Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Leisure Summer Midnight Snack – 俪舍 (Leisure Tea & Coffee)

ImageJuly 31, 2013
俪舍 – Leisure Tea & Coffee, Richmond BC
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芋圆冬瓜 (Winter Melon with Taro Pearl)
抹茶绿奶茶 (Matcha Milk Tea)

椒盐帝王菇&蘑菇 (Salt & Pepper Emperor Mushroom & Mushroom)
综合蜜豆冰 (Assorted Bean Milk Icy)
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A friend from the US came for vacation and I was going to take him to try bubble waffles but Bubble Queen was closed. Craving something sweet to drink, we ventured into Leisure Tea & Coffee.

I’ve never had taro pearls so I ordered the 芋圆冬瓜 (Winter Melon with Taro Pearl). It was so sweet that I had to pour extra ice water into it to make it more of a thirst quencher than liquid sugar. However, I liked the flavour very much. The taro pearls were large, chewy, and just really good!Image

My friend ordered the standard 抹茶绿奶茶 (Matcha Milk Tea) which was okay. It had a nice matcha flavour and was alright.

ImageFor food, we shared a plate of 椒盐帝王菇&蘑菇 (Salt & Pepper Emperor Mushroom & Mushroom). It was rather oily, which takes away all the nutritious values of mushrooms in my opinion. They were still juicy and plump though, just too much oil.

Finally, for something cold – really cold – we had the 综合蜜豆冰 (Assorted Bean Milk Icy). It’s one of those things that despite the sweetness and all that sugar make you feel guilty, it’s too good to pass up.Image

The service here was questionable. They were busy but that shouldn’t mean I have to flag someone down three times for a glass of ice water. The decor with all the tea cups were really cute, though!

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A Little Lunch Spot – Village Sushi Bar

July 31, 2013
Village Sushi Bar, Richmond BC
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Oyako-Don
Deluxe Futomaki
Tamago Nigiri
Inari Nigiri
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ImageThere is something particularly comforting about sitting in a small lunch spot, a family-owned and operated little place. Village Sushi Bar was such a place – and next time, I must try some of their fish and sashimi.

The Oyako-Don was nice and hot. The chicken was a tad over cooked in places but the flavour was light yet good. I could use a little more sauce and broth with the rice but it was still good – especially for only $6.50.Image

The Deluxe Futomaki had good rice and was wrapped nicely. Nothing fell out despite being such a huge roll. There was unagi and prawn inside and the flavours meshed nicely with the spinach, shiitake, tamago, and cucumber.Image

I always think you can tell a lot with trying certain common items, so I ordered the Tamago Nigiri and the Inari Nigiri. I love sweet and sour flavours mixed with rice. The Tamago was good – not overly sweet but nice and eggy. The inari was sweet enough and at $1 a piece, these were certainly a great deal. Image

This little place has a slow but steady flow of customers who all seem to like the friendly service and affordable prices. It’s certainly a very convenient take-out place in west Richmond.

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How Fish Meets Mountains – Takeya Sushi

July 30, 2013
Takeya Sushi, Richmond BC
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Sanshoku Don
Cheesey Salmon Teriyaki Roll
Rocky Mountain Roll
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ImageBack to blogging after a long while… simply because some photos are too good to not be shared! So let me pick up from where I left off…

You can literally find great sushi anywhere in Richmond and Vancouver. True some places are a hit or miss, but I like to believe that each place does certain things good so you have to know what you’re getting yourself into.

At Takeya Sushi, their don special was the Sanshoku Don, with BBQ salmon, spicy salmon tata (or I guess is just spicy salmon), and ikura (salmon roe). I thought the BBQ salmon was dry and too salty, but the ikura was very fresh and the spicy salmon just divine. The rice was also pretty good.Image

The Cheesey Salmon Teriyaki Roll was okay. The cheese was not clearly not the best quality and again, the cooked salmon was a little dry. Honestly, I may just not be a fan of cooked salmon. The red peppers on top was a nice touch though. Image

My favourite was actually the simplest: the Rocky Mountain Roll. It is essentially a teriyaki beef roll with asparagus and red pepper, wrapped in soy paper. The teriyaki beef was delicious – juicy, sweet, and just lovely when eaten with the crunchy asparagus and red pepper. 

One more thing to note – I love their menu! It has a photo for every item, which makes it so much more pleasant to read but just that much harder to decide what to get!

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Paris in Japan – Sushi Han

July 29, 2013
Sushi Han, Richmond BC
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Paris Roll
Oyako Don
Geso Nigiri
Crab Salad Nigiri

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ImageThere were many individuals eating at Sushi Han so I decided to join them. The service was quick and friendly and the food was quite satisfying.

The Paris Roll had smoked salmon, avocado, and lettuce. I did not care much for the salmon but it was a good combination of savoury and creamy.Image

The Oyako Don lacked a tad of the sweet broth to go with all the rice but the flavour was light and delicious. The egg was nicely scrambled with the caramelized onions and the chicken was very tender and juicy.Image

The Geso Nigiri had a piece of very chewy squid. It had a mild BBQ flavour but could hardly be bitten through. It had wasabi between the squid and rice, the traditional Japanese way of eating nigiri sushi. The rice was vinegary and good.Image

The Crab Salad Nigiri had a lot of crab salad so the ratio of topping to rice was good. The imitation crab was mixed with plenty of mayonnaise to give it a creamy texture and bring out the natural sweetness.

Sushi Han is clearly very popular for casual lunches. The meal came in around $15 so it was definitely acceptable. I will be back for sure!

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Rushing for Fast Food – McDonald’s

ImageJanuary 7, 2013
McDonald’s, Richmond BC
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Bacon Chicken Snack Wrap
Chocolate Raspberry Pie
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I had one day to try the new items McDonald’s Canada was churning out in the new year before heading back to Philly. Knowing me, it is not surprising I took full advantage of it!Image

The Bacon Chicken Snack Wrap was not a new item. I remember this from a couple of years ago. The grilled chicken strip was tender enough but there was not enough crispy bacon. It seemed like bacon bits rather than one large piece. There was enough sauce to make it decently flavorful at least.Image

The Chocolate Raspberry Pie was also interesting. This is completely new as far as I am aware. The chocolate pie shell was crumbly and not too sweet. The raspberry filing had quite a strong but generic raspberry flavour. It was preserve-like and rather sweet and tart. It was also very red.Image

New items are always exciting so I really hope McDonald’s keep it up, especially since all the other chain restaurants have picked up on this trend and is really churning out specials fast!

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Aloha! – Ezogiku

December 29, 2012
Ezogiku, Honolulu HI
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Seafood Champon
Wonton Ramen
Gyoza
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ImageBack in Honolulu! Finally! Since it was late, we decided food court was our best bet. Thus, we found ourselves in the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki. Just the feeling of being back amidst the festive decor was so great! It was not as warm as we hoped Honolulu would be, so we opted for bowls of hot, steamy ramen from Ezogiku.

The Seafood Champon had a milky-looking meat broth that was reasonably light. There was not as much seafood as we hoped but quite a good amount of chewy and tender calamari and shrimp. The large shrimp were good but the soup in general was slightly bland. I would have liked to see some more fish in there. The noodles were al dente, though, as they were freshly made.Image

The Wonton Ramen was not as bland but also just flavoured with too much MSG. It was flavourful, but not in the good, light kind of way. We were all very thirsty afterwards, although at the time it was savoury and good. Again, the noodles were good. The wonton had decent wrappers and the pork filling was also quite flavourful. The slice of pork was tender but also not incredibly flavourful.Image

We got a combo so it came with a serving of Gyoza. These were actually quite good. Freshly pan-fried, they had a slight crisp on the outside with the wrapper still chewy. The filling of pork and cabbage was flavourful, although I found the texture to be a little too mushy, with the pork not firm and bouncy enough. Perhaps there was too much flour mixed in with the meat. The flavour was good, though.

It was not the best meal we wanted but for the time being, it satisfied our growling stomachs with some comforting late night eats. Off to a great start for a Christmas vacation! This is only just the beginning. 

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Mmmm Caramel – McDonald’s

ImageNovember 11, 2012
McDonald’s, Philadelphia PA
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Hot Caramel Sundae
Hot ‘n Spicy McChicken
Angus Bacon & Cheese Snack Wrap
Premium Grilled Chicken CBO Sandwich
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To celebrate National Sundae Day – on a Sunday I might add – I decided something simple and so made my way to McDonald’s. It had been a long time since I had one of their sundaes. I remember these from my young childhood years. These desserts have certainly been around, unchanged, for a long time.

The Hot Caramel Sundae was sweet and delicious. The vanilla soft serve is always really good, as good as you can expect for the price anyways. The caramel sauce was even sweeter and very sticky, making the dessert a gooey, very sweet, and tasty one. It was definitely nice to have eaten it again.Image

The Hot ‘n Spicy McChicken was only $1, the newest addition to the Dollar Menu. Seriously, fast food can be so cheap sometimes. It was actually decent. Just like a regular McChicken, it had a soft, toasted, and slightly sweetened bun, along with mayonnaise and lettuce. The difference was the fried chicken breast fillet, which had a lot of spiciness in the crispy batter. Too bad it was not super crunchy when I got it, but it had a decent kick.Image

The Angus Bacon & Cheese Snack Wrap was decent in the warm tortilla. The beef was juicy enough for fast food. The bacon was actually crispy and the cheese was gooey. I am not a huge fan of the simple ketchup and mustard but along with the onions, it was a classic.Image

I had recently received a few promotional vouchers from McDonald’s via their Twitter so I redeemed one for a CBO Premium Grilled Chicken Sandwich. I loved the white cheddar cheese that was extremely gooey and tasty. The artisan bun was decent and soft and the chicken was mediocre. I had no complaints, as it was somewhat tender. The bacon was okay but while the onions were sweet, they were very oily. It was literally dripping with oil, which is not quite acceptable for grilled onions. Overall, though, the chicken burger was decent enough.Image

New menu items always intrigue me. They make a classic McDonald’s meal so much more interesting. Oh, how I miss the great atmosphere at the McDonald’s restaurants back home. 

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Eat Those Cookies Fresh – Subway

ImageSeptember 20, 2012
Subway, Philadelphia PA
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Sugar Cookie
White Chocolate Macadamian Cookie
Chocolate Chip Cookie
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Next stop at the Dollar Stroll was Subway with their $1 deal for three cookies.

The Sugar Cookie had a slight artificial almond taste, but apart from that, it was simple and sweet. The cookie was soft but could have been even softer. The edges were harder but it was hue and well worth 1/3 of a dollar.Image

The White Chocolate Macadamian Cookie was my favorite. The macadamia nuts were crunchy and the white chocolate chips sweet. More nuts would have been nice, though, and I found myself wishing it had just came out of the oven.Image

Finally, the Chocolate Chip Cookie was nothing special. It was somewhat soft and the chocolate chips were slightly melted, but I wanted something sweeter. What is with chocolate chip cookies not being sweet enough in general nowadays? it was still certainly worth 1/3 of a dollar, though!

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A Flurry for Phillies – McDonald’s

ImageSeptember 7, 2012
McDonald’s, Philadelphia PA
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Phillies McFlurry
Frozen Strawberry Lemonade
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Sugar Cookie
Chocolate Chip Cookie
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When we drove past a certain McDonald’s on our way back to campus after shopping a few days ago, I spotted the poster on the window featuring the special McFlurry available only in Philadelphia – celebrating the Phillies. I first discovered this regional treat last year when we had McDonald’s near Walmart. I did not give it much thought back then, but luckily, a year later, it is still here.

The Phillies McFlurry is simply McDonald’s’ low fat vanilla soft serve with Phillies M&M’s swirled into it. The candy-coated chocolate came in red, blue, and white, and even had either the name ‘Phillies’ or the ‘P’ logos printed on them. Since these had special writing on them, they were not crushed into bits like the Smarties back in Canada. I found the chocolate to be very good mixed into the sweet yet refreshing ice cream. The large pieces gave the dessert a lovely crunch and milk chocolate flavour. The M&M’s were plentiful and the dessert was simple yet special. Go Phillies!Image

On the same occasion, we also got a cup of the Frozen Strawberry Lemonade to cool off. The strawberry concentrate base was quite sour, as was the lemonade slush poured over it. It was sour on sour, with the sweet just enough so that the drink was not too overwhelmingly sour. The colours blended nicely and reminded me of a refreshing, hot summer day drink, which is exactly why we ordered it. The consistency of the slush was good and although quite sour, it was a relief to drink.

As a snack, I also got three cookies for $1 since they had all three kinds available. The Oatmeal Raisin cookie is quite soft, although there is not much oats inside like I am used to. Thus, the texture was more like a regular cookie with some oats rather than all very hard to chew due to the majority of the oats. It was not very sweet, though, which was nice since the raisins were sweet enough. At least there were enough of those to give a contrasting, tart flavour.Image

The Sugar Cookie was surprisingly delicious. It was so simple, yet the texture was almost perfect. It was not freshly baked or warm, but it was still dense, soft, and chewy. The sugar on top added a nice additional sweetness to the cookie; it was sweet on sweet but not exactly overwhelmingly cloying. Sometimes, the simplest designs are the best.Image

Finally, the Chocolate Chip Cookie was just average. It was neither very soft nor very chewy. At least it was moist enough and soft and chewy enough, although I think it could have had a better texture. I have certainly tasted many better cookies. The chocolate chips were semisweet so only the cookie dough was quite sweet. This made the treat not overwhelming, suitable for those with less of a sweet tooth. The chocolate was quite gooey on the inside, which was good. The cookies tasted fresh, even if they did not just come out of the oven. At three for $1, they were as good as you can get anywhere, anytime.
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McDonald’s may not always have the best quality food. Actually, when did they ever have the best food? However, considering prices, they are usually a pretty good choice for getting what they offer. I especially like these special promotions, whether it is regional or limited-time specials. I just wish they would permanently keep some of these items. Still, it is great to know that McDonald’s, at least in Philadelphia, are still cheering for the Phillies!

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An Airport Twist – Starbucks

ImageAugust 31, 2012
Starbucks, Seattle WA
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Classic Cinnamon Twist
Skinny Hazelnut Latte
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As long as there is a Starbucks near my airport terminal, I will be satisfied, especially in the morning. After waking up extremely early, I needed a light dose of caffeine and lucky me, there was a Starbucks not two gates down, with the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee penetrating the surrounding areas, drawing to the café a long line of caffeine-deprived travellers. The food display also showed a menu quite different from the usual American Starbucks, including Chocolate Chunk, Reduced Fat Blueberry, and Cran Apple Bran Muffins as well as Iced Cranberry Orange Scones.
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What caught my eye, though, was the Classic Cinnamon Twist, which was almost completely different from the usual items you will see. It was a twisted doughnut with thin swirls of cinnamon and a sugar glaze on top. The concept is actually very common, especially considering how it is just a differently shaped, glazed cinnamon doughnut. However, it is rare for Starbucks. The cinnamon was not very apparent so I could have used more of it. The sugar glaze was good and sweet, almost crumbly and falling off so it was not completely melted. Since it was cold instead of room temperature, the dough was actually somewhat dry than the regular doughnut. It was soft but not very sticky and chewy, which is what you get when you freeze doughnuts. Apart from the texture of the dough, which was quite a big deal, the dessert, for $1.60, was quite decent. At least it was not frozen to the point that it was bad; a tad moister would have been nice.

My Skinny Hazelnut Latte had a nice thin layer of frothy foam on top. I was surprised they charged extra for the syrup but since it is at the airport, I guess it was expected. The artificial hazelnut flavour was very strong but not repulsive or too overwhelming. The steamed skim milk had a light and rich aroma. I probably should have asked for extra hot, as it was a chilly early morning and the coffee cooled very quickly.

With this experience, I know I will be tracking down those Starbucks next time when I am at the airport. All those special treats ought to be tried out one by one. Sadly, that will not be anytime soon. I am glad the prices were not outrageous and interesting food always make the trip more fun.

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