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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Simply Good – Sushi Ten

July 25, 2013
Sushi Ten, Richmond BC
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Tiger Roll
Banzai Roll

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ImageGoing out for lunch by myself, I decided to give Sushi Ten a try. They were pretty busy with take out orders for such a small store. There were always people either eating in or taking out.

The Tiger Roll was great, with ebi on the outside covered with spicy sauce, or rather gochujang. I love the mix of sweet and spicy. Inside was your regular California roll – imitation crab, avocado, and cucumber. Despite the slight simplicity, the roll was big and fresh, and thus very tasty.Image

The Banzai Roll was also tasty, with two prawn tempura inside along with kani, avocado, and cucumber. On top were unagi sauce and mayonnaise. This roll was also very good, thanks in part to the sauces for all the flavours. The prawn tempura was nice and the size was also very good for the price.

With most of these rolls around $5, Sushi Ten is extremely affordable. More importantly, it is very fresh and thus the sushi tastes great.

Sushi Ten 天壽司 on Urbanspoon

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Sushi is Here to Stay – Togo Sushi

July 18, 2013
Togo Sushi, Richmond BC
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Kamikaze Roll
Awesome Roll

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ImageWho would want McDonald’s when you can have delicious sushi at similar prices right next door? That’s how Togo Sushi first caught my eye – displays of delicious-looking rolls were so tempting when you are lining up for McDonald’s. This little restaurant mostly has to-go customers but also a couple of seats for those who would like to eat there.

The Kamikaze Roll was salmon on top of a spicy salmon roll. This would be perfect for any salmon lover. The fish, even that in the spicy salmon, was very fresh. I liked how the spicy salmon came in pretty large pieces. It was spicy but not burning. The rice was also quite nice. Image

The Awesome Roll did its name justice. On top of the California roll was cooked salmon, masago, green onion, teriyaki sauce, spicy mayo, and a ton of yam strings. I loved the spicy and sweet from the two sauces. The salmon was nice and the imitation crab and avocado inside the roll were sweet and creamy. The yam strings made it outstanding though. With the sauces, it was sweet on two different levels and slightly spicy… and very crunchy. 

Togo Sushi had very friendly service and reasonable prices ($6.50 for the Kamikaze Roll and $7.95 for the Awesome Roll). No, they don’t have reusable plates and chopsticks, but for such a small place in Richmond Centre, they really don’t need to. It’s still a great option – better than Umi up in the food court due to more variety and cheaper prices, and the fact that it is made-to-order. 

Togo Sushi on Urbanspoon

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Food Court Redeemed – Thai Express

July 16, 2013
Thai Express, Richmond BC
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Shrimp Spring Roll
Tofu Pad Thai

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ImageEver since Thai Express landed in Richmond Centre a few years back, my faith in food courts had been restored. It is seriously a great little stall with fresh, made-to-order generic Thai dishes. The flavours are usually pretty good, though!

The Shrimp Spring Roll was like one of those from Vietnam, with vermicelli, lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts, and shrimp inside, wrapped in rice paper. The peanut dipping sauce was sweet and lovely.Image

The Tofu Pad Thai had great flavour. No, it’s not real tamarind and instead, was more of a ketchup-based sauce. Still, it was good, and I did not really expect authentic. The portion was decent. I could have used more vegetables and the tofu did not really stay crispy but rather had soggy batter. The noodles were not overcooked though and it was still pretty good!

Now that Richmond Centre has built the Dining Terrace food court, the dining environment is so much more elegant, with comfy booth seats, high seats, group tables, couches, and convenient trash stations. This is certainly one of the best food courts I have been to, especially thanks to the decor.

Thai Express on Urbanspoon

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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.

Sammich on Urbanspoon

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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!

Pagliacci's 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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