While I keep on emphasizing on the fact that I’m quite the meat eater, but I don’t mind having some vegetarian cuisine every now and again. My most recent dallying into the world of vegetarism is at Agora Cafe. They are a spot tucked at the back of the Orchard Commons student residence on UBC. They’re open during the academic year (September to April), where they offer a small menu of sandwiches, lunch items, and baked goods, most of it appearing to be vegetarian and/or vegan. During my visit there, I had an Agora Sandwich and Granola Bar.
Agora Sandwich ($3.75):
This is filled with cheese, hummus, and greens, and comes on your choice of bread, I went with white. The bread on the sandwich was nicely toasted and crispy. I found the filling of the hummus and sandwich to be quite salty however.
Granola Bar ($1.25):
The granola bar was a bit too hard and crunchy for my taste, but did have a nice sweet flavour and was well-toasted. There was a good amount of chocolate chips, dried fruits and nuts mixed inside.
I enjoyed my visit go Agora Cafe. The food was fine, though not great; the prices are very affordable, however. This is definitely a great choice for an affordable campus meal.
Bon Cafe is located on the corner of 33rd and Main. The place used to be, many years ago, some kind of Chinese dim sum shop. This has now been replaced a Vietnamese joint. They have a menu consisting of pho, rice dishes, vermicelli and drinks. I had their Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli and Vietnamese Coffee.
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli ($12.25):
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli
I really enjoyed the spring roll, which was very crispy and had a nice savoury filling. The chicken was quite tender and juicy, although I would have liked it to be a bit more charred, and it was a tad underseasoned. The pickled vegetables were quite nice, but
Vietnamese Coffee, Cold ($5):
This consisted of drip coffee in a filter that’s over a cup containing a layer of condensed milk. You wait for the coffee to slowly flow into the cup and mix it with the milk. I wanted the coffee to be cold, so it came with a glass of ice. The coffee was quite strong and had a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness with the condensed milk.
I really enjoyed the food at Bon Cafe. The prices were a bit on the higher end, but not unreasonable. This is a spot that’s worth checking out.
Summary: Food: 4/5 Price: 3.5/5 Service: 3/5 Overall: 3.5/5 Recommendations: Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli, Vietnamese Coffee
During my recent visit to Bangkok Cafe, I passed by Artistry Coffee House. I decided to check the joint out this week. They are a small cafe in Kits, located on 4th Avenue, near MacDonald Street. In addition to coffees, lattes, and other drinks, they have pastries, various breakfast/lunch items, and cinnamon buns from Grounds for Coffee. I had a Matcha Latte, Almond Croissant, Trail Mix Bar, and Morning Glory Muffin.
Almond Croissant ($3.95):
The croissant was quite flakey and buttery. The almond paste inside was a bit on the thin, watery side, but that didn’t matter as it was still very tasty, with a great almond flavour and sweetness.
Trail Mix Bar ($2.85):
Trail Mix Bar
Trail Mix Bar
The granola bar had a chewy texture and was mildly sweet in flavour. I found it a little too plain however; I could have done with a little more fruits and nuts mixed in.
12 oz Matcha Latte ($4.45):
You have the option to have the latte with sugar or without; I had it without sugar as I wanted to taste the matcha. The latte was smooth and creamy, and a slight bitterness. I did find the matcha flavour to be a tad subtle, but still good.
Morning Glory Muffin ($2.95):
Morning Glory Muffin
Morning Glory Muffin
The muffin was quite tender and moist. It was quite bland however, and had a pretty overwhelming flavour of cinnamon. I also found it to be quite plain: there wasn’t much fruits or nuts mixed in.
The food at Artistry Coffee House is a bit of a hit and miss; I didn’t like their trail mix bar or muffin, but their croissant was tasty. Their latte was also quite good. All in all, while I wasn’t blown away by my visit, I think that this is still a decent alternative to the Starbucks across the street. At least they have lavender lattes.
Eating out with other people has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage (in addition to having the company of your friends, of course) is that you get to order more dishes without raising any questions from the staff. The disadvantage is that I’ve got less say over which dishes to order. Such is the case when I visited Guu Otokomae with a couple of my friends over the weekend. This is one of several establishments of the Guu franchise, a popular Japanese Izakaya in Vancouver. We went there during lunch time. In addition to tapas, they offer lunch sets (I cannot remember the exact prices for them, but they’re around $10). After much debate, my friends decided share two lunchsets (“Curry Chicken” and “Grilled Mackerel”) and some tapas (Negitoro Garlic, Spicy Calamari, and Chicken Kara-Age), the latter two of which I pushed for since I do love fried food.
Negitoro Garlic ($8.90):
This consisted of chopped tuna and avocado and is served with garlic baguette. I wasn’t able to eat the tuna since I’m allergic to avocado, but I did have a slice of the baguette, which was crispy and buttery.
Spicy Calamari ($8.90):
This was deep fried squid served in a spicy tomato sauce. The tomato sauce had a great flavour, being tangy with just a slight bit of heat. The squid was a bit soggy from the sauce, but that didn’t bother me much.
Chicken Kara-Age ($8.90):
This consisted of pieces of boneless deep-fried chicken, and is served with hot & sour onion sauce and garlic mayo. The chicken was dark meat, and was thus tender and juicy, with a great crispy coating. The meat was a bit underseasoned and bland on its own, but did taste good with the garlic mayo.
“Curry Chicken” Lunch Special (around $10):
This consisted of grilled chicken with curry sauce, rice, and salad. The chicken was dark meat, and was thus quite tender and juicy, although underseasoned and bland. The curry was thick and had a nice bit of heat, but I did find it to be a bit too salty.
“Grilled Mackerel” Lunch Special (around $10):
“Grilled Mackerel” Lunch Special
Miso Soup & Side Salad (comes with lunch sets)
This came with a side of rice and miso soup. The mackerel was tender and well-seasoned. Unfortunately, it did have a rather unpleasant, fishy scent, which turned me off.
In spite of my general reluctance to eat out with others, I had a very good time with my friends at Guu. The food, while not outstanding, is still quite good and the prices are reasonable. The service is also friendly. This is a great place to visit with a couple of buddies to share some tapas.
I always prefer dark meat over white, but I have to admit, white meat does have one advantage in that it doesn’t have bones and are hence easier to eat using utensils. That was what I discovered when I visited Bangkok City Cafe recently. They are a small Thai joint located in Kits that’s, I guess, a sort of a sister restaurant to Eat Me Thai, a joint that I’ve previously visited. In addition to their regular menu, they have lunch specials that are currently priced at $11.50. I had their BBQ Chicken off of their lunch menu and a Thai Iced Tea.
B.B.Q. Chicken Lunch Special ($11.50):
B.B.Q. Chicken Lunch Special
The lunch specials came with rice, salad and two fried wontons. I was delighted to see that it was dark meat, consisting of a whole chicken leg. The meat had a curry flavour and crispy skin; it was a bit bland on its own but tasted quite good with the tangy dipping sauce. It was bone-in however and quite difficult and messy to eat; I actually had to use my hands. I really enjoyed the fried wontons, which was crispy and had a sweet filling inside. The rice was a little overcooked and mushy, but had a great coconut fragrance.
Thai Iced Tea ($3.25):
Thai Iced Tea
Thai Iced Tea (Mixed)
The tea came with a layer of condensed milk on top. It was not overly sweet and had a nice tea fragrance and flavour.
I quite enjoyed my visit to Bangkok City Cafe. Although I struggled quite a bit with their bone-in chicken, the food was quite tasty and reasonably priced. The service was friendly. All in all, this is a good spot for some more than decent Thai food.
The time I’ve eaten at UBC, it was at Pie R Squared. Back then, they were located in the old SUB. The shop has now moved over to the new Nest. They serve up various pizzas by the slice or whole, pastas, calzones and various drinks. During my recent revisit, I had their combo 2, which consists of 2 slices of pizza and a pop of your choice. I had their Pulled Pork Pizza and BBQ Chicken Pizza.
Comb 2, BBQ Chicken, Pulled Pork, and Coke
Combo 2: 2 slices of pizza + 1 pop ($6.50):
Pulled Pork Pizza:
Pulled Pork Pizza
Pulled Pork Pizza
I have to say from the get-go, I was quite impressed by the crust on the pizza. In spite of having sitten under heat lamps, it remained quite crispy while the edges had a nice, chewy texture. The toppings were flavourful, with the pulled pork being tender with a slightly sweet and tangy flavour.
BBQ Chicken Pizza:
BBQ Chicken Pizza
BBQ Chicken Pizza
The crust here was also crispy, although I do find the edges to be a bit too hard and burnt in this case. The topping here was a bit on the bland side, and there was also a lack of chicken. It was still fairly tasty though.
Pie R Squared hasn’t changed much over the years. Their pizzas are fairly average; nothing outstanding but still tasty. Their prices are reasonable. There are definitely better choices available at UBC, but this isn’t bad in a pinch.
During my recent visit to Tera V Burger, I noticed Harvest Deli. They are a small shop located in Kits on Broadway serving up a large menu of sandwiches, along with various sides like soup and salad. I decided to go and check the spot out this week. I had their Classic Reuben and Back from Rome to go.
Classic Reuben ($8.25):
This consisted of pastrami, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese on grilled rye bread. The sandwich came with a very good amount of meat, which was tender, salty and flavourful. The sauerkraut provided a great bit of tanginess that cut through the richness of the meat and cheese. The bread was also perfectly grilled and crispy.
Back from Rome ($9.25):
Back from Rome
Back from Rome
This contained chicken breast, pesto, roma tomatoes, and boccocini on grilled ciabatta. The sandwich again has a good amount of filling. The chicken breast, while tender, was a little bland and underseasoned. The pesto had a nice, strong flavour, but was also not salty enough. The bread was again perfectly grilled and crispy.
I really enjoyed my visit to Harvest Deli. Although their chicken was a little bland, their pastrami sandwich was delicious. The prices are also very reasonable. I highly recommend checking this spot out for some good quality and affordable meals.
The first time that I’ve tried Cartem Donuts was at their location on Main Street. It did not leave a good impression on me: I found their donuts to be overpriced and not very good at all. I decided to revisit the joint again recently, this time at their Kits location, which is on Broadway. This time around, I had their London Fog, Honey Parmesan, and Special donut.
London Fog (around $3.50):
This consisted of a yeast donut that’s filled with whipped cream infused with London Fog tea, and covered in earl grey glaze and white chocolate.The doughnut was more cake-like than yeast to me, and had a soft, tender texture. The cream was lightly sweetand had a great flavour of Earl Grey. The glaze provided a great sweetness, although I couldn’t really detect much earl grey.
Honey Parmesan (around $3.50):
This was a cake donut that was glazed in honey, and topped with pepper and parmesan. The donut was moist and tender with a cakey texture. It was sweet, and had a peppery flavour, while the parmesan provided a bit of saltiness. It is a bit of a strange pairing, but I did quite enjoy it.
Special (around $3.50):
I can’t remember the exact flavour of the donut; it was a cake donut that was covered in what I think was a mango glaze and topped with coconut. The donut again was moist and tender. I really enjoyed the coconut, which provided a nice fragrance, but I couldn’t really get much of the glaze flavour.
My latest visit to Cartems has definitely improved my impression of the joint. The donuts were much better tasting on this occasion. The prices is still a little high, but it is good quality.
Summary: Food: 3.5/5 Price: 3/5 Service: N/A Overall: 3.5/5 Recommendations: London Fog
I’m definitely not a vegetarian. I do love my meat. But I don’t mind trying vegetarian food now and again, as long as it’s tasty. My latest venture into vegetarian food was at Tera V Burger. They are a small joint located in Kits, on Broadway, best known for their meatless burgers (they have vegan options available as well). I had their Smokey No Bull Burger, to which I added Baked Yam Fries and a drink for a combo. While I was ordering my burger though, I heard another customer asking the man behind the counter something about a microwave, and he was like “We only use our microwave once every two years to thaw out some gluten free bun”. Not to mock anyone who’s actually got Celiac’s disease, but I thought it was funny.
Smokey No Bull Burger + Baked Yam Fries and drink ($14.49):
Baked Yam Fries
Smokey No Bull Burger
Smokey No Bull Burger + Baked Yam Fries and drink
The burger consisted of a vegetarian pattie, and came with onions, swiss cheese, and barbecue sauce. With the combo, you get your choice of either a bottle drink or Jones soda; I went with the Jones. The pattie did not taste like meat, but was still very tasty for what was, and was flavourful, tender and juicy. The barbecue sauce provided a nice bit of sweetness and smokiness. The yam fries were crispy and had a nice sweetness; I did find them to be lacking in a bit of richness/flavour that fried fries have, but they were still tasty.
I quite enjoyed my visit to Tera V Burger. Even though their burgers don’t really taste like meat, they were still tasty. The staff was also quite friendly. This is certainly a joint worth checking out, even if you’re not a vegetarian.
I work at the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC, and every time I go out the building, I see the Hungry Nomad. They are a food truck with a small menu of sandwiches and fries. I finally broke down recently and decided to try them out. I had their Classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich (which I added pulled pork to for an extra $3).
This came with a side of fries and a slice of pickle. The bread was perfectly toasted, and was buttery and crispy on the outside. There was a good amount of cheese and pulled pork, which had a great sweet and savoury flavour. I did find the meat to be a bit dry, however. The fries were also very good, and were very crispy and fresh.
I was quite blown away by the food at the Hungry Nomad; the sandwich was fantastic and the fries were very tasty. The price was a bit on the higher side, but I think that it’s worth it for the food. This is definitely a good lunch option on campus.