Purebread – Loaves are NOT the same as cakes (but are still delicious)

I’ve been to Purebread twice now. The first time was on a snowy day this Feburary. I got their Prosciutto and Egg Brioche ($6 at the time) as well as a slice of their Salted Caramel Loaf ($4 at the time, sorry I didn’t take any pictures). I enjoyed both, in particular the brioche, which had this incredible pocket of savoury “juice” inside that reminded me of a Shanghainese pork dumpling.

 

Their infamous display case of goodies.

I had a slightly odd experience with Purebread on my latest visit. To summarize: I saw that they had a (at the time, unsliced) Coconut Buttermilk Cake on display for $5.25/slice, and I requested for one. The employee who was serving me seemed to be fine with my request. And then I saw him attempt to slice the cake, stop to consult with a fellow employee, and then turn to me to say that he couldn’t serve the cake and if it’s okay to replace it with the Coconut Buttermilk Loaf “since it’s essentially the same thing”. He didn’t really give an explanation as to why he couldn’t serve the cake; my best guess is that maybe he didn’t know how to slice/portion it. Anyways, caught off guard, I agreed to have the loaf version (a decision that I immediately regretted since I REALLY wanted to try one of their layered cakes and should have asked for one of the already sliced ones that they had at the counter at the back). I also got their Bacon and Egg Brioche (now $6.5), which I thought was going to be similar to their proscuitto version (which they unfortunately didn’t have available at the time).

Bacon and Egg Brioche ($6.5):

dav

3.5/5

I had hoped that this would be like their prosciutto version, but unfortuantely, it wasn’t nearly as good. I know that all the bacon-lovers out there are going to kill me for this, but I personally didn’t think that bacon has the same impact as prosciutto, and there wasn’t any of that delicious savoury “juice” from the other brioche. Don’t get me wrong, it was still tasty, but it seriously pales in comparison to the former one that I had.

Coconut Buttermilk Loaf ($4.25):

dav

4.5/5

I try my best not to be influenced by my disappointment that I got the loaf version instead of the cake. On the plus side, it was $1 cheaper (although they did raise the initial price by $0.25 from $4), and the portion was really generous (2x larger than what you’d typically get). The cake had a lot of shredded coconut dispersed inside and was really soft and moist. The frosting was creamy, sweet with a slight tang (probably cream cheese). My issue is that because it is a “loaf” all of the frosting’s clustered on top instead of being sandwiched in between the cake, which would have made a much better balance of the flavours. So for a loaf it was excellent, but I think that the cake version would have been better (sorry, but I don’t think loaves are the “same” as cakes).

Although I was initially quite bitter about being denied my cake, now that I’ve had time to cool off and reflect, I must say that I still quite like Purebread a lot. Even though I still want to try their cakes, their loaves are already fantastic on their own (in spite of tehir slightly less ideal ratio of cake to frosting), and I’d go back just for them. Plus I’ll always have Trafiq.

Purebread Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Trafiq – Where I would go for my last meal

I’m not going to beat about the bush with this one, I’ll just say it right now, Trafiq is by far my favourite bakery in Vancouver. It’s not just because they offer slices of cakes for $6 that are 2x the size offered from most bakeries, but the cakes are FREAKING FANTASTIC. The first time I went there, I had a slice of their Chocolate Decadence, and it blew me away. I finally revisited them this week and got a slice of their Salted Caramel. I had hoped to try their Maplicious cake, which sounded incredible. Unfortunately (or fortunately, as you’ll see later on in my review), they weren’t offering it that day. However, unlike some other places *cough* Fondway *cough* they had plenty of other options available, and I got a slice of Tiramisu instead.

 

Salted Caramel Cake ($5.95)

 

4.5/5
Delicious caramel mousse sandwiched between moist layers of vanilla cake and dotted with golden globs of thick caramel. Really, is there anything more to say? The only negative that I had was that the outer layer of buttercream (the light brown layer) had a slightly off-putting “chemical” flavour (maybe it wasn’t as fresh as it could have been?). It wasn’t very strong fortunately, and it didn’t deter me from polishing off every last crumb of the cake.

Tiramisu Cake ($5.95)

 

5/5
I’m shocked. Being a MAJOR chocoholic, I did not think that anything could top the Chocolate Decadence, but I think that the tiramisu has just done that. I don’t have the writing skills to do justice to this cake. The coffee mousse was exquisite, with a perfect balance between sweet and slight bitterness from the coffee. The layers of cake were moist, flavourful and melted in my mouth. It is easily THE BEST cake that I’ve ever had. I’m almost glad that they weren’t offering the Maplicious cake and that I got this instead. And if the Maplicious can somehow top this…seriously, I don’t even have words.

On my earlier 1st visit I had their aforementioned Chocolate Decadence.

Chocolate Decadence ($5.95)

 

5/5
This was my favourite cake until the Tiramisu came and stole the crown. The cake was super moist, chocolaty and fudgy, and the layers of chocolate mousse was delicious. Perfect bitter sweetness. It’s topped with a golden ball that turned out to be some sort of chocolate cake/ganache that was a nice treat on itself.

In a previous post I’ve lamanted about not living closer to Main St., but I suppose that it is fortunate since there’s no doubt I’d be 50+ pounds overweight if I am, and most of it would be due to Trafiq. Seriously, if you like cake, do yourself a favour and head down there right now. If I were to die tomorrow my last meal would be a slice each of all of their cakes, and I have absolutely no doubt that I’d be able to finish them all cause they’re just THAT good.

Trafiq Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Yu Xiang Yuan – Father’s Day for the world’s pickiest dad

I don’t like eating out with people (hence the name of my blog), which is probably a good thing since my parents are absolutely terrible dining companions. My dad is easily the PICKIEST eater that I know. Just to list off a few of the things that he won’t touch:

1. Anything containing onions, scallions, garlic
2. Anything that has heat/spice
3. Anything smoked
4. Most fried/deep-fried foods
5. Most barbecued foods
6. Most meats

So in short, everything that I like to eat he hates. In fact, the only thing that he seems to “like” are white carbs (noodles, rice, buns, bread) and plainly cooked (i.e. steamed or boiled) vegetables and seafood. My mother, while much less picky when it comes to food, is a walking stereotype of a “cheap Asian”. Case in point, the last time we actually ate out together at a restaurant (and part of the reason why it was the last time), she basically spent the entire time complaining about the less than generous portions and how we’re being ripped off and how she could make the same dishes for a fraction of the price yada yada…

But enough of me complaining. Unlike my parents, I love eating and I don’t mind being a sucker and getting “ripped off” by restaurants. And since it’s Father’s Day, it was an opportunity for me to kill two birds both by treating my dad and also having the opportunity to try another restaurant from Skipthedishes. I picked Yu Xiang Yuan, partly because it’s relatively close to my house so I can order pickup and avoid paying for delivery (crap, I’m becoming frugal like my mom), and partly because they specialize in noodles, which is actually one of the few things that my dad will actually eat. In order to keep within his tastes, I got their Fried Cutting Noodle (with BBQ pork because I just couldn’t resist), Steamed Seafood Dumplings and Stir-fried Fresh Shrimp. I also got their Sweet Soy Glazed Spare Ribs and (lamb) Kebab since I really wanted some meat.

Lamb Kebab ($2.5)

dav

4.5/5
I only ordered 1 kebab since I was worried about the lamb having that “gamey” taste. This wasn’t a problem in this case; in fact, the lamb was so fragrant that I actually wonder if it as really lamb. It was super flavourful and had a nice heat (which I like; take that, dad). If I had known that it was this good, I’d have ordered at least 2 more skewers.

Stir-fried Fresh Shrimp ($17.50)

dav

4/5
To keep with my dad’s tastes, I picked the plainest, mildest-sounding seafood dish that was available. To be honest, I really wasn’t expecting much at all from just looking at the dish: seafood’s generally not my favouirte (I do like it, but I’ll pick meat over fish/shellfish any time) and the dish looked quite bland. I’m therefore pleasantly surprised to discover that it was actually well-seasoned. The shrimp seemed quite fresh with a nice and bouncy texture. Moreover, there was actually a large amount of shrimp (and not much “filler” vegetables), so I guess it’s less of a “rip off” than most places.

Sweet Soy Glazed Spare Ribs ($15.50)

dav

4.5/5
I unabashedly LOVE sweet and sour pork/chicken and all dishes similar to it (lemon, General Tso, honey garlic etc). I don’t care if it’s pedestrian or “inauthentic”, I think it tastes freaking delicious and I’ll order it whenever I have the chance. Hence, I really enjoyed the spare ribs. The meat had a fantastic crispy exterior and a tender juicy interior, and was covered in a delicious sweet and sticky sauce. There was quite a bit of cartilage however. Moreover, the price is pretty steep (although the portion is decent and the meat quality is probably better than your typical average Manchu Wok).

Fried Cutting Noodles with BBQ Pork ($12.95)

dav

2/5
This turned out to be the biggest disappointment, which is a bit surprising since it’s supposed to be their speciality. Maybe it’s because of the takeout packaging, but a lot of the noodles ended up getting stuck together, forming a large clump. Moreover, it was quite underseasoned and bland. On the positive side, the noodles (once I managed to untangle them) did have a good bouncy texture. It also appears to be cooked with some scallions/onions and chili peppers, which I enjoyed (but my dad probably hated).

Steamed Seafood Dumplings ($12.50)

dav

4/5
As with the shrimp, I ordered the mildest sounding dumplings available to keep my dad happy. My instincts in this case turned out to be right, and this ended up being his favourite dish. Although I was personally a bit turned off by the fact that these dumplings were steamed (as opposed to fried, which is a far superior cooking method in my opinion), these turned out to be pretty good. The wrapper was nice and bouncy (I think that they’re probably also made in house like their noodles) and the filling was aromatic and flavourful. Although they wouldn’t have been my first choice (I’d have gone for their pan-fried pork dumplings), they were still good for what they were.

While the noodles at Yu Xian Yuan turned out to be a bit of a dud (although I might be a bit unfair in my assessment since it was crammed into a takeout box), their other dishes certainly made up for it. This has certainly earned a place on my (quite short) list of spots with food that the entire family can enjoy.

Yu Xiang Yuan Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Liberty Bakery & Cafe

I really wish I lived on Main Street; they seem to have an unusually large number of places to fulfill my constant carb carvings (Cobs, The Last Crumb, Matchstick, Artigiano, and my current all-time favourite, Trafiq), all within a couple of blocks of each other. Liberty is just another example. It is a pretty small and unassuming place that I would have missed had I not heard of it on Yelp. They had a modest selection of goods, including cakes, cookies, croissants, and scones. Since I was SERIOUSLY craving chocolate (even more than normal that is), I went for a slice of their raspberry ganache cake. I also got a butter croissant.

Butter Croissant ($3.25)

dav

5/5

The delicious scent of butter wafting from this croissant was just intoxicating and it took quite a bit of will power for me to resist devouring it before I got home. Fortunately, the croissant did not disappoint in taste; it was flaky, buttery and melted in my mouth. I polished this off in just a few minutes.

Raspberry Ganache ($5.25)

dav

5/5

I must start with a negative; the size of this cake is disappointingly small. Sure I’m not expecting it to be Trafiq-sized, but for >$5 I do think that it should be bigger. Fortunately, it did make up for it in taste. The cake was dense and fudgy, yet still moist. The raspberry flavour paired surprisingly well with the chocolate. I found myself regretting not getting 2 slices, not just because it was so small, but also because it was fantastic.

Although I do have some issues with the size/prices of some of their offerings, I think that the quality is there. While I’m going to be sticking to Trafiq for my cake-fix, I’ll certainly come back for their croissants (and other pastries).

Liberty Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

JJ Bean Coffee Roasters (Commercial Dr; from previous visit)

Note: This is a review from a visit that I made prior to starting this blog. I will be uploading more of these over the next week or so. Also, sorry for the poor qualities of the photos below, I’m still learning to take pictures.

Being a UBC student, I’m overjoyed to learn that with the construction of the new central, we’ll be also getting quite a few popular restaurants like Bao Down, Rain or Shine Ice Cream and Boa Down (although I guess my waistline will have a different opinion). Included among the newcomers is JJ Bean, which already has several locations around Vancouver. I have been to their Commercial Dr. location a couple of times, and have been generally quite impressed by their baked offerings.

Very Berry Muffin (around $3)

mde4/5

The muffin was large, probably 1.5-2x the size of regular muffins. It was overfilled with juicy berries. I did find it to be a bit doughy in some parts and I would have preferred for it to be a bit sweeter, but that’s probably just because I love sugar and have a high tolerance for sweets.

Double Chocolate Browne Cookie (around $3)

Double Chocolate Brownie Cookie.jpg

4/5

Although not as big as the muffin, it was still quite substantial in size. I really liked the texture: crispy on the edges with a softer interior. There were a nice amount of chocolate chunks. I just would have liked there to be a bit more chocolate flavour however.

Butter Croissant (I want to say $3.50?)

dav

4/5

Ham & Cheese Turnover (I want to say $4.50ish)

mde

4.5/5

Both the croissant the the turnover were flaky, fresh and buttery, and just as good as those from higher end patisseries.

Overall, my experience with JJ Bean has been quite positive, and I’m very happy that they’ll be coming to UBC soon. Just another place for me to get my pastry fix.

JJ Bean Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Morak Korean Fusion – Popcorn Chicken 2.0 + Bossam

Morak Korean Fusion caught my eye while I was scrolling down the list of restaurants available in my delivery area on Skipthedishes, partly because they offered free delivery and partly because I’ve heard some good things about them. Being a carnivore (in addition to having a massive sweet tooth; yes, I know that I’m probably not going to live very long), I immediately went for their meat dishes, ordering Gganpoong Chicken Rice, Bossam, Bongchu Jjim Dak, and BBQ Mackerel.

Gganpoong Chicken Rice ($12.95)

IMG_20170611_144737.jpg

4.5/5

If you like popcorn chicken, you’ll love this. This is basically popcorn chicken 2.0. The coating was fragrant, crispy and covered in a delicious sweet and spicy sauce while the meat was tender and juicy. I ordered during lunch time, so they have a smaller sized version, which is $2 less than their regular size. The “small” size is already quite substantial and enough to make a filling lunch on its own.

Bossam ($23.95)

bty

4.5/5

Korean pork belly. Probably their most popular dish, and for a good reason. The meat was tender and juicy, and had a delicious smoky, BBQ flavour. The portion was generous and probably enough for 4+ people to share.

Bongchu Jjim Dak ($28.95)

bty

4/5

It was essentially a Korean chicken stew with noodles, potatoes, and some other vegetables. Although not as outstanding as the other two dishes, it was still very good, with the chicken being very tender and falling off the bone with a nice sweet and slightly spicy flavour. Again it was a large portion (probably included an entire chicken, I think), and perfect for sharing.

BBQ Mackerel ($14.95)

bty

3/5

Although I would have preferred one of their BBQ meats (specifically their beef shortribs), since my previous 3 dishes were already meats, I felt obliged to get a fish dish instead. It was good for it was. Mackerel does tend to have a “fishy” taste, and although I could detect it in this dish, it wasn’t too bad. The fish itself was flavourful and juicy. The portion was slightly smaller in comparison to the previous dishes, but still reasonable.

I have no idea of what the restaurant is like in terms of ambience or service, but I definitely enjoyed their food. Although the prices are a bit on the higher side, it seems to be typical for most Korean restaurants (which tend to be more expensive than most Asian restaurants) and the portions are generous enough to justify the costs. I’ll definitely be ordering again from them in the future (their BBQ shortribs are definitely at the top of my list of things to try, along with their korean omelette, seafood pancake, and japchae).

On a side note, I’m really digging Skipthedishes. It appears to have way more restaurants listed than other delivery sites like Justeat or Lazymeal, and I love their live GPS system.

Morak Korean Fusion Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fondway Cafe – aka the day I wish I went to Breka instead

Disappointment. That was how I felt after visiting Fondway Cafe for the first time today. I’ve been meaning to visiting the place for quite some time after seeing all the pictures of delicious looking cakes that other people have been posting. With fantasies of delicious chocolate and Earl Grey cakes floating in my mind, I entered the cafe this morning only to be crushed to see that the only thing¬† they were apparently serving at the time was cheesecake. To add salt to the wound, they did actually have an Earl Grey cake sitting on their kitchen counter, but apparently it still needed to be decorated and wouldn’t be ready for another hour. F@$#! (Although on the bright side, I guess it is nice to see that they’re making their stuff in house and fresh).

I didn’t really want cheesecake, since I knew that it wasn’t the New York variety (which I prefer since I like firmer cheesecakes), and it had no crust (which I like to have in my cheesecakes), but I didn’t want to leave empty-handed, so I got a slice of their matcha cheesecake.

Matcha Cheesecake ($5.25)

davdav

3/5 (4/5 for those who like softer, crust-less type cheesecakes)

As I’ve mentioned, this isn’t the type of cheesecake that I like, so it is a bit hard for my to judge this. I will say that overall, I did enjoy the cake. The matcha flavour actually came out nicely. As with many Asian-style desserts, the cake wasn’t particularly sweet, but had a good balance between a slight bitterness from the matcha and tang from the cream cheese. The red beans were soft and sweet, and were a nice touch. The cake was quite small however, and I personally don’t think it was worth the >$5.

dav

They do have cute take-out boxes though.

Overall, my first experience with Fondway Cafe has been a major disappointment, and as implied by the title of this post, I do wish that I had gone somewhere else instead for my cake fix. It’s unlikely that I’ll be back again.

Fondway Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato