Lots of macaron flavours to choose from. My favourite was the rocher macaron. Ambience was excellent. Will be back for tea time and other desserts.
Soirette Macarons & Tea
1433 West Pender Street, Vancouver
Jenny Shen @ eatwithjenny.com
tl;dr: SuperBonchaz package is a good deal, now scroll down to see photos. 😀
Since I’ve always loved dining deals, I was very excited to review this SuperBonchaz dining package, courtesy of VANEATS.ca.
I’ve blogged about VANEATS packages before, but here is a refresher. With a fixed price, you get an exclusive menu to order from. Sort of like Dine Out Vancouver, but the prices are friendlier and the passes are valid for a limited time and often sell out quickly.
The SuperBonchaz package is only $6.50 and it includes one item from each category:
(A) Bonchaz: Original, Banana Walnut, or Matcha Coconut Green Tea
(B) Sandwich: Avocado & Brie, The Vegan, or Beef Bulgogi
(C) Soup of the Day (vegan option available)
I got the chocolate Bonchaz although it was not specified in the package. I’ve tried all Bonchaz flavours before and I liked the chocolate the best. I asked the staff to heat up the bun because it tastes a lot better when it’s fresh/hot. When the cafe (any cafe) is not busy, perhaps heating up pastries should be a default (or at least the asking) because I would really appreciate that.
Beef Bulgogi sandwich: although this is “Korean-inspired”, it tasted more like a combination of beef sukiyaki and beef stew. I personally find the hoagie bread too soft (tasted almost like hot dog buns), and would have preferred toasted whole wheat buns. Overall it was okay.
Corn chowder with spicy sausage. That was the other choice besides the vegan soup. I don’t like spicy foods but I actually liked the soup. The soup was flavourful, not too spicy and it was not thick like regular chowder.
P.S. I brought my DSLR to take photos for this review, but realized at the restaurant that the camera ran out of battery… #fail Jenny …-_-
Bonchaz Bakery Café
189 E Broadway, Vancouver
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
My goodness. It’s been so long that I almost forgot how to write a blog post. :p Here is a treat that I had lately at Pearl Drops Teahouse. It’s one of the popular bubble tea houses in Burnaby. They specialize in fun, yummy drinks, snacks and desserts…which are totally my type of things. 🙂
When the owner David asked me to come in to try their Honey Toast, I happily agreed because I love honey toasts! It’s a deluxe dessert, originated from Japan, made with a cut-out toast body, and sweet toppings like ice cream, fruits, chocolate, cheesecake and etc. I have tried this dessert in a couple of cafes in Vancouver, such as What8ver (the first cafe to bring it in in Vancouver), Flo Tea Room, and Young Channel. Dazzling Cafe in Taiwan is one of my must-visits because they serve 10+ flavours of honey toasts!
This is the Honey Toast at Pearl Drops Tea House! I was surprised that it looks identical as the promotional banner on their Facebook. Often what you get at the restaurant is not the same as what it looked like on their advertisements. :p
I liked that this honey toast is filled with various kinds of toppings – especially the cheesecake, pocky, and wafers. My favourite part was the custard layer that tasted like the fillings of custard buns.
I would have liked it better if it was something else other than fruits, the standard toppings, but that seems to be popular so no other shops offer other kinds of flavours. I suggested to David to bake the toast box itself because it would be crispy and easier to cut if it was baked. Although this dessert is at a higher price compared to other places ($9.99 compared to $6.99 or $7.99), overall I like it and would recommend this dessert. Pearl Drops Tea House offers promotions quite often, so if you use a deal, and share this deluxe honey toast with your friends, it would be worth it.
P.S. Share this dessert with at least 3 people because it is quite filling!
Pearl Drops Teahouse
422 Willingdon Ave, Burnaby, BC
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
I’m lucky to have a sweet tooth, because I was invited by Alex from Ragin Ronin Productions to try some samples from La’ Aus Confectionery. This is his vlog episode – All Yu Can Eat #18 – Sampling La’Aus Confectionery.
La’ Aus Confectionery was founded by Laura and Austin after having much success and popularity with their handmade sweets. Everything is individually handmade and packaged, giving the products an authentic and home-made feel.
The name La’ Aus comes from the first few letters of the owner’s names – Laura and Austin. La’ Aus in French is pronounced ‘La-Oh.’ It sounds like what you would say in ‘La’ Aus mon dieu (Oh My God!)’
Smoked toffee: According to Laura and Austin, Smoked Toffee is the hardest to make and the most famous and best-selling item.
Sometimes I would eat Crunchie if I get a variety pack of candies, but other than that I don’t eat toffee. When I tried this Smoked Toffee, I thought ‘ohh so this is what toffee tastes like…’ It tasted much like the sponge toffee inside Crunchie, except that it’s a piece of crunchy toffee.
When I tried to take the toffee pieces from the box, I find it pretty sticky. I personally don’t like to eat things that get my fingers messy. (You probably think that I’m a princess, haha). Not only that, the toffee sticks to the bottom of the box. Although the boxes look really nice, I’m not sure if you will be able to eat this in the summer. Because the toffee pieces were stuck together, Alex had to eat 3 at a time (which was pretty amusing to watch).
Having said that, it was an interesting to try toffee by itself for the first time. I liked that it’s not overly sweet because of the hint of smokiness.
Snow Delight: This chocolate bar was packed with cashews, cranberries and smoked toffee. I like eating the smoked toffee with the chocolate more than eating toffee by itself.
It’s just my personal preference – cashews, cranberries and smoked toffee are not my favourite things in a chocolate bar. The flavours I love: hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds and cookies & creme. However, I enjoyed the snow delight. It was unique that the toffee in the chocolate bar made the chocolate bar extra crunchy.
I am someone who likes variety (and really likes chocolate), so I would love to see more varieties of the Snow Delight, such as milk/dark chocolate or with different kinds of nuts & fruits. I personally would be more into those flavours than the ones I tried this time.
La’ Aus Confectionery only takes pre-orders at the moment. Laura and Austin are currently in the process of getting La’ Aus into local bakery markets and communities. Meanwhile, you can make an order through Twitter. Don’t forget to mention that you saw my blog post if you want to give it a try 😉
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
Having been to a few afternoon tea places, I think some places are not worth the money because the food offered really isn’t that great. I heard about this all you can eat afternoon tea from my food-loving friend Carlos who writes the food blog – Calo Go Around (in Traditional Chinese characters). I was really excited to try the afternoon tea at Meloty in Richmond because it is the only restaurant I know that serves unlimited afternoon tea.
Speaking of afternoon tea, it is not the same thing as high tea. Afternoon tea is a small meal snack typically eaten between 2pm and 5pm. Afternoon tea is accompanied by luxury ingredient sandwiches, cakes and pastries, often served on a tiered stand. On the other hand, high tea refers to an early evening meal consisted of a hot dish such as fish and chips, followed by cakes and bread, served to middle to upper class children or by labourers, miners and the like. (source: Wikipedia)
When you are referring to the luxury afternoon snacking/dining experience, afternoon tea is the term, not high tea!
From the outside you cannot imagine that this is a restaurant with good interior design! The banner and outside appearance make Meloty really hidden.
However, it was unexpected to see almost all the tables full at Meloty. I only knew this place through the word of mouth so perhaps that is how Meloty attracts customers, rather than having big fancy signs.
My companions and I all got the Meloty Deluxe High Tea ($25.00/pp). Served 2~5pm Unlimited hand- made delicious and a special made beverage.
I was informed that we will be served the savoury items first, and that we could refill any items we wish. However, any waste may be subjected to additional charges.
I decided to get one of each of the savoury items to start. At Meloty all the savoury dishes were served on a tiered stand. Judging only by the portion, I could tell that Meloty offers better value than all the other afternoon tea places. Other places will use one tiered stand to serve you both savoury and sweet items, but at Meloty the desserts were served in addition to the tiered stand!
Mushroom pies and tuna appies
waffles with cheese & bacon bits, rosemary scones, and mini ham & cheese croissants
Since I am not a big fan of cold savoury things, so I thought the croissants, sandwiches and other finger goods were okay. I always prefer eating baked goods fresh out of the oven. The only thing I really liked out of the savoury dishes was the rosemary scone. It was warm and smelled good. After I finished most of the savoury dishes, I chose not to refill because I was ready for the desserts!
This was the first dessert plate that the waitress served us – chestnut cake, matcha tart, strawberry tart and mango cream tart.
The chestnut cake has sponge cake and chestnut cream/icing (can someone tell me what this texture is called?) topped with mint chocolate and strawberries. I thought the cake was a bit dry but the combination of the cake was delicious.
I don’t really like tart/pie desserts, but I enjoyed the matcha tart a lot. This one has a white chocolate pretzel on top of the matcha mousse, and there was red bean paste inside the tart! 😀 It was so good that I ate two of those.
White chocolate mousses, chestnut cakes from the last picture, and crème brûlée. Crème brûlée was great because of its cute presentation, and it actually had vanilla seeds in it!
Did you think that was it for desserts? Next I had 3 types of panna cotta. I have not had so much panna cotta at once before. These were sooooo good! They were smooth and each flavour tasted fabulous with different combinations of jam & fruits. I have to say the bakery chefs are creative and thoughtful in their creations.
Last but not least, this was the plate of cheesecake that was served to us!
Original cheesecake with raspberries, berry cheesecake, mango cheesecake with blackberries, and tiramisu.
The cheesecakes were rich and flavourful. The tiramisu cake was a delight, although I wish it did not come with blackberries.
The afternoon tea is served on Narumi bone china. It was a nice touch because it adds more class to the dining experience at Meloty. Usually I do not expect good quality and attention to details when I dine in Richmond, but Meloty was an exception.
I tried 18 different items in total including both the savoury and sweet items. Meloty offers about twice as much as the items I get from other afternoon tea places, plus they have bigger portions!
I think this is the best afternoon tea you can get with $25 for the amount of food and decent experience. Although the desserts were probably not made by a famous award-winning bakery chef (I actually don’t know), this place is my favourite afternoon tea place so far. I personally give Meloty 5 hearts for good food and superb value in comparison to other afternoon tea places.
Words of wisdom: Come with an empty stomach! Afternoon tea items may change since my visit in the summer. If you do visit, please drop a comment to let me know what you had and if you like it or not. 🙂
Meloty Fine Tea
#1161-8328 Capstan Way, Richmond
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
Bel Cafe is opened by David Hawksworth of Hawksworth Restaurant. It is located in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia, just next door of Hawksworth. After reading Sean’s review of Bel Cafe and dropping by the cafe to look at the desserts in person, I was really excited to try it. Besides, I get to try out my new camera Nikon D3000!
I really like Bel Cafe’s contemporary and elegant interior & graphic designs.
Bel Cafe serves sandwiches, soup, croissants, salad, shortbread, cakes, lemon tarts, pound cakes, and macarons.
I ordered the Dark Chocolate, Raspberry and Vanilla cake ($6.20), while my companion ordered the Lemon Tart ($6.20). I tried a bite of the lemon tart, but I cannot comment (except it was lemony) because I am not into lemon or any kind of sour desserts at all!
I really liked this cake because the chocolate mousse and ganache were rich and smooth. Rather than making the cake too sour, the yellow-ish cream which had some hints of raspberry and vanilla complemented the chocolate well. My favourite part was the wafer at the bottom because it added more layers to the cake’s texture. The composition of the cake was quite similar to the yule log I had at Giovane’s. The yule log and this cake both have chocolate ganache, two different layers of cream, and a wafer bottom, except the one from Bel Cafe did not have hazelnuts. If I have to choose between the two, I will choose Bel Cafe’s cake because I can’t just purchase one slice of the yule log.
The pistachio macaron had a cream filling with pieces of pistachios. The pistachio macarons I have tried at other places never had nuts in the filling, so to me it was a pleasant surprise! This is definitely the best pistachio macaron I have tried so far.
The black sesame had a yuzu buttercream filling, which actually tasted more like lemon or passion fruit. The taste was too sour for me and I find it odd because yuzu is normally not sour. I didn’t like the combination of black sesame and yuzu since I couldn’t taste the black sesame at all. Although the flavour sounds fancy, it did not meet my expectations.
Bel Cafe has become one of my favourite dessert places after this visit. Although the portion of desserts is quite small, the quality is definitely there.
The prices of the desserts are very reasonable considering Bel Cafe is opened by a famous chef and located inside a hotel. Note that $6.20 per dessert is actually the price after tax (it is $5.54 before tax). Any frugal foodie will appreciate this info!
801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
Aoyama Cafe is a casual Euro-Japanese style cafe located inside Aberdeen Mall. This cafe serves coffee, desserts, sandwiches, and Euro-Japanese fusion food like curries and pastas. It has an open, inviting atmosphere because of its clear windows/doors and warm interior colors.
P.S. This blog post is about the dining experience I had back in 2010, but the pictures of the store front and display are from 2011.
Hamburg Hayashi-Curry Rice
The presentation of the dish was nice, however, the hamburger steak was overcooked. Compared to the hamburger steak I’ve had at Cafe de l’Orangerie and Shibuya Nuts, this was nowhere as moist and tasty. Aside from the hamburger steak, the curry and rice were satisfactory.
The served portion was actually small, especially when it was placed in the middle of a very large plate. I tasted the shrimps and found that they were not very fresh. The rice tasted quite stale as well.
Banana French Toast – golden french toast cubes topped with whipped cream, chocolate and bananas
I really liked this dessert! The toast cubes were fresh, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. I enjoyed the moist egg-soaked bread in the centre of the toast cubes. Despite the (semi-sweet) chocolate sauce and whipped cream, it was not overly sweet. The dish had great presentation and it looked really appetizing.
Aoyama Cafe (UCC Coffee)
Unit 1008 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
On the quest to find the best yule log in Vancouver, a few food bloggers and I gathered at Ganache for the Bûche de Noël Party at Ganache Patisserie. I was join by Caroline (Food Persuasion), Vicki (Foodie On the 49th), Meana (Kitchen Improv), Chris (COOQ), Rachel (Posh Pudding) and other foodies from the Food Bloggers Meetup Group.
Some day I will try all the cakes.
The group had a little hard time choosing which yule log to get because the yule logs all looked delicious. In the end we picked the Chocolat Amande Croquant, because the ingredients sounded most interesting.
Chocolat Amande Croquant ($29.95) – dark chocolate amaretto mouse, griottine cherry gelee, milk chocolate macadamian nut cremeux, caramel crunch, and chocolate financiers sponge.
Of course, we food bloggers and foodies have to get the perfect snapshots of food at every meetup! 😉
The cake was cut nicely and evenly. It is a skill mastered only by bakery staffs.
I liked the griottine cherry gelee layer a lot because it had of its texture. It was a little solid at first but it melted in the mouth quickly. This added a little surprise and flavour contrast in the cake. I like mousse with nuts but I don’t think macadamia nuts were the best choice. Even though I liked the outer ganache, the overall taste of the yule log was only okay.
A few foodies and I agree that the one at Giovane tasted better. The cookie and chocolate piece of the Chocolat Amande Croquant were pretty ordinary, although the name sounded fancy. It could be that the Giovane one has more decorations, and that it was richer and sweeter than Ganache’s cake. Because of Ganache’s reputation and others’ recommendations, I expected more from Ganache’s desserts.
Concorde Praliné (Marie’s)
Café au lait (Vicki’s)
This $29.95 yule log, split between 8 people, only costs $3.75 per person. That is a pretty good deal considering individual cakes are about $6 per piece at Ganache.
We had a good time chatting about food, and learning about COOQ from Chris. As long as we had a great time, I could call this meetup a success!
Interesting read: Caroline’s review of Ganache yule log
1262 Homer St, Vancouver
-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
Giovane is a café by day, winebar by night, inside the Fairmont Pacific Rim by the Vancouver Convention Centre. After discovering Giovane’s fancy desserts and seeing my friend’s photos of the cakes he got at Giovane, I knew I have to try this cafe. I organized a meetup for the Food Bloggers Meetup Group because it would be perfect for foodies who want to share many types of desserts together.
I was joined by Caroline from FoodPersuasion, Rachel from PoshPudding, Vicki from foodie on the 49th, Simon from Life in the Lower Mainland, Danielle the enthusiastic foodie who came to most of FBMs, Yoko from Shizenya, and other foodies.
#DesignTalk: Using the type g as the logo set Giovane apart. To me it seemed creative and memorable. Also I really liked their website with its fonts and colors. The only thing I have trouble with is the pronunciation of Giovane…
Giovane is a bakery/deli/cafe/winebar that sells coffee, pastries, breads, cookies, whole cakes, panini, pizza, drinks and soup. Just look at the vast selections!
Sugar Bun ($4) a Giovane signature – sugared sweet bun filled with vanilla pastry cream
I read reviews on the sugar buns, about how good they were and how fast they always sell out. I was a bit skeptical when I read its description because it did not really seem that special, and I was still skeptical when I saw these buns in person. These sugar buns were huge! It like a small sourdough bread! I imagined them to be like donuts with some sort of magic but these buns really just look like buns with cream.
I wish I can say nicer things to make you crave these sugar buns too, but they were really just buns/donuts with cream. Someone like me, who eats T&T bread and buns a lot will definitely say that T&T, Maxim or other Asian bakeries make sweet buns better. Perhaps other reviewers and bloggers liked this for its size, but I was never a fan of cream or whipped cream myself.
Surprisingly this was not overly sweet and the cream did not feel very greasy. Although the bun was light and fluffy, I thought that the foodies at the table were not impressed by this dessert. Hearts: 3/10
Mark actually reserved 11 of these buns for FBM just in case each one of us wanted a bun. In the end the meetup group only ordered two to share and we couldn’t even finish the buns. It was a good thing that the reserved buns were all sold after we decided not to get them, otherwise I would feel bad.
Now that you probably lowered your expectation a little bit, let’s move on to other good desserts that really deserved to be ‘Giovane signatures’.
Presentation was stunning! I would give 98/100 for this. It was so beautiful with the macarons, hazelnuts, and the cake was cut so perfectly. I think the brown macaron was chocolate and green one was pistachio.
A slice of Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log has chocolate hazelnut mousse, chocolate cream with chopped hazelnuts, wafers base. On the top: golden gooseberry, chocolate balls, and reindeer white chocolate. I took the piece with the pistachio macaron. 😛
This Chocolate Hazelnut Yule Log was hands down the best dessert I ate in the last few months. (I will have to think harder to remember what I ate beyond that). The chocolate hazelnut mousse was on the rich side and it was really chocolatey. I really liked the different layers of mousse/cream/chocolate shell and wafers complemented the texture really well. Eating the wafers, hazelnuts layers and the hazelnut mouse together was like eating a cake made out of ferrero rocher!
The macaron could have a better presentation but it tasted satisfactory. The pistachio taste was not very noticeable but I definitely tasted the almonds in the macaron.
All in all, I loved this cake a lot. At the price of $30 per yule log, each slice was only $3. That is an amazing deal because compared to many $6-8 desserts I have tried, this tasted a lot better and it was cheaper. Hearts: 9.6/10
Mini Cakes & Tarts were $5-7 each. I believe most (if not all) of the desserts below are $7 each.
This was the cake that I originally wanted to order, but since another meetup member got it, I just sampled a bite. It contained chocolate mousse, smooth peanut butter cream inside a rich chocolate shell. Some say this tasted like a big Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but I think otherwise. It is not ‘greasy’ like Reese’s and the peanut butter cream center was so smooth. Comparing this dessert to a chocolate bar at grocery store is an understatement. I really liked this dessert and I will order this next time so I get to have one myself! Hearts: 9.4/10
Chocolate raspberry cake
I sampled a bite of it also. It had dark chocolate mousse, layers of chocolate cake with hints of raspberry. I’m not a fan of raspberry so I thought it was alright. People who don’t like sweet desserts will probably like this because it was the least sweet out of all chocolate cakes. Hearts: 7/10
Black Forest Cake ($7)
This was my order. I wanted to get something less chocolatey but still with chocolate, and I was impressed by its presentation. In the cake there are layers of chocolate cake, hard cherry jelly, Kirsch cream (according to FoodPersuasion; I could only tell there was liqueur), on top: gold leaf, a piece of cherry and red dust. It was really hard to cut the cake without making the cake fall apart. I joked that it was like playing jenga with cake. :p
I liked the liqueur cream and the combination of textures. The presentation was great but it’s not easy to cut and eat. It did taste like a black forest cake but I still liked the other desserts better since I don’t really enjoy pairing chocolate with sour things.
(why did you order this then?) I ordered this cake so other foodies can share it with me, and I was curious about how the different layers would taste. Hearts: 7.3/10
Image courtesy of Danielle
Lemon Raspberry Mousse Cake – I sampled a bite. It was light, soft and smooth and lemon lovers would probably enjoy the lemon custard in the center. It was a nice break from all the chocolatey desserts but one bite was the most I could take from a lemon/raspberry dessert. Hearts: 5/10
I think I have found my new favourite dessert place, well, at least a favourite yule log. I can’t wait to go back to Giovane for other sweets, or even another yule log!
If you’re interested in dining with food enthusiasts and food bloggers, check out the FoodBloggers Meetup! Everyone is welcome to join!
1038 Canada Place, Vancouver
-By Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny
Leonidas is a small chocolate boutique located next to Subway at Vancouver Convention Centre. You can find Belgian chocolates, ice cream, cakes, waffles and other seasonal baked goods in the shop.
On Nov 1 – 3, Leonidas had a grand opening special Dollar Days where you can get ice cream, latte/cappuccino, waffles and chocolates for only $1 each! I happened to make it to the last hour of the event and got some waffles for myself. The waffles include one type of topping or sauce. Any additional topping, sauce, or ice cream is a dollar extra.
This is my order – Belgium waffle with hazelnuts and chocolate sauce. The waffles were made fresh so I enjoyed the waffles. Even without the dollar day promotion, it was an excellent deal to have waffles that come with nuts and rich toppings. I have not been to another waffle cafe where they serve whole nuts. Note: I asked the super friendly staff for whole nuts instead of chopped nuts, which Leonidas usually serve.
It was great to eat waffles at a chocolate boutique because too many cafes serve waffles with strawberry sauce or vanilla ice cream. At Leonidas you can choose any flavour you like.
I only wished that the sauce can be less thick because it almost felt like I was eating nutella with the waffles. I love chocolate but when I eat waffles I prefer the sauce to be less thick (but not watery) so the sauce can mix with the waffles more. Because of Leonidas’ convenient location, quality and value, I am very likely to return to Leonidas when I’m craving for some ice cream or waffles. Hearts: 8.6/10
-By Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny