April 27th, 2013. Spring Break in Vancouver!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

So what to do in Vancouver? Eat as much food as possible! Continuing on our food-cation in Vancouver: a bite in Yaletown at El Azteca Modern Tequila Lounge 😀

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

Sure, Yaletown can be hit and miss in terms of actual good food and compared to how beautifully gussied up the interior is the service and authenticity of the cuisine can be a disappointment…but you can’t help trying.  Yaletown is like that really popular, pretty girl at the party that you just keep hoping is going to be your future wife, but then she opens her mouth and starts talking…and you realize that she thinks scalloped potatoes are made of scallops and that macaroons are the same as macarons…..

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

Anyways!! I digress.  With a preamble of cocktails, Robert and I started the evening with the Chicharron de Rib Eye; deep fried bites of rib-eye and guacamole served in a martini glass and a side of tortillas.  So, I really wanted to love this, and on paper it all sounded so good!  Not that it wasn’t good…the crunch on the rib-eye was great…but I think I’d have to say that rib-eye should just be left alone…not diced up small and that fried. Really ended up masking the flavor. But hey! It was still pretty yummy…just didn’t need to be made of rib-eye!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

Robert went ahead with the Tacos Camarones of fresh Pacific shrimp, bacon, onion, peppers, and smokey habanero. The shrimp was plump, the flavors all worked together, and of course the true test of a taco is how much finger-lickin’ you do! I’d say this was a decent effort 🙂

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

I did my usual hemming and hawing over the menu and even picked our server’s brain.  In the end I ended up with the Cochinita Pibil. Pork slow-roasted in banana leaf (supposedly) and then served in a traditional peltre bowl served with a side of beans, pickles, and soft tortillas.

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

Did I enjoy it? YES! The pork came shredded, moist and smothered in a flavorful sauce that was sweet, tangy and had a little kick to it. 2 things I loved about this dinner: 1. It’s interactive. I get to build my own taco and play with ratio of ingredients.  LOVE THAT! 2. I was eating with a close friend whom I didn’t have to feel self-conscious about eating with my hands and having food juices dripping down my wrist. Hahaha!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

 

I would NEVER order something like fajitas on a first-date situation, so the fact that I can order anything with Robert is a sign of true food-friendship ;D

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

A fun and playful touch to the end of our meal at El Azteca was the Jacob’s Ladder block toy that our check came in! Holy blast from the past!

el azteca modern tequila lounge

el azteca modern tequila lounge

 

 

 

Don’t judge my love for Churros. Or donuts. Or anything deep-fried.  With a tagline like “served with white chocolate dipping sauce” there is NO WAY I could resist an order to take out with me. Midnight snack here I come~!!!  Crispy, sugary, cinnamon-y, hot doughy goodness.  Yes, heaven, I’m sure, is full of churros 🙂

 

In conclusion, El Azteca is warm and inviting and service with cute Latino accents is always a plus, but the food doesn’t stand out, the flavors don’t pop, and for what you pay the portions are pretty meager. Is great for maybe a drink and small bites pre-party, but wouldn’t want to sink my entire night here.

April 27th, 2013. Bubble World on Robson!

bubble world (robson)

bubble world (robson)

 

 

 

 

So, walking back up Robson of course we had to follow up with our regular ritual of bubble tea!  Street Fighter+Bubble Tea = The best!

bubble world (robson)

bubble world (robson)

 

 

 

 

 

This particular location is tiny and doesn’t offer food (no salty peppery chicken nuggets? sad!), but it has a game station that evokes all kinds of childhood nostalgia!

bubble world (robson)

bubble world (robson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sure, more than 10 years later I still suck, but the boys think I’m cute for trying so hard 😉

Banana Leaf on Robson

January 22, 2015

April 27th, 2013. Banana Leaf Robson

banana leaf robson

banana leaf robson

So I felt like a bright lunch would be a great way to go so I had planned for us to go to the new Banana Leaf that just opened up on Robson.

I ordered the appetizer platter as my lunch and I was pretty pleased! I love love love options and this dish came with the Papaya and Pineapple Salad, Chicken Satay, Spring Rolls, Roti Canai and Calamari.

banana leaf robson

banana leaf robson

Finger food, check. Sauces, check. Flavor, check! The roti canai was stretchy but with a crispy crust, the calamari was a tad dry, but acceptable with a salty and crumbly crispy coating, the spring rolls were deep fried goodness and while the satay could have been punchier with the flavor, it was still not bad! As for the salad, the dressing was bright, sweet, acidic, and overall was fresh!

banana leaf robson

banana leaf robson

 

 

Robert, on the other hand, was very disappointed with his curry dish. Being well traveled and also being from LA he’d know!  He said it was bland and forgettable and he even left a scathing comment card! Yikes!

April 27th, 2013. Spring Break In The City!

the betty (the burrard hotel)

the betty (the burrard hotel)

 

 

 

 

Good morning, Vancouver! It’s spring break!  It’s a typically rainy day, but that’s not going to stop us from making the most of it!

the betty (the burrard hotel)

the betty (the burrard hotel)

 

 

 




Another reason why I love The Burrard Hotel is that it has this incredibly sweet café attached to the lobby that has Blenz coffee and tea, very delicious looking baked goods and treats and is licensed for wine! The white and wood interior and teal and yellow accents make it that much more chic 😀

the betty (the burrard hotel)

the betty (the burrard hotel)

 

 

 

 

In keeping with the rest of the hotel even the café offers cheeky little sayings and touches 😉  What’s not to love!  Makes starting the morning even more fun!

 

 

 

*Update (Jan. 22nd, 2015): The Betty has been re-vamped and is now The Container.

March 23rd, 2013. Capstone Tea & Fondue 

 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

  Since we couldn’t sit down for teas and treats at Soirette we headed over to Capstone Tea & Fondue on Robson instead.  Nab just started working here as the manager and I wanted to be supportive of his new job.
 
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

With a clean, white and green color scheme and plenty of efficient seating space for a small cafe. Capstone offers variations of tea and tea lattes to accompany the chocolate and cheese fondues.
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

Since we’re sweet, we went the sweet route with the Chocolate Fondue Sampler 😉  The café states that they offer 56% semi-sweet Blegian dark chocolate for dipping.
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

I was surprised to find out that all their pastries and baked goods are made in house.  Delicious little biscuits, moist cakes, I probably could have just eaten a whole plate of just that!
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

The fruit is your usual fare.  The grapes were slightly difficult to dip because it was so slippery and the skewer kept bouncing off, but I loved the strawberries and pineapple 😀
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also ordered an add-on side of the ice cream truffles and cheesecake truffles!  
 

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

  The fun part was the different kinds of toppings we could roll our fondue dipped treats in!  Compliments of the house 😀

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

The chocolate had a sort of sheen and coated the items well. We were definitely having fun dipping and noshing on the abundance of goodies!

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

 

I worried that the ice cream truffles would melt too quickly, but it didn’t turn out to be a problem 🙂

capstone tea & fondue

capstone tea & fondue

 

 

 

 

 

How much fun did we have?  Lots of fun!  The establishment was constantly busy the whole time we were there and the atmosphere was nice and cheerful 🙂  We had  really fun time!

 

 

Soirette Macarons & Tea

April 18, 2014

March 23rd, 2013. Soirette

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

A girls’ day with Anita calls for something special… Soirette!  On the West End at towards the end of Pender before you hit Stanley Park territory, this newish macaron and high tea place is tiny, but perfect for girly girls who love macarons!

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the coming of spring their cute window displays and sweet little décor details inside are just too cute not to take pictures!  Anita was running a little late, which gave me plenty of time to ogle the beautiful and dainty Macarons 🙂

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

All their desserts sweets are crafted in their baking kitchen in their back-of-house and every time the doors swing open you get tiny glimpses of the magic that happens behind the doors.

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tiny establishment is always booked full since there is such limited seating and limited time.  We had to do with just buying some to go.

soirette macaron & tea

soirette macaron & tea

 

 

 

 

 

I bought a dozen gorgeous little macarons of varying colors and flavors.  I can definitely say I prefer them to Thierry.  Light cloud of pastel colors imparted with dainty flavors.  I love how creamy and jammy  the centers are.  I was definitely impressed!

March 16th, 2013. Fancy Time at Yew @ The Four Seasons 

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

After brunch with Joyce I rendezvoused with Tracy downtown.  It’s been a while since Tracy was downtown with a gal-pal!  We strolled through Holt Renfrew trying on high-end shoes, and browsing the gorgeous and (some not so cute) haute couture bags 😉

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

 

 

 

Tracy was just so happy to be out of the house and having some much deserved me-time that we also stopped in at Yew at the Four Season’s for a snack!

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

 

 

Tracy was intent on getting a cocktail to make the most of the experience, but since I’d be driving us back I opted for a delicious little Cappuccino.  It joyfully came served with an in-house made Biscotti 🙂  Gotta love the extra little touch and detail that I’ve come to expect from Yew ♥

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

 

For my nibbles I ordered the Organic Local Apple Tart.  Of course this wasn’t just your average apple tart.  No, this was an apple tart made of Cox’s Pippin and Liberty French apples,aged cheddar ice cream and hazelnuts.  Thin shavings of the cheddar and a caramely glaze garnished the slate that the dessert was served on.

yew seafood + bar
yew seafood + bar

Rich, buttery pastry encompassed the sweet and tart apples which were not soggy and still retained a hint of that great apple crunch.  I’m not a huge fan of nuts, so the hazelnuts were just nuts to me, but I loved nibbling on the cheese shavings held between my fingers and that ice cream was super creamy and smooth with just a breath of that rich cheesy flavor.

 As always, a very satisfying experience and service, as always, was prompt, pleasant and helpful.  Yew gets a thumbs up every time 😀

March 16th, 2013. Miura Waffle Milk Bar

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

Reunion brunch with Joyce! Since leaving Sylvan I haven’t seen Joyce, but we’ve been able to keep in touch through Facebook and judging by each others’ posts we both love food! What better way to reconnect than over Vancouver’s newest fad….Waffle sandwiches!

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

 

Miura Waffle Milk Bar is a Japanese waffle joint that’s small but clean. Already gaining acclaim by being featured on hit foodie show “You Gotta Eat Here” it’s one of those places considered a hidden gem.

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

 

We couldn’t just choose between savory or sweet so we went for 1 of each and split them: First the Hoisin Sando! Sweet and savory hoisin ground pork sausage sandwiched in with bright and aromatic cilantro, refreshing and clear cucumber and a mildly tangy carrot and radish pickle. Reminiscent of a bahn mi but slightly milder. I found that the waffle was appropriately crispy and soft at the same time although bordering on that very thin line of being slightly more dense than I prefer. Delicious? Yes!

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, And I also got a Maple Yoggy Milk. Because….I love maple and I what goes better with waffles than milkshake! Not overly sweet with a hint of maple. I would have liked a stronger maple flavor, but it was certainly refreshing and creamy!

miura waffle + milk bar

miura waffle + milk bar

 

 

 

Next we had the Fruits and Cream Sando! Served between the same waffle with the season’s fresh fruit and cream, today’s fruit was strawberries! Okay, what’s more fitting than tart, sweet, juicy strawberries with a rich and creamy whipped cream against delicious waffle! The hoisin sando had filled us, but the fruits and cream sando put us over the edge 😉

Busy stuffing our mouths I’m surprised we got so much talking done in between! It was wonderful to reconnect and to see how much had happened in our lives since we worked together 🙂 Thanks for suggesting such a fun place, Joyce!

Chicco Coffee & Dessert Bar

December 14, 2013

March 2nd, 2013. Chicco Coffee & Dessert Bar

 

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 After our delightful izakaya dinner we were in a bit of a daze…but ever determined to make the most of the night I steered us to Chicco Coffee & Dessert Bar just a few blocks up on Robson for some dessert!  May as well go full on and make it a Japa-night!

 

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 

 

My favorite little dessert place on Robson with exquisite treats!  Even though this place has been here for so long because it’s understated and so tiny I find it goes overlooked, which is why it’s so fun bringing people here!  Despite the tiny space and almost NO seating when you are lucky enough to snag one of the handful of wooden benches available you are good to go 😉

 

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always excruciating trying to decide on what to have because everything looks so good!

 

 

 

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We ordered a couple of Lattes and went with the tried and true Green Tea Truffles as well as the Green Tea Parfait!

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The parfait is this gorgeous layering of soft, delicate sponge cake, cornflakes, green tea jelly, and whipped cream topped off with a scoop of green tea ice cream, sweet red bean, rice cakes, green tea marshmallow and a green tea “biscotti”.  Decadent, crunchy, creamy, chewy: a textural symphony!  

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t let this pretty thing fool you, though, it’s a hefty portion and can require 2 to finish it off!  Richard and I made a valiant effort to polish it off and do it justice!

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We just couldn’t resist an extra bit of decadence and what goes better with coffee than velvety smooth melt-in-your-mouth truffles dusted with matcha!  A wonderful accompaniment 🙂

chicco coffee & dessert bar

chicco coffee & dessert bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a great night out eating with a great friend!  As always, such honest and real conversation, delicious eats and so much joy!  Thank you, Richard 😀

 

 

March 2nd, 2013. Yum Time @ Zakkushi!!

zakkushi on denman

zakkushi on denman

 

 

 

 

After a bit of a social dry spell I was more than excited about an evening of eats with Richard to explore a place we’d heard so much about… Zakkushi on Denman!

zakkushi on denman

zakkushi on denman

 

 

Zakkushi is a Japanese Izakaya bar space that focuses on one main thing….grilling anything on a stick!  What’s not to love about that?  I love everything about it!  In true Vancouver style the main food station is right in the open with the delicious aromas of grilled meats wafting and filling up the small and cozy space.  With the house packed full Richard and I got seats right at the bar to start off the night.

zakkushi on denman

zakkushi on denman

 

 

 

After drooling all over the menu we finally put up a mass order and waited for the skewered barrage to start flowing in!  And the food kept coming ;D

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alright, so the first trio of skewers to show up were the Kurobuta Pork, Wasa Beef and Uzura Maki.

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

The Uzura Maki really was a no-brainer for us since it was what I had used as my bait to get Richard interested in coming here! Uh, bacon wrapped quail eggs topped off with a sweet and creamy mayo and seaweed shreds?  Yes, yes and YES!  The epitome of everything I enjoy including the fact that it comes on a stick!

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

Usually I associate Kurobuta Pork with Japadog and their Kurobuta hotdogs.  This was a different application and just as super tasty!  The char flavor coming through on that juicy pork with the sweet marinade was really the clincher here.

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

The Wasa Beef is AAA grade slices of beef topped off with fresh wasabi and those seaweed ribbons.  Simple, clean, flavorful and that wasabi is just the right kinda kick!  Another winner 🙂

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

 

 

As indicators of the rest of the meal to come these first 3 were having us chomping at the bit and wanting more!!

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

 

We also wanted to order some special items and the Charcoal Grilled Yellowtail with Oroshi (grated radish) and Ponzu Sauce sounded like just the thing!  Tender, light and melt-in-your-mouth fish with that light and refreshing touch with the ponzu and oroshi!

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

The special of the day was also an Octopus Carpaccio with Spicy Sauce, which was actually kind of like a Korean Gochujang sauce.  The sweet Korean chili paste goes GREAT with fresh octopus and really highlights the natural sweetness and meatiness you get from octopus.

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

Back onto beef, we had the Oropon Beef, which was again AAA grade beef, this one topped with the grated daikon and ponzu.  Great for flavor and cutting the richness to add an underlying layer of sweetness and acidity and brightness.

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Side dishes?  Yes, why not go for a trio of them!  Gomae, Chilled Tofu and some Pickled Veg!

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

 

 

I told Richard he MUST try some tongue so I also went ahead and ordered the Negi Tongue.  Now, when you go to Asian supermarkets and see these gigantic frozen cow tongues studded with tastebuds you just kinda wanna keep walking…and walking…and walking.. until you are far far away!  But when done well they are actually super tender and yummy!  Japanese izakaya places seem to get it consistently right and I always like to order a portion!  This one with the almost caramelized onion sauce was no exception and even had Richard lapping it up!

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

Who doesn’t love duck?  Fatty, rich, and full of amazing flavor!  We definitely had to order the Duck Breast with Yuzu Citrus Chili Sauce.  Rendered down just right with the signature duck texture and unctuousness.  Just gorgeous 😀

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

 

Mmmmm~~ P-Toro!  Just pure, simple crunchy, juicy pork served up with a slice of lemon.  So simple, but nothing comforts your palate like delicious pork belly!  Drool worthy, for sure 😀

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

 

And yes, I had to do it… Takoyaki!!  Delicious fried balls of light Japanese batter filled with bits of octopus and topped off with light and salty bonito flakes and that yummy yummy sauce!  I can’t help myself, I love this especially when it’s hot & fresh!

zakkushi on denamn

zakkushi on denamn

 

 

How happy were we with this meal?  So much that we were both on the verge of major food coma and delirious from the many many foodgasms!

Mmmmm~~~ Such yum and much happiness!!