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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Hail The Queen of Hearts – Sabrina’s Café

March 24, 2013
Sabrina’s Café, Philadelphia PA
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The Queen’s ‘Paint the Roses Red’ Stuffed French Toast
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ImageI cannot believe after almost two years here in Philly that I have yet to have brunch at the ever-so-popular Sabrina’s Café. Well, I finally got to try their famous challah stuffed French toast. Oh, and it was Alice in Wonderland week!

I got The Queen’s ‘Paint the Roses Red’ Stuffed French Toast, and yes, it was pretty in red. Inside the thick, soft challah French toast – which had a nice exterior might I add – were sweet cream cheese, Irish cream caramelized apples, raisins, coconut, double fudge chocolate pieces, and mint preserves, all topped with a berry-orange syrup. The sweet cream cheese was so scrumptious with the French toast. The apples added a nice tang while the raisins added another layer or sweetness. I saw the chocolate pieces but the flavour did not stand out. I could not even taste the mint and coconut, which were even fainter than the chocolate. It was just a whole plate of sweetness! The berry-orange syrup was tangy and sweet, though, so it made it not an overwhelming sugar overload. It was tangy, sweet, and very red, with just the right thickness to be soaked up by the French toast. I loved the fresh strawberries and blueberries a lot, wishing there were more to make it more refreshing rather than a very dense breakfast.

Looking at the weekly specials and the whole menu, I can easily come here every week. But that would just be sugar overload to the extreme, I guess.

Sabrina's Cafe @ Powelton on Urbanspoon

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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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Swimming Waffles – 鯛プチ (Tai Putit)

March 6, 2013
鯛プチ (Tai Putit), Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan
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チョコレート (Chocolate)
カスタード (Custard)
抹茶 (Maccha)
いちごミルク (Strawberry Milk)
バナナ (Banana)
プレイン (Plain)
十勝あん豆乳入り (TOKACHI Anko in Soymilk)
黒糖 (Kokutou)
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ImageGetting off the hour long train to Kamakura, we were all very sleepy. What woke us up was the wafting aroma of these taiyaki or petit sea bream, mini fish-shaped waffles with various fillings – chocolate, custard, banana, strawberry milk, TOKACHI anko in soymilk (red bean paste), kokutou (brown sugar), matcha, and plain. One of my favourite was the kokutou that tasted like melted maple sugar. The matcha, custard, strawberry, and banana were both creamy and the red bean paste was a classic. The chocolate was not too sweet and the plain was, well, plain. The waffles themselves were sweet and warm. These were so addicting!

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Crazy Cravings – Crazy Crepes

March 7, 2013
Crazy Crepes, Chiyoda, Tokyo, Japan
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イチゴチョコクランチバニラ (Strawberry Chocolate Crunch Vanilla Ice)
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ImageOkay, so crepes are not traditionally Japanese, nor are strawberries, chocolate, almonds, or vanilla ice cream. However, crepe shops are all over Tokyo’s most busiest shopping centers. Everywhere I look, I see these lovely desserts, so when a friend got one, I just had to try a bite.

She got a イチゴチョコクランチバニラ (Strawberry Chocolate Crunch Vanilla Ice), which had fresh strawberries, chocolate bits, chocolate sauce, almond slices, vanilla ice cream, and of course whipped cream. It was sweet but not overwhelmingly so. The ice cream made it cold and the strawberries refreshing. The crepe was thin and the whole thing was just a mouthful of delight. 

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Sweet and Tangy – Sweet Ending

February 28, 2013
Sweet Ending, Philadelphia PA
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Green Tea Yogurt
Blueberry Yogurt
Mango Yogurt
Toppings: Mochi, Blueberries, Strawberries, Mangos
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ImageAfter running some errands, I dropped by Sweet Ending to get some much-needed froyo from somewhere other than Kiwi Yogurt before heading home. It was cold outside, but inside was warm and nice. The store was clean, bright, and very casual.

I got Green Tea, Blueberry, and Mango Yogurt, topped with Mochi, Blueberries, Strawberries, and Mangoes. I wanted something sweet and refreshingly fruity but thought green tea would add a nice undertone. The green tea flavor was actually very strong and only slightly sweet, which I loved. The blueberry was good but did not have that fresh blueberry aroma. The mango was a little sour but incredibly refreshing, just like all the fresh fruits on top. The mochi were hard, probably having been left out for the whole day. They were not as chewy and soft as I would have liked.

Sweet Ending on Urbanspoon

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Sweet n’ Salty – Street Food Philly

February 25, 2013
Street Food Philly, Philadelphia PA
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Miso Eggplant Sandwich
Lemon Curd w/ Shortbread Cookies
Pecan Bar w/ Bourbon Cream
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ImageIt was only a matter of days before I returned to Street Food Philly. Their menu constantly changes and everything just sounds so delicious.

On this occasion, I tried their Miso Eggplant Sandwich, which was fried eggplants, sautéed spinach, grilled slices of firm but still soft tofu, and tomato miso sauce on a long roll. The eggplant was a little thin for me, as I prefer more eggplant than batter. The tofu tasted good with the sauce but the spinach were overly salty. It was okay with the whole sandwich not having much other strong flavors but I prefer my spinach light and healthy-tasting.Image

The Lemon Curd w/ Shortbread Cookies was actually great with all the sweet fresh strawberries and blueberries. The shortbread cookies added a crunchy, buttery sweetness to contrast the smooth and sour lemon curd. It was a tad too sour but not overwhelming.

ImageThe Pecan Bar w/ Bourbon Cream was huge but then again, it was $3. The pecan in the syrup glaze was sweet but I love sweet things that are over the top so it was great. It was sticky and crunchy at the same time. The bottom crust was not too sweet and quite dense. I could not taste much bourbon in the cream and it was not sweet so it was rather light but very bland. It was luckily not greasy but I did not think the bar needed that much of it.

I really do appreciate the variety Street Food Philly provides. It was a good change from Penn’s food trucks so get ready for more!

Street Food Philly on Urbanspoon

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Cheesecake in a Sauce – Paris La Petit Creperie

February 5, 2013
Paris La Petite Creperie, Philadelphia PA
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Sausage & Egg Crepe
Fred Special Crepe
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To celebrate National Nutella Day (yum, I know!), I knew I had to try, after failing to do so in one and a half years, some crepes from Paris La Petite Creperie. They are so popular among students and whenever I walk past, the smell is just amazing.Image

I started with the Sausage & Egg Crepe in the morning, asking for egg whites to be substituted. I loved that they used real sausage links, chopped up. However, the guy was not very careful and when he took the sausage out of the freezer, left it for a second on the freezer rack. That raised an eyebrow for cleanliness procedures. The egg whites were mixed with various vegetable, which I thoroughly enjoyed, as well as shredded mozzarella cheese. The cheese melted under the heat of the other ingredients and bound the meat, vegetables, and eggs together. The herbed crepe was very aromatic, decently thick, chewy, and very good. I think I may have just found my new favourite breakfast. Image

In the afternoon, I indulged in the Fred Special Crepe and literally fell in love with this student hub. On a warm, chewy wheat crepe was the best cheesecake sauce ever. It was gooey, sweet, and cheesy, yet light. It had the texture of an Asian custard or a sticky, slightly heavy mayonnaise. The taste was phenomenal. Mixed with that were strawberries, cold blueberries, blackberries, and a freshly slice banana, all topped with delicious, nutty Nutella and chocolate sauce. The mixture was just absolutely amazing. It was fresh, tangy, sweet, warm, cold, and delicious, all in one huge crepe!

They have specials everyday and during early and late hours. I am sure that I would be back soon for more, just to try some other savoury options, as well as some more of that cheesecake sauce. And so begins my relationship with crepes.

Pari Cafe' Creperie on Urbanspoon

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My Oh My, Morocco! – Marrakesh

February 2, 2013
Marrakesh, Philadelphia PA
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The Three-Salad Platter
The B’stella
Spicy Chicken with Cumin Sauce
Tajine of Lamb with Almonds and Honey
Marinated Berber Beef Shish Kebab
Couscous Grand Atlas Topped with Vegetables, Chick Peas and Raisins
Basket of Fresh Fruits
Moroccan Pastries
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ImageAfter hearing about the exotic experience at the popular Marrakesh, I was so excited to go there with our dance team. It was cold and snowing, but we stood outside the door for over thirty minutes since our party was huge and they needed time to clear out two rooms for us. The traditional Moroccan restaurant was quite obscured, and you had to knock on the door for them to let you in. Inside, it was very crowded and decorated in a Moroccan style. I loved the atmosphere, with everyone sitting down on couches around a stainless steel plate-like table. The server brought out rosewater for us to wash our hands. There were no eating utensils. The bread that was passed around in a huge basket was used as the vessel for eating all the food. For $25, $30 after tax and tips, we enjoyed a seven-course meal and were so stuffed. I loved the entire experience of the most traditional, family-style Moroccan food.

The first course was The Three-Salad Platter, which included zaalouk (cooked eggplants in tomato sauce), oasis carrots with cucumber, and cucumber and bell peppers in Mediterranean seasoning. The cucumber and peppers salad was refreshing and tasted similar to a Greek salad. The carrots were like that of a carrot salad in Mediterranean cuisine, with the carrots flavourful and slightly mushy. My favourite was by far the large chunks of mushy eggplant. Each piece was literally a quarter of a medium-sized eggplant, so tangy, so sweet, and absolutely delicious!Image

Up next was The B’stella, or rather a pastilla, which was a layered pie made from phyllo pastry, stuffed with chicken, eggs, assorted nuts, almonds, parsley, and onions and topped with confection sugar and cinnamon. Never have I tried chicken with eggs, cinnamon, sugar, and nuts, all in the same bite. I do not regret it, as it was amazing. It was freshly out of the oven and piping hot we had to wait a while before digging in, and digging in we did. The dough was flaky, thin, and crisp. The top was sweet and spiced with cinnamon but the center was savoury and bouncy from all the eggs. The chicken did not have much flavour but made the filling a bit more substantial. I did not taste much of the nuts but the overall flavour was multi-layered. Savoury and sweet, flaky and bouncy, it was a gorgeous pie.Image

For the third course, which was also the first main course, our table unanimously chose the Spicy Chicken in Cumin Sauce. According to their online menu, there are three versions of non-spicy chicken, but we were only offered the choice of spicy or non-spicy. The cumin sauce was incredibly red and hot. It was not like chili pepper hot but rather spices hot. However, when eaten with the chicken and bread, it was certainly more than bearable. The chicken was quite tough and dry on the inside and rather bland. Only the parts near the surface were juicy and tender, soaking up the flavour of the sauce. The skin was quite thick and fatty, relatively unappealing. If it were not for the sauce, this would not have been good.Image

Since we had so many people, we were able to get two different choices for our second main course. The first was the Tajine of Lamb with Almonds and Honey. Again, we were not offered the other preparation for the lamb with onions and chick peas. The lamb was delicious, though. It was moist, succulent, and cooked to tender perfection. The honey gave it a slightly sweet undertone. The almonds did not add much to the dish for me, but each large bite of lamb was absolutely phenomenal.Image

The most disappointing course of the evening was the Marinated Berber Beef Shish Kebab. The peppers and onions were nicely grilled with a char on them. The large cubes of beef, however, were extremely tough and very dry. They had some spices on the exterior but the inside was bland and sinewy. It was not just I could not chew through it, but I could barely bite into the meat, it was that tough.Image

The last main course – I know, there was so much food, but bear with me! – was Couscous Grand Atlas Topped with Vegetables, Chick Peas and Raisins. The couscous was nothing special. It also had shredded chicken that was slightly dry and bland. While I did not like the potatoes, I did like the soft sweet potato, chick peas, and plump, juicy raisins. The dish lacked moisture and did not shine compared to some of the other dishes.Image

Next, they served us a Basket of Fresh Fruits. This was actually quite refreshing and pleasant. Oranges, apples, strawberries, bananas, and large red grapes were a nice touch. However, I was disappointed we never got the hot mint tea that everyone was raving about online. I was rather looking forward to that.Image

Finally, just as we were about to leave, they served a plate of Moroccan Pastries, or rather the most delicious baklava. It arrived late because they ran out and had to make a new batch. These just came out of the oven and were warm and dripping with overly sweet syrup. I could eat the sweetest things, so it was no problem. More than one or two would have made anyone go on a sugar high, though. A bit more chopped nuts would have been nice to contrast the stickiness and the flaky phyllo dough. As over the top as these were, they were certainly addicting.Image

The belly dancer that came by was very entertaining, and being a dance team, we had a lot of fun with the three moves she taught us. It was a most enjoyable evening, being a BYO and all. I just wish the restaurant was better lit so we could see the food clearer. Apart from that and the tight squeeze around the table, it was a great night spent with fellow team members – a fine Moroccan experience!

Marrakesh on Urbanspoon

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Cupid’s Heart – Dunkin’ Donuts

January 30, 2013
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
Tuna Melt
Cupid’s Choice Donut
Brownie Batter Donut
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ImageWhen I want some comforting breakfast foods with some sweet treats, I head to Dunkin’ Donuts because they offer quite decent sandwiches and doughnuts. I appreciate the varieties that they offer, and the one on campus is more than half decent.Image

The new promotional sandwich was the Turkey Sausage Breakfast Sandwich, which had a turkey sausage patty, fried egg, and cheese on a toasted English muffin. The sausage was savoury and somewhat juicy. It did not taste that different from a pork sausage patty, which is to say it was good. It was perhaps just a touch less fatty, as expected. The egg was done nicely and the rest of the sandwich was just as I had expected, fresh and comforting.Image

It was National Croissant Day so I also decided to try the Tuna Melt – tuna salad and a slice of cheddar cheese on a croissant. It was toasted nicely but the cheese was obscured by all the tuna flavour-wise. The tuna salad was very good, though. It was a little too watery, with perhaps a touch too much mayonnaise. There was that canned tuna and mayonnaise flavour that reminds me of my childhood. I liked the addition of the freshly diced celery to add crunch and texture.Image

In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Dunkin’ Donuts offered some seasonal doughnuts. The Cupid’s Choice Donut was a heart-shaped doughnut filled with Bavarian cream and topped with strawberry frosting and Valentine heart sprinkles. I loved the combination of the cream and frosting, as they are my two favourite flavours.Image

The second one was the new Brownie Batter Donut, filled with chocolate brownie filling and topped with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. I liked the rough, sugary texture of the brownie batter filling. It was so sweet and chocolate-y, just like the frosting. For those who do not like very sweet chocolate, stay away. However, it was fine by me.Image

Dunkin’ Donuts is certainly coming up with some interesting twists to their doughnuts. After all, there are only so much you can do with filling and frosting. However, I would like to see some unique flavours soon, perhaps some exotic fruit flavour. That would be a nice addition.

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