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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The Best Tasting Dollar – Dutch Bakery

July 12, 2013
Dutch Bakery, Victoria BC
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Vanilla Slice
Dollar Roll
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ImageI knew I had to seek out at least one bakery for some sweets in Victoria before I left so after some searching, I decided to make the short journey over to Dutch Bakery. Although I did not get to eat in the cafe, I did get some pastries to go.

The Vanilla Slice, which is well-known among the bakeries’ fans, was quite good. Layers of puff pastry and vanilla custard seems almost like a Napoleon, just with more space between the layers and more vanilla filling. It was not very sweet and was a light bite with cake mixed in. 

ImageThe Dollar Roll, another famous pastry, was one of the best marzipan treats I have ever had. Actually, it was the first time I thoroughly enjoyed marzipan, which was the layer on the outside that wrapped around the whole pastry. Inside was a light cake and cream with almonds on the ends. I just loved the chewy marzipan!

All of their desserts look absolutely scrumptious and I wish I had some more time to try a few more. Well, there’s something to look forward to next time!

Dutch Bakery on Urbanspoon

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Sippin’ on Guava and Lemons – Blenz Coffee

July 8, 2013
Blenz Coffee, Richmond BC
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Veggie Roll
Rocky Road Bar
Guava Lemon Shaken Iced Hojicha Green Tea
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ImageI biked over to Steveston and decided to stop by Blenz Coffee for a snack and a cold drink. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon that I just could not resist sitting there, sipping on something cold, and enjoying watching passers-by in the quaint little village.

My Veggie Roll was flaky but the filling lacked a little flavour. It had a hint of tomato but I could not really taste the rest of the veggies as it was all mushed together.

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The Rocky Road Bar had mostly chocolate and marshmallows, which made for a sticky and overly sweet treat. A bite or two is delicious but too much can just be a sugar overload.Image

Finally, my Guava Lemon Shaken Iced Hojicha Green Tea was so refreshing. The guava lemon flavour was tangy with a touch of sweet and the green tea was very nice. Nothing beats iced tea on a hot summer day.

The café had some flies inside so I question how clean it is. Considering it is a café, it should not be unsanitary at all – it is not hard to keep a small café clean where all you do is make lattes and bake a few things. The service was friendly, though, and the scenery just wonderful.

Blenz Coffee on Urbanspoon

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Waves of Spritzers – Waves Coffee House

July 3, 2013
Waves Coffee House, Richmond BC
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Sticky Toffee Pudding
Tomato & Spinach Panini
Date Square
Sparkling Pomegranate Spritzer
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ImageWaves Coffee House is a lovely little local coffee chain, certainly giving Starbucks a run for its share of customers. This particular location has a spacious interior with huge windows to allow the light to come into the store. With couches and tables, and free wifi, this is easily a working place.

The Sticky Toffee Pudding looked so tempting. The sticky toffee layer on top was delicious, as were the different layers of crumble and cake underneath. It was extremely sweet but with that deep toffee flavour.Image

The Tomato & Spinach Panini was light and tasty. The panini bread was nicely pressed and had a nice herbal note. The tomato and spinach made it somewhat refreshing, while the sun-dried tomato mayo and pepper jack cheese made it creamier.Image

The Date Square tasted okay with a light hint of date flavour in the paste. The granola crumble was quite dense but I wish it was a little chewier rather than crumbly. More date paste would have made it more like a date dessert rather than granola dessert.Image

Finally, their new Sparkling Pomegranate Spritzer was very refreshing. Tangy, sweet, and carbonated, it was a perfect summer drink. The cold beverage certainly did it for me that afternoon.

I definitely would not mind to grab a sandwich, soup, dessert, and later a beverage while I sat there for the whole day with my laptop. That would actually be very productive and… well… delicious.

Waves Coffee on Urbanspoon

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Corn and Crabs – The Crab Pot

June 30, 2013
The Crab Pot, Bellevue WA
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Sourdough Loaf & Butter
Dungeness Crab Cocktail
The Westport Seafeast
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ImageCraving fresh seafood after being in Philly for so long, we went to Bellevue’s The Crab Pot to avoid the crowds in Seattle downtown but to have the same fun with our food.

First up was the Sourdough Loaf & Butter – boy, that was some sour sourdough. The butter was okay. The bread was very hard to bite on the outside, very airy but tough.Image

We had a voucher for a free appetizer and since they are known for their crab, we went with the Dungeness Crab Cocktail with some cold crab meat that was sweet and succulent. The cocktail sauce had a nice tang and was not watered down much. The celery added a nice refreshing crunch.

ImageFinally, we went at our two portions of The Westport Seafeast with our hands. Mallets? No thanks! My teeth will do just fine! The snow crabs were a little fishy but still good and the dungeness crab was also delicious. I loved the little mussels and clams as well. The shrimp were a little overcooked but at least the seasoning was good. The sausage was a little odd but had nice flavour and the potatoes a little plain but still decent. The corn, though, was absolutely scrumptious. Somehow, the seasoning made it creamier and sweeter and juicier – it was some of the best corn on the cob ever! Corn and crabs made me very happy that sunny afternoon.

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On Apples in Dumplings – Dutch Eating Place

June 29, 2013
Dutch Eating Place, Philadelphia PA
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Hot Apple Dumpling served w/ Cream
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ImageInitially featured on The Food Network, the Hot Apple Dumpling served w/ Cream was a must-try at the Dutch Eating Place in the Reading Terminal Market. It was clearly their most popular dish, with rows upon rows of piping hot dumplings lined up by the glass on the countertop. 

The pastry dough was chewy but nicely layered. The cinnamon and sugar taste was not overwhelming either. I did love that syrup mixed with the full apple in the center, though. The apple was a surprise to me especially since it was a full apple and quite big. It was soft and chewy but had a sweet tartness. The cream cut through the tartness but I did not need much of it. It was just a super delicious dessert!

Dutch Eating Place on Urbanspoon

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Shrimp Simple and Complicated – 粵之醉-Rainflower Restaurant

May 18, 2013
粵之醉 – Rainflower Restaurant, Richmond BC
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天天老火例汤 (Daily Special Soup)
清蒸游水虾 (Steamed Live Shrimp)

秘制香叶老虎虾 (Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with Basil)
家乡杂菌牛仔柳 (Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms)
黑鱼火腩豆腐煲 (Black Cod Hot Pot with Tofu)
[Cookies]

[Sweet Bean Soup]
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ImageA family friend and his daughter went out to dinner with us since we have to met each other in quite a while, let alone had a nice chat. He picked Rainflower Restaurant, which I had always wanted to try despite never hearing any compliments. Not surprising, the place that is known for dim sum was quite empty on a Saturday evening. Even so, it took very long to get our dishes as the kitchen could not keep up with the minimal demand.Image

The 天天老火例汤 (Daily Special Soup) was very generic at best. I liked the winter melon and carrots but it could use more of those little almonds.Image

The 清蒸游水虾 (Steamed Live Shrimp) were very fresh. The shrimp were so juicy and succulent – I loved the bite. The dipping sauce was a little generic but had a nice soy flavour nonetheless. 

ImageThe 秘制香叶老虎虾 (Pan Fried Tiger Prawns with Basil) was delicious although very expensive. The basil flavour was light but present and the sweet soy flavour really came through. The shrimp were again very succulent and had a lovely bite to them. They were fortunately not overcooked.Image

The 家乡杂菌牛仔柳 (Pan Fried Beef Tenderloin with Mushrooms) was not very special. The shiitake and button mushrooms were good and juicy. The beef was okay. The flavour was just sort of salty and did not have any particular flavour. It was a little oily but also a tad sweet, which I do like. Image

The cod in the 黑鱼火腩豆腐煲 (Black Cod Hot Pot with Tofu) was tender and flaky with a nice, slightly soggy exterior. It did soak up the sweet soy flavour so it was all good. The cod was in cubes and was firm enough to stay together. The tofu was mediocre and the portion was extremely small.Image

For complimentary dessert, we got almond cookies and fried dough cookies. They were crunchy and lightly sweetened, going well with the sweeter red bean soup. 

Overall, I think the restaurant is seriously overpriced. I cannot say anything about the dim sum. While I love the slightly sweet flavour of most dishes, the taste still does not justify the small portions and extremely high prices.

Rainflower Restaurant 粵之醉海鮮酒家 on Urbanspoon

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That Tiramisu! – Al Porto Ristorante

May 11, 2013
Al Porto Ristorante, Vancouver BC
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[Bread Basket]
Linguine Pescatore
Calamari
Mussels
Tiramisu
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ImageFor a long-time friend’s 20th birthday party, we went to Al Porto Ristorante in the lovely, historic Gastown. While sunny weather is always nice, there is a certain magical feel to Gastown in the drizzly rain. The restaurant was large, with great friendly servers and traditional decorations. 

We started with a complimentary Bread Basket that I thought could have been better to match the sophistication of the restaurant. The bread was not exactly fresh out of the oven, although it had a nice crust and a soft, airy inside. However, I loved the focaccia. It was so soft and a little chewy.Image

The Linguine Pescatore was a common dish amongst our group. The seafood was fresh and nicely done: mussels, clams, prawns, squid, scallops, salmon, and halibut. Unfortunately, there was only one scallop, which is my favourite seafood… ever. The fish added a nice touch since you eat it with the pasta unlike the shellfish, which you usually eat separately. The linguine was al dente and the tomato sauce very flavourful with a touch of cream.Image

The Calamari was served with a chili aioli and a red onion bruschetta. The squid had a thin but crispy batter with the chewy seafood nicely done on the inside. I liked the chili aioli but would prefer the bruschetta. I thought it was an interesting touch for calamari.Image

The Mussels were steamed with garlic, shallot, and Italian parsley in a tomato broth. The broth had a decent herb flavour but could have been thicker with more seasoning. The mussels were okay, nothing outstanding.Image

Finally, since it was a birthday night, we all had a small bite of Tiramisu. It was a lovely bite. Coffee, liquer, lady fingers, sponge cake, cocoa powder, and most importantly, mascarpone. It was fresh, sweet, soft, moist, and absolutely scrumptious!

It was a really nice dinner, at a nice, fancy, but not over the top restaurant. I think a seat by the window would be a lot nicer and would actually be a great place to enjoy an upscale brunch of light dinner in the glow of the setting sun. 

Al Porto Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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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
~

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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Cafe at its Best – Panera Bread

March 30, 2013
Panera Bread, New York NY
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Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta Signature Breakfast Sandwich
Easter Egg Cookie
Cobblestone
Peach Pecan Crunch Muffin
Bear Claw
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ImageJust like Au Bon Pain, I love the atmosphere at Panera Bread. Freshly baked pastries and goodies, made-to-order sandwiches with fresh ingredients, and a warm, cozy feel in a very relaxing cafe atmosphere. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I would always be happy eating here.

The Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta Signature Breakfast Sandwich was good, with lots of egg whites, spinach, flavourful roasted tomatoes, Vermont white cheddar, and basil pesto on a toasty ciabatta bun. Despite the quality, this was overpriced. The sandwich was too small for almost $5. Image

The Easter Egg Cookie was very generic but also very pretty with its colourful sugar icing and chocolate candies. The shortbread cookie itself was crumbly and buttery. This was one celebratory cookie!Image

The Cobblestone is a pastry made with cinnamon raisin dough, apples, streusel, and icing drizzle. It was such a splendid treat. I love raisins, apples, and spices together. Add to that streusel and icing and voila, the perfect, tastiest treat you can find. The dough could have been a little more moist but apart from that, it was delicious.Image

The Peach Pecan Crunch Muffin was okay. The muffin was not too sweet and was moist and dense. I liked the large pieces of peach inside, making it juicier. I wished there were pecans inside as well as on top, though.Image

The Bear Claw had that artificial almond taste but it was not overwhelming to the point that it becomes revolting. The pastry was flaky and the almond slices on top were nice. There could have been more filling so that you get it in every bite.

I wish there was a Panera on campus or even in center city. It is on the more expensive side but sometimes, the atmosphere, quality, and just overall feel of the place is worth it. 

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