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

A&W – UBC

There was once a graduate student (who has graduated the previous year) in our lab who, for a couple of years, would always eat A&W teen burgers for lunch. Apparently, he has done some calculations and determined that the teen burgers at A&W gives the best calories per dollar out of all the fast food chains. Now I haven’t checked the calculations myself (personally, I’d assume that McDonals would have the better deal), but I was quite a big fan of A&W in highschool: my favourite things to get were their teen burgers and onion rings. Having not visited this place for years, I decided to check out the UBC location recently after finding that the international food court was completely filled and had no seats. I had a Teen Burger with Root Beer & Onion Rings.

Teen Burger + Root Beer & Onion Rings ($6.49 + $5.40):


3/5
The burger contained a patty, cheddar cheese, bacon, and various veggies. The patty was relatively juicy and flavourful. I couldn’t reallly get much of the bacon or cheese. It was also on the smaller side (I’m not sure, but I think that they might have reduced the size over the years). The onion rings were kind of lukewarm, but still had a good crispiness and was not overly battered. I quite enjoyed the root beer (the only type of beer that I enjoy).

I don’t know if they have changed their burgers or if my memories were flawed, but I found the teen burger to be considerably smaller than I remembered and quite skimpy on the bacon and cheese. The prices were also a bit steep for a fast food chain (I don’t know how our former grad student did the calculations but I’m 100% sure now that McDonalds have the better calorie per dollar value). Overall, I do feel a bit disappointed by my revisit, but it isn’t a bad spot in a pinch.

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

Mexicali

I used to drink a ton of slurpees from 7-11 when I was younger. One of my favourite things to do is to get the largest cup possible and mix all the different flavours up together. Since graduating highschool however, my consumption of slurpees have plummeted (probably a good thing since my diet’s already unhealthy enough as it is. It has probably been a couple of years since I’ve last had a slurpee. That has finally changed during my visit to Mexicali this week. The latter is a small Mexican joint located on Dunbar, a couple of blocks away from King Edward Avenue. In addition to a regular menu, they also have a couple of All Day Special combos, consisting of an entree, a side of Mexi Fries, and a choice of drink, which includes Slushy Limonada. Now, I was initially just going to get a Beef Redondo Roll-up by itself, but after seeing a number of the other patrons enjoying combos, including large cups of delicious looking slushies, I decided to go for the combo instead. I also got their Enchilada en Mole Poblano.

Enchilada en Mole Poblano ($11.95):


3/5
This consisted of two chicken enchiladas in a mole sauce and is served with rice and beans. This is the first time that I’ve had mole (which is a chocolate, chile and peanut sauce), so I don’t know what it’s actually supposed to taste like. I can only say that, unfortunately, I wasn’t really a big fan of the mole here: I found it to be quite bland. The enchiladas themselves however, did have a pretty good amount of chicken inside, which was tender. The beans and rice were just standard; I could have done with a bit more seasoning.

Beef Redondo Roll-up Special ($8.50):


3.5/5
They have several different all days specials, which comes with Mexi Fries and a choice of drink: I had their Beef Redondo with a Slushy Limonada as my drink. The redondo consists of a grilled tortilla stuffed with ground beef, cheese, vegetables, and sour cream. The tortilla was nicely grilled and had a great crispiness. There was quite a generous amount of filling inside. I did find the beef to be a tad dry, and I wasn’t the biggest fan of the seasoning. I did really enjoy the mexi fries though, which were essentially tater tots, and were very crispy on the outside. The limonada slushy was also tasty, and had a great tanginess.

The food at Mexicali was a bit of a hit and miss: I quite enjoyed their combo special, but found their mole to be quite bland. Their prices were a great bargain however: their all day specials are just around $10 and are quite a generous portion. The service is pretty minimal: you go and order at the front counter and they’ll bring your food to your table (if you’re eating in). All in all, this is definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Beef Rendodo Special
Mexicali Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BBT Cafe

I’ve finally watched There Will Be Blood (starring Daniel Day Lewis) this weekend. Yes, I know that the movie came out like ten years ago, but I was young(er) back then and wasn’t interested in watching some 2.5 hour period drama that looks slow and boring as hell (truth is, I still am not). But recently, while looking through someone’s list of the best movie endings of the 21st century, the aforementioned movie came up on number one. Out of curiosity, I decided to search the scene up on Youtube and…decided that I should watch the entire movie just so that I can understand wtf happened. It did drag a bit for sure, but DDL was awesome (and that mustache too). And I never thought that that “milkshake” could be used menacingly, but seriously, that was like a Hannibal “I ate his liver” moment, complete with the creepass slurping he made.

Sadly, I can’t enjoy real milkshakes anymore, not unless I want to have a massive stomachache later. Strangely (and fortunately) though, I’m still able to enjoy most other foods and drinks that contain dairy, including bubble tea. I decided to get myself one of those during my visit to BBT Cafe this week. The latter is a Chinese/Taiwainese shop in Kerrisdale that serves the aforementioned bubble tea (and other drinks) and a variety of popular Asian snacks and meals. In addition to getting a Fresh Taro Bubble Tea (with pearls), I had their Pork Dumplings and Chicken Nuggets.

Pork Dumplings ($8.95):


3.5/5
This came with ten boiled dumplings. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the dumplings were actually pretty juicy (similar to xiao long bao). The ground pork was also quite tender, although I could have done with a touch more salt.

Chicken Nuggets ($5.95 on Mondays, $8.95 regular):


3.5/5
This is on special on Monday. The pieces of chicken were quite meaty and juicy and well seasoned, with a salty and slightly peppery flavour. I would have liked it to be a bit more crispy.

Fresh Taro Bubble Tea ($6):

dav
Fresh Taro Bubble Tea

4/5
The bubble tea was thick and creamy, and not overly sweet. I was very pleased to find that it wasn’t at all icy (i.e. you can drink the whole thing without the bottom part turning into a block of ice). The pearls had a nice chewy texture.

So There Will Be Blood is a bit of a slow burn with a few threads/plot lines that I personally could have done without, but DDL is entertaining, and the ending/payoff is seriously fantastic. As for BBT Cafe, I did quite enjoy their food, in particular their bubble tea. Unfortunately, I did find the price for their drinks to be a bit expensive: the are generally around $5-$5.5 plus an additional $0.5 if you want pearls (which you do since it’s not bubble tea without pearls); the prices for their food, however, are very reasonable. The service was pretty minimal, but the staff was friendly (and they speak Mandarin, so I didn’t look stupid). All in all, I’d recommend checking this place out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Chicken Nuggets, Fresh Taro Bubble Tea
BBT Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mon Paris

I go to Metrotown quite often, and each time, I’d pass by Mon Paris. They are a patisserie located just across the skytrain station that produces a pretty good assortment of chocolates, pastries, and pretty-looking cakes. I’ve visited the shop once before about a year ago and recently, decided to revisit the place. This time I had their Kouign-amann, Bacon and Cheese Bun, Double Baked Pistachio and Raspberry Croissant, Winter Special, Caramelia, Raspberry Caramel Tea Cake, and Almond Double Baked Croissant.

Kouign-amann ($3):


4/5
The pastry itself, while not melt-in-your-mouth, was still quite flaky and buttery, with a moist centre. The sugar outside the pastry was nicely caramelized and crispy.

Bacon and Cheese Bun ($3):


3.5/5
This wasn’t really a “bun”, but more of a croissant-like pastry dough that’s been rolled up into a spiral. It was a bit too hard/crisp, but did have a nice buttery flavour. It also had a good amount of bacon and cheddar.

Double Baked Pistachio and Raspberry Croissant ($4.70):


4.5/5
The croissant was well caramelized and had a great crispness on the edges, although the bottom was a bit soggy from the pistachio and raspberry filling. The pistachio flavour was quite forward: there was both paste inside the croissant and chopped pistachio on top. The raspberry jam had a great sweet fragrance and also tanginess that paired well with the pistachio.

Winter Special ($6):


4/5
This contained a thin layer of cake topped with mousse and a red current jelly. The cake was quite tender and moist while the mousse was light and fluffy. The red current jelly provided a great tanginess.

Caramelia ($6):


4/5
This contained a tart shell with apples and topped with caramel cream and mini cream puffs. The puffs were also filled with caramel cream, which was a bit stiff, bu thad a great fragrance and paired well with the apples, which were a little bland on their own, but provided a nice bit of crunch. I found the crust to be a little bland.

Raspberry Caramel Tea Cake ($5):


4/5
This consisted of a cake that’s surrounded by a layer of caramel/chocolate and topped with caramel cream and raspberries. The cake itself was quite moist. Again, the caramel cream on top was a tad bit stiff, but still tasty, while the raspberry provided a bit of tanginess that went well with the caramel. I really enjoyed the outer shell of caramel, which had a great crunch and fragrance, although it was a bit difficult to cut through.

Almond Double Baked Croissant ($4.90):

dav
Almond Double Baked Croissant

N/A
My mom had this, and raved about how good it was. Big thumbs up from her.

I’m glad to have had the chance to revisit Mon Paris: I quite enjoyed everything they made, in particular the double baked croissants and cakes. The prices are a tad on the higher side, but still reasonable given the quality of their food. This is a shop that’s definitely worth checking out in my books.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Double Baked Croissants, Cakes
Mon Paris Patisserie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Running Chicken

Not too long ago I attended a Christmas dinner party with my lab mates. One of them was Korean and brought homemade fried chicken to the dinner, and someone brought up Running Chicken, which was a joint at UBC above the International Food Court that serves up Korean style fried chicken. Even though my colleagues didn’t really give the place glowing reviews, I decided to check it out anyways. In addition to the aforementioned chicken, which they offer in several flavours (plain, passion, honey soy, spring) they have a pretty good menu of popular Korean dishes. I had their Carbonara Tteokpokki with Cheese, Deep Fried Dumplings, and Half & Half (Passion and Honey Soy) fried chicken.

Carbonara Tteokpokki with Cheese ($9 + $1.50):


3.5/5
This consisted of rice cakes in a cream sauce with bacon, onions, and a few pieces of broccoli, as well as cheese for an extra $1.5. I really enjoyed the rice cakes, which had a great chewy texture. The sauce was rich and creamy, albeit a tad watery. It was oddly sweet however; I would have preferred the dish to be more savoury.

Deep Fried Dumplings, 5 pc ($6):


3/5
The dumplings were filled with a mixture of pork and chive. The skins on the exterior were quite crispy. The chive provided a nice fragrance. Unfortunately, I did find the pork to be a bit bland and one note.

Half & Half, Passion and Honey Soy ($24):


3.5/5
The chicken pieces were tender, juicy, and meaty. I quite enjoyed the Passion, which was flavourful and had a great heat. The Soy was a bit less exciting in comparison, although it was still flavourful. The main problem I had with the chicken, however, was that it was not crispy. In fact, if I wasn’t told that it was supposed to be fried chicken, I probably would have thought that it was stir fried. The whole portion was quite generous, and is probably good to share between 3-4 people (I had it all to myself though).

So I guess my colleagues were right in their review of Running Chicken: the food there were just mostly mediocre. The prices were fairly reasonable, and the staff I encountered were friendly. This isn’t a place that I’d necessarily recommend, but if you’re at UBC it is a decent option for some Korean food.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Passion Fried Chicken, Carbonara Tteokpokki
Running Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Trattoria Italian Kitchen – Kits

I’ve had pasta several times at different Italian restaurants. On every occasion, the waiter could come with parmesan, shave some over the dish and leave on their own. The staff I encountered at Tratorria was a bit different however. The aforementioned restaurant belongs to the Glowbal franchise and has a couple of locations in Metro Vancouver; I had the opportunity to visit their Kits location. Of course, being the cheap Asian I am, I visited on a Tuesday where they have all their pastas for just $13. Being the even cheaper Asian that I am, I ordered the most expensive pastas: Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs and Crab & Lobster Ravioli (even though I don’t really care for seafood, but it’s normally $25 so I’m saving more money). Once the dishes came out, one of the waiters came to bring me parmesan. I expected him to just shave the amount he thinks is acceptable and leave, but no, he just kept on shaving. And shaving. And shaving. My spaghetti was soon covered in a soft layer of parmesan, and I noticed the waiter glancing at me (while still shaving), and it finally dawned on me that he was waiting for me to tell him when to stop (I can be quite slow). I quickly told him to stop.

Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs ($24.95, $13 on Tuesdays):

 


3.5/5
This came with three good-sized meatballs and a dollop of truffle cream. The spaghetti itself was perfectly cooked to my personal liking, being tender while still retaining a good chew. The cream provided great richness and had a wonderful fragrance. The meatballs appear to be made from beef, and were quite tender and juicy; unfortunately, I did find them to be a tad underseasoned and bland.

Crab & Lobster Ravioli ($24.95, $13 on Tuesdays):

 


4/5
This came in a creamy tomato sauce. Again, the ravioli was cooked to my liking and contained a generous amount of filling, which was flavourful and very savoury (I’m not even a big seafood fan, and I still really enjoyed it). The sauce was also very flavourful and rich. The portion was a bit on the smaller side (the dish came with half a dozen in total); personally, I wouldn’t have paid for the full price.

I quite enjoyed the pastas at Trattorria. The prices were a bit on the higher side during regular days, but a great bargain during Tuesdays. The service was very good: the food comes out quite quickly, and the waiter I had was great (and didn’t seem to get mad at me for making him shave all that parmesan, or if he did, at least he didn’t show it). Definitely check this place out (and if you’re cheap like me, go on Tuesdays).

mde
Saved about $24 by going on Tuesday.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5 (4/5 on Tuesdays)
Service: 4/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Truffled Spaghetti & Signature Meatballs, Crab & Lobster Ravioli
Trattoria Italian Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kofta Meatball Kitchen

Being the immature idiot that I am, I really cannot resist a restaurant with a sign like this outside

dav
I cannot resist a ball joke.

For those of you that don’t know, this is outside Kofta Meatball Kitchen. They are a joint located in Gastown that, of course, serves up meatballs in several different varieties: Pork, Beef & Ricotta, Chicken, and Vegetaball (clever pun). You can get them in a bowl, in a sandwich, or in rabbit food salad. You order at the front counter and they’ll call you once your food’s ready. I had their The Perogie and Mac & Cheese bowls.

dav
The menu

The Perogie ($11):


3.5/5
This contained Pork Meatballs, macaroni, and potato wedges in a cheese sauce. The meatballs were very tender and juicy, and pretty well seasoned and flavourful. The macaroni were tender, but not mushy; I did find it to be quite underseasoned and bland, however. I did quite enjoy the potato wedges, which were tender and well-seasoned.

Mac & Cheese ($11):


3.5/5
This contained Beef & Ricotta Meatballs and macaroni in a cheese sauce. The meatballs here were a bit tougher/drier compared to the Pork Meatballs, but still relatively tender, and had a nice bouncy texture. It had a nice bit of heat to it; unfortunately, I found it to be quite lacking in salt. Again the noodles were well cooked, but quite underseasoned.

While I wasn’t crazy about the sides from Kofta Meatball Kitchen, their balls were quite juicy and tasty, and a pretty good size too (sorry I can’t resist a childish joke). The portions were fairly generous for the prices and the staff were very friendly. This is a joint that’s definitely worth visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: The Perogie
Kofta Meatball Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Duffin’s Donuts

I’ve spent most of my winter break watching movies, one of which was the Edge of Seventeen. It was good; I didn’t think it was laugh out loud funny or anything, but it was pretty charming and enjoyable. Even though it was supposedly set in America, the movie was clearly filmed in Vancouver. How do I know? Because one of the scenes took place in Duffin’s Donuts, which is located quite close to my house. I’ve never actually visited the place however, and after watching the movie and hearing Woody Harrelson recommending the donuts there, I decided to finally check the place out. In addition to the aforementioned donuts (which they serve in about two dozen different varieties), the place actually has a pretty large menu consisting of sandwiches, burgers, fries, and Mexican food. I got four donuts (Chocolate Peanut, Angel, Buttermilk with Custard, and Bear Claw), two Pupusas (Pork and Bean and Cheese), and a Beef Steak Sub.

Pork and Bean Pupusa ($2.99):


2.5/5
The corn tortilla was soft and had a nice fragrance, although I did find it to be a tad on the dry side. The bean did provide a nice creaminess. I couldn’t really taste much of the pork however, and I do find the amount of filling to be a bit stingy in general.

Cheese Pupusa ($2.99):
2.5/5
This was similar to the pork and bean pupusa, except with cheese. Again, I found the amount of filling to be too scant: I actually had difficulty detecting the cheese. The surrounding tortilla was enough to make it enjoyable, however.

Angel Donut ($1.25):


4/5
This is a yeast donut that’s filled with chocolate icing and coated in shredded coconut. The donut itself was reasonably light and fluffy. There was a generous amount of icing, which while a tad greasy, had a nice chocolaty flavour. I really enjoyed the coconut, which provided a great fragrance.

Chocolate Peanut Donut ($1.25):
4/5
This is a chocolate cake donut that’s filled with flaked/ground peanuts. The donut is quite tender and moist. The peanuts provided a wonderful fragrance; I couldn’t really detect much of the chocolate flavour, but that’s fine since I really enjoyed the peanuts.

Beef Steak Sub ($5.29):


4/5
This was filled with pieces of steak, mayo, pickles, vegetables. It usually comes with avocado, but because I’ve got an allergy, I asked them to remove it. The bread was really nicely toasted, being crispy on the outside and had a nice crispiness on the outside. The meat was also quite tasty, and was well seasoned and not too tough; the amount was a bit stingy however. I really enjoyed the mayo and vegetables.

Buttermilk Donut with Custard ($1.25):


4/5
Their buttermilk donuts comes with several varieties of fillings; I had their custard version. The donut had a cakey texture, and was tender and moist. I did find the custard to be a bit too hard/goopy; I think think that one of their jam fillings is probably better.

Bear Claw ($2):
3/5
This was a yeast donut that was filled with cinnamon apples. The dough was once again soft and fluffy. The apples still had a nice crispness to them. I did find the donut to be quite bland however; the apples were tart without much sweetness and there wasn’t enough glaze on the exterior.

So Woody Harrelson was right: the donuts at Duffin’s Donuts were quite solid and quite reasonably priced too. And while I didn’t care for the pupusas, the sandwich was tasty. This is definitely a place that I’d recommend visiting.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Donuts, Sandwiches
Duffin's Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vera’s Burger Shack – UBC

During my recent to the UBC location of Pizza Garden, I passed by Vera’s Burger Shack and realised that it’s been some time since I’ve had a burger. Thus, I decided to visit the spot the next day. The place, for those of you that haven’t visited, serves customizable burgers as well as about a dozen “Hall of Fame” varieties, along with hot dogs and various sides (fries, poutine, onion rings etc). They do also have daily specials where, for $14.5, you get a burger (which changes depending on the day), fries, and bottomless drink. Since it was Friday, I had the choice between any of the burgers from Monday-Thursday specials. I got a Stinger Burger and also substituted my fries for Jalapeno Bottle Caps for an extra $3.

dav
The only hall of fame I care about

Stinger Burger with Jalapeno Bottle Caps ($14.50 + $3):


3.5/5
The burger came with jalapeno bottle caps & cheddar. The burger itself seemed relatively small, but was fairly thick and surprisingly filling. The patty was quite thick and juicy, and all the sauces and fillings made it quite flavourful. The jalapeno poppers were quite crispy on the outside, and had a nice bit of heat; it was a little lukewarm and mushy on the interior, however.

In the end, I do think that all the jalapenos might have been a bit too much (not going to go into details, but I did have regrets a few hours later). The burger was fairly tasty, although I do find their prices to be a bit steep for the type of restaurant. Personally, I do much prefer Red Robins, but I think that this is still a decent place for a burger.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Burgers
Vera's Burger Shack Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato