Friday, December 30, 2011

Bubble Waffle Cafe: a little excitement, a lot of disappointment

Drum roll please! 'Cause Amy and Lulu are bringing the co-blogs back! 

AMY: While scouring the streets of Richmond on a rainy day in search of lunch, Lulu and I decided to give Bubble Waffle Cafe a try. I noticed that the older place was replaced with Bubble Waffle Cafe a couple months ago, but haven't had the chance to try it. When we arrived, the place was packed and had a few people waiting outside. I took that as a good sign...who would line up for bad food? It wasn't long before we were offered a seat, but immediately I noticed that their chairs and tables were quite  dirty and cheap looking...nothing like what a new restaurant would look like. Well, can't judge a book by its cover, right?
DIY Noodle Combo $7.50 + tax (includes hot drink)
AMY:  For my noodle combo, I chose the vermicelli in original fish soup, with pork intestine and fish ball with shrimp. The first couple sips of soup were pretty good, but that slowly diminished as I went on eating. It wasn't particularly bad or anything, just nothing special. There was good amount of noodles and vegetables, as well as pork intestines. The fish balls with shrimp were very disappointing -- bland and boring. I was expecting a savory, juicy center...but all I got was some mush that didn't even taste like shrimp. Overall, I didn't really enjoy this dish as much as I expected to, but it wasn't so bad that I couldn't stomach it.

LULU: Wow, I would not have known that those were fish balls with shrimp if Amy hadn't mentioned it. I agree with the fish balls being unsatisfactory, since I was totally expecting hot flavoury stuff gushing out when I chewed on the fish balls. 

Beef Teppanyaki Rice Meal   $7.50 + tax  (includes hot drink)

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Little Warmth on a Rainy Day at Carthage Cafe

Since I've been back in Vancouver for winter holidays, I've been eating out a lot catching up with friends and family. One of my family friends took us to Cafe Carthage for a semi-fancy lunch on Christmas Eve.

Sitting among other boutiques and small restaurants/delis on Commercial Drive, Cafe Carthage is not exactly eye-catching and we actually took a while to find the place. The interior of the restaurant  is quite small but definitely cozy.
Upon entrance, a very friendly waiter greeted us and led us to our table. Once we ordered, the waiter brought us a basket of bread. The bread was surprisingly delicious, crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside. You can get free refills and the bread goes well with soups and sauces from other dishes.

The specials for the day all sounded pretty good, so we went with almost all of the daily specials except for the soup. Starting with the salad, I really liked it, mostly because balsamic vinaigrette is one of my favourite salad dressings. The vegetables were very fresh and the amount of dressing was just right - the salad wasn't too dry or tasteless but the vegetables weren't soaked in dressing either.
Special: Hunters Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette   $10.50 + tax

Since it was somewhat of a french restaurant, I wanted to try the french onion soup, which is another one of my favourites. The soup was very thick and rich in taste and almost a little too salty for me. Overall it was good but I would recommend sharing it because of the strong flavour.
French Onion Soup   $9.00 + tax

Sunday, November 13, 2011

You Don't have to go Uptown for Good Food: Bubble Republic (Updated)

I've updated this post with the prices and also new food! 
After a quick vacation back to Taiwan, I started craving Taiwanese food again. One night, in hopes of finding a good tea place for midnight snacks, I stumbled upon Bubble Republic in Mississauga. The online reviews for this place were fairly good and a friend of mine who lives in Mississauga also recommended it. I visited this place on the weekend of Halloween and found it pretty cool that they had decorations. The washroom was so spooky I was scared to go in a second time!
古早味焢肉飯 Traditional Marinated Meat on Rice  (Meal: $6.99)
Not knowing whether the restaurant was 100% authentic or not, my friends and I still decided to go for the Taiwanese dishes along with the Bubble Tea. They offer combos that include a meal and drinks from a certain category. If you want fancier or other drinks, then you have to pay separate prices for the different food items.

筍乾爌肉飯  Marinated Bamboo Shoots and Meat on Rice  (Meal:$7.50)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

George Ultra Lounge: a little taste, a lot of wait

Please excuse us as we sneak back into blogging and pretend like we never stopped...

For Taste of Yaletown 2011 (same concept as Dine Out Vancouver, for those of you who don't already know), we decided to go to George Ultra Lounge. Their menu set is $25, which includes an appetizer, entree and dessert. 

When we arrived at 7:30, we were told that they were currently fully booked, but that a table might free up in about 25 minutes. Unfortunately, after many inquiries, our wait ended up being over an hour. However, I did notice that a couple of reserved tables were completely empty the entire waiting time. 

Prosciutto Wrapped Scallop
For appetizers, everybody had the Prosciutto Wrapped Seared Scallop, which was rested on some barbecue duck fried risotto. I couldn't really taste the prosciutto, but the scallop itself was very plump, juicy and sweet. It was seared nicely and had a slight opalescent middle.  The fried risotto was also very good and added a bit of a chewy texture. This arrived not too long after we ordered all our food. 

For entrees there is a choice between the Spaghettini Bolognese and the Ling Cod.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Special Edition: Why Taiwan is Food(and Drink) Heaven

Although our blog focuses mainly on food in Vancouver and Toronto, Amy and I have decided that food in Taiwan is a must-share. If you quickly scroll down and scan through the photos, need I say more? (Before you scroll down, please remember to come back and continue reading!)

(Photo credit Amy Chen)
This photo is only one corner of a typical convenient store in Taiwan. Every time I visit a 7-11 in Taiwan, I must stand in front of the fridges for at least 5 minutes to decide on which beverage I want to have. I always have the urge to try each and every bottle. 

(Photo credit Nathan Chiu)
By convenient, I really mean convenient - you could have a three-course meal in this place anytime, any day! 

Since I had to keep myself from moving into 7-11, I asked my dad to take me to a local spot. This place is one of the different versions of a traditional local Taiwanese breakfast place. Instead of sandwiches and burgers, they serve all sorts of buns.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Shark Club

A while back, friends and I were stumped as to where to have our next meal. We decided to take a break from all the Asian food in Richmond and head over to Shark Club. Ok, I'll be honest. The real reason was because I had heard about a certain dessert on the menu and was dying to try it.

Ambiance-wise, Shark Club is very similar to Joey's, Milestones, Cactus Club, etc. The Richmond location is pretty spacious, and was also quite empty on the Friday night that I was there. They have multiple TV's everywhere so it'd be a great place to catch a game.

Chicken Pesto Quesadilla 
Their Chicken Pesto Quesadilla was so good that I dare say it was the best quesadilla I've ever had. The shell was crispy yet still soft and contained lots of warm chicken and beans. The salsa was very fresh and zesty with its juicy tomato bits and kernels of corn. Even the mixed greens that came with this was yummy -- light and refreshing. It was topped with slices of daikon which I thought was a unique touch to a otherwise seemingly normal salad.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Charcoal Sushi & BBQ (Featuring: Steven!)

Hello, and welcome to the debut of Steven! First, a little bit about myself: I am a regular Lumico reader (hopefully, as are you!) and a fellow wannabe "food enthusiast" - that is to say, I like to eat. Though to be honest, I never really pictured myself writing down and commenting on food I had just wolfed down, because well a) I just wolfed it down, didn't think too much, and b) my go-to comment would probably be "Well, that tasted... good." But the one time I do happen to go out for dinner with Lumico (hereby referred to as some kind of fused human entity), they get lazy and decide to toss me an assignment. Well then, challenge accepted! Now armed with the power of the blog and the strength of my words, follow me as I bring my keen senses of taste to the masses! OK delusions of grandeur aside, I'll try not to make you cringe too much from my writing.

Tonight's restaurant of choice is Charcoal Sushi & BBQ, located on the corner of Westminster Highway and No. 3 Road in Richmond. Although this is quite a busy intersection and smack in the heart of Richmond, I had actually never seen or heard of it before. The reason for this is because the restaurant is found on the second level of the plaza and pretty much obscured from street view. A better description for its location would be "above TD, across from London Drugs." The restaurant itself is also quite small, and rather squished. The interior decor was decent, and fairly modern; there was bar seating as well as regular booth seats, and several TV's to give it a more lively feel. However, the restaurant does not have a waiting area, and tables are set up all the way to the entrance. Since the restaurant was jam packed when we got there, we had to wait while hovering around people who were seated at their tables (and giving us their stinkeye looks - "How dare you watch me savor my food!")

We finally got seated - unfortunately, by the door - and began the customary menu rummaging routine. What I liked, was that in addition to the menu, there was also a book that contained pictures of all the items on the menu, all photographed in a more realistic, this-is-what-you-get kind of way. I mean, don't you just hate it when you order something based on the menu description or some sneaky menu picture only to get a sorry excuse of a dish?

We settled on 7 items from the menu: Tuna Tataki, Tuna toro sashimi, Crunch roll, Indian roll, Madness roll, Kimchi tofu and pork stew, and Kobe beef stone bowl. Yumminess ensued.

First up was the Tuna Tataki. Served on an organic spring mix, the tuna was lightly seared on the sides and still raw in the middle, just the way I like it. Coupled with the acidity of radish and the freshness of green onions, the tuna salad was a good starter for sure.
Tuna Tataki $5.95 + tax

Next up was the Tuna toro sashimi, which was quite hyped by my fellow dinner-mates. Tuna toro is the underbelly of tuna fish, and so I expected the sashimi to be more fatty in taste. And indeed it was! And much more than just that! Other than the Saba sashimi, the Tuna toro is the most expensive on the menu, and justifiably so. If you like having fish, you'll know that in general fish belly has a pretty different texture than the rest of its fishmeat neighbours. The Tuna toro was the same. Because of its higher fat content, the Tuna toro had a smoother, more tangible mouthfeel than regular tuna sashimi. It's one of those times you ask, "Did my tongue die and go to heaven?"
Toro Sashimi $7.65 + tax

Then came the rolls! The Crunch roll was stuffed with prawn tempura and topped with mango, sliced avocado, and spicy tuna. I don't know who came up with the idea to combine rolls with mangoes, but that (wo)man is a genius. The drier, crispier prawn tempura inside was complemented by the creamy goodness of avocado and the sweetness of mango, and the spicy tuna served to bring an extra kick of spicy moistness.

Crunch Roll $9.75 + tax

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Faubourg? Fauboring!

LULU: Amy and I have been talking about Faubourg literally since the day it opened. I still remember how excited Amy was when she told me about it, since afternoon tea has always been one of our favourite activities. For the longest time, I couldn't even pronounce the name of the place! Nonetheless, we were both really excited when we finally got the chance to visit this place.

The store is split into two sections - the front is like a normal coffee/pastry shop, while the back of the store is a secluded section that is exclusively for afternoon tea customers. The first time we wanted to go for afternoon tea, they were full and said we would have to make reservations the day before. When we made reservations the next time, they said they only had one time slot left and so we took it. When we got there, the entire back section was empty and stayed fairly empty the entire 2 hours we were there. I couldn't help but wonder if it was their strategy in faking that they were busy to make it seem really popular and generate the sense of exclusivity and prestige.
AMY: When you sit down, Faubourg lays out a selection of teas to choose from. All of them were fairly aromatic, and we ended up picking one that smelled like strawberries. However, the actual tea itself was mediocre, nothing like that I had imagined.

AMY: Their teapots were a major disappointment! This is purely a personal preference, but when I think high-tea, I imagine pretty ceramic teapots adorned with florals. I suppose this adds a more modern touch?
LULU: As I kept staring at the teapot, I realized that the metal part was only a cover, which we assumed was to keep the tea warm. When I lifted up the cover, I was surprised to find that the teapot looked just like the teapot at dimsum yesterday! 

Top (from left): raspberry souffle - mini lemon tart - choclate mousse - mini  opéra - parfait - mini apple cinnamon muffin. Bottom (from left): Scone with cream and jam - chicken, apple, and country ranch dressing sandwich - smoked salmon and wasabi cream sandwich - cucumber, roast beef, and coriander cream sandwich

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Boiling Pot of Yum at Boiling Point

AMY: Being Taiwanese girls at heart, Lulu and I were super excited when we first found out about Boiling Point, a hotpot restaurant whose main attraction was ... Stinky Tofu! Stinky tofu is one of my absolute favorite foods but unfortunately very hard to come by in Vancouver. Now with Boiling Point, I don't have to wait until the summer night market to get my fix!

LULU: Stinky tofu has always been well at the top of my list of favourite foods (with many others because I can never decide on my number 1). The stinky tofu was the only reason for our first visit and since then we've fallen in love with this place - it is a must-go whenever I visit Vancouver.

House Special Hot Soup 招牌臭臭鍋 $8.99

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

We Love You, Ebisu

After a long semester scrounging two ends of Canada for great food, Amy and Lulu have come together in Vancouver to bring you a series of co-blogs.  We hope you enjoy!

LULU: After finally going back to Vancouver, the first place I wanted to visit was Ebisu. I've heard Amy mention it several times and was especially interested because of the rumoured free shots on the house when the Canucks score a goal. That being said, what better place to watch a Canucks game while enjoying great food than Ebisu on Robson?
Tuna Tataki Supreme  $8.95
Tuna tataki is a dish that we both love and I had high expectations for it because Amy said their's was good. Indeed, Ebisu didn't let me down. The tuna was fresh and I liked the fact that it was really cold because I find raw fish to be a little weird when it's served warm. The diced raddish and green onion on top as well as the ponzu sauce definitely added to the great taste of the dish and got rid of any bad fishy smell/taste if there was any.
AMY: Whenever I visit any Japanese restaurant, tuna tataki is always a must-order. For Ebisu, it's one of the main reasons why I come. As Lulu mentioned, the tuna is always fresh and pairs perfectly with its tangy ponzu sauce.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Move over IHOP, Waffle Sandos are here!

I'm a big fan of desserts, so when I heard about Miura Waffle Milk Bar in downtown, I knew I had to come give it a try. They specialize in waffle sandos (sando means "sandwich" in Japanese) and flavored milks. The waffle menu is small, categorized into sweet and savory. 

I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of having a savory waffle, but Miura has me completely converted! Pictured below are the savory sandos that I had. The Garlic Chicken had a perfect blend of tender chicken, miso and something similar to cabbage coleslaw. Every vegetable was very crisp and fresh. Absolutely delicious. The BEC was also very good, perfect for breakfast! Most importantly, the waffle was heavenly -- super light and fluffy with a hint of sweetness. It's hard to imagine a sweet waffle going so well with savory ingredients, but Miura does it right.
Garlic Chicken $7.49 + tax

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Let's Go For Tea!

Since moving to Toronto, I feel like I have been deprived of good bubble tea. It's not
that there aren't bubble tea places in Toronto, it's just that so far I haven't had any good bbt in downtown.
Having spent almost all of my life in places where bubble tea is common, I have developed high standards for it. Unsatisfied with the bbt I've been having in downtown, I was eager to try out Go For Tea when I learned that that they serve authentic Taiwanese cuisine and bbt. To my surprise, the bbt here is delicious and pretty authentic. They only have two sizes, which I felt were either too small or too much. However, large is a good choice if you plan to sit there for a while.

The first time I went to Go For Tea was after dinner so I only ordered a drink and a snack. Pictured below is the Milk Custard Toast (奶酥厚片吐司), which I thought was absolutely delicious. The crust was crunchy, and the milk custard on top was flavourful without being overly sweet.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Quest for the Best Hainanese Chicken

Hainanese Chicken is a fairly popular dish in Vancouver, and there are definitely many opinions when it comes to which one's the best. To be honest, I already have a favorite when it comes to Hainanese chicken, so I came into Cafe D'Lite with high expectations after hearing over and over that theirs is the best.
Half Hainanese Chicken ($12.99 + tax)

This is half a chicken, with a bowl of chicken rice. The chicken was deboned, and had a drizzle of soy sauce, which was nice. It was also very gelatinous, and not too meaty. Overall, the chicken was not bad, but not as good as I expected. While most places give their sauces separately, Cafe D'Lite's came mixed. I thought the chili sauce was nothing spectacular (a bit bland even), but it seems to be popular since I saw packaged bottles  for sale! The chicken rice was moist and flavorful, but not as fluffy as I expected. For $12.99 (not including the rice)  the portion is quite small.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Taste of Mama's Dumplings

Not having to live at home is great and fun, but I'm sure many of you would agree with me that not having mom's home-cooked food sucks. But don't get me wrong, living away from home is definitely a great experience and hey, restaurants like Mother's Dumplings can (temporarily) make up for the lack of homemade food!
Pork and Bak Choi Pan Fried Dumplings  豬肉白菜鍋貼 $6.95 
I used to wave off the idea of eating at dumpling restaurants because I feel like when I go out to eat, I want to go for food that I cannot make at home. The dumplings at Mother's Dumplings definitely changed my thinking. The thickness of the skin was just right and the meat inside was juicy. The dumplings and other pastry dishes are all hand made in their open kitchen, which is probably why they taste so good.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Poutine Eh?

I have never been especially fond of fries, but I have always been a huge fan of poutine. The gravy and cheese combination just makes poutine completely irresistible! I love it when my fries are soggy from the gravy.
It's not hard to find poutine in Canada, they're served at fast food chains, bars/pubs and sometimes even trendy restaurants. However, I feel like it's not that easy to find GOOD poutine.
A friend told me about Smoke's Poutinerie way back, but I never got to visiting because it's in an area that I don't normally go to. Finally, I decided to trek there in the heavy rain and boy was it worth it!

Smoke's Poutinerie has several locations in Toronto, but I picked the one closer to me. It was my first time there and I swear it took me literally 10 minutes to decide on my choice because all of them seemed so delicious! I actually thought it would be more customizable in the sense that you can choose your own ingredients on top of your poutine, but I was happy with the choices given anyway.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

What Kinda Pasta? Some Kinda Wonderful Pasta!

Who wants to eat UBC's SUB food everyday? Not me. Whether you're on a tight schedule or have a longer break, the Point Grey Village on W10th is just a few minutes away by bus.

The first time I tried Some Kinda Pasta was actually somewhat of an impromptu decision. It seemed like a cozy little place, and I was so impressed with it that I came back again! Here, you can pick from their wide range of sauces and type of pasta to create your own meal. 

Pictured above is the Chorizo Sausage with penne ($10.95 + tax). I'm not a big fan of creamy pastas, and prefer my sauces to have a strong tomato flavor. This sauce was great-- very tasty, chunky and just a little bit spicy. The sausage was also very good, and had a smoky flavor to it. Their portions are fairly large, above is actually a half order! 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Nothing Beats Sunday Morning Brunch at EggSmart

My perfect Sunday starts like this: I sleep until the clock hits eleven (usually later) when the warm sun is shining on my face, making it too bright to sleep. After some snoozing, I get up but stay in the bed with my Macbook in my lap and laze around some more. Finally when my stomach is growling like mad, I hop out of bed and get ready to go to Sunday brunch, which is no doubt the best part of my weekend. 

Despite being 3 minutes away from where I live, EggSmart was never my usual brunch place. I ended up at EggSmart because, like always, I was planning to go to another place, but the rain ruined my plans and I had to opt for something close. This place is small and tables are very closely placed so I felt a little cramped.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

100% Delicious

After a not-so-filling dinner, I visited 100% Healthy Dessert in search of something to satisfy my sweet craving. The shop is small and I've never had a problem with lineups and waiting to get a seat. Their menu is quite extensive for a small place, with lots of creative desserts.

The most tempting thing on their menu was probably their wide variety of shaved ice with different combinations of toppings, fruit, etc. But since it was a chilly day, I opted for their sweet soup instead. Pictured below is their Mango GiGi (楊枝甘露)  and Strawberry Soup with mango and noodles.

The Mango Gigi was very nice, served cold and with fresh mango chunks and tapioca. It was a good blend of sweet and sour. Now you're probably all wondering...noodles? In a dessert...?

Sunday, May 08, 2011

An Unnoticed Gem: Manpuku Modern Japanese Eatery

I randomly came across this restaurant when I was actually planning on going to another place. I decided to try out this place because I remember hearing good things about it and I figured, why not try something new instead of always going to the same place?
curry don カレー丼   $6.99 + tax
I call Manpuku an unnoticed gem because it is a relatively small restaurant hidden in the corner behind the food court in the Village by the Grange complex. Of the two times I've been here, the restaurant has been fairly empty, but I think it would be crowded with maybe even line ups during school days since the complex is connected to the Ontario College of Arts and Design. The restaurant is authentic and the Japanese waitresses are also the chefs who make your food in a semi-open kitchen.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Deer Garden Signatures

If you ever decide to check out Deer Garden Signatures, remember to come early, because this place will be packed! Out of the three times that I've visited this place, there were always massive lineups at the door, even at twenty minutes after opening. Anyways, they are supposed to be a Hong Kong Style Cafe (according to one of their awards on the wall), but I believe most people go for the noodle combo.

Basically, you choose your own soup base, type of noodles and two toppings. The result...?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Yogurt Spoon: Why Do Drugs When You Can Do Froyo?

Frozen yogurt has recently become a popular alternative to ice cream as people are becoming more health conscious and prefer low-fat choices. 
I have always been a die-hard froyo fan and was super excited when I unexpectedly came across Yogurt Spoon one day. Before discovering this store, I would always complain and wish that a decent frozen yogurt place would open around the area I live in-- now my wish has come true! 
I have to admit, it's been hard trying to refrain myself from visiting the store every single day. Trust me, this stuff is quite addictive.           
When you enter the store, the friendly staff greet you with an energetic "Welcome to Yogurt Spoon!"
before you make your way to the yogurt station.  This place is self-serve and you can literally put anything you want and as much as you want in your cup. They offer around 10 frozen yogurt flavours, with original and chocolate being my favorites. Original is a bit sour and very refreshing, while the chocolate has a thicker taste and can definitely satisfy that crave for ice cream. They also have cheesecake and other fruit flavours that vary day to day. One flavour not enough for you? No worries, they have mixed flavours!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We All Scream for ICE CREAM!

After such a long winter, I'm so glad that the sun finally decided to pay Vancouver a visit again. With the days getting longer, there's nothing better than to laze around on a warm afternoon, eating some ice cream! I couldn't stand being cooped up in the library during finals season anymore while the weather was so nice, so I headed over to Cold Stone Creamery for some ice cream.

The first time I had Cold Stone was in Taiwan, where the menu had so many items on it that it was quite difficult to make a choice. So when I looked at the menu for the Vancouver location, I was very surprised by the limited amount of choices. Perhaps most people go for the option of mixing and matching their own. Another thing that was really different was the service. My server was not very friendly, and spoke in such a mumbled voice that I could barely hear.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu: Have You Ever Heard of Mind-Blasting Tofu?

The one reason why I love to go to Korean restaurants is that they always offer side dishes and many of them offer refills. I also like the fact that I get to choose the level of spiciness for my food.  

I have been to Toronto's Korea Town countless times but Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu is a relatively new discovery.  It's a shame that I didn't find out about this place until a couple months ago, as it is known to serve the best tofu pots in town. But better late than never!

Now you're probably wondering where this mind-blasting tofu is...

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Don't Underestimate Food Courts!

When you're pressed for time, the best place to go to is a food court. The food court at Aberdeen Center serves a variety of foods, but Mambo Cafe is the one stall that I go to when I'm craving some Hong Kong Cafe style type of food (also the one stall that contributes significantly to my rapidly expanding waistline).

Today I had their Yuanyang Fried Rice (鴛鴦炒飯), consisting of fried rice baked with half cream sauce and half tomato sauce.

They were very generous with the chicken and shrimp toppings. The sauces were very flavorful with a layer of cheese baked on top. There were also plenty of onions and peas scattered around (healthy?). All their menu items come with a drink of your choice, so I had some cold lemon tea. As you can see, the portion is quite big -- I had to share!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Once upon a time..

Hello! This blog was setup by two friends who adore good eats and are always hungry (hence the url). We figured that since we love food and we love sharing, why not set up a food blog?

That being said, hope you enjoy our blogs! 

oh, and we are both proud Taiwanese Canadians who love stitch and hello kitty.

cheers :) 


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