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Category: bakery Page 1 of 6

Bisou Bake House

With the most recent Covid 19 lockdown, due to the increase in cases in B.C., I have been finding myself outdoors even more. I have taken to fishing and the season for coho is fast approaching, so I have been dedicating my weekends out in the country. Rain or shine, cold and colder I have left the warm and connivence of home for the great outdoors. So this weekend, I was delighted to receive a care packaged from Bisou Bakehouse in North Vancouver.

They are well known of their pastries and cakes, so had packed me a selection of their post popular goods, and I happily took them with me to my latest excursion. Given the lack of heat or cooking source, I thought that these would make the perfect snacks for me and my companions. A box of goodie to bring some civility to the wild. And boy they and we appreciative.

Despite them being less then room temperature and a day old, they ate wonderfully. Each croissant and danish was just as flaky as I would expect it to be coming out of their glass showcase.

Most memorable was the cheese croissant that made into a sandwich, cutting it in half and filling it with a grilled smokey. It was cheese on cheese and oh so perfect.

As is, I particularly liked the peach danish with its sweet fruit and luscious cream, offering contrast to the buttery pastry. The blueberry one gave you some crunch with its pecans. The same crushed nuts also found its way into a moist muffin. Moisture that I wish the cinnamon roll had more of. But that would have been too messy to eat as a handheld.

Much like the whole blueberry pie Bisou also sent me, but I thought that would be better suited to dining at home. Fresh BC blueberries baked within a golden brown crust. Warmed up for a little gooeyness. If they ate this good in the wild, I can only imagine fresh out of the oven. This taster has inspired me to head into the actual store, the next time I am in their neck of the woods.

Bisou Bake House
1189 16th St W, North Vancouver, BC V7P 1R4
(604) 984-9478
bisoubakehouse.com

Smith’s Bagelry

I have had Turkish bagels once before: during my last visit to Toronto. I was drawn in by their larger shape and their heavily sesame seed encrusted exterior. So when I passed by “Smith’s Bagelry” on a whim, I had to go in. I knew what to expect, having seen their goods featured on a few foodie’s feeds.

You walk into the now empty shop (with the inability to stay and linger), and simply order based on sight. A collection of golden brown baked goods from a showcase kept safe behind plexiglass. Savoury and sweet buns spread across various platforms and plates, well signed with prices and a brief description.

Naturally I had to try their signature sesame bagel. A large loop with an insane amount of sesame seeds that leave you wondering how they stuck them all on there. And best of all, majority of them stayed on as I ate, whereas other bagel brands would loose their seeds to the floor. You can enjoy your twisted bagels with your choice of filling at home, or having them craft it into a sandwich for you here. A feta, tomato, and cucumber option, one with Montreal smoke meat, one with hummus, and even a vegan option with Daiya cheese. I went for the classic choice: the “Aspendos”. Smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, and red onion. All as fragrant and as fresh as the handmade bagel that they sat within.

Next, I went for one of their stuffed bagels. The same dough and sesame coating as the bagel above, but shaped like a stuffed football with your chosen filling. The options were olive and mozzarella, sausage and mozzarella, and Turkish sausage and mozzarella. I went for the familiarity of the former most. This was best when toasted for a crispy exterior and chewy centre. Although for the promise of being “stuffed”, it lacked filling in either of its pointed ends.

I had a better time with the blueberry stuffed soft bagel. A nice cakey dough with a dollop of blueberry at its centre. Just wish there was once agin more filling to enjoy with the dough edge to edge.

Overall a great treat. If you get the chance, it is one that I suggest you try. I definitely prefer their texture to that of any grocery store bagel brand.

Smith’s Bagelry
191 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P4
(604) 423-3434

mello doughnuts

I am under the employment of an essential service. This means while majority of the folks are staying home safe, myself and my coworkers are continuing our day to day to ensure that the world is still running during this precarious time. We aren’t health care workers, but the service we provide ensures that they and everyone else has the resources they need to do what they have to.

So as a blend between my own want to try and my desire to treat them, I travelled down to Chinatown for some Mello doughnuts. I have seen a lot about them online, so figured now was a great time to grab a dozen to share.

Like everywhere else that is still open, seating has been removed to better illustrate that they are not open for dine in, but take out only. Two clerks in masks man the empty store front. One at the counter doling out the doughnuts, the other in the kitchen bringing out a fresh batch.

The counter is still stocked as this is the sort of item you order with your eyes. Their full assortment on display, a few with name cards for easy identification. Plus a few other treats like cookies and cakes to round out their offerings.

I ordered a dozen to fit perfectly in their largest box. One of each and doubles of their two signature stuffed doughnuts for 75 cent to a $1 more. These were the strawberry short cake with fresh cream and the tiramisu with plenty of coca powder. Naturally I didn’t try all of the doughnuts, but I made sure to get a taste of both of these. I liked their doughnuts because they weren’t overly sweet. The three that I had were well done. I prefer them over anything I can get from any fast food chains.

The tiramisu lacked the coffee flavour you’d expect. It reminded me more of a mild chocolate, with a chalky finish due to the powdery topping.

The strawberry was stuffed full with luscious cream and fresh fruit. And the coarse sugar topping added a nice sort of crunch to the fluffy doughy round.

The rest of the doughnuts weren’t stuffed. It got its flavour from the frosting and toppings. Flavours like lemon curd, cookies and cream, vanilla, and a dark chocolate. I tried the green tea. It was the last one left when I stopped by, and I can see why. A wonderfully bright doughnut with plenty of green tea flavour, gently sweetened. This was my favourite of the three for its flavour.

In short, Mello is a great way to grab yourself and others a treat. For the lovers of doughnuts when store bought and fast food ones don’t do. Be warned, they are a cashless store, so debit and credit only.

mello
223 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2T9
(604) 423-3556

New Town Bakery & Restaurant

“New Town” is a Vancouver staple, a hub for locals and tourists in Chinatown. Better known for their steamed buns and pastries, and now one of the restaurants disguised as another in Ali Wong’s, “Always be my Maybe” Netflix movie. I, myself frequent “New Town” for their steamed buns. If in the area, I go out of my way to grab a couple. Having tried many in and round the city, theirs is the best in my opinion, but more on that below.

The shop and restaurant are easy to spot with a giant plastic bamboo steamer filled with steamed white buns on the awning, and the regular line and gathering of people at the threshold. For those looking to grab and go, you pull a number and wait for your it to be broadcasted above the check-out counter.

Options and prices are listed across three flat screens, but it is much easier to simply point and choose. On top of steamed buns they have plenty of golden brown baked buns, plastic wrapped cakes, and dim sum dessert favourites. The baked buns come in a variety of toppings and sweet and savoury fillings. I also like their honey sweet barbecue pork and chicken buns. But if I had to choose, I will always go for their “Dai Bao”. And I did just that once we were seated in the dining area, towards the back.

Themed in orange, you can tell the restaurant recently had a face lift. Orange backsplashes, orange upholstered seats and booths, and orange branded button up shirts for all the staff. The restaurant’s real age was reveal by a visit to the washroom. The cracked tiles and overall unkept condition of this single stall was off putting. An inevitability given its location and its regular clientele. But I digress, because I still think they are worth visiting.

In the dining area you can order anything from the front of house to enjoy here or take to go. “Dai Bao” is a large white bun filled with a little bit of everything: chicken, bbq pork, ground pork, ham, and a salted egg yolk. I have been enjoying this for so long that I remember it being only $2.50, but now with inflation, it was $3.70 today. And despite the increase, I still think it is worth the price. With all the dough and plenty of filling, it eats like a meal. I want one now just writing about it, and can’t help but compare all other steam buns to this one on its pedestal.

With it I got a bowl of “Hot and sour soup”. Just reading it on the menu I wanted its familiar taste in mouth; one that I like and haven’t had in a while. Unfortunately this wasn’t my favourite rendition of the popular soup. There was too much going on, lots of ingredients to chew through, and not enough syrupy soup base to enjoy it with. Shrimp, wood ear mushroom, tofu, peas, mushroom, carrot, bamboo, beef, and chicken. The peas were a new addition to me, and despite really liking peas, I didn’t here. The soup was thick and hearty and ate more like congee.

My guest had the “fried egg and ham with ramen in soup”, knowing full well that she was essentially ordering instant noodle. Chicken flavour soup broth with a fried egg, thick slice of ham, and plenty of lettuce. It was a nostalgic bowl of noodle soup that she fully enjoyed. But making instant noodle regularly for myself, I cannot justify paying $8.25 for this bowl. Plus I don’t like the flavour of the lettuce rubbing off into the broth.

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.
A historic Vancouver staple, the best steamed buns in the city, and a great go-to for home style Chinese food at a fair price. With 8 full pages of familiar dishes and specials, there is plenty to keep you gong back for more. Don’t deny your cravings.

NEW TOWN
148 E Pender St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1T3
(604) 689-7835
newtownbakery.ca

Buttermere Patisserie Cafe

Popular online bakery, “Butter Mere” now has its own store front. After three years of providing Vancouverites with tasty and trendy cakes for all their special occasions, they have finally found the ideal location. A relaxed cafe setting to serve their confectioneries, conveniently close to their actual bakery.

Notable for their one line lion logo, a male lion standing on its hind legs holding a cake. They have taken over the old home of a now shuttered smoothie shop. And luckily for them, their predecessor’s modern decor with bleach wood accents, geometric printed counter, and fresh greenery transitions well to a bakery’s cafe space. There are several small tables seated in front of a wooden bench that ran down the length of the case, but grabbed one of the two nooks at either sides of the front door, for more private seating.

Their existing fan base has seen that their first week opened gets plenty of foot traffic. With many more walking in to experience their highly photogenic offerings in person. On top of full sized cakes for serving at parties, they have a showcase of individual sized desserts and cream rolls for point and ordering. The latter was sponge and cream in flavours like matcha red bean, hojicha, and chocolate strawberry, etc.

I started with their fun “ruby is the new black” hot chocolate. This is the hot version, but it is also available, just as pink, cold over ice. For those who have tried it, it tastes like chocolate milk made with the limited edition pink ruby Kit Kat chocolate bar, melted down. As deliciously creamy as you think it is. Though sadly only available in whole milk, with no dairy free or vegan alternatives; lest it change and clashes with the taste of the unique chocolate.

We did ask, and more vegan friendly offerings are in the works, with milk alternatives. Upon this visit they have only been open for under a week, and are still working things out logistically.

I paired the pink “yogurt raspberry cloud” with my matching pink drink. This was a uniquely textured cake, made using a mould created by an architect. It ate as fluffy as it looked, light and airy. Yogurt mousse surrounding a raspberry and cherry compote, over a crispy raspberry wafer. A dessert with plenty of textures and flavours to keep things interesting bite after bite.

But the highlight, and the one to order, if you can only get one, is their “Salted egg yolk puff”, it comes in a set of four, as you see here. A crispy, almost cakey shell hiding a sweet custard-like cream flavoured like the distinct salted egg yolk. A wonderful rendition of the trendy food item.

And for those looking for something more rich, they have their tiramisu in a glass. It was a great presentation, but hard to eat. You had to dig around and up to get the right mix of fluffy sponge, whipped cream, quality cocoa powder, and hint of Kahula.

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.
A great place for a celebratory cake, and a now a great cafe to have something sweet at. And seeing as they are the only dessert spot and/or destination for tea in the area, expect them to be busy! Don’t deny your cravings.

BUTTERMERE
636 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2W1
778-956-7789
buttermere.ca

Grounds for Coffee, Commercial Drive

The city’s most popular spot for cinnamon buns now has a second location. Their second cafe finds them in the heart of Commercial Drive with a lot more space, and a lot more convenient of a space.

They offer their same delicious buns and various baked goods, accompanied by the same tasty drinks, served by the same good natured folks that their original location on Alma is known for; but now with a lot more sprawling room.

With vaulted ceilings, warm wood elements, and splashes of polished white, this place is chic. It gives a more upscale and trendy vibe than that of their worn-in, hole in the wall humble beginnings. This cafe serves as a great spot for quick meet ups or that first date, and even better as a destination to study and get some work done in. There is plenty of room to sit and soak it all in.

Naturally, I had to indulge in one of their cinnamon.buns. Chewy and warm with melty icing. I roll the dough out and save the centre for last, as the best bite.

To drink I doubled down on my cinnamon and sugar quota and got one of their cinnamon bun frappes. Not actually made with blended up chunks of cinnamon buns, but just a great milk based drink flavoured like their trademark treat.

I was especially excited to help myself to one of their biodegradable straws. I agree with the less plastic, ban straws movement; but have not been impressed with the paper straw solution. They typically melt before I finish my beverage, and I end up tasting it more than the drink itself. But at “Grounds for Coffee” they are equipped with sugar cane straws. Firm and sturdy these lasted from first sip to the watery, melted cream last. No taste, nothing to affect the enjoyment of my cold treat; and a great step in the right direction for the environment.

 

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.
Although their cinnamon buns are available at various cafes around town, it is nice to get it at source. And with this location now on my way home from work, they will be seeing a lot more of me. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

GROUNDS FOR COFFEE
088 Commercial Drive, Vancouver BC, V5N 4A9
604-254-3939
groundsforcoffee.ca

Dalina Broadway

“Dalina”, the healthy Vancouver snack stop is soon to open their second location on Broadway. A fair bit smaller that their original, this posh cafeteria of sorts is sure to become the lunch time favourite of many who live and work in the neighbourhood.

Like their original location in Chinatown, the new restaurant features meals to go and snacks to take away. Freshly made salads, sandwiches, and wraps. As well pastries, doughnuts, and other baked goods. For drinks they offer up artisanal coffees, superfood smoothies, and kombucha on tap.

The vision was to provide Vancouverites with their own “grab-and-go style eatery”, the solution for busy people who don’t always have time to prepare wholesome and delicious meals for themselves. Full meals to enjoy at your desk, in your home, or within their space. And best of all, for the daily diners, most of their menu items are affordable ranging between $10-$15. And always presented in compostable packaging. They also have your catering needs covered with meeting and party ready trays with weekday office delivery.

So today, four days before their official opening, myself and a room full of others were invited to check out the new space and the same solid menu before they opened to the public. Truth be told, I haven’t actually ever visited their original location. When in that area and looking for a meal, I figured that their collection of baked goods and pre package salads won’t scratch any of my food itches. So to be able to learn that I was wrong first hand, here, was a treat.

The room is tiled in white, it gave the place a sterile feel. It was how clean you want the same tile in your bathroom and local swimming pool to be. It ran all around their bar/service counter. And behind it staff dressed in their branded tees poured alcoholic beverages and brewed up cups of caffeinated drinks. During regular hours of operation, this will also be where options are read off their over head menu and orders are paid for and placed. During this launch attendees enjoyed glasses of wine and beer, however the Broadway cafe won’t actually be able to pour until they get their liquor license in the spring. But you can enjoy artisan coffee and espressos in their branded cups for here or to go.

To its left is a glass counter with a healthy selection of baked goods. Where, I made sure to try a few of their delicious looking doughnuts. Thick and chewy cream filled and frosted doughnuts in matcha, French vanilla, chocolate banana, and espresso. There was also chocolate cake with frosting, cookies crammed with seeds and nuts for a filling snack, and moist in the centre slices of cakey loaves.

Right in front of this is their limited seating. A booth runs along the wall with small tables and loose chairs set facing it. If you follow them all the way to the entrance you will see a series of refrigerated units. These house their prepackaged meals and grocery staples for pick up and sale. From box salads, and yogurt cups to fresh made then frozen pastas and soups.

The following is a collection of what I tried this night. It is worth noting that the baked goods are sourced from local vendors, and it is the prepackaged meals that are exclusive to them. Overall, I was surprised by how good the vegan options tasted and how satisfying the healthier options were. Everything I had was so flavourful and I felt better indulging in it.

 

Guests grazed on charcuterie and roasted vegetable boards which make the perfect tray for a potluck or to impressive at any party. Cured meats, hard cheeses, and pickled vegetables for self serving.

There were also small bites being served. Like the Tahini and eggplant farro salad. A zesty and filling morsel that had a nice chew to it, with notes of curry spices.

I preferred the juicier beet and goat cheese salad. Firm, naturally sweet red beets tasty with the pairing of sharp cheese.

Sundried tomato and goat cheese quiches and ones with smoked salmon. Both with fluffy egg and a buttery pie crusts.

I really enjoyed their prosciutto and fresh vegetable filled croissants. Surprisingly the latter more than the former. The neutral vegetable allowed the delicious flakiness of the  croissant to show through more.

Similarly the focaccia sandwiches were delicious because of the herb bread sandwiching either roasted vegetable or slices of meat. Surprisingly I really enjoyed the one that combined an olive tapenade and crunchy broccoli together.

For dessert fresh cream filled cannolis came around. A show stopper with green pistachio cream and candied orange peels.

The flourless chocolate fudge with caramel beads was gluten free and a hit with the room. Chewy and chocolatey.

And the burlee lemon tart a great refreshing way to end your meal and cleanse your palate.

 

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.
A great place for a convenient meal, and a great additional to the area. Tasty and healthy options that won’t break the bank, leaving you feeling energized and satisfied throughout the day. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

DALINA
92 West Broadway, Vancouver BC, V5Z 1K7
604-428-4364
dalina.ca
#Destinationdelina #Delinabroadway.

La Baguette et Compagnie

Today I got a special delivery of French pastries, a box of goodies from “La Baguette”. They are one of the true French bakeries in Vancouver, with professional bakers hailing from France. What you don’t pick up from their store front you can enjoy at hotels like Hotel Auberge and the Wedgewood. And I can see why these acclaimed hotels would want to work with them. Truly this was some of the best pastries I have ever had, I even put them to the test, sharing my bounty with my finicky partner who knew his way around a croissant or two.

These were also the most flakiest pastries I have ever had. They were so crispy on the first day, so but sure to purchase and not hesitate on biting in. There and then you get light buttery shards that almost melt under your tongue. Each pastry has the same really flaky and crusty texture on the outside, with the same soft and chewy centre waiting underneath. They were truly enjoyable to eat for taste and texture. Plain or filled, the buttery taste of the pastry came through. Although I prefer them plain to enjoy the pastry as is. Just biting into it you can hear how fresh and flakey they were. The messier the better and these did crumble everywhere, but was so good that I made the point to pick up all the flakes and put them directly into my mouth

The best for me was top three for my partner, a man who has grown up on the luxury of buttery fresh breads and pastries.

The buttery croissant was perfection. I would have one to start, a second as a sandwich with aged cheese and cured meats, and another plain one just for dessert.

Or better yet, the chocolate croissant is ideal for dessert. Within this square was the perfect amount of chocolate to pastry ratio. A simple goal, and yet a hard one to achieve.

The apple cinnamon one was a nice heartier option. Its crust was slightly thicker than the others, and a touch saltier. It would have also been great wrapping a sausage roll or covering the contents of a chicken pot pie.

This is actually my first time trying an almond croissant. I just thought that it was a croissant with toasted almonds topped with icing sugar, I didn’t realize it had a coconut-like filling, that was buttery and rich like a custard with texture. I found myself especially scooping up fallen scraps into my gaping mouth with this one, and there was a lot more here. The butter coconut filling adds additional sweetness and crunch, giving you a new experience to your croissant consumption. I will definitely be ordering this again.

Once again, it is best to eat any that you get all on the same day. That is when they are at their best and intended to be consumed. They get stale and hard the day after. However, what I had left was still so tasty that I endured rough pastry shards cutting the sides of my mouth and the necessary head jerking pulls with teeth necessary to finish them off. And it was worth it.

 

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.
I would like them to be closer to me, or at least have my local coffee shop take on their pastries. These are worth travelling for, to a certain extent. If I worked downtown Vancouver, I would see myself taking the “long way” to work to get me some of these. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

LA BAGUETTE
1102 Davie Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 1X4
604-684-8003
labaguetteetcompagnie.ca

3 Quarters Full, bao + coffee

I was invited to the media event for “3 Quarters Full”, a newer Taiwanese cafe, downtown. An event organized and ran by the three ladies behind “@foodcouver”, as the plus one to “@porkninjas”.

This cafe has existed for a while now, but due to its locale, I assume that many like myself, have never heard of them. This is mainly because we cannot seen them. They are downtown Vancouver, kiddy corner from Denman. Not being right on the busy street means that they lose out on much of their potential walk-in traffic; those who notice a newer business and decide to walk on in to give them a try.

However being invited to this media event, I found a reason to visit; and now writing this post, an ability to help to spread the word of their cafe and their revamp-ed summer menu.

When it comes to a media tasting: plating and portion size may be gussied up and/or paired down, and the service will usually be top notch. Though I can at least paint you the most accurate image when it comes to the food and the setting, as how I interpret it. But as always, these are my opinions and you need not take them as fact. Unless you have my exact background, have lived my exact experiences, and we possess the same tongue; no one can truly taste and appreciate as you do.

The space was on the dressier side, with glow-y bulbs setting a more dramatic tone. The cement floor, lighting crafted from plumbing pipes, and wood tables partnered with metal legs; had a familiar industrial theme; a look that is very quintessential of Vancouver’s current restaurant style. What took away from this was their neighbouring dollar store with the visibility of its neon yellow name against a green awning, from the cafe’s all glass exterior. A minor detail, but location is important, and it is often a factor in deciding the success of a business. Luckily, tourist traffic from the hotel at the end of the block saw their clientele walking past “3 Quarters”, and (probably) grabbing a quick coffee therein. Although they are not your regular purveyors of lattes and nitro brews, here they specialize in popular Taiwanese ice drinks, sweet cakes, and savoury snacks.

They offer diners a sit down menu with light drinks and food, and now even a combo. For $9.50 you get an entree, soup/drink, and their pastry of the month. For more food you can add one a deep fried side dish for $4.95. You choice is between fried tofu, chicken, squid, fish cake, taro ball, or steamed bun. The entree are any one of their “gua bao” or sandwiches. The soups are changed up daily. Most of their drinks are available either hot or cold. And your dessert choice varies from month to month. below are a few items we tried, and they you can choose from, to make your own combo.

I began the tasting by trying each of their specialty drinks, served chilled in decanters for guests to pour ourselves. The “One lemon ice tea” earned its name from the use of a whole lemon in its conception. It was a refreshing sweet tea, and a great accompaniment to the meal to come.

The “Sea salt coffee” jumped on to the cold brew train, offering their interpretation with its salt first flavour. As a non-coffee drinker, my opinion may not the best or the most valid, so I will leave it with, “salty”.

My favourite was the “Winter melon tea” with its sweet, light, and floral notes. This is one I can drink by the jug-full, as there was just something so refreshing about it. The cafe’s owner, took the time to explain how they prepare this beverage from scratch, whereas their competitors take the short cut and purchase the syrup version for this sugary flavour. Here they take a winter melon and cook it down into a sugar, which is then melted down to flavour such drinks. Naturally it costs more, but drinking is believing; and if you get a chance to compare the two, you can tell that the extra charge is certainly worth it.

Next we lined up one by one at their ” gua bao station”, to watch our buns assembled to order. We even got the back story of “baos”, their origin and the significance of their shape. They originate from Taiwan, as a night market snack that you typically have before Chinese New Year. It symbolizes a women’s purse and there for is associated with money and wealth. A lucky symbol with the hope that whosoever has one will earn its attributes.

This version was pork belly, pickled vegetables, and a mix of sugar and peanuts between a soft white bun. They are also available filled with chicken or tofu, But here, the pork is prepared in a pressure cooker for two hours until it is very tender. Anything overcooked and tough would be very noticeable thanks to how pillowy the white bun was. The pickled vegetable gave you tang and the peanuts some crunch. This was a delicious three bites, with an even meat to bread ratio.

We then had more pork in their “Crispy pork sandwich”, a traditional Taiwanese breakfast item, but potentially unappealing for those unfamiliar with the classic. I love a good runny yolk in my sandwich, others feel it has no place between toasted bread. I occasionally have a cucumber slice or two in my sandwiches, others rather it on the side with dip. And then there is the use of the meat product, “pork floss”. Popular in China as a sandwich topping with butter, or as a sprinkling over congee. “Pork floss” is a dried meat with a fluffy texture, similar to softened wool or an unraveled cotton ball. Good if you are familiar, off putting in thought and texture if you are not. Combine all three together and layer them between some dry brown bread, this isn’t for everyone. A fact I was also not shy to mention to the owner when they asked for my feedback. I actually knew what I was getting well before I had my bite, and as someone familar with it, I thought it was well assembled. And I must not be the only one, as this is actually their most popular sandwich choice. More so than their club sandwich, the one with bacon, or their vegetarian option.

And what is a Taiwanese restaurant without some crispy popcorn chicken? Theirs was seasoned with some basil for that extra pop of flavour, along with the more common salt and pepper. Each nib was crispy and flavourful, both lasting long after the chicken cooled.

This month, their “pastry of the month” is the iconic pineapple cake. Like everything else, this too was made in house with pride. Their pineapple cake is one of the better interpretations I have ever had. A cakey cookie with starchy pineapple jelly at its centre. A friend likened it to shortbread, after trying it for the first time. She was easily won over by its one of a kind drier texture and sweet finish.

They also made their own Japanese cheesecake and stamped it with their logo as proof. This was a creamy and silky cheesecake, one that cheesecake fans will definitely appreciate. This is one I can see such fans traveling back for it by the round.

Equally delicious is their “Naidong roll”, which is a pudding-jelly and cream centre rolled into a sheet of spongey cake. Served in slices each flavour was a light accompaniment to either coffee or tea. They are available in Taro, Green tea, Coffee, and Vanilla with a strawberry centre.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – YEs.
Downtown Vancouver is a little far to travel for a snack; which is a shame, as I do like their food, as it reminds me of my delicious childhood. But I consider cafes a convenience and less of a destination, so to travel this far for a sandwich seems a little much. However if/when in the neighbourhood I would not be apposed to stopping by. In fact upon writing this post in the hot of my apartment, I can go for one of their cold winter melon teas right now. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

3 FULL 4
1789 Comox Street, Vancouver BC, V6G 1P5
778-865-5578
3 Quarters Full Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

L’Éclair de Génie

This late afternoon I was invited to attend the media opening of “L’Éclair de Génie”, the international patisserie’s first location in Canada. The official Robson Street opening would be the following day. And as Vancouver’s only eclair focused shoppe, it has already garnered much attention.

They are a narrow space with an all glass exterior that allows in much light and a good look from the side walk. The eclair counter greets you at a door. And its easy to navigate signs allows you to find the one for you, with its name in French and its description in English.

A neatly arranged display that had all their trademark pastry arranged in rows. Each puff pastry was decorated to represent the flavour of the cream within, and is branded by a chocolate round with the cafe’s signature in either dark or white. And despite them looking sweet, they were the perfect blend of flavour and sugar, great for dessert or a snack. Bite after bite, I found myself trying each of their 9 signature flavours and the one that was exclusive only to the Canadian market.

A pinkish frosting and fresh raspberries marked the vanilla raspberry eclair with white chocolate discs on top. The chocolate cream one featured chocolate three ways with its chocolate filling, topping, and garnish. One of my favourites was the vanilla pecan that had a mild vanilla bean filling and some crunch from the candied pecans that topped it. The raspberry passionfruit was a tarter option with orange icing and a fresh fruit presentation. They must love raspberry because the berry also found its way as garnish and filling to the pale green pistachio raspberry eclair.

I can see the salted caramel being a fan favourite with its wonderfully smokey burnt caramel flavour, gold flake icing, chocolate balls and nib topping, and the salt that enhances the flavour of all the above. The citron yuzu is one I would recommend for its unique representation of the tart citrus fruit, balanced by crispy meringue rounds on top. This is one that I can eat multiples of in one sitting. I liked the freshness and the crunch of the hazelnut over top the hazelnut cream eclair. And the matcha cream and white chocolate one is sure to be popular in the Vancouver food scene. Just like the maple cream one, easily identified with the “I <3 Vancouver” icing, thus making it very instagram-able.

They also serve a couple of baked goods in baskets; and equally neat rows of chocolate rounds, sprayed in metallic colours to differentiate them all. However, we didn’t get a chance to try either today. I guess that would give us all a reason to come back when they are officially open to the public. The pastries were fluffy looking chocolate, sugar, and plain brioche buns. Each as perfectly formed as its neighbour. And the chocolate gems included flavours like praline and caramel in milk or dark chocolate.

 

Today’s event also included an eclair cake on display and a photo booth at the immediate entrance. We indulged in both visually, while sipping on pink sparking wine.

And Chef Christophe Adam was on site to celebrate. Cutting up eclairs for sampling, advertising his new eclair cookbook, posing for photos, and snap chatting his adventure with a lively media and VIP crowd.

I was able to chat up the owner, with his exclusive franchising rights of “L’Éclair de Génie” in all of Canada: Marshall. We spoke about what he had in store for the future of this franchise, including new menu items and expansion. And given his success with the other international import: “Chatime” (he also owns the exclusive franchise rights to it) he knows what he is doing.

The future of “L’Éclair de Génie” includes the launching of sandwiches, ice creams, tarts, and more pastries. As well as sweet and savoury biscuits, that are like the eclairs in flavour and texture, but without the cream filling or the tube shape; and instead comes with a chocolatey base. And then there is aspirations of another location in Vancouver, possibly the Broadway area, along with another in Richmond. But for now the focus is here and their predicted success starting April 29th at 10am.

 

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.
For novelty and flavour I most definitely will recommend these tubular desserts. Enjoy a taste of France in Vancouver. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

L’ECLAIR DE GENIE
1210 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6E 3Y4
778-788-6623
leclairdegenie.com
L’Éclair de Génie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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