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Category: South Burnaby Page 1 of 3

Audrey Moment Afternoon Tea & Cafe

Burnaby has its first tea house and I finally gotten around to checking it out. It is fairly close to Metrotown if walking, and if you are driving, they are conveniently in a shopping plaza with plenty of parking.

When you enter, the foyer has a counter with a collection of macarons you can take to go, loose leaf teas they sell by the pound, and potted succulents perfect for gifting.

We were led to the salon where the room was dressed girly. A collection of pretty bobbles and cutesy elements that don’t necessarily go together, but individually have their charms. Antique frames and worn wood shelves with elaborate crystal chandeliers and purple velvet drapes dressed with golden tassels. It all matched the soft music playing: top forty tracks without their usual base or lyrics. Pretty and melodic.

We were seated one of their carved chairs with pearlescent paint that matched the collection of white round tables. There was plenty of seating and coming 1 hour before they closed for the night, we were only the second group sat.

Our visit was a last minute decision, so I didn’t get a chance to book 24 hours in advance, meaning we didn’t get to try their trademark tea set served in a gold bird cage decorated with artificial rose buds on a vine. I even asked if we could order a random assortment of sweet and savoury nibbles and have them displayed on the specialty cage. It was a hard no.

So instead, we got the second tier “Afternoon Tea” set, the “Audrey moment” is a collection of four savoury items, two black current scones with Devon cream and preserve, and four mini desserts. $29.95 per person with a pot of tea each.

My guest got the jasmine green tea, a green China tea with jasmine flowers. It was served in a mismatching tea set with blue and gold speckled pot and a pink cup with a Victoria scene painted at the bottom of the cup and on its saucer pair.

I was given the option of one of their hot or cold drinks instead of tea in a pot, so I took the time to try one of their coloured lattes. You can choose your flavoured syrup and what colours you want. I went for A rose flavoured latte coloured with rainbow milk. Truthfully, I am not a fan of coffee, but will drink more if they look more like this. The “rose” was actually three dried buds that sank to the bottom of the cup. They didn’t look all that appealing, especially once all the colours of the latte art blended together became a murky green pool.

As for the tea tower it was served in the more traditional three layers of plates on a wire rack. We worked our way from savoury to sweet in the following order. Of note, everything is made it house and does rotate on and off the menu.

The “Egg salad sandwich” included tomato and spinach. It was plain, and could have used more seasoning in its egg mix, or some pepper as a minimum.

The “Bacon cheese quiche” had a but good ratio of cheese and bacon on a buttery crust.

The “Shrimp bite” was cold shrimp on toasted hard bread with a heavier dusting of paprika. Nothing special with this one sadly.

The “Chicken salad roll” included spinach, lettuce, celery, and mayo all bundled in a pesto wrap. This could have used some ranch for some bite.

The “Black currant scones” are worth revisiting, they too are made in house and are a staple, available all the time. They were nice and crispy on the out outside, and warm and spongy on the inside. Best with both the smooth Devon cream and sweet raspberry preserve as a spread.

For dessert they were pretty bites with some hits and misses. We both didn’t like the blue earl grey macaron. It was far too sweet and the texture stuck to your teeth. We both passed on any more after two bites.

The “Tiramisu pot” was a cute idea, but I wish you could eat the actual pot and that they used mint instead of parsley for the green. As far as taste it was good, especially as I am not a fan of tiramisu. This was a nice creamy dessert with spongy cake at the bottom and a crunchy crushed cookie topping. It wasn’t overly softened and soggy like the dessert normally is.

I did like the “Grape Napoleon”. It was light and airy, layers flaked off as you bit in, and powered sugar snowed down. Never had it with grapes before, but I liked the pairing. The firm and slightly tart grape with the sweet cream and buttery crust was a nice combination.

The “Passion fruit and mango panna cotta” was also tart, but more cheesy with its firm Greek yogurt -like cream. The popping juice pearls on top added some textural interest and a change of taste in between bites.

 

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.
Everything is made in house and you can tell. I didn’t necessarily like each element, but as a whole I did enjoy the tea set enough; but not enough to to try their larger tea set with simply one more savoury item and another sweet, even if it is uniquely served in a bird cage. But I will return if I am looking for a nice tea and some dessert in such a spot when in Burnaby. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

AUDREY MOMENTS
120b-6540 Burlington Avenue, Burnaby BC, V5H 4G3
604 559-9789
audreymomentcafe.com
Audrey Moment Afternoon Tea & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Boss

I haven’t been here in ages, and within the first few mins of our visit, it all came back to me as to why. “The Boss” has been a Metrotown staple for years now. A quick and dirty Hong Kong style cafe that focuses on speed and customer turnover versus service and the customer’s experience. I found the lack of communication insufferable and how they delivered drinks and utensils with a drop, rude. My guest reassured me that this was common place in such diners, and that it’s all about efficiency. But I didn’t feel like being rushed through a meal I was planning on sitting and enjoying with a friend.

I should have known it would be a rough service when they seated my guest in a 2 foot wide booth, and when she asked for one with more space she was given attitude for her request. Our server was displeased, and tried to reassure her that she could fit all her bags and shopping on to the narrow bench beside her. Though she insisted on relocating, and the result was the wait staff making fun of her in Cantonese, not realizing she too spoke and understood the language. I wasn’t present during the whole scene, otherwise I would have stood up for her and walked out. And it wasn’t like we would be missing anything from the meal below.

Our request for water, napkins, and another fork (so that we both got one) was met with a look of intolerance. Like I was burdening them with my request to have the tools I needed to eat my meal. What they didn’t hesitate on was any mention of the bill. Our server asked us twice how we would be paying, together or separate, as she took our order. And later our billed showed up when my guest still had food left in front of her.

We were just looking for a quick bite, so didn’t order anything too elaborate, simple meals for cheap, as to not disappoint. I deemed my slightly more expensive $12.95 meal more worth the cost given how more complex of a meal it was. This was a baked dish that I couldn’t just as easily make for myself as I could my guest’s choice below. “Baked seafood on fried rice with cream sauce. It was actually pretty good. Comforting in its creaminess, but once again, there was nothing much to it. I just wished that there was a warning that it would take much longer to come, or maybe the consideration of them making both dishes so they arrived on time. But I guess that isn’t efficient… the result, I watched my guest eat and she watched me after.

My guest had the “Breakfast combo A and B” for $2 less. But whereas my combo came with a drink, my choice of coffee or tea; my guest’s did not and she paid the $1 more for her lemon ice tea.

From “box A” she was able to choose one dish and another from “box B”. She had her option of an omelet and went for the shredded chicken filing. Grey chicken and green peas in a fluffy egg wrap. They were pretty bland on their own, so found their way into my seafood cream casserole as additional flavour and texture.

This came with her choice of a dinner roll or a slice of bread on the side, with a sealed mini tub of butter. Pretty basic.

Oddly, she chose more shredded chicken, but this time in instant noodle. And it tasted as bland as it looked. It was flavoured with sesame oil, but still lacked so much seasoning. This was left uneaten. There were other options like satay beef and beef brisket, vermicelli or macaroni; and yet she chose a packet she could get herself for $1.90 at any grocery store. At least now she knows, I guess.

 

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.
No cards accepted, no care given, and no flavour had. A cheap solution, but the food court is only a few steps away. But if you want a more calming place to sit and possibly an even faster dining experience than at any foodcourt with its lengthy lines, I guess this is an easy solution. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

THE BOSS
Metropolis at Metrotown
4720 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 4J2
604-438-2677
The Boss Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweet Jesus ice cream

I have visited the “Sweet Jesus” ice cream parlour in Toronto once before, so knew what to expect when our very own in Vancouver popped up. Therefore, I didn’t rush down when they first opened, but instead made them my “seeing as I am here” treat, if I had an errand to run at Metrotown. So tonight, this was the night.

This is the city’s newest ice cream sweetheart, all piled high with its own handheld drop tray. The are known for their large cones and cups, served high, drizzled, and dipped in a mix of crunchy and crispy crushed toppings. They opened late fall, and thanks to their safe and warm spot, within the city’s largest mall, their ice cream is still enjoyed this colder season. The location is great as shopping folks tend to indulge in a sweet treat when running around, and more so when the mall is as hot and as stuffy as it was tonight.

Their brightly lit white and teal blue shop was an eye catcher, along with their glowing neon sign; drawing you in like a moth to a flame. Their name alone beckons you near, reading it gets you stepping closer, close enough to read one of their two menus. Either the one above the counter to order, with an ingredient break down. Or the one off to the side: the poster size panel that includes photos along with their catchy name. I preferred the latter method of ordering, as half its allure is its presentation. So typically I would make my choice based on looks, but today it was actually seasonal availability.

But narrowing down the choices weren’t easy. There were photos of pink and blue cotton candy lined, raspberry syrup topped, vanilla soft serve towers to consider. And freeze dried raspberry coated, mango syrup drizzled, rainbow sprinkled topped wonders to ponder over. The possibilities and combinations were endless. And if all that sounds too much you can simply order their soft serve as is or in a twist with chocolate and vanilla, or mango and coconut.

I visited with a friend, and as her first taste, I directed her towards their signature coated cones, we both went for a waffle cone, justifying the extra cost with taste. She ordered a small and I got myself a regular. I wanted to see the size difference, but found there wasn’t much of any. In hindsight my regular cone was a scoop too much ice cream. I should have saved the $1.53, and gotten a kids size as well.

My guest got the “Hella Nutella”. A chocolate and vanilla twist gets a Nutella hazelnut chocolate drizzle from a squeeze bottle. And is then rolled in a coating or Nutella wafer crumbs, corn flakes, and crushed pistachios. She loved the flavour, appreciating the crispy and crunchiness of the topping mix. She didn’t find it too sweet, and that each bite had her going back for more. The flavour was good, but I wondered why they didn’t go for a hazelnut crust instead of the pistachios? I felt it would have made for better flavour symmetry with the use of Nutella spread.

As I mentioned earlier, my choice was based on seasonal availability. I went for their “Gingerbread house”. Vanilla soft serve drizzled with cream cheese icing, then rolled in a tray of crushed gingersnap cookies, candy cane shards, and sprinkles. In contrast my chosen cone gave me many strong flavours, salty cream cheese, minty candy cane, and punchy cookie crumbs. Altogether it was best on the first few bites, but the flavour grew out fast. Luckily most of the coating sloughed off and fell on to the floor or across my lap.

We were given a plastic cup for our cones. It not only keeps your hands clean from runny ice cream, but it also catches most of the toppings you drop. Toppings that you can later salvage with a spoon.

 

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? – Yes.
Fun for the novelty and the ‘gram, but a little too indulgent for me as a treat. If I returned I would opt for a spiral of soft serve in a cup instead. A cleaner flavour on the palate and one that I can see myself finishing through to the end. Although there are many other soft serve options in the mall that I prefer and would recommend instead. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SWEET JESUS
Metrotown
4700 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 4M1
604-423-4280
sweetjesus4life.com

Stem Japanese Eatery

My guest and I stumbled across this restaurant the last time we visited the Royal Oak area and were looking for a place to dine at. But then it was a Monday, the only day they are closed. Therefore we decided to make it our next dinner destination together, so here we were a month later.

My dining companion was smart to make a reservation, and a good thing too as the space is a smaller one, and today there was a larger party taking up all the tables by the window. Without any blinds you get a look directly into the restaurant. A small chalkboard and their branded tote bags hanging in the window marks the space. And within, each employee wears a branded tee shirt as their uniform, as we entered they greeted us in unison.

Walking in included walking under cloth banners and past a wine barrel converted into a hostess booth. The latter spoke to their celebrated wine list and their makeshift cellar at the back where they held this collection. I didn’t enjoy a drink tonight, but appreciated by proxy, eyeing the three woman sharing a bottle at the table next to ours.

We were given a small two person table, across from the narrow bar. If seated at the latter, a little barrier and a collection of bowls and knick knacks separate you and the chefs cutting fresh fish and platting them over crisp greens.

With four servers running about, you were able to make asks from any of them. They unanimously kept our cups full of water, and our tables cleanly bussed.

We took our time going through their dynamic menu. There were so many interesting dishes worth our consideration like the green tea soba crab roll, egg custard with chicken and prawn, and a collection of different mushrooms coated in tempura batter. We took our server’s suggestions to heart, but kept most of our ordering off of their fall seasonal menu. Our meal would be cleverly presented in an order that highlighted each flavour from lightest to the heaviest, an intended and gradual build up.

The “Bio-dynamic zucchini blossom tempura” is one of their most popular dishes and the one not to miss, as it speaks most to their restaurants name and their claim that “We are the stem, you are the flower”. These are zucchini blossoms from Forstbauer farms in Chilliwack, stuffed with ebi shinjo (prawn paste) and shiso leaves, then slightly battered and deep fried. Their crunch was intoxicating. You were able to enjoy the crispiness from petal to stem, allowing you to savour the meat ball like filling at the centre. The raw onion and lightly dressed greens helped to cut the little grease from the deep fry. For added moisture a smearing through the creamed rim was a nice treat. One was plenty, having both to yourself would have been a little much.

The “Haida Gwaii halibut cheek age-oroshi” was as lovely as the menu described it in words (the menu was void of any photography). This was another deep fried dish that didn’t feel like it. This was in season halibut served in an oroshi daikon radish and dashi soy broth with BC pine mushroom and shigure-ni. This was one of the most refined morsels or fish that I have had. It was perfect in its seasoning, allowing the natural flavours of the fish to come through. And especially with the pops of sweetness from the chopped up mushroom. I sopped up all the paste at the bottom of the plate clean with this one, not unlike what I did with the dish below.

The “Niku-Tofu” was Shitamachi style braised sliced beef and tofu, sweet onion, and organic shiitake. This was a homestyle, comfort dish that left me craving rice in conjunction. Although if we did order a bowl on the side, we would have needed another sauce, some soy, or salt to give it more flavour. The dish was plenty tasty as it was intended, so much so that I brought the plate to my mouth and drank the broth clean off of it.

By comparison the “Chilliwack miso pork jowl” was a little salty. Natural pork jowl cured for 48 hours in a house blend miso, before it is grilled and served with a Granny Smith salad and parsnip chips. You got quite a few pieces of pork in this dish. Each, a nice hearty chew of tenderness, soften in natural fat. The green and tart apple balanced out the dish with its crunch factor and freshness. My guest likened it to upscale Chinese style bbq pork. We ate a few pieces as is before wanting some rice here as well. This time we ordered some. But I didn’t find the value in ordering just a bowl of steamed plain white rice, so order some rice balls below.

“Grilled onigiri”. Two pieces of grilled rice balls with soy and scallion miso. What arrived wasn’t what I imagined when I order it. I wanted the salty paste that gave the grilled rice its only flavour to be incorporated into the rice. To have it mixed in before the triangle was shaped and grilled to a hard chew. Instead we were forced to mix things in ourselves and the result were bits that had no taste and others that had too much salt. It at least satiated my craving for carbs and paired really nice with the pork jowl above. I just wish that it was grilled less so that the browned rice kernels weren’t so hard.

 

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.
Everything was delicious, a really refined meal that left you feeling like you had a healthy and nutritious dinner. Each plate looked small, but in actuality was the perfect proportion for two. We both got enough of each flavour to leave us wanting more, and to be excited for the next round. I would love to come back to try some of their finer cuts of sashimi at the finer cost. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

STEM
5205 Rumble Street, Burnaby BC, V5J 2B7
604-434-0250
Stem Japanese Eatery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hi Genki

Ever since I visited Japan in 2015, I have trying to find my way back. I speak of the food and the culture, and how little I got to experience them both. So hearing my pleas, a few of my foodie friends have recommended “Hi Genki” to me. They follow its name with the disbelief that I have never been, and have yet to even hear of them. Although, you can’t blame me, given its location. This isn’t a restaurant on a busy shopping strip, or one in a mall, heck it isn’t even on a road that you would drive by. “Hi Genki” is located at the lobby of the “Robert Nimi, Nekkei Home”, a Japanese community centre and retirement home, adjacent to the “Nekkei National Museum & Cultural Centre”. So when craving for some authentic Japanese fare, I guess in theory, they should be a sure thing. Either way I was dedicated to finding out.

You walk through Nekkei Home’s lobby and hang a left. You just follow the flow of bodies lining up against the plexiglass barrier that separate carpet from tile, restaurant from retired living centre.

One of the clerks welcomes you at the threshold. With menus in hand, they lead you to the next available seat. One of the four person, square tables that make up their entire seating plan. One of several, in one of the three rows, that reaches from one end of the restaurant to another. It is all completely functional, like the rest of the restaurant, putting decor and motif to the side. The only thing that really identified them as a restaurant was their acrylic sign and the collection of plastic glasses for water, and ceramic mugs for hot tea, surrounding it.

Everything is brought out to you on a push cart, be it extra utensils, additional cups of tea, or our entire six piece order for two people.

The food as a whole definitely measures up to all its praise. Having tried such dishes in Japan, I can honestly say that this brought me back. “Hi Genki” is a great place to satisfy that craving for Japanese, homestyle, comfort cuisine at. Just reading the menu and looking at a few of their photos, I knew I was in for a delicious meal, but how to decide? I couldn’t and I didn’t. Instead, I got one of their specials of the day that gave me three tastes for the price of one.

The “Don Don Udon” is a great way to get a little bit of everything before you, when you can’t decide on what you want more of.

The “Yakitori don” was sweet teriyaki style, dark meat chicken over rice, with greens and plenty of sautéed onions. Most of its runny sauce is pooled at the bottom of the bowl, it flavours the rice without it making it overly salty.

I liked the “mini udon” for its rich and fragrant broth with its perfectly chew noodles. The green onions added some spice and the quarter of a fish cake slice some fishy flavour.

The “croquette with curry on rice” was my favourite of the three. I liked the soften potato mash enclosed by the crispy fried breading. It added some texture to the lumpy curry with chunks of carrot and potato that melted under the pressure of your tongue and teeth.

My partner too couldn’t decide on what to get so opted for two full entrees, agreeing that our inevitable leftovers would make a great meal the next day.

The “Minch katsu tei” was another special, it too was listed on a separate piece of paper. It was described as “Breaded fried beef and pork patty with salad and rice”. The set also included a bowl of warming miso soup. The potato salad was your classic picnic offering. Firm with cubes of potato, yet crispy with the diced celery and pickle chunks mixed in under all that tangy mayo.

As for the featured patties, we thought it would be a chicken patty and a beef patty, separately breaded and fried. Instead, this was shredded pieces of chicken and beef minced and mixed together in one patty. It was as interesting in taste as it sounds. The patty had a nice soften texture under its crisp breading. Best with the sweet and tangy brown sauce, that came in a self serve squeeze bottle on the side.

His second choice was the “Chicken katsu curry”. Deep fried breaded chicken cutlet, slathered over with the same curry as above. The crispy and soft textures make a great combination here, just like the pairing of salty chicken and the sweet curry sauce.

Just like our mains, I couldn’t make up my mind and pick a single dessert, so I didn’t.

“Daifuku” is a round chewy rice cake filled with sweet red bean paste. I liked it most for its sticky texture.

The “Sake manjyu” was very similar in taste, given the use of sweet red bean paste as a filling here too. This time the shell was a steam bun, although not with a fluffy doughy texture, but instead more of a crumbly one.

I liked the “Anmitsu”, but reading its description I thought it was more than just canned fruit and jello topped with ice cream. Not that anything is wrong with that, but I could have purchased and combined all of the following myself. Seaweed jelly, mixed fruits, red bean paste in syrup, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The texture of the seaweed jello was a lot more firm that the boxed kind. It was like a mix between gelatin and cartilage. I liked how the ice cream melted into the syrup for a nice saucy mix.

 

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.
The food is great, and I liked how comfortable the spot felt. It well matched the energy cultivated by the friendly and soft spoken staff. A great place for an enjoyable meal any time of the day. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

HI GENKI
6680 Southoaks Crescent, Burnaby BC, V5E 4N3
604-777-0533
Hi Genki Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Myst, revisit

Having already dined at “Myst” before, I knew exactly what I was going to get coming in: great Chinese comfort food at reasonable prices. There, I met up with a few other food bloggers, as we were here to try some of “Myst’s” newest dishes, and a handful of our favourites.

And as always when it comes to a media event, 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.

To read up on my first impression and more description on the decor and setting, check out my original post, link below.

Myst

 

On this night they had already launched over 20 something new food items and another 10 plus in drinks. They were added on to the menu with a highlighted “new” bubble next to its photo. Their photo and description was also added to the television playlist, advertising new menu items and the chef’s favourites on loop.

The following dishes will be organized between new and favourites. First what’s new:

The “Preserved cabbage bamboo green soy beans with sliced fish” might not be the most visually appealing plate, but what it lack in looks, it made up in texture. This one was fun to eat with the squishy beans, flakey fish, and the starchier nature of bamboo. As a whole, the dish offer a nice palette cleanser between all the much more punchy dishes to come.

The “Sichuan dan dan noodle with spicy peanut sauce” was more heat than sweet nut butter. I really enjoyed the chewy texture of the noodles to slurp, especiallu against the thick, gummy sauce it swam in. This was just the right amount of heat for me, tingly without taking away from the flavour of the preserved vegetable and minced pork.

We almost turned this one away, as when we read “Chinese fried shredded pancake with pork or chicken”, we didn’t imagine it coming rolled up like a burrito. The pork one was flavoured like the sweet and tangy brown sauce used. The chicken was like a club sandwich rolled up in the fragrant pancake. A few of us preferred a better ratio of pancake dough to meaty filling, whereas I liked it as it was, as I wanted and enjoyed the thick and chewy pancake more anyway.

The “Myst deluxe egg fried rice” is a dish that I would stop by to take out. A solid fried rice dish, able to take its place as a main thanks to the addition of a shrimp and pineapple skewer, and the inclusion of various large chunks of meat and sausage in the mix.

The “Assorted seafood spicy hot pot” delivered on its promise of heat with a flame keeping this dish warm, and with how much chilli oil and peppers they use to turn its broth a bright red. It was a flavour that my fellow diners claimed too spicy, yet they couldn’t help themselves coming back for more of. It was a flavour they wanted to experience again and again, through the pain.

The “Myst deluxe feast platter” is the kind of appetizer you order to share with, best with beer. It is a basket of deep fried goodness, only improved by having the basket itself be edible and deep fried (according to @shermansfoodadventures). It was a bed of yam fries (dressed in plum seasoning for a bit more sweetness) and prawn chips topped with two tiger prawns skewers, two pineapple and mini sausage wrapped in bacon skewers, and six deep fried prawns. I found it pretty tasty and salty as is, but for those who want more taste and tang, it comes with a sweet and sour dipping sauce. It this one as soon as it comes to your table, definitely better warm.

I highly recommend trying their new series of non-coffee lattes. Available in hot and cold, they are the perfect blend of intended flavour and creamy milk. Here we have a hot taro latte and a cold matcha latte.

Next, the following are items that we as a group, or individuals wanted because they(we) have had them before and it was memorable enough to want again.

My pick has to be the “Golden sands prawns”. When I recommend “Myst” this is the dish I tell everyone they must try. I have yet to find anything like it on any other menu. Deep fried prawns dressed in a thick coating of salted egg yolk. This gives you a crispy, yet melt in your mouth texture. My table-mates agreed with my order and my assessment, after giving it a try for themselves. Another one enjoyed right as it hits your table hot and crispy. I suggest eating it as is, head and all.

The “House special stir fried sliced noodle with beef” is a classic, and their rendition is one that I would also come back for. It tasted exactly as I expected, and was so good that I saved my portion for the very end, to enjoy as my last bite.

The “Myst assorted deep fried basket” is another one that I recommend. A collection of deep fried Chinese-style snacks like squid tentacles, salty peppery chicken, black rice cake, green beans, and more shrimp crackers. Although all deep fried, this collection has a mix of textures and taste, that keeps you going back to try them all. Squishy squid, crispy beans, and sticky and dense rice cake with a chew.

Another popular Chinese snack is “marinated items”, and at “Myst” you can make your own combo. Here, our group choose beef tripe, pork intestine, and tendon. Another dish great for those who eat for texture and likes a rubbery gelatin and extra chewy mouth feel. As for flavour, it tasted like they were marinated in beef noodle soup broth, which only made me like it more, and wish that we had all of them in a bowl of beef noodle instead.

By comparison, the “Steamed sliced fish with diced hot red peppers” wasn’t all that spicy. Hot but not as much so compared to the hot pot.

The “Three spiced mixed items” comes with your choice of either chicken or pork
intestine with basil on iron plate. We choose the latter. It was a nice salty dish, best enjoyed with some starch like the fried rice above.

The “Chinese style heavy smoking duck” was interesting. They weren’t joking about the “heavy” adjective used in its name. It was really smokey, heavily flavoured like a deep black tea, almost medicinal. In truth, it was not to my tastes, Instead, I craved a sweet and sour plum sauce to lighten the dish. As sticky spread to add some sauce and moisture to the dry duck and white dough buns you were to eat it with.

When it comes to “Myst’s” shaved snowflake ice desserts, get your cameras ready, this is a dish that is as much of a show as it is the perfect meal ender. We got the “Mango shave snowflake ice” and even though they used frozen mango (because mango is currently out of season), it was delicious. A great combination of tart fruit and sweetened condense milk. Not too heavy and not too sweet, an ideal palette refresher to end the meal above with.

But if you are still hungry, end your meal with some “Condense milk thick toast”. Sweet crispy bread that gives you the sweet ending you want with dessert, with the extra filling you may need to leave full and content.

 

 

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 assessment stands, they make for a great one stop Chinese food stop. There is lot to try, and guarantee something for everyone. A great place to not don’t deny your Chinese comfort craving at.

 

MYST
#2-6400 Kingsway Burnaby BC, V5E 15C
604-364-6400
myst6400.com

Firefighter’s Public House

A colleague and I stopped by this pub, to kill time over a drink or two. It is not the most happening spot, but certainly one with character, and a long standing history in the community. And despite its name, it isn’t a firefighter’s only club. Its name derives from the fact that is use to be an actual functioning fire hall. Walking in, it felt more like a community centre with the amount of space, community bulletin boards, and hallways leading to separate spaces.

The actual fire hall was where the pub took up residency. It was an open room with a fireplace, a few flat screen televisions, a fully stocked bar; and a slight elevated stage, that was currently projecting a hockey game across its screen. Through all the firefighter memorabilia, patrons were reminded of its history. From the metal firefighter figurine hanging over the fire place, to the fire trucks on the mantle. Photos of decorated men and women and articles on their good deeds done, and even badges given for their courage on display.

We came on a Monday night, it wasn’t busy and we weren’t going to stay as long as we did. But there was a chance to win our tab, and not only did it keep us there an additional 30 minutes, but it gave us the opportunity to order more drinks on the chance of “what if”. I found their promotion a great idea, and an effective way to drum up some additional sales during a slower bar service. It helped that the announcer suggested everyone should get more drinks before the draw, counting down the time, and that servers came around to follow up. Every Monday, if you stay until 6pm, your name get entered to win a draw. The prize is having your tab covered, up to $100. And it is only your tab up to the point that the draw is done.

So on top of a pitcher of beer we also had a couple of their shots. Our server sold us on their apple pie flavoured shots, which is not on the menu, but worth requesting. It did taste like a freshly baked apple pie; with the flavour of tart fruit, a buttery crust, and warming cinnamon .

 

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 wouldn’t be my first choice in bar or restaurant, but adjacent to an actual community centre and as a pillar of the community, it certainly has its charm. And we did leave inebriated as intended. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

FIREFIGHTER’s PUBLIC HOUSE
6515 Bonsor Avenue, BurnabyBC,V5H 3E8
604-437-4347
barburnabybc.ca
Firefighters' Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The 300 wing challenge at Wings

300 wing challenge.

 

Our group of five ventured to “Wings”, the bar. We were here to create our own food challenge. The challenge was to see how many wings we could eat if we really pushed ourselves, and what better a place than one that bears the name of what we wanted, and on a day they offered each for 49 cents?

Inside, it is your typical bar scene with high tops and bar stools, and a sports broadcast playing on every television in every corner. It was no surprise that this well known chain was the place to be this night. However we came early enough to grab a booth, despite the struggle to find a parking spot. The lot is often full and street parking is by luck.

We went in wanting 50 pounds of each, to tackle 500 wings total. Luckily we were talked down from that aspiration by our server. So eventually we amended our order to 30 pounds at 300 wings. In order to take advantage of the 49 cent wing deal, each person needs to order a drink, or in our case share a pitcher. As well as purchase a minimum of 10 wings, 10 wings per flavour, which equals to one pound. We got one of each of their 25 flavours, and a few more of our favourites, in order to reach our 300. Below are all those flavours.

To skip the details and watch us devouring click here.

I would love to be more descriptive in what we had and how it tasted, but unfortunately I won’t be able to. When you eat this much, this quick, to try to eat it all, you don’t stop to taste. You don’t savour any of the flavours, I barely even tasted. And they were all the same shade of brown, so you couldn’t even tell them apart anyways.

The only one that stood out and was therefore my favourite was the powdered white and superbly cheesy, “Old English white chedda”. They tasted like white cheddar popcorn, but as a wing.

Though I will note the wings were inconsistent within each batch. Some smaller than the others, a few drier than I wanted moist. It also didn’t help that the following were dry rub and intentionally prepared without moisture aiding gravies or sauces. Although it should be noted that we ordered this much and wanted it all together, so in order to do just that, and serve it relatively warm; I am sure a few batches spent additional time under the overcooking light of a heat lamp.

“Texas dry rub”, “Greek”, Chicago salt and pepper”, “Italian roasted red pepper”, and “BC back-country bacon”.

One of our group’s member was not a fan of the “Canadian maple bourbon”, she found the flavour too sweet, claiming it to taste like “honey nut cherrios”. I liked it fine, knowing it was indeed maple syrup that she was tasting.

However, I prefer sticky wings in general, so it is nice that their menu lists those with an orange drop to symbolize their sauciness.

The “honey garlic” is a classic and the “safe” flavour I continue to order and not be disappointed in. There was also “Outback barbecue”, “Sweet Thai”, and “Bombay pineapple” under the saucy wing category.

The “Tokyo teriyaki” was easy to identify thanks to its topping of sesame seeds. I didn’t get any of the typical tang from a nice teriyaki sauce, although I could have used more of it in general.

The “Korean sticky sesame” also had sesame seeds sprinkled over them. It was just as mild, where I expected more sweetness with the mention of a honey sesame sauce on the menu, but at least it was indeed sticky. One of the preferred wings to chase with, after I mistakenly tried a hotter one.

The hot wings had their own symbol: chilli peppers. And the more of them meant the more hotter the wing they were marking was. Some were both saucy and spicy.

“Bula Fiji”, “Baja heat”, “Louisiana sweet”, and “Mexican baja chipotle” had just the one chilli pepper to their name. “New Orleans barbecue heat”, “east meets west”, “jamming’ Jamaican”, and “buffalo” came with two. The three chilli pepper flavours were “Chilean chili” and “Jakarta heat”. I tried my best to avoid all of them, saving up my tolerance and appetite for the “Bobby wing”.

But the hottest wing had five chillies, their legendary “Bobby wing”. A wing seasoned with so many spicy peppers that it was advertised as needing a waiver before attempting to finish one. We never actually had to sign anything, and were still severed them, along with the other wings. But at least they were easily identifiable on their own plate. Majority of of us couldn’t get take more than one bite. Whereas the one of us who was an expert in spice was able to eat her wing without much of a fight. There was pain and there were tears. The two of us who had previously tried the spicy ramen Challenge, to watch that video click here.

We found the spice at least familiar, and therefore less critical. Whereas the two who had never experience such a sting were besides themselves.

There were add ons you could order to combat the heat, they suggested the “antidote”. At $4.25 it is pretty steep, but worth it when you are in the moment. When I asked our server what made it so pricy, she was frank in telling me it was just milk with blue food colouring, it looked like just as much. Oddly this glass of milk came out to our table first, despite our declaration of wanting to tackle the “Bobby wing” last, like a dessert. Our server also suggested the same, saying that it kills the taste buds in your mouth.

However I would suggest peanut butter or honey to combat heat instead. One of my guests was allergic to milk, so the scoop of honey offered was not only a fine substitution, but one that came free.

 

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.
Wings Wednesday is an institution, there is nothing more fun than gathering with a group of friends, and gorging of an excess of beers by the pint and wings at 49 cents each. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

WINGS
6879 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5E 1E4
604-525-7414
greatwings.ca
Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sulmida Dessert Cafe

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Korean style shaved ice was the dessert trend of 2016, and it continues into the beginning of 2017, even despite the snow and cold Vancouverites saw.

There are actually two new Korean shaved ice restaurants that have open across the street from Metrotown Mall this year. This just so happens to be the one we past by first.

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Although the colourful banners were eye catching enough to lure anyone passing by in. The bold colours of their fruit topped toast, shaved ice, and flavoured drink against a black background. I found myself revisiting them after I had already entered, as they made better menus to order off of, than the tiny print displayed across the two flat screen televisions by the service counter.

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Inside it was a simple cafe. The walls were kept relatively plain. White paint with the restaurant’s name in lettering, and a shelf home to some plastic green plants in mugs. Down the length of the restaurant hung photographs of a few of their menu items printed out on canvas.

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But what was most striking was the counter showcase of fake food. Each variety of snow milk and lava bread represented in plastic realism. It certainly helped those who are visual diners like myself. It gave me the ability to order with reassurance. You make your choice and pay for it at the counter. And when ready it is delivered to you, at the table you claim. Each dish was brought over on a wooden tray with enough utensils for both my guest and I. I especially liked the gold of the spoons presented with the dessert below.

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I might have chosen the wrong guest to visit this one with. Today my plus one has milk allergies and everything on the menu featured milk or cream in some way or form. Although he had his fill and came out walking away just fine.

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We got the small size of the “yogurt berry milk snow”. Frozen berries placed with precision over a mound of milk flavoured snow, topped with a condense milk drizzle. The first bites were the best with all the sweetness of the topping. After, it was just a milk slushie. A small container of condense milk to use at your own discretion would have been nice. I guess we could have also asked for more too.

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To warm up with, we ordered one of their toasted bread desserts. They had two varieties that we asked for clarification on. The “Injeolmi toast” featured Korean style rice cake and powder and the “lava bread” was the combination of sweet bread and even sweeter custard.

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We got the latter, and little did we know, it’s name would be literal. There was “lava” in the form of chocolate at the centre of our “choco banana lava toast” block. Cutting into it caused a river of chocolate milk and melted vanilla ice cream to come pouring out. This pool made it easy to dip the toasted bread, in order to sop up the excess liquid and flavour the toast. There was also an extra drizzle of chocolate sauce over top, and some banana slices to add complexity to the dish where bread and ice cream was too simple. This was my favourite of the two, but maybe only because the day wasn’t warm enough to enjoy the former without a down coat on.

 

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.
I definitely recommend them more as a cafe for a hot day. Refreshing drinks and melted creams to help cool you down. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

SULMIDA
4697 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 2B3
778-379-8935
Sulmida Dessert Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Candy Tree Desserts

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Dessert and snack cafes are slowly becoming a dime a dozen, what sets a place a part is what determines if it stays or goes. And today at this evening’s media event hosted by “Chinese Bites”, we were going to be able to taste what sets “Candy Tree” apart from its competition. It seems like they carried everything everyone else did, and more. This was your one stop Chinese dessert stop, with all their recipes authentic from Hong Kong.

As a disclaimer, 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.

We were invited on a Wednesday, when they are typically closed. But that didn’t stop groups of young adults from stopping by, and knocking at the door to be let in. There were over 4 groups turned away during our stay. That was enough to fill the smaller seating area, which spoke a lot to the restaurant’s popularity.

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The decor was functional: only want they needed in furniture, with its styling in textured surfaces. The only items out of place were the too early (or maybe too late, because they were never took them down) stuffed Christmas plush of Darth Vader and Hello Kitty, strung above the counter. There was also a television that hung on the right hand wall. It was used as a way to advertise their menu in words and photos on flat screen.

Their menu was a strong showing of cold and hot desserts, they were so many that they needed a distinction. And often each dessert is further subdivided into a list of all their possible flavour combinations, or substitutions.

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As was the case of their “Hong Kong style egg bubble waffles”. Available in matcha, black sesame, and chocolate; we went for the more unique flavour of coffee. These were just your run of the mill egg waffles, but staging then like this arching bridge, made it something to write about. You wanted to pick it up and snap off a ball. Each “bubble” was easy to break with a crisp outer shell and and slightly moist centre. It tasted like coffee, but because it did so much, you craved some whipped cream to go with it.

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The usual suspects for bubble tea was available, with your choice of jellies and toppings. The “Mango black tea” was cold and refreshing, but a little too sweet. Our server recommend black sugar agar jelly, and we found it, the perfect compliment. It had a spongy chew, not as laborious as the traditional tapioca pearls would be under jaw.

The “Fresh taro” with pearls tasted like it included tea. It had so much tea flavour that it over powered the taro, making it not as expected.

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The “Ferraro rocher milkshake” was a creamy, classic, hazelnut flavoured milkshake. It was blended well to avoid the need to chew in between sips. A safe choice, unlike my selection below.

Heralding from Southeast Asia, I love durian. I grew up eat the king of fruits, and often find myself missing it, due to its lack of availability in Canada. So seeing the option of having a “Durian milkshake” I jumped at the chance. Everyone who loves durian knows that one of its best applications is frozen and eaten like ice cream. This was the drinkable version of that sensation. It was creamy and rich, and exactly how I imagined it to be. I would come back just for this to go. Though don’t know how many of my friends would be around when I drank it.

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The “Black sesame soup”, listed under the hot dessert category was noteworthy. A cement-like pool of darkened liquid. It was so completely opaque that it seemed to stain the white porcelain bowls, we were given to dole servings out in to. It had a unique flavour, but was better as a side or dip, instead of a whole dessert. As it was, a full serving would have had me bored of its one tone taste. We wanted some glutinous balls for texture and/or maybe some deep fried buns to dip into it with.

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The “Mango pomelo and sago soup” fell under the cold dessert category. It was like mango pudding melted down to a creamy consistency, and chilled to a gentle cool; or a fresh mango smoothie. The fruit gave this dessert a multilevel texture, and additional layers of flavour that the hot soup lacked above.

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The “Durian tower waffle” was their house special, and it being another durian dessert, I had to try it. These were waffles made with the same bubble waffle batter, but pressed into a round with pocket grids and cut into fours. Each waffle quarter was coated in a sweet durian spread. It was a fruity cream with the texture of frosting. It was so good that I wanted a bowl of it to lick off my spoon. It didn’t need the waffle, in fact the extra breading distracted from its flavour. Though the drink above was a better representation of durian, and the best way to honour the fruit. When we lifted the cone crowning it, we were amused to learn that a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some multicoloured jetpack marshmallow were hiding under there, and fell out. There were also some more pink, green, and orange marshmallows on the plate as garnish; along side a chocolate fudge sauce and fresh cut strawberry.

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They are also known for their “snow ice”, flavoured shaved ice available in several flavours, with many toppings to choose from. We had a Matcha snow ice with rainbow konjaku (gelatin), handmade sweet potato mini balls, and mango stars. It was served with the ice to one side and the toppings at its adjacent. Apparently the ice in these desserts are supplied and transported from Taiwan. The restaurant is looking into shaving the ice on their own, in house, but until that works for them logistically, it will continue to be flown in to you like this.

The ice was a good one to end on, a refreshing palate cleanser. The texture of the ice looked fibrous, like vegetable; although its taste varied greatly from that. It was pillowly smooth with a light and fluffy, melt on tongue feeling. All are great characteristics to have in a shaved ice, but all our topping choices weren’t. They made for great chewing, but they didn’t necessarily compliment the more bitter green tea powder in the ribbons of ice. Their shower in condense milk did help, but there was not enough of it to blanket everything in one like taste. With our green tea we should have gotten red bean, grass jelly, or glutinous rice balls. They are the more common pairings with green tea for a reason.

Our server was friendly. She took our order with patience, answering our questions and explaining each foreign term without prompt. And when dishes took a little longer, she stopped to reassured us that our food was on its way.

But be warned they are often busy, with lines through the door, so come early or be prepared to wait. And they are a cash only business, so make sure you visit the atm first.

 

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 didn’t know there were this many traditional Hong Kong style desserts, so it was nice to be able to learn about them all here, without the drive to Richmond. Plus this is one of the only places I know offering durian desserts, once again, outside of Richmond or the night market. So for those reasons, I will be coming back and recommending them. Don’t deny your cravings.

 

CANDY TREE
4091 Kingsway, Burnaby BC, V5H 1Y9
604-565-1333
Candy Tree Dessert Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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