Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

Sunday Snack – Steveston Bakery

July 14, 2013
Steveston Bakery, Richmond BC
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Strawberry, Spinach, Feta, Pecan Salad
Tuxedo Cake

Nanaimo Bar
Blueberry Scone
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ImageAfter staying inside all day, I decided to venture out and grab a late afternoon snack at Steveston Bakery. There were a couple of people who came in to buy some baked goods and two other ladies drinking tea at a table. Considering it was an hour before closing on a Sunday, it was pretty good. 

My Strawberry, Spinach, Feta, Pecan Salad, at $2.50 for a small, was really good. The quality and the size together would have easily cost double in most casual restaurants. The dressing was tangy and light, and everything was just very fresh.Image

The Tuxedo Cake was also delicious, not too sweet with cake that was soft and moist. I loved the multi-layered treat, especially the shaved chocolate on the side and the chocolate frosting layer on top.Image

The Nanaimo Bar was wonderful as well. It was a perfect amount of sweetness that did not leave you grossed out. I loved the custard and the coconut chocolate bar layer on the bottom was not overly greasy and dense. Image

Finally, the Blueberry Scone, being a day-old item, was a little disappointing. It was okay but not buttery enough or light enough. It was just overall quite bland. It was still fresh enough, though.

The service was extremely friendly; the two girls behind the counter were eager to answer any questions and served everyone with a smile, making it a nice end to a day. 

Steveston Bakery on Urbanspoon

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That Tiramisu! – Al Porto Ristorante

May 11, 2013
Al Porto Ristorante, Vancouver BC
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[Bread Basket]
Linguine Pescatore
Calamari
Mussels
Tiramisu
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ImageFor a long-time friend’s 20th birthday party, we went to Al Porto Ristorante in the lovely, historic Gastown. While sunny weather is always nice, there is a certain magical feel to Gastown in the drizzly rain. The restaurant was large, with great friendly servers and traditional decorations. 

We started with a complimentary Bread Basket that I thought could have been better to match the sophistication of the restaurant. The bread was not exactly fresh out of the oven, although it had a nice crust and a soft, airy inside. However, I loved the focaccia. It was so soft and a little chewy.Image

The Linguine Pescatore was a common dish amongst our group. The seafood was fresh and nicely done: mussels, clams, prawns, squid, scallops, salmon, and halibut. Unfortunately, there was only one scallop, which is my favourite seafood… ever. The fish added a nice touch since you eat it with the pasta unlike the shellfish, which you usually eat separately. The linguine was al dente and the tomato sauce very flavourful with a touch of cream.Image

The Calamari was served with a chili aioli and a red onion bruschetta. The squid had a thin but crispy batter with the chewy seafood nicely done on the inside. I liked the chili aioli but would prefer the bruschetta. I thought it was an interesting touch for calamari.Image

The Mussels were steamed with garlic, shallot, and Italian parsley in a tomato broth. The broth had a decent herb flavour but could have been thicker with more seasoning. The mussels were okay, nothing outstanding.Image

Finally, since it was a birthday night, we all had a small bite of Tiramisu. It was a lovely bite. Coffee, liquer, lady fingers, sponge cake, cocoa powder, and most importantly, mascarpone. It was fresh, sweet, soft, moist, and absolutely scrumptious!

It was a really nice dinner, at a nice, fancy, but not over the top restaurant. I think a seat by the window would be a lot nicer and would actually be a great place to enjoy an upscale brunch of light dinner in the glow of the setting sun. 

Al Porto Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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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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Bunnies on a Cake – 圣安娜饼屋-Saint Honore Pastries

ImageMarch 23, 2013
圣安娜饼屋 – Saint Honore Pastries, Philadelphia PA
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豆沙包 (Red Bean Bun)
叉烧包 (Roasted Pork Bun)

兔仔蛋糕 (Rabbit Cake)
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Being in Chinatown, I was craving some traditional buns and Asian cakes. Nothing too sweet, too salty, but a nice blend of the two. I had never been to Saint Honore so I thought, why not give it a try. It did have many enticing cakes on display.Image

First, the 豆沙包 (Red Bean Bun) had the sweet ‘pineapple’ crust on top. The crust was not as sweet as I would like but it as crumbly and the bun was rather airy and soft. The texture was moist and a little chewy so that was good. The red bean or azuki bean paste inside was not very sweet so if you do not like the really sweet paste, this is for you.Image

The 叉烧包 (Roasted Pork Bun) was a little different than usual. The bun was good but inside was not your chopped roasted BBQ pork. It was small square slices. The BBQ taste was light but you could really taste the pork in this case.Image

The 兔仔蛋糕 (Rabbit Cake) looked better than it tasted. It was just so cute! The cake was airy and soft, not sweet, just like your average Asian cake. The cream was decent and again, not very sweet.Image

Going into a Chinese bakery, you know you do not have to worry about that extra sugar and overdose as much as if you were going into a western bakery and cafe. Things are just light here. 

 

 

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Quick and Casual Sonata – Allegro Pizza & Grill

March 11, 2013
Allegro Pizza & Grill, Philadelphia PA
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Vegetable Panini
Spanish Omelette
Tiramisu
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ImageAfter endless dinners of cheese, pepperoni, and vegetable pizzas from Allegro during club meetings and various events, it was time I tried some other dishes at the ever so popular casual diner on campus. 

ImageThe Vegetable Panini was not bad. I did like the variety of grilled vegetables inside as they were not too greasy: broccoli, spinach, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and mushrooms. I asked for mozzarella but it was neither gooey nor flavourful, too processed I guess. The home-made focaccia was a little thin and not soft enough for me. It was almost like flatbread. The fries that came with it were at least cooked to a good texture.

ImageThe Spanish Omelette, which I got with egg whites, was decent but slightly greasy. I did like the vegetables but egg whites are supposed to be light and not have too much oil on it. The server was nice enough to allow me to substitute home fries for fruit salad without additional charges since I had fries with my panini already. The toast was not the right texture, though. One was too crispy, almost burnt, and the other not crispy enough. Image

Finally, the Tiramisu was obviously not homemade. However, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The creamy texture was light and it did have soaked lady finger-like cake at the bottom with a strong coffee flavour.

For a quick meal, students are usually satisfied with what can be found here. It is relatively clean and not too expensive, with an extensive menu beyond just pizzas. 

Allegro Pizza on Urbanspoon

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Sandwiches and Sweets – Starbucks

March 8, 2013
Starbucks, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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ラントブロート クロックマダム (Landbrot Croque-madame)
イタリアンソーセージとチーズのタルティーヌ (Italian Sausage & Cheese Tartine)
パンプキンタルト (Pumpkin Tart)
クッキー&クリームチーズケーキ (Cookie & Cream Cheese Cake)
チェリー&カスタードマフィン (Cherry & Custard Muffin)
キャラメルピーカンナッツロール (Caramel & Pecan Nut Roll)
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ImageDoesn’t matter where you are, you can be sure Starbucks will be crowded in the morning. Their food selections are certainly getting better and the ones in Japan have way too many interesting choices that doesn’t matter how often I go, I still could not try all of them. So, I had to be selective. At least sharing with friends gave me more opportunities to taste all this delicious food!

The sandwich, ラントブロート クロックマダム (Landbrot Croque-madame), was so tasty! A pressed panini, it had chicken, melted gooey mozzarella cheese, and an almost-runny egg. I really enjoyed the savoury combination. The cheese had great flavour and was not bland. The bread had a nice crisp exterior and soft on the inside. It was a great breakfast sandwich!Image

The イタリアンソーセージとチーズのタルティーヌ (Italian Sausage & Cheese Tartine) also had great flavour. I really loved the creamy white sauce that covered the sausage, potatoes, mushrooms, and cauliflower. The bread was a bit too crisp and hard for my liking and I was never a fan of potatoes. However, the other ingredients were all delicious.Image

The パンプキンタルト (Pumpkin Tart) was very good. It had a good pumpkin custard texture and the crust was crumbly but not too dry. Inside was cubes of kabocha, the Asian version of winter squash that is sometimes translated as pumpkin. The tart was not at all very sweet but rather had the hearty taste of the squash. The pepitas, whipped cream, and glaze added nice touches.Image

The クッキー&クリームチーズケーキ (Cookie & Cream Cheese Cake) was not as great as I thought it would be. It was a regular, albeit a very good and creamy, cheesecake with chocolate cookie swirled in. There was a chocolate cookie crust and it was topped with chunks of very crumbly chocolate cookies. It was not too sweet despite being all chocolate and cheesecake but I guess that’s the good thing about Asian desserts.Image

The チェリー&カスタードマフィン (Cherry & Custard Muffin) was actually decent. The inside was moist, dense, yet soft. I loved the large, semi-dried cherries that were very sweet. The custard could have been more custard-like. It was a little dry and there did not seem to be enough.

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The キャラメルピーカンナッツロール (Caramel & Pecan Nut Roll) was delicious and sweet. Finally, something sweet enough! Rather, it was where there was caramel drizzle that was sweet – and sticky. The pecans were good and crunchy. The roll was a little dry and the parts without caramel was not as good. With all the ingredients together, though, it was delicious.

So many choices, so many goodies! And all of this is only one country. Imagine the collection of Starbucks treats from all around the world. Now that would be a feast!

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Tokyo Delights – Starbucks

March 4, 2013
Starbucks, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
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さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake)
ザッハトルテ (Sachertorte)
さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake)
キャラメル&ウォールナッツパウンド フード (Caramel & Walnuts Pound)
さくらマカロン (Sakura Macaron)
フィローネ 春野菜&ミートローフ (Filone Spring Vegetables & Meatloaf)
ハニー&カスタードドーナツ (Honey & Custard Doughnut)
マンゴー パッション ティー フラペチーノ (Mango Passion Tea Frappuccino Blended Juice Drink)
~

ImageI had been waiting so long to visit a Japanese Starbucks. They have some different drinks and a completely different food menu from that in the US. I was extremely eager to try out the sweet pastries, savoury snacks, and sandwiches. Unfortunately, they had sold out of the SAKURA lattes and frappuccinos, something I was really looking forwards to. However, there were so many other choices to choose from.Image

Sticking with their spring promotion, Casey and I decided first on a slice of さくらシフォンケーキ (SAKURA Chiffon Cake). It was light and aromatic, with the lovely cherry blossom fragrance. The pink was so lovely to look at. The cake itself was airy, light, and slightly sweet. The cream on top was the same, and the little cherry blossom was also good. It was such a delicate dessert!Image

The ザッハトルテ (Sachertorte) was a slight let down after the pink delight of that first dessert. The chocolate shell was crunchy and the chocolate cake inside dense. The cocoa flavour was very strong and rich, and not overly sweetened. However, the cake was just slightly dry and this was just not particularly special.Image

The キャラメル&ウォールナッツパウンド フード (Caramel & Walnuts Pound) was delicious as well, and perfect for celebrating National Pound Cake Day (despite the fact that I was out of the US!). The caramel flavour was light and the walnuts added a wonderful crunch to the otherwise moist yet dense cake. My favourite part was the caramel frosting on top, which was not as sticky or moist as some frostings, more like a fondant layer. It was sweet and very yummy though.Image

The さくらマカロン (Sakura Macaron) was not to be outdone. Delicate and sweet, it also had a distinct cherry blossom fragrance that was just so light. The cream inside was a little denser and sweeter, contrasting the cookies nicely.Image

The フィローネ 春野菜&ミートローフ (Filone Spring Vegetables & Meatloaf) was incredible. The baguette was a little tough, the way I like it. I loved the asparagus, peppers, and other vegetables with the gravy and melted cheese. The meatloaf was thin but provided a richness to the sandwich. The flavour was clearly an Asian take on a western food, something I am familiar with and like very much.Image

The ハニー&カスタードドーナツ (Honey & Custard Doughnut) was not outstanding but still good. The honey made it sweet and the custard inside was dense, egg-y, and quite sweet as well. The doughnut dough was actually made from wheat or grain flour, not just white flour, giving it a fuller taste.Image

To drink, I got the マンゴー パッション ティー フラペチーノ (Mango Passion Tea Frappuccino Blended Juice Drink). It was not very sweet at all, with the aroma of the mango and the passion fruit juice that was slightly bitter and very tangy. It was incredibly refreshing and a better alternative for just cold juice.Image

My first visit at a Japanese Starbucks was just fantastic. The food and drinks were wonderful, not to mention the great service. Despite taking some time to communicate to the baristas what I wanted, they were very patient and helpful. They also had very interesting liquid sugar for people getting regular coffee. Everything was just splendid!

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On the Need for Paninis: Part XV – Milk & Honey Market

February 23, 2013
Milk & Honey Market, Philadelphia PA
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Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookie
Bourbon Pecan Bar
Banana Bread
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ImageThe Milk & Honey Market is a good walk off campus, but it was National Banana Bread Day so I decided to check them out. The store was small and sold various, good quality cheeses, deli meats, and other gourmet foods. I love the atmosphere of a quaint little neighborhood store and also decided to have dinner there.

The Caprese Panini had very fresh Claudio’s mozzarella. It was light, slightly chewy, and very good with the tomatoes. However, I found this panini to be lacking in basil pesto. It was very fresh, house-made pesto, but there was not enough of the oily aroma.Image

The German Chocolate Cake looked scrumptious and tasted even better. The chocolate cake was moist yet dense, and not too sweet. I loved the frosting, though, which had syrup, I think, pecans, and shredded coconut. That part was certainly very sweet and sticky – I absolutely loved it.

ImageThe Vegan Snickerdoodle Cookie was a little dry and crunchy. I prefer soft, chewy cookies. However, it was sweet and did not lack any flavours of a regular cookie. It was not very buttery or oily, which I did appreciate.Image

The Bourbon Pecan Bar was also delicious. I could not taste much bourbon but the pecans in the sticky, syrup-based bar was crunchy and sweet. The crust on the bottom was buttery and not sweet, so the bar was still acceptable for most people. I loved the sweetness a lot and am sure the bourbon helped with that.Image

Finally, the Banana Bread had good flavour and was not overly oily or sweet. However, it was a little dry, especially the sides and the bottom. I did like the crunch of the walnuts inside.

The Milk & Honey Market offered so many small treats that all looked incredible. Their prices are decent so I am sure I will be back soon to try some cookie sandwiches, smoothies, and other delicious goods in this neighborhood gem.

Milk & Honey Market on Urbanspoon

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On the Need for Paninis: Part XIV – Penn Bookstore Cafe

February 22, 2013
Penn Bookstore Cafe, Philadelphia PA
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Chocolate Lava Cake
Tomato Caprese
Mango Raspberry Twist Frappuccino Blended Beverage
~Image

The Penn Bookstore Café is one of the most popular study spots on campus, offering a slightly more exotic drink menu and various delicious-looking desserts and lunch options. The atmosphere in the bookstore is also nice, quiet without the stress of a regular school building. The smell of coffee also helps.Image

My Chocolate Lava Cake was decent enough, especially since it had a very strong chocolate flavour. The base of the cake was a little dry but the top was more of a ganache that was sweet, sticky, and amazing. It did lack the molten chocolate gushing out of the cake though, so I would not exactly call this a lava cake.

ImageThe Tomato Caprese panini was pricy at $6.50 but very delicious. It was pressed nicely and the mozzarella was light and fresh, as were the tomatoes. There was plenty of pesto, which added to the richness of the panini. I never mind a little too much olive oil and pesto so it was great for me.Image

Although their drinks are very similar to Starbucks, they offered a Mango Raspberry Twist Frappuccino Blended Beverage not available elsewhere. It was such a pretty color and tasted even more amazing, with a very strong flavour of mango puree. The raspberry was more in the background and just added another tone to the tang and sweetness. It was so refreshing.

I am definitely coming back here more often to try their other interesting desserts, drinks, and sandwiches. They also offer soup, which seems to be delicious on a cold day. 

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Crunchy Through and Through – Sugar Philly

February 20, 2013
Sugar Philly, Philadelphia PA
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Pomegranate French Macaron
Creme Fraiche Cheesecake
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ImageSugar Philly’s new flavour from last year that I had yet to try was the Pomegranate French Macaron. The delicate treat was delicious, and not just the creamy filling inside but also the juicy crunch of the pomegranate seeds!Image

The Creme Fraiche Cheesecake was also scrumptious. The cheesecake was more like the Asian kind, light, airy, and not incredibly cheesy. The middle was more of a cake and the bottom had a very crumbly and crunchy crust. It was a sweet crust and the texture from the crust and the shredded apple was a nice contrast. 

Sugar Philly Truck on Urbanspoon

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