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Category: Cariboo/Lougheed

Standing Egg Coffee

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I am not a coffee drinker and therefore not a cafe visitor, however peering into the window of this one, I knew I wanted go in. And after today, I have deemed it is my new favourite cafe for its decor alone.

Located in the Korean area of Burquitlam it sits in a plaza amongst a grocery store and several Korean restaurants that I frequent. I first discovered it passing by, reading its name on their sandwich board and being curious enough to peer in through the glass entrance. The name doesn’t match the theme, and I couldn’t connect one to the other. However, given my interest, I can at least say it is an effective lure. My first visit was after dinner, and not necessarily the best time to grab coffee, so we agreed to come back earlier in the day next time.

“Standing Egg” is dressed in blacks and browns like the coffee they brew. It is a trendy and clean space with several industrial and artistic elements that are both visually interesting and functionally useful. Lights are strung up with lengthy cords of wire, burlap sacks and worn wooden crates are used as storage solutions, wooden planks and metal piping is repurposed as wall mounted shelves, and nails and string are hammered and strung to create works of art. The latter mapped out the world in mental and yarn, I assume spelling out their other locations internationally.

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In the centre of the room is an iron display table showcasing knick knacks and bobbles that you would find in a study or den. A wind up camera, a bottle holder and wine for the carafe, a snow globe with a couple engaging in the waltz, and several coffee making apparatuses. Hanging above it all, with the aid of paper clips were customer’s stamp cards. Brown logo-ed cards with their names and black sharpie marks indicating how much more they needed to get a free cup during their next visit. This was a fun way to display and store such cards for self service.

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Along the back left wall were full length cold brew coffee drippers on display and for sale. They looked like hip height hour glasses retailing for $350 each, and only added interest to the space.

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You order and pick up from the counter at the back. You are given a buzzer after payment to indicate the completion of our purchase and it’s readiness for pick up from the same counter. The list of coffees are printed on a piece of paper and clipped to a miniature easel on the desk. Given my inexperience with coffee, I found the clerk very helpful in answering my questions and when making my decision.

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Seeing as I don’t drink coffee, I don’t often get to enjoy latte art, so when I do, I make sure to order something that would allow me to appreciate a picture in foam. Today, the only way that was possible was via a regular latte. Apparently the inclusion of any of their specialty flavours from various syrups, would make the drink too heavy for latte art. It sounded odd, but who am I to argue? So I had to forgo the possibility of a vanilla, honey, or a Spanish latte for the regular coffee and cream version. It tasted plain to me, but as it should according to my more coffee experienced guest. He described it as coffee lite.

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He on the other hand, went for his usual Americano with a twist. The “Shakerato” was their house special and its name delivered. A martini shaker was used to prepare this coffee cocktail. It was an iced Americano topped with foam. A light beverage with a nice tang, it reminded me of refreshing-ness of salted plum. My guest raved about the coffee’s quality. He suspected it was in how they prepare the beans. They did deem themselves as a laboratory for organic coffee. I was just as impressed with their thorough branding, which included their logo etched into the glasses and stamped on the porcelain.

Of note, regular sized beverages were served in proper glasses and mugs, if you wished to dine in. For those looking for a larger portion, it is only available in take out cups, staying-in or not

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As for food, they offer no more than a showcase of desserts that you can point to and order. A rotating selection of macarons and individually sized cakes, making them a great dessert stop as well. I am unsure if they were made in house, but regardless, they were tasty.

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We had the Tiramisu, which tasted like cream and coffee as predicted, and had the fluffy texture of a soggy sponge as expected. But what isn’t normally included is all the extra shards of chocolate that topped the treat. Mascarpone mousse with coffee infused whipped ganache, on a sponge soaked in espresso. It was a little too rich and creamy for my liking, but my guest of Italian decent found it alright.

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The “Pumpkin tart” was a more seasonal offering. Savoury pumpkin featuring a light cinnamon and chocolate cream, topped with spicy ginger bread cubes. The buttery crust was my favourite part. Even with all the bolder flavours, the elements melded in harmony. Creamy and not too spicy.

 

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.
This is definitely a destination to socialize in and a comforting spot to study at. For those visual folks like me, it stimulates in every facet. Solid coffee and delicious cakes in a very special setting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

STANDING EGG COFFEE
Unit 109-4501 North Road, Burnaby BC, V3N 4R7
694-836-9129
standingeggcoffee.com
Standing Egg Coffee Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Midam Cafe & Bistro

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Today we couldn’t just go to a restaurant, we had to travel across four cities, to only end up at a place I have already been to a handful of times. After attempting dinner at two other places, that proved to be a bust; I wasn’t willing to leave my meal to chance.

This is one of my favourite Korean restaurants. So when looking for a sure fire meal, I knew I was in safe hands here. What I have yet to figure out is the theme of the place and why it exists. For those who have been it is easily described as, “the one with the basketball theme”. You either get it or you don’t. We didn’t, but we liked the food just the same. I imagine the decor as part of the owner’s personal memorabilia collection. But either he ran out of showcase space at home, or his wife demanded that he find a new place for all his action figures and jerseys. Either way, they found their way here to be admired and appreciated, and expanded upon. To give you a taste: Kobe Bryant cut out greets you mid dribble at the door, spot lit Michael Jordan posters hung over the coffee bar, NBA branded showcases were home to high tops and ball caps, and we were seated under the net of a court regulated basketball hoop. Even the washrooms were themed. The divide between men’s and women’s was “NBA” and “WNBA”, with balls crowning the individual stall’s toilet, and posters and decals covering its walls.

Seeing as they seemed to be Michael Jordan fans, my guest wondered why there was no mention of the role he played in “Space Jam”? And he felt that given the decor, they were better dressed to offer stadium fare like hot dogs and hamburgers with fries, instead of shaved ice desserts, rice cakes, and hot and spicy soups. But if that was the case, we wouldn’t be here.

As is common with a Korean restaurants, calling for help is as easy as pushing a button. The red one at the edge of each table triggers a light above the kitchen to illuminate with your designated table number. Typically a free server will approach you to help or answer any of your queries. However, they seemed especially busy this Saturday night. We had arrived just before the dinner rush, and mid way, our steady meal with attentive server was quicken by abrupt communication and the increase waiting for dishes to trickle to us. The manger seemed apologetic as he rolled up his sleeves and helped the floor in his high tops. Although our female server seemed annoyed at all the questions we were asking her, surrounding the menu. It made sense given the big rush that entered all at once, and the lack of a hostess to greet and maintain the flow of traffic by the door. There was no one to set the pace and give the kitchen time to prepare in between seatings. With only tree bodies working the room, tables were also left un-bussed and eventually the people who were waiting at the door seemed annoyed that the staff we not able to seat them. It also didn’t help that a few patrons were lingering, and others left the restaurant to smoke, only to come back and reclaim their seats.

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But at least the menu was straightforward and inviting. We were able to order what we wanted visually, and knew exactly what we would be getting.

Our table was dressed with metal utensils and metal serve ware. We were equipped with a metal canister of water and our own metal cups to pour into. Metal spoons and chopsticks followed, and somehow the latter felt more sanitary then the lacquer chopsticks used elsewhere.

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We began with some of their specialty lattes. The “Black bean latte” turned grey from the inclusion of the milk. It was slightly salty, but mostly sweet. Like a red bean brewed drink with the added flavouring of black sesame. I wish my local coffee shop offered this, or that they were part of my commute, I could see myself order this daily, if either of the above came true. We had a similar appreciation for my guest’s hot beverage choice below.

His “Purple sweet potato latte” took longer to come. When we inquired about the pause, we were formed that this was prepared in the kitchen, with the boiling of the yam, and then purée-ing it for the drink. Like the black bean it was a lighter purple with the addition of milk. It tasted a lot like the hot version of taro bubble tea, equally starchy, but a lot smoother. There were no lumps, and what you had was like drinking velvet. Though given both latte’s beauty in flavour, we wished for some latte art to finish them off with. Especially given how everything else they served was so ornate.

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It was a colder evening and I wanted the warmth of some hot soup. The “Spicy seafood hot pot”, served in a cast iron, single serve bowl was the ticket. It was a bold orange broth covering a collection of mussel, squid, scallop, shrimp, and tofu; and a soft boiled egg with runny yolk. The soup was plenty flavourful and spicier than we thought. By comparison, the boiled ingredients settled at the bottom was bland and on the tougher side. A side dish of hoisin sauce or a garlic based dip would have been ideal and helpful to rejuvenate it. But the bowl of rice and chilled vegetables made available were appreciated. Although, given that the soup was already spicy, more heat in the sides didn’t exactly help to change the flavour of the dish. Though the pickled tang of the cucumbers were a nice refreshing touch. The purple rice was a nice visual, but I found its kernels hard, and would have opted for a nice bowl of tender white steamed rice instead.

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My guest literally ordered the exact same meal and drink combination, as I did during my first dinner service with them. The “marinated beef rib patty wrapped in rice cake bento box” was exactly as I remembered it to be over six months ago. It was a unique dish, I have never heard of rice cake being stuffed with beef or anything else, anywhere else, it was an interesting combination that just worked. The salty garlic sauce just tied the hamburger meat, cabbage, rice cake, and purple rice together. The chewy and gummy texture of the rice cake had an opposites attract relationship with the gritty minced texture of the dry beef. The meat was on the chalkier side, but the pool of sweet and tangy sauce at the bottom was helpful in improving this. The box set was served with a green side salad, and the same side of cucumbers in a light vinaigrette, spicy jalapeños, and purple rice; that my combo above came with. Though during my first taste of this dish a spoon of kimchi and a bowl of miso soup was also included. Each side acted as a great break in between bites, to keep the meal interesting. This was a combo that grew on you the more you ate from it.

In hindsight, I wish I allowed my guest to tap into his Italian side, in order to have the “Rice cake pasta with a tomato meat sauce”. He was curious of this dish, that I wouldn’t otherwise think of trying myself.

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But he did stay true to his childhood with the “banana split” for dessert. It was just a regular banana split, but green tea ice cream instead of strawberry, with the scoops of chocolate and vanilla. And it had the inclusion of rice cakes, along with the banana, strawberries slices, blueberries, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce. It tasted exactly like how we expected it to be. It was good and he enjoyed it, where I couldn’t help but question his choice given the authenticity of this Korean restaurant, and the ability to order rice cake desserts, that they specialized in.

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That is why I went for the “Red bean fondue with three kinds of rice cake”. This took a while to come. The red bean was a hot dip, with a few lumps from the whole beans left in tack. I found it too sweet, and the rice cake better on their own. Especially as they were already flavoured in powder: green tea, black sesame, and roasted grain powder (which tasted a bit like ginger). My guest loves red bean, so ended up pouring the rest over his sundae like an additional topping.

Had we had more room I would have also liked to try the “Grilled ricecake with cheese”. The photo in the menu showed a cheddar and parmesan mix, topping a white sheet of rice cake. But based on our server’s facial expression, this might have been a good one to miss. My guest thought it sounded gross, I considered it more like Korean crazy bread (“crazy bread” is the Parmesan cheese covered bread sticks from “Little Caesar’s” pizza that is best when dipped into ranch dressing)

 

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 love rice cake, and with some many more rice cake inspired dishes to try, I can definitely see myself returning here for another guaranteed good meal. Definitely one of my favourite Korean restaurants to recommend and go to. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MIDAM
4501 North Road, Burnaby BC, V3N 4R7
604-568-5357
Midam Cafe & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IHOP

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Looking for a quick and easy breakfast we found ourselves here. This was your basic commercial diner. Stacks of newspapers by the door to help yourself to, rows of uniform booths all furnished the same. Each had caddy of various flavoured syrups to pair with one of their pancake breakfasts, a shaker of salt and pepper to taste, and a selection of sugar packets for your hot beverage of choice. Each table came preset with a kettle for coffee, so should you request it. And a bombardment of adverts whether you bought into it or not. Laminated posters and table signs soliciting you to try their various specials like yam fries, their new savoury turkey sausages, mango ice tea, or even a cappuccino made to taste like a coffee crisp chocolate bar. For the most part they worked, they certainly had me looking into the menu for more information.

My partner came in knowing that he wanted an eggs breakfast so it was only a matter of finding which exact option had all that he wanted along with it. It came down to a split decision with the “split decision” breakfast. It seemed like a great choice for when you want sweet and salty with your whole ensemble. Two eggs, two pieces of bacon, two sausage links, two triangles of French toast, and two pancakes. It was also the perfect meal to go halvies on. He made it his own by exchanging the French toast for a piece of regular toast and having the eggs over easy. Sadly the down grade to plain white bread would not spare us on cost, this we were told when we placed the order.

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What came to the tables looked much better in the menu, where the toast was golden brown and the bacon was a deep pink. What we had was a plain looking plate in a washed out beige tone. My partner was utterly disappointed, even before he started. This was a $13 meal, and with the price and the fact that it was a chain, he expected a certain standard. The sausages were definitely frozen, according to him they tasted like “freezer and cardboard”, a flavour he had to relive in the burps that would follow. The bacon was fatty and “tasteless”. And the eggs.. well “it’s hard to f*ck up eggs”, he stated. He declare that we should have gone to the neighbouring “Denny’s”, and that it would have been better, I knew it would at least be cheaper.

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The side of two pancakes was the above platter’s only saving grace. Served with a dollop a whip cream, you can choose your own adventure with the strawberry, blueberry, or butter pecan syrups; already at the table. My partner went for the “old fashion” and had to point out that it was no where near the taste or thick consistency of real maple syrup. An ironic note, considering that we were in Canada, and that this “Ihop” was proud to mention their love of Canada with the maple leaf on several of the decorative posters that lined the walls. Sadly, a love that does not include supplying their patrons with real maple syrup, that would support the Quebec sugar shack farmers. But once again it was the asking price that had us expecting more. As a chain you would expect better wholesale prices, and better discount passed on to the consumer. We have had similar breakfast platters like this from one of greasy spoons, that were much better in quality, and at least three dollars less in price, if not $10.

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They were called the international house of pancakes for a reason, so I went safe just with a small stack. A choice off their new “paradise pancake” menu, just around for the summer season. This listing included a strawberry cheesecake pancake with passionfruit sauce and a “banana macadamia nut pancake” with rum drizzle. Although their regular pancake menu was pretty impressive as well. As I read it, I wondered why I didn’t visit more often. New York cheesecake pancakes, red velvet pancakes, ones with fresh fruit, others with nuts, and even a raspberry with white chocolate chips. But like my partner, when I got my food I was disappointed and I remembered why I don’t visit “ihop” more often. The food was described vividly on the menu, but was actually pretty boring in person and in presentation.

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I went for the “pineapple upside down pancakes”. It promised sweet pineapple, grilled inside their buttermilk pancakes. Topped with their butter rum sauce, whipped cream, and the addition of a maraschino cherry. At $8 it was $3.50 per medium round and $1 for the toppings. What I got were pineapple chunks straight from a tin can. These were one that I have used many times on homemade nachos or pizza, so I was very familiar. They were not candied or grilled, they did nothing to them besides stirring them into batter. I also couldn’t make any of the rum mentioned in the sauce. It at least tasted okay, even if it wasn’t as advertised. They were same fluffy buttermilk pancakes my partner got above, but slightly dressed up. Like butting a boa on a chair, it dresses your seat up, but doesn’t necessarily improve it.

 

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.
Lesson learned from this one. The prices are inflated for this quality of fast food. A mom and pop diner would have done much better, and they are worth supporting. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

IHOP
9855 Austin Road, Burnaby BC, V3J 1N4
604-444-0201
ihop.com
IHOP Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Midam

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I have visited once before for dessert, and having loved their sweet rice cakes, wanted to return for a full meal. This time around, I was most curious to explore their savoury rice cakes.

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I most iconically remember this as the Korean restaurant with a basketball theme. Restaurant with themes are common, I just didn’t see the connection between theirs and the cuisine. It was a very unique theme that didn’t exactly match the furniture or the Korean pop-love songs playing over head. It was like the owner had all this stuff and ran out of space in his own house so decided to “store” it here. It at least made for some great writing material and conversation notes. And they were at least consistent with it throughout the entire restaurant. Two full sized regular basketball nets, two full rows of ball caps with various team logos, collectable action figures in show cases, signed jerseys, and neon coloured high tops. They even paid homage to the departed Vancouver Grizzlies with a snazzy wall decal.

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It was great for fans of Kobe Bryant, as you were greeted by his life size cut out at the entrance, while waiting to be seated. He came with his own standing showcase of Lakers merchandise, including a mini shrine and head phones in purple and yellow.

But the owner must be a huge Michael Jordan fan. Number 23’s likeness and brand graced every wall. His face could be seen stimuli get in abstract paintings, serious in life-like portraits, and accurate in action figures. There was also plenty of signed memorabilia and unworn “Jordan’s” shoes.

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This love to “be like mike” even carried in to the washroom. The men’s stall was marked with “NBA” and the women’s “WNBA”. The former was a shrine to Michael Jordan with commemorative game ball mounted on to the toilet’s tank, posters of Jordan facing the can, and a Chicago Bulls light switch decal and logo sticker on the toilet’s seat cover.

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I didn’t realize there was a difference between the men and women’s single stall washroom and used the men’s by mistake. Only to later pass by the women’s and note the less enthusiastic decoration of the stall. No women basketball super star shrine, no WNBA team memorabilia. Just a basketball on top of the toilet tank and a blown up photo of a little girl holding a basketball, like wall paper.

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The lone young man serving the diners even dressed to match the theme. Working the room in his own ball cap and high top sneakers. He was incredibly attentive, checking in on us often, with or without us signalling our need for service and help. A few secluded tables included a red call button, like ours. Which was great considering that the restaurant was set up with cubicle walls. It created some privacy, but left us without a view of the rest for the restaurant.

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Chilled water was served in metal carafe dripping with condensation. The hot tea came in a thermos to keep warm and to pour yourself. It all matched the metal dishware with metal utensils we were given.

The menu came with plenty of photos making it easy to order off of, especially if you are unfamiliar with the cuisine. I steered towards the regular Korean classics, but redirected myself to their specialties that included ricecake.

They had some interesting drinks, including herbal bitter teas. Like the “Jujube and yungji mushroom tea” that has been boiled for hours. It is believed to cleanse impure elements in the body and helps to improve the constitution. When I inquired about it with our server, he was honest in telling me that it was bitter and that we won’t enjoy it. He said it was for “old people”.

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I turned my attention to the “Purple sweet potato latte”. When I asked about this one he was again honest. He has never tried it, but voched that others have and have liked it. I was disappointed by the colour and the lack of milk art. I wished it a deeper purple like the concentrated hue at the bottom of the cup. It was a smooth drink, despite the occasional fibre filtered between my teeth. You definitely got the yam flavour in a nice mild and milky tone.

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My guest came recently and recommend the “marinated beef rib patty wrapped in rice cake bento box”, that she had previously. She thought it was very unique considering it was a beef stuffed ricecake. That was the selling point for me too. It was an interesting combination that just worked. The salty garlic sauce just tied the meat, cabbage, rice cake, and purple rice together in a way I can’t explain. Even the chewy gummy texture of the rice cake and the gritty minced texture of the beef went together. It was just a little dry, but the sauce was helpful. The box was served with a green side salad, cucumbers in a light vinaigrette, spicy kimchi, purple rice, and a bowl of miso soup. Each side acted as a great break in between bites, to keep the meal interesting. The salad was lightly dressed for some taste. The miso was over salty. And the kimchi added some spice. All together it grew on you the more you ate from I.

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My guest went for the “Spicy rice cake soup”. A bright red broth with bean thread noodles, rope-like vegetable, egg, ricecake slices, seaweed, and green onion. It was as spicy as she wanted, but was still missing some vegetables or tofu to balance out all the starch and chew. Though mid way through the portion, it got so hot that my guest had to eat her spicy noodles with the bowl of rice it came with. I watched her exhaling heavily from the heat and being content with what she felt on her tongue. She said it was flavourful with a good amount of spice.

There were so many delicious rice cake desserts to choose from, luckily my guest’s dietary restrictions narrowed our choices down. They had rice cake over shaved ice, rice cake in an ice cream parfait, grilled rice cake, fried rice cake, and even rice cake in cinnamon and sugar mimicking a churro with a side of ice cream. We did order the latter, but they must have forgotten, because it took so long to come that we ended up cancelling it.

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Though we were more than satisfied sharing the green “Ricecake made from glutinous brown rice and mugwort”. “Mugwort” is a common name for several species of aromatic plants, it is used medicinally and to flavour food like an herb. The rice cake was deep fried and coated with red bean flour and maple syrup. It was a light flavour accented with the syrup and powder. I enjoyed it most for its gummy texture. It was as fun to eat and tasted good. A mish-mash of flavours that just worked. Sweet syrup, crispy eggy batter, and sticky cake. I passed on the mashed and grainy red bean on top. It added unnecessary sweetness, and clashed with the thin syrup.

 

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.
My original review of the place holds true. I enjoyed my visit today as I did during my first. If anything, I was more excited for my next visit. I wanted to try more savoury and sweet ricecake dishes, as well as their take on classic Korean dishes. The desserts are unique and worth going through the list to try. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

MIDAM
4501 North Road, Burnaby BC, V3N 4R7
604-568-5357
Midam Cafe & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Midam Rice Cake House

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Located in “Korea Town”, an area along Lougheed highway the cusp between Burnaby and Coquitlam. One of many Korean stores and shops in a plaza of restaurants, grocery stores, and services. This was our after dinner destination. My Korean guest recommend the place, having been here many times before for desserts. Tucked away towards the back, a hunt for it was required. The back lit sign above and adjacent helped. The entrance itself was an unsigned double doored way. All the windows were blocked by wood and paper screens, with large photos posted: a collage of drinks and dishes offered. Organized by themes, they definitely did their food justice and led you in with hunger in your eyes.

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Inside the space was kept dark, dim lights and small table lamps. There was a carefully cultivated lounge like ambience. Korean music playing gently in the background and gatherings of groups evenly spaced, unlike other places that keep all guests zoned together so that servers have less steps to travel in between tables. Despite the loud chatter, the room and other patrons were left unaffected by background noise. Sectioned off spaces, partitioned tables, room separating screens, and tucked away corners created pockets of quiet.

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We helped ourselves to one of their on the floor seating experiences. Lining the windows were three cubicle like spaces. A step up and the removal of footwear gave you the opportunity to sit on plushy multicoloured and multi patterned
cushions on the floor. Cushions that looked new and actually offered support, unlike the well worn and paper thin ones offered at other establishment with such seating arrangements.

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Most peculiar was the basketball theme. Framed paintings of basketball players hug above the tea bar, and similar figurines were posed in a lengthly display case by the door. The theme carried forward to the two Jerseys that were on hook, on display. Defiantly a conversation piece, and possibly of personal preference from the owner.

The lone waitress dropped off two menu without a word. Dressed in a flannel button up and flip flops she was more casual that the restaurant. She did check in later to mention the call button on table. An easy way to hail service only when a guest dictates. This option gave us all the time we needed to talk without the worry of when she would return. Reading the menu was laborious, with only the faint light from the lone orb desk lamp to guide our eyes. It sat perched on our wooden table on the table.

The food menu was a cut and paste job: pictures and printed type descriptions. Traditional Korean cuisine with North American influences. French fries with fried rice cake, Calamari with beef dumplings, Egg rolls with cheese, Grilled scallops and corn with mozzarella, Deep fried cheese sticks, Yam fries, and Fruit salad? A bit of everything for everyone. Very diverse. It had me regretting our meal before and questioned why we did not come here for dinner before this dessert.

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The dessert menu was a separate book, a bound board just as thick as the one before it. Similar to the savory menu, all desserts options were accompanied by photographs. They allowed you to order with your eyes, and for those like me to get the best dish for the best photo. Pages of tea with their vitamins and healing properties listed. Hot drinks and coffees named “koreano” and “canadiano” before the more familiar lattes and cappuccinos. Fondues of red bean with rice cakes, chocolate with seasonal fruits, sticky rice and ice cream, and waffles offered as a side to all the above. Parfaits combined whipped cream and ice cream, cookies and cake with flavours like strawberry, coffee, green tea, chocolate, mixed fruits, rice cakes, vanilla, and tiramisu. Curiously the dessert menu then turned back to one offering savoury foods: set meals, rice porridges, sizzling plates, and hot pot combos.

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Shakes and floats were made with green tea, persimmons, roasted grain, and red bean. Our vegan friendly “Strawberry sherbet” was a disappointment. In a contrast to its photo the beverage came incomplete. Left unfilled without that final touch. The finesse worthy of a dessert drink in such a specialized glass. The drink itself was light and refreshing, a welcomed gulp on a hot day or a warm night. With chunks of diced strawberry in the mix it gave you a solid texture to chew along with the ice.

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Shaved ice is like the Asian equivalent of a sno cone. Except instead of flavoured and artificially coloured sugar water you have a slew of liquid and solid ingredients. Though usually the sweetening of this dessert by condense milk is consistent. Varieties came in chocolate, green tea, coffee, seasonal fruits, roasted grain, plum, black sesame soy milk, Oreo, and plain old milk. With yogurt, strawberry, and watermelon only available during this summer season. We went with the very traditional “Red bean shaved ice”, topped with rice cake, chopped nuts, a condense milk drizzle, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. I could have used more condense milk and a smoother red bean paste. Considering the melt in you mouth texture and chewy bites, a less grainy spoon of red bean would have been more complimentary. Overall the dessert was as expected. Sweet and cool, the perfect hot summer dessert that eats like a meal.

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The rice cake desserts were made from different rices and coated with different flours. Glutinous brown rice, bean flour, even grilled. We started with the “White rice cake coated with bean flour and apple sauce”. Once again it didn’t match the picture, where I expected a round cakey dish, we were given a flattened dough. Unlisted was the fact that this dessert was grilled. Cooked to a salty toast. Crispy on its edge and chewy in its centre, it almost simulated the flaky crust of a pastry. With sweet chunks of caramelized apple topping, it was like eating an apple pie but with a more glutinous base.

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Given our success with the previous grilled rice cake we went back for more. “Assorted grilled rice cake”. Four kinds of various grilled rice cakes with crushed nuts and roasted grain powders. Without a better menu entry or our server’s description I am unsure of what we had. I unable to differentiate their taste and texture, let alone point out one from another. A few tasted as if they were coated in an egg wash before the grilling process. Though it was thoroughly confirmed before ordering that they would all indeed be vegan friendly. (We learned after our Korean dinner miscommunication before, that you need to specify what is considered vegan friendly.). I was unable to see or taste any actual nuts or roasted grain, as per the menu’s description. The drizzle of real maple syrup over each cake and the pool of it in the middle gave an appreciated sweetness. One that could be adjusted as per preference. Overall they were a blending of salty and sweet; a fusion of crispy and chewy. A taste like no other, a first taste that I would like to have a second and third of.

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.
I was immediately pulled in by the food photography outdoors, and more so hooked flipping through their menu. The list gave me much to desire and more to be curious over. I would like to revisit for a full meal. To assets their food and indulge in more of their artful desserts. The casual and friendly environment make this an ideal place for a chill night out. The lounge-like atmosphere outside of downtown Vancouver, convenient between Burnaby and Coquitlam; without the rowdy crowd and struggle for parking. As good alternative, I could see myself here on a Friday or Saturday night enjoying good food and better ambience. Don’t deny your cravings.

MIDAM
110-4501 North Road, Burnaby BC, V3K3V8
604-568-5357
Midam Rice Cake House 美談餅家 on Urbanspoon

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