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

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

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

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

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

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):

dav
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):

dav
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

Paul’s Sub Shop

Ever since the 49 got re-routed near Metrotown, I’ve been passing by Paul’s Sub Shop. They are a small casual joint that, as the name suggests, specializes in sandwiches, although they do also serve up various breakfast/lunch items. I had their Bacon Double Cheese Steak and Super Sub to go.

6″ Bacon Double Cheese Steak ($10):


4/5
This contained bacon, cheese, and ribeye steak, along with mayonnaise and barbeque sauce. I did have this to go, and unfortunately, the bread did get a soggy from being wrapped in foil. That was okay though, for I do actually like softer bread over crispy. Although it didn’t really look very big, it was quite heavy and loaded with filling. The meats were tender and flavourful, and I really enjoyed the barbecue sauce, which provided a great sweetness to accompany the salty meats.

6″ Super Sub ($10):


4/5
This contained steak, salami, capocollo and mushrooms. The sandwiches were seriously over-stuffed: I actually had trouble eating it since I’ve got a smaller mouth. The meats were all very flavourful and savoury, without being overly salty. Again, the bread did get a little soggy from the trip home, but was still tasty and actually held up well to all the filling.

I quite enjoyed the sandwiches at Paul’s Sub Shop. The prices were a bit on the higher side, but I do think that they are good quality and worth the cost. The food did take a little while to prepare, but I really can’t complain too much since there was just one slightly older lady (who was quite friendly) running the shop when I visited. All in all, this is a place that’s worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Bacon Double Cheese Steak, Super Sub
Paul's Sub Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Golden Ray Bakery

Living in Kensington region, there are quite a few Chinese/Asian bakeries around. One such joint is Golden Ray Bakery, which is located on Kingsway, near Knight Street. Although small, they do offer a pretty good variety of baked buns, steamed buns, cookies, and cakes. During my visit, I had their Cheese Hot Dog, Tuna, Curry Beef, Pizza, BBQ Pork Pineapple, and Dried Pork Buns, as well as a Pork & Egg Steamed Bun.

Pork & Egg Steamed Bun ($1.75):


4/5
This was filled with minced pork, Chinese sausage, and egg. The bun outside was fluffy with a nice bit of sweetness. There was a fairly good amount of filling inside, with the meats being tender and juicy and the sausage having a wonderful fragance (I do love Chinese sausage; I probably wouldn’t want to know what actually goes into them, but they are frigging delicious).

Cheese Hot Dog Bun ($1.40):


3.5/5
The bread itself was relatively soft with a slight bit of sweetness. The hotdog was just a standard hotdog that’s quite processed, but still very tasty. The cheese was also very tasty. I do wish there’s a bit more filling, however.

Tuna Bun ($1.40):


3/5
The tuna was quite savoury and had a great creaminess (probably from mayo). It was a tad bit fishy, but that’s expected. Again, I could have done with more filling.

Curry Beef Bun ($1.40):


3/5
The bread was quite fluffy and soft. I quite enjoyed the curry, which was fragrant and mildly sweet; there just wasn’t much meat, however, and I do find that they were a bit stingy on the amount of filling.

BBQ Pork Pineapple Bun ($1.40):


3.5/5
I quite enjoyed the “pineapple” topping, which provided a nice sweetness and a bit of texture. The filling was also sweet, and the pieces of pork were tender. Again, I do wish that they could have been a little more generous with the amount of filling.

Pizza Bun ($1.40):


3/5
This was filled with tomato sauce, peppers, hotdog and cheese. I wasn’t a big fan of the tomato sauce or peppers, which I found to be a little bland. The hot dogs (which was the same as the ones from the Cheese Hot Dog bun) were tasty however, and the cheese provided a nice creaminess.

Dried Pork Bun ($1.40):


2.5/5
This was topped with dried pork floss. In most versions, the bun would be split open, and there would be this clear, sweet glaze inside; this wasn’t the case here, however. The bun was still tasty, being fluffy and soft, and the floss had a nice savouriness. I do miss the glaze however, which is normally my favourite part of these types of buns.

The baked buns at Golden Ray Bakery are mostly just mediocore, but I did really enjoy the steamed bun. The prices are very affordable, however: most of the buns are around $1.50. This isn’t the best bakery around, but it is decent and worth visiting. They are cash only, so make sure that you’ve got some on you when you visit.

Summary:
Food: 3/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Pork & Egg Steamed Bun, BBQ Pork Pineapple Bun
Golden Ray Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro – Kerrisdale

What is a baoguette? That was the question that I wanted to find the answer to when I visited Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro. They are a Vietnamese joint located in Kerrisdale on 41st Avenue (they have an additional place in Denman). They serve up a menu consisting of the usual popular Vietnamese food: banh mi, pho, and rice/vermicelli dishes. Unfortunately, to my great disappointment, I realised that their “baoguettes” were just regular baguettes/banh mi. Oh well. I ended up getting their house Special Baoguette and Com Cari Ga (with rice) instead.

Com Cari Ga with Rice ($10):


3.5/5
This was served with either a baguette or rice, I had the rice. The curry was very fragrant and had a nice bit of heat. I did find it to be lacking a bit of seasoning/salt however. There were four generous pieces of chicken, which were tender and juicy (by virtue of being dark meat); I did find it to be also a bit lacking in salt as well. The portion was quite generous for the price.

House Special Baoguette ($5.95):


4/5
This contained ham, cold cuts and pickled vegetables. The bread had a nice crispy texture on the outside while being soft and fluffy on the inside. The filling was very flavourful. I was surprised to find that it had quite a sweet flavour; it was a bit jarring at first, but it did grow on me.

I was a bit disappointed not to have gotten to try an actual baoguette. However, the food at Baoguette was still fairly good, with more than reasonable prices. The service was pretty minimal, and the staff weren’t really warm or attentive, although they weren’t mean or rude either. All in all, while I did enjoy my visit, I do think that there are much better joints available.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: 2/5
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: House Special Baoguette
Baoguette Vietnamese Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato