Bawan Donair & Pizza

It’s a scientific law that whenever I remember to bring an umbrella with me, it does not rain, and whenever I do bring an umbrella, it rains. After a couple of days where I consistently carried an umbrella with me but never used it because it didn’t rain, the one day that I forgot to bring an umbrella it rained. And not just rained, but poured.

Feeling the need to get something hot and comforting, I decided to visit Bawan’s Donair & Pizza. They are a shop located on Broadway, near Granville, that, as the name suggests, serves up a menu consisting of Greek-style cuisine. The place is quite small and casual with a limited number of seating: I’d say that probably 50% of customers get takeout. I had their Lasagna w/Meatballs (small version) and Roast Lamb.

Lasagna w/ Meatballs, Small ($11.95):


3/5
This came with a slice of garlic bread. The noodles themselves were nicely cooked, being tender while returning some chew. The cheese on top was tasty and gooey. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of the sauce, which was a little too watery and not particularly flavourful. There were three small meatballs present, which were tender and had a nice bouncy texture. The garlic bread was fluffy and well-toasted, but a bit bland.

Roast Lamb ($17.95):


3.5/5
This came with rice, roast potato, greek salad, tzaziki & pita. The lamb itself was quite tender and well-seasoned, albeit a tad dry. I quite enjoyed the rice, which had a nice texture and fragrant. The pita was soft and fluffy. The salad didn’t appear to be dressed unfortunately, and was hence bland, although I did enjoy the feta.

I was a bit disappointed by the lasagna at Bawan Donair & Pizza, but I did enjoy their lamb. Their prices are very reasonable however, and although the service is minimum, the lady I encountered was quite friendly. This may not be the greatest place, but I still think it’s worth visiting for some decent Greek cuisine.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Roast Lamb
Bawan's Donair & Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chicha

I have to confess, I’m not the biggest fan of bacon. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say no to bacon, but I’m not going crazy about it either. I much prefer a nice, juicy slab of pork belly. How to make pork belly even better? How about deep fry it?

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*celestial choir*

I’ve recently had the fortune of trying this dish at Chicha. They are a small casual spot located on Broadway, near Main Street, specializing in Peruvian food. They used to be dinner only, but have recently started lunch service as well. I had their Chicharron (aka deep-fried pork belly) and Pollo Crema Empanadas off of their lunch menu.

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Lunch Menu

Chicharron ($12):


4.5/5
This consisted of three large pieces of crispy pork belly that’s served with yam puree. The pork belly was just fantastic: it was nice and crispy on the outside while tender and juicy on the interior, and was covered in a sweet glaze. I also quite enjoyed the yam puree, which was smooth and had a nice sweetness.

Pollo Crema Empanadas ($18):


3.5/5
This consisted of two empanadas filled with smoked chicken, and is served with a small side of salad. The empanadas had a quite flaky and tender crust, and a good amount of filling. The chicken had a nice smokey flavour; oddly I actually found it to taste a bit like salmon (if you didn’t tell me what it was, I might have thought that it was salmon). I did find it to be a bit dry unfortunately (I’m pretty sure that they use breast meat).

While I found the empanadas at Chicha to be a bit dry, their chicharron were a revelation. The prices are a bit higher, but not overly so, and the service is quite friendly. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out just for the chicharrons alone.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chicharron
Chicha Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baguette & Co – Davie

I’ve previously visited the Broadway location of Baguette & Co last year, where I’ve tried their Chocolate Success and Lemon Tart, both of which were quite good. They apparently have another location on Davie. Similar to their Broadway location, they serve up a variety of pastries, cakes, and sandwiches. I got their Quiche Lorraine and Apricot Almond Pie. I also asked for their Royal Chocolate Cake, but unfortunately the staff made a mistake (and I wasn’t paying attention) for when I got home, I found that I got the Chocolate Success again. Oh well.

Quiche Lorraine ($5.95):


3/5
This contained ham and eggs, and was topped with some herbs (I think it was rosemary/thyme). The filling itself was delicious, and was creamy with plenty of ham (and would have been 4/5 on its own). I really didn’t like the herbs however: they were dry and the flavour was very strong and really did not go well with the rest of the dish.

Apricot Almond Pie ($4.75):


3.5/5
This consisted of a crust that’s filled with almond paste, apricot, and almonds. The filling was very flavourful: they have a generous amount of almond paste and apricrots, and lightly sweet. The bottom crust was a bit tough and gummy, but the edges were flaky.

Chocolate Success ($5):


4/5
I had actually asked for the Royal Chocolate cake, since I’ve already had this one before at the Broadway location, but unfortunately the staff made a mistake and gave me this cake instead (oh well). This consisted of two thin layers of cake sandwiching chocolate mousse, and is coated in another shell of chocolate. The cake was moist and tender, while the mousse as luscious and rich. I do find the outer chocolate to be a tad waxy.

Although I was disappointed not to have gotten the Royal Chocolate cake, I did still really enjoy my visit to Baguette & Co. The food were fairly tasty, and the prices are very reasonable. This is definitely worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chocolate Success
Baguette & Co Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Melriches Coffee House

Normally, when it comes to cheesecakes, I like them to be as dense and thick as possible. I finally found my match at Melriches Coffee. They are a coffee house located on Davie, near Bute. In addition to various drinks, they have a pretty large menu of sandwiches and other breakfast/lunch items, as well as pastries and other items, which look homemade/rustic. I had their Blueberry Cheesecake, Sausage Roll and Carrot Cake. Unfortunately, they didn’t have prices posted for most of their items, but the total came to just over $16.

Blueberry Cheesecake:


3.5/5
The cheesecake was served with blueberry sauce. The filling was dense and very firm; I like my cheesecakes to be on the firmer side, but this was a bit too much even for me (I could hardly cut through it with my fork). It was sweet; I would have liked there to be a bit more tang. It had a nice fragrance; I think that there might have been some cinnamon or other spices in the crust. The blueberry sauce appears to be homemade and was filled with small berries.

Sausage Roll:


3.5/5
The pastry enclosing the sausage was a bit soft, but flakey; I did find it to be too salty however (and I actually like salt). The sausage itself was quite tender and juicy, with a nice bit of spice.

Carrot Cake:


4/5
The cake itself was quite moist, contained raisins, and had a great fragrance of spice. The cream cheese frosting was creamy and sweet, with a nice bit of tanginess.

I’ve never thought that I’d find a cheesecake that’s too dense, but I’ve found my match at Melriches. In general, the food was fairly enjoyable, but nothing outstanding. I don’t know the individual prices of the items, but they are fairly reasonable. This is certainly worth a visit if you’re in the neighbourhood.

Summary
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Carrot Cake
Melriches Coffee House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Boulevard Coffee Roasting

I’ve taken up drinking coffee since beginning grad school. I only drink it for the caffeine however, and not for any taste. I really can’t appreciate a good cup of coffee: I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between something from a fancy artisinal shop and something from McDonalds (my boss on the other hand…). Thus, I’ve never been particularly interested in visiting Boulevard Coffee, a coffee shop at UBC that apparently roasts their own coffee beans. However, they do offer food in addition to their coffees, and recently, while running late with experiments, I decided to drop by the place for something to eat. I had their Chicken Bacon Ranch and Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto sandwiches. Their sandwiches are all premade and reheated at your request.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich ($9.05):


3/5
This consisted of chicken breast, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and ranch dressing in between apple bread. I personally didn’t care too much for the bread: I found it to be a little too soft and didn’t hold the fillings well. The filling was also a bit scarce: I didn’t really get much chicken or bacon. I did enjoy the ranch dressing however.

Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto ($9.05):


4/5
This contained prosciutto, mozzarella, cranberries, pesto and greens on a French baguette. I much preferred the bread here, which was nice and crispy, and held the fillings well. The sandwich was very flavourful from the pesto and the prosciutto, which is given in a fairly generous amount. It does get a tad salty, but I still really enjoyed it.

Although I haven’t tried any of the coffees, the food at Boulevard Coffee Roasters is decent. While I was underwhelmed by their Chicken Bacon Ranch, I did quite enjoy tehir Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto. I do find their prices to be a tad high compared to other spots: the sandwiches were relatively small and not overly filling. This won’t be my favourite spot at UBC for food, but it’s still worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto

The Boulevard Coffee Roasting Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My Home Cuisine

When it rains it pours. For the past 2 months or so, all of my experiments have been disastrous. My gene cloning kept on failing (which is one of the most basic protocols in the lab, and is something that I’ve been successfully doing for several years), and I couldn’t figure out the source of my problem. When I told my supervisor, he told me that I was “degrading” because I haven’t been doing enough cloning lately and has gotten sloppy from lack of practice (which isn’t true because I’ve actually been cloning up to until the point when my cloning suddenly stopped working out of nowhere).

Anyways, feeling pretty low, I didn’t really have the energy to travel out far to find a spot to eat. I decided to just stick to the vicinity of UBC, and made my way down to the International Village. I decided to check out My Home Cuisine this time. They are a Chinese fast food shop with a menu consisting of combos, which comes with your choice of rice/noodle and 2 or 3 of their pre-prepared items (also the staff speak Mandarin, which was nice, as I can finally understand them and not look like an idiot like I did at Cafe Gloucester recently). I had their 2 Items Combo with Fried Rice and Sweet & Sour Pork and Sesame Chicken.

2 Items + Fried Rice (Sweet & Sour Pork, Sesame Chicken, $8):


3.5/5
Their combos comes with your choice of 2 items and either plain rice or fried rice/noodle for an extra 50 cents (I went with the fried rice). The sweet & sour pork and sesame chicken were both very meaty, well-seasoned and coated in a sweet sauce. They weren’t crispy, but that is expected since it’s fast food. I did find that the two meats were very similar flavour-wise; apart from being different meats, they did taste almost identical. The rice didn’t have much flavour on its own, but was fragrant and paired well with the meat.

I was pleasantly surprised by the food at My Home Cuisine. For a fast food joint, I found their dishes to be quite solid. The prices are also more than reasonable. This is a pretty solid place at UBC for some quick and tasty lunch.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: N/A (they only have combos)
My Home Cuisine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Gloucester

You know what sucks about being a Shanghainese/Mandarin-speaking Chinese in Vancouver? Every time you enter a Cantonese shop/restaurant the staff always assumes that you know Cantonese and you end up looking/feeling like an idiot when you’ve got no idea what they are saying. The most recent incident of this happened during my visit to Gloucester Cafe. They are a Hong Kong-style restaurant located on Cambie. Like most restaurants of their kind, they have quite an extensive menu of Asian-Western fusion style dishes. Of course, the staff assumed that I knew Cantonese, and I did feel a bit embarrassed/awkward telling them that I didn’t understand what they were saying (especially when probably 90% of their customers are Cantonese speakers). Fortunately, they do speak English, and I was able to to order Macau Style Bun with Pork Chop and Gloucester Club House Spaghetti without trouble.

Macau Style Bun with Pork Chop ($10.99):


4/5
This comes with your choice of chicken, pork, or fish (I went with pork) and comes with fries and your choice of either coffee or tea (I had coffee). The pork chop was a bit chewy in some parts, but still tender, juicy, and flavourful. I really enjoyed the bread, which was crispy and nicely toasted on the outside and soft and chewy on the interior. The fries were decent; not the crispiest but still tasty and well seasoned. I found the coffee to be a bit weak for my taste: I actually thought it was tea, but it was creamy.

Gloucester Club House Spaghetti ($13.59):


3.5/5
This consisted of spaghetti in a tomato sauce containing ham, scrambled eggs, and mushrooms, and was topped with a sunny side up egg. The noodles were nicely cooked, being tender while retaining a bit of firmness. The sauce was pretty thick and coated the spaghetti well. I did find the flavours to be a tad one-note, but still tasty.

In spite of feeling a bit out of place, I did quite enjoy the food at Cafe Gloucester. Their prices are also very reasonable. The service is typical of most Chinese-style restaurants: the staff aren’t particularly attentive, but they are quite efficient. This is definitely worth visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Macau Style Bun with Pork Chop
Cafe Gloucester Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Trafiq

It’s always a great day when I’ve visited Trafiq. The latter is (in my opinion) probably the greatest bakery in Vancouver. They produce some gorgeous cakes that are (even more importantly) as tasty as they look, as well as a number of over tasty treats. During my latest visit, I had their Lemon Lavendar and Pear Brulee Cake, as well as 6 minis (Carrot Cake, Triple Chocolate, Mango Lassi Cheesecake with Pistachio, Ultimate Lemon Bar, Matcha Opera, and Raspberry Chocolate Tart, the latter two of which my mom ate).

Lemon Lavendar Cake Slice ($6.95):


4.5/5
This consisted of vanilla cake with lavendar mousse and lemon custard with lavendar whipped cream. The cake was very tender and moist. The cream was fresh, light and luscious with a wonderful fragrance of lavendar. The custard was light and tangy, with a great lemony fragrance.

Pear Brulee Cake Slice ($6.95):


4.5/5
This is one of their new features and will probably not stay on the menu for too long. It contains vanilla cake sandwiching layers of pear and caramel mousse, and was glazed in milk chocolate. The cake was again tender, soft and moist. The pear mousse had a wonderful spiced flavour while the caramel mousse was sweet with a wonderful fragrance.

Carrot Cake ($2.25 or $2 if you buy 6):
4.5/5
This is the mini version of their carrot cake, which you can buy a slice of for $6.95. The cake was very tender and moist, with a nice bit of spice. The cream cheese frosting was creamy and sweet, with a nice bit of tang.

Triple Chocolate ($2.25 or $2 if you buy 6):
4.5/5
This consisted of layers of milk and white chocolate mousse on top of a dark chocolate base. The mousse was creamy and luscious while the chocolate base was tender and moist with a nice bittersweet flavour.

Mango Lassi Cheesecake with Pistachio ($2.25 or $2 if you buy 6):
4/5
This consisted of a cheesecake on top of a cake-like base. The cheesecake was soft but creamy and tangy. I couldn’t really taste much of the mango, but it did have a nice spicy flavour. The cake was dense, but tender and moist.

Ultimate Lemon Bar ($2.25 or $2 if you buy 6):
4/5
This cosnisted of a lemon curd on top of a cake-like base. The curd was thick and creamy with a wonderful fragrance of lemon; I do wish that it could have a bit more tang. The cake was dense, but tender and moist.

Matcha Opera & Raspberry Chocolate Tart ($2.25 or $2 if you buy 6):


N/A

I’ve never been disappointed by Trafiq, and this visit was no exception. Although their prices have increased, they are more than worth the cost given the quality of their food. I seriously cannot recommend this place enough.

Summary:
Food: 4.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4.5/5
Recommendations: Cakes, Minis
Trafiq Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Indian Oven Restaurant

Last week I got dragged to a seminar/poster session in the biochemistry department (which is the program that I’m in). Fortunately, there was free food provided; strangely, whoever organized the refreshments opted for Indian food instead of the usual pizza. That was fine with me of course: I do love Indian food. Unfortunately, I was slow and ended up near the end of the lineup for food. By the time I reached the table, all the “chicken” in the butter chicken was gone, and the only thing left was the “butter (aka creamy tomato sauce)”. *sigh*.

Wanting to satisfy my craving for butter chicken, both the butter and the chicken, I decided to check out Indian Oven. They are an Indian restaurant located on 4th Avenue in Kits. I was actually quite surprised by the interior, which was very sleek and tidy, like that of a fancier, higher-end restaurants. In addition to having a main menu, they also offer specials that are written on a board outside. I had their Butter Chicken Special and Lamb Biryani.

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Specials

Butter Chicken Special ($18):


4/5
This is from their specials menu, and comes with rice and naan. The butter chicken itself was flavourful and creamy, with a nice bit of sweetness and a fragrance of cilantro. I found the naan to be a bit on the crispy side for my liking, but stil tasty.

Lamb Biryani ($15.95):


3.5/5
This consists of rice flavoured with saffron and other spices, and cooked with vegetables and lamb. The rice was flavourful and savoury, with a really great bit of spice. There was a good amount of lamb present, which were well-seasoned. Unfortunately, I did find the lamb to be a bit dry and also having a slightly gamey flavour.

My trip to Indian Oven really satisfied my itch for the butter chicken that I missed out on last week. The prices are a bit on the higher side, but not unreasonable. The staff was quite friendly and attentive. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out for some tasty Indian food.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Butter Chicken
Indian Oven Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato