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

Harvest Deli

During my recent visit to Tera V Burger, I noticed Harvest Deli. They are a small shop located in Kits on Broadway serving up a large menu of sandwiches, along with various sides like soup and salad. I decided to go and check the spot out this week. I had their Classic Reuben and Back from Rome to go.

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Classic Reuben & Back from Rome

Classic Reuben ($8.25):


4/5
This consisted of pastrami, Russian dressing, sauerkraut, and swiss cheese on grilled rye bread. The sandwich came with a very good amount of meat, which was tender, salty and flavourful. The sauerkraut provided a great bit of tanginess that cut through the richness of the meat and cheese. The bread was also perfectly grilled and crispy.

Back from Rome ($9.25):


3.5/5
This contained chicken breast, pesto, roma tomatoes, and boccocini on grilled ciabatta. The sandwich again has a good amount of filling. The chicken breast, while tender, was a little bland and underseasoned. The pesto had a nice, strong flavour, but was also not salty enough. The bread was again perfectly grilled and crispy.

I really enjoyed my visit to Harvest Deli. Although their chicken was a little bland, their pastrami sandwich was delicious. The prices are also very reasonable. I highly recommend checking this spot out for some good quality and affordable meals.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 4/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Classic Reuben
Harvest Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Lokal

During my recent visit to The Only Cafe (review on that coming up) I decided to stop by Cafe Lokal first for a quick bite. The latter appears to be quite a popular local (no pun intended) hangout. The tables are often all occupied with people reading books or doing work on their laptops while drinking coffee/lattes. In addition to a drink menu, they also make various fresh-baked goods and sandwiches/salads for lunch. I had a Spicy Salami Panini and a London Fog.

Spicy Salami Panini ($9.50):


3/5
This was served with a small side of greens dressed in oil and vinegar. The bread was quite nicely toasted, and was crispy on the outside while being soft and chewy on the interior. The filling did have a nice bit of heat. Unfortunately, I found the flavour to be completely dominated by pickled artichokes, which I just did not care for.

London Fog ($4.50):


4/5
The drink came with a thick layer of foam. It was not overly sweet and had a really nice flavour of Earl Grey.

I wasn’t particularly fond of the sandwich at Cafe Lokal, but the London Fog was pretty good. While I’m not really into cafe culture and will not likely return, the place does seem a nice local hangout for those who do like cafes (if you’re fortunate enough to find a seat that is).

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: London Fog
Cafe Lokal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Paris Bakery

When I hear a place named “Paris Bakery” I’d assume a fancy French patisserie. Not so for the shop of that name that’s located on The Drive. No, they are actually a Vietnamese Banh Mi joint in the same vein as Banh Mi Saigon, which I visited about a month ago. In addition to various Banh Mi sandwiches, they also have appetizers and drinks. Everything appears to be made on order, and I do think that they make their own baguette. I had their Salad Rolls, Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi, and Paris Special Banh Mi.

Salad Rolls ($6):


3.5/5
These are stuffed with vermicelli, veggies, shrimp and pork and comes with dipping sauce. The rolls have a nice texture, with the noodles being chewy and bouncy and the veggies providing crunch. They are bland on their own, but tasty when dipped into the sauce, which was slightly tangy and had a slight peanut flavour. They also appear to wrap the rolls on order, which is impressive.

Lemongrass Chicken Banh Mi ($4.75):


4/5
This banh mi was filled with pickled veggies, lemongrass chicken, and condiments like butter and mayo. The bread was crusty on the outside and chewy on the interior. There was a pretty decent amount of chicken, which was tender and juicy, and had a wonderful fragrance of lemongrass.

Paris Special Banh Mi ($4.75):


4/5
This was similar to the lemongrass chicken, but with various cold cuts instead of the lemongrass chicken. I personally didn’t find the meat here to be as flavourful as the chicken was, but it was still quite a tasty sandwich.

Even though I’m a bit disappointed that Paris Bakery’s not a patisserie, I still enjoyed my visit. Their banh mis, while not as large as the ones from Bah Mi Saigon, are just as tasty in my opinion, and the prices are very cheap. This is definitely worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Banh Mi
Paris Bakery 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

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

Banh Mi Saigon

Have you ever had an incident where you’re eating something in public, and there’s someone there staring at you hungrily and you feel really awkward and a little guilty about it? It happened to me recently after my visit to Banh Mi Saigon. However, instead of a human, this time it was a crow.

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Well, this is a little awkward…

I encountered this guy during my trip to Banh Mi Saigon. The latter is a small Vietnamese joint located on Victoria, a couple of blocks from 41st Avenue. Their menu consists of mostly Banh Mi sandwiches and various drinks; they do have an oven inside and probably make their own bread and everything else from scratch. Their sandwiches all contain vegetables and mayo, with different meats depending on the variety that you chose, and currently range from $5-$5.50. I had their Heo Uop Xa (Lemongrass Pork), Ga (Chicken), and Dac Biet (Special) Banh Mi.

Carrying my baguettes, I headed over to a nearby bus stop and waited for the 20 to come an take me back home. This is where I encountered the crow showed up and began staring at me, or more accurately, the baguettes that were sticking out of the bag that I was holding. I guess I can’t really blame it too much since the sandwiches do look awfully tasty. Finally, I caved in and put a small piece of one baguette onto the ground for the bird before making my way home with the rest.

Heo Uop Xa, Lemongrass Pork Banh Mi ($5.50):


3.5/5
This contained lemongrass pork, mayo, and vegetable. The bread was quite crusty on the outside. It was a tad bit soggy on the interior due to the filling. The meat was well-seasoned and flavourful, albeit a tad on the dry side. I really enjoyed the mayo, which provided a great creaminess. I didn’t think the sandwich was as overstuffed as some reviewers say, but they were still quite generous with the meat.

Ga, Chicken Banh Mi ($5.50):


4/5
This contained chicken, mayo, soy sauce, and vegetable. Flavourwise, this was quite similar to the lemongrass pork, except with chicken instead. The meat here was more tender and juicy. Although the portion seemed a bit more stingy than that from the pork. Again, I really enjoyed the mayo, which was creamy and flavourful.

Dac Biet, Special Banh Mi ($5.50):


4/5
This contained ham, headcheese, meat ball, meat loaf, pate, mayo, soy sauce, and vegetable. This sandwich was certainly not short on meat. All off the coldcuts were tender and quite flavourful (quite honestly, I’ve got no idea of what I was eating, but it was all tasty). I do wish that there was a bit more mayo in this sandwich however: the flavour wasn’t as prevalent as it was in the two previous sandwiches.

I’m really glad to have checked out Banh Mi Saigon. The sandwiches didn’t blow me away, but were still very tasty, with a good amount of filling. They are also quite generous in size for the price. This is definitely a place that I’d recommend for a tasty and very affordable meal.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Banh Mi (which ever variety you prefer)
Banh Mi Saigon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grounds for Appeal

I thought that the name Grounds for Appeal seems a bit weird for a cafe, but that was before I found out that they were located at the Law Society of British Columbia. Clever. The cafe serves up a menu consisting of Indian cuisine, as well as sandwiches and pastries. The curries were premade and are served very quickly while the sandwiches take a couple of minutes longer. I had their Chicken Tikka Masala w Rice & Naan, which was off of their specials menu, as well as a Turkey & Brie on Cranberry Sandwich.

Chicken Tikka Masala w Rice & Naan ($9.50):


4/5
This was on their specials menu. The curry was quite thick, creamy, and had a great bit of heat/spice to it; it was a bit on the salty side however, and best not eaten on its own. The naan was relatively soft and chewy, although a tad crispy in some parts. The rice was firm and held up well to the curry.

Turkey & Brie on Cranberry Sandwich ($7.50):


4/5
In addition to turkey and brie, there were also slices of green apple and tomatoes inside. The bread as well toasted and crispy. The fillings were extremely flavourful, while the apples and cranberries provided a nice sweetness to balance the saltiness of the turkey and cheese. This was a bit messy to eat, but very tasty.

I really enjoyed the food at Grounds for Appeal. The prices were also quite a bargain. This is definitely worth checking out for a tasty and affordable meal.

Summary:
Food: 4/5
Price: 4.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 4/5
Recommendations: Curry, Sandwich
Grounds For Appeal Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Boulevard Coffee Roasting

I’ve taken up drinking coffee since beginning grad school. I only drink it for the caffeine however, and not for any taste. I really can’t appreciate a good cup of coffee: I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between something from a fancy artisinal shop and something from McDonalds (my boss on the other hand…). Thus, I’ve never been particularly interested in visiting Boulevard Coffee, a coffee shop at UBC that apparently roasts their own coffee beans. However, they do offer food in addition to their coffees, and recently, while running late with experiments, I decided to drop by the place for something to eat. I had their Chicken Bacon Ranch and Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto sandwiches. Their sandwiches are all premade and reheated at your request.

Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich ($9.05):


3/5
This consisted of chicken breast, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, and ranch dressing in between apple bread. I personally didn’t care too much for the bread: I found it to be a little too soft and didn’t hold the fillings well. The filling was also a bit scarce: I didn’t really get much chicken or bacon. I did enjoy the ranch dressing however.

Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto ($9.05):


4/5
This contained prosciutto, mozzarella, cranberries, pesto and greens on a French baguette. I much preferred the bread here, which was nice and crispy, and held the fillings well. The sandwich was very flavourful from the pesto and the prosciutto, which is given in a fairly generous amount. It does get a tad salty, but I still really enjoyed it.

Although I haven’t tried any of the coffees, the food at Boulevard Coffee Roasters is decent. While I was underwhelmed by their Chicken Bacon Ranch, I did quite enjoy tehir Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto. I do find their prices to be a tad high compared to other spots: the sandwiches were relatively small and not overly filling. This won’t be my favourite spot at UBC for food, but it’s still worth a visit.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: Cranberry Pesto Prosciutto

The Boulevard Coffee Roasting Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Nelson the Seagull

What do you think when you hear the name “Nelson the Seagull”? Personally, I imagine some kind of kids story about a seagull named Nelson. What I certainly do not imagine is a hipster bakery/cafe in Gastown, but that is exactly what that turned out to be. In addition to fresh baked bread and various other treats, they have a small menu of sandwiches, breakfast items, and drinks. I had their Lemon Zest Marzipan Croissant, Carnivore Sandwich, and Jam Wheel.

Lemon Zest Marzipan Croissant ($4.00):


3.5/5
The pastry was quite flaky and tender, with a slightly salty flavour and a nice fragrance of lemon zest. I do wish that there was more marzipan.

Carnivore Sandwich ($12:00):


4/5
This contained roast beef, pesto, cheese, and mustard, and was served on their housemade sourdough bread. It came with a small side of greens, which didn’t seem to be well dressed and was bland, although I did enjoy the strawberries that were mixed in. The bread was crusty on the outside and tender and chewy on the inside, and appears to have been lightly buttered. The filling was very tasty, with the meat being tender and smoky, the cheese creamy and sharp and the pesto lending a nice flavor and fragrance. It is a tad on the salty side, but I quite enjoyed it.

Jam Wheel ($4:00):


3.5/5
The pastry was a tad soggy, but still flaky and had a nice buttery flavour. The jam was not overly sweet, thick, and filled with blueberries. This was simple but tasty.

In spite of the strange name, I quite enjoyed my visit to Nelson the Seagull. While I wasn’t blown away by the food, I thought that it was still pretty solid. The prices are a tad on the higher side, but not unreasonable. This is a spot worth checking out.

Summary:
Food: 3.5/5
Price: 3.5/5
Service: N/A
Overall: 3.5/5
Recommendations: The Carnivore
Nelson the Seagull Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato