Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Sunday Snack – Steveston Bakery

July 14, 2013
Steveston Bakery, Richmond BC
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Strawberry, Spinach, Feta, Pecan Salad
Tuxedo Cake

Nanaimo Bar
Blueberry Scone
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ImageAfter staying inside all day, I decided to venture out and grab a late afternoon snack at Steveston Bakery. There were a couple of people who came in to buy some baked goods and two other ladies drinking tea at a table. Considering it was an hour before closing on a Sunday, it was pretty good. 

My Strawberry, Spinach, Feta, Pecan Salad, at $2.50 for a small, was really good. The quality and the size together would have easily cost double in most casual restaurants. The dressing was tangy and light, and everything was just very fresh.Image

The Tuxedo Cake was also delicious, not too sweet with cake that was soft and moist. I loved the multi-layered treat, especially the shaved chocolate on the side and the chocolate frosting layer on top.Image

The Nanaimo Bar was wonderful as well. It was a perfect amount of sweetness that did not leave you grossed out. I loved the custard and the coconut chocolate bar layer on the bottom was not overly greasy and dense. Image

Finally, the Blueberry Scone, being a day-old item, was a little disappointing. It was okay but not buttery enough or light enough. It was just overall quite bland. It was still fresh enough, though.

The service was extremely friendly; the two girls behind the counter were eager to answer any questions and served everyone with a smile, making it a nice end to a day. 

Steveston Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Victoria’s Prince of Italian Dining – Pagliacci’s

ImageJuly 12, 2013
Pagliacci’s, Victoria BC
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Marlene Dietrich
Prince of Tides
The Prawn Broker
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This popular Italian dining spot does not look fancy from the outside. Inside was more of the old, almost antique-looking photos and decor. What initially drew me in was the creative names for everything from cocktails to appetizers to entrees. Some were so hilarious! It was so crowded on a Friday night but being set on some of the best Italian food around, we decided to wait.

I started with the Marlene Dietrich martini, with Canadian whiskey, Cointreau, orange, lemon, and bitters. The description quoted Marlene Dietrich saying “Darling, the legs aren’t so beautiful, I just know what to do with them.” I just could not resist after that. It was a good mix of bitter, tangy, and sweet.Image

My entree was the Prince of Tides, a spinach salad with seared scallops, portobello mushrooms, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and crispy pancetta, with a basil pesto dressing. My only complaint was the salad was overly greasy from the pancetta and the scallops. Otherwise, all the ingredients were some of my favourite foods ever. The scallops were perfectly cooked and the mushrooms were tender.Image

Dad got The Prawn Broker, a pasta dish with jumbo prawns in a coconut milk and cashew curry sauce with mango chutney and cream over a bed of spinach fettuccine. The prawns were succulent and juicy and the cashews provided a nice, crunchy textural contrast. The pasta was nice and al dente and the sauce was addictive – sweet, tangy, and creamy. It was a great blend of Indian and Italian!

I would come back to Pagliacci’s in a heartbeat to try some of their other seemingly amazing pastas and interestingly-named cocktails. This is definitely a ‘hidden’ gem in Victoria and a must for anyone who appreciates a good pasta!

Pagliacci's on Urbanspoon

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Summer in Greece – Opa!

July 11, 2013
Opa!, Victoria BC
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Summer Salad with Shrimp
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ImageNot wanting Burger King, I chose to go to Opa! in the food court at the mall next to our hotel and get a Summer Salad with Shrimp. It was a refreshing Greek salad, with dressing on the side. The shrimp skewer was juicy and very tender, almost undercooked but still made for a light lunch.

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Thai on the Island – Baan Thai Restaurant

July 10, 2013
Baan Thai Restaurant, Victoria BC
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Lychee Martini
Som Tum Goong
Phad Thai Gai
Macua Pad Moo

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ImageI recently went with my dad and his colleague to Vancouver Island and though it was a great opportunity to try some of the Island’s best restaurants.

Our first night after checking in at the hotel led us to Baan Thai Restaurant, which is apparently the best Thai restaurant on the Island. About half of the restaurant was filled and the service was very friendly. The food was quite good overall, despite being a tad bit pricey for some of the dishes.

I started with a Lychee Martini. I just love lychees and so the sweetness with the Smirnoff vodka, Soho, and white grape juice tasted quite pleasant.Image

My Som Tum Goong – green papaya salad with prawns – was absolutely mouthwatering. I asked for extremely spicy and boy, that turned up the heat. My mouth was not just burning but probably charred by the end. I loved it though! The prawns were tender and there were loads of green papaya shred. It was a tad pricey but a great-tasting dish.Image

Dad ordered the Phad Thai Gai – stir-fried thin rice noodles with tamarind, ground peanuts, and chicken. A good pad Thai is hard to find and this was average. It had a good, sweet and spicy flavour but a little bland. More sauce would have helped. Also lacking was the amount of scrambled eggs. I always love the eggs in my pad Thai and so does Dad. The chicken was a little dry as well.Image

Finally, we shared the Macua Pad Moo – stir-fried eggplant with pork. The pork was okay but the eggplant was soft and delicious. It had a nice spicy and sweet flavour with a little soy taste as well. It was a little greasy but considering they were eggplants, I totally understand.

It’s hard to find good Thai food in BC so I’m not surprised this is considered the best on the Island. While it was not the best I’ve ever had, it was certainly above average and satisfied my cravings for overly spicy foods.

Baan Thai Restaurants on Urbanspoon

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Spicy, Scallop-y, Stanley – Sushi One

July 6, 2013
Sushi One, Richmond BC
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Spicy Tuna Sashimi
Scallop Magma Roll
Stanley Roll
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ImageMy best friend and I decided to go out for lunch at Sushi One, a fairly new restaurant by the water in Steveston. It was quite crowded inside on a Saturday, with almost every booth taken. The service was friendly and it was a nice little place to chat.Image

I ordered a lunch special with one of their special rolls and had a salad and soup to go along with it. Both were fairly standard.Image

I picked Spicy Tuna Sashimi for my side. The pieces were small but I loved the spicy sauce that had quite the kick and also a touch of sweetness. The tuna was very fresh and, paired with the sauce, was very appetizing.

My Scallop Magma Roll was absolutely delicious, and very creative. Inside was spicy tuna while it was topped with masago, chopped scallop, and a sweet, black sesame sauce. The sauce was rich, creamy, and sweet, balancing out with the spicy tuna and scallops nicely. The ingredients were all very fresh.Image

My friend had the Stanley Roll that was also drool-worthy. It had yam tempura, avocado, and cucumber inside with a unagi tempura and tobiko on top. The two sweet tempuras were excellent, especially since they were not the same kind of sweetness. Still, it was harmonious and interesting all rolled into one.

Sushi One has it in the bag when it comes to creative rolls – so many choices and so many different appetizers and sides to choose from! They also have some great lunch specials that I’m sure this will become a regular hangout lunch spot for me.

Sushi One on Urbanspoon

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The Must-eat Mushroom Ravioli – Olive Garden

June 15, 2013
Olive Garden, Philadelphia PA
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[Breadsticks]
Garden-Fresh Salad
Ravioli di Portobello
Seafood Brodetto
Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken
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ImageA friend from China was in town with two other of her friends so a group of us headed to Olive Garden since Philly Chinese food was just not going to cut it and the Japanese restaurant we wanted to eat at was closed during lunch hours. I always had a little something for Olive Garden as it was the first place I tried a mushroom ravioli after reading Twilight. That was way back when in Florida, too. Image

To start, there were of course the unlimited [Breadsticks]. They were incredibly soft, airy, and warm, with just the right amount of butter on top to give it a slight flavour.

The Garden-Fresh Salad, which we asked to have dressing on the side, was quite fresh. I did not like the olives or the hot peppers but everything else was simple and refreshing.Image

Then, onto what I was craving: Ravioli di Portobello. The light cream sauce is slightly sweet from the sun-dried tomato sauce but with a hint of the smoky cheese. The portobello raviolis were cooked to the perfect texture, al dente and not soggy after being in the sauce for a little while. This is as light a plate as any cream-based pasta can get.Image

The Seafood Brodetto was also quite delicious. It was loaded with shrimp, scallops, tilapia, mushrooms, and spinach and had a light white wine and marinara-saffron broth. The bowl was hearty and comforting but light and flavourful. The garlic ciabatta bread that came with it was perfect for dipping and we even had some breadsticks left to soak up all that yummy broth.Image

I also had a bit of the Lasagna Primavera with Grilled Chicken, with zucchini, squash, and bell peppers in a tomato-basil broth with parmesan drizzle. This was another very light pasta dish. The vegetables really brought out that freshness. The chicken was a little bland so you really had to eat it with everything else together, especially the sauce and cheese.

The service we received was great and we all had a nice time chatting even after we were pretty much finished with our food. This may not be top-notch, fine Italian dining, but for the price, it was a great meal with friends.

Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

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Figgy Pears – Dafni Greek Taverna

May 31, 2013
Dafni Greek Taverna, New York NY
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Salata me Ahladi
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ImageThere was barely anyone inside when we went to Dafni Greek Taverna for lunch. Our server was very friendly, however, and the atmosphere provided a quieter, more relaxing place than the bustling New York City streets.

The Salata me Ahladi had roasted pears, raisins, and dried figs over mesclun. It was supposed to be pecans instead of figs but I guess they ran out. Fine with me – I love figs too much! The portion was not huge but the pears were so sweet since they were brushed with either honey or syrup. I like everything that’s sweet so it was perfect for me.

Dafni Greek Taverna on Urbanspoon

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One Day Attack in UCity – Guerilla Ultima

May 29, 2013
Guerilla Ultima, Philadelphia PA
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Sesame Broccoli Salad
The Ultimate Patriot
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ImageGuerilla Ultima was a relatively new food truck specializing in BBQ that I had never seen around Drexel’s campus or anywhere else. The menu looked interesting with a lot of choices of protein. However, I do think it’s important to specify a burger and not call it a sandwich. 

The Sesame Broccoli Salad was a little too sour for my liking. I had a lot of broccoli as well as napa cabbage, carrots, and spicy jalapenos. It just had too much acidity to the salad and it was a little overdressed. However, I did like the crispness of the fresh vegetables. Still, for $4, the portion was quite small.Image

The Outsourced Patriot was in actuality a smoked curry chicken burger topped with coconut crema and guerilla slaw. The chicken was a little dry but still decent. It also had a smoky flavour but I had a hard time tasting much of the coconut crema. The burger was just a tad too dry and slightly bland, especially once you have the two pieces of the bun with the chicken breast. 

I think this food truck has potential but really needs to carve out its niche, figure out the tastes of its customers, and set a price that will generate a lot of business. Striking up conversations while customers are waiting is also not a bad idea. 

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Deep in a Japanese Coma – Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant

ImageMay 9, 2013
Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant, Richmond BC
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Eda-Mame
Green Salad
Salmon Sashimi
Tuna Sashimi
Spicy Seafood Cone
Chicken Teriyaki Roll
Spring Roll
Deep Fried Gyoza
Shishamo Karaage
Chicken Karaage
ImageChicken Udon
Beef Udon
BBQ Beef Short Rib
BBQ Chicken Wing
BBQ Korean Pork
BBQ Salmon Kama
BBQ Yakitori
Oyster Motoyaki
Salmon Teriyaki
Fruit Jello
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ImageWow, another very long chat late into the night. Seven friends met over dinner and exchanged gossip and stories for hours around a large table at Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant. We were all deep into food comas by the end but unfortunately, there was nowhere to go but home at 11:30, especially with early mornings for some the next morning. Image

The Eda-Mame was standard, which means no where near as good as the ones I have had almost everyday in Tokyo. It just was not flavourful enough – lacking salt while boiling – and the doneness was inconsistent.Image

The Green Salad was the most pathetic way to celebrate National Salad Month. It was such a small portion, with iceberg lettuce, what tasted like a carrot puree with a tangy dressing and sesame seeds, shredded carrot and red cabbage, and some scallions.  Image

The Salmon Sashimi was good, with a nice texture. It was actually quite fresh and the fish was really bouncy but firm. Vancouver’s salmon sashimi rarely disappoints, even the regular kind.Image

The Tuna Sashimi was less impressive. It did not taste as fresh and the fish was not as firm as I would like. It was more mushy than the salmon.

The Spicy Seafood Cone was not extremely spicy. I found the seafood a little dry and the flavour was not bold enough to stand out amidst all the rice in the cone. Image

The Chicken Teriyaki Roll was actually good. The chicken was tender. The teriyaki sauce was sweet and had a good consistency. The vegetables made it refreshing and there was just the right amount of sauce drizzled over it. Image

The Spring Roll tasted like it came out of a package. It was fried nicely but you cannot really screw that up anyways. The vegetable filling was not exactly amazing. This was more generic than anything. Image

The Deep Fried Gyoza looked better than they tasted. The filling was a little small and the wrappers, while very crispy, tasted a little too greasy.

The Shishamo Karaage was a nice change. I have not had these little fish in a very long time. I really like the lot of fish eggs inside each fish. They were the best part of this little thing.

The Chicken Karaage were simply deep fried without much seasoning or anything for that matter. The chicken wings were juicy on the inside but these were just mediocre. Image

The Chicken Udon had one small piece of fried chicken cutlet over udon noodles. The chicken was okay. The broth was decent and the noodles were just a tad overcooked.

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The Beef Udon was pretty bad. The udon and soup were good enough but the beef was incredibly tough to chew; it was just too sinewy and did not have much flavour. ImageImageImage

The series of BBQ included Beef Short Rib, Chicken Wing, Korean Pork, Salmon Kama, and Yakitori. The short ribs were tasty and sweet. The chicken wings were a lot better than the deep fried kind. Clearly, the sweet sauce makes all the difference here! The Korean Pork was dry and tough. There was not much flesh on the salmon kama, or salmon head, and it looked quite intimidating! Finally, the yakitori, or chicken skewer, was actually very flavourful from the spice marinade and very juicy. This was one of the better dishes of the night.Image

The Oyster Motoyaki was creamy but a little too heavy. You really need to be partial to these motoyakis to be able to stomach more than one. The oysters were small and not very fresh either.Image

The Salmon Teriyaki was a little dry but at least it was salmon with the lovely sweet sauce.

Finally, we all ended with Fruit Jello. These were generic, colorful, and kind of fun to play with. They were very jiggly and for someone in a deep food coma at midnight, it might be just the tad bit fascinating.Image

Ninkazu will satisfy your regular craving for generic Japanese food. If you are looking for anything remotely close to fine dining, go somewhere else. If you are just seeking out a place to catch up with friends over A LOT of food, this would be the place for you.

Ninkazu Japanese Restaurant 仁和日本料理 on Urbanspoon

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South Asia Food Comas – Vietnam Palace Restaurant

March 23, 2013
Vietnam Palace Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
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Papaya Salad w. Shrimp
Chicken Pad Thai
Broken Rice Deluxe

Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef
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ImageDinner with the team after a long day is always incredibly fun, especially considering how everyone is going in starving and coming out in food comas. That was and always will be the case. Everyone on this night felt like going to Chinatown since we were already there so we headed to Vietnam Palace Restaurant. 

My Papaya Salad w. Shrimp came first. There was a mound of that lovely shredded green papaya with several large shrimp that were tender and succulent. The two were both unflavoured apart from the fish sauce dressing that was sweet, sour, and a little spicy. I was in heaven with this salad. The peanuts added a nice crunch.Image

The Chicken Pad Thai some people got was okay. The noodles were a little sticky and there was not enough sauce to coat everything completely. There were plenty of bean sprouts and peanuts but I thought it lacked some egg. The chicken was also dry.Image

The Broken Rice Deluxe was basically rice served with pork chop, shredded pork, egg quiche, and a fried egg. The pork chop was juicy but a little tough. The shredded pork was very flavourful and tasty. The egg quiche was a little dry but okay and the fried egg was nice with the runny yolk. This was served with a side of the fish sauce dressing for the greens salad. I liked the combination but individually, only the egg quiche and shredded pork were appealing.Image

The Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef was actually decent. The vermicelli soaked up some of the slightly sweet sauce and the beef did as well, making it juicy and tender. I loved the array of vegetables, including mushrooms, bamboo shoots, broccoli, snow peas, and carrots. They were crunchy and refreshing. 

The decor was nice and service okay, although they did mess up the bill. It took a while for us to sort out everything but overall, we were all satisfied with our meal. Finally, I have found my perfect salad that is both economically and tastefully the best I have had. 

Vietnam Palace on Urbanspoon

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