Middlegate Aroma Bakehouse

Note to self: when going to a shop that you’ve never been to before, check the location on Google maps. That was the lesson that I’ve learned during a recent trip to Middlegate Aroma Bakehouse. The latter was located in Burnaby, on the eastern part of Kingsway. I’ve never been to the area before, and only followed the bussing directions on translink. When I reached the area however, I just could not locate the bakery. After spending about fifteen minutes walking up and down the area where it was supposed to be at, I finally figured out that the bakery as actually located upstairs of a strip of shops in a “Highgate Village”. *Facepalm*. The shop was a European-style bakery offering various cakes, cookies and other pastries. I got several of their cakes (Tiramisu, Chocolate, Mango, and Matcha Mousse) and a Sesame and Almond Florentine.

dav
Mango, Matcha, Chocolate, and Tiramisu Mousse cakes

Almond Florentine ($2.99):


4/5
This was a crispy cookie that’s filled with sliced almonds and coated on the bottom with chocolate. The cookie was thin, incredibly crunchy, and melted in my mouth while the almonds had a nice fragrance. My mom had the sesame version and said that it was very fragrant (and similar to some cookies that we have in China).

Tiramisu Mousse ($4.99):


3.5/5
This was a bit different from what you’d expect from a typical tiramisu: it consisted of coffee mousse and sponge cake sitting on top of a biscuit, and was topped with marshmallow. I found the coffee flavour to be a bit weak, and I’m not really sure if the marshmallow paired well with the coffee (it was also a bit on the sweeter side). It really did not remind me of an actual tiramisu, but it was still tasty.

Matcha Mousse ($4.99):


4/5
This came decorated with a matcha macaron, which had become a bit soggy on the bottom, but was still crispy on the top and was quite sweet. The cake itself consisted of matcha-flavoured mousse on top of a biscuit, and was decorated with some shredded coconut. The mousse was thick and creamy; I did find the matcha flavour to be a bit subtle. The biscuit was tender and crumbly. The coconut lent a nice fragrance that paired well with the green tea.

Mango Mousse ($4.99):


4/5
This was decorated with leafs of chocolate. The mousse was creamy and fluffy, with a great fragrance of mango. The biscuit was tender and crumbly. I did find the chocolate to be a tad waxy and stale.

Chocolate Mousse ($5.50):


4/5
Like the matcha cake, this came topped with a chocolate macaron. The mousse here as again creamy, with a great bittersweet flavour. The biscuit was tender and crumbly.

I was pretty impressed by the treats at Middlegate: the cakes were all quite tasty, as well as the florentine cookies. Their prices are also quite reasonable. This is a bakery that’s definitely worth a visit: just don’t be an idiot like me and go up the stairs to find it.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Florentine, Matcha Mousse, Mango Mousse, Chocolate Mousse
Aroma Bake House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Martinis

A long time ago, when I was still in highschool, I went to Martinis for one of my friends’ birthdays. I had their Veal Parmesan on that occasion, and was completely taken aback when the dish ended up getting the better of me (I couldn’t finish it and I had an even bigger appetite then than I do now). Fortunately, I wasn’t the only one: all of my friends had trouble finishing their dishes, one of whom apparently got full on a calamari appetizer that we all shared and a side salad.

I decided to revisit this place recently. In spite of all the years that passed, the menu appears to have remained the same, consisting of a large selection of Italian/Greek/Mediterranean dishes and pizzas. They also have a menu of lunch specials. While I was tempted to reorder the Veal Parmesan to see whether I could conquer it this time, I was tempted by their lunch specials, and ended up ordering their Breaded Veal Cutlets. I also had their Chicken Tortellini Alfredo after hearing good reviews about the dish from other reviewers. The dishes were served with a side of daily soup and salad respectively; these dishes came out right away while the main dishes themselves took a bit longer (probably 20+ minutes) to arrive.

dav
Lunch specials

Chicken Tortellini Alfredo ($17):


3.5/5
This consisted of spinach & cheese tortellini with chicken breast and red peppers, and is served with salad and garlic bread. The chicken was pretty tender for white meat and well seasoned, while the tortellini was well-cooked, being tender while still retaining some chew. I did find it to be a bit bland however, and the sauce, while creamy, was also a bit underseasoned for my taste. The salad was quite fresh and contained pieces of pineapple. I absolutely loved their garlic bread: they give you a thick slide that’s nicely toasted and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.

Lunch Breaded Veal Cutlets ($10.75):


3.5/5
This was served with your choice of fries or salad (I had fries), and a daily soup. The portion for this was very impressive for the price: they give you two generous slices of veal. The meat itself had a nice crispy coating, although I did find it to be a tad underseasoned and slightly chewy/grisly in some parts. The fries were hot, fresh and crispy. The soup I had was some kind of curry vegetable with rice.

Although I wasn’t able to get revenge on the Veal Parmesan, I’m glad to have gotten their Lunch Breaded Veal Cutlets: the dish was quite tasty, and I thought that it was a great deal for the price and portion. I did find the main dishes to take a bit long to arrive, and the server I had, while attentive, was not the friendliest. In spite of the shortcomings however, I did really enjoy, I did still really enjoy my visit to Martinis, and would highly recommend checking it out.

mde
If the Church of Pizza is looking for recruits to spread their word, please call me up.

Summary
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Lunch Breaded Veal Cutlets
Martini's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Petra Cafe

I know embarrassingly little about all the eateries that are around UBC. I’ve only been down to the Internal Food Court probably once or twice, and have never even heard of the existence of Petra Cafe until recently. The latter is one of several fast food places located in the aforementioned food court serving up popular Mediterranean dishes. I had their Beef Donair Wrap and Roast Lamb Plate.

Beef Donair Wrap ($6.80):


3.5/5
Taste-wise this would have been 4/5. The beef was quite tender and well-seasoned, the vegetables all tasted fresh, the pita bread was fluffy and chewy, and the sauces were flavourful. Unfortunately, my main complaint with this wrap is that it was pretty poorly made: it literally tore and all the fillings fell out when I tried to pick it up and eat it like a regular wrap (granted, I do have sausages for fingers, but still). I ended up just eating all the fillings and the wrap separately.

Roast Lamb Plate ($10.95):


3.5/5
All platters came with rice, potato, pita, salad, and tzatziki. The lamb itself was very tender and quite well-seasoned, and didn’t have any gamey flavour that usually puts me off. I did find there to be a bit too less meat (it contained a large bone), but for the price I really can’t complain. The salad was a bit bland and stingy on the feta, but the vegetables did taste fresh. The rice was a bit too soft for my liking, but flavourful, and contained beans and chickpeas. The pita was again soft and fluffy, and the tzatziki thick and tangy.

In spite of the mess from the donair wrap, the food at Petra Cafe. Their prices are also extremely reasonable. This is a spot at UBC that’s definitely worth checking out (I only wish that I had known about it sooner).

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Roast Lamb Plate, Beef Donair Plate
Petra Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BJ Bakery & Deli

I (fortunately) don’t own a bakery. Apart from the certainty of bankruptcy within a week, I wouldn’t be able to come up with a good name for the bakery. One name that I definitely would NOT pick however is BJ since it invokes dirty thoughts in my head and definitely not tasty European-style pastries and desserts. But then again, maybe it’s because I’m an immature pervert.

As you probably have already inferred by now, there is a shop named BJ Bakery & Deli. The latter is located in Burnaby, a few blocks from the Royal Park Skytrain station. They serve a pretty good selection of European-style food, including cakes and pastries, savoury items like lasagna and sausage rolls, and sandwiches and soups (including frozen varieties that you can take home). I had several of their cakes: Tuxedo Truffle, Vanilla Lemon Polish Cheesecake, Black Forest, and Tiramisu. They didn’t have prices listed for most of the cakes, so I don’t know the exact cost, but the total came to just over $16 (so around $4 each).

Vanilla Lemon Polish Cheesecake (around $4):


3.5/5
This was a bit different from the types of the NY style cheesecake; it’s drier/crumblier and I think it’s made with quark cheese (instead of cream cheese). It wasn’t overly sweet, and had a nice fragrance of lemon. I did find the cake to be a bit too dry for my taste however.

Tuxedo Truffle Cake (around $4):


4/5
This consisted of layers sponge cake sandwiching white, milk and dark chocolate mousse. The layers of cake were quite tender and moist, while the mousse was thick, creamy and luscious. It is on the sweeter side, so only get this if you can tolerate sweeter goods.

Black Forest Cake (around $4):


4/5
This contained layers of chocolate cake sandwiching cream and cherry preserves. The cake was very tender and moist. The cream was just luscious while the cherries were tart without being tasting artificial.

Tiramisu (around $4):


4/5
The cake was again very tender and moist. The cream was thick and luscious, and there was a great fragrance and slight bitterness from coffee. This may not be the “authentic” type (i.e. with lady fingers), but it is still definitely very tasty.

In spite of the name (I’m going to venture out on a limb that it’s actually the initials of the owner(s)) I really enjoyed my visit to BJ. The cakes were all tasty, and their prices are more than reasonable. This is a place that’s definitely worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Cakes
BJ Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tartine Bread and Pies (Beach)

Near the beginning of this year, I’ve had the chance to visit Tartine Breads & Pies on Davie (twice actually, since on the first occasion I got hit by a horrible flu the next morning and couldn’t actually try any of the treats that I had purchased). They have another location just several blocks away on Beach, near False Creek. I’ve had the chance to visit that location recently. In addition to pies, they have a good selection of other baked goods, as well as sandwiches and drinks. I had their Salted Caramel Apple Pie, Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin, Rhubarb & White Chocolate Scone, and Butter Tart. They didn’t have price tag on most of their goods, so I don’t know the exact cost of each individual pastry, but the total came to around $12.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie (around $5):


3.5/5
The filling was very tasty: the apples were well cooked, being tender while retaining some crispiness and bite. They had a wonderful sweetness that paired well with the sweetness of the caramel, which had a nice caramelized flavour. I found the crust to be a tad too hard/crunchy for my liking, although it did have a nice, slightly salty flavour. I did also find the bottom crust to be a bit raw.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffin ($2.85):


3.5/5
The muffin was relatively tender, mildly sweet, and had a nice hint of spice. The pumpkin seeds were nicely toasted and crunchy. I was a bit disappointed by the lack of cream cheese inside however.

Rhubarb & White Chocolate Scone (around $2):


3.5/5
The scone was quite tender and while not exactly moist, wasn’t dry either. The rhubarb provided a nice bit of tartness. I do find the filling to be a bit sparse however: there were only a few pieces of rhubarb and chocolate. The scone itself was flavourful enough to be enjoyed on its own however.

Butter Tart (around $2):


4/5
I’ve had their butter tarts before, and it was as good I as remembered. The crust was tender while the filling was thick, sweet, and had a wonderful caramelized flavour.

I wasn’t as impressed by the pie this time around as I was during my previous visit. Their butter tart was very good however, and their prices are very reasonable. While I haven’t had a chance to try any of their breakfast/lunch items, but their baked goods are worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Butter Tart, Pies
Tartine Bread and Pies Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Wolf and Hound

Wolf & Hound is an Irish Pub located on Broadway, near Alma. I’ve passed by the place several times on my way to and from UBC, but being a non-drinker, I’ve never had any particular interest in visiting the pub. Not too long ago however, my supervisor organized a research conference at UBC and he was looking for pubs for the attendees to hangout post conference since scientists appear to have a great penchant for alcohol (guess that’s why I’m never going to become a successful scientist). One of my co-workers (who is French) suggested Wolf & Hound, claiming that the food there is delicious. Seeing Wolf & Hound has a stamp of approval from a snooty French person (she’s seriously one of the nicest people I know), I was now interested in checking the place out. I’ve finally had the opportunity recently. In spite of being a pub, they have quite an extensive menu filled with classic comfort/pub food. I had a 1/2 Order of their Beer Battered Cod and Chips and Homestyle Meatloaf.

Beer Battered Cod and Chips, 1/2 Order ($11):


4/5
This came served with a side of tartare sauce. The batter on the fish (which is pacific cod) is wonderfully crispy. The quality of the fish was not the greatest – I did find the texture to be a tad mushy, but not fishy. I really enjoyed the fries, which were again wonderfully crispy while having a somewhat starchy interior. The tartar sauce was wonderfully thick and tangy.

Homestyle Meatloaf ($19):


4/5
This came served with mashed potatoes and vegetables. The meatloaf was tender and well-seasoned, and had a nice sweet glaze. The potatoes were well-seasoned and quite smooth and creamy. The vegetables, which consisted of zucchini and carrots, were simple and nothing to write home about, but well-cooked and not overly bland.

I really enjoyed my trip to Wolf & Hound. Even though I haven’t tried any of their drinks, their food is absolutely delicious. Service-wise, the waitress I had was relatively friendly but a bit slow; I can’t really blame her though since she was the only person present and there were several tables that she had to manage. This is definitely a place worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Beer Battered Cod and Chips, Homestyle Meatloaf
The Wolf and Hound Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chutney Villa

I’ve passed by Chutney Villa a number of times during my visits to the large string of restaurants that are located near the intersection of Broadway and Main. Being quite a big fan of Indian food (or at least the version that is offered in North America), I decided to finally check this place out. They do offer a lunch buffet, but while that was tempting, I opted against it (since I know that I’d probably regret it later). Instead, I had their lunch version of Butter Chicken and Kutto Rotti (with Mutton).

Lunch Special Butter Chicken ($11.99):


3.5/5
This came with rice, pappadam, raita, dhal curry, as well as 3 chutneys (apple, tomato, and coconut). The curry wasn’t my favourite personally: it was completely salty in flavour, and lacking in some of the sweetness/tanginess that I prefer. The pieces of chicken was also a bit on the dry side; however, the portion was pretty generous for a lunch serving. I also really enjoyed the pappadam, which was like a crispy, savoury wafer. The basmati rice also stood up well to the curry. The chutneys were a nice touch: I liked the apple and the tomato; I was not a big fan of the coconut however, which was a bit too salty and lacking in fragrance.

Kutto Rotti, Mutton ($12):


4/5
This was pieces of bread that’s cooked with various spices, egg, and lamb. I really enjoyed this: I guess it’s kind of similar to chopped up pieces of noodles. It was very flavourful, with a nice bit of heat. I did find the lamb pieces to be a bit small, but reasonably tender.

I really enjoyed my visit to Chutney Villa. The food was very tasty and very reasonably priced. The server I had was a bit curt, but also fairly attentive. If you enjoy Indian food, I’d definitely recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Kutto Rotti
Chutney Villa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Moose’s Down Under

So I’ve just learned a new expression: dry as a dead dingo’s donger. Can’t wait to start incorporating that in my every day conversation. And in case you’re wondering where I found the phrase, its Moose’s Down Under. They are a pub located in Downtown, not far from Canada Place, specializing in Australian-style comfort food (hence the dingo reference). Being a non-drinker, I stuck to their food. I initially wanted their meat pie, but unfortunately, they were out, so I got their Shepard Pie instead. I also got their Schnitzel Parmesan.

dav
Seriously, is this a thing in Australia?

Shepard Pie ($14.99):


3.5/5
This was served with a side salad with your choice of dressing (I had their house) and garlic bread. The shepard pie consisted of layers of mashed potatoes and ground beef smothered in gravy. The mashed potatoes were creamy while the meat was flavourful; I wasn’t a big fan of the seasoning used however, I did find it to be a tad on the pungent side. The garlic bread was also quite buttery and nicely toasted. I didn’t care for the salad: it seemed to be pretty under-dressed and was mostly bland greens.

Schnitzel Parmesan ($12.99):


4.5/5
This was also served with a side salad with your choice of dressing (I got ranch for this one) and garlic bread. I was very impressed with the schnitzel, which was tender and juicy, well-seasoned and quite crispy on the outside, with a good amount of cheese. Again the garlic bread was tasty, and I actually liked the salad more this time: there was much more dressing, which made the veggies muhc more palatable.

In spite of being as dry as a dead dingo’s donger (since I’m a non-drinker), I really enjoyed the food at Moose’s Down Under. Their prices are also very reasonable, especially for the quite generous portion sizes. The staff were also very friendly (with charming, presumably Australian accents). This place is definitely worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Schniztel Parmesan
Moose's Down Under Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nelson the Seagull

What do you think when you hear the name “Nelson the Seagull”? Personally, I imagine some kind of kids story about a seagull named Nelson. What I certainly do not imagine is a hipster bakery/cafe in Gastown, but that is exactly what that turned out to be. In addition to fresh baked bread and various other treats, they have a small menu of sandwiches, breakfast items, and drinks. I had their Lemon Zest Marzipan Croissant, Carnivore Sandwich, and Jam Wheel.

Lemon Zest Marzipan Croissant ($4.00):


3.5/5
The pastry was quite flaky and tender, with a slightly salty flavour and a nice fragrance of lemon zest. I do wish that there was more marzipan.

Carnivore Sandwich ($12:00):


4/5
This contained roast beef, pesto, cheese, and mustard, and was served on their housemade sourdough bread. It came with a small side of greens, which didn’t seem to be well dressed and was bland, although I did enjoy the strawberries that were mixed in. The bread was crusty on the outside and tender and chewy on the inside, and appears to have been lightly buttered. The filling was very tasty, with the meat being tender and smoky, the cheese creamy and sharp and the pesto lending a nice flavor and fragrance. It is a tad on the salty side, but I quite enjoyed it.

Jam Wheel ($4:00):


3.5/5
The pastry was a tad soggy, but still flaky and had a nice buttery flavour. The jam was not overly sweet, thick, and filled with blueberries. This was simple but tasty.

In spite of the strange name, I quite enjoyed my visit to Nelson the Seagull. While I wasn’t blown away by the food, I thought that it was still pretty solid. The prices are a tad on the higher side, but not unreasonable. This is a spot worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: The Carnivore
Nelson the Seagull Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Coffee Bar

While visiting Neslon the Seagull recently (review on that coming up), I happened to pass by a cafe named The Coffee Bar. Seeing the display of pastries at the front counter, I couldn’t resist but stepping in. They have a pretty good selection of baked goods, including cakes, cookies, and pastries, as well as sandwiches and wraps. They were a bit priced on the higher end however, so I decided to just get a Chocolate Cheesecake and Apple Croissant.

Apple Croissant ($4.20):


3/5
The apples were tender, mildly sweet, and had a nice fragrance of cinnamon. The pastry was slightly gummy from the filling and a bit bland, however, and not really like a croissant.

Chocolate Cheesecake ($8.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of chocolate mousse mixed with pieces cheeseacke and walnuts on top of a chocolate-cake like crust. The mousse was quite dense, creamy and chocolatey; I do wish that there could be more cheesecake mixed in. It was quite sweet (I personally didn’t mind), and a bit stale tasting, especialy the walnut on top, which I found to be a bit rancid.

I haven’t tried any drinks at the Coffee Bar, but I have to say, I was a bit disappointed in their food. While not bad, they weren’t particularly good either, and not really worth the price. The staff were fairly friendly however, and they did have a nice space inside, so I guess it wouldn’t be a bad hangout.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3/5
Recommendations: N/A
Coffeebar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato