Oomycota + Memorial Banquet

*Seline (sister) and I are talking on FaceTime*

Me: Seline, there was white, cottony mold all over the banana bread that I baked last week.

Seline: Zygomycota? No, no, it’s gotta be oomycota.

*She is studying fungus in Biology 11*

Me: Oomycota? That’s cool. I should call my new blog post that.

Seline: K.

*I name blog post “oomycota“*

You’ll see the moldy banana bread in just a bit…

(actually it’s at the very end. You know, for a grand finale)


Last Friday, I spoke at a memorial banquet for the families of the donors who gave their bodies to science. It was a little really intimidating to speak in front of ~80 crying family members who were close with the people I knew as cadavers. Overall, it was so rewarding and beautiful to be able to thank them for supporting the decisions of their loved ones.

Some friends sang; others played musical instruments. I had no idea my classmates were so incredibly talented!

At the reception, I had a Nanaimo bar and a very sweet marble-chocolate cake bar square thing, along with some kiwi, cantaloupe, and grapes.

Since we were all dressed up, lots of photos were taken in the beautiful garden that the students at Renison University College get to enjoy every day!

Madhulika made granola, and Mom did as well! Mom liked it 🙂 Speaking of the granola, I need to buy some more oats to make this!

Ever since exams ended, I’ve been going to hot yoga every day! After classes, the room is always empty to I get to play some more.

On Saturday morning, I went to downtown Kitchener’s cute little bakery, called the Golden Hearth Bakery. The 40-minute bus ride was soooooooo worth this crispy, gooey, sweet, nutty almond croissant. It was, dare I say, as good as the ones I enjoyed in Paris?!

The Kitchener Market is a lovely place, and so busy on Saturday mornings. I found myself wishing I hadn’t gone grocery shopping the day before!

One morning I had ZERO produce in the house so I had plain ricotta pancakes. Seriously plain. Sadly plain. Plain plain plain. But still quite filling!

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Are you guys drooling at this?! Baked rigatoni with gruyere, butternut squash, and crispy sage. Mmmm, and yes I had seconds, thirds, and then fourths. I think I ate 3/4 of the whole dish in one sitting. Fresh herbs make everything look more gourmet, in my opinion.

Do you like cooking with sage? What do you pair it with?

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This was probably my favourite meal of the week: warm couscous with shrimp, black beans and corn, shredded carrot, goat cheese, asparagus, and scallions. Warm salads = bomb.

This weird-looking thing was a French-toastified pita bread topped with the last of my cottage cheese and cinnamon. Simple, simple.

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The rest of my cottage cheese had gone into a lasagna that I made the night before, which had tons of mozzarella and gruyere on top. This vegetarian lasagna was made with zucchini and mushrooms.

Served with crunchy garlic asparagus.

Brie, zucchini, and pesto on toast was devoured after I tried to stop the fire alarm (silly oven).

And I had a tasty frittata made with all the veggies in the fridge + goat cheese.

Quesadillas another day, made with an awesome tortilla (okay, two) and black beans with corn and cheddar.

More frittata, this time enjoyed with too-toasted-toast and a side of FaceTime.

This oatmeal was gross. Yeah, I just called oatmeal disgusting. I made this out of an overly overripe pear, and it was so mushy and had a fermented alcohol taste. I picked out all the pear chunks and ate all the oats and yogurt though, then added more granola 🙂

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More pesto toasties! These were also topped with caramelized onion, brie, and butternut.

A simple banana oatmeal bake for breakfast one morning. Quick and easy.

More quesadillas…

And amazing banana-chocolate oatmeal.

Toasties again.

Two-ingredient sweet potato pancakes from the post that I reblogged a while ago – they turned out so well and I can’t wait to make them again.

Scrambled cheesy eggs with avocado toast. You’ve seen it before 😉

Ricotta chocolate oatmeal with pear and granola.

And another pasta bake, this time with sweet potato, green onion, broccoli, and cubed eggplant.

YUM!

This was yum, too.

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Fresh garlic-herb salmon on a bed of couscous with carrot and mushrooms. So simple, but super satisfying. I love simply-spiced salmon.

This oatmeal bowl was so photogenic! I miss fresh berries, but it’s hard for me to justify buying them because a little box is around $7 here. 😦

Oh yeah. That quiche.

Gooey brownies and a mess that I made. I’m good at making those. Messes.

And a banana bread. Yep, THAT banana bread. Before it got moldy, it was actually quite good with brown sugar, FOUR whole bananas, and cinnamon and vanilla.

Voila… gross.

This conversation made me laugh out loud!

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And… that is it for today! I’m going to do a little meal prep, clean my messy room, and maybe take a nap. Post-exam life is the absolute best! Take care, everyone 🙂

Touring Toronto: From Croissants to Creepy Fish

Good morning, friends! How has 2016 been treating you so far?

My new year has been going smoothly for the most part, and I’m enjoying every second that my dad is staying here with me in Waterloo. On Saturday, we took a semi-day trip to Toronto. The journey began at 5:30 AM when we hopped into the car. The drive was long, dark, rainy, and unfamiliar, but we made it to Nadege Patisserie safely and excitedly.

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Nadege is famous for their croissants and art-like dessert pastries. They also have a large array of sandwiches, and the combinations that caught my eye included fig + goat cheese + arugula and one with smoked salmon and cucumber. The croissants were freshly baked that day, too. They open at 8:00 and we we found a parking spot at around 7:35, so it was a long and torturous wait.

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I felt like I was back in Paris, where sandwiches like these are king. Look at how those baguettes are just bursting with filling. This is about as Parisienne as it gets here in Canada!

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Macarons, petit choux, and cakes were lined like pieces of jewelry in the display counter. The colours were gorgeous! Which one would you order, if you had to choose?

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I really, really wanted one of these individual-sized cakes. How pretty are these guys? The donut looked really tasty, as did the modern pecan pie.

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They also have these alphabet chocolate bars, which came in a variety of super unique flavours, like Wasabi for W, Yuzu for Y, and Sesame for S. Dad and I were the first customers, and we took a seat near the gift display case.

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We ordered four pastries: three for me and one for dad!

Pecan pie croissant, award-winning almond croissant, and raspberry pistachio croissant and hot chocolate for me // cappuccino and chocolate croissant for Dad.

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Dad ordered the hazelnut chocolate praline croissant, which he described as flaky, layered, soft, and with a crispy crust. The chocolate was firm and not too dark. He enjoyed it and would order it again 🙂

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My breakfast was nothing short of spectacular, either! I asked for all three to be cut in half and enjoyed half of each one.

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The almond croissant was doughy and had great crisp on the outside. One thing I noted was that the inside layers of the croissant seemed to be underbaked, as the layers of puff-pastry were still clearly visible, thick, and quite chewy. It wasn’t too sweet and had a decent amount of almond paste, though I wish there was more! It was very well made and so flaky. Not one of my top 5 almond croissants, but a tasty one nonetheless. I wish I could try the chocolate almond croissant, too.

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This one was a truly special pastry. It was the #1 favourite of the lady behind the counter, and for a good reason. The pistachio paste was not too sweet and had the most “pistachio-est” flavor and a great smooth texture with teeny grains. The berries on top were clearly very fresh, and I loved how chopped pistachios on top gave it a bit of crunch.

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The pecan pie croissant is one of Nadege’s most popular. I was a little disappointed, though, to see that the filling involved only one tiny “roll” of pecan pie filling – I was expecting the pastry to be bursting with sweet nuts and brown sugar filling. My favourite part about this croissant was the crunchy caramelized pecans on top, which were drenched in a brown sugar sauce and baked until slightly charred (yum) and super crispy.

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The lady behind the counter also came to our table to give us a salted caramel macaron! I took a bite and gave the rest to Dad. We both really liked it, and I thought it tasted like a Werther’s candy. Ooooh, I love those. I can see why their macarons are some of the best in Toronto. The outsides shattered in my mouth, but the insides were perfectly chewy and the filling had excellent flavor. I’m still not a huge macaron person, but this was definitely one of the best I’ve tried.

I had a sample of a chocolate madeleine, which was tasty and had hints of lemon, before hopping back into the car. Then, we were off for the Ripley Aquarium, our first destination!

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On the way there, we saw skyscrapers, crazy traffic, and the CN tower. I haven’t seen massive buildings like this for a long time! They don’t exist in Waterloo. 😛

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The CN tower was, well, tall. Even taller in person. Looking up at it reminded me of the time Seline and I toured the Montparnasse Tower in Paris. I am always so amazed at what humans can build. Anyways, we went into the Ripley Aquarium at 9:00, right when it opened. Since it was so early on a blustery Saturday morning, the aquarium was practically empty. We didn’t have to line up for a second!

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Fish are super cool to me. Dad loves carp and koi (what’s the difference?) but I prefer looking at stranger fish that look odd or do bizarre things.

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Like these guys! I’ve never seen anything quite like these platypus-like fish. And we were lucky enough to watch these crabs play – or maybe fight? The big one gave the little one a short piggyback ride before they both toppled over, which we thought was so cute and funny.

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Then I caught a family portrait of some sad-looking eels and preppy tropical fish. I could honestly watch tropical fish for hours. Each one is so unique and so beautiful. One thing we observed was that they not only look different, but also behave differently.

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Some fishies were really photogenic and loved being near the glass, where it was a lot easier to capture photos of them. Other ones strayed near the back or circled the coral and anemones.

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We stood in front of this tank for at least twenty minutes because there was just so much to look at!

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The Ripley Aquarium is probably most famous for their “conveyer belt” tank, where you can stand on this very, very slow belt and go into a tunnel-like tank. This tank had thousands of fish, all swimming in schools, and at least twenty sharks.

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I seriously wonder how this shark eats his food. Having that big sawlike “beak” (snout?) seems useless. I’m curious as to what he actually uses it for.

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Every sight was incredible. I wish my eyes could take pictures for you!

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Whoa. This is one of my favourite pictures because I love how rays of sunlight are streaming into the tank.

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We found Nemo (and about 500 other Nemoes), his dad, Dory, and all his tank-mates! Plus, in the tank next door, a kind of creepy-looking fish that wouldn’t budge from its position in the sand.

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If I had to describe lionfish in one word, it would probably be “exquisite”. These beautiful fish remind me of poisonous butterflies that are dazzling but deadly. Some species can grow up to half a metre long!

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Seahorses are another one of my favourite sea animals. In Grade 3, my class had an animal research project where we had to write reports about the behaviour, habitat, diet, etc. on a unique animal. I chose the seahorse, but there weren’t any library books about seahorses so I had to switch my animal into the chickadee. And I was really sad about that because I thought chickadees have really stupid names – and they don’t even make a “chickadee” sound! Random, I know… but seahorses are just so cool to me. They remind me of delicate pieces of jewelry or fragile dolls.

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I did do a project on the leafy sea dragon in middle school. These guys look so different in person. They are truly masters of disguise!

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I couldn’t decide which photo of this jellyfish I liked best! I worked at the Vancouver Aquarium before going to the Sunshine Coast and Paris over the summer, and I learned there that “jellyfish” is actually a wrong term – without gills or fins, or even BRAINS, they aren’t actually fish. So we have to call them jellies. Same with starfish, which aren’t fish either. So we should refer to them as sea stars. Did you know that? 😀

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One tank was literally the size of my entire apartment unit, no exaggeration! The lights that illuminated this tank changed colour every couple of seconds, so the jellies went from being yellow to pink to green. It was fun to watch and take selfies with the mirror. Smile, Dad!

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After a quick browse through the gift shop, we walked across the street to the CN Tower.

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The view from the top was incredible. We could see the Toronto islands, which I had no idea existed.

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The elevator ride was fast and exciting, because the walls were glass. My ears popped twice with all the pressure!

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The CN Tower has a glass floor section near the top, where you can stand on “windows” on the ground and see all of Toronto beneath your feet. I loved this, and so did some children who were there. It was mostly the adults who didn’t want to stand on the glass panel!

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After the CN Tower, and getting lost in the Downtown Core for around twenty minutes, we finally found The Westerly, where we had brunch at 2:00.

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I ordered the eggs benedict, as usual. This one came with salad and pan-fried potatoes. I love bennies that are made with biscuits – this one had a warm cheddar biscuit and gravlax.

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Mmm, the biscuit was so yummy. I demolished my entire plate and felt pretty uncomfortable afterwards.

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Unfortunately one of my poached eggs were more soft-boiled than poached, so there is no sexy drippy egg-yolk photo for you guys today. 😦

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Dad ordered the burger, which was stuffed with bacon, red onion, and white cheddar – all his faves. He finished his whole plate, too, including the rosemary-dusted French fries. We both loved our meals!

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We headed home after lunch, when it was around 3:00. I really wanted to visit the Eaton Centre (Toronto’s biggest mall), Whole Foods (… yes) and the ice rink in front of City Hall. But Dad was getting worried that the weather was worsening, and he wanted to be home before the sky got dark. So we buckled up and drove another 1.5 hours back to Waterloo. Basically, I had another 1.5 hour nap. 😉

We had SUCH an awesome day!

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Thanks, Dad! Maybe we can do this again sometime… soon. Need more croissants. 😉

The Food-tastic Fortnight: A Must-See for Vancouver Foodies!

Happy Friday, friends!

Whew. How did that week go for you? Mine was a blur. I’ve been out and about, and in other words, I’ve returned to Waterloo, Ontario – with my dad! He will be here for 12 days in total. I’m so lucky to have him around for another week! On Monday morning, we rented a car from the local Enterprise, braved the cold a couple hundred times, bought essentials from Costco, had brunch…

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… enjoyed lattes and hot chocolate from Princess Cafe, bought a printer from Staples, and went grocery shopping at Sobeys. Dad stocked up on instant noodles, microwaveable chicken strips and fish strips, nacho chips, and croissants.

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Mom’s been a busy lady back in BC! One day, she made a roast beef with vegetables and served it with mashed potatoes and gravy. This was a popular meal, she reports 🙂 Another day, Mom made sauteed tofu with vegetables, chicken drumsticks, cucumber, and yellow turmeric rice. Dessert was cream puffs with berry, honey, and toasty coconut.

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Mom also hopped onto the baking bandwagon – here, she tried a new recipe for lemon berry muffins. These look so delicious! Wish I could try some, too.

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That’s just what’s been up lately! I didn’t post much during my winter break semi-hiatus, but I have definitely been eating. Here are some of the most memorable meals that I enjoyed out and about in Vancouver.


Lunch at Ajisai Sushi with Mom, Dad, Seline, and Grandma

Waterloo suffers from a serious sushi famine, hence my choice of Japanese food as my first meal off the plane! I originally wanted to enjoy a meal at Kishimoto Sushi on Commercial Drive, but they were closed for lunch. Instead, we lined up in Ajisai Sushi Bar for over half an hour. Poor Seline whose wisdom teeth had just been removed, skipped breakfast as usual and was one grumpy girl.

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The Seafood Salad is a very popular dish. The shrimp was my favourite part – chilled, fresh, with the perfect flavor. Cornflakes were sprinkled on top for texture, but I found this quite bizarre! The sushi was quite tasty as well. We ordered lots of California rolls for Seline!

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We also enjoyed some pressed sushi – salmon and eel, both of which were yummy. There was a hint of wasabi in the rice, which grossed Dad out. But the fish was top-notch and super fresh. The black cod was seared, and one of the most tender filets I’ve ever enjoyed in my life. The charred outsides were crispy and flavourful, but the interior was so soft and melted in my mouth. My family and I loved the black cod so much that we ordered a second one, even before finishing the first.

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Ajisai was great, but wasn’t worth the 30-minute wait. I much prefer Kishimoto Sushi for high-quality sushi and their much better presentation. 🙂


Lunch at Railtown Café with Hollie and Jia

The salad I ordered at Railtown Café was, without a doubt, the best salad I’ve ever eaten in my life. I had a dark hot chocolate and a roasted winter squash soup with that, but none of the sides even came close to the amazing salad.

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Hollie enjoyed the popular chicken club sandwich and a hot chocolate, while Jia nommed on the spinach salad with a peppermint mocha.

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My salad was a foodie’s dream: topped with avocado, sliced grilled chicken, pesto baby mozzarella, beets, feta, squash chips (delicious!), and toasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette over a bed of arugula. I savoured every bite.

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My supposedly “dark” hot chocolate wasn’t very dark, and wasn’t very rich. Keep in mind, though, I do compare every hot chocolate to the rich l’Africaine (basically, a pot of melted chocolate) that my sister and I enjoyed in Angelina’s Tea Salon in Paris. I believe this one was made with water and dark chocolate powder, because the bottom of the cup was a little grainy and powdery. I finished the whole thing, though, and enjoyed it 🙂

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For dessert, we split a peanut butter crunch bar three ways and nibbled at pinches of this hazelnut chocolate muffin, which had an excellent muffin top and great cinnamon flavor. Hazelnut and chocolate was a beautiful flavor combination, and with cinnamon, this muffin was top-notch. The PB crunch bar was too yummy for words, and I kind of need an endless supply of these guys in my life.

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I will absolutely be back, hopefully with someone with a car who can drive us past the sketchy downtown Eastside 😉


Breakfast at Beaucoup Bakery with Mom

I think I have the world’s best Mom. Ever since visiting Beaucoup Bakery late last spring, I couldn’t get this amazing patisserie out of my mind. I honestly think this place creates croissants that rivals the best of Paris, France.

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On the table today: one almond croissant, one apple pie croissant, one hot chocolate for me, and a coffee for Mom. We asked for the croissants to be cut in equal halves so we could both try both. Mom is my food friend with food benefits. Does that make sense? 😉

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My hot chocolate was fairly thick, with a hint of sea salt that cut through the sweet richness of the cocoa powder and milk. It was a little foamy on top and had the cutest, um, heart (?) on top. The hot chocolate was absolutely amazing, but I need more of these croissants ASAP!

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Lunch at Joey with Natasha, Medha, and Sally

I can’t believe it’s been half a year since I’ve seen these girls! We’ve been friends throughout high school and went through so many highs and lows together – from crying in Calculus (seriously… multiple times. Mostly me.), to slicing shark reproductive organs and bouncing their eyeballs on the floor, to making dance videos in a locked bus on a July afternoon (AKA dying of heatstroke). We even spent prom night together. 🙂 Oh, good times.

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L to R: Natasha, Sally, Medha, me! 🙂

This was the Ahi Tuna Sashimi Salad, which my friend Vivian recommended. Vivian works full-time at Joey Coquitlam, where she specializes in desserts. I can’t believe Vivian is my age – she has 50 times the talent when it comes to creating beautiful and delicious food.

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My salad was fresh and much bigger than it looks. The greens were packed in here, there was an entire half avocado, and toppings were hearty with plenty of roasted salted peanuts, tomatoes, mangoes, and crispy noodles. The wasabi sauce was fresh and gave the seared fish lots of zing. I just wish the iceberg lettuce could have been replaced with arugula or spinach, and I found the salad slightly overdressed.

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One of their most famous desserts is the apple pie: hand-rolled pastry crust with caramelized apple, nuts, and maple ice cream. We asked for this to be cut into quarters to share, and that was just the right size. The maple ice cream had a prominent maple syrup flavour, and the buttery crust was the best part. With caramel sauce and melty ice cream on the pastry, this dessert was to die for.

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The chocolate cake was sweet, decadent, and rich to the maximum. This was also split into quarters at the table, and we divided the vanilla ice cream as well. The raspberries provided great contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. The middle was gooey perfection and I’m still drooling just by looking at that picture. Mmmmm.

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Brunch at Wendel’s with Mom, Aunt Mimi, and Uncle Charles

Mimi and Charles have been telling me about Wendel’s for over a year, but since I spent the summer volunteering at the aquarium, visiting the Sunshine Coast with my family, and living in Paris with my sister, we never got the chance to go. They raved so much about the famous French onion soup and coziness of the place that I made this the #1 place to visit during my return to BC.

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Wendel’s is located in Fort Langley, the historic part of town. It’s on such a quaint street that reminds me of uptown Waterloo. Wendel’s is connected to its own little bookstore filled with all sorts of journals, colouring books, and novels. We arrived at 9:00, when it opened, and the seats were practically full already!

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Mom enjoyed a blueberry scone and coffee, and was kind enough to share parts of her scone with me. Warm and buttery, this was one of the best scone’s I’ve had. Charles ordered French onion soup with a turkey sandwich on multigrain bread.

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Mimi’s brunch was also French onion soup, with a grilled cheese with red peppers on multigrain. She shared some of her soup with me, and oh my goodness, I can see why it’s their signature dish. Creamy cheese, rich and dark onions with a flavourful broth, I absolutely loved this dish and will be ordering it next time for sure.

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My brunch dish of choice is almost always eggs benedict. See Case 1, Case 2, and Case 3. Just can’t get enough! Do you guys like eggs benedict for brunch? I ALWAYS order it because poached eggs and Hollandaise are something that intimidate me too much to make at home, and I have a serious soft spot for biscuits and gooey egg yolk. This one had smoked salmon and beautifully poached eggs on English muffin, with potatoes. I wish they served freshly-baked biscuits instead of English muffin for their bennies, but this was still quite yummy.

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Dessert time! Wendel’s has a massive selection of sweet treats, from decadent ones to desserts that are gluten-free and vegan. We ordered four for the four of us, and one of them was the lemon meringue in a jar which was exclusively for Charles. One time, he ate TWO jars in one sitting after lunch – that’s how popular and delicious these sweets are.

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L: Coffee chocolate ganache cake

M: Salted caramel chocolate brownie cheesecake – this was my favourite 🙂

R: Bee sting cake with Bavarian cream, vanilla sponge, honey, coconut and almond topping – the contrast between layers here was incredible. Would also order this again! Would be awesome with a mug of tea or hot chocolate.

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I love Wendel’s, and so did everyone at our table. We are already making plans to return for lunch next time!


Lunch at Heirloom Vegetarian with Rachel

Do you guys know Rachel? She’s a food blogger extraordinaire, and my Vancouver food adventure buddy. We’ve enjoyed brunch together at Matchstick Coffee and Lebanese food at Nuba. I’m sure there’s another place we checked out together, but I can’t seem to remember it now! Anyways, you MUST take a look at Rachel’s blog at http://www.momentswithrae.com and be prepared to be WOWed by her stunning photography and editing skills.

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Heirloom has both a vegetarian menu and a vegan menu, and an extensive list of drinks. I started with the London Fog latte, which was unsweetened and served with a little cup of cane sugar. I was a little disappointed because although we arrived before noon, it wasn’t until 1:00 until our food came. Not a big deal, though, because we got lots of talking done!

Here’s is Rachel’s Heirloom Scramble, with organic Saskatchewan quinoa, green onion, leeks, oven roasted tomato, kale, artichoke hearts, rennet free goat cheese, topped with scrambled free range eggs tofu and salsa verde. She made a couple subs but apparently there were still bits of goat cheese in there. 😦 I tried some of her scrambled tofu and was pleasantly surprised. I have no idea how they got tofu to taste and feel “eggy”, but I’m sure nutritional yeast and turmeric were involved. Yummy!

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I was originally going for the Mushroom Hash, with caramelized onion, arugula, kale, scrambled tofu, bell peppers, and hash browns on a roasted leek puree. Unfortnately, they had just sold out and I settled on the California Hash, which came with organic Saskatchewan quinoa nut fritters, collard greens, yams, bell peppers, and hash browns, on creamy cilantro sauce, topped with seahorse dressing and pea sprouts.

“Settled on” would be the wrong words to describe this. After my first bite, I was completely blown away. Beautifully-cooked vegetables and fresh, flavourful sauce made a filling meal to remember. The quinoa nut fritters were like chewy falafels with a glorious crust, and reminded me of a cross between zucchini fritters from Paris and chickpea falafels from Thrive Energy lab. The green sauce underneath was made of cilantro and walnut, and the yellow spots are a vegan Hollandaise. I demolished this bowl and couldn’t get enough of those fritters, the sauce, and the yams. Mmmmm.

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The dessert of the day was underwhelming for me. It sounded great theoretically: vegan chocolate brownie with dates, walnuts, and almonds, and an avocado chocolate ganache served with berries. We asked for this square to be cut in half so we could share, but it turned out to be extremely filling. The “brownie” part itself was very chewy and firm, and the flavor seemed to be “off”. The avocado chocolate ganache was decent, though, and I was disappointed to see sliced apples on my plate instead of berries. I would not order this again and much, much prefer peanut butter-chocolate chip Larabars or black bean brownies for their texture and flavor.

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Thank you Rachel, for a delicious meal! What is our next destination? 😉


Dinner at The Flying Pig with Mom, Dad, Seline, and Grandpa

Have any of you seen Cirque du Soleil before? I saw one show in Montreal, Quebec in the summer of 2014 and another one right before this lovely dinner at The Flying Pig. Kooza was a funny and mega-entertaining show, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the performers and their incredible stunts. The sounds (live music!), costumes, and pure skill was unbelievable. I can’t even describe how good the show was – both this one, and the one I saw in Montreal. If you haven’t had the chance to watch Cirque du Soleil, I’m begging you to! What the human body can accomplish simply mesmerizes me every time.

Back to the food! Rachel introduced me to The Flying Pig and raved about the brunches she’s enjoyed here, so I knew that we had to stop by after the show. It certainly did not disappoint! My favourite bite was goat cheese + caramelized walnut + beet + arugula, but the seared cod was tender and equally delicious. I’m going to have to try brunch here next time!

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  1. Beet salad with arugula and goat cheese, candied walnuts
  2. Pulled pork poutine
  3. Chicken breast with asparagus and mashed potatoes
  4. Seared cod with spring vegetables

Lunch at Olive Garden Bellingham with Dad, Seline, Uncle Charles and Aunt Mimi

One of the highest-priority things on my “To-Do in BC” list was go to Trader Joe’s! And for one reason only – I wanted a jar of TJ’s SunButter. Thanks, Jack, for getting me totally addicted to the stuff! Sunflower butter is so dang delicious on bananas, in oatmeal, and on yogurt. So we drove to the states, shopped, bought clothes, got my precious jar of SunButter (which, unfortunately, had to STAY in BC because of airplane regulations), and enjoyed a meal at Olive Garden, the usual.

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I started with some chicken and gnocchi soup. Guys, I LOVE gnocchi! Have you tried it before? I’ve only ever had it a couple times from Olive Garden, and once from Wild Rice, and I enjoy ever single chewy, creamy, doughy bite. Next on my must-eat list = sweet potato gnocchi!

Dad had a customizable pasta bowl which included cavatappi pasta, crispy chicken, a spicy meat sauce, and parmesan.

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Mimi and I decided to go halfsies, and I ordered something from their “Lighter Fare” menu. Tilapia with shrimp and a butter, garlic, and white wine sauce with lots of herbs, served with broccoli. Mimi enjoyed the smoked mozzarella manicotti, and we shared. 🙂 The filling in her manicotti was delicious, and I loved my tilapia. The broccoli was really unsatisfying. Chopped into tiny florets and boiled for probably 10+ minutes, this broccoli was mushy hospital food at best. Still, broccoli is broccoli and I ate it all.

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Dessert was redeeming! Apple galette with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce. I really enjoyed the flaky, buttery pastry with the cool ice cream. Would definitely order this dessert again 🙂

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Going to TJs, the Bellis Fair mall, and Olive Garden is becoming a yearly tradition for our family! I love it. Do you have any family traditions? 🙂


And, because I have no idea when else to post this – here’s Seline’s favourite recipe for macaroni and cheese. It’s super quick and easy to make, yet decadent and meets all the requirements for comfort food. For added nutrition, try adding some chopped non-hospital-mushy-like broccoli, bell peppers, spinach, asparagus, or mushrooms. You could also go the Whole Foods route and add breadcrumbs to the top, then broiling until they become crispy. Yum!

Seline’s Classic Mac and Cheese

Serves two, or one hungry teenager after school

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz macaroni
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup milk and ½ cup cream OR ¾ cup half-and-half and ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, or more to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (can use a mix)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Boil water, salt heavily, and cook macaroni according to package directions. Set aside.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat.
  3. Add flour, salt and pepper. Whisk until well blended.
  4. Pour milk and cream gradually and stir constantly.
  5. Bring mixture to a light boil and cook, stirring constantly.
  6. Reduce heat and cook, stirring constantly, for ten minutes or until thickened.
  7. Add shredded cheddar cheese and whisk to melt. Simmer until all cheese is melted. Taste the sauce – you can add extra flavourings here: more salt, more pepper, some spices like paprika, garlic, or maybe some Dijon mustard.
  8. Add cooked macaroni noodles to the saucepan. Stir and toss to coat with cheese sauce.

That is definitely it for today, because I have LOTS of work to get done and things to prepare for next week. Dad and I have plans to tour Toronto for two days – tomorrow and Sunday! – so I need to get ahead with schoolwork. This semester is a busy one for me, as I have seven courses: human physiology, physics, psychology (my favourite course, surprisingly), anatomy + anatomy lab, a clinical practice lab, and French. 🙂

I hope your weekend will be filled with great moments and yummy food as well!

Superfood Summer

Good morning everyone! Another quick post before I visit a couple bakeries with my dad (it’s a grad/pre-university gift!) in search of Vancouver’s best croissant. Here’s what I think so far, out of the almond croissants I have tried:

  1. Thomas Haas double baked almond croissant // double baked almond croissant with chocolate
  2. Thierry double baked almond croissant
  3. Purebread chocolate almond croissant
  4. Matchstick Coffee Roasters almond croissant
  5. Presse Cafe almond croissant (Quebec)
  6. Breka Bakery and Cafe chocolate almond croissant
  7. Olive and Gourmando almond croissant twist (Quebec)
  8. Inno Bakery almond croissant

Today, we will be visiting Chez Christophe, Beaucoup (SO excited for this!), Plaisir Sucre, French-Made Baking, and Thomas Haas again. Can’t wait and will definitely update you Vancouverites!

For now, I’m going to share some recent meals with you 🙂 Hope you enjoy my photos as much as I liked making and eating the meal!


Banana French toast made with raisin bread from the farmer’s market, topped with caramelized banana, hemp hearts, berries, and coconut chips

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Quinoa topped with curried tofu, broccoli, and zucchini

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Pear pancakes: half made with cocoa powder, topped with coconut chips

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Shell pasta with mushrooms, shrimp, roasted red peppers, onions, and spinach, topped with parmesan

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Delicious chocolate pancakes – made with kale, hemp hearts, chia seeds, and flax!

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You’d never guess that this decadent breakfast is filled with superfoods 🙂 The greens are 100% un-tastable.

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More coconut curry tofu with vegetables – added some frozen peas here and mixed it with quinoa before serving.

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My first smoothie bowl! Green smoothie (spinach, kale, banana, PB) topped with chia seeds, berries, coconut chips, and hemp hearts

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Banana oatmeal topped with blueberries, coconut chips, hemp hearts, and crumbled homemade blueberry spelt muffin

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Maple-soy salmon, brown rice, steamed broccoli with scallion oil, cloud ear fungus, onion, and carrot stir-fry

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We make maple-soy salmon with 1/4 cup soy sauce and 3 tbsp maple syrup. This is usually enough marinade for 4 filets. Tastes delicious on brown rice with stir-fried veggies!

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Pear pancakes topped with berries, yogurt + flax blobs, and coconut chips

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Leftover maple-soy salmon on leftover steamed broccoli

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Cocoa-banana oatmeal topped with berries, hemp hearts, yogurt, and coconut chips

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Light dinner of vegetable stir-fry (broccoli, zucchini) with parmesan cheese, leeks, and lemon juice drizzle

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Cocoa-banana oatmeal with Greek yogurt stirred in, topped with chopped cherries, hemp hearts

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Blueberry cheesecake oatmeal: creamy banana oatmeal mixed with yogurt and topped with blueberries, coconut chips, and hemp hearts, cream cheese pound cake slice

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Plain oatmeal topped with berries, cashews, banana spelt muffin, yogurt, and hemp hearts

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Dreamy chocolate-banana oatmeal topped with coconut chips, hemp hearts, peanut butter

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Oatmeal topped with crumbled muffin, berries, hemp hearts

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“Ricotta” pancakes made with spelt flour, quark, yogurt // topped with berries, hemp hearts, coconut chips, and homemade raspberry compote. Recipe coming up – this is truly one of my new favourite breakfasts at the moment. Totally obsessed with the cheesecake flavour that quark imparts into breakfast goodies!

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The following photos are from the spring – I just never got around to posting them :mrgreen:

Turkey bolognese sauce with spinach, mushrooms, onions, zucchini, roasted red peppers on spaghetti with parmesan cheese

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Sliced banana, almond butter with cinnamon, blackberries // Seline’s cheese and egg mock McMuffin

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Sushi Garden lunch with family

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Delicious dill baked salmon

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Seline’s plate with broccoli, rice, roasted spiced potatoes // Jadee’s plate with potatoes, roasted veggies, rice

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My plate featured lots of roasted veggies. Have you tried roasted carrots?

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Thai soup with quinoa and spinach, multigrain crackers

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Egg fried brown rice with frozen mixed vegetables, topped with veggie stir-fry

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Seline’s fave dinner: fried egg, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted chicken drumstick with dill, mixed vegetables that she didn’t eat 😦

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More dill salmon! This time with parmesan quinoa “risotto” with mushrooms, broccoli, carrot, and cauliflower stir-fry, and sautéed corn with scallions

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Leftovers made a fantastic dinner reheated in the microwave 🙂

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Quinoa works as a great sub for arborio rice, in my opinion. This mixture included bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, scallions, and enough parmesan cheese to make it stick together slightly. So yummy!

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Lunch at Tamarind Hill (New Westminster) with the family!

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Roti with spicy peanut sauce // mussels in coconut broth

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I loved the pan-fried, slightly sweet roti dipped in peanut sauce and the seafood broth.

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My entree was the coconut chicken plate with turmeric rice, eggplants, and a veggie stir-fry. This is enough for two people or two meals.

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Onion rings with spicy soy sauce // another order of roti!

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Another day, I enjoyed quinoa with stir-fried vegetables, chopped chicken breast, and a little feta cheese

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Scrambled eggs with leeks topped with parmesan cheese, whole wheat toast with Earth Balance

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Turkey bolognese sauce with mushrooms, onions, spinach over quinoa with parmesan cheese

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Seline loves cheese bread! This was on homemade parmesan-herb bread that Mom made in the bread machine.

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The quinoa stir-fry I had a couple days ago was so good that I had to recreate it! This lovely quinoa mixture included chopped chicken and roasted vegetables, plus some feta cheese and frozen mixed veggies.

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Homemade whole wheat crepe with egg, spinach, and cheddar cheese

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Chicken drumstick, roasted sweet potatoes, quinoa-corn-scallion stir-fry with chopped chicken breast, roasted cauliflower

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Dad’s omelet, including bacon, mushrooms, and onions // fruit // buttered white toast

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I love this lunch – spinach omelet in a piece of fluffy, folded naan bread. Whole wheat naan bread has such a unique toasty flavour, and the buttermilk or yogurt inside takes it up a notch. Naan bread goes so well with eggs, cheese, and spinach, in my opinion!

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Thai-inspired quinoa stir-fry. This was made with leftover broccoli stir-fry and stewed tofu. It was so easy to make – I sautéed the broccoli with some garlic and scallions (in coconut oil), added the chopped tofu and quinoa, then topped it all with sesame seeds. Easy and super delicious!

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What have you been eating lately? 🙂

Downtown Adventures (Lost & Found Cafe, Purebread Bakery)

Hey guys! How are you all today? Hope you had a lovely weekend, as I did (mine was FILLED with food. I totally overate). But that’s what the weekend is for, right? And I’ve got a busy week ahead with lots of circuits, spinning, yoga, and walks planned. Plus breakfast with Rachel at Moments with Rae planned for Wednesday – SO EXCITED. 😀

Let me show you what my sis and I enjoyed downtown the other day!


At around noon, on our way to the Lost and Found Cafe, we passed Trees Organic Coffee shop. I couldn’t resist trying a sample of cheesecake. Trees is known for their cheesecake, which I found more mousse-like than cheesecake-like. The place was quite packed with customers, most of whom were raving about the cheesecake. Upon the first bite, I knew why. Sweet (but not overly saccharine), creamy, and with the most INCREDIBLE velvety texture. The flavour was nice, but it was the texture that sold me. This was like sweet cream cheese silk that melted in my mouth!

At Creme de la Crumb, another downtown bakery, I impulsively picked up a pear and vanilla bean scone. This scone had excellent reviews on Yelp, Urbanspoon, and TripAdvisor, so I had to give it a try. Surprisingly, I didn’t like this. The pear chunks were too big, and I found the “baked” taste to be off-putting. The vanilla flavour was faint, and I could really taste the heavy, dense white flour dough. Usually scones are buttery and crumble upon touch or bite, but this was so firm I needed a knife and quite a bit of pressure. Did not enjoy this scone at all. 😦

Trees white chocolate raspberry cheesecake sample. Creme de la Crumb pear vanilla-bean scone

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Our destination was Lost and Found Cafe, which is known for their sandwiches on freshly-baked bread, salads, and soup. The soup of the day was Lemony Lentil, by the way.

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The inside of the restaurant is cozy and has a rustic, vintage feel. There are posters and maps on the walls, as well as a couple fans. I don’t think this place was air-conditioned. There were quite a few couches and sofas, as well as benches and real tables.

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I knew what I wanted to order – the curry chicken sandwich with apricots. I had high hopes for this guy and was NOT disappointed. This lunch was super yummy. The chewy and sweet apricots complemented the savoury, juicy chicken and slightly spicy curry sauce. I couldn’t quite taste the mango. There was also some spinach, but the real star of the show was the bun! This cheddar, onion, and garlic bun, made with white bread, was truly baked to PERFECTION. I’ve never had a better bun in my life. Honestly, I’d order this sandwich again take the Skytrain for an hour again (which we did) just to eat this bread. I think it was the oniony, garlicky flavour and cheese pockets (!) that sold me. The texture was awesome, too. It tasted so fresh! I highly recommend this sammie.

Curry Apricot Chicken Sandwich: Curry apricot chicken with mango chutney served on a cheddar onion garlic bun with spinach. Served with side salad or soup

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I had the side salad as well. This was essentially mixed greens with julienned carrots, chopped tomatoes, capers, goat feta, and balsamic dressing with some herbs (so it tasted like pesto). This fresh and slightly sour salad went very well with the simple bread. Again, a DELICIOUS meal!

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Seline had the chicken sandwich, minus the spinach, plus bacon. She thought it was just okay, and wished it had been warmed up. I don’t think we can trust this girl though – she HATES sandwiches and cafes. AKA some of my two favourite things (she also hates chocolate, coconut, peanut butter, bananas, oatmeal, baked goods, desserts, cheesecake… the list goes on!). I know. I think she has problems too. And yes, we’re actually related. 😉

Chicken Sandwich: Your choice of freshly baked bread, spread with pesto aioli and layered with sliced chicken, tomato and spinach. Served with side salad or soup.

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Then, we walked to Purebread Bakery, which was on the way to our next destination – her favourite store, Victoria’s Secret Pink. My jaw dropped when we stepped in. I mean, I had high hopes for this place, but was completely blown away by how clean, neat, and BEAUTIFUL everything was. And not to mention the massive selection of sweets! It took me a good ten minutes of internal debating to decide on what I wanted. By then, the customers who were enjoying their cakes were giggling at me. 😦

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We I ordered…

  • sour cherry and buckwheat scone – my favourite of the four desserts here. This was crumbly, buttery, and had the ancient-grains flavour I was looking for, with the buckwheat. I think I detected bits of millet as well. The pieces of cherry were tart, plump, and very chewy. This was truly a top-notch scone, and was excellent at room temperature (usually I like them warm and toasted). The next day, this was crumbled on oatmeal for the best breakfast!

  • Nutella brioche – my LEAST favourite of the four. This was a spontaneous buy because I asked what the server recommended, and she chose this right away, so I had to give it a try. Usually I prefer quick breads over yeast breads like brioche, but I still wanted to try it. This was swirled with Nutella and filled with almonds. I wish there was more filling, though, and found the dough a bit tough, rather than fluffy.

  • banana chocolate bottom – this was quite yummy, but nothing special. I think I could make a similar, if not better, version at home. I have zero proof but I believe this was made with sour cream, like my blueberry coffee cake. I think I will recreate this next time – a layer of chocolate banana bread batter topped with a layer of plain batter and a scattering of chocolate chips, cut into squares. Again, I enjoyed this dessert but it was far from being mind-blowingly delicious.

  • chocolate almond croissant – almond croissant or chocolate almond croissant? This is always one of the hardest bakery decisions I have to make. This time, I chose the chocolate almond croissant because the cocoa is actually mixed into the almond paste, which is unique. This croissant was quite chewy, unlike the crisp, flaky, and buttery croissants that shatter in your mouth. I felt like this one sat in room temperature for a bit too long, but the flavour was spot-on (though a tad too sweet). I enjoyed the taste of the filling, but wish the texture of the layers were firmer and more shattery.

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Next time, I am going to order the crack bar (oatmeal, almonds, coconut), the white chocolate raspberry brownie sandwich, the coconut-pineapple white chocolate scone, and DEFINITELY the sour cherry and buckwheat scone again. I love Purebread bakery – this place is heaven for someone with a sweet tooth, like me. 🙂


Now, this next part is simply a list of restaurants and places I want to visit, near the area of Paris my sister and I are visiting this summer. Please feel free to totally ignore and disregard this part as it is 100% for personal use. They’re like little virtual touristy notes!

  • INVENTIONS
  • WALTS (must-see)
  • RAINFOREST CAFE
  • AUBERGE DE CENDRILLON
  • CAFE MICKEY
  • BLUE LAGOON
  • Boulangerie Patisserie Houdoux
  • L’Epi d’Or
  • Les Soeurs Gourmandes
  • Le Comptoir Lounge **
  • Les Marmottes Gourmandes
  • Kobe
  • Restaurant Planete Indienne
  • L’Aigle d’Or
  • Earl of Sandwich
  • La Causerie
  • Les Relais d’Alsace
  • Sans Souci
  • Les Marmottes Gourmandes
  • Du Cote de chez Alexandra
  • Pedra Alta
  • Auberge des Saints Peres
  • Les Magnolias
  • La Salamandre
  • Le Royal Torcy
DESSERTS
  • Amorino
  • La Baguette du Val
  • Cable Car Bake Shop
  • L’Atelier Boulangerie Patisserie

Matchstick Coffee with Rae

Hi everyone! How are you all doing?

To all Vancouverites out there – check out the sunshine we’ve had the past week! It’s incredible. I’m loving Vancity more and more every single day (when the sun is out, of course). I was so sick of the rain, and the recent weather has just been PERFECT for spring walks, gardening, and biking.

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Monday morning was Victoria Day, so there was no school. Unfortunately, hot yoga was also cancelled. 😥 This time, I called to make sure – last time I showed up and there was no one there! It’s okay, though… more time to cook a delish bowl of banana oats. This one featured banana, berries, fresh pumpkin muffin, and hemp hearts. I also stirred in an egg white during the last minute of cooking. It bulked up the oats a bit, added valuable protein, and didn’t change the flavour one bit (thanks, banana!).

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Dad drove Mom and I to Matchstick Coffee on Kingsway so we could meet up with the lovely Rachel of Moments with Rae and her mother. We were there a couple minutes earlier and spent some time admiring the super hip decor. I love Vancouver and it’s hipster places – Bandidas Taqueria is another favourite.

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Their menu isn’t bad (my photo IS bad, though – sorry!) and features food for every appetite. From granola to hummus toast to salad, everything is fresh and healthy. Plus, their menu uses mostly organic and local produce. It makes me very happy to know that such influential restaurants care about nutrition and their environmental footprint 🙂

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First, I ordered a pretty little cappuccino for Mom. The barista put it into a to-go cup with a pretty design on it, but I asked her to pour it into a mug, so the nice foamy swirl disappeared. But it still tasted very fresh. I added some cane sugar to sweeten it up a bit. This was very high-quality coffee, but since I’m not a huge coffee person, it wasn’t my favourite food of the day. More on that almond croissant in just a bit!

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I was debating between the Harvest Salad and the hummus toast, but the lady I spoke with at the counter recommended the hummus toast, hands down. It was definitely the right choice! Thick slices of bread were smothered with creamy white bean hummus and topped with thinly-sliced beets, purple carrots, cucumbers, mixed greens, dill sprigs (I think), freshly-ground black pepper, sunflower seeds, and a drizzle of honey. The sunflower seeds were excellent – they added such a nice flavour and contrasting texture. The drizzle of honey was perfect on the greens, and I felt like it complemented the whole wheat bread. Yummy!

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Matchstick Coffee, along with Thomas Haas and several other bakeries (Thierry and Chez Christophe’s, to name a few) are known for their incredible almond croissants. I ordered one of these famous croissants, and coincidentally, so did Rachel! It’s funny because Rachel and I ordered the EXACT same foods – white bean hummus toast + almond croissant. Only difference was that she ordered lattes and I chose the cappuccino for mom. 🙂

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I thought this croissant was super yummy, though not as light and tender as the one from Thomas Haas. It was still a top-notch baked good, though. Too bad their chocolate almond croissants were sold out. When I eat these little big guys, I go for the centres first! Their creamy, fragrant insides are my favourite thing. Ever. I absolutely loved this croissant. Wish I had some right now! Look how buttery and flaky it is!

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That photo on the left inspired by Rachel – her top-view photos are stunning. 🙂

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Demolished!

That’s it for now – I’ve got a yummy recipe post that I can’t wait to share with you all. Have a wonderful weekend!