Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

La Belle Sammich – Sammich

July 13, 2013
Sammich, Victoria BC
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Pea & Mint Soup
Goatabella Sammich
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ImageIt does not seem like the west coast has really caught on the sandwich and panini craze as much as back on the east. So, I was excited to stumble upon Sammich, this cute little sandwich shop on the outskirts of The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria. The owner was so nice and the little cafe was just such a happy, uplifting place with yummy treats freshly baked and displayed behind clear glass cases.

My Pea & Mint Soup was lovely on a sunny day but one with a chilly sea breeze. It was refreshing yet with a touch of creaminess and sweetness. The peas were mushy but it had a great thickness. I really liked that it was not overly minty. Image

The Goatabella Sammich came with goat cheese and spinach, grilled zucchini, roasted peppers, and portobello mushrooms. The vegetables were nice and sweet and the focaccia airy with a crispy crust. I could have used more vegetables as the goat cheese was melted and strong in flavour. For those who like goat cheese but want a lighter meal, this would be idea. 

I would definitely come back here for a nice light lunch. It is hard to find a fresh sandwich at a reasonable price these days and the combinations are by no means generic.

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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!

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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!

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Warmed Up by the Bowl – Le Petit Saigon

July 11, 2013
Le Petit Saigon, Victoria BC
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Seafood Noodle Soup
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ImageWith so much food at the conference centre and a chilly sea breeze throughout town, we opted for a warm bowl of pho noodle soup at Le Petit Saigon.

The Seafood Noodle Soup included fish, prawns, and squid but was otherwise very bland. The seafood did not have much taste and the broth was just okay. The noodles were way overcooked and in very short pieces. Maybe it was because it was almost closing time but the quality should not have to suffer. For around $10, I expected something better with more, fresher seafood. 

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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.

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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.

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Seafood Fusion – Baker One

July 7, 2013
Baker One, Richmond BC
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Seafood Omurice
Black Pepper Seafood Pasta
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ImageAs we wondered through Aberdeen, a friend and I decided to stop at Baker One for lunch since we did not want to eat at the food court or go into some high-end Chinese restaurant. This seemed like a cute little café, very clean and bright with the tall glass windows.

I had the Seafood Omurice with the tomato sauce and fried rice on the inside. It tasted fairly good, with the tomato sauce tangy and sweet. The egg omelet was delicious with the sauce and the seafood – squid, scallops, mussels, and prawns – were tender as well. The fried rice on the inside went nicely with the egg and the sauce, so, overall, it was quite nice for ‘high-end’ comfort food.Image

My friend ordered their special of the day – Black Pepper Seafood Pasta. The seafood was the same – three squid rings, three prawns, two scallops, and a mussel – but the sauce was a little bland. It had a good black pepper taste but was otherwise not very flavourful with just a touch of olive oil. The pasta was al dente but the portion was small so for a similar price, the omurice was much more worth it.

I can see why this place will not get full on a regular basis. The food is quite basic and not much of a fusion in comparison to the other HK-style cafes in the area. However, their entrees are at least $4-5 more expensive, perhaps due to the location in Aberdeen or the more elegant décor. Either way, the food must deliver and for the price, it is just not up to par with other places.

Baker One Cafe 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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Pork and Pineapples – Boston Pizza

July 5, 2013
Boston Pizza, Richmond BC
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Chicken and Mushroom Fettucini
Pulled Pork Pizza
Hawaiian Pizza
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ImageI met up with three other people for a late night dinner at Boston Pizza. It was a nice place to hang out and chat. For the two and a half hours we were there, the large table beside us went through two rounds of ‘Happy Birthday’ so we joined in as well. I had a voucher for a 2-topping individual pizza but since they made a mistake with my order, we actually got two pizzas in the end.

To start, my friend ordered a Chicken and Mushroom Fettucini, baked with cheese and upgraded to three-cheese toast. The pasta itself was creamy with the alfredo sauce. The chicken was okay but a little bland. The mushrooms did not stand out too much either. However, the tomatoes cut through the cream just a little. The cheese on top was a little too much for me so the dish became too rich. The three-cheese toast was delicious, though. With all these additions, the dish was over $20, which is a little pricey.

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Our first pizza was the Hawaiian Pizza, with smoked ham and pineapple. It was savoury and sweet, with a nice and chewy but not overly thick crust. The pizza was really good but not worth $10.20 as it was quite small. Image

The second pizza was the Pulled Pork Pizza. Although more exotic, it still was not worth $12 due to the sheer size. The BBQ flavour was really nice and sweet though, and the pork was decently juicy. The green onions on top cut through the sweetness and added a slight zing.

The casual atmosphere at Boston Pizza is great but it is just so expensive. The food is good but not good enough to justify the high prices. These are more like fine-dining menu prices but this is no where near top notch fine-dining. 

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