Cha Le Tea Merchant | Dining in Vancouver

A newer tea bar has opened in Yaletown Vancouver - trendy, bright and a very modern atmosphere - all while bringing you the best quality teas. It's a great spot for a business meeting, catching up with friends, and enjoying a light meal to go along with your hot (or cold) caffeinated beverage. Cha Le Tea offers friendly service and much knowledge about the teas that are available. Green, White, Oolong, Pu'er, herbal, and black teas are offered and they all have unique flavours and history. The sophisticated teas will bring you distinctive flavours and aromas and will awaken your senses (claims their website) and we definitely enjoyed our Matcha Latte ($4.75). You can even asked to have it unsweetened (which we highly recommend doing so in order to taste the matcha). Head on into the chic Cha Le Tea Merchant Café, where you can not only enjoy a tea but perhaps a snack like their hand peeled shrimp on toast with avocado and shredded nori, or their truffled ricotta and hazelnuts on toast. If you're more of a sweet tooth, try their chocolate toast or salted caramel and banana on toast with brown sugar and cinnamon mascarpone - the choices are endless! 

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Location: Cha Le Tea Merchant Cafe 
Beverage: Matcha Latte (unsweetened)

The Arbor Restaurant | Dining in Vancouver

Now we aren't ones to usually rave about anywhere that doesn't serve meat, however, there's always the exception. The Arbor Restaurant on Main St, offers a variety of vegetarian dishes that will just make you say, 'wow'! It's like some genius came up with the incredible idea of turning good old vegetables into something unusually fantastic. Take their Southern Fried Artichoke Sandwich for example,  battered and fried artichoke with eggplant bacon (yes eggplant bacon), avocado mousse, spicy mayo, cheddar cheese, jalapeno pepper (careful they are hot!) all between a ciabatta bun. I swear, it was like there was meat in the sandwich but there really isn't. They have quite a bit of deep fry on the menu, from fried oyster mushrooms, broccoli popcorn (crispy fried broccoli), onion rings, and even poutine (duh it's vegetarian!) The Arbor does not disappoint. Definitely a lunch joint to be visited, and they're also open for dinner. Oh and don't forget their chocolate mousse parfait - the praline crumble just tops it off. They also offer a great wine list, so be sure to check The Arbor out!

Food: Fried oysters - lightly battered oyster mushrooms with a creamy dill sauce, The Southern Fried Artichoke Sandwich - battered and fried artichoke with eggplant bacon, avocado mousse, spicy mayo, cheddar cheese, and jalapeno peppers all between a ciabatta bun, Tacos - poblano peppers, cremini mushroom, jalapeno, roasted tomato salsa, cashew creme fraiche, and avocado mousse.
Made by: The Arbor Restaurant
Location: 3941 Main Street, Vancouver

Mak N Ming | Dining in Vancouver

Well what a treat this was! Last week, we visited Mak N Ming, voted best new restaurant of 2016 and we are delighted to introduce them to you all! Makoto Ono and Amanda 'Ming' Cheng are the owners of this French-Japanese fusion restaurant. The restaurant is in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Ono was the previous owner of Gastown's PiDGiN restaurant, and Amanda also came from the same establishment. The food is forever evolving and innovative. As our first time at Mak N Ming, we were spoiled with the chef's tasting menu - note there is only a choice of two set menus: the chef's menu being seven courses or their demi menu of four courses.

Our first bite was a smoked cheddar cheese ball - hot and a great start to the evening. Following, we had kombu cured snapper in tofu sauce. Then we treated ourselves to the additional course (because why not?). The feature was uni topped with a citrus yogurt & foam, miso compressed carrot and charcoal choux crumble - talk about WOW! The flavours worked so well together and the taste was like nothing we've ever had. We then had their mushroom chawanmushi (which we hoped was a little hotter), followed by pork chop with black truffle and cauliflower rice. Then as if that wasn't enough, we were presented with a Dungeness crab noodle soup - very well executed. Their bread dish of the evening was a seaweed crusted bun with spicy mayonnaise - a nice kick to the dish. The dessert was preceded by a pre dessert of a pistachio and honey cigar with milky hot chocolate - very decadent - the dessert feature was a hibiscus pear pavlova, which was refreshing, clean and tasteful. And to complete our wonderful experience, the chefs prepared petit fours of grapefruit pâte de fruits, chocolates and almond cakes. 

Be sure to order a bottle of sake from their drinks list and share with friends whilst tasting their menu. There's quite the selection of beverages at Mak N Ming, so make sure you pair to your dinner with some of their quality wines.

Let's just say, we will definitely be back again at Mak N Ming once the next menu is in! 

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Food: Smoked cheddar cheese ball, Kombu cured snapper in tofu sauce, Uni topped with a citrus yogurt & foam, miso compressed carrot and charcoal choux crumble, mushroom chawanmushi, Pork chop with black truffle and cauliflower purée, Cauliflower rice, Dungeness crab noodle soup, Seaweed crusted bun with spicy mayonnaise, Pistachio and honey cigar with milky hot chocolate, Hibiscus pear pavlova.
Made by: Mak N Ming
Location: 1629 Yew St., Kitsilano, Vancouver

Soft Peaks | Dining in Vancouver

Soft Peaks is made with organic Avalon milk with little sweetness and is silky smooth. It is by far the best place in Vancouver to get a soft serve ice cream. Having memories of getting the perfect soft ice cream in England (because the cows just make tastier milk there) I was taken back to the same flavours and memories of a proper soft serve. There are many options to choose from as well as toppings, and if you're in Gastown looking for a place to stop for dessert, this is the place to be. 

This was the Sunrise In California - Sweet and Sour Yuzu marmalade on their signature twist. 

There are SO many different twists and soft serves to choose from (himalayan pink salt to toasted coconut and matcha powder toppings.) It is definitely a place to frequent. Lines can get a little lengthy but the wait is worth it. 

Food: Sunrise In California - Sweet and Sour Yuzu Marmalade on their Signature Twist
Made by: Soft Peaks - Organic Milk Soft Serve
Location: 25 Alexander St. Vancouver, BC. V6A 1B2

Hida Takayama Ramen | Dining in Vancouver

A hidden gem in the middle of downtown Vancouver, Hida Takayama Ramen hides itself in the Robson Public Market. Practically abandoned, this mall doesn't have much left in it other than a fresh produce stall and various venders on the main floor. But the second floor holds the food court, a brightly lit and not so wonderful looking. However, go to the back of the food court and you'll find some very well, homemade ramen. Claimed to be the only restaurant that makes their OWN noodles, Hida promises a hot bowl of ramen and more. 

Of course you get your char su, spring onions, deliciously hot broth and a fantastically made ramen egg if you wish with your ramen, but the kicker: there's a larger portion option and various house specials. Tsukemen - ramen noodles that you dip into a sauce of your choice (sesame, soy, spicy), or try their Tanmen or DanDan noodles. Read more here for their menu.

They also offer pork buns - which are actually quite on par! The ratio of bun to meat is almost equal and it's light and fluffy and served warmed. Their gyozas are crispy on the outside and served hot! 

We do have to talk about the White Sesame Ramen that they offer. It is definitely the most creamiest and sesame-tasty ramen we've ever experienced. There are places where you grind your own, but here the broth is already filled with sesame and topped with sesame seeds. The sesame ramen is quite the treat. 

Hida Takayama makes you wait about 5-10 minutes depending on how much you've ordered with friends or if you're on your own. They make sure that each of their dishes are served with perfection. Noodles are not soggy and don't get soggy and the broths are great - just what one would expect from a ramen establishment. 

Food: Spicy Miso Ramen (large), White Sesame Ramen (large with egg), Pork Gyozas and Pork Bun
Made by: Hida Takayama Ramen
Location: Robson Public Market 2nd Floor, 203-1610 Robson St Vancouver BC Canada

Kinome | Dining in Vancouver

One of my favourite spots for traditional and authentic Japanese cuisine is on West Broadway called Kinome (Kee-no-may). It is a gem found here in Vancouver, where there’s sashimi, sushi, and classic hot dishes like tamago (which is freshly made to order) and chawanmushi (also made to order).  The great thing about Kinome, is that you can order Omakase – a menu set by the chef, serving their best and in season ingredients.

They make their own soba noodles and they are very tasty and have great texture to them. The menu has a variety of specials and is always changing.

The sake list isn’t extensive but offers a great and exquisite collection of sakes.

The food is locally sourced from throughout BC and the seafood is Oceanwise.

Kinome is a great place for a romantic evening, and a journey through proper Japanese fare.  Be sure to make reservations in advance.

Food: Chawanmushi, Fresh Sashimi, Homemade Soba, Freshly Made Tamago,
and a Special of Seared Tuna.
Made by: Kinome Japanese Restaurant
Location: 2511 West Broadway, Vancouver

Grapes & Soda | Dining in Vancouver

If you're looking for a fun and cozy place for a cocktail this weekend, hit up Grapes & Soda in Vancouver. This tiny restaurant / bar is a great venue for catching up with friends after a long week. Their cocktails are all original and made by the talented Satoshi Yonemori, who by the way is a genius when it comes to mixing up your beverage of choice. The image you see is from last year's summer menu - I cannot for the life of me remember what exactly was in it except for the beets that give this cocktail it's fuchsia colour. All I can say is I wasn't disappointed as it was very creative and tasty. Happy Friday!  

Restaurant: Grapes & Soda
Location: 1541 W 6th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1R1 

The Sardine Can | Vancouver Restaurants

Happy New Year!

What a great start in the restaurant world - I finally got to try The Sardine Can in Gastown here in Vancouver.

Known for their spanish tapas, I was very impressed by the level of cuisine that was presented. It really brought me back memories of when I have been in Barcelona. The Gambas was to die for - the sauce was a revelation!! Could not stop dipping my patatas in the sauce... The baked burrata special was so creamy and soft. Wrapped in a ham, it was fantastic to spread on a piece of toast with a prune compote to go with it. Another special served were their veal cheek and potatoes stuffed empanadas - talk about holy yum! Vancouverites: you seriously need to get yourselves to The Sardine Can.

The restaurant is also owned by renown chef in Vancouver, Chef Andrey Durbach and business partner Chris Stewart (La Buca, Pied à Terre, and The Abbey.) I can finally check off all four from my list!

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 Feature: The Sardine Can

The Fat Badger | Vancouver Public House

IMG_7726Vancouver has finally got a more than decent pub - the right beer, cider and proper pub grub.The Fat Badger is situated in a house in downtown Vancouver - top floor only, bar and tables, it's the perfect hangout after a long day's work. The scotch egg is by far my favourite of the establishment along with a pint of Fuller's ESB.

Chip butties, sticky toffee pudding - classics from the UK and many more.

It's a small, loud and proper pub. On Sundays, they offer their Sunday Roast. To be expected: Yorkshire pudding, roast pork or beef, and sometimes I've heard of lamb being present. What a treat!

The Fat Badger is a hit and we can't be anymore grateful for its presence.

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IMG_7736IMG_7738 Restaurant: The Fat Badger