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. 

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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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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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Locally Creative – Local 215

May 23, 2013
Local 215, Philadelphia PA
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Pork Fritters
Duck Buns
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ImageLocal 215 is one of the few food trucks using local products and making gourmet meals out of a truck. Their brown truck may not seem as pretty but their food cannot be found elsewhere in University City. However, the taste to me does not justify their higher prices. It was not bad by any means, just not as outstanding as I had expected.

The Pork Fritters were fried to the perfect crispy texture on the outside. Inside were, besides shredded pork, pistachios and capers. The fritters did not have any pronounced flavour. I did like the hoisin sriracha dipping sauce that had a touch of sweetness but was very flavourful with a small kick.Image

The famous Duck Buns were decent, with juicy, tender pieces of duck. Sandwiched in between the pita-like flatbreads were pickled veggies, cucumber, and a sesame chili aioli. The aioli lacked a little flavour and the buns overall were a little greasy. They were also messy to eat and got soggy quickly.

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Scallops by the River – The Yardley Inn

May 21, 2013
The Yardley Inn, Yardley PA
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Seared Scallops
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ImageAs a start to my internship, I got to have dinner at The Yardley Inn, the best restaurant in the area. The view was really nice by the river and the food quite decent for a small town. They had a lot of variety and seasonal ways to cook the proteins.

My Seared Scallops were served with a fava bean puree, roasted spring onions, almonds, and parsley. The puree was nice with a touch of saltiness and not perfectly smooth, which I thought was a nice contrast to the scallops. The scallops themselves were so succulent and juicy – love at first bite. The onions were a little too greasy but sweet and the almonds added a nice crunch. It was not a cheap dinner but a pleasant one. 

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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. 

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South Asia Food Comas – Vietnam Palace Restaurant

March 23, 2013
Vietnam Palace Restaurant, Philadelphia PA
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Papaya Salad w. Shrimp
Chicken Pad Thai
Broken Rice Deluxe

Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef
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ImageDinner with the team after a long day is always incredibly fun, especially considering how everyone is going in starving and coming out in food comas. That was and always will be the case. Everyone on this night felt like going to Chinatown since we were already there so we headed to Vietnam Palace Restaurant. 

My Papaya Salad w. Shrimp came first. There was a mound of that lovely shredded green papaya with several large shrimp that were tender and succulent. The two were both unflavoured apart from the fish sauce dressing that was sweet, sour, and a little spicy. I was in heaven with this salad. The peanuts added a nice crunch.Image

The Chicken Pad Thai some people got was okay. The noodles were a little sticky and there was not enough sauce to coat everything completely. There were plenty of bean sprouts and peanuts but I thought it lacked some egg. The chicken was also dry.Image

The Broken Rice Deluxe was basically rice served with pork chop, shredded pork, egg quiche, and a fried egg. The pork chop was juicy but a little tough. The shredded pork was very flavourful and tasty. The egg quiche was a little dry but okay and the fried egg was nice with the runny yolk. This was served with a side of the fish sauce dressing for the greens salad. I liked the combination but individually, only the egg quiche and shredded pork were appealing.Image

The Stir-Fried Vermicelli Beef was actually decent. The vermicelli soaked up some of the slightly sweet sauce and the beef did as well, making it juicy and tender. I loved the array of vegetables, including mushrooms, bamboo shoots, broccoli, snow peas, and carrots. They were crunchy and refreshing. 

The decor was nice and service okay, although they did mess up the bill. It took a while for us to sort out everything but overall, we were all satisfied with our meal. Finally, I have found my perfect salad that is both economically and tastefully the best I have had. 

Vietnam Palace on Urbanspoon

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