Mouthful of Sunshine

Satisfaction in every bite

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.

Blenz Coffee on Urbanspoon

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On Apples in Dumplings – Dutch Eating Place

June 29, 2013
Dutch Eating Place, Philadelphia PA
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Hot Apple Dumpling served w/ Cream
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ImageInitially featured on The Food Network, the Hot Apple Dumpling served w/ Cream was a must-try at the Dutch Eating Place in the Reading Terminal Market. It was clearly their most popular dish, with rows upon rows of piping hot dumplings lined up by the glass on the countertop. 

The pastry dough was chewy but nicely layered. The cinnamon and sugar taste was not overwhelming either. I did love that syrup mixed with the full apple in the center, though. The apple was a surprise to me especially since it was a full apple and quite big. It was soft and chewy but had a sweet tartness. The cream cut through the tartness but I did not need much of it. It was just a super delicious dessert!

Dutch Eating Place on Urbanspoon

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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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Melt that Ranch – Taco Bell

March 16, 2013
Taco Bell, Philadelphia PA
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Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco
Meximelt
Caramel Apple Empanada
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ImageI was really hungry after a day at a show and decided on something fast and cheesy. However, they did not offer the loaded grillers at the Taco Bell on campus, which is a total shame.

The Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos was decent. I could not taste too much of the cool ranch flavour as it was not that heavily seasoned. The taco shell was crispy and the ground beef, lettuce, and cheese was all decent for fast food.Image

The Meximelt was more like a beef burrito but skinnier and full of cheesy goodness. It was nice with the pico de gallo to add a tangy freshness to the burrito.

ImageFinally, the Caramel Apple Empanada was great. Crispy on the outside, the pastry was really sweet from the caramel but not overwhelming because of the acidity of the apples. The filling was piping hot and so good!Image

Taco Bell on Urbanspoon

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Specials, Specials, Specials – Dunkin’ Donuts

ImageMarch 13, 2013
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Irish Creme Iced Coffee
Irish Creme Donut
Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich
Angus Steak & Egg Wake-up Wrap
Big n’ Toasted
Hash Browns

Lucky Mint Donut
Cinnamon Cake Donut
Apple Cheese Danish
Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie
Chocolate Chip Muffin
Corn Muffin
Caramel Latte Lite
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ImageWith a bunch of coupons in my possession, St. Patrick’s Day promotions, and featured steak menu items, I basically had a day of just Dunkin’ Donuts food. Well, it was nice to share sweets with a friend, but still, the sandwiches were filling. However, I love breakfast all day long so it was no problem. Image

The Irish Creme Iced Coffee, which I had with some skim milk, was creamy and sweet. I loved the traditional Irish creme flavour that was quite prominent, especially near the bottom of the cup. Image

The Irish Creme Donut was filled with a flavoured cream that was just as sweet and just as good. It looked very plain and unappetizing though so I think a warmer brown or a different colour altogether would have been nice. Image

The Angus Steak & Egg Breakfast Sandwich that I got on a plain bagel – just like their advertisements – was just okay. The bagel was nicely toasted and I liked the simple cheese and freshly fried egg. However, the steak was a little dry. Image

The Angus Steak & Egg Wake-up Wrap was the same, with a good toasty tortilla, gooey melted  cheese, half an egg patty, and dry steak. I really wanted some juicy meat so this was disappointing. 

The Big n’ Toasted was pretty good. The toast was nicely browned and thick enough. I liked the egg and cheese combination with the bacon. The bacon could have been a little crispier, I thought, and it was not as big as I had expected it to be, especially since the bread got moist again after being in the bag. Image

The Hash Browns were actually not bad, just too greasy. They were just the right size and crispy on the outside while the inside was mushy. It had decent seasoning, too. Image

The Lucky Mint Donut was certainly prettier than the Irish Creme one despite having the same, delicious filling. It was green and thus perfect for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.Image

The Cinnamon Cake Donut was a little dry and a little bland on the inside. However, I did like the sweet cinnamon sugar, though it was messy to eat. 

The Apple Cheese Danish was nice and flaky, with some chew and density to the pastry. I liked the apple filling but could have used more sweet cream cheese inside to amp up the sweetness of the glaze and icing drizzle a bit.Image

The Triple Chocolate Chunk Cookie was not that good. I prefer an ooey, gooey, and very soft cookie but this was only slightly soft and moist in the center. The edges were a little crunchy hard for me although the different kinds of chocolate was nice. Image

ImageThe Chocolate Chip Muffin had a lot of chocolate chips inside but the batter was a little dry, especially on the edge. I did like the sugar topping on top though to give it more sweetness.Image

The Corn Muffin was like a cornbread and moist and crumbly at the same time. It was not overly sweet but you can definitely get that corn aroma coming through.

Finally, the Caramel Latte Lite had a faint but nice caramel flavour. It was a decent latte that I probably would not have gotten had it been for the coupon. I just do not think their espresso is as good as those at other places.Image

There are so many more options to choose from at the store in 30th Street Station. The one on campus is just a little limited. Both seem rather clean and accommodating though. So many coupons that it was all for great value. 

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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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Sayonara, Shinjuku – Starbucks

March 9, 2013
Starbucks, Shinjuku, Tokyo, Japan
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ダーク モカ チップ フラペチーノ (Dark Mocha Chip Frappuccino Blended Coffee)
ほうれん草とハムのキッシュ (Spinach & Ham Quiche)
メイプルクリームの全粒粉スコーン (Maple Cream & Whole Grain Scone)
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ImageThere were still so many things to try at Starbucks and I knew I could not get to all of them. So, I had to be selective for my final breakfast in Tokyo.

The ダーク モカ チップ フラペチーノ (Dark Mocha Chip Frappuccino Blended Coffee) was incredibly good. It had the sweetness of the chocolate in the mocha sauce but it was also made from dark chocolate, giving it a slightly bitter but richer taste to it. The ice was blended finely and the drink was not overly sweet. The whip cream was quite watery and not as greasy as back in the US. I really liked that. It was a finely made drink.Image

The ほうれん草とハムのキッシュ (Spinach & Ham Quiche) was also delicious. The pastry was flaky and buttery, although it was a bit hard to cut into with a fork. The egg and spinach filling was so good that I wished there were more of it. The ham was savoury and I enjoyed the vegetable stems inside. However, I also got large pieces of potatoes under the ham, which just made it creamy but slightly bland.Image

The メイプルクリームの全粒粉スコーン (Maple Cream & Whole Grain Scone) was better than I expected. It was just whole grain scone with a little bit of maple cream spread into the middle. I wanted more of the sweet cream, but for what was there, the maple aroma was strong. The whole grain scone itself was crumbly but slightly dry. However, it was sweet and for that, I loved it.Image

My last visit to a Japan Starbucks for at least quite a while was definitely a good one. Starbucks service is already great to begin with. Add to that a country that prides itself on the respectful culture, you have got a café with perhaps the best service around.

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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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