Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Waves of Spritzers – Waves Coffee House

July 3, 2013
Waves Coffee House, Richmond BC
Sticky Toffee Pudding
Tomato & Spinach Panini
Date Square
Sparkling Pomegranate Spritzer

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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A Hawaiian Native – Poi Bowl

ImageJanuary 4, 2013
Poi Bowl, Honolulu HI
Local Boy Special

After returning to Honolulu, we went to Costco for food for the next two days but headed to Ala Moana… yet again… for dinner. This time, I decided to try some traditional Hawaiian cuisine besides the poke I had last time. Thus, I found myself in front of Poi Bowl. I was not excited by the already made food kept warm rather than being freshly made to order. However, it was the only option for Hawaiian cuisine around.

I settled for the Local Boy Special that included the signature Poi, Lau Lau, Kalua Pig, Chicken Long Rice, Lomi Salmon, and Haupia. Let me just say none of us liked the poi, the mashed up version of the taro’s corm. It tasted off to us and was rather disgusting. Perhaps we are just not used to it but the texture was like wet mashed potatoes, which was not the most textural in any way. The Lau Lau was my favourite. The pork inside was nicely steamed and simple, soaking up the taro leaves flavour. The leaves were cooked until they were completely limp and I loved the fresh aroma. The Kalua Pig was okay, with decently tender pork. It was flavourful but a bit salty for my liking. The Chicken Long Rice did not have much distinct taste apart from roasted shredded chicken. The Lomi Salmon was very salty and fishy but okay in small amounts. Finally, the Haupia was not bad. It was a coconut pudding that was bouncy and sweet.

Overall, all of us found Hawaiian food very disappointing. I think I will stick with poke from now on and maybe a serving of lau lau just so I can eat some delicious taro leaves!

Ala Moana Poi Bowl on Urbanspoon

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Absolutely Bagelicious – Absolute Bagels

ImageDecember 1, 2012
Absolute Bagels, New York NY
Bacon & Eggs on Cinnamon Raisin Bagel
Bagel Pudding

A very early start and being extremely sleep deprived called for an extra special breakfast to get the energy I needed for a whole day of dance competition. Luckily, Absolute Bagels was on the way to the venue and apparently, is a local favourite.Image

The Bacon & Eggs on Cinnamon Raisin Bagel was delicious. It was a great blend of sweet and savoury. The bacon was crisp and the egg omelet was soft and flavourful, not bland at all. Put all of this goodness on a toasted bagel with cinnamon and raisins and there you have it, a perfect breakfast sandwich.Image

They also make their own special Bagel Pudding, a twist on the good old bread pudding. It is very firm, dense, and quite sweet. Studded with juicy raisins, you can tell where pieces of pumpernickel bagel were. It was slightly greasy but overall a very tasty treat.

Absolute Bagels on Urbanspoon

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Vanilla and Veggies – Greek Lady

ImageOctober 15, 2012
Greek Lady, Philadelphia PA
Crème Brulée

Baked Veggies
Roasted Peppers

I felt like some cooked vegetables for an early dinner after grocery shopping so I stopped by Greek Lady. There was barely anyone else in the restaurant at the time but they messed up my order and it took almost half an hour for something that is supposed to take three minutes. There were so many servers standing around that it was just unacceptable. The food, however, was good.Image

I had a coupon for a free dessert and so I got to try their Crème Brulée. It was absolutely divine, besides the fact that it was cold and so the top layer was not the crunchy, torched sugar it was supposed to be. The vanilla custard was light and creamy, and also quite sweet. The graham cracker-like cookie crust on the bottom was not as sweet but was great texture-wise. The top layer was at least sweet. What I loved most was the tart mango sauce they drizzled on the plate, providing the perfect flavor pairing with the vanilla custard.

My Baked Veggies was just what I needed. The large pieces of zucchini, yellow squash, potatoes, eggplant, carrots, and red peppers were covered in the tomato-based soupy sauce they were baked in. I loved everything except the potatoes, especially the zucchini, squash, and eggplant. They are some of my favorite vegetables of all time and as long as they are fully cooked, I will eat it any way. Even the potatoes were decent and flavorful, slightly mushy but still firm. Next time, I am going to get two plates of these. They were just so flavorful and yet not too oily.Image

I was disappointed with the side of Roasted Peppers. They were nicely roasted and soft, and I do not mind the burnt taste either. After all, they are supposed to be roasted. However, they were clearly roasted in some sort of vinegar and had quite an acidic taste to them, making it somewhat unpleasant when coupled with the burnt flavor.

The Spanakorizo was simple but good. It was just steamed spinach mixed with rice and slightly seasoned. The portion was large for just over $3. The spinach was wilted and the rice with a light flavor and not very soggy. It was a simple dish but a comforting one.Image

For their prices and portions, Greek Lady is great. The food is also very decent when it comes to flavors. However, they really need to step up their service quality. Waiting for an omelette for half an hour on a busy Sunday morning is already a pain but messing up an order with five servers standing there, idol, is just unacceptable.

Greek Lady on Urbanspoon

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Shanghai Cuisine Cravings Satisfied – 苏杭人家-Suhang Restaurant

ImageJuly 22, 2012
苏杭人家 – Suhang Restaurant, Richmond BC
香干马兰头 (Marinated Bean Curd with Special Vegetables)
上海两面黄 (Shrimps with Clear Sauce in Crispy Yellow Noodles)
上素蒸饺 (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings)
椰子糕 (Coconut Pudding)

After taking an extremely long time to decide where to go for lunch, we picked Suhang Restaurant because we thought two combos would have been too much from Kyung Bok Palace. I would have preferred Alleluia Café or some other Hong Kong-style café, but Mom is just not one for cheap eats or extremely casual dining. The restaurant was full when we arrived and we requested to be switched to a bigger table after they gave us one stuck in between two larger tables that did not even have enough room for the two people to be facing each other. It also took us a long time to decide what to order, since they had both dim sum and regular lunch options. Our server was slightly put up with us because we were so slow, but I think he could have been nicer about it and maybe made a few suggestions since we were clearly not being very decisive.

I was badly craving 香干马兰头 (Marinated Bean Curd with Special Vegetables) so we ordered that to begin. It is chopped Indian aster mixed with finely diced marinated bean curd. The vegetables were as fresh as you can get them in Vancouver and the bean curd bits had a nice, tender, yet firm texture. This dish was surprisingly sweet, more so than I have had. However, loving sweet dishes even when I am not eating desserts, it suited my palate perfectly. The texture was great and the cold vegetables and bean curd mix was satisfyingly refreshing.

Since we wanted something hot and stir-fried, we went with the traditional 上海两面黄 (Shrimps with Clear Sauce in Crispy Yellow Noodles). We have had this twice before and it was not good the second time because the noodles were not fried enough. This is basically vegetables, shrimp, and pork in a thick, light sauce poured over crispy pan-fried noodles. The noodles need to be crunchy for it to be good, otherwise it is just a lot of mushy noodles with a slightly bland sauce. This time, however, the noodles were extra crispy, much to our delight. Most of the noodles were crunchy and not yet soggy, since it was served piping hot. That just immediately made the dish delicious. The shrimp were succulent and tender. The pork strips did not taste very fresh, with just the slightest hint of sour meat. Perhaps it was just because it had been marinated. The vegetables consisted of carrots, bamboo, sliced button mushrooms, water chestnuts, black wood ear, and golden needle vegetable. My favourites were the chewy and succulent black wood ear, bamboo, and golden needle vegetable. Along with the crispy noodles, this very popular Shanghai dish was certainly well executed here.

Loving steamed buns and dumplings that do not have much meat or is too oily, I went with the 上素蒸饺 (Steamed Vegetable Dumplings). Five huge dumplings for $5.95 was not a bad deal. The dumpling wrappers were nice, just thick enough to be incredibly chewy. I loved that texture. The filling was a mix of diced bean curd and shredded bok choy. It was slightly sweet, similar to the taste of the Marinated Bean Curd with Special Vegetables. I loved that sweetness, as well as the blend of aromas and seasoning. It is definitely one of the best steamed dumplings I have ever had, simple yet delicious.

Finally, they offered us complimentary dessert, the 椰子糕 (Coconut Pudding). It was slightly sweet, with a strong taste of coconut milk. The texture was soft and tender, and also quite ‘bouncy’ for lack of a better word. Too much of it would not be good, as the taste gets quite monotone after a while, but the small square they offered was a nice finish to the meal. Image

Depending on the chef, this restaurant has been hit and miss in the past. Today, it was definitely a ‘hit.’ All three dishes were well made and the complimentary dessert added a refreshing ending. I would certainly recommend all three dishes to others. The price is not outrageous and the service is okay. The restaurant is not extremely loud, as some Chinese eateries can get, so the atmosphere is certainly decent as well. 

Suhang Restaurant 蘇杭人家 on Urbanspoon

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