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.

Sammich on Urbanspoon

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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.

Blenz Coffee on Urbanspoon

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Waves of Spritzers – Waves Coffee House

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

April 16, 2013
Pure Fare, Philadelphia PA
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Grilled Veg & Provolone Sandwich
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ImageI was in near the Rittenhouse Square area and happened to pass by Pure Fare. Not a vegan or a vegetarian, I do appreciate healthy, high quality foods, so naturally (pun not intended), I went in and took a look.

ImageMy Grilled Veg & Provolone Sandwich, which had teff bread, was actually quite decent. I loved the roasted peppers, Portobello mushrooms, and broccolini. It was National Mushroom Day so what’s better than some juicy, chewy portobellos? The provolone cheese had a nice, mild flavour. What I really liked was their own roasted pepper spread. It was slightly tangy and creamy, pairing well with the gluten-free bread and vegetables. I got my sandwich half off because it was day-old; otherwise, their foods are not exactly cheap but the quality is certainly good.

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Cafe at its Best – Panera Bread

March 30, 2013
Panera Bread, New York NY
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Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta Signature Breakfast Sandwich
Easter Egg Cookie
Cobblestone
Peach Pecan Crunch Muffin
Bear Claw
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ImageJust like Au Bon Pain, I love the atmosphere at Panera Bread. Freshly baked pastries and goodies, made-to-order sandwiches with fresh ingredients, and a warm, cozy feel in a very relaxing cafe atmosphere. Whether it be breakfast, lunch, or dinner, I would always be happy eating here.

The Mediterranean Egg White on Ciabatta Signature Breakfast Sandwich was good, with lots of egg whites, spinach, flavourful roasted tomatoes, Vermont white cheddar, and basil pesto on a toasty ciabatta bun. Despite the quality, this was overpriced. The sandwich was too small for almost $5. Image

The Easter Egg Cookie was very generic but also very pretty with its colourful sugar icing and chocolate candies. The shortbread cookie itself was crumbly and buttery. This was one celebratory cookie!Image

The Cobblestone is a pastry made with cinnamon raisin dough, apples, streusel, and icing drizzle. It was such a splendid treat. I love raisins, apples, and spices together. Add to that streusel and icing and voila, the perfect, tastiest treat you can find. The dough could have been a little more moist but apart from that, it was delicious.Image

The Peach Pecan Crunch Muffin was okay. The muffin was not too sweet and was moist and dense. I liked the large pieces of peach inside, making it juicier. I wished there were pecans inside as well as on top, though.Image

The Bear Claw had that artificial almond taste but it was not overwhelming to the point that it becomes revolting. The pastry was flaky and the almond slices on top were nice. There could have been more filling so that you get it in every bite.

I wish there was a Panera on campus or even in center city. It is on the more expensive side but sometimes, the atmosphere, quality, and just overall feel of the place is worth it. 

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Nibbling on the Train – Au Bon Pain

March 29, 2013
Au Bon Pain, Philadelphia PA
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Garden Veggie Breakfast Sandwich
Chocolate Trio Cake
Golden Raisin & Crème Torsade
White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie
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ImageBefore heading to New York via Amtrak, our group met up outside Au Bon Pain so I stepped in to grab some food for my first train ride on Amtrak.

Their new Garden Veggie Breakfast Sandwich was actually quite good. The ciabatta could use a crispier exterior but was otherwise warm and chewy. I really enjoyed the sweetness of the caramelized onions with the roasted red and yellow bell peppers. The cheddar cheese faded into the background but the eggs were nice and still tender. The veggies made it good.Image

Also new was their Chocolate Trio Cake, a mini chocolate Bundt cake filled with chocolate chips and topped with lots of walnuts. The walnuts added a nice crunch and nutty richness to the otherwise sweet and chocolaty dessert. It was dense and moist, especially with all the chocolate chips. The chocolate drizzle on top did not stand out but the other flavours were more than decent.Image

The Golden Raisin & Crème Torsade was okay. The pastry was not too flaky, which appealed more to me. There could have been more raisins and crème as both were lacking so the pastry was not exactly very flavourful. I did like the sticky glaze on the outside but it made my fingers sticky.Image

Finally, the White Chocolate Macadamia Cookie was also just okay. I prefer my cookies to be ooey gooey. This one was barely soft enough in the center and the edges were too hard and crunchy. At least I still enjoyed the white chocolate and macadamia nuts.Image

Au Bon Pain can be quite pricey but their products are at least very fresh. It is sad that we no longer have one on campus, just when I was really looking forward to eating their food everyday. Thankfully, 30th Street Station is not too far away. 

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Waffles and Portobellos – Artisserie Chocolate Café

March 25, 2013
Artisserie Chocolate Café, Philadelphia PA
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Toffee Crunch Belgian Waffle
White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie

Portobello Pesto Panini
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ImageBeing National Waffle Day, I went into Artisserie Chocolate Café for a lunch and a snack. It was hard to find waffles elsewhere on campus. There are pancakes, French toast, and a billion other sweet, but just no waffles.

ImageThe Toffee Crunch Belgian Waffle was incredibly pricey at $2.50 and definitely not worth it. The toffee crunch on top was great and sticky. The milk chocolate was good quality chocolate as expected. However, the Belgian waffle was hard and dry, not what was I was expecting at all. 

ImageThe White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookie was actually really good – gooey in the center and slightly crunchy on the edge. The sweetness of the white chocolate with the crunch of the rich macadamia nuts is one of my favourite combinations of all time. Image

The Portobello Pesto Panini is part of their new sandwich menu. It was supposed to be on focaccia but it seemed to me like ciabatta. The grilled portobello mushrooms were chewy and really good, but like the roasted red peppers that was also very good, was a little bit greasy from the pesto. The pesto was fresh, though, and lightly tasty. The server forgot to put the pesto in at first, which was surprising and shows the unprofessionalism of their workers. The arugula added a little bitterness to cut through the oil and the goat cheese melted nicely. Image

Their food is slightly overpriced and I would not be surprised if my panini was heated partly in the microwave again like last time since the bread was not crispy on the outside. I guess their chocolate drinks are good enough to keep the store profitable, so maybe I should try those next time. Or perhaps it is because they are the only store of its kind around. 

Pongsri Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Two Sammies & a Cupcake – Green Line Cafe

March 22, 2013
Green Line Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Cucumber Cake Cupcake with Vegan Lime Cream Cheese Frosting
Spicy Meatloaf Sandwich
Sweet Potato Burrito

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ImageOn a drizzling, dreary day, I love it when I can just sit back, relax, and spend an hour or so in a small, independent café. I am not a big drinker of coffee but I do love to try various sandwiches and treats, and bringing some back for dinner, of course. That’s how I ended up at Green Line Cafe.Image

The Cucumber Cake Cupcake with Vegan Lime Cream Cheese Frosting was actually quite bad, especially for $2.50. The cake had plenty of grated cucumber but the cake was dense and hard, sticking to the cup. It had air bubbles and was not moist and soft at all. The flavour was at least light. I did like the vegan frosting, despite the lack of lime flavours. It was sweet and slightly dense.Image

The Spicy Meatloaf Sandwich was the special of the month and an absolute delight. It had a great meatloaf with Korean BBQ sauce and Asian slaw served on ciabatta. It had a lovely spicy kick to it, marrying with the juicy meatloaf nicely. The Asian slaw was crunchy, slightly too greasy, but with a nice sweet undertone. The ciabatta was nice once toasted. It was a great fusion sandwich.Image

The Sweet Potato Burrito was just okay. I did like the cubed sweet potato rather than mashed. It did not have extra sugar so it had the natural sweet potato flavours. There was plenty of brown rice and black bean and corn salsa but not enough flavours in every bite of the burrito. I could not really taste the chipotle vegan aioli so that’s probably why it was lacking in flavours. I do like the added spinach, though.Image

Service was great and just a heads up that this is a cash-only café. The atmosphere is just so relaxing and quaint – a neighbourhood gem!

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Oatmeal and Chocolate – Penn Bookstore Cafe

ImageMarch 18, 2013
Penn Bookstore Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Toffee Nut Latte
Strawberries & Cream Cupcake
Oatmeal Raisin Cookie
Heath Blondie
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It was National Oatmeal Cookie Day and American Chocolate Week so I decided to sit back and relax in the lovely Penn Bookstore Cafe. I love the smell of coffee, a delicious dessert, and newly printed pages.

The Toffee Nut Latte was decent enough, slightly nutty and sweet, although it was hard to tell that it was specifically toffee. It was smooth and warmed me up from the drizzle outside. It was not too sweet, just the right amount.Image

The Strawberries & Cream Cupcake looked irresistible and tasted just as wonderful. The strawberry flavour reminded me of my childhood and the buttercream was not too oily and rather, was nice and sweet. I loved the shaved white chocolate on top. The cake was also moist, a little dense but still airy.Image

Now onto the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. It was huge but a little too crunchy for me, especially the edges. It was a little greasy and the raisins were rather hard and dry rather than plump and juicy. Image

Finally, the Heath Blondie was great. I wish there were more Heath pieces inside, but there were plenty of semi-sweet and white chocolate chunks. The blondie itself was dense but moist and soft.

This cafe is always so full that I was lucky to find a seat. A wonderful place to study, it also has a great view of Walnut Street with its floor to ceiling windows!

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Chillin’ in Drexel – Seasons at Drexel

ImageMarch 12, 2013
Seasons at Drexel, Philadelphia PA
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Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich
Pear Strudel
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Seasons at Drexel draws my attention every time I pass it, with its brightly lit, clean interior and delicious cafe fare in its showcases.Image

The Mediterranean Vegetable Sandwich was very good, although it seemed more like a multigrain roll rather than a ciabatta. The Mediterranean vegetable caponata (eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, red peppers, and perhaps another type that I do not recall), kalamata, and sundried tomato tapenade inside was very flavourful, tasty and not too greasy. It paired nicely with the fresh mozzarella, making for a very good quality sandwich.Image

The Pear Strudel just sounded too good to pass. The flaky pastry was incredibly, well, flaky, after being toasted. It broke apart so easily and got crumbs all over the place. The brown sugar and pear mixture inside was sweet on sweet but I did not mind as the pastry shell was not sweet itself. It was a gooey, sweet mess.Image

Their food is quite pricey for what they are offering but at least the quality is good and the service friendly. They also have some interesting items that cannot be found elsewhere near campus, so that was definitely a plus!

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