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Category: juice Page 2 of 3

Styo Dessert

Today I was the plus one to local food blogger, “Picky Diner“, and we were ending our @vanfoodster brunch crawl on a sweet note. This was our fifth and final stop on our tour of the Robson and Denman area, exploring restaurants in the name of brunch.

I liked the idea of the entire crawl, but didn’t find myself all that satisfied, heck I couldn’t tell it was brunch that we were having all together. Although, their offering here was a little closer to the mark, and this would prove to be another restaurant I was happy to have discovered because of the opportunity to “crawl”.

Due to the weather they weren’t all that busy today, besides those of us having their waffles. Although they are better known for their soft serve and frozen yogurt, something not everyone can appreciate when it’s snowing.

Right as you enter you are given a warm welcome, everyone chimes together “welcome to styo”, in a happy rising tone. From here the great service continues thanks to the clerk behind the counter. I can only assume she is the business’ owner. She knew so much about their menu and their offerings, and was more than happy to fill in our gaps, and to serve up info on her business without us asking. For example she spoke about the freshness of their same day ingredients, how they only use organic, and in doing so utilizes Canadian produce.

The motif was white and blue. Blue walls and white counters. A clean space that was all informational. Ads acted like decoration, and signs offered colour; even in the washroom’s stall. Poster size versions of a few of their menu items hung on the wall. The full menu, with them on it, hung across the way. This dessert parlour offered dress your own frozen yogurt by the cup, their ice creams as part of a parfait, waffles dressed savoury and/or sweet, teas, and real fruit smoothies. They also take custom cake orders, and in the summer will be offering artisan popsicles as another great summer treat.

We had one of their freshly blended “antioxidant berry” smoothie. It tasted healthy, not all that sweet, more chunky and watered down with with ice.

The “ham and cheese croissant stuffed waffle” had a chewy exterior and a flaky centre. It was more ham than cheese, and just needed some tomato for freshness. Or better yet a bowl of tomato soup to dip in to.

The “Blueberry croissant stuffed waffle” was a nice one to end with. Fresh berries, and a flavour that tasted much like the smoothie above.

We were also lucky to be given a sample of both their frozen yogurt and their soft serve vanilla. They looked the same, but one was tart with the flavour of cream cheese, and the other sweet, like a well churned vanilla shake. The former would have been better with some toppings or a sauce, but in guess that defeats the low calorie purpose that defines frozen yogurt.

 

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.
I can definitely see myself returning for some soft serve, if in the area. It is good but this location out of the way for me, so I can’t see myself returning often, or at all when other places offer soft serve. I see this as more of a convenience option. A great choice for the neighbourhood, and the only of its like in the area. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

STYO
907 Denman Street, Vancouver BC
778-737-7896
Styo Dessert Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice

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Vancouver has no shortage on bubble tea places, this is one of the many that have been popping up lately. Another Asia bubble tea chain. Their online presence claims that they are the world’s “largest bubble tea”, what ever that mean. Either way, we were in today because we were left unsatisfied from our full meal before; and there was the added curiosity of seeing how they stacked up with the other recently immigrated bubble tea franchises.

The shoppe was a small store front with an orange awning and their logo: a spiky hair, pac man-like blob with two round eyes.

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Inside, the only had a couple of stools facing the window, a counter with a perch to people watch from. Spacing is likely in consideration to the fact that many would take their drinks to go, downtown; as apposed to driving all the way down here to meet up with a friend over bubble tea.

The decor is plenty colourful with dual orange trim on the walls, a lime green counter, and multiple television screens broadcasting their specialities with neon coloured backgrounds. The scaled down menu is what is playing over the counter, on the screen. These are their most popular and recommended specials. The full version of their menu is taped on glass divider by the register.

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I got the taro and sago that was an easier chew with its smaller tapioca bubbles. It was made with powder and decedent enough. You can choose your sweetness. I went with how it was normally made and found it good.

“Foodology” had the regular milk tea bubble tea with traditional dark brown pearls. It was a regular milk tea, not smokey like the newer and more popular versions of this.

Overall everything was pretty standard. It didn’t blow me away, but I didn’t need or want it to.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
All and all this is your pretty standard quick drink stop. This wouldn’t be your destination,but since you are here, you might as well grab something” kind of place. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

COCO
609 West Pender Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1W7
604-366-0929
cocobubbletea.com
CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Indigo Age Cafe and Kombucha Bar

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It is nice is to have an expert when writing, someone knowledgable on the topic to bounce ideas off of, someone to fill in any of the blanks that you may face. I lucked out today with local vegan, and serious writer for the SFU student newspaper’s foodie column. (She is definitely a rarity.) I don’t normally list names, and do warn the friends that I dine with, that I will use all their comments as my resource material, and it will become my intellectual property in my post. But today, my disclaimer must include acknowledgement to a fellow writer, and a serious vegan and food lover, Gemma from SFU’s The Peak.

After all the msg filled and deep fried food I had the night before. Going vegan and doing some raw and clean eating sounded like a good idea today.

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“Indigo Age” restaurant caters with vegetarian, organic, raw, vegan, gluten free and diabetic friendly foods. They seem to do it all for this community and those looking for more health conscious options. Their cafe one of the only in Vancouver to boast a kombucha bar, they do fresh-made juices, raw vegan and gluten-free meals threes times a day, a high tea service on Sundays for brunch, and even classes where you can learn their style of healthy cuisine at home, for yourself. Their end goal is to help introduce you to foods and ingredients for optimum health and rejuvenation.

As a food blogger who has visited her fair share of vegan restaurants in Vancouver, I have a good base to compare them too, and I must admit, they offered so much more than I have seen any where else. They didn’t just offer soups and sandwiches, but also impressive sounding and looking entrees that could hold their own on any North American, casual chain restaurant menu. These plates included the flare of any finer dining establishment, and that was enough to win me over.

They are located in the basement suite within downtown Vancouver. Their rainbow coloured sign and entryway is flanked by two branches that catches you eye. The tone is set as you walk down the stairs. To your left is an urban garden of bloomed buds and the trickling of running water in a fountain.

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Just entering you feel the magic of the place. It is liked you you have stumbled on a clearing in a wooded area, where faeries live and pixies hide. It smelled fresh and you fed off the energy of the place. I loved it.

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It felt very earthly with walls of stone and brick, and floors of concrete. Tables made out of the cross sections of trees and their stumps. I claimed the largest and most impressive of the refurbished stump tables. It was waxed glossy, set with rocks and glass stones, and even included a few air plants for the full forest effect. It was a very specific looking table that would only flow with a very specific setting, and this was it.

During our Friday morning visit, it was empty for the most part, but they saw a good rotation of people coming in for their kumbucha on tap and smoothies to go. Enough that we had to inquire and try both.

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Asking about the kumbucha got us a sample of each of the flavours they had on tap. They were generous with the tasting and even went so far as to present it on a serving tray with a detailed description of both the rose and chai flavours available today. I have tried kumbucha before so knew what to expect. But if you have never had it, it does confuse the brain. I describe it best as being hoppy tea with beer like qualities, including its fizziness. Gemma preferred the description of cider with the easy drinkability of a fruit juice. The Rose was pretty in pink with its floral notes shining through. The Chai was spicier and true to its full bodied, milky tea version. Smelling it, you expected it to be warmer, but it is served chilled. I’d imagine this one being harder to pair with food, and would want it with a curry with similar spice.

Having tried the kumbucha we decided to buy from their juice bar instead. A couple of green juices for here in mason jars. Though most got it to go in plastic cups. They also had reusable mason jars available for sale to take out with you as well.

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The “Green monster smoothie” is made with seasonal greens, banana, pineapple, lime, and mint. It tasted as healthy as it sounded, but was less flavourful then expected. You wanted the pineapple to come through, but got the mint instead. And you expected something thicker and creamier with the use of the word “smoothie”, but it was more like juice. It needed some of the “mylk” like in the shake below, to thicken it up.

“Mylk” is the vegan term for their milk product. It has the consistency and often colour of cow’s milk, but made with almonds instead. Where soy bean milk has its own distinct and hard to mix taste, almond mylk provides a great base to flavour. And in this case it was use to turn avocados into milkshakes with their “Avocado mayhem”. This is made with avocado, mylk, banana, matcha, and dates. From its taste it was a banana matcha milkshake with the creaminess of avocado. Definitely one I would repeat again, if only it was more accessible within my everyday life.

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They had other in house blended beverages like the “muscle shake” made with hemp seed and organic peanut butter or “The Yam-My” with yam juice and cinnamon. The “super drink” smoothie had over ten ingredients and included many well known superfoods like wheat grass and pomegranate juice. And funny their juices tempted you with would be health attributes. The “Fountain of Youth” combined kale and apple, the “reset button” has seasonal greens with mint and sprouts, and “the shield” combined citrus with ginger and pineapple. It was impressive how extensive it was.

Similarly, I was also excited by the length of their food menu. So much so that I immediately began to spam text my only other vegan friend all the dishes we had today and insisted she visit herself soon.

As I have already mentioned, I am no stranger to the vegan food scene, so to see all this across two columns with options under breakfast, starters, soup, sandwiches, and entrees; I was happy. Typically a vegan menu only offers just soups or salads. What we had before us was the offerings of a normal restaurant, vegan or not.

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Their “Ukrainian Cabbage Rolls” was a house specialty and one of their better known dishes. They are homemade with cabbage, rice, carrots, onion, tomatoes, garlic, dill, and topped with cashew dressing. They smelled good, but I personally don’t like and can’t take the texture of soggy leafy vegetables, so in hindsight this wasn’t the best dish for me. But as a food blogger, I make an effort to try all the notables and taste everything. And in this case, trying their must have dish was worth me gagging on a mush of cabbage in my mouth.

Though from the bite I could keep down it was tasty. Aside from the wrapping it was a solid dish. The filling was fulling with plenty of seasonings to hold its own. It was hearty like a pot pie and I would have liked to see it as part of such, or in a savoury quiche, or even as a spread to be smeared over some vegan bread product. The solid pieces of vegetable on the side aided in changing the texture when bites became too soft. Potatoes and carrot for crunch, and pea shoots and dill leaves for freshness.

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I could see the “Zucchini Pasta with Marinated Portobello Steak” on any casual dining menu. Their noodle was made from strands carved from a whole zucchini. It had the textured chew of spaghetti without the heaviness of the carbs. And as such it definitely left you lighter on your feet, with plenty of room for dessert. (Which we ended up needing.) Their zucchini pasta came with your choice of marinara or pesto sauce, either is served with a marinated portobello steak and topped with a cashew cheese dressing.

We got it in the more popular pesto flavour. I expected it warm, but instead bit into cool vegetable. I guess it was necessary, seeing as warming the zucchini would cook it and therefore change its texture. You needed the cold to keep it firm and most like noodles, as possible. The “pasta” was such a good proximity that you are able to twirl it on your fork. Though overall, the serving felt more like a salad with the freshness and the dressing. According to Gemma zucchini is higher in fibre, so like flour pasta, it will keep you fuller for longer.

My only gripe about the dish is the amount of liquid that pooled at the bottom of the bowl, and the need to have something on the side or in addition to change the taste with. The sauce was good, but repetitive. So mid way I was long out of mushroom and craving some veggie balls or even some crisp steamed vegetables to mix things up with. Though simply more mushroom steak would have been just as good. Gemma couldn’t get over the fact that a large mushroom cap was referred to as a “steak”. I likened the mushroom to the portion, colour, and firmness of a 6oz steak. Especially as it was seasoned well to hide the tell-a-tale earthy mushroom flavour. In fact, like a steak could be, it was flavoured with a nice sweet soy glaze.

Part way through our extended meal the restaurant got busy. Our attentive server was gone and solely behind the counter, there was another two on the floor, but the eight new customers in house, and with those who continued to come in to take out; the staff were kept busy. So busy that we were forgotten and had to chase down their server to inquire about the dessert menu, again to ask questions about their desserts, and then finally to order the desserts. And then after we finished, I had to head to the desk to ask for a box to pack things up to go, twice; and again approach the front to pay. All this while a stack of comment cards and pens were passed out and stationed at each table. Though Gemma and I gave a very favourable review with our scoring, as we were impressed with the food and the service when it wasn’t peak, after work snacking time.

Although when we did grab the attention of one of their servers we got it all. She took the time to give us a verbal run down of the entire dessert menu. Never mind I didn’t ask for it or that we acknowledged it was busy all around us. To her, right now, we were the most important customers, and it showed. I was immensely impressed, to be seen a a patron and not just a number on a bill. Although we were two larger spending customers. Two $8 juices, two $14 entrees, and three $7 desserts.

According to our informed server, the dessert menu didn’t have a best seller or was there anything that was the “most popular”. She said that each item was different and therefore all good in their own way. (How diplomatic.) So we ended up going for the slices of pies and cakes that spoofed the traditional. With each we would have a good comparison between regular and vegan cheesecake, tiramisu, and key lime.

You needed to have at least two tastes of each thing to gather whether you liked it or not. And I found each time that it was only the texture that I couldn’t get past. But that isn’t surprising when you remove milk and eggs from baking, and instead use nuts to replace both. Each mix was blended as soft as possible, but not fluffy and smooth like it ought to be, or that it looked to be. I say “ought” to be, being a omnivore more familiar with the traditional versions of the desserts below. Each dessert item was well decorated with various wild and fresh fruit, although they could have done with different sauces and ones more complimentary in colour and flavour to the slice. Overall, it was sad that my knowledge of milk and egg based desserts ruined my experience of these, I couldn’t help but to compare what I knew with what I tasted.

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The “berry cheese cake” is made with almond cheese, coconut, dates, cashews, black current, coconut oil, and agave. They were proud to boast that they are one of the only places that actually make their own cheese from almonds, and then use it to make this cake. This process, instead of making the almond straight into cheesecake. And as a result, their final product was something more on the mark.

The flavour was tart and the texture was grainy with blended nuts, coconut shreds, and berry seeds you had to chew through. These were two attributes I didn’t like on its own, and together they made your mouth feel like it was in a vacuum: dry and chalky, that left a film on your tongue. The fresh fruit helped, and we wished for more than just garnish. Instead of a cheese cake, this would have been better left as a berry compote over their nutty base/crust. But with all things considering, this was a good cheesecake dupe, given you were unable to use a few of the traditional ingredients like cheese, butter, eggs, or milk.

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The “Key lime pie” was made with avocado, coconut, lemon, dates, almonds, spinach, and agave. I don’t know how they snuck spinach in there without you tasting it. The coconut flavour was pronounced, the avocado made it creamy, and the spinach lent its bold green colour. The key lime flavour was spot on, but overall a little too sweet with the agave. Like the first, the texture left us pausing. This one gave us a weird numbing feeling after the first bite, and bite after bite, we couldn’t figure out where it was from. The berry sauce here was the same as above and it overpowered thing. Instead of it, I could have used more of the white layer of foam that mimicked meringue or icing.

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The “Tiramisu” was made with almonds, dates, coconut, cashews, agave, cacao, power, and organic coffee. It was a dense cake with good flavour. It was so rich that it left you wondering, “how can there not be any milk in this?” But then you got that tell-a-tale grainy texture and you remembered it was made with nuts. If you just enjoyed the brown part by itself, you got the smooth and creamy texture you wanted, with a gentle coffee flavour. This one was better with the berry sauce, here it added a tart freshness, like the pairing of fruit with chocolate. Tiramisu is one with so much milk and cream that it is very hard to copy. This was a nice spin on it, as they can’t mimic the spongey and creamy texture of real tiramisu.

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With all the juice from all the vegetables, I found myself visiting their washroom a few times. Luckily it was a hospitable little nook. Concrete creeping over brick, with exposed piping and a new blue paint job. The mirror was a repurposed porthole and gave the room some depth.

 

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.
Not only for vegans, “Indigo Age” is a good place for those interested in seeing if they can venture down this path of healthy eating.
This was vegan comfort food, where plates were dressed up and garnished, where you can’t believe it’s not cheese, and where you know there isn’t any meat on your plate and yet it isn’t missed. You come here cause you are vegan or want vegan plates, and they don’t hide that by giving you the option of eating vegetable pretending to be meat. I am happy that this is an option for all the vegan foodies out there wanting, but not being able to find designer plates like these. I will definitely be bringing and recommending this place to all vegans I know. And I myself want to return for their Sunday high tea service. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

INDIGO AGE
436 Richards Street, Vancouver BC
604-622-1797
indigoagecafe.com
Indigo Age Cafe and Kombucha Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17•C Dessert Cafe

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You know those photos you have been seeing online? The one of drinks served in glass light bulbs and balls of melon neatly stacked in their rinds? Well let me introduce to the place that serves them. And if you haven’t heard or seen such marvels, scroll down for a look.

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“17•C” is a new dessert cafe in a new space on Kingsway. It is a small room with a counter, and several tables to accommodate larger groups and couples sharing with others. It had a clean look in freshly painted grey, with a few round mirrors speckling the walls. A wood plank and metal pipe shelf created a vignette of empty bulbs and plastic plants. And across from it, a cluster of frames added some colourful contrast. I recognized an abstract version of Darth Vader, Shakespeare, and possibly Dead Pool? The rest was just outlines and colours.

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The menu is a blackboard stick-on written in colourful chalk. Their deserts are divided between fruit smoothies, yogurt cups, Asian style tapioca and glutinous rice; and “icy”, their shaved ice bowls with fruit. They also have chilled drinks advertised on an easel, by the register.

As mentioned, they are known for their use of light bulb shaped glasses. So realistic that they also come with that screw-on metal bit at the end of the bulb, and now top of the drinking glass. All that was missing with the filament and the light weight of an actual bulb. These vessels are so iconic of the cafe that they are also used as propping: vases on the counter and containers on shelves.

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Here they were used for their colourful soda and green tea mixed. Both varieties are flavoured in either kiwi, passion fruit, pomegranate, and lemon. Some had pieces of chopped up fruit bobbling about, along with syrup and fruit pulp. And each a matching twisty straw to sip from. The soda was carbonated with fizz, and the green tea had the tell-a-tale slight bitterness of a strongly steeped brew.

Just as popular are their “icy” desserts. Majority of their customers appreciate the beauty of them in photo. There are a few varieties, but the best sellers are their melon icy(s). Each uses the whole fruit and craves half into round balls. These balls are then gingerly stacked in a pyramid. At $14.99 for an entire melon, each is meant to be shared. You pay for the fruit and the labour to create it.

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Apparently the watermelon is their the fan favourite of the melons, and the entire icy menu for that matter. It often runs out well before the night’s end, I can see why. They are most visually appealing. Bright pink and bold green, sprinkled over with chopped almonds, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Just under the brick work of melon ball is a mound of fluffy shaved ice. It isn’t flavoured like the fruit, but instead sweetened with condense milk. An additional serving of condense milk is presented in a tiny spouted jug. This is meant to be drizzled over the entirety of the dessert, at your preference.

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Similarly the “honeydew icy” was carved into a stack of nearly placed balls. But with this, grape flavoured bubble juice pearls dotted its pyramid, and it was topped with a honeydew flavoured popsicle. The popsicle melted into a pool of cream over the shaved ice, adding additional melon flavouring. Both watermelon and honey dew tasted exactly as you would expect: fruit and condense milk. This dessert was such an easy concept, and it worked. It brought me in and had me thanking them for helping me getting the needed servings of fruit today.

The other fruit icy(s) includes mango, strawberry and a mixed version they called the “fruit boat”. They also had non fruit versions like matcha green tea and Oreo.

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The “Oreo icy” had the whole chocolate Oreo cookie and its cream filling blended into the ice. This was a unique combination, giving the dessert a familiar flavour, but a new unique texture. It was like what I imagined licking smooth beach sand to be? A chalkiness that melted on your tongue. Interesting, but not my first go to.

As mentioned, they also dabbled in yogurt and Asian pudding-like dessert. Both created in anticipation of the cooler months ahead, and the want of customers to order hot or warm desserts when it is cold outside. Both weren’t very sweet, or sweet at all. I suspect that this was the case because it is meant to compliment the other desserts in sweetness. Or maybe it was because we made the mistake of having the drinks and the icy first, and as a result these weren’t as sweet by comparison.

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We tried the “strawberry yogurt” cup which was fit for a healthy breakfast option. It was a tart plain yogurt layered with strawberry puree, granola, and fresh strawberries. They also had a similar version in blueberry and mango.

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The “mango tapioca” was another one good for the cooler season. Or their mango with glutinous rice or glutinous rice with coconut milk. The tapioca had a nice thick creamy texture, intertwined with the delight of the jelly-like pearls. It had the mango flavour, but I was craving the mango’s sweetness as well. This could have been helped with some condense or evaporated milk mixed in, or even if they used a sweeter ripe mango.

There was a language barrier between myself and guests, and the owner-partners. However I respected these young women. They immigrated to Vancouver with a vision and a mission, and they carried it out. They understood their intended demographic, they understood the food scene that they wanted to tap into, and they offered its clients exactly what they wanted. – A visual feast to feed their cameras. A demographic like me who appreciate the ability to capture an immortal and unique photo before devouring my meal. And they gave it to me and others in perfectly round balls self drizzled in condensed milk, and neon coloured drinks in glasses shaped like light bulbs.

 

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.
Truly a memorable dessert feast on sight alone. A great place to share a great, healthier dessert with a group of friends. And bonus they will trick you into eating more fruit than you usually do I one day, in a single setting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

17•C
2229 Kingsway Street, Vancouver BC, V5N 5A1
778-379-9055
17°C Dessert Café 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

Boba Cabana

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Making it easier to take your drinks on the skytrain.
Location is such an important thing when you are a restaurant, or in this case, a cafe just starting out. And here they had a good one: right on the platform of New Westminster skytrain station. In the hub of an area that is under rejuvenation. What a great place to have a snack shop and drink stop. Perfect for a pause in between your commute, or the place to grab something for it.

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They are seemingly a bubble tea shop, but offer so much more drinks in store. With vegan and dairy free options available; and heathy twists like chia seeds, hemp hearts, whey protein, and almond or coconut milk as add ons or substitutions. They also do “power smoothies” with the likes of kale and avocado.

The shop smelled like the browning dough of freshly made bubble waffles and was warmed from the heat the process gave off. This made sense given the entire operation of bubble waffle making was done behind the very counter you ordered from.

Their logo was a pineapple silhouette with bubbles at its base and a straw sticking out from its stem. The clever design was celebrated on the shop’s window, on its counter front, on the menu board above said counter, and again as a decal on the wall.

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Your choices to drink were from their milk tea series, fruit teas, blended smoothies, and their power smoothies. I was impressed by their diversification of teas including Thai style ice tea, the Mexican horchata, Japanese premium matcha, fresh taro, and Spanish coldbrew.

I went with the “Thai iced tea”, having never seen one offered outside of a Thai restaurant. This would also be the first time I would have it with boba pearls. Though sadly it was bitter, and could have used more condense milk, but I was too timid to ask. At least the orange colour was spot on.

My guest went for the “Lychee slush” with boba pearls. You could taste that it was made with real fruit. Though there was not enough blended ice in the mix, so it kept separating from the syrup.

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For edibles they had waffles. We requested the “Taro bubble waffle”, but I am sure it was just the regular version. I didn’t taste or see taro, there was no trademark powder purple hue. The waffle came with your choice of dipping sauce. We went for condense milk over cinnamon and butter, Nutella, or the “speculoos” brand of cookie butter. It gave the waffle its sweetness. The waffles themselves were heavy and chewy, more like pancake dough in look and texture. We felt they came from a boxed mix. The taste was there, but we wanted them and wished them to be lighter. This density wasn’t true to the “bubble” in its name. These were filled bobbles, not hollow bulbs like I expected. And they got harder the quicker it cooled out of the bag. Half way through, the dip they took in the condense milk becoming more and necessary.

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We had to try the very seasonal, fall pumpkin spice Belgian waffle. This took a lot longer to craft, taking more time than the bubble waffles or both drinks combined. Though it was worth the wait. The waffle batter tasted the same as the bubbles above, but a bit more watered down. Though it was the toppings that set this apart and gave it its flavour anyways. It had everything: a crispy and buttery waffle base, creamy fresh whip, smooth pumpkin purée from a can, crunchy nuts, and sticky caramel. It was as decadent as it looked.

These thick bread-like waffles would definitely make great sandwich ends. Perfect for the savoury waffle combinations they also offered, like their spicy Cuban or the one with smoked turkey and pesto.

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Your needed utensils are available on the counter top for self help. A caddy for straws, plastic cutlery, wooden stir sticks, and cup holders. There were also two bottles of syrup in arm’s reach, one for waffles and another for drinks. The two members of staff serving the front were ready to help at a whim. Both women were pleasant and chatty, and more importantly inviting.

As for seating it was limited across two small tables and a narrow counter. Luckily the cuisine caters to quick eating and quick leaving. So if you hover around long enough, a table will eventually clear for you to take.

 

Would I come back? – No.
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 liked the space and what they offered, but I don’t think I would come to a skytrain for dessert, or return again just for this. It was definitely a great option for commuters, and I would come back if it were more convenient. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

BOBA CABANA
Suite 360 – 800 Carvarvon Street, New Westminster BC
604-553-1922
Boba Cabana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Estea Express & 8 Juice

Aberdeen centre’s court snakes around and allows over 20 different stands to have their own dedicated space. Lots of effort was put into decorating each stall. Each had its name in bold, a menu with photos, and some even a display of items served utilizing accurately portrayed plastic food. Not surprisingly, most of the writing used was Chinese characters, but the coloured photos and the glossy fake food helped to bridge the language gap. I will be covering all 20 of the foodcourt dining options across several posts.

There are two stalls dedicated to just beverages. Below is my comparative review on both.

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“Estea Express”, as its name suggested, it was an adaptation from the popular, multiple location “Estea” restaurant chain. They specialize in bubble tea and serving Taiwanese cuisine. Though at this stand they strictly offered drinks. Milk tea, green tea, black tea, white tea, red tea, frozen fruit slushes, natural fruit juice, juice with yogurt, and even a soy pudding drink. And of course each one listed under those categories gave you the ability to add pearls, coconut jelly, mango stars, grass jelly, and aloe Vera to the mix.

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We had the standard “Milk tea with pearls and coconut jelly”. Though not standard was how sweet we found it. It seemed to be made without consideration of the coconut jelly acting as a sweetener.

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From “8 juice” we had their house special: “Mango coconut juice”, with tapioca, mango, and pomelo bits. With its lumpy and foamy texture I would consider it more sauce or cream than juice. It’s granular consistency reminded my guest of an Asian “Orange Julius”, making drinks from fresh fruit, but with a lot of extras bits. I enjoyed the chewing element thanks to the tapioca and pomelo fruit. Though I would consider this more of a dessert than a beverage, especially since it tasted like a watery mango pudding and we ate it with a spoon.

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Unlike the drink stand before, “8 Juice” only uses fresh fruit and vegetables. Therefore I would consider them almost the healthier option. Especially with the available green fruit smoothies and pressed wheatgrass as options. And the ability to extract juice from fruits and vegetables on the spot. They made piña coladas from scratch, the freshly squeezed lemons for lemonade, and blended real papaya for papaya milkshakes. All real ingredients and no powder. They also brought together unlikely pairings that would be worth trying. Apple and celery, banana yogurt and aloe vera, kiwi and milk, and bitter melon juiced. But like the stall before they too offered add ons, which they called “toppings”. The same pearls, aloe, coconut jelly, grass jelly, and mango stars; but also had protein powder and chopped up fruit bits available.

Looking at both stands and then comparing them side by side you can tell one used only fresh ingredients and the other only dabbled in real fruit juices. Especially as they are located side by side. “Estea Express” only had a menu to decorate their stand. Their blending and mixing operation was done behind a raised glass partition, out of customer’s eye sight. Where as “8 Juice” had a menu picturing real fruits, real melons sitting on their counter, various green vegetables at the ready on a shelf, and behind the sneeze glass was enough mangoes to wallpaper it completely.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Both drink stands serve different functions. And both are good in their own way. When thirsty in the mall, both are an easy stop for thirst quenching.
Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ESTEA EXPRESS & 8 JUICE
Aberdeen Centre foodcourt
4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond BC, V6X 4J7
604-270-1234
aberdeencentre.com
Estea Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
8 Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chaser’s Fresh Juice and Deli

 

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Since I am still on this juicing kick, I thought I would check out another option, besides my neighbourhood go to. What better way to try juices than to stock up with enough for the week?

“Chasers” is one of two options for juice in Yaletown. Their juices, salads, and sandwiches come premade in plastic containers stored in a refrigerated unit; or made to order behind their service counter. With plenty of food and drink choices, the shop easily functions as a quick stop for healthier dining solutions. The perfect destination for a working lunch. Though with an inset glass door hidden amongst red brick it is easy to miss. But the image of fruit catches your eye and you walk into the sandwich board out front.

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Inside the walls were postered with visuals advertising the benefits of doing the cleanse, thinking green, and following the raw food pyramid. I learned that a cleanse benefits the skin, lungs, lymph, colon, liver, and kidneys.

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The first fixture by the door was their “Chaser’s fresh juice… Bottled “fresh”” display. Fruit based juices, greens and nut milk, and pure greens row after row. Depending on type of juice they were bottled at 8oz, 16oz, and 1 litre. Their prices vary from $7-12, depending on the size and the amount of ingredients used. As I was stocking up, I gathered all my juices to go from here. The next unit held their meal options. Salads, wraps, and rice rolls. Neatly stacked clear plastic filled with luscious green leaves and a rainbow of colours in kernels, slices, and sticks. The last free standing fixture held all the dry snacks like granola bars and commercial bags of dried fruit.

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Towards the back of the room was a double counter than spanned the width of the place. Behind its glass was a bevy of fresh fruits and vegetables. All the ingredients were chopped up, shredded, and diced. Then sorted into metal containers for easy access. All varieties of bell peppers, red and yellow onions, black olives, cucumber slices, alfalfa sprouts, spinach leaves, tomato wedges, and jalapeño rings, etc;

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The “make your own sandwich” option, off of one of their over hanging menus, included different breads, the choice of a wrap, to have it panini style, or to leave it untoasted. After you select the exterior of your “sandwich”, you then pick out your base. What is your desired protein? Turkey, roast beef, Black Forest ham, egg salad, tuna, and Montreal smoke meat. Or would you rather have no protein and make it a vegetarian sandwich or wrap instead? From there, it is all pointing. You see and make requests of the various cheeses, the bins of spreads, and the cooler filled with the vegetables above. They called this showcase their “grab and go case”. From here you also can “choose your own salad”. With chicken breast, tuna salad, shrimp, avocado and hummus as add ons for extra. They even do combos with a side of soup or smoothie.

They also served coffee and other hot beverages. I feel that every establishment that serves food needs to serve coffee because it is expected. Like magazines at grocery store line ups. You may not need it and you may never order it, though you want it to be there in case you need it. So that the next time you are in the area and are in desperate need of coffee this would be one place out of numerous restaurants and cafes not focusing on coffee that offers coffee, that you could get coffee at.

For dessert they offered banana bread, lemon and pecan tarts, regular and gluten free muffins and cookies, a fruit cocktail, and quinoa bars. Wrapped in Saran all of the above were ready to be grabbed and taken on the go.

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Now to the actual juice. I liked a few of their juice and smoothie names. They had fun names that described what each was made of: “Mango Mad”, “Green Goddess”, and “The Juice Man”. Or they named their drinks after the properties they hoped would be bestowed to the drinker: “Immune booster”, “high protein”. Though they also took care to list all the ingredients to the side of each juice’s name. There were so many options to choose from with so many exotic fruits like lychee and cactus pear to consider. All the below are 16oz bottles to go, but once again, you can have your juice to go in a plastic cup, or in 8oz, and 1 litre jugs.

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As I drink juice in lieu of eating my vegetables, I made sure to select the ones with leafy greens. I actually cannot stomach the texture of any leafy green vegetable. With one look I reflect back to my childhood. It has given me a crippling fear of eating leafy greens and having the wilted mash of fibres get lodged in my throat. Then me having to pull it out again, only to eventually eat and keep it down, as I had to finish all my vegetables. Horrify then, mortifying as an adult. That is why you don’t see me reviewing many salads. That and I feel I can make a salad so it is not the most bang for my buck. Though truthfully, every salad entree I have tried I have liked, and I would never thought to bring together such an assembly of ingredients. Paying for a salad is paying for the work to craft the perfect one, and to source out all its necessary elements. You are not paying for the labour required to make it.

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The greens.

“Pure Greens”. “No Fruit” delivered on its name. With celery, cucumber, kale, spinach, mint, and ginger as its only ingredients. It sounded heavy, like something I would grimace at, when I took sip in. In reality the drink was surprisingly light. The cucumber was the strong note in this with highlights of celery. And in contrast the kale and spinach were well hidden. It tasted as healthy and as natural as it looked. You just have to get past the pulp if that is not your thing, a bit of chewing required with your liquid. Though overall tolerable until you get to the last bit, at the bottom of the bottle. There it became hard to drink, there I forced it down.

“Mighty kale”. Kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, and apples. Thankfully the sweetness of the apple came through on this. Though it ended on bitter, as my last sip. Out of fear of the above, I caught myself constantly shaking my juice before I drank and as it sat. All not to have the grit settle and be left with pulp at the end, again.

“Taking care of business”. Spinach, celery, cucumber, lemon, ginger, and apples. I assumed this helped with bowel movements based on the name. And I can now confirm it to be true.

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The yellows to orange.

“Golden greens”. Pear, pineapple, kale, cucumber, parsley, and turmeric. By far this was the best of the lot. Easy to drink with the bitterness of kale and the herbaceous-ness of parsley completely hidden behind the strength and sweetness of pineapple. This is the only one I would purchase again.

“Dr. Oz’s swimsuit slim”. Orange juice, pineapple, apple cider vinegar, and honey. I absolutely purchased this based on its promise to have me looking “swimsuit slim”. And as expected it tasted just like a fancy tropical punch, most parts orange. Good for an early morning. The sweet honey hid any taste of vinegar. And the best part, no pulp to sift through. Though really there was nothing special about this juice, outside its catchy name.

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The reds and the black.

“Happy Beet”. Carrots, beets, apple, spinach, strawberry, and blueberry. I remember using this to chase down one of the greens above. It had a manageable sandy texture, but a one dimensional taste. You really got the beets, and just the beets. So I quickly grew tired of the taste. Shame, as the list of ingredients were quite alluring, and it started off being like eating a beet salad.

The “Cleanse cocktail” was made with kale, carrots, beets, wheat grass, and apple. The beets were the most prominent, something I should have guessed based on its deep maroon hue; a hue similar to very beet-full juice above. Except this one had an almost fizzy tang quality to it, like orange soda had been a secret ingredient. As a result, this one tasted better than my last beet bottle. And this one definitely lived up to its descriptive name. It helped me to literally flush my system, if you can catch my drift. This can be a dangerous one if you are unable to be near a toilet all day.

I got the “Charcoal lemonade” because it was black and I wanted to see how black liquid could get, and how charcoal would taste. Plus, I heard charcoal is helpful in soothing stomach aches and I might have indigestion after drinking all these concoctions. Made with lemon, organic activated charcoal, and agave. The lemon gave it flavour, the agave palatable sweetness, and the charcoal benefits to your health. Though it tasted just like regular lemonade and I feared drinking it would stain my lips and teeth. A fear only worsened when in unscrewed the cap and was surprised by the blackness of the drink, even with it being a clear bottle.

 

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
I like their variety in juice. There were enough flavours to have you coming back for days. But I did not like the amount of pulp in each bottle. Especially as I normally get my juice silky and pulp free. I wouldn’t mind grabbing a custom made sandwich in the future. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CHASER’S
2-1026 Mainland Street, Vancouver BC
604-428-4088
chasersjuice.com
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Heirloom Juice Co.

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The sun is shining and the weather is nicer, which gets everything considering their current state of health. Winter is over, our hibernation in thick folds and frumpy tops are done. Here comes paired down layers and the season of exposed skin. Or at least this has me considering all the above. So what easier way is there to get into shape, without actually exercising? Adjusting your eating habits. And here is where the latest additional to the South Granville strip comes in handy. As someone who does not eat off the food pyramid, I like the idea of getting all your vegetables in a tasty beverage. However like most people, the thought of juicing for myself is a tedious one. What fruits do I buy? How much of it do I buy? And then there is the cleanup to consider. Sopping up spills, catching drips, and dismantling the equipment to be washed and rinsed. Here “Heirloom Juice Company” has stepped in and saved all the worry for me.

You enter the store to the smell of fresh fruit and the humming of high powered machines mashing and blending. The staff were definitely kept busy behind the counter with a steady rotation of guests. This makes the shop a tight fit, but the right size considering that not many choose to stay and dine in. Why bother when it is easy to walk and drink, with straw in plastic cup. Though there is a counter top facing the open window up front and two tall stools for those who want to rest their feet. Though, many, like myself, use the space as a place to wait for our beverages to be prepared on the spot. The shop has gotten busier with the better weather and I have often found myself standing idle in wait. This area allowed me to do so without impeding others from reading the menu white board on the wall or being in the way of those lining up to order.

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As you enter their glass showcase greets you. Premade juices and snacks live here. All vegetarian, all vegan, and some gluten free. Everything is much more healthy than what I am accustomed to. Colourful salads in see through containers. A Caesar salad made with kale; a Mexi salad with chickpeas, quinoa, and corn; and a kale slaw with various seeds and dried fruit. Sandwiches and wraps, folded and ready to be taken out. A veggie sandwich made with local sprouts and a hazelnut aioli; a baja burrito filled with quinoa nut patties and a creamy cilantro sauce; and a rainbow roll named for the hue of its ingredients. I was tempted to try a few as the ingredient line up sounded delicious. If you are looking for a snack or something to crave that sweet tooth, they have single bite “balls”, fruit and yogurt Parfaits, giant cookies, and their own home made granola bars to choose from. They even supply the juice for juice cleanses. The price wasn’t listed, I suspected that it meant it cost more and it is best to have an employee explain why that is. I was right. You pay by day: one, three, or five; and the ingredients used. The premium ingredients in premium juices, cost a premium price.

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On my first visit I went with what I thought was the most healthiest. And given that I liked it so much I went back for more, but to try the others too. Your drink choice is between juices or smoothies. I prefer the smoothies as the prices are similar for both, but you get more with the smoothies: 24oz of smoothie to 16oz of juice. I am a “more bang for your buck” kind of gal. Though I am sure it is the same amount vegetables being used in each serving, but it just feels like you are getting more value with the smoothie. I know most of the extra 8oz is from filler like coconut water, almond milk, or protein powder, but my eyes couldn’t ignore the visual value. With the protein powder included, the smoothies make a great meal replacement, ideal when I am busy at work. It soon came that I was addicted. There was an easy way to feel good and look fitter without the actual leg work of being physical or exercising. (Wow it sounds like I am really lazy when I write to out like this). I am currently there five times a week, drinking a juice and a smoothie each of those days. It gets pricy, but I see the value and their stamp card helps me save. At this point I have completed two of their stamp cards. For every drink purchased you get a stamp, after 10 plastic cups ordered you earn yourself a free one. It definitely has you coming back for more.

 

This one has taken me a whole month to write, the below is a compilation of items tried during numerous visits. I have managed to work my way through majority of their menu and will no doubt end up trying all of what they have to offer. It tastes good and I feel good drinking it. They are the perfect solution for people, like me, who never make an effort to eat a balanced meal, and avoid eating their leafy greens.

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The “Kale refresher” quickly became my go to smoothie. Made with vanilla vega, kale, banana, coconut water, ginger and lemon. It had me consuming the superfood kale without having to endure its bitter taste or leafy texture. It tasted as healthy as it looked and as good as I hoped it to be. Creamy from the vanilla and spicy from the ginger. It isn’t the best taste, but being able to taste that it is on the healthier side makes you want it all more. The same could be said about all their other smoothies and juices. Where specific ingredients gives the drinker unique properties. You also have the option of adding a Superfood to your pre planned smoothie mix. Either Cacao nibs, Chia Seeds, Maca Root, Hemp, Coconut Oil, Brazil nuts, or Cold Pressed Organic Turmeric. Most add health benefits and no real taste. Others change the texture and the colour. For example, the orange coloured goji berries.

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“Monkey nuts” smoothie: cacao, organic peanut butter, banana, chocolate vega protein & greens, almond milk, and spinach. This is the only way I will be caught consuming spinach: blended and hidden, out of sight out of mind. Like kale, I hate its leafy green texture. The first sip tasted like a ground up chocolate oat granola bar, with a waxy peanut after taste. It only had a slightly bitter note, probably from the hidden spinach. Otherwise the strong flavour of chocolate helps to hide everything else behind it and its complimentary friend, peanut butter.  I did want it more sweet: some added sugar, or some milk chocolate, but I guess that would have defeated the whole purpose of this healthy shake-like smoothie. Given the mix and the protein powder used, I found most of the smithies sandy. I usually end up coughing a lot to clear any traces of it from my throat.

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“Turmeric Raider” smoothie. Coconut water, coconut oil, turmeric, mango, banana, ginger, and lemon. This was a new taste for me. Spicy with the turmeric yet refreshing with the fruit. The turmeric was warming like ginger, but with a more exotic spice palette. And depending on how it is blended it can be quite tropical, like a paired down piña colada, with the tastes of the banana, coconut and mango shining through. It was definitely not as bad as it sounded or  as I imagined in my head.

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The “Berry Bananarama” is most like a traditional smoothie. Made with strawberry, banana, vanilla vega protein & greens, almond milk, and organic vanilla bean. It was the milk and vanilla bean that made it like a milkshake. The use of strawberry and banana that made it kid and dessert friendly.

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“After eight-ish” smoothie had peppermint oil, coconut oil, cacao, cacao nibs, almond milk, banana, spinach, and chocolate vega. Its flavour was very reminiscent of the mint chocolate, hench the “ish” in its title. Works great as a mid day pick me up that’s to the fragrant mint.

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The juices came with more  concentrated health benefits, prepared with only whole blended fruits and vegetables. Each was refreshing, perfect for thirst quenching, and an easy way to get in your daily dose of vegetables. Each is juiced on the spot, though you can also pick up any of the ones already jarred in mason jars. They cost $1 more for the jar, but return it after use and you get a refund. At this point I have tried all of the juices except for the “ironman” and the. “Greensicle”. Both feature cilantro, amongst other ingredients, and that is an herb I cannot will myself to enjoy.

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The “Transformer” became my go to drink” made with kale, spinach, apple, celery, cucumber, ginger, and lemon. I felt it had the most health benefits of all the juices and would be the one I needed most, to fulfill all nutrients from the leafy greens I was avoiding in my meals. Plus the addition of apple made it easier to drink than the similar “all greens” below.

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The “All greens” juice is made with kale, celery, cucumber, ginger, and lemon. Best described as refreshing, a little bitter with a spicy after burn down the throat. As a result, I found this the hardest for me to enjoy. So you are looking for something sweeter and easier to take, I strongly suggest the transformer above, with its inclusion of apple.

 

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“Block rockin’ beets” blended beets carrots, orange, cucumber, ginger, and lemon. Similar to the one below, orange was the high note. Both are easy to drink with their bold colours and fun names.

“Fire extinguisher” made with carrot, orange, pineapple, turmeric, ginger, and lemon. The orange and pineapple really came through in this one.

 

As for the food, I have tried a few things, but being a texturally focused diner, I have found the gritty nature of small seeds and dried grains not something I enjoy chewing though, therefore I have refrained from trying more than what I have already had below.

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“Rainbow noodle wrap” made with rice noodles, watermelon radish, sweetie peppers, arugula, seeds, avocado, shredded carrot, and beets; dressed with a vegan miso sauce. A big wrap like this, I was surprised how well it traveled and how well kept. The use of dry ingredients ensured that the bundle held together down to the last bites. No soggy drips, no rips in the whole grain tortilla. The wrap was flavourful and filing with the noodles. It was true to its name with its colours. The various cuts and textures made each bite interesting to chew through. Creamy avocado, crunchy seeds, and crisp lettuce. I found it quite satisfying, which I feel means a lot coming from a hardcore carnivore. Though towards the end it felt like I was forcing my self to swallow. I needed a creamy dip to accompany it, or something fatty in the actual wrap to smooth it down. Honesty ranch and bacon would have done it for me.

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“Chocolate almond cluster”, “Coconut almond haystax”, “Goji tahini cacao ball”, and “Peanutbutter sour cherry ball”. At $2.50 each, each had enough protein to fill your snack time munching needs. I recommend eating each as soon as you get them, giving them time to melt causes quite the mess.

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The “Haystax” were crumbly and gritty, adjectives I would use to describe an actual haystack. Definitely not my favourite texture, I spent most of my time picking seeds from between my teeth, and coughing chunks when the little pieces got stuck going down my throat. It was like a granola bar, but with nothing to stick the ingredients together, they easily crumbled between your teeth. I made out coconut shreds, almond slivers, and sesame seeds. It had some mild spice and a gentle a sweetness to it too. From its stickiness, I guess honey.

“Goji tahini cacao ball” made from the super food goji berries and “tahini”, a paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds. The chocolate taste and texture was the most pronounced. It was sweeter with the texture of a melted brownie. I enjoyed the cuts of dried fruit embedded.

I didn’t taste much of the peanut butter in the “Peanut butter sour cherry ball”, but was pleasantly surprised by the juicy pickled cherry at its centre. Like the ball before, it had a similar melted chocolate consistency to it.

I enjoy the “Chocolate almond cluster” the most. It was earthy with its almond and citrus notes, under robes of dark chocolate. Definitely the best one of the lot, but maybe because it tasted the most like a regular chocolate cluster.

 

I have been here enough times to note the staff are consistently pleasant. Despite busier times and the need for non stop movement each member, wearing the same logo-ed tee, has always been polite and helpful towards me. They take their time to treat you like the only customer in the room, they apologize for making you wait, and thank you for your business. I guess it must in what they are drinking. With all that I spend on their drinks, I should really consider working here part time.

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring with great tasting juices, but juicing everyday seems too tedious. So my lazy, non cost efficient way, to get healthy and lose some weight, without actually exercising, is to drink more vegetables. So far with “Heirloom’s” help I am feeling better and looking better, and at $9-11 a cup it is well worth it to me.

 

HEIRLOOM JUICE
2861 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6H3J4
604-730-0022
heirloomjuiceco.ca
Heirloom Juice Co on Urbanspoon

Ninja Bubble Tea

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We had a bubble tea virgin on our hands and tonight was as good of a night as any to end that. Coming from Saskatchewan, my small town guest was not familiar with the bubble tea trend. A chewing your drink phenomenon made popular in Taiwan, with a heavy demand now in Vancouver.

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Though sadly we did not give her a true Taiwanese bubble tea experience. This was not your common Chinese bubble tea house. A fact we should have caught on to when we saw the rows of extra large Nutella jars line the window and when we read the sign advertising poutine on the door. Though in hind sight this was a good beginner course in bubble tea. A North American style tea house to help ease her into the culture.

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We actually choose this location because of the mascot that first drew our attention. This plump little ninja in red was inviting. He was essentially a yellow ball with nothing but his black eyes exposed. With stumps for hands, he was holding a box of tater tots and a cup of bubble tea in each. His image was plastered everywhere. From the café’s logo, to panels on the ceiling, and even on tops of drink cups. If the place becomes more popular, I can definitely see them making his likeness into a plush toy and selling it along side their drinks and snacks.

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This was the most westernized bubble tea place I have ever seen, which naturally made our newbie comfortable. This comfort was furthered by the use of North American style art and music filling the room. Canvas prints of Marvel favourites like Spiderman, Hulk, and Thor decorated the walls. And Hedley and head banging rock playing over head.

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Bright lights, bold colours, a message board to share business. cards, an arcade dart machine in the back, and a shelf stacked with communal board games to be used during your stay. It was clear they were catering to a younger crowd. Marketing themselves as a hang out place for youths with not a lot of money, no where to go, and lots of time on their hands. Even going as far as to make mention of their arcade dart game in the front window. We took advantage of the games, feeling no shame in playing a few matches of “connect four”, and a heated game of “sorry”.

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Everything on the menu, located above the counter was in English. In familiar terms and in safe flavours. The most exotic was a lychee slush and a sesame pudding. They offered many more teas then just black, red, or green. Here they carried varieties like caramel berry rooibos and Irish earl grey. If we were more hungry they offered food as well. And as previously mentioned, on top of bubble waffles, the traditional bubble tea snack they also offered their rift on poutine. Tater tots served with chili cheese, sour cream, and onion; amongst other varies.

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They had a section just dedicated to their Oreo and ice cream and Ferraro chocolate concoctions. I couldn’t imagine these with Tapioca pearls though. One of my guests tried it for himself. Oreo ice cream crumble with pearls. He was disappointed that this was basically a milkshake, and that the pearls added no value to the drink. I expected as much.

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Our newbie ordered herself their pineapple slush with coconut jelly. This too was not a true bubble tea experience, especially as she choose coconut jelly over the “bubble” in bubble tea. She liked it alright. But what’s there not to like? This was basically frozen pineapple juice with a kick of coconut. And who doesn’t enjoy the texture of jello-like coconut jelly?

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I had to do it, I got the 1 litre Ninja sized cup in their original iced coffee with tapioca pearls. The size that is great for any all nighters, at just a little over $5 with the pearls. Basically I paid a dollar more, to get much more than any of my guests. The value was clear by comparison. Though sadly I never got to finish it, a leak was sprung when I had difficultly fitting this jumbo sized cup in my regular sized cup holder.

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
This teahouse, or more juice shop was nothing spectacular in itself. It is its location that set it apart, there was nothing else like it in the neighbourhood. That fact would bring it success. Location, location, location. That perfect late night destination to linger at, to stay warm in, that doesn’t cost you much to do so. Plus they had descent tapioca pearls, something not even some seasoned Bubbletea places have mastered. Even late at night their pearl were fresh, chewy with a spring, and not mushy like ones that have been frozen and left to thaw after a stint in the fridge. Don’t deny your cravings.

NINJA BUBBLE TEA
1696 Robson Street, Vancouver BC, V6G1C7
604-568-6866
Ninja Bubble Tea on Urbanspoon

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