La Grotta Del Formaggio

La Grotta del Formaggio is a small Italian deli/grocery that’s located on The Drive. While they sell a variety of different imported good, they are probably best known for their sandwiches. You pick your bread, fillings, and condiments, and they’ll make your sandwich for you. I had a Small Bun with Proscuitto and a Half Focaccia with Porchetta, at least I asked for porchetta. The lady behind the counter seemed to be a bit hard of hearing, however, and gave me mortadella for the latter instead of porchetta. Oh well.

Small Bun with Prosciutto ($7.75):


4/5
I had the sandwich with pesto mayo, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, red peppers, edam cheese, red peppers and spinach. There was a large amount of proscuitto inside the sandwich, which was very salty and savoury. The bread was also quite thin and toasted and crispy.

Half Focaccia with Mortadella ($9.95):


3/5
I had the sandwich with chipotle mayo, red peppers, gouda cheese, red peppers and spinach. I asked for porchetta in my sandwich, but the lady was a little hard of hearing and gave me mortella instead. That was fine though, because the mortella was still quite tasty. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of the bread, which was a little too grainy for my taste.

I quite enjoyed my visit to Le Grotta del Formaggio. While I wasn’t a bit fan of the focaccia, which I found to be a bit dry and grainy, I really enjoyed the bun. The prices are a bit on the expensive side, but they do come with a generous amount of fillings, so I think it’s worth the price.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Sandwiches
La Grotta Del Formaggio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I Hua Bakery

During my recent visit to Crepe & Cafe, I decided to check out I Hua Bakery, which was located just a few doors down. In spite of their name, they are actually more of a Chinese/Asian grocery shop, although they do also sell baked goods, dim sum, and apparently wonton soup as well. I had their Steamed Pork Bun, Steamed Chicken Bun, Custard Cream Bun, BBQ Pork Bun, Milk Powder Bun, and Red Bean Bun.

Steamed Pork Bun ($1.59):


3.5/5
The bun was a bit too hard and chewy for my liking. I also found the filling to be a little stingy. The meat was still tasty though, and was tender and juicy.

Steamed Chicken Bun ($1.59):


3.5/5
I had the same issues with this bun as I did with the steamed pork. The filling was still good though; I particularly enjoyed the vegetables, which provided a nice crunchy texture.

Custard Cream Bun ($1.49):


3.5/5
The bun had a strangely soft, almost cake-light texture. There was a great amount of custard filling inside however, which was creamy, sweet and had a really nice fragrance.

BBQ Pork Bun ($1.99):


3.5/5
The bun contained a fairly decent amount of pork inside, which was tender and had a nice bit of sweetness.

Milk Powder Bun ($1.75):


3/5
This contained a sweet, powdery paste. On this occasion, I found the filling to be a little stingy and not well distributed throughout the bun.

Red Bean Bun ($1.49):


3.5/5
This contained ribbons of red bean paste, which was sweet and creamy. There was a fairly good amount of filling distributed throughout.

I’m glad to have stopped by I Hua Bakery. Their baked goods weren’t the greatest, but still fairly good; the prices are very cheap. This isn’t the best bakery out there, but definitely still worth a visit for some very affordable food.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Custard Cream Bun, BBQ Pork Bun, Red Bean Bun
I Hua Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Booster Juice – UBC

Booster Juice is a smoothie chain shop with several locations in Vancouver. I have visited their UBC location, which is near the university village. They have a large menu of a few dozen different types of smoothies as well as some sandwiches and other food. I had their smoothie and sandwich combo, with a Bananas-A-Whey smoothie and BBQ Chicken Panini. The smoothie was pretty good; the panini was just fine. The prices aren’t exactly cheap, but aren’t bad either. All in all, this is a pretty decent chain for some slightly healthier food choices.

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Sandwiches and Wraps

Regular Combo, Bananas-A-Whey, BBQ Chicken Panini ($12.25):

Bananas-A-Whey:


3.5/5
This contained bananas, pineapple, skim milk, frozen yogurt, and whey protein. The smoothie was quite thick but not chalky or too icy. It had a nice sweetness; I did find the flavour to be a bit one-note.

BBQ Chicken Panini:


3/5
They have their paninis premade; they head it up for you on the grill. I wasn’t a big fan of the bread; it was a little too soft and didn’t have the greatest texture. The filling was quite tasty and flavourful however; I quite enjoyed the bbq sauce, which provided a nice bit of sweetness.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3/5
Recommendations: Bananas-A-Whey
Booster Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pie R Squared

The time I’ve eaten at UBC, it was at Pie R Squared. Back then, they were located in the old SUB. The shop has now moved over to the new Nest. They serve up various pizzas by the slice or whole, pastas, calzones and various drinks. During my recent revisit, I had their combo 2, which consists of 2 slices of pizza and a pop of your choice. I had their Pulled Pork Pizza and BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Combo 2: 2 slices of pizza + 1 pop ($6.50):

Pulled Pork Pizza:


3.5/5
I have to say from the get-go, I was quite impressed by the crust on the pizza. In spite of having sitten under heat lamps, it remained quite crispy while the edges had a nice, chewy texture. The toppings were flavourful, with the pulled pork being tender with a slightly sweet and tangy flavour.

BBQ Chicken Pizza:


3/5
The crust here was also crispy, although I do find the edges to be a bit too hard and burnt in this case. The topping here was a bit on the bland side, and there was also a lack of chicken. It was still fairly tasty though.

Pie R Squared hasn’t changed much over the years. Their pizzas are fairly average; nothing outstanding but still tasty. Their prices are reasonable. There are definitely better choices available at UBC, but this isn’t bad in a pinch.

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

Mercante

Ever since we started having lab meetings at noon, our PI started getting pizzas from Mercante so that the people wouldn’t have to sit through the meeting hungry. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any photos of the pizzas in the middle of the meeting since 1) the lighting was usually terrible and 2) I didn’t want my fellow colleagues to question why I was taking photos. Thus, I decided to head over to the joint myself to write my review. The spot specializes in wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, although they do also have some pastas and other desserts. I had their Tortellini and an Al Pesto Pizza.

Tortellini ($7.75):


3/5
This was in a cream sauce and is topped with parmesan. The pasta itself was a tad overcooked for me and didn’t appear to have much filling, and was a bit bland on its own. I did quite enjoy the sauce, which was creamy albeit a tad bit underseasoned.

Al Pesto Pizza ($12.50):


3.5/5
This was topped with pesto, prosciutto, cheese, artichokes, and tomatoes. The crust wasn’t very crispy, although it was thin and flavourful. There was a good amount of topping. The pesto was very flavourful, albeit a bit on the salty side; I really enjoyed the tomatoes, which provided a great tanginess. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a big fan of the artichokes.

Although I wasn’t the biggest fan of the pasta at Mercante, I really did enjoy their pizzas. The prices are quite reasonable. While this is not the best pizza joint that I’ve been to, but definitely a good choice if you’re on campus.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Al Pesto Pizza
Mercante 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):

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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):

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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):

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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):

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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

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.

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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

Pizza Garden – UBC

Probably the first food that I’ve had at UBC was pizza from Pie R Squared. A considerable number of new pizza places have appeared over the years. One of them is Pizza Garden, which is located at University Village, right next to an A&W. In addition to whole pies, they also offer premade slices, which they’ll heat up for you (they also have a few chairs available if you want to eat in; otherwise, they’ll pack your slices in a box for you to go). I had their Hawaiian, Pollo Eccllente, and Calabria slices.

Hawaiian Slice ($2.85):


3.5/5
This was topped with prosciutto and pineapple. Even though the pizza wasn’t hot by the time I got to it, the crust was still quite crispy. The outer edges were a bit too tough/chewy, however. The amount of topping was a tad on the sparser side, though still substantial enough to make the pizza tasty and flavourful. Although according to their website, the meat here is supposed to be prosciutto, I think it’s actually ham (it tastes like it at least). I quite enjoyed the pineapple (yes, I’m on that team) with provided a nice sweetness.

Pollo Eccllente Slice ($2.85):

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Pollo Eccllente Slice

3.5/5
This was topped with grilled chicken, spinach, red peppers and onions. the chicken was white meat, and was hence a bit on the dry side, but was at least well seasoned. I enjoyed the onions, which lent a nice flavour.

Calabria Slice ($2.85):

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Calabria Slice

3.5/5
This was topped with sausage, capicolla, and hot soppressata. This was probably the most flavourful of the three slices that I’ve tried. My favourite was the soppressata, which had a great bit of heat (be warned if you don’t like heat).

The pizza at Pizza Garden was fairly enjoyable: their crust were crispy even when cold, and while they weren’t overly generous with their topping, it was still substantial. The prices aren’t exactly cheap, but not unreasonable either. This isn’t my favourite pizza place, but it’s worth stopping by for a quick bite at UBC.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pizza Slices
Pizza Garden Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Meinhardt

I’ve passed by Meinhardt a number of times while visiting Pacific Centre, and recently decided to check this place out. For some reason, I always thought that the place was some kind of cafe due to signs that they’d have outside advertising breakfast/lunch specials. Well, it turns out they’re actually a grocery store in the vain of Whole Foods. Oh well. They still have quite a large selection of tasty-looking cakes and other desserts, as well as various other items. After much hemming and hawing, I settled on a Pork Empanada, Chocolate Decadence Cake Slice, and Black Forest Slab Cake.

Pork Empanada ($3.99):


3.5/5
The crust was a bit tough and not flaky enough for my liking. There was a generous amount of meat filling however, which was quite tender and juicy, and had a nice bit of heat.

Chocolate Decadence Cake Slice ($4.99):


3.5/5
This consisted of layers of chocolate sandwiching chocolate mousse, and was coated in chocolate buttercream. The cake was fairly tender and moist, while the mousse/buttercream was a bit hard/stiff, but not greasy. I did find it to be a tad on the sweet side. This is certainly no match for the version at Trafiq, but it is still fairly tasty.

Black Forest Slab Cake ($4.99):


4/5
The layers of cake was very tender and moist, with a nice bit of chocolate flavour. The cream was fresh and light, while the cherry fillings provided a great bit of tang.

Although I was a bit surprised/disappointed to find out that Meinhardt wasn’t what I thought it was, I did quite enjoy their food. The prices for their premade foods are fairly reasonable; I do find their groceries to be expensive, however. While I personally wouldn’t go there for groceries, their cakes are worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Black Forest Slab Cake
Meinhardt Fine Foods 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