Foret Noire

Even though my French is limited to just a handful of words that I’ve learned in highschool, I do know the meaning of Foret Noire. The latter is a pretty new French patisserie that opened on Broadway, just a couple of blocks from Cambie. They serve up a variety of fancy cakes, macarons, chocolates, drinks and other items. Surprisingly though, in spite of their name, they didn’t have any black forest cakes available when I visited. Maybe a misdirect? Oh well. I got their Exotic Flower, Broadway, Strawberry Chocolate Entremet, and Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart.

Exotic Flower ($7.2):


4/5
The cake contained a jelly-like mousse outside that had a really nice mango flavour, and a slight tanginess. It contained a chocolatey, crispy interior, and was topped with pieces of pineapple. I wasn’t completely sure if the chocolate paired well with the mango, but each of the components were very tasty.

Broadway ($7.2):


4/5
This consisted of chocolate mousse that’s coated with a chocolate glaze, and contained some pieces of biscuits inside. The mousse was smooth and creamy, and had a wonderful bittersweet flavour. The biscuits provided a great bit of texture. The chocolate was good quality and melted in my mouth without any waxiness.

Strawberry Chocolate Entremet ($7.2):


4/5
This was similar to the exotic flower, and consisted of a straeberry flavoured jelly surrounding strawberry preserves and a crispy interior. The strawberry had a great fragrance and provided a nice bit of tangy while the crispy interior provided a nice texture.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Tart ($7.2):


4/5
This consisted of a chocolate tart filled with chocolate mousse and caramel. The tart shell was tender with a great bittersweet flavour. The mousses were smooth and creamy, and not overly sweet. I especially enjoyed the small pieces of caramel on top, which provided a great fragrance and flavour.

I was very impressed by the cakes at Foret Noire, all of them were very good. The prices are a bit on the higher side, but I think that it’s worth it for the quality. All in all, I’d definitely recommend visiting the place.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Cakes

Gia Minh

Giah Minh is a Vietnamese joint located on Fraser Street, a couple of blocks away from 49th Avenue. Their menu consists of the usual popular Vietnamese fare, along with a variety of drinks and desserts. I had their BBQ Chicken, Spring Rolls with Vermicelli and Mango Shake.

BBQ Chicken, Spring Rolls with Vermicelli ($10):


4/5
The spring roll was not exactly hot, but still quite crispy and flavourful. The chicken was tender and flavourful; I was missing a bit of charred flavour, however.

Mango Shake ($4.50):


4.5/5
The shake was creamy but not overly rich, and not all icy. It had a great fragrance of mango, and was sweet without being overly so.

I was very impressed with Giah Minh: the food was solid; I was especially impressed by their shakes. The prices were very affordable. The only criticism I have is the service, which can be a little lacking at times. All in all however, this is a solid Vietnamese joint that I’d highly recommend visiting.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Mango Shake
Gia Minh Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Koerners Pub

With the school term coming to an end, we had a couple of undergraduates that were leaving the lab. To give them the proper send off, we went over to Koerners. They are a pub located near the UBC Rose Garden that’s quite popular among staff and students of UBC. They serve a pretty good menu of drinks as well as food. The rest of the group got a few pitches of beers. Being a non-drinker, I just stuck to the food. I just had their Kogi Fried Chicken Sandwich.

Kogi Fried Chicken Sandwich (with fries) ($13.95):


4/5
This consisted of a brioche bun filled with fried chicken, kogi mayo, jalapenos and other vegetables, and comes with your choice of fries, salad or soup (I had the fries). The brioche bun was soft and fluffy, and had a nice bit of sweetness. The chicken had a great crispiness, and was tender and juicy. The mayo had a nice sweetness that paired well with the chicken. The fries were quite crispy.

I don’t like beer, so I can’t give any thoughts on the drinks at Koeners, but their food was great. The staff wasn’t the friendliest, but it might just be because we were such a large gorup, it’s more difficult for them to manage. All in all, this is a solid joint that’s definitely worth visiting.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 3/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Kogi Fried Chicken Sandwich
Koerner's Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bao Bakery

Not long ago, one of my colleagues brought some moon cakes to one of our weekly lab meetings, the ones with salted egg yolks inside. This quite shocked the non-Chinese/Japanese members of the lab; they were confused as to why you’d put egg yolks in a pastry. Because they taste good? I like salted eggs yolks; they have a great oily texture.

Anyways, I recently visited Bao Bakery, a Chinese/Asian-style bakery located on 41st, right by the Joyce Skytrain Station. They have a large selection of steamed baos, buns, and various other baked goods. I had their BBQ Pork, Ube Bean, Chicken Deluxe, and Racy Yolky Bao.

BBQ Pork Bao ($2.75):


4/5
The bun was very fluffy and soft, with a great chewy texture. It was filled with a great amount of pork. The pork was tender and had a great bit of sweetness to it.

Ube Bean Bao ($2.05):


4/5
Again, there was a good amount of filling inside. The ube was creamy and sweet. It might be a bit on the sweeter side for some people, but I quite enjoyed it.

Chicken Deluxe Bao ($3.60):


4/5
This contained BBQ pork, salted egg yolk, and ham. Again, the bun was filled with a good amount of meat. The meat was flavourful, tender and juicy; there also seemed to be some water chestnuts inside that provided a bit of crunch.

Racy Yolky Bao ($2.90):


4.5/5
This was filled with custard and salted egg yolk. The custard was sweet and creamy, while the egg yolk was oily and provided a great saltiness to balance the sweetness. This is definitely a great twist on the regular custard version.

I thoroughly enjoyed all of the food that I’ve tried at Bao Bakery, in particular their Racy Yolky. The prices are also very fair. All in all, this is a bakery that I STRONGLY recommend checking out; if you’re adventerous, do try the egg yolk one.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Baos (favourite was racy yolky)
Bao Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Honolulu Coffee – Kerrisdale

Honolulu Coffee is a small coffee chain with a couple of locations across Great Vancouver. During my recent trip to COBS, I decided to check out their location in Kerrisdale. The shop specialize in drinks, including Kona coffee, but also have a selection of fresh baked pastries, including cakes from L’Atelier (which I’ve also been to and am a fan of). I had their Bacon Cheddar Scone, Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookie, and Hawaiian Muffin.

Bacon Cheddar Scone ($4.5):


3.5/5
The scone was very tender and moist. The bacon provided a great amount of flavour and fragrance. I did find it to be a bit on the salty side.

Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3.5):


3.5/5
The cookie was more crispy; I actually preferred ones that are soft and chewy. There was a good amount of macadamia and chocolate chips throughout, however.

Hawaiian Muffin ($3.75):


3/5
The muffin contained pieces of pineapple and coconut inside and is topped with struessel. It was quite moist, albeit a tad on the bland side. I did enjoy the pieces of pineapple; unfortunately, I was unable to detect any coconut.

I didn’t try any of the drinks at Honolulu Coffee (I’m not a coffee connoisseur, and can’t really tell the difference between good coffee and bad coffee). The pastries weren’t great but still good; the prices fairly reasonable. While I can’t rate the cafe on their drinks, I think the shop is worth checking out for their food alone.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Bacon Cheddar Scone, Macadamia Nut Chocolate Chip Cookie

COBS – Kerrisdale

COBS is a popular bakery franchise with several locations across Greater Vancouver. I have visited their Kerrisdale location in the past, and have been quite impressed by their fare. Recently, I had the opportunity to revisit their shop. They have a pretty large selection of breads, as well as pastries, croissants and other treats. I had their Chocolate Croissant, Fun Bun, and Wild Blueberry & Custard Danish.

Chocolate Croissant ($3.55):


3/5
The croissant wasn’t reallly flaky or buttery, but more bread-like. I did enjoy the chocolate however, which had a nice bittersweet flavour, and was not waxy.

Fun Bun ($1.1):


3.5/5
This was actually quite like a donut, and is topped with a glaze and sprinkles. It was soft and fluffy without being greasy like a donut, and had a nice sweetness.

Wild Blueberry & Custard Danish ($3.25):


3/5
I wasn’t the biggest fan of the bread/pastry outside, which was a little hard and dry. The filling was quite good however; the custard was yogurt-like, and had a nice tangy flavour.

I have to admit, I was a tad disappointed with my most recent visit to COBS. I didn’t find their food to be as good as I remembered (though not bad though). The prices are quite fair, however. The bakery didn’t blow me away, but I think it’s still worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendation: Fun Bun
COBS Bread Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Secret Garden Tea

Secret Garden Tea is a cute little shop located in Kerrisdale. They are best known for serving high tea, although they do offer various breakfast & lunch items, as well as baked goods. I had their French Toast Croissant off of their breakfast menu, as well as a pot of their Secret Garden’s Secret tea.

French Toast Croissant ($11):


3/5
This consisted of a croissant that’s stuffed with cinnamon apples and cream cheese, and is served with a side of syrup and fruit. The croissant was nicely grilled and crispy on the interior. It was filled with apples, which were tender; unfortunately, I wasn’t able to taste much of the cream cheese inside. The fruit, which consisted of melon and cantalope, were a bit too unripe and hard, however.

Secret Garden’s Secret Tea ($5):


3.5/5
This was a black tea that’s flavoured with vanilla. The tea itself had a pretty nice flavour, and was mildly bitter. I quite enjoyed the vanilla, which was sweet but not overpowering.

The food was decent, but not great; I did find their prices to be a bit on the higher side. The staff were quite friendly, however. The place didn’t blow me away, but I think it’s probably worth checking out for their high tea menu.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: N/A
Secret Garden Tea Company Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sun Fresh Bakery

Sun Fresh Bakery is a Chinese/Asian style bakery that’s located in Chinatown, not far from Main Street. They have a very large selection of baked goods, steamed buns, and other food. I had their Curry Beef Bun, Custard Bun, Shredded Pork Bun, Shredded Pork Sponge Cake, BBQ Pork Bun, and Coconut Cream Bun.

Curry Beef Bun ($1.85):


3/5
The bun was quite fluffy and soft. There wasn’t really all that much filling inside; there was just a small amount in the middle. The beef was a little dry, but flavourful, and had a nice bit of heat.

Custard Bun ($1.45):


3.5/5
The custard was sweet and creamy, with a great fragrance. Again, I do wish there was more of it spread throughout the bun.

Shredded Pork Bun ($1.85):


3.5/5
This was filled with a creamy, mayonnaise-like spread and is topped with shredded pork. The shredded pork provided a great savouriness. The filling on the inside provided a nice richness; I do wish that it would be a little sweeter, however.

Shredded Pork Sponge Cake (around $2):


3.5/5
This consisted of a swiss roll that’s filled with cream and topped with pork floss. The cake itself was quite light and fluffy, and not overly dry. The cream inside had a nice bit of saltiness. I wasn’t able to taste much of the pork floss unfortunately.

Coconut Cream Bun ($1.45):


3.5/5
The bun was light and fluffy. The cream inside had a nice bit of saltiness. The coconut on top provided a great bit of fragrance.

BBQ Pork Bun ($1.85):


3.5/5
Unlike the other buns, this one actually had a fairly amount of filling inside. The pork was tender and juicy, and had a nice bit of sweetness.

I was impressed by Sun Fresh Bakery. The food wasn’t great, but still quite good. The prices were fairly cheap. This is a decent place to check out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Custard Bun, Shredded Pork Bun, Shredded Pork Sponge Cake, Coconut Cream Bun, BBQ Pork Bun
Sun Fresh Bakery House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Heirloom Vegetarian

I was apparently a picky eater when I was young. According to my mom, there used to be a long list of things that I refused to eat. This is a little surprising since these days I’m pretty much down for anything other than avocado, which I’m allergic to, and sashimi, which I just don’t like. I do remember not liking mushrooms when I was still in elementary, and carefully picking out any mushrooms that might be in my lunch. Fortunately, nowadays I do like mushrooms. As such, when I visited Heirloom Vegetarian, I decided to get their Mushroom Benedict. The latter is a restaurant located near Granville, just a couple of blocks from Granville that, as their name implies, specializes in vegetarian cuisine.

Mushroom Benedict ($19):


3.5/5
This consisted of 2 eggs, goat cheese, king & oyster mushrooms on an English muffin, and is topped with hollandaise. They do also have a vegan version available (with tofu instead of eggs). It’s served with smashed potatoes and a small side salad. I really enjoyed the hollandaise, which was thick, creamy and had a nice tang. There was a good amount of mushrooms, which was quite flavourful and went quite well with the goat cheese. I didn’t really like the muffin however, which was kind of soggy and didn’t seem to be toasted. The potatoes were crispy on the outside but underseasoned; fortunately, they do serve it with some tomato sauce. The salad was just standard.

I’m glad that I’ve grown to like mushrooms now; I quite enjoyed the mushroom benedict at Heirloom Vegetarian. The service was also quite good: the staff were very friendly and pretty attentive. I do find their prices to be a little on the higher side, however. All in all, this is definitely a good option for vegetarians and anyone else who just wants to try something different.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Mushroom Benedict
Heirloom Vegetarian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Copa Cafe

Copa Cafe is a Hong Kong style cafe located on Cambie, near the King Edward Skytrain station. They have a pretty clean and comfortable interior with a fair number of seats available for both single diners and larger groups. I visited them during breakfast, which is available from 8:00 – 11:30 am. I had one of their combos, which came which came with your choice of two meats, toast and drink.

House Special Combo A+B ($11 + 0.75):


4/5
This comes with your choice of a Main A along with a Side Ingredient B, and comes with thick toast or French toast for an extra $0.75, as well as your choice of coffee or tea. I had Pork Chop, 2 Eggs, and substituted my toast for French toast. The pork chop was tender and juicy and nicely seasoned. The eggs were standard; a tad bland. I really enjoyed the French toast, which was crispy on the outside and had a great coconut filling.

I quite enjoyed the food at Copa Cafe: their French toast was great, as was their pork chop. The prices are also very reasonable. The service wasn’t great, which is generally expected of most Asian joints. All in all, this is a solid joint that I’d recommend visiting.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4/5
Service: 2.5/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: French toast, Pork Chop
Copa Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato