Cafe Mai-Mai

I used to put tons of milk and sugar into my coffee in order to make it more palatable. My typical cup probably consisted of 1/2 coffee and 1/2 milk and sugar. I have, in the past 2 years or so, gotten more used to the taste of black coffee however. There is an espresso machine in the lab where I’m currently doing my graduate school that I used every morning to save up on buying coffee myself. Unfortunately, the machine does break from time to time, and has been out of service this week, meaning that I had to resort to instant coffee in order to get my much needed caffeine kick. And while I’m by no means a coffee expert, instant coffee just tasted bland to me. Thus, when I saw Vietnamese Coffee on the menu of Cafe Mai-Mai, I was naturally inclined to order. The latter is a small Vietnamese joint located on Granville, in Marpole. They serve up a basic menu consisting of the regular Vietnamese pho and other dishes. In addition to the coffee, I had their Pork Patty Salad Rolls and Com Ga.

Pork Patty Salad Rolls, 2 pc ($7.25):


3.5/5
The salad rolls contained vermicelli and pieces of pork, and is served with a side of peanut sauce. The pork was tender and had a nice flavour. On their own, the rolls were a bit on the bland side, however they are quite tasty when dipped in the sauce.

Com Ga ($11.25):


3/5
This consisted of lemongrass chicken on rice. Unfortunately, I found the chicken here to be a tad of a letdown: it was a little underseasoned and bland, and missing the charred grilled flavour. It wasn’t bad though, and I still enjoyed it.

Vietnamese Coffee ($4.25):


4/5
This was coffee served on a layer of condensed milk. Full disclosure: I’m definitely not a coffee expert and I can’t tell the difference between good coffee and bad coffee. I can only say that I really enjoyed the drink here: the coffee paired incredibly well with the condensed milk, which lent a great creaminess and a nice sweetness.

After spending the last few days drinking instant coffee, I must say that the Vietnamese Coffee from Cafe Mai-Mai has been a nice change (I don’t know why I never thought of putting condensed milk into my coffee before, especially seeing that my mom used to buy it quite often). The rest of the food is fairly decent. Prices are fairly reasonable while the service is minimal, but friendly. All in all, not a bad joint for some Vietnamese fare.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pork Patty Salad Rolls, Vietnamese Coffee
Cafe Mai-Mai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Long’s Noodle House

I’ve been to quite a few joints that were cash only. It was only Long’s Noodle House that the staff actually alerts the customers of the fact by shouting “Cash only” the moment you walk in through the door. I guess it might be because they had people in the past that didn’t know and didn’t have cash on hand. The shop itself is quite small and minimal, with maybe half a dozen table, about half of them large group tables. The menu is quite large, consisting of appetizers, dim sum, noodles and various meat and vegetable dishes. Glancing at the tables around me, I saw that everyone appears to be ordering Tan Tan noodles, Wine Chicken, Beef Rolls, and Xiao Long Bao. Now I’m not a fan of wine chicken (my mom makes it at home all the time anyways) and the staff appear to be mostly Cantonese who know jack squat about Shanghainese dumplings (just kidding by the way), I decided to get their Tan Tan with Meat Sauces Noodles and Beef Rolls.

Tan Tan with Meat Sauces Noodles ($9.50):


3.5/5
The noodles had a nice bouncy texture. The sauce was flavorful, being mildly spicey and having a slight peanut fragrance. I was a bit disappointed that there wasn’t much ground meat present however.

Beef Rolls ($7.95):


3.5/5
The wrapping outside looked a bit anemic, and was a tad too tough and chewy, although still tasty. The filling itself was actually quite a bit like peking duck, except with beef: there was a sweet flavour of hoisin sauce and cilantro/scallions. I could have done with a little more beef, however.

I enjoyed my visit to Long’s Noodle House. The food wasn’t exception, though still fairly good, and the prices were reasonable. The service was pretty minimal, although the food arrives very fast and the staff were fairly friendly. This is a fairly solid Chinese restaurant; just be sure to have cash on hand.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Beef Rolls
Long's Noodle House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tatsu Japanese Bistro

To keep this one short, my mom’s birthday has arrived and she specifically told me that she wanted to eat sushi rolls, the fancy kind with seafood and avocado (which I’m actually allergic to, but who cares, I’m not a huge fan of sushi anyways). Being a completely home-bound recluse who doesn’t go more than 5 blocks out of the house, I had to resort to ordering takeout. I decided to try out Tatsu Japanese Bistro, which is a Japanese place located on Commercial Drive. I ordered three of their special sushi rolls: Prosciutto, Bull’s, and Lobster. I also got some food for myself, including their Kushiyaki Platter, Teriyaki Chicken, and Loco Moco.

Kushiyaki Platter, 6 pcs ($13.95):

dav
Kushiyaki Platter, 6 pcs

3.5/5
This came with two skewers each of chicken, shrimp, and bacon scallop. My favourite was actually the chicken, which was tender, juicy, and very flavourful. The shrimp was a bit on the bland side. The bacon had a nice smoky flavour, although the scallop was (as expected), quite small.

Teriyaki Chicken ($9.95):

dav
Teriyaki Chicken

3.5/5
I was a bit disappointed to see that the chicken didn’t come with any skin. The meat was still tasty however, being tender and juicy, with a nice smoky grilled flavour. It was a tad on the bland side however

Loco Moco ($9.95):

dav
Loco Moco

3.5/5
This consisted of either a beef or pork patty (I picked pork) on rice, and is served with rice, a fried egg, veggies, and sauce. The patty was quite tender and juicy, and had a nice flavour. The egg was slightly runny in the middle. I did find the sauce to be a tad tangy however.

Prosciutto Special Roll ($11.50):

dav
Prosciutto, Lobster, and Bull’s Special Roll

N/A
This came with mango, avocado, cucumber, cream cheese and prosciutto. I didn’t have this since I’m allergic to avocado; my mom quite enjoyed it though (she loves prosciutto).

Bull’s Special Roll ($11.95):
N/A
This came with ebi tempura, teriyaki beef, crab, cucumber, lettuce, and tempura crisps. I actually wanted to try this roll, but unfortunately it does come also with avocado (though not listed in the description). But my mom really enjoyed it; this was actually her favourite of the three rolls.

Lobster Special Roll ($15.95):
N/A
This came with barbecue lobster meat, asparagus, avocado and cucumber. Again, I wasn’t able to try this roll, but this was actually my mom’s least favourite of the three. The lobster meat that they give you is apparently from the claw, which most people don’t like.

Although I haven’t visited Tatsu, the food that I had received from delivery was quite solid. Their prices were also fairly reasonable. All in all, a decent place for some Japanese fare.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Kushiyaki Platter, Bull’s Special Roll
Tatsu Japanese Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Footo Croissant

Footo = Fresh out of the oven. That was what I learned after visiting Footo Croissant. They are a bakery/cafe located in Yaletown, just a short distance from the Public Library. Of course, their menu consists of croissants, which they offer in a good variety of flavours; they do also have sandwiches and breakfast items as well. I had a Turkey Pesto Croissant sandwich, Maple Bacon Croissant, and Pistachio White Chocolate Croissant.

Turkey Pesto Croissant ($7.80):


4/5
This comes with your choice of either regular, whole wheat, or cheese croissant; I went with the cheese. The croissant itself was quite crisp and flakey, although I couldn’t detect much of the cheese. There was a good amount of filling inside; the turkey was a tad dry but well-seasoned, and the pesto was flavourful.

Maple Bacon Croissant ($3.65):


3.5/5
This was filled with maple cream and topped with bacon. Again, the croissant was quite flaky and buttery. I did there to be a bit of a lack in filling, and I couldn’t detect much maple flavour. The bacon was quite crisp and tasty, however.

Pistachio White Chocolate Croissant ($3.65):


3.5/5
This was filled with pistachio and white paste. The pistachio paste was rich with a great nutty fragrance, as well as sweetness from the chocolate. Unfortunately, a lot of it appears to have leaked out of the croissant however, and were on the exterior ends, while the interior was pretty much empty.

The croissants at Footo aren’t the greatest that I’ve had (I do wish that they could provide some double-baked varieties), but they are still quite enjoyable. The prices are fairly reasonable. I do think that this shop is worth visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Turkey Pesto Croissant
Footo Croissant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe

Beaucoup Bakery is a small bakery/cafe located near Granville Island that’s well known for serving up fantastic croissants and various other French pastries. I had visited the spot once about a year ago. Unfortunately, I probably went there at a bad time for they didn’t have much available when I arrived; I ended up just getting one of their almond croissants (which was fantastic) and a kouign-amann. I decided to revisit the spot again recently, this time going earlier in the morning. My timing appears to have paid off as there were considerably more treats available. I got a Bostock, Macadamia Grapefruit Paris Brest, and Peanut Butter Cookie, as well as a Coconut Lime Pie Double Baked Croissant for my mom.

Bostock ($4.25):


4/5
This was a piece of croissant-like toast topped with almonds. The “toast” was quite buttery and crispy around the edges, and had a nice bit of sweetness to it. The almonds on top provided a great bit of fragrance and crunch.

Macadamia Grapefruit Paris Brest ($6.50):


4/5
This consisted of a choux pastry that’s filled with cream, grapefruit jam, and macadamia nuts. I really enjoyed all of the components: the choux pastry was tender, the cream was light, the macadamia fresh and crunchy and the grapefruit provided a refreshing, citrus flavour. However, I’m not sure if the citrus paired that well with the nuts.

Peanut Butter Cookie ($3.25):


4/5
This consisted of two peanut butter cookies sandwiching a filling of peanut butter. The cookies have a crisp texture, yet melted in my mouth. The icing also melted in my mouth, and had a nice salty flavour. I actually found this to be, on the whole, a tad too salty for my liking, but still delicious, with a wonderful fragrance of peanut. Just a small aside: while this is the first time that I’ve ordered this treat at Beaucoup, I do remember from my previous visit that the cookies were quite small. On this visit however, the cookies were much larger, probably 2x the size of what I remember.

Coconut Lime Pie Double Baked Croissant ($5.50):


N/A
My mom had this and really enjoyed it; I’ve had their almond croissant during a previous visit, and I can say that they are absolutely fantastic.

My previous visit to Beaucoup has left me a bit disappointed; I’m happy to say though that this visit has been much better. All of the pastries that I’ve had at the shop have been tasty and well-made. The prices are a bit on the higher side, but I think they are definitely worth it for the quality. This is one spot that I’d definitely recommend visiting; just make sure that you don’t go there too late.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Croissants, Bostock, Peanut Butter Cookie
Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Evelyn’s Cafe

I’m always on the lookout for some cheap eats. One such place is Evelyn’s cafe. They are a small shop located near the intersection of Broadway and Arbutus. Their menu consists of all-day breakfast foods, as well as Chinese dishes, with most of the items being under $10. You order at the front counter and they’ll bring the dishes to your table (if you’re eating in that is). I had their Cafe Hash and Honey Garlic Boneless Pork (with fried rice).

dav
Menu at front

Cafe Hash ($7.38):


3.5/5
This consisted of potatoes, peppers, mushrooms, bacon, sausage and ham, and is served with toast and two eggs. I was a bit disappointed that the potatoes weren’t really crispy; however, the hash was still very flavourful with all the sausage and ham. I had asked for the eggs to be over-medium, but the yolks were still quite runny (more like over-easy to me); it was fine though, I just ate them over the fried rice I also had. I also really enjoyed the toast, which was buttered.

Honey Garlic Boneless Pork with Fried Rice ($7.86):


3.5/5
This came with your choice of either chicken or pork and fried rice or noodles; I went with the pork and rice. The pork was fairly crispy when the dish came out and not overly battered; I did find the meat to be a bit overly grisly however. It had a pretty good, slightly sweet flavour. The fried rice went well with the pork.

I really enjoyed my visit to Evelyn’s cafe. The food wasn’t the greatest, but decent; the prices are a steal. Even though the service is pretty minimal, the staff are still quite friendly. I definitely recommend checking this place out for a decent and very affordable meal.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Honey Garlic Boneless Pork with Fried Rice
Evelyn's Cafe and Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Salade de Fruits

Note to self: when going to a restaurant, don’t take up a table next to the door. Especially if the restaurant is a popular spot like Cafe Salade de Fruits. The latter is a small but popular French cafe located a couple of blocks from Broadway. When I arrived, the staff offered me either a seat by the door or one further inside the restaurant. For whatever idiotic reason, I decided to just sit next to the door. That proved to be a bad choice for people kept on entering and exiting out the door. I swear, every minute I had someone pass by me either on their way inside or out of the restaurant. One woman even almost tripped over the bag that I had placed on the ground on her way through the door.

Fortunately, my poor choice of seating didn’t discourage me from the food. Cafe Salade de Fruit serve a lunch menu consisting of a rotating variety of sandwiches, quiche, crepes and other items. I had their Poulet Cordon Bleu and Daily Sandwich (which was steak).

Poulet Cordon Bleu ($18):


4/5
This consisted of breaded chicken breast that’s stuffed with ham and cheese, and is served with a creamy mushroom sauce, fries, and salad. The chicken was quite tender and moist in spite of being white meat, and is very flavourful from the ham and cheese. The mushroom sauce was creamy and had a nice fragrance. I also really enjoyed their fries, which were thin and super crispy.

Sandwich + Soup ($14):


4/5
Their sandwiches vary; the one I had was steak. I’m generally not a big fan of steak, but I really enjoyed the version here: it was quite tender and juicy, albeit just a tad underseasoned for my liking. I really enjoyed the bread, which was nice and crusty, as well as the condiments, which included caramelized onions and mustard. The sandwiches come with either fries, salad or soup; I went with soup since the chicken cordon bleu was served with fries. The soup was a creamy clam chowder; I quite enjoyed it, even though it was a bit short on clams (which I didn’t mind since I’m not big on clams).

In spite of being distracted by fellow patrons every minute, I still quite enjoyed my visit to Cafe Salade de Fruits. The food was tasty and pretty good portions for the quality and price. The service was quite friendly, and the staff took their time to explain the menu to me. I do have one complaint however: they appear to have forgotten to serve me any complimentary bread. Even though I had ordered more than enough food, and was certainly not left hungry, I still couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous seeing all the other tables receiving plates of bread and butter. Bread aside however, this is still a great joint, and I’d highly recommend checking this shop out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Steak Sandwich, Poulet Cordon Bleu
Cafe Salade de Fruits Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

SalaThai Restaurant

I’ve passed by SalaThai quite a number of times when visiting downtown. They are a Thai joint located on Burrard, not far from Robson. I’ve finally had the opportunity to check the joint out. I was quite impressed by the restaurant’s interior, whichwas very spacious, clean and nicely decorated. In addition to a regular menu, they also serve lunch specials in the afternoon. I had their Kwae-Teow Num Ped and Salathai Rice Special with Chicken.

Kwae-Teow Num Ped ($14):


3.5/5
This consisted of roasted duck in soup with rice noodles. There was a good amount of boneless duck present, which was similar to the Chinese bbq version, and was tender and juicy. The broth also had a nice fragrance and also a slightly sweet flavour. The noodles did clump together a bit.

Salathai Rice Special with Chicken ($12):


4/5
This consisted of fried rice topped with a fried egg, and comes with your choice of meat; I had the chicken. The rice was nicely fried and had a great texture and flavour. There was a good amount of chicken present, which was pretty tender. The fried egg was nicely runny, although it was a bit too bland/underseasoned. It came with a small bowl of vegetable soup, which was light and quite savoury.

I really enjoyed my visit to SalaThai restaurant. The food was tasty and generously portioned for the price. The staff weren’t the most attentive, although they were fairly friendly. This is definitely one of the better Thai restaurants that I’ve been so, and I’d strongly recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Salathai Rice Special

SalaThai Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Soirette

After my visit to Soirette I’m left quite puzzled. You see, I’ve never visited the shop before, but I’ve seen pictures posted online of people appearing to enjoy afternoon tea there (the kind that involves cakes and small pastries/sandwiches). This indicated to me that the place should be like a cafe with seating. However, when I visited, I saw that was not the case: the shop was tiny with just a front counter while the back appears to be just a kitchen where people dressed in chef outfits were busy at work making macarons. So what’s up with all the photographs of people having tea? The only thing I could think of is that maybe they’ve gone through some changes and have now stopped serving tea.

Fortunately, I wasn’t interested in tea; I just wanted some pastries. The shop is best known for their macarons, but they do also serve up cakes, various teas, and other small treats such as chocolates. I purchased a box of 6 Macarons and two of their mini cakes (unfortunately I can’t remember what flavours they were).

6 Macarons ($15):


3.5/5
I had the Vancouver Fog, Praline, Pistachio, Matcha, Almond Butter Cookie, and French Rose. The outer layer of the macarons weren’t as crispy as the ones from Bon Macarons, but they did have a nice, chewy interior that I quite liked. The flavours for most of them were fairly good (Vancouver Fog, Praline, Almond Butter Cookie) were fairly strong; a few others (Pistachio) were a bit too subtle and weak for me to detect. My favourites were the Praline and Matcha.

“Pink” Mini Cake ($7.50):


3/5
I can’t remember the flavour of the cake; I think it was raspberry. The cake itself was quite tender and moist, with a slightly tangy flavour. I wasn’t a big fan off the frosting however, which was a bit bland and also greasy. And while the pearl decorations on top were certainly pretty, they were also very crunchy and a bit unpleasant to bite upon.

“Green” Mini Cake ($7.50):


3.5/5
Again, I don’t remmber the flavour of the cake, but it definitely had a floral fragrance to it. It was a bit harder and drier than the pink cake, but was still tender. Although I still found the frosting to be greasy and a bit bland, the pearls decorating this cake ware much smaller and less unpleasant to bite upon.

The macarons at Soirette were quite tasty, although I don’t think that their flavours were as intense as the ones from Bon Macaron. The cakes were also enjoyable, but not great. I do find their prices to be a tad on the higher side, though not too bad. All in all, this isn’t a place that I think you absolutely must visit, but it is still worth stopping by if you’re a fan of macarons.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Macarons

Soirette Pastry Boutique Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweetery Cafe + Dessert

Probably the best version of Chicken & Waffles that I’ve had was the version at Tuc Craft. The vast majority of other places where I’ve tried the dish, I’ve been left disappointed by the chicken. Recently, I had the chance to try the version at Sweetery Cafe + Dessert. This cafe is located in Olympic Village, just several blocks down from the skytrain station. In addition to various baked items such as cakes, muffins, and cookies, they also serve a pretty good breakfast/lunch menu (as well as brunch on the weekends) and burgers from Relish. You order at the front counter (go to the right side if you want to get cooked food and the left where the cash register is to pay and/or get any baked goods), and they’ll bring the food to your table when it’s ready (if you’re eating in). I had their Chicken and Waffles, Matcha & Nutella Sable Cookie, Moreo Cookie, Carrot Cake and an Almond Croissant for my mom.

Chicken and Waffles ($15):


4/5
This consisted of pieces of crispy chicken sandwiches between two halves of a waffle, and is served with potatoes, ketchup, and syrup. There was quite a generous amount of chicken, which was tender and juicy with a nice crispy batter; it was a tad on the salty side, but not overwhelmingly so. The waffle had a great crispiness and melted in my mouth. I was a tad disappointed by the potatoes, which while tender, were a bit bland and not really crispy.

Matcha & Nutella Sable Cookie ($3.50):


3/5
The cookies had a nice buttery flavour that I enjoyed. Unfortunately, as is often the case with most matcha-flavoured desserts, I really couldn’t detect much of the matcha. Also, I don’t know if it was mislabelled or if I misinterperated the labelling (i.e. it was actually matcha or nutella sable cookie and there just wasn’t any nutella cookies available when I visitd), but there wasn’t any nutella in this cookie, just a plain white icing, which was quite hard and crunchy, and not really my favourite.

Moreo Cookie ($3.50):


3/5
The cookies were a bit softer than the sable, and had a pretty nice cocoa flavour and bitterness and saltiness. They contained the same crunchy hard icing as that of the matcha sable, but it is a bit more enjoyable here since there’s a bit of bitterness from the cookies to counter the sugariness of the icing. Not my favourite rendition of this type of cookie (the ones from Butter Baked Goods are far superior imho), but still enjoyable.

Carrot Cake ($3.50):


2/5
The cake contained walnuts and raisins inside, and is topped with icing. Unfortunately, this was quite a disappointment for me. The outer layer of cake was very dry and hard; the interior was better, but still not great. Moreover, the frosting on top was completely flavourless and just greasy. I ended up just peeling off the outer layers and the icing, and eating the middle.

Almond Croissant ($3.50):

dav
Almond Croissant

N/A
My mom ate this. She actually quite enjoyed it.

The food at Sweetery Cafe + Dessert was a bit of a hit and miss. Their cookies were alright while the carrot cake was quite a letdown. However, their chicken and waffles is quite impressive; I don’t think it’s quite as good as the version from Tuc Craft, but it’s easily the 2nd best that I’ve tried in Vancouver. I’d definitely recommend checking this place out for their Chicken & Waffles alone.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chicken & Waffles
Sweetery Cafe + Dessert Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato