Sunshine Diner is a pretty distinctive restaurant thanks to their retro decor, which includes statues of icons like Evils and Marilyn Monrone outside. The interior is equally well decked, with booths, pictures, and other decor. Their menu consists of various breakfast and lunch items, many of which are named after movie icons. I had their Elvis Eggs Benedict.
Elvis Eggs Benedict ($17.45):
Elvis Eggs Benedict
Elvis Eggs Benedict
This contained bacon, back bacon, and turkey bacon, and is served with home fries and a cup of fresh fruit. The eggs were tender and runny; the hollandaise was quite creamy albeit a bit on the bland side. It was quite salty from all the bacon. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the English muffin, which was quite tough at the bottom. The home fries were a bit soggy, but still tasty. I quite enjoyed the fruit, which came in quite a good variety, and were fairly fresh.
The food at Sunshine Diner was not mindblowing, but still fairly good. I did find the price to be a little on the higher side. The service was good though; the food comes quite quickly and the server I had was extremely warm and friendly. All in all, while the food didn’t blow me away, I think the diner is still worth checking out for the decor and service alone.
Faubourg a French cafe/patisserie with a couple of locations in Vancouver. I’ve previously been to their Kerrisdale location and have recently checked out their Downtown store, which is located right by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Their menu consists of pastries, cakes, drinks, and various breakfast/lunch fare. I had their Double Baked Milk Chocolate Hazelnut Croissant, Lemon Tart, Tiramisu, as well as an Almond Croissant for my mom.
The croissant was filled with a chocolatey paste, and was topped with a drizzle of milk chocolate as well as hazelnuts. It was crispy and had a great buttery flavour. The chocolate provided a nice sweetness and the hazelnuts a great crunch; unfortunately, I did find some of the nuts to be a little stale.
Lemon Tart ($6.95):
This consisted of a tart shell filled with lemon curd and vanilla, and is finished with pearl sugar. The lemon curd was smooth and creamy, with a fantastic tanginess; I did find the vanilla to be a bit gummy and lacking in flavour. The pearl sugar provided a great bit of texture. The crust was tender; I did find it to be a bit soggy, however.
This consisted of a sponge cake topped with marscapone cream. The cream had a great fragrance of coffee, and a perfect bittersweet flavour. The cake on the bottom was a bit on the dry side.
Almond Croissant ($4.95):
I quite liked Faubourg. The food was good; the prices are a tad on the higher side but nothing outrageous. All in all, this is a decent joint for some tasty French treats.
Bel Cafe is a popular shop located in Downtown, near Hawksworth restaurant (they have opened a 2nd location in Kits). Their menu consists of breakfast/lunch items, cakes, pastries, and drinks. I had their PB & J Croissant and Dark Chocolate Espresso Orange Opera cake.
Cake & Sandwich
PB & J Croissant ($4.50):
PB & J Croissant
PB & J Croissant
The croissant is a little oddly shaped since it’s actually rolled up into a spiral rather than the classic crescent shape. Regardless, it was still quite flaky and buttery. I really enjoyed the jam, which had a great tartness. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really able to get much flavour from the ground peanuts inside.
Dark Chocolate Espresso Orange Opera ($6):
Dark Chocolate Espresso Orange Opera
Dark Chocolate Espresso Orange Opera
The cake was tender and moist, and had a great bittersweet flavour. The espresso and the orange both provided a great fragrance that complimented the chocolate. I did find the mousse to have a rather greasy texture, however.
I’m pretty lukewarm on Bel Cafe. The treats are fairly good, nothing mindblowing. The prices are a bit on the high side, especially seeing that the portions aren’t large, but not outrageous. This isn’t anything outstanding, but still worth a trip if you’re nearby.
Summary: Food: 3.5/5 Price: 3.5/5 Service: N/A Overall: 3.5/5 Recommendations: Dark Chocolate Espresso Orange Opera
The only encounter I had with French was years ago in highschool, and I’ve never learned the language well. Currently, my entire French vocabulary consists of probably less than a dozen words. Whenever I go to a French joint, which is not all that often, I always wonder if I should try speaking French to the staff or if I’m just being insulting by butchering their language. Such as the dilemma that I encountered when I visited Au Comptoir. They are a small French bistro located in Kits, on 4th Avenue. I stopped by the joint during breakfast hours, which goes from 8:00-11:00 on weekdays. I had their Breakfast Au Comptoir, which came with a variety of breakfast items.
Breakfast Au Comptoir ($14):
Breakfast Au Comptoir
This came with egg cocotte, your choice of bacon or sausage (I had the sausage), country bread, potato rosti, and a side of salad. The salad was actually quite nicely dressed. The baked eggs were tender and had a custardy texture; it was a tad underseasoned, but nothing some salt won’t fix. The sausage was tender and juicy, although I did find it to be quite salty on its own. I actually ate it with the potato rosti, which had a great crispness on the outside and tender on the interior.
I really enjoyed my visit to Au Comptoir. The food was tasty, and although the portion wasn’t very large, it was quite rich and filling. The server I had was very attentive and professional. He spoke French, and I think I probably embarassed myself trying to say things like “merci” and “au revoir” and completely butchering the pronounciation as a result. All in all however, this is a place that I’d highly recommend checking out.
This is a cafe located on the corner of 41st and Oak, at the Jewish centre. They offer up a menu of Kosher breakfast and lunch items, pizzas, drinks, and bakeries. You order at the front counter, and the staff will bring the food to you once it’s ready. I had their Cheese Blintzes and a small Mocha. The food was good; I did find the mocha to be a little grainy however. The prices are very reasonable and the staff is friendly. This is a spot that I definitely recommend checking out.
Sandwiches & other food
Cheese Blintzes ($9.95):
This consists of two rolled up crepes, and are served with a side of sour cream and strawberry preserves. I thought from the name that the crepes would be filled with cheese, but instead it was this clear, thick filling that was sweet. I found the filling to be a bit on the overly sweet side, although still good; the crepes themselves were tender and chewy. I do wish that the preserves could have been raspberry or something more tart to balance the sweetness. The sour cream was a nice touch.
Small Mocha ($3.75):
Small Mocha (comes with 2 chocolates)
This was served with two small pieces of chocolate, which were bittersweet and not waxy. The mocha had a pretty good flavour, being sweet and chocolaty with a bit of bitterness. Unfortunately, I found it to be quite grainy near the bottom.
I quite enjoyed my visit to Cafe FortyOne. The food was good; I did find the mocha to be a little grainy however. The prices are very reasonable and the staff is friendly. This is a spot that I definitely recommend checking out.
The Bao Place is a small shop located on Kingsway, just across from Metrotown. As the name suggests, they specialize in steamed buns, which they offer in about a dozen varieties. I finally had a chance to check the place out during a recent visit to Superstore. I had their BBQ Delight, Buttermilk, Taro, Pork Deluxe, Curry Dynamite, and Belly Belly Pork buns, as well as a sample of their Chili Oil.
BBQ Delight ($3):
This was filled with ground pork in a bbq sauce. The bun looked a bit flat in appearance, but was actually quite light and fluffy. The pork was tender and juicy, and had a nice bit of sweetness.
The filling was actually more custard-like, and contained coconut. It was on the sweeter side while the coconut provided a great fragrance.
The filling was quite creamy and mildly sweet. I did find the flavour here to be a tad subtle/mild, but it was still tasty.
Pork Deluxe ($3.75):
This was filled whit ground pork, sausage, egg, water chestnuts and other ingredients. The pork was very tender, juicy, and well-seasoned. The chestnuts provided a great texture while the egg provided a nice creaminess.
Curry Dynamite ($3):
This was filled with beef. The meat had a nice bit of heat, although I didn’t get much fragrance of the filling.
Belly Belly Pork ($3.25):
Belly Belly Pork
Belly Belly Pork
This was filled with pieces of pork belly. The pork was very tender and juicy. I did find it to be a tad on the underseasoned side.
This provided a really nice fragrance, richness as well as heat, and was a nice sauce for the bun to be dipped in.
I’m glad to have finally stopped by The Bao Place. Their buns, although a bit flat-looking, are nevertheless still soft and fluffy; the fillings are also tasty, and I quite enjoyed their chili oil. All in all this, is a spot that I think is worth a visit.
While I keep on emphasizing on the fact that I’m quite the meat eater, but I don’t mind having some vegetarian cuisine every now and again. My most recent dallying into the world of vegetarism is at Agora Cafe. They are a spot tucked at the back of the Orchard Commons student residence on UBC. They’re open during the academic year (September to April), where they offer a small menu of sandwiches, lunch items, and baked goods, most of it appearing to be vegetarian and/or vegan. During my visit there, I had an Agora Sandwich and Granola Bar.
Agora Sandwich ($3.75):
This is filled with cheese, hummus, and greens, and comes on your choice of bread, I went with white. The bread on the sandwich was nicely toasted and crispy. I found the filling of the hummus and sandwich to be quite salty however.
Granola Bar ($1.25):
The granola bar was a bit too hard and crunchy for my taste, but did have a nice sweet flavour and was well-toasted. There was a good amount of chocolate chips, dried fruits and nuts mixed inside.
I enjoyed my visit go Agora Cafe. The food was fine, though not great; the prices are very affordable, however. This is definitely a great choice for an affordable campus meal.
Bon Cafe is located on the corner of 33rd and Main. The place used to be, many years ago, some kind of Chinese dim sum shop. This has now been replaced a Vietnamese joint. They have a menu consisting of pho, rice dishes, vermicelli and drinks. I had their Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli and Vietnamese Coffee.
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli ($12.25):
Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli
I really enjoyed the spring roll, which was very crispy and had a nice savoury filling. The chicken was quite tender and juicy, although I would have liked it to be a bit more charred, and it was a tad underseasoned. The pickled vegetables were quite nice, but
Vietnamese Coffee, Cold ($5):
This consisted of drip coffee in a filter that’s over a cup containing a layer of condensed milk. You wait for the coffee to slowly flow into the cup and mix it with the milk. I wanted the coffee to be cold, so it came with a glass of ice. The coffee was quite strong and had a perfect balance of sweetness and bitterness with the condensed milk.
I really enjoyed the food at Bon Cafe. The prices were a bit on the higher end, but not unreasonable. This is a spot that’s worth checking out.
Summary: Food: 4/5 Price: 3.5/5 Service: 3/5 Overall: 3.5/5 Recommendations: Grilled Lemongrass Chicken, Deep Fried Spring Roll on Rice Vermicelli, Vietnamese Coffee
During my recent visit to Bangkok Cafe, I passed by Artistry Coffee House. I decided to check the joint out this week. They are a small cafe in Kits, located on 4th Avenue, near MacDonald Street. In addition to coffees, lattes, and other drinks, they have pastries, various breakfast/lunch items, and cinnamon buns from Grounds for Coffee. I had a Matcha Latte, Almond Croissant, Trail Mix Bar, and Morning Glory Muffin.
Almond Croissant ($3.95):
The croissant was quite flakey and buttery. The almond paste inside was a bit on the thin, watery side, but that didn’t matter as it was still very tasty, with a great almond flavour and sweetness.
Trail Mix Bar ($2.85):
Trail Mix Bar
Trail Mix Bar
The granola bar had a chewy texture and was mildly sweet in flavour. I found it a little too plain however; I could have done with a little more fruits and nuts mixed in.
12 oz Matcha Latte ($4.45):
You have the option to have the latte with sugar or without; I had it without sugar as I wanted to taste the matcha. The latte was smooth and creamy, and a slight bitterness. I did find the matcha flavour to be a tad subtle, but still good.
Morning Glory Muffin ($2.95):
Morning Glory Muffin
Morning Glory Muffin
The muffin was quite tender and moist. It was quite bland however, and had a pretty overwhelming flavour of cinnamon. I also found it to be quite plain: there wasn’t much fruits or nuts mixed in.
The food at Artistry Coffee House is a bit of a hit and miss; I didn’t like their trail mix bar or muffin, but their croissant was tasty. Their latte was also quite good. All in all, while I wasn’t blown away by my visit, I think that this is still a decent alternative to the Starbucks across the street. At least they have lavender lattes.
Eating out with other people has its advantages and disadvantages. The main advantage (in addition to having the company of your friends, of course) is that you get to order more dishes without raising any questions from the staff. The disadvantage is that I’ve got less say over which dishes to order. Such is the case when I visited Guu Otokomae with a couple of my friends over the weekend. This is one of several establishments of the Guu franchise, a popular Japanese Izakaya in Vancouver. We went there during lunch time. In addition to tapas, they offer lunch sets (I cannot remember the exact prices for them, but they’re around $10). After much debate, my friends decided share two lunchsets (“Curry Chicken” and “Grilled Mackerel”) and some tapas (Negitoro Garlic, Spicy Calamari, and Chicken Kara-Age), the latter two of which I pushed for since I do love fried food.
Negitoro Garlic ($8.90):
This consisted of chopped tuna and avocado and is served with garlic baguette. I wasn’t able to eat the tuna since I’m allergic to avocado, but I did have a slice of the baguette, which was crispy and buttery.
Spicy Calamari ($8.90):
This was deep fried squid served in a spicy tomato sauce. The tomato sauce had a great flavour, being tangy with just a slight bit of heat. The squid was a bit soggy from the sauce, but that didn’t bother me much.
Chicken Kara-Age ($8.90):
This consisted of pieces of boneless deep-fried chicken, and is served with hot & sour onion sauce and garlic mayo. The chicken was dark meat, and was thus tender and juicy, with a great crispy coating. The meat was a bit underseasoned and bland on its own, but did taste good with the garlic mayo.
“Curry Chicken” Lunch Special (around $10):
This consisted of grilled chicken with curry sauce, rice, and salad. The chicken was dark meat, and was thus quite tender and juicy, although underseasoned and bland. The curry was thick and had a nice bit of heat, but I did find it to be a bit too salty.
“Grilled Mackerel” Lunch Special (around $10):
“Grilled Mackerel” Lunch Special
Miso Soup & Side Salad (comes with lunch sets)
This came with a side of rice and miso soup. The mackerel was tender and well-seasoned. Unfortunately, it did have a rather unpleasant, fishy scent, which turned me off.
In spite of my general reluctance to eat out with others, I had a very good time with my friends at Guu. The food, while not outstanding, is still quite good and the prices are reasonable. The service is also friendly. This is a great place to visit with a couple of buddies to share some tapas.