the staff, in mini paper cups for you to squeeze and slurp up.

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After you have chosen your flavour and dispensed it, it is then time to mix and match toppings to craft your ideal treat. You have several closed bins of dry cereal, chocolate, cookie, and candy to go through. Each choice was labelled, sealed with a see through lid, and kept waiting with a spoon to scoop and dump toppings in to your cup with.

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Butterscotch chips, chocolate shavings, mini chocolate chip cookies, yogurt covered pretzels, coconut shavings, crushed Oreos and butterfingers, mini marshmallows, and rainbow coloured mocchi. For candy they peach rings, sour keys, gummy bears, sour watermelon slices, tangy nerds, and strawberry milkshake flavoured gummies. Half the fun is going through each bin and narrowing your selection down. Although you could have easily gotten a bit of everything.

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One of my less adventurous guests was content with just mini m&m’s. Whereas I went for the more unique, what I myself would never do and could never make. I did this by leaning towards the options below. In a refrigerated unit by the counter they had help yourself sliced fruit and other desserts. Strawberry, mango, kiwi, pineapple, cantaloupe, and canned lychee and peaches; for fruit. And cheesecake chunks and cookie balls, coconut jelly, and fruit popping pearls; for everything else. They even had squeeze bottle drizzle sauces for that extra indulgence.

Upon reflection, with all the extras, the yogurt isn’t really all that healthy anymore. But without it, it just isn’t the same experience.

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The final step in creating your own yogurt cup is bringing your creation to the cash desk and weighing it on their scale. As I mentioned above the weight determines the price. The more you get and the heavier it is, the more you have to pay. The mango one with just the m&m’s was a little over $3. My chocolate and vanilla twist with a bit of watermelon sobet, topped with rainbow mocchi and bubble tea pearls and jellies came close to $6. And my guest with the fruit and nuts on vanilla saw a price closer to $9. After you pay, you take your treat to go as they don’t have seats. Luckily it’s in a mall and the food court had plenty nearby.

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No two servings of frozen yogurt are alike. There is no right or wrong way to build a cup. You do what you like and make it how you want it. I personally don’t like the sticky, chewy texture of gummies in ice cream, so would never choose any of them as toppings. I like a little crunch and a texture to my soft serve. Waffle pieces, Oreo crumbles, and peanuts are my classic go-to’s, but I never miss mocchi or anything that squishes with juice when you bite into it.

But if you are not actually looking for yogurt, they have other options as well. They have expanded their menu to included handcrafted smoothies, frozen yogurt cakes, acai bowls, and cold-pressed juices. And if you need something more solid before dessert, they also offer yogurt-infused salads, sandwiches, and wraps.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This wouldn’t be my favourite frozen yogurt place. The flavours are good, but I have had others even closer to the texture and taste of really ice cream, but with the low calories and health benefits of yogurt. However with the most frozen yogurt shops in the market, I can easily see myself returning for more with the right craving. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

QOOLA
2929 Barnet Highway, Unit 2440, Coquitlam BC, V3B 5B5
778-285-8885
qoola.com
Qoola Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Montana’s

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How do you follow shooting pistols, revolvers, and atomic rifles at a gun range? With plenty of meat for cheap, cause ammo isn’t. And when I think hearty eats for less I think Montana’s, which also happens to be conveniently located in Coquitlam, a couple of kilometres away from the range.

It was dressed like a wood cabin and its decor did everything it could to have you concluding this was the place you wanted to be for hunks of meat and whole potatoes as sides. Fresh game procured from their morning’s hunt maybe? They were painting an illusion and I was easily buying into it.

Walking up to the building, it looked like a cowboy saloon with a pebbled stone exterior. Inside, the room was rampant with wood detailing and furnishings. Wooden floors, wooden arch ways, wood trunks leading to the ceiling’s wooden support beams, and glossy wood tables and chairs. There was even a wooden chandelier crafted to look like the points of antlers. It, like the other decorations added interest to the walls and rafters in a rugged in theme. Snow shoes and skis side stepping on the wall, imitation pine foliage and little trees lining the ceilings. And they even managed to hoist a red truck over tables to create an archway.

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Within the foyer, by the hostess booth was a wooden curio cabinet, housing their various barbecue sauces in bottles and jars for you to take home. They had over five different flavours, so you were bound to find one that you liked. And at the actual booth, they had kids colouring sheets and cardboard crowns for patrons. Female and male deer antlers to wear. I was not ashamed to admit that I helped myself to one of each and they kept us entertained as we waited for the food to come. A wait that took longer than expected, considering it wasn’t all that busy around 2pm.

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We were directed to the lounge area with its wooden bar, because he didn’t have reservations. Though looking around, they had plenty of seating options across three separate sections. Like the dining area that included a stone fireplace. But we instead sat on high tops surrounded by Canadian hockey jerseys out stretched and pinned at the shoulders. The Jets, Leaf, Montreal Canadiens, and the Canucks were well represented. A Blackhawks jersey made an appearance, but that seemed out of place.

The menu was very user friendly. Plenty of glossy steak and rib photos to order by sight.

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The “Rib n’ sausage combo” was their famous ribs served with your choice of BBQ sauce, and a fire grilled chorizo sausage with their bold deli mustard for dipping. This was the full rack of ribs that came with six bones. Although if this was not enough meat, they also had a size up, that was the jumbo version. The ribs were a messy, but delicious affair. Best enjoyed with hands, wet wipes and a bucket to discard bones were provided. The platter was served on slate plate with options for sides. My guest skipped the southern baked beans and corn for coleslaw, and made fries his choice of side with the baked cornbread.

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The “Firecracker sirloin” was a top sirloin fire-grilled to perfection. It was topped with plenty of bacon, crispy jalapeños, spicy dusted onions, and a chipotle honey BBQ sauce. The steak was perfectly cooked; and with all it toppings, each bite was different and kept interest. It came with the same side choices as the ribs above. Here, my other guest choose the baked potato and coleslaw to accompany the crispy Cajun onions that also topped the steak. Although the onions would have been nicer and stayed crispier for longer, alone on the side. The potato was the most disappointing thing on the plate. It was plain despite all its dressing.

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Looking for a smaller portion their “hand carved 7oz petite filet steak, lightly smoked” caught my eye. That and its side of waffle fries, waffle fries are the best kind of fries. And these were the best part of the plate. The crispy potatoes were perfectly fried and breaded with corn meal for that extra crunch. Although I wish there was a better ratio between it and the steak. There was double the amount of potato to meat, if not triple. It was also odd to pull a carving knife from the plate. Its presence unusual considering the meat was already cut up into manageable pieces for you. As for the meat itself, it was tough and dry at the ends and sides. Only one slice in the centre had the texture of medium rare right. The meat was also pretty bland, some additional seasonings or a side of sauce would have easily helped. And while I am asking for things, a fresh component would have been nice to cut through all the heavy starch. Maybe an oven roasted tomato or a side of sweet corn salsa, something to balance the plate. I ended up using ketchup with the potatoes and the meat. Overall, this was a good snack size portion of food at a good price.

Being within a mall means there is plenty of parking and much to look at, after you finish your meal. And we did just that, skipping desserts here for a change of scenery. Especially needed after how long we sat, past paying off our bill, and after our server repeatedly asking us if we needed more water or anything else.

Our server had a way about her. She was saying things that may normally offend you, but because she spoke with a southern charm and an air of comforting self deprecating humour, you engaged in her. Though I still found her a little brash, too lax with her “huns” and “darlings”, too comfortable as she leaned on our table to speak, and too passive aggressive in her hints for us to leave. We eventually took her not so hidden messaging and vacated. In hindsight, I can see her appeal in the setting, a country draw that definitely added character to the place, like a attraction you would come back for.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Classic eats for great prices. Not my first choice, but one that meets the criteria when I am looking for a guaranteed good meal with plenty of fixings for under $20. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MONTANA’S
2929 Barnet Hwy, Unit 1046, Coquitlam BC, V3B 5R5
604-472-7772
montanas.ca
Montana's Cookhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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