Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Sandwiches and Sweets – Starbucks

March 8, 2013
Starbucks, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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ラントブロート クロックマダム (Landbrot Croque-madame)
イタリアンソーセージとチーズのタルティーヌ (Italian Sausage & Cheese Tartine)
パンプキンタルト (Pumpkin Tart)
クッキー&クリームチーズケーキ (Cookie & Cream Cheese Cake)
チェリー&カスタードマフィン (Cherry & Custard Muffin)
キャラメルピーカンナッツロール (Caramel & Pecan Nut Roll)
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ImageDoesn’t matter where you are, you can be sure Starbucks will be crowded in the morning. Their food selections are certainly getting better and the ones in Japan have way too many interesting choices that doesn’t matter how often I go, I still could not try all of them. So, I had to be selective. At least sharing with friends gave me more opportunities to taste all this delicious food!

The sandwich, ラントブロート クロックマダム (Landbrot Croque-madame), was so tasty! A pressed panini, it had chicken, melted gooey mozzarella cheese, and an almost-runny egg. I really enjoyed the savoury combination. The cheese had great flavour and was not bland. The bread had a nice crisp exterior and soft on the inside. It was a great breakfast sandwich!Image

The イタリアンソーセージとチーズのタルティーヌ (Italian Sausage & Cheese Tartine) also had great flavour. I really loved the creamy white sauce that covered the sausage, potatoes, mushrooms, and cauliflower. The bread was a bit too crisp and hard for my liking and I was never a fan of potatoes. However, the other ingredients were all delicious.Image

The パンプキンタルト (Pumpkin Tart) was very good. It had a good pumpkin custard texture and the crust was crumbly but not too dry. Inside was cubes of kabocha, the Asian version of winter squash that is sometimes translated as pumpkin. The tart was not at all very sweet but rather had the hearty taste of the squash. The pepitas, whipped cream, and glaze added nice touches.Image

The クッキー&クリームチーズケーキ (Cookie & Cream Cheese Cake) was not as great as I thought it would be. It was a regular, albeit a very good and creamy, cheesecake with chocolate cookie swirled in. There was a chocolate cookie crust and it was topped with chunks of very crumbly chocolate cookies. It was not too sweet despite being all chocolate and cheesecake but I guess that’s the good thing about Asian desserts.Image

The チェリー&カスタードマフィン (Cherry & Custard Muffin) was actually decent. The inside was moist, dense, yet soft. I loved the large, semi-dried cherries that were very sweet. The custard could have been more custard-like. It was a little dry and there did not seem to be enough.

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The キャラメルピーカンナッツロール (Caramel & Pecan Nut Roll) was delicious and sweet. Finally, something sweet enough! Rather, it was where there was caramel drizzle that was sweet – and sticky. The pecans were good and crunchy. The roll was a little dry and the parts without caramel was not as good. With all the ingredients together, though, it was delicious.

So many choices, so many goodies! And all of this is only one country. Imagine the collection of Starbucks treats from all around the world. Now that would be a feast!

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Crunchy Through and Through – Sugar Philly

February 20, 2013
Sugar Philly, Philadelphia PA
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Pomegranate French Macaron
Creme Fraiche Cheesecake
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ImageSugar Philly’s new flavour from last year that I had yet to try was the Pomegranate French Macaron. The delicate treat was delicious, and not just the creamy filling inside but also the juicy crunch of the pomegranate seeds!Image

The Creme Fraiche Cheesecake was also scrumptious. The cheesecake was more like the Asian kind, light, airy, and not incredibly cheesy. The middle was more of a cake and the bottom had a very crumbly and crunchy crust. It was a sweet crust and the texture from the crust and the shredded apple was a nice contrast. 

Sugar Philly Truck on Urbanspoon

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Cabbage, Country Lentils, Cheesecake… and Cockroach! – Così

February 17, 2013
Così, Philadelphia PA
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Korean BBQ Pork Bowl
Country Lentil Soup
Cheesecake Brownie
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13-02-17 - Korean BBQ Pork Bowl - CosìIt was National Cabbage Day so I dropped by Così to get a Korean BBQ Pork Bowl for dinner. The Asian cabbage slaw on top was actually really good, sweet and tangy. The cabbage and various vegetables were quite crunchy and refreshing. The BBQ pork was actually really flavourful as well, not overwhelming, but sweet and comforting. The pork was tender enough although it was slightly hard to pull apart and was by no means melt-in-your-mouth. The grains were a little greasy, though, but they should not be since it is just grains and rice.
13-02-17 - Country Lentil Soup - CosìThe Country Lentil Soup was decent and had a strong tomato and vegetable taste. It was thick enough but not too much that it was no longer a soup. The lentils added texture and the ingredients were fresh and hearty.13-02-17 - Cheesecake Brownie - Così

The Cheesecake Brownie had a slight pungent cheese smell. It was more like a thin layer of cheese-flavoured dense cake on top of a fudge brownie. The heart shapes were cute, I though. The entire dessert was dense and chewy, the way I like my brownies to be.

Così can have a really long wait time. The staff at this particular one seem very inefficient. There are so many of them yet food comes out so slow. It takes forever every time I am there. Also, I spotted a cockroach on the wall behind the counter and that was not very comforting. Let’s hope they do not get near the actual food itself.

Cosi on Urbanspoon

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Vanilla All Spiced Up – Starbucks

ImageFebruary 8, 2013
Starbucks, Philadelphia PA
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Vanilla Spice Latte
Turkey Rustico Panini
Cheesecake Brownie 
Petite Vanilla Bean Scone
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Unfortunately, Starbucks rewards expires sooner or later. Being so busy, I literally left it till the last day to redeem mine but it allowed me to go sit in a cafe for a while and de-stress and unwind. There is nothing more lovely sometimes than smelling coffee on your jacket for the rest of the evening. That aroma is just lovely.

If there was one thing I disliked about the Vanilla Spice Latte, it would be that there was no skinny option, or rather a sugar-free vanilla spice syrup. Besides that, I found it to be so much better than your regular vanilla latte. The spice really brought out the sweet, aromatic vanilla bean flavour since it provided contrast to that mild but definitely present spice. It was quite sweet but very flavourful.Image

The new Turkey Rustico Panini was actually really delicious. The wheat focaccia was toasted nicely and I loved the crunch of the sesame seeds on top. The turkey was sliced thin but had a generous portion. It tasted quite fresh. I loved the wilted baby kale with the sweet onion marmalade. They melted into the smoked Swiss cheese nicely. The Dijon mustard was a bit overpowering compared to the rest of the flavours. The mustard seeds were just a bit on the strong side.Image

Also new was the Cheesecake Brownie. It was literally half cheesecake, half fudge brownie, with some swirled fudge on top. I guess I was just expecting a thin layer of cream cheese topping but instead, I got sweet, creamy, and thick cheesecake. It was actually really good, especially with the fudge. The brownie on the bottom was very dense and the chocolate flavour was very strong. The whole thing was somewhat greasy and very dense, but still very good. I loved the chewiness.Image

The Petite Vanilla Bean Scone owed all its flavours to the vanilla bean glaze. It had that sweet aroma I was looking for. The scone itself was buttery, flaky, and crumbly but lacked much flavour overall.

Starbucks customer service is always so good. I think that is why reason people keep on going back. Whatever you need, they will get it for you. Oh, and did I mention free refills of regular brewed coffee for all registered card holders? 

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Cheesecake in a Sauce – Paris La Petit Creperie

February 5, 2013
Paris La Petite Creperie, Philadelphia PA
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Sausage & Egg Crepe
Fred Special Crepe
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To celebrate National Nutella Day (yum, I know!), I knew I had to try, after failing to do so in one and a half years, some crepes from Paris La Petite Creperie. They are so popular among students and whenever I walk past, the smell is just amazing.Image

I started with the Sausage & Egg Crepe in the morning, asking for egg whites to be substituted. I loved that they used real sausage links, chopped up. However, the guy was not very careful and when he took the sausage out of the freezer, left it for a second on the freezer rack. That raised an eyebrow for cleanliness procedures. The egg whites were mixed with various vegetable, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as well as shredded mozzarella cheese. The cheese melted under the heat of the other ingredients and bound the meat, vegetables, and eggs together. The herbed crepe was very aromatic, decently thick, chewy, and very good. I think I may have just found my new favourite breakfast. Image

In the afternoon, I indulged in the Fred Special Crepe and literally fell in love with this student hub. On a warm, chewy wheat crepe was the best cheesecake sauce ever. It was gooey, sweet, and cheesy, yet light. It had the texture of an Asian custard or a sticky, slightly heavy mayonnaise. The taste was phenomenal. Mixed with that were strawberries, cold blueberries, blackberries, and a freshly slice banana, all topped with delicious, nutty Nutella and chocolate sauce. The mixture was just absolutely amazing. It was fresh, tangy, sweet, warm, cold, and delicious, all in one huge crepe!

They have specials everyday and during early and late hours. I am sure that I would be back soon for more, just to try some other savoury options, as well as some more of that cheesecake sauce. And so begins my relationship with crepes.

Pari Cafe' Creperie on Urbanspoon

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By the Italian Coast – Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti

January 27, 2013
Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti, Philadelphia PA
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[Appetizer Bread]
Focaccia Calda
Cioppino
Paccheri Bolognese
A Sampler of Homemade Desserts (Frangelico Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Cheesecake)
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13-01-27 - Appetizer Bread - Positano Coast by Aldo LambertiFinally, Philadelphia Restaurant Week is here again! Wanting to try out more than just one restaurant this time, I made sure to find time for lunch with friends. Since Amado and Barbuzzo being full, my mentor, Elaine, and I decided on Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti. She was intrigued by the dessert sampler and me by the cioppino.

To start, we had a small basket of Appetizer Bread with some herbed olive oil to drizzle on top. The bread was crusty but fresh and good. The aroma of the oil really worked. I also loved using the bread to soak up all the broth in my Cioppino dish later.

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We both got the Focaccia Calda for our appetizers. It was a lovely flatbread with zucchini, diced tomatoes, mozzarella, and truffle oil. The truffle oil gave it a lovely aroma and the zucchini was soft and tasty. However, I found the zucchini to be a little too greasy, detracting from the freshness and lightness of it. The tomatoes added a little acidity but was not the most flavourful tomatoes I have had. The gooey mozzarella was great, though, light and delicious. The flatbread itself had a nice crisp on the edge but was soft and chewy in the center.

ImageMy Cioppino, with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, pancetta, and homemade gnocchi, was delicious. The seafood was plentiful and tender. I especially loved the mussels and calamari, since the shrimp was a little small and not freshly caught. The pancetta really added a hearty flavour to the already flavourful tomato broth. The gnocchi were so soft and chewy and I loved them. However, this dish was also a little too greasy. Despite the garlic and herbs that cut through it a bit, it had a layer of oil over the broth.Image

I tried a bite of Elaine’s Paccheri Bolognese, with bites of short rib and steak. The bolognese was delicious and hearty. This was Italian pasta sauce at its best. The meat was juicy and the flavours were singing. The paccheri was a little undercooked, or very al dente. However, I would rather it was undercooked than soggy and overdone. The large tube pasta was very chewy and a little sticky, but I actually did not mind it that much.Image

The final course was A Sampler of Homemade Desserts. On that day, we got two small bites – the Frangelico Chocolate Mousse and the Vanilla Cheesecake. The mousse was light and not very sweet, having a strong cocoa flavour instead. It had layers of hazelnut mascarpone mousse and Gianduja chocolate mousses, topped with a chocolate fudge and drizzled with dark chocolate sauce. It was National Chocolate Cake Day so this was perfect. The texture was airy and light. Our favourite was the Vanilla Cheesecake, though. It was simple but delicious, with a very strong vanilla bean flavour. The texture was light and creamy, and the graham cracker crust was also very sweet. The strawberry sauce provided a lovely, tart contrast to the flavour. This was more like my kind of dessert. Both of us wished there were more of this cheesecake!

Overall, I loved dining at Positano Coast. The restaurant was bright, friendly, casual, and elegant. It had a traditional Italian decor with different shades of blue everywhere. Our server was friendly and service was great. This is definitely a place that I will return to.

Positano Coast on Urbanspoon

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Cool and Classy – Kiwi Yogurt

ImageJanuary 12, 2013
Kiwi Yogurt, Philadelphia PA
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Classic with a Hint of Lime (Cheesecake, Key Lime w/ Cheesecake)
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I thought I might be a little insane wanting frozen yogurt, but it was crowded so I was clearly not the only one! Just needing something cold and tart, I made my way to Kiwi Yogurt and got a bowl of the Kiwi Kreation Classic with a Hint of Lime. It consisted of Homemade Key Lime Cheesecake yogurt, which is a mixture of the Cheesecake and Key Lime yogurts, with fresh cheesecake on top. The cheesecake yogurt was sweet, rich, and creamy while the key lime flavour was so tart and absolutely refreshing. The two mixed nicely. Adding the small cubes of fresh New York cheesecake made the treat more creamy and appetizing. The key lime’s tartness really made it for me, though!

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Cheesy and Tart – The Cheesecake Factory

December 29, 2012
The Cheesecake Factory, Honolulu HI
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Mango Key Lime Cheesecake
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ImageOriginally, we planned to eat at least one meal here. However, on New Year’s Eve, the line was out the door and pretty much went along the shoreline to the other side of Waikiki. Okay, maybe not THAT long, but it was still a good two hours before getting a table. Fortunately, we did have a slice of cheesecake to go on the first night of getting there and IT WAS DELICIOUS! We ate our first few bites in the old McDonald’s by the beach since we wanted something to drink after our evening stroll and it was just too good to resist until we returned to the hotel.

The Mango Key Lime Cheesecake had mango mousse, key lime cheesecake, and a vanilla coconut macaroon crust. The mango mousse was light and the texture was excellent. That mango flavour was so good, especially paired with the creamy yet very tart key lime cheesecake. The two flavours were just so perfect together. Add the shredded coconut texture of the crust and you have got a bite of scrumptious dessert. It was so dreamy!

The Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

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Asian Jingling – 大统华面包坊–T&T Bakery

ImageDecember 24, 2012
大统华面包坊 – T&T Bakery, Richmond BC
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洛神花乳酪面包 (Roselle Cheese Bun)
枫糖黑豆面包 (Maple Syrup Black Bean Bun)
圣诞水果星形蛋糕 (Xmas Fruit Cake – Star Shape))
红豆麻薯椪 (Red Bean Mochi Pastry)
圣诞优格芝士蛋糕 (Christmas Yogurt Cheese Cake)

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New items from T&T Bakery seem to appear every couple of months so I got a pleasant surprise when I returned home. Mom and I just love trying out the newly created baked goodies.Image

First was the 洛神花乳酪面包 (Roselle Cheese Bun). The pink color was very visually appealing. It would seem from the appearance that it would be sweet, but the bread was actually soft and only lightly sweetened with the roselle. It was mostly doughy, although a little dry. The cheese filling was small in proportion but sticky and sweet. It was creamy and rich, pretty much a sweet cream cheese, and I loved it.Image

The 枫糖黑豆面包 (Maple Syrup Black Bean Bun) was a little less creative in my opinion. The black beans seemed present in the dough and the filling. The maple filling was a lot sweeter and stickier, which I loved, but there did not seem to be enough of it. The bread was soft and airy with a thick layer of dusting sugar on top to sweeten it just a touch.Image

Mom took out from the freezer the 圣诞水果星形蛋糕 (Xmas Fruit Cake – Star Shape). It was such a nice fusion of butter cake, fruitcake, and Asian cake. It was light but still rich and buttery. It was very dense and sweet but not at all overwhelming. The pieces of fruit strewn throughout added a nice tartness, but I just really loved the sweet, hard cake.Image

We also got a box of 红豆麻薯椪 (Red Bean Mochi Pastry) since it was on sale. Again, I am not a fan of layered pastry dough. It was okay, not too buttery or dry but still crumbly and thin. I was a lot more into the filling. The red bean paste was sweet and the yellow sweet potato-like paste just added a lighter sweet tone. Both were wrapped inside a thin layer of sticky, chewy mocha, before being surrounded by the pastry shell. The mochi did not have much flavour in comparison but I loved the contrast of the three textures.

Finally, Mom bought the 圣诞优格芝士蛋糕 (Christmas Yogurt Cheese Cake) to serve as dessert for our Christmas Eve dinner. It was extremely light and airy, lightly sweetened and tart. The texture was excellent and it was just slightly cheese. All the flavours were toned down but harmonious all the same. The thin layer of whip cream did not overwhelm anything and the cake on the bottom was also a light and airy cake, typical of Asian cakes.

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Such lovely new items make T&T Bakery one of the Asian bakeries to offer a large variety. They might have the most kinds of bread actually, compared to the regular bakeries around town. The new products are usually quite creative, too!
12-24-12 - 圣诞优格芝士蛋糕 - 大统华面包坊

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Cccrazy for Cccarrots! – The Cheesecake Factory

May 5, 2012
The Cheesecake Factory, Seattle WA
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Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake
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Despite the fact that my parents bought this for take out yesterday, it was still absolutely scrumptious! Seriously, though, The Cheesecake Factory will always have the best cheesecakes ever, hands down. There is no doubt in my mind that each of their unique flavours is a jewel in the world of cheesecake. Okay, that might be overstating things, but nonetheless, I love their dessert!

We had always wanted to try out Craig’s Crazy Carrot Cake Cheesecake. Actually, I always wanted to try out both the cheesecake and non-cheesecake versions. However, considering it is The CHEESECAKE Factory, not The CAKE Factory, I will admit I prefer to try their specialties first. This was certainly one of the best cheesecakes I have ever had.

A suck up for good icing, especially cream cheese icing, that part of the dessert was undoubtedly my favourite. That rich, creamy frosting with the perfect blend of sugary sweetness and tartness from the cream cheese. It was love at first bite. The texture was just about perfect, neither too thick nor too light – just perfect.

The carrot cake itself that was swirled with the cake was also wonderful. Neither part was very sweet so the dessert was not too sweet either. It balanced out the cream cheese icing nicely, I have to say. The delightful, natural aroma of the carrot was quite strong, which both Mom and I prefer, and the walnuts inside as well as the crushed almonds on the outside added a very nice crunch, providing some solid texture to the moist cake.

The texture of the cake and cheesecake itself was absolutely gorgeous as well, incredibly moist and soft. The cheese was light and the sweetness refreshing instead of heavy. My only complaint is that the cake and cheesecake were not blended together very evenly. There were definitely large parts of the slice that was either just carrot cake or just their original cheesecake.

With this cheesecake, I do not think the whipped cream is necessary, as the icing provides enough richness and sweetness. I love how they have a lot of icing in that shape, instead of just a thin layer and topping it with whipped cream. Since I love both cheesecake and carrot cake, it is not surprising this was a super delightful surprise Mom and Dad had in store for me!y

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