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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Banana Bread and Brownies – Kiwi Yogurt

March 20, 2013
Kiwi Yogurt, Philadelphia PA
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Caramel Delight (Pure Vanilla w/ Mini Caramel Cups, Caramel)
Homemade Banana Nut Bread, Double Fudge Brownie Batter w/ Walnuts, Brownie
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ImageThe Caramel Delight, a Kiwi Kreation, was simple and lovely, with Pure Vanilla yogurt and Mini Caramel Cups, all drizzled with sweet and sticky Caramel sauce. It was sweet, cold, and just nice!

ImageThe Homemade Banana Nut Bread yogurt tasted like the real thing and I loved it! It went nicely with the crunchy chopped Walnuts. It was still American Chocolate Week so naturally, I needed some chocolate. I did find the Double Fudge Brownie Batter yogurt was not sweet enough and a little too much like bitter chocolate. The Brownie piece really matched up nicely.

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Double Deluxe – McDonald’s

March 17, 2013
McDonald’s, Philadelphia PA
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Steak & Egg Burrito
Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles
Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap
Daily Double
McFlurry with Reese’s
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ImageI made it in the morning just in time for breakfast. Thus, I got to see the boards being changed by using a handle to rotate the boards, which was pretty cool.Image

The new Steak & Egg Burrito was decent but not that great. It was quite skinny and the steak was a little tough and dry. The cheese and eggs were okay but I would prefer the flavours of the traditional sausage burrito which has more flavour. I did like the salsa inside though.Image

The Sausage, Egg & Cheese McGriddles had a nice blend of sweet from the syrup in the griddle cakes and savoury from the seasoning in the sausage patty and the melted cheese slice. The folded eggs were fluffy and this is one of the better breakfast options in my opinion. Image

The Angus Deluxe Snack Wrap was quite good, with a nice strip of beef patty amongst onions, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and pickles. It was simple yet not lacking ingredients. The tortilla mostly kept it together but you have to be careful so as to not get it everywhere.Image

The Daily Double was not double the taste. The thin beef patties were dry and the bun was not that great either. The lettuce and tomatoes were both there but with the ketchup was just so ordinary.Image

The McFlurry with Reese’s is no longer available so I am glad I had it when I did. It was great as I love Reese’s peanut butter cups. Chocolate, peanut butter, and vanilla soft serve – what is not to love?13-03-17 - McFlurry with Reese's - McDonald's

Honestly, I’m running out of choices at McDonald’s. Let’s just hope they will offer new options soon. I am still waiting for the egg white breakfast sandwiches!

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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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Bacon and Bagels – Dunkin’ Donuts

February 9, 2013
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Glazed Donut
Vanilla Frosted Donut
Old Fashioned Cake Donut 
Marble Frosted Donut
Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich
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The morning of the conference that we had been planning for the past half a year, we had to be there early. So, the club president bought everyone lots of donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts. At least we did not have to wake up early and starve.Image

The Glazed Donut was simple yet good. The doughnut was soft and moist, with the glaze very sugary and sweet. This will never be the best doughnut ever but it will always be one of those that you can depend on.Image

The Vanilla Frosted Donut was also very generic. The vanilla frosting was sweet and sugary. I loved the crunch the sprinkles provided. The yeast doughnut was airy and light.

The Old Fashioned Cake Donut was rather disappointing. I remember this doughnut from my childhood and Tim Hortons that it was a very dense cake-based doughnut with a lot of spices and cinnamon. The flavour was a little faint and the doughnut was on the dry side. Perhaps I should go back to Superstore or Tim Hortons.Image

I went out and bought myself the Marble Frosted Donut. The yeast-based doughnut was light and soft, very puffy. The frosting on top looked really cool but tasted very generic. It was simply white icing with a chocolate icing drizzle. Both were sweet and the chocolate icing provided a light cocoa flavour.Image

Finally, because it was National Bagel Day, I just had to get a bagel – on a breakfast sandwich. The Bacon, Egg & Cheese Breakfast Sandwich could have been served on anything but was pictured on a bagel, so that was what I got. Instead of plain, though, I got an Everything Bagel. I loved all the sesame and poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and oats. They added a nice crunch and aroma. The bacon was crispy, the egg omelet very yellow but airy, and the cheese generic and nicely melted. It was a good sandwich for fast food standards.

ImageFor reliable, cheap, and quick breakfast, Dunkin’ Donuts is definitely one of the best options around. However, I still wish they had Tim Hortons here, just because it feels so much more home-y. 

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Vanilla All Spiced Up – Starbucks

ImageFebruary 8, 2013
Starbucks, Philadelphia PA
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Vanilla Spice Latte
Turkey Rustico Panini
Cheesecake Brownie 
Petite Vanilla Bean Scone
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Unfortunately, Starbucks rewards expires sooner or later. Being so busy, I literally left it till the last day to redeem mine but it allowed me to go sit in a cafe for a while and de-stress and unwind. There is nothing more lovely sometimes than smelling coffee on your jacket for the rest of the evening. That aroma is just lovely.

If there was one thing I disliked about the Vanilla Spice Latte, it would be that there was no skinny option, or rather a sugar-free vanilla spice syrup. Besides that, I found it to be so much better than your regular vanilla latte. The spice really brought out the sweet, aromatic vanilla bean flavour since it provided contrast to that mild but definitely present spice. It was quite sweet but very flavourful.Image

The new Turkey Rustico Panini was actually really delicious. The wheat focaccia was toasted nicely and I loved the crunch of the sesame seeds on top. The turkey was sliced thin but had a generous portion. It tasted quite fresh. I loved the wilted baby kale with the sweet onion marmalade. They melted into the smoked Swiss cheese nicely. The Dijon mustard was a bit overpowering compared to the rest of the flavours. The mustard seeds were just a bit on the strong side.Image

Also new was the Cheesecake Brownie. It was literally half cheesecake, half fudge brownie, with some swirled fudge on top. I guess I was just expecting a thin layer of cream cheese topping but instead, I got sweet, creamy, and thick cheesecake. It was actually really good, especially with the fudge. The brownie on the bottom was very dense and the chocolate flavour was very strong. The whole thing was somewhat greasy and very dense, but still very good. I loved the chewiness.Image

The Petite Vanilla Bean Scone owed all its flavours to the vanilla bean glaze. It had that sweet aroma I was looking for. The scone itself was buttery, flaky, and crumbly but lacked much flavour overall.

Starbucks customer service is always so good. I think that is why reason people keep on going back. Whatever you need, they will get it for you. Oh, and did I mention free refills of regular brewed coffee for all registered card holders? 

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By the Italian Coast – Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti

January 27, 2013
Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti, Philadelphia PA
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[Appetizer Bread]
Focaccia Calda
Cioppino
Paccheri Bolognese
A Sampler of Homemade Desserts (Frangelico Chocolate Mousse, Vanilla Cheesecake)
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13-01-27 - Appetizer Bread - Positano Coast by Aldo LambertiFinally, Philadelphia Restaurant Week is here again! Wanting to try out more than just one restaurant this time, I made sure to find time for lunch with friends. Since Amado and Barbuzzo being full, my mentor, Elaine, and I decided on Positano Coast by Aldo Lamberti. She was intrigued by the dessert sampler and me by the cioppino.

To start, we had a small basket of Appetizer Bread with some herbed olive oil to drizzle on top. The bread was crusty but fresh and good. The aroma of the oil really worked. I also loved using the bread to soak up all the broth in my Cioppino dish later.

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We both got the Focaccia Calda for our appetizers. It was a lovely flatbread with zucchini, diced tomatoes, mozzarella, and truffle oil. The truffle oil gave it a lovely aroma and the zucchini was soft and tasty. However, I found the zucchini to be a little too greasy, detracting from the freshness and lightness of it. The tomatoes added a little acidity but was not the most flavourful tomatoes I have had. The gooey mozzarella was great, though, light and delicious. The flatbread itself had a nice crisp on the edge but was soft and chewy in the center.

ImageMy Cioppino, with mussels, clams, shrimp, calamari, pancetta, and homemade gnocchi, was delicious. The seafood was plentiful and tender. I especially loved the mussels and calamari, since the shrimp was a little small and not freshly caught. The pancetta really added a hearty flavour to the already flavourful tomato broth. The gnocchi were so soft and chewy and I loved them. However, this dish was also a little too greasy. Despite the garlic and herbs that cut through it a bit, it had a layer of oil over the broth.Image

I tried a bite of Elaine’s Paccheri Bolognese, with bites of short rib and steak. The bolognese was delicious and hearty. This was Italian pasta sauce at its best. The meat was juicy and the flavours were singing. The paccheri was a little undercooked, or very al dente. However, I would rather it was undercooked than soggy and overdone. The large tube pasta was very chewy and a little sticky, but I actually did not mind it that much.Image

The final course was A Sampler of Homemade Desserts. On that day, we got two small bites – the Frangelico Chocolate Mousse and the Vanilla Cheesecake. The mousse was light and not very sweet, having a strong cocoa flavour instead. It had layers of hazelnut mascarpone mousse and Gianduja chocolate mousses, topped with a chocolate fudge and drizzled with dark chocolate sauce. It was National Chocolate Cake Day so this was perfect. The texture was airy and light. Our favourite was the Vanilla Cheesecake, though. It was simple but delicious, with a very strong vanilla bean flavour. The texture was light and creamy, and the graham cracker crust was also very sweet. The strawberry sauce provided a lovely, tart contrast to the flavour. This was more like my kind of dessert. Both of us wished there were more of this cheesecake!

Overall, I loved dining at Positano Coast. The restaurant was bright, friendly, casual, and elegant. It had a traditional Italian decor with different shades of blue everywhere. Our server was friendly and service was great. This is definitely a place that I will return to.

Positano Coast on Urbanspoon

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Cheesy and Tart – The Cheesecake Factory

December 29, 2012
The Cheesecake Factory, Honolulu HI
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Mango Key Lime Cheesecake
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ImageOriginally, we planned to eat at least one meal here. However, on New Year’s Eve, the line was out the door and pretty much went along the shoreline to the other side of Waikiki. Okay, maybe not THAT long, but it was still a good two hours before getting a table. Fortunately, we did have a slice of cheesecake to go on the first night of getting there and IT WAS DELICIOUS! We ate our first few bites in the old McDonald’s by the beach since we wanted something to drink after our evening stroll and it was just too good to resist until we returned to the hotel.

The Mango Key Lime Cheesecake had mango mousse, key lime cheesecake, and a vanilla coconut macaroon crust. The mango mousse was light and the texture was excellent. That mango flavour was so good, especially paired with the creamy yet very tart key lime cheesecake. The two flavours were just so perfect together. Add the shredded coconut texture of the crust and you have got a bite of scrumptious dessert. It was so dreamy!

The Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

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Rounds of Xmas – Tim Hortons

December 28, 2012
Tim Hortons, Richmond BC
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BBQ Hot Chicken Wrap
Festive Raspberry Vanilla Bloom Donut
Glazed Gingerbread Donut
Candy Cane Chocolate Donut
Ginger Molasses Cookie
Caramel Chocolate Pecan Cookie
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Being Canadian means enjoying Tim Hortons, especially on a cold winter day. Although I do not generally get a double double, I do love escaping the chill by sitting in a warm little café, eating something sweet, and feeling very relaxed and comforting. The line was so long on this particular day that it did not have that homey sense. However, the food was still delicious.

The BBQ Hot Chicken Wrap was generic but a decent and light lunch. The chicken was tender enough, though not the best I have had. They were just a little bland. The BBQ sauce was flavourful but again, very generic. The crisp of the lettuce was refreshing and it was a few decent, healthy bites.Image

The Festive Raspberry Vanilla Bloom Donut was quite tasty. Not until I took my first bite did I realize just how much I had missed a simple donut with frosting and sprinkles. The crunch of pure sugar was so comforting. The raspberry jam in the middle was also nice.Image

The Glazed Gingerbread Donut was nicely spiced and quite sweet, especially with the sugar glaze. It was very dense but not at all overwhelmingly cloying because of the spice from the ginger. This, just like the other donuts, was very fresh.Image

The last donut, the Candy Cane Chocolate Donut, was a regular chocolate cake donut with candy cane bits on top. Mint and chocolate is one of my favourite holiday sweet combinations. Also, it was National Chocolate Candy Day, in the US at least. This donut had both! Chocolate can get overwhelming but the minty, fresh goodness cuts into that sweetness and makes it refreshing. This was the case with the donut.Image

I had to compare Timmy’s Ginger Molasses Cookie with that of Starbucks. This was noticeably smaller and thinner. It was not as soft and chewy. The center was okay but the edges were a little hard for my liking. However, this was more than 50% cheaper. My friend Rachel loves this cookie and the ginger with molasses flavour was very nicely blended.Image

Loving caramel, I just had to try the Caramel Chocolate Pecan Cookie. Full of caramel, chocolate, and pecans, it was nutty and sweet goodness through and through. I wish it were thicker so it would have been chewier. However, I was glad it was not hard. The chocolate and caramel flavours were not very strong so it was not too overwhelming.

I just could not go home without visiting Timmy’s at least once. Hey, this is what Canadians do. Next time, I will be sure to get that classic, the double double.

Tim Hortons (Richmond Centre) on Urbanspoon

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Round n’ Round – Dunkin’ Donuts

ImageDecember 9, 2012
Dunkin’ Donuts, Philadelphia PA
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Kreme Delight Donut
Glazed Chocolate Cake Donut
Coffee Cake Muffin
Veggie Egg White Flat
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I had the sudden urge to grab brunch from Dunkin’ Donuts after my workout at the gym, so I did. This is one of the pros of living alone – you do whatever you feel like, whenever you feel like. The only person to consult is you.Image

A holiday special, the Kreme Delight Donut was indeed delightful. The chocolate frosting was sweet and rich, with the star sprinkles adding a nice crunch. The doughnut itself was soft and airy and the vanilla cream frosting inside was super sweet and lovely. A huge sugar overdose is sometimes very pleasant.Image

The Glazed Chocolate Cake Donut was also chocolate-y and good. Dense yet moist, the cake was itself very good but even better when paired with the sugary glaze. This is one of my favourite all-time classics.Image

The Coffee Cake Muffin was mediocre. It was not as sweet as a coffee cake or a muffin but rather buttery. The cinnamon was not strong enough and it was more or less just a cross between a cake and muffin, nothing too special.Image

The Veggie Egg White Flat served as my main brunch item. It was savoury and delicious. The flatbread was very chewy and the egg white omelet had diced peppers and onions throughout, making it quite tasty and light. The cheese added a nice savoury touch despite not being the best cheese. It was good enough for Dunkin’ though.

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