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Category: waffles Page 1 of 2

2nd Annual OneCoffee Brunch & Guided Tasting

One Coffee’s Brunch Takeover at Chambar

This marks the 2nd annual “OneCoffee” brunch takeover, this year hosted by the Belgium restaurant, “Chambar”. Having never enjoyed brunch at “Chambar” before, I was doubly excited for what was to come. Last year we were celebrating “OneCoffee’s” single-serve coffee pods being 100% compostable, and this year we were gathered to acknowledge that fact, and help lead to some change.

Clocking in their 5th year, “One Coffee” is still Western Canada’s largest coffee roaster, operating out of Burnaby and Richmond. Details about the brand we would learn from “OneCoffee’s Q-Grader”, Tim Cole. He is one of Canada’s only certified coffee experts, much like what a sommelier is to wine. He earned this destination by passing several palette and scent tests. Meaning he has a “nose for coffee”.

And today he spoke to us on the quality of each pod and the amount of work that goes into their coffee. It begins with finding the right framers to grow the best and most sustainable beans. They pride themselves on being organic and fair trade, meaning that the farmers they work with get more than just a dollar a pound. Each batch is tested to ensure it is roasted to perfection. A process that concludes with their coffee being wrapped up in a 100% compostable pod, which is nothing but a mesh filter and no plastic: meaning no waste.

And now they have put 4 years of work into making their pods 100% compostable, they want other coffee pod producers to do the same. They are enlisting fans of their product and all those who care for the environment to sign their petition. A petition urging the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change to ban the sale of non-compostable coffee pods across Canada, and to enact legislation requiring all green-waste contractors across the country to accept 100% compostable coffee pods at their facilities. And all this comes at a perfect time when our city is already more aware and in the midst of decreasing its plastic waste by banning plastic straws.

So take 5 minutes and sign the petition by visiting the link below. There is also ways on how you can donate to the cause or share the petition to increase its awareness.

http://chng.it/PGfrjmvKDM

But now back to the coffee. Everything we tried today was brewed from a single serve machine. And we were recommended to sip each cup black, as is. The effective argument was, you don’t add cream or sugar to wine or beer, so why would you do it to coffee. Coffee, begins a similar product that is specially gathered and brewed with a specific flavour in mind.

The following three blends were chosen for today’s sampling given how they paired with our brunch items to come.

But first we started with a specialty crafted coffee cocktail.: “Friar Frappe”. “OneCoffee” French roast, Bailey’s Irish cream, green chartreuse, and mint. This was a great pick me up and got everyone in the mood for more coffee.

Then one by one we tried the Columbian, Ethiopian, and Peruvian blends
The “Colombian blend” was a mild cup with overtones of sweet wine. It is finished with clean and subtle notes of citrus and herbs.
The “Ethiopian blend” is grown in the rolling hills of Ethiopia. It is hand picked and gently washed, then sun-dried. It stars with floral notes and finishes off with a delicate and lingering flavour.
The “Peruvian blend” is a dark roast found in the uppermost regions of Peru. It is an understated coffee with a mildly acidic and rounded body. It is finished with the sweetness of honey sourced from neighbouring countries.

Our two-course brunch, started with a Belgium waffle served with a custom made “OneCoffee” Sumatran blended ganache. The waffle was sweet and fluffy, and the dipping sauce spiced, warming you up with its nutty tones.

The second course gave diners four options to choose from including granola and fruit yoghurt or a mushroom omelette.

I had the “Bob Matin” which was a deconstructed sandwich. You picked and curated each bite with either thin slices of prosciutto, sweet tomato, mashed avocado, a briny olive tapenade, softened Brie, a perfect soft boiled egg, and/or crunchy sourdough. I built it all into a full sandwich and enjoyed each colourful bite. This was best paired with “One Coffee’s Ethiopian blend”.

But the “Paella” was the most popular choice, and what majority of the room ordered. It was served in a skillet with one fried egg, curried orzo, hot Spanish chorizo, charred tomato salsa, cucumber, and pickled cilantro. This was a slightly spicy and hearty portion that paired best with “One Coffee’s Peruvian Blend”.

A delicious meal, some terrific coffee, and a brunch with a mission. For those looking to try “OneCoffee” 100% compostable coffee machine pods, they are available in “London Drugs, the organic isle of “Superstore”, “Choices, and “Whole Foods”.

ONE COFFEE
http://onecoffee.com

Cacao 70 Sweet House, Granville

I have yet to visit this boutique location of the growing dipped ice cream dessert chain. Conveniently located by the Granville sky train station, on the busy Granville street block, this little shop is the ideal spot for an indulgent dessert, a light snack, and I would soon learn brunch!

Like the other locations a lot is put into the decor. Speckled tiles floors, painted rattan seats, and wallpaper of green leaves against pink. What looks like only a narrow row of seating opens up at the back with more lounging space and tables, including upholstered booths with green palms and brown leather. This is the type of setting that you expect from a tea house, and warrants a photo.

Their menu is extensive, but we would soon learn only select items are available seasonally or occasional. Although you wouldn’t know unless you asked. There are no dates listed on their photos and menus; whereas I believe that if it is posted up and advertised within the restaurant, you should be able to order it. For example we were interested in trying their ice cream coated with chocolate and cake bits, after seeing a photos of all their flavours towering over a cone; only to learn they don’t currently stock the ingredients necessary to make it. Similarly, we couldn’t try the dipped churro doughnuts that were pictured on a flyer at the counter because they didn’t have any doughnuts in house for dipping. As a customer you shouldn’t have to pick something else and be disappointed before you even ordered.

So instead we got to try their Valentine’s Day inspired new drink and dessert, starting with the raspberry hot chocolate. It isn’t too sweet and you definitely can taste the raspberry in it. It is a warming cup topped with fluffy clouds of whipped cream, the perfect treat.

With it you can enjoy their matching white chocolate infused, raspberry topped waffle. This was both a visual treat and a tasty one. Pressed to order fluffy waffles topped with more luscious whipped cream, tart strawberries, and drizzled of raspberry flavoured white chocolate. I also appreciated how the order came with additional fruit and chocolate on the side so that you can customize your bites to your taste. Although be warned the dish of pink chocolate does harden when cooled, so do your dipping and pouring sooner than later. I liked this sauce as it reminded me of childhood and strawberry Pocky.

Going backwards, we ended our visit with something savoury. We were keen on trying something off of their brunch menu as you wouldn’t thinking of ordering anything savoury or having brunch here in the first place. A cafe that specializes in dessert with an emphasis of chocolate in its name wouldn’t be my typical go to for breakfast, but here we were eating our words. Their savoury stuffed waffle sandwiches makes a great anytime snack, and I would come back for the one we had in particular. This is the “Outlaw chicken waffle”. Tender chunks of chicken with melted white cheese, juicy tomato slices, fresh spinach greens, and candied bacon. Biting down I was taken back by how good this was, it honestly felt like it shouldn’t taste this good given where we were. Yet here we were commenting on how tasty it was after every bite. The sweet and salty combo is perfect with the waffle and bacon making great bedmates.

 

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.
Yes, now that I know how tasty they are I would definitely come back, and feel comfortable recommending them for dessert and brunch to anyone. Given what I failed to try during this visit, I guess there is reason to return and try their other menu items when they are available… although I don’t exactly know when that will be. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CACAO 70 SWEET HOUSE
738 Granville Street, Vancouver BC, V6Z 1E4
604-288-9292
cacao70.com

On Yogurt, new February menu

Today I was at “On Yogurt” to try out their latest seasonal offerings. For the month of February they have five new specialty items launching.

To celebrate their 3rd year anniversary they are jumping on the brown sugar pearl trend. They have found a clever way to incorporate the sticky pearl’s popularity into their line of ice fried yogurts, shaken teas, and pressed waffles. These “dirty” treats are available from now to the end of February.

The “Bubble waffle dirty cup” is at its essence a dressed bubble waffle, but made into a parfait. Served in a plastic cup with a spoon, this rendition is easier to travel with and to eat. It is their original bubble waffle ripped apart and top with a yogurt cheese foam, black sugar pearls, and cocoa powder. “Dirty” is definitely the right work to describe this. Fun to eat and tasty with the classic salty and sweet pairing. Chewy with pearls, creamy with cheese foam, and crispy with baked waffle. I enjoyed the pearls like this more than at the bottom of any bubble tea.

However if I was to choose between the two, I would get the “Taiyaki dirty fish”. Same yogurt cheese foam, black sugar pearls, and cocoa powder; but in a crispy pressed Taiyaki shell instead. Half croissant and half bubble waffle, the flaky pastry is further filled with a black sugar spread. The crispiness of the taiyaki held up, even after it cooled, but the middle is the best part, with its phyllo dough core.

And starting on February 14, they have 3 Valentine’s Day themed drinks and a dessert that will also be available until February 28th.

The “Rose Ferrero Rocher” ice fried yogurt gelato with strawberry and edible gold flake was very photogenic. The ice cream is beautiful with the bits of brown chocolate and shredded pink rose petals. And everything is always made better with a sheet of gold topping it. The chocolate in the ice cream was great for texture and crunch. Whereas the flavour of the rose water was what you tasted. It was good, but not a flavour I couldn’t see myself finishing, due to its specific nature, therefore this would be best shared.

The “Fresh taro milk with white pearls and Ferraro rocher” was as interesting idea and it gave me a few firsts. I have never had a taro drink that used mashed, steamed taro before. And this was my first time trying agar pearls. Together with warm milk and cold ice cubes, the result was a murky cup that tasted a lot better that it looked.

Originally I wasn’t too keen on the white agar pearls above, but grew to like them more in the “Rose tea with cheese milk foam”. It has a texture similar to cartilage, but chewier. They offered something to grind through as you avoided the rose petals floating up. They petals are edible, but I wasn’t keen on their texture and how much they dominated when you got one between your tongue and teeth. Although as annoying as fishing out petals and spitting leaves was, I would still go back for more. Overall this was a super tasty drink, and I have never had anything like it in my life. I suggest trying each layer when you first get it, then mixing it all together: juice and cream for a completely new drink.

In short, I suggest heading down to “On Yogurt”, and trying out each of these for yourself. And from Feb 19-24, the first 5 dirty fish or dirty cup orders for the day, will be free. And after that, 10% off for everyone else.

 

ON YOGURT
95 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1C2
778-788-8691
onyogurt.com

Miracle Belgian Waffle

My guest and I were looking for a late night dessert spot, not in Vancouver. This challenge took us far away, 10 plus km, to the heart of downtown Coquitlam in slight snow. And sadly, all this trouble for the worst waffles I have ever had.

The cafe was set up like a warehouse, cold with an exposed ceiling and piping. Not necessary the decor I would conjure up for a coffee and dessert spot, offering such decadently decorated waffles. With only a handful of their informative and decorative chalkboards filled in, it felt like they were newly open, instead of being the long standing addition to the neighbourhood that they were.

You order at the counter all the way towards the back. The well lit refrigerated cooler lights your way past the black walls and black furniture lit under dull bulbs.

Given the chillier night, I started our time here enjoying a matcha latte that I have no complaints about.

As for the waffles, they looked good, and were shaped right, so it was so surprising how badly they tasted. First they were the densest waffles I have ever had, definitely frozen and re-heated. It wasn’t fluffy or chewy, just tiring to chew through. Cutting into it was like cutting into uncooked pizza dough. So bad that I originally paid for one to go, but after my first bite I went back to the counter to ask for a refund. The clerk didn’t even flinch when I explained my reasoning and was candid about how bad their waffles were. But sadly, there was no budging on the waffles they already made, that we were currently trying to eat through. So we ended up forcing ourselves through dessert, as to not waste food or our money spent on them.

I ordered the mango and white chocolate waffle combo, finding myself eating around the waffle to enjoy all the tasty ice cream with sweet chocolate drizzle and tangy pineapple fruit for balance.

My guest got the espresso and milk chocolate duo, just like my desert, he too found the espresso ice cream on his waffle and the sauce over it the best part. All this was fairly ironic, given the name and promise of the cafe.

 

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – No.
It was far to get to and the product was not worth the price or the drive. No reason to return when I can get better in grocery store freezers, that I toast to bake myself. I was so unhappy by my experience that my guest was compelled to apologize for the recommendation and for me treating him to it. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MIRACLE WAFFLE
160-2950 Glen Drive, Coquitlam BC, V3B 0B8
778-285-1004
Miracle Belgian Waffle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

KFC Canada’s Waffle Double Down

There is a new way to enjoy the popular pairing of chicken and waffles! Reintroducing the “KFC Double Down”, this time with a waffle as its filling!

The original “Double Down” is two breaded and deep fried pieces of chicken breast sandwiching bacon and cheese. The name comes from the replacing of bread and buns with two of their white meat chicken breast. Well the idea is back and rejuvenated in this sweet and salty version. Same famous bun-less, all-chicken burger, but this time it is sandwiching waffles with a very Canadian twist. Instead of their famous gravy or the traditional maple syrup, the golden Belgian waffle “patty” comes smeared with plenty of a their maple aioli sauce.

This is actually my first time trying a “Double Down”. Admittedly I much more prefer their dark mean chicken drums and thigh in original recipe with ketchup, so whenever I visit that is what I order. But this reverse burger, playing off of everyone’s thirst for chicken and waffles sounded too perfect to not make a special trip for.

So we headed to our nearest mall food court to pick up a couple. I prefer my Kentucky Fried Chicken from a food court, than out of one of their free standing franchise chains. Thanks to mall staff, the dining area is a lot cleaner, not to mention better lit, with the ability to accommodate more bodies. Although when I was walking up to the kiosk, my heart sank, as there were no posters advertising this newest trendy food item. However, after inquiring about it, the cook and the staff were happy to announce that they do offer the reserve sandwich in both spicy (zinger) and original recipe chicken. I would get both, to double down on my “Double Down”!

At $9.95 they aren’t part of the economy meal, a little pricy for one “burger”. And hard to shell out for today considering its was a tuesday and their “Tuesday Special” has two pieces of chicken with fries as a set for $3.29. But I thought, “Hey, why not spoil myself a little this weekday brunch”. I made one sandwich a combo and got the other on the side with a smaller container of their thick gravy.

To watch my vlog of the tasting and experience, visit my YouTube channel: MaggiMei, for my latest video.

 

The chicken was crispy and warm, it kept its heat despite my mini photo shoot, furthered by generous dips into the warm side of gravy. I was most surprised by how good the waffle was. Naturally it warmed from was frozen, as this is fast food and I doubt KFC Canada corporate, rolled out waffle presses for each location with the necessary training on how to use it. So it is amazing how fluffy and delicious the waffle was, it didn’t even get soggy from first bite to last. But it was the creamy maple sauce that tied it all together. It wasn’t aggressively sweet, just the perfect bridge from salty and sweet to bring spicy chicken and honey waffle together in the perfect symmetry.

In short this was an amazing snack anytime of the day, and I can see myself going back and craving another after a few pints. This one should not be missed! Head down to your nearest and dearest KFC to try it before its is gone. It is so great to know we have something so fun in Canada, that a US fast food chain doesn’t. And now Americans have to drive up to get it. And if that is you, I can tell you the drive is worth it!

 

KFC CANADA
kfc.ca

On Yogurt, bubble waffle

 

I have already commended “On Yogurt” once, for their ability to keep relevant and exciting through updates to their menu, and here I am doing it again.

Another season and another interpretation of their unique ice fried yogurt gelato. To “ice fry” is to treat your yogurt on an ice pan, at temperatures lower than -35 degrees. Batter gets poured, whipped into a smooth texture through a series of chops, then scraped/rolled for the most unique shape and texture that ice cream can possibly come in. For the full description on the process of ice frying, and to read up on my first visit to “On Yogurt”, visit the link below.

 

On Yogurt

 

Where most dessert shops flounder during the colder months, “On Yogurt” continues to do well and see traffic due to their ability to adapt. With limited edition ice cream flavours and seasonal and occasion driven offerings, they continue to bring loyal and new customers back in, to try the latest interpretation of their ice fried yogurts. Typically it is a new base to feature their ice cream within. Last time it was Taiyaki “cones”, which they still offer regularly. This a fish shaped pressed pastry, filled with various creams and custards, and topped with their rolls of yogurt cream. To read more about those, visit the link below.

 

On Yogurt, taiyaki

 

But today we were here for an introduction to their new bubble waffle collection. Six different bubble waffle centric desserts that use these pressed to order waffles as a base/taco shell to fill with rolls of their ice cream and various themed toppings. The following is account of each.

To watch the vlog version on how they are made and what goes into each one, check out the latest video on my YouTube channel: MaggiMei. Also continue watching to see me attempt to eat one of each, of the six sweet waffle combos below.

 

 

“Bubble Matcha” is made to order matcha ice fried yogurt gelato, red bean, mochi, crispy rice, and condense milk. I enjoyed this for all its textures. The variety kept things interesting from first to last bite.

The “Bubble Oreo” has Oreo ice fried yogurt gelato, cheesecake bites, mini m&m chocolates, Oreo bits, and a Nutella drizzle. This one is for the chocolate lover who likes a richer dessert. This has you covered with chewy cake, sticky sauce; and crunchy, hard shelled candy.

“Bubble fruit” features their original ice fried yogurt topped with diced up kiwi, banana, and strawberry chunks. If you are going to eat one to yourself this is the one. Light and easy with a healthy dose of fruit.

The “Bubble peanut” featured peanut butter flavoured ice fried yogurt gelato, crushed peanuts, mini Reese cups, mini Reese chocolate pieces, and peanut butter drizzle. You must love peanut butter to enjoy this one, and luckily I do. However it does get heavy, so it would have been nice to have some sweet jelly to balance things out.

The “Bubble tiramisu” has tiramisu flavoured ice fried yogurt gelato, tiramisu cream, triple chocolate brownie, and a dusting of cocoa powder. This was least favourite of the bunch as I am not a fan of original tiramisu. However the others enjoyed it for its extra cream and chewy brownie pieces.

And just in time and for valentines this is their limited edition “Bubble Valentine”. Red velvet ice fried yogurt gelato, chocolate cake chunks, red sprinkles, and crushed up dried rose petals. The colour was on point for the occasion, and the flower petals used were a nice touch. I

The only savoury one is this “Bubble Dog”, which is also the only waffle to not include ice cream. Instead you have lettuce, a sausage, cheese, roasted seaweed, bonito flakes, and Japanese sweet mayo. I think the goal was to have it resemble a okonomiyaki, a Japanese style savory pancake and they did just that. The sweet and savoury flavour worked.

 

ON YOGURT
95 Smithe Street, Vancouver BC, V6B 1C2
778-788-8691
onyogurt.com

St. Regis’ new brunch menu

Just in time for Spring, “St. Regis Bar & Grill” has launched a brand-new brunch menu. An assembly of breakfast favourites and twists to tempt. Sausage and hash browns, yorkie Benedicts, sous vide eggs over avocado toast, and even Belgium waffles.

And today I was invited to give a few of these new dishes a try. I was unable to attend their media launch party the week before, however the organizers were kind enough to invite myself and local media influencer, “pork ninjas” to a brunch for two today.

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.

It was only a while ago since I discovered “St. Regis” and deemeed them a great place for a casual dinner, one you wouldn’t immediately think of given their bar exterior. And here they were doing it again, breaking bar stereotypes and carving themselves out as a great breakfast spot. Of note, this brunch is only available on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays between 11-3pm

To read my original post on dinner at “St. Regis”, please visit the link below.

St. Regis Bar & Grill

This time around we were seated on the upper level of the historic building. It smelled smokey, the musk added to the feel of the place and the all wood furnishings and bar. The room was split between two levels, divided between a walk-up deck on either ends. We grabbed a lovely table by the window, still within eye sight of five different television screens. The bar as a whole was well equipped to broadcast any game at any angle.

There was too much to sift through, so we took the two vegetarian recommendations that our server had, and tacked on a meat heavier dish and one that was more on the breakfast-dessert side.

We started off with the classic breakfast cocktails: the mimosa and the Caesar. The former a simple hand squeeze orange juice and sparking wine combo; the latter, a spicy clam juice and vodka mix with spices and a garnish of pepperoni sticks, olives, and celery.

The “Avocado toast with sous-vide eggs” came highly recommended as a Vancouver staple. Their version came embellished with sprouts and cherry tomatoes for a garden of goodness over toast. The toast, was crispy warm bread from local bakers, “The bread Affair”. Its crunchy texture was a nice contrast to the, as expected and creamy texture of the mashed avocado, turned spread. I was a big fan of the sous vide egg intentionally served cold. But I couldn’t argue with process and results. This was the most golden I have ever seen a yolk, the most silken I have ever felt of an egg, with an as decadent flavour to match. I normally have my breakfast with ketchup, but as mild as it all was, it was also plenty tasty as is. Simple and lightly peppered with the sprouts for grit and the tomatoes for pops of juice.

The “Vegetarian Bennie” paired fresh vegetables with a couple of poached eggs over the traditional toasted English muffin with hollandaise sauce. In attendance were tomatoes, avocado, spinach, and green onions. I wasn’t a fan of the spinach, especially after cutting into the egg and having its thick yolk drown the leaves to a soggy mush. But everything else was delicious from the well seasoned and crisp potatoes to another luscious egg. Though the chewy texture of the English muffin was my favourite part of the dish.

Looking for something more substantial I had the “Steak and eggs”, choosing medium rare for my 6oz and sunny side for the two eggs. Both were pretty standard, though the eggs faired better then the beef in moisture and their soften texture. The bread was whole grain, again from “The Bread Affair”. It was served with a home made jam. A delicious spread that, “Pork Ninjas” couldn’t not praise enough. It was a recipe that the new executive Chef Daniel earned watching his grandmother work. The original used crabapple and strawberries from her garden for a total of four ingredients in the mix. You don’t get the same tacky texture as with store bought jams, but more a murky spread and a honest to goodness taste.

The “Stuffed fresh toast” was a game changer. I am not typically a fan of sweetness for breakfast, but this would be the one to change that for me. The thick cuts of brioche was pumped full of their house made strawberry cream cheese and whipped cream combination. But despite how it sounds, it wasn’t too sweet, the perfect accompaniment to the cinnamon and sugar taste of the bread itself. It was actually more tangy like yogurt. And where you get the sugary sweetness is with the fructose from the fruit skewer.

Check out the link for a close up of the filling.

I also appreciated how they paired an otherwise sweet dish with some of their house made pork medallions, and gave the plate a bit of savoury for balance. They were spicy sausages well seasoned with a peppery kick, and they smelled amazing.

We were also treated to a sneak peak of their waffle making process. They have added made to order Belgium waffles on the menu for $7 for 1 and $12 for 2, with a little more to pay depending on the toppings or sides you choose. Served as is, with a side of fried chicken, or topped with extras like chocolate sauce, fresh berries, or more of grandma’s jam.

But be warned, because of the need to pour the batter and let it sit and bake in the waffle press, it does take a while, and when you get it, it is served fairly hot. Once again, we were allowed in the kitchen to get an intimate look at this process. There we were able to verify that it is currently a one man, one machine operation. That is unless the popularity of these waffles increase and there is a need for two men and two machines to keep up with demand.

The waffles were amazing, they had a texture that I have never had before with any other. The edges had an airy crisp to them, similar to a thin cracker. And the centre was sponge-like and eggy. It tasted great, a little salt and mostly custard like. Watch waffles comes with a block of butter and a dish of syrup as its basic dressing, but not that you need either. It was great as it. I would return just for the waffles plain. Thinking about it now, they sort of remind me of bubble waffles in texture and taste. .

 

Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
I have said it before, and this event has further confirmed it. “St. Regis” is a stand up place for good food in a low key setting. A stop you wouldn’t otherwise consider, if not having read this or had a recommendation from someone first hand. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

ST. REGIS BAR & GRILL
608 Dunsmuir Street.
604 696-5558
stregisbarandgrill.com

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

Crackle Creme

IMG_9671IMG_9678

With the increasing popularity of “Pokemon Go” (the augmented reality game, where you catch pocket monsters by walking and travelling in real life time), and my love for it and novelty, when I heard they were selling Pokemon themed macarons at “Crackle Creme”, I directed our after dinner dessert destination here.

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Once just known of their specialty flavoured creme burlees in ramekins, they have slowly expanded and slowly carved themselves into a more comprehensive dessert place. And with no surrounding competition, they have been doing a hell of a job. “Crackle Creme” now also offers ice cream, waffles, macarons, and hot beverages.

Nothing is made to order, with all the prep required, but finishing touches are completed before your eyes. The toasting of a room temperature waffle, the scooping of ice cream between two large macaron shells, and the torching of sugar over custard.

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But with an eye catching collection of colourful macaron characters in their window display, I directed my attention there. These are made in partnership with “Gourmand Macaron” to sell exclusively here. Each had its own flavour, not necessarily reflective of its colour or pattern, except the coconut pandan which was a pale green dusted with shredded coconut. Totoro was lavender, his white friend matcha, and the pink version passion fruit. Hello kitty was lemon, Kerropi was also matcha, a minion was mango, and the poop emoji was hazelnut; just to list a few.

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I of course got pikachu which was chocolate ganache filled and a red and white pokeball that matched. I passed on snorlax because I didn’t think it was obvious enough that it was him. The macarons are good, but it is for their image that you get them. So it was sad that despite gingerly removing them from the mini brown paper bag that they were served in, their surfaces got smudged when I went to get a better grip on them. The owner informed me that it was because it was too hot, and the ink used melts. However this happened immediately after I got them and went to pose them for another photo. And because I ordered them more for look than taste, I naturally was disappointed.

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The black soot from the animated movie “Spirited Away” faired better. Its entire surface was engulfed in black sesame seeds, and naturally, black sesame flavoured. I ordered the large version as an ice cream sandwich, and was given a choice of ice cream filling between today’s availability. I went with the original sounding honey lavender. It was a good call as the macaron shell was fairly sweet and the gentle ice cream didn’t add any more sugar to the mix.

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My guest went for one of their leige waffles glistening behind glass. Separated on wire racks they were ready to take a whirl in the oven before being served warm and a la mode. For a less sweet pairing, she went with the hojicha flavoured ice cream, which is roasted green tea. And like my combo, it paired nicely for a mild dessert. The waffle was decent, but you could tell it wasn’t fresh. It didn’t have that spongy springy texture you wanted.

For drinks, they had a self serve water station. It had sprigs of thyme in it, giving the water a floral after taste. It was certainly unique of them, but after my dessert, I just wanted some ice cold, refreshing, tasteless water, to wash it all down. This area is also where you leave your used dish ware and cutlery when done, stacked in plastic trays.

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For seating they have counter top ledges and stools by the windows and against each free wall. We opted for the scenery of the adjacent park, over their walls decorated in pop culture references and framed dog photos.

The patio out front was a space saving narrow plank of wood in front of a few chairs. It wasn’t the most comfortable eating arrangement: to stoop and hover over your plate, but without air conditioning inside, it was still preferred.

 

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 haven’t had their creme burlee since they first opened, so would like to return to revisit how they are now. They also have a lot more flavours on rotation. Thai tea, lychee vodka, Vietnamese coffee with cocoa nibs, baileys, and even a vegan mango coconut; just to name a few. Both them and their macarons also make great gifts, and novelty worth returning for. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CRACKLE CREME
245 Union Street, Vancouver BC, V6A3A1
778-847-8533
cracklecreme.com
Crackle Crème Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Off The Grid Waffles

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This is one of those places I initially avoided, waiting until the buzz died down, to avoid excessive lines and crowded confines. That, and its mid day hours were hard to coordinate a visit to. But finally I was here at “Off the grid waffles” to try their popular milkshakes with in house made waffle garnish.

Heading to it, you might miss your destination the first time around. They are called “off the grid” for a reason. Located on a quiet block on Kingsway, with no real other restaurants or dessert places in its close proximity. If you made an effort to come out of the way here, you were staying, line or not. But we came early to beat the rush, being the only other table seated mid day, and having our pick of the place.

The restaurant’s awning is planked wood with its name and logo in white. A scalloped circle with neat rows of small crosses at its centre. This was their nouveau way of illustrating that they were waffle joint.

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Stepping in, there was a change in temperature. They had no air conditioning, and the pressing of fresh waffles only made the air inside stickier. They did have two fan blowing at either ends of of the seating area. Their locations help in our seat choosing process. But as a result of the additional heat, everyone ordered a milkshake, and the restaurant boomed with a full crowd by 7pm. A few tables also came with jenga blocks, already stacked up. It gave you the impression that they wanted a lingering crowd.

The restaurant was a clean space. Wood floors and a white check out counter labelled “waffles!” The counter tops had the same wood finishing that the exterior’s awning did. This is where each waffle was pressed and topped as desired.

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Everything was made to order before your eyes. After the clerk takes your order, one of the two other staff members set about preparing it. They do this in the open Cafe, with only the height of the counter giving the process some illusion. But while paying you get a great view of their row of waffle presses and all the containers of ingredients necessary to craft their signature milkshakes.

They don’t just do sweets. They also had pizza waffles available. Any waffle topped with savoury ingredients fell under this category. There was one with grilled chicken breast and another with smoked meat. The classic pepperoni, cheese, and Hawaiian pizza flavours were also represented.

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We went for the “Spicy chicken with bacon pizza waffle”. This was a well done rendition of pizza, and a play on the popular pairing of chicken and waffles, but with bacon bits. A whole waffle worth of pizza was served in a black pan with handles, and topped with a flag of their logo. The fluffy waffle was layered with plenty of chicken, together it had both a great kick from the spicy mayo and a little bit of sweetness from the waffle.

They also had desserts built around and topping their liege style waffles as well. They had a tiramisu waffle, one with chocolate and peppermint, and a cheesecake waffle. And like the pizza ones, they had the classic dessert toppings like banana and Nutella, s’mores, and apple cinnamon. You can also have your waffle plain, or add a scoop of ice cream for extra. But we chose to drink our desserts.

To drink, they offered much of what other cafes did. Coffees, teas, and milk mixes of both. But chances are you were here for their most popular menu option: the milkshake. There were six different flavours available. Each was filled to the brim of a mason jar, topped with whipped cream, drizzled in syrups and sauces, and finished off with their trademark waffle wedge. The assortment and any extras depended on which flavour your ordered. Each version was served on a glass plate, as it was a messy affair of dripping cream, sticky syrup, and powered sugar. The beverages also came with a cookie straw to eat and drink from, and a plastic one in case you finished that one before your drink was done. I appreciated the pageantry of this the most.

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Though choosing which one you wanted was tough. I did so by basing it on what I found the most unique, as is often how I order when bombarded with so much I want to taste and try. I went for the “Maple Bacon” OFG shake. It ended up being more vanilla than maple, though the candied bacon came through in chewy bits. It was sweet and refreshingly creamy.

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My guest went for a more tried and true flavour, the most popular, “Oreo”. Not only did it come with a mound of whipped cream and a thick waffle wedge, like mine did above, but she also got the add on of a whole Oreo cookie. The extras gave the drink texture and made the eating of it more fun, with breaks in tastes and the mixing of complimentary flavours.

Although, as good as these milkshakes were, they are fairly easy to make. All one needs is a blender and the ability to push its buttons. In fact I often make my own milkshakes and decorated them more elaborate as these. And knowing what goes into each one, I would say I like mine just a bit more. However the waffle final touch is something I can’t do at home, and something I do praise them for here.

 

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.
They offer solid waffles in savoury or sweet varieties, but their milkshakes are what’s worth coming back for. Their shakes are a nice treat for when you don’t want the extra work of chewing your desserts. Come early to avoid the crowd, because you don’t get the same experience if you decide to take your milkshake on the road. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

OFF THE GRID
2665 Kingsway, Vancouver BC, V5R 5H4
Off The Grid Waffles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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