Doughgirls

I came here when it just opened to the public and I can still remember my first bite into their tiramisu. Heaven. Every time I think about it, I can’t help but drool. It’s really one of my favourite things to eat in Vancouver. I don’t know if it’s because I don’t have it often or if it is really that good, I always make the excuse to get it whenever I am close by.

Unfortunately, this time I came by, they didn’t have it. Instead, they had a Western take on the classic – Tiramisu cheesecake. Tempting, right? Of course, I ordered it just to see if it looked as good as it tasted. I also decided to get a pocket since it was lunch time and for me, I need something savoury before my sweets.

Both items were definitely alright, but they didn’t leave an impact on me that was note-worthy. In fact, the pocket filling was over-seasoned and made the wrap very salty to eat. The horchata was disappointing too, though I was so excited when I saw it on the shelves. If you are looking for a good horchata, I recommend Bandidas Taqueria.

Still, this is my favourite place to go to when I’m on campus and have some extra time. It’s pretty consistent in terms of quality and with so many baked good options, you are sure to find something up your alley. It is honestly like a mini PureBread. If not, there are nearby restaurants that might have something available. Still, I would pick this gem in a heartbeat. Like most places I adore, their philosophy is all about home-made everything, incorporating as much organic and local ingredients whenever possible. That of course, makes my attachment to this bakery a little bit stronger.

  

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Tacofino Gastown

Mmm… Patio lounging and good food. It’s not summer yet, but it sure feels like it! I know tons of people love Tacofino, heck even I am hooked on their burritos. I finally tried their tacos since my friend and I had a couple of hours to kill before attending Erin Ireland’s x Juice Truck’s “Cowspiracy” showing. I now know why people keep going back. Oh goodness, I was so impressed. The tacos are quite filling and most importantly, JAM-PACKED with flavour. I didn’t expect to be surprised or find anything special with the version I ordered, but they killed it with the marriage of ingredients. I definitely give a thumbs up for this little Gastown treat. Just be warned though, the patio chairs are quite brutal on the butt – they took pain is beauty to a whole new level.

Jicama Salad

Mushroom and Potato Taco

  

Heirloom Vegetarian

It’s pretty much a given that Vancouver is known to be quite health-conscious. After all, we are the city of yoga pants. We love our food, but we also care about where it is sourced from, which I always stress is important.

Heirloom is a vegetarian, gearing towards vegan, restaurant that has recently rejuvenated its menu and honestly, it looks incredible. Especially with the high ceilings, the natural lighting, and the very minimalistic furniture, it is the perfect blend of the hipster slash posh vibe. I love the high tables that are situated on the left of the room. They’re just so fun and it allows you and your party to be kind of on your own.

Food wise, I was really impressed. I thought the quinoa patties were SO delicious and flavourful. The dressing on the salad was also really good… The prices are known to be a bit up there, just like how Aphrodite’s is, but keep in mind, the portions are large. Plus, you are paying for a movement that signifies much more. Heirloom is definitely the “feel good and good for you food” in my opinion.

Baja Burrito – Organic Saskatchewan quinoa nut patties, guacamole, eggplant cashew cheese, spinach, creamy cilantro sauce, served with pico de gallo  

California Hash – Quinoa nut patties sautéed with collard greens, roasted seasonal veggies, pea sprouts, topped with creamy cilantro and seahorse dressing

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Off The Beaten Path

I love Taka’s. I love how it’s not close to home and that going there provides me a sense of adventure. There’s a bunch of little knick-knack stores relatively close that are so quaint. Plus, it allows me to fuel my plate addiction because there are so many to choose from in the second-hand stores – thanks to the lovely white people who donate them.

Aside from that, it is just so fresh. You really can distinguish the quality at this place, especially if you eat uni. It was so fresh, sweet, and incredibly creamy. It’s not as “authentic” as places like Sushi Hachi because they do a lot of playful rolls, but al of it is done well. Most people come here to try their aburi and I highly recommend you do that too. It’s really out of this world, particularly the flounder fringe and foie gras.

On this visit, my family and I decided to do the “omakase” experience, where we just let the chef decide what to order for us. It really makes things a lot easier because they serve you what is fresh on that day and tailor it to what you like if you give them some suggestions. For example, I really wanted unagi so they made a roll that had unagi on it. It was so creamy…

It is a splurge, about $60/person. For a lunch, that might seem a little grand, but you will leave full, perhaps even drooling for more (I hope).

Sashimi platter of Uni, Bluefin Tuna, Engawa, and Kanpachi

Aburi Selection of Flounder Fringe, Wagyu Beef, Foie Gras, Lobster, and Bluefin O-Toro 

Handsome Bill Roll  

Salmon Toro Aburi Sushi and Tamago Nigiri

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Finding Authentic Chiu Chow Cuisine

This is definitely a hidden gem. If not by word of mouth, I have absolutely no idea how one would stumble upon this place. It’s hidden in the industrial area near Steveston Highway and pretty isolated from the shopping centres close by. In fact, it seems as if it’s the only restaurant in its area. My mom is a huge foodie. She really knows Richmond well, especially for dim sum because she goes EVERY day. This is no lie. One of her friends told her about this place and after trying it a few times and enjoying it, she decided to take us there. For me, I love it because it’s a mom and pop restaurant so it’s super home-style. The food isn’t very expensive, but it’s very authentic. Some of my favourites include the marinated soft-boiled eggs and duck wing… It’s really good. The soup is also a stand-out for the price because it’s not too salty but very flavourful and traditional. I definitely would recommend checking this place out if you are sort of tired of the central Richmond restaurants. It’s a little adventure finding it, but it’s a nice change of scenery (or lack of). Also, if you are coming back from the States, it’s a nice place to drop by for dinner since it’s sort of on the way. Note, we had the cold crab, but be sure if you want it to make sure to call one day in advance to get it! Salted Vegetable, Bitter Gourd, and Spare Rib Soup Soy Egg and Soy Smoked Tofu  Soy Duck Wing  Chiu Chow Style Cold Crab    Pan Fried Bean Sprouts and Chives   Oyster Pancake   It’s always a feast with your family… Happy eating!

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Robuchon au Dôme, A Pompous Dinner

I am a huge fan of Joel Robuchon’s empire. From his Salon de Thé for impeccably presented sweets to his other known branches like L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, his work is all-around spectacular. Even sushi master Jiro has commended Robuchon for his sense of smell and taste. I have always dreamed of going to this specific location each time I’m in Macau, but for some reason, I always fail to make a reservation in advance. I made sure I went this time. With my brother flying in for a few days to meet us in Asia, I thought this would be a great opportunity to celebrate and end my time in Asia on a high note. It is a pricey dinner, roughly 300 CAN per person after the conversion from HKD, yet I’m so thankful for being able to experience it. I only wish my mom and sister could have joined us.

From the service to the endless dishes, I felt as if I were royalty. They really go over and beyond with every detail, even ensuring that your cup is never left empty. The staff are there to spoil you and make your experience well-worth it. Plus, the setting is absolutely astonishing. You don’t feel like you are in Macau anymore, with the sets of elevators you take to arrive at the restaurant. When we were about to leave, we were also gifted with a lemon loaf cake to bring back, which was an incredibly sweet gesture. I’m not too sure if it was because we hit a certain quota to receive it because we had alcohol and the tasting menu, but I thought it was a nice touch. It just makes you smile when little surprises like that happen.

All in all, it was a divine experience and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Purveying the menu…   

Amuse bouche. Aren’t they absolutely beautiful?!

European butter. Have never seen anything like it nor tasted anything like it.

The infamous bread trolley. You get to try ALL of it.

Happiness in a basket. 

First course

L’asperge blanche – White asparagus panna cotta, almond shavings and tomato coulis.

Second Course

Le Caviar Imperial – Salmon tartar with Imperial caviar and shisho flowers  

Third Course

Le Jaunne d’Oeuf – Baby spinach and egg yolk ravioli, morels braised in yellow wine

Fourth Course

Le Black Cod – Caramelized black cod, delicate cauliflower mousse line and sea urchin. 

Fifth Course

Le Canard de Challans – Challans duck breast, foie gras, and seasonal fruits

Sixth Course

Le Punch retour d’un voyage des iles – Dark rum punch, spiced exotic fruit sorbet

 

Seventh Course

La Symphonie des Douceurs – Dessert trolley  

A peek at the chestnut tart. 

The lemon tart.  

I tried the pistachio strawberry cupcake, the chestnut tart, and their house tiramisu. 

A little fruit salad for the table.

The petit fours trolley. Yes, there was more.

Bite-sized chocolate tarts.

Petit fours from canelés to madeleines. I was so full, but I could not resist these…

The architecture I still dream about.

Travel – Hong Kong and Thailand Part 4

This is the last installment on my recent trip to Asia. I really miss it. For the first time, I got to experience the culture more so than before because on the last leg of the trip, I was on my own (sort of). My friend, Rachel, just so happened to be there and it was like half part reunion, half part girls trip for us. No parents, no siblings, just me and her taking on the world. I loved the vibe being there, how I got to actually go to the places I wanted to (more specifically, restaurants), rekindle with old friends, and check out the night life. Also, shopping was much more fun because you have a friend there to give you advice. They also are willing to walk for longer distances… As much as I loved traveling with my dad, it’s honestly not the same. Friends honestly do make your trip worthwhile. During this bit, I felt so independent, so alive. For the first time, I understood what it was like to have a trip that I could look back on because of all the giggles, talks, and incredible l food moments we shared together. I am already looking forward to my next trip back to Hong Kong, as so much more awaits.
Starting the day off with a pineapple bun. Yep, it was necessary to get into the Hong Kong mode. 
Meeting up with Rachel after three years. I still cannot believe it has been that long since we were last together. This was at Au Petit Cafe in Admirality. It has some really nice stuff for a quick lunch. Nice, healthy salads and some fine-looking pastries.  My beautiful friend, Rachel. So happy to have reunited with her! Atum Desserant, best experience you can ask for in Hong Kong. Must, must, must.  

The final product.

Masterpiece shared with my dear friend, Carrie. 
Edible art. 
I love eating this. It’s the coolest looking thing but it’s so soft and fluffy! 
I cannot stop raving about this dish. Tonkitchi, you have a special place in my heart. Fresh, plump as f*^$ oysters that literally burst in juice the second I bit into it. The crisp, breaded exterior paired with the tartar sauce. Oh god. Thank goodness Rachel forced me to go here. Told you, it’s always good to have friends. There suggestions are sometimes even better than your own.  
Oddies Foodies was another on my hit list. To be honest, I wasn’t that impressed. It definitely looked better… The matcha gelato was super creamy and the components like the jelly tasted well together. I just don’t think it all worked.  
Having some “brunch” at Coffee Academics. This was the daily soup consisting of mushrooms. Nothing special! 
Smoothie = hydration = necessary.

Seriously, the Nocturnal drink is killer. With such simple ingredients consisting of steamed milk, vanilla, and honey, I was blown away by how delicious it tasted. 
The bamboo charcoal.  
I have no idea what this is called but I know it had vanilla rice pudding, uni ice cream (drool…), and an apple crisp. I was iffy about the uni but I got to try it first. It was incredible. Since it is a seasonal item, you should definitely try it before they change the menu.
Herbivore’s! Hello cheese again.  
So looking forward to creating this at home. The toasted pine nuts, YES.  
The passion fruit drink was another delicious find. Honestly, you really can’t go wrong with passion fruit though.  
Mana’s! SO happy I stumbled upon this healthy eatery. They really serve some kick-ass stuff. Too bad I never got the chance to go there for lunch cause they serve falafels. Yes please.   

The drunken egg at Sohofama’s. I love a jelly yolk.
Crab with sticky rice, also at Sohofama. Ningtu in Vancouver does a similar version with rice cakes and I think that is much better. 
Xiao long bao with truffle… These were good. Truffle was not too prominent though.  
Sohofama is a farm-to-table restaurant serving modern Chinese food in the PMQ area. Love how the concept has spread to Asia since it’s such an important aspect of food that no one really thinks about. They grow all their vegetables and herbs and you can see them in their outdoor patio! My friend took me here because she knew I would like something like this. 
Urbane Bakery, you must try one of their croissants. They’re so innovative, from molten egg yolk to this peanut butter one! 
A crepe cake that really does not compare to Lady M’s.  
Lemon + honey mojito. Afternoon munch time.  
Cassava fries… the dip was good but Chicha’s has a much better version. Thank god I live in Vancouver.  
Kimchi and cheese toasties. Sounds better than it tastes, let’s just put it to that. 
Toi Toi Kai, my family’s favourite Macau restaurant. We always come here every time we visit because the seafood is so fresh (you choose) and they really have nailed the timing and execution of some of the dishes.  
A must-order.
I love walking in Asia, there’s always so much to see.  
Obviously I had portuguese tarts in Macau. I love these…

So that caps my trip to Asia the past couple of weeks. Stay tuned for a separate post on Robuchon Au Dome. Now that was definitely a highlight of my trip.