Kalvin’s Szechuen Restaurant 松林居


Kalvin’s Restaurant is one of the most authentic Taiwanese restaurants in the Lower Mainland that I know of. I have heard of this restaurant before but never had a chance to try it. After reading Carlos’ post, I thought I must try it before leaving Vancouver for my India trip. Ronald, the co-organizer of Food Bloggers Meetup, helped organize my going away dinner at this restaurant, so I got to try some good Taiwanese food with other foodies and bloggers before I leave. I was joined by Vincent from EatMarketing, James from HelloVancity, Jeffrey from Got Roo?, Dave from Gnarly Dave’s World, Lee Ann from Powderate, and other foodies.





The menu was big, but we had some recommendations so it wasn’t too difficult to decide what to order. We put together people’s choices and ordered a variety of dishes. We had chicken, beef, pork, vegetables and a few “snack” dishes to share.

#12, deep fried pork in red fermented sauce ($6)

This dish was my choice because it was one of my childhood favourites and I have not ordered it in Vancouver before. I was very pleased with the quality of this dish. The meat was moist, fresh, crispy and the taste was definitely authentic!  The meat by itself is $6, and it is only $0.50 extra if you want to order rice on the side to make it an individual meal.

#139 diced chicken & peanut w/ chili pepper ($10.75)

I have a love and hate feeling about this dish because I like the chicken with peanuts, but this dish is always very spicy. At Kalvin’s Restaurant, they did indeed put a  lot of pepper in this dish.  I ate this dish with a lot of rice and water. This was not my choice and I personally would order #143 diced chicken w/ cashews, or #144 diced chicken in plum sauce.  Aside from being too spicy, I think this was a good dish.

#198 five spice beef in Chinese Pan Cake ($5)

Normally I don’t order this because my Mom makes it at home, but I really liked this dish! It was actually tastier than how my Mom made it (sorry Mom). The pancake was fresh and really crispy, and the beef was moist and flavourful. Compared with other beef pancakes I’ve tried, the pancake was not as fresh and the meat was often dry or without sauce. At some places, you would have to add the sauce that is served on the side, but at Kalvin’s the sauce was already inside the roll. I had two pieces but I still felt like I wanted to eat more. It was a super deal to have all these rolls for $5!

#176 Napa Cabbage braised w/ dried shrimp ($9.5)

This was my choice again because I was craving for the vermicelli noodles that are often served with this dish. When it was served, I was disappointed to find it without any vermicelli noodles. The taste was good, like how my mom would make it, but with its $9.50 price this was not of good value at all, with or without the vermicelli. Next time I will pick another vegetable dish, possibly #132 pork & ton choy in BBQ sauce or #178 string bean with minced pork.

#60 shredded beef w/ bamboo shoot w/ chili pepper ($12.50)

This dish was good. After eating the spicy chicken with nuts, this appeared to be only a little spicy. I realized that all the meat dishes we had pairs really well with rice.

#202 Shanghai Style Dumpling (XLB) ($7.5)

We ordered two baskets of Xiu Long Bao because one XLB per person was not enough! At some places I’ve tried before, the XLB tasted pretty much like a dumpling because of the lack of juice. The XLB at Kavlin’s was pretty good because it was juicy.

#137 smoked duck ($17).

The smoked duck was ordered because of Vincent’s demand. I thought this dish was like the duck version of Char Siu (barbeque  pork) because of the addition of spice and cooking method. I thought this dish was okay because I don’t normally eat duck or smoked meat that much. I found this dish a bit hard to eat because the duck meat was a bit dry.



Food Blogger's Feast

Kalvin’s Restaurant was pretty small so with 20 people, we had to split into two tables. The other table had recommendations from me (which were actually what my friend Carlos had) and they said they liked their dishes.

The other group of foodies ordered #138 chicken w/ three spice, #83 dry squid with shredded pork, #111 pork w/ bamboo shoot w/ chili pepper, #209 Taiwanese style cold noodles, #178 string bean with minced pork, and a few identical dishes that my table ordered: XLB and beef pancake.



I exchanged some samples with the other table and I think the chicken w/ 3 spice and the string beans were pretty good.

Finally I ordered the red bean pancake ($4) because I really liked the five spice beef in Chinese Pan Cake.  It was actually not as good as I thought because the pancake was not as crispy as the beef pancake, but it was flaky instead. However I liked that it was fresh, hot and it was not too sweet. After I ordered this dessert, I came to realize that I should have ordered the deep-fried buns instead!

When we split the bill, it was only $13.50 per person inclusive of taxes and tips! That is why I love eating Asian cuisine because I get to eat a variety of food at a very inexpensive price. 🙂 As I’ve had lots of really good Taiwanese food from Taiwan and my mom’s cooking, Kalvin’s Restaurant would be one of the top choices I would go to outside of those two places.

I definitely enjoyed this going away dinner. It was fantastic to share the good food with many foodies who appeared to enjoy Taiwanese cuisine as much as I do.  I would definitely recommend Kalvin’s Restaurant for its affordable and delicious Taiwanese food.

After dinner, we went to Mimibuloveme for desserts, which is for another blog post…:P

  • food was absolutely delicious!!
  • authentic Taiwanese food
  • great value esp if you dine with a group
  • food was served really fast!

  • some dishes are not so worth it (particularly the vegetables)
  • small space in the restaurant makes it a little difficult to reserve tables
  • the location is far


Kalvin's Szechuen Restaurant 松林居 on Urbanspoon

Kalvin’s Szechuen Restaurant 松林居
5225 Victoria Dr, Vancouver

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny


Novo Pizzeria & Wine Bar


I was delighted to be invited by EatMarketing to a sponsored tasting event at Novo Pizzeria. I was joined by a few food bloggers and foodies: James from HelloVancity, Mr. from VanFoodies, Janice from GoodEat, Bret, Tess, and Mercedes.

I have only tried Neopolitan pizza once before at Marcello Pizzeria. I always prefer eating crispy thin-crusted pizza, so I was pretty excited to try what Novo had to offer.


Antipasti Platter (small $14/ large $25): daily selection of vegetables, salumi, and cheese


Burrata Cheese Plate ($13): arugula, oven dried tomatoes, olive oil

From the appetizer plates, I tried the bread and the burrata cheese. The burrata was interesting because it had mozzarella taste but it was as soft as cream cheese. The bread was unique, though I have mixed feelings about it being crispy and chewy at the same time.


Aperol Spriz ($9): aperol, aprosecco, strawberry, rhubarb bitters, lemon zest

This cocktail tasted more like a cranberry cocktail due to its acidity. I wished it was sweeter and had more strawberry taste.


Golden Beet Salad ($13): hazelnuts, goat cheese, blackberry vinaigrette

I really enjoyed this salad, especially the hazelnuts and beets.  The beets had the right taste – not too sour or sweet.  I also liked the generous portion of this dish.


Sicilian Meat Balls ($8): currants, pine nuts, reggiano, marinara

These meatballs were really good! I liked the salad a lot but I liked the meat balls even more. They were moist and the texture was just right – not too soft or hard. The addition of currants in the meatballs was pretty interesting. Compared to the meatballs from Glowbal, I liked the meatballs from Novo a lot more. I normally don’t order meatballs, but I totally would during my next visit. If you liked my Facebook page, you would know how to take advantage of Novo’s FREE meatballs promotion. 😉

After the appetizers, our group shared 5 of Novo’s thin-crust pizza.


Margherita Pizza ($13): fiore di latte (Mozzarella), tomato sauce, basil


Burrata Pizza ($18): burrata, fiore di latte (Mozzarella), olive oil, basil


Funghi Pizza ($17): truffled mushrooms, fontina


Diavallo Pizza ($16): hot capicola, onions, chili flakes


Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza ($18): prosciutto, arugula, reggiano, fiore di latte


I tried the Margherita, Funghi, and Burrata Pizza. My favourite was the funghi because mushroom is one of my favourite foods. The others seemed to like the Burrata pizza a lot but I actually liked the pizza with tomato sauce more, since I’m not too crazy about cheese.


I was expecting the pizza to be crispy because the first time I ate Naples-style thin crust pizza, the pizza was crispy. I found Novo’s pizza really chewy. I’ve only had Neopolitan pizza twice so I can’t say which one is more authentic. Because the pizza was chewy, I felt like I was eating a lot of dough.


Next we had a special dish – Orichiette: in-house Italian sausage, swiss chard, fennel pollen, and toasted bread crumbs.


I was surprised to find myself liking the Orecchiette a lot more than the pizza. The pasta was al dente, and the ingredients altogether made this dish very tasty. It was one of the best pasta I’ve had in Vancouver because it was unique and flavourful. Usually I find pasta with sausage pretty oily, but this dish was not oily at all. Surprisingly, I would be very happy to eat just the Orecchiette and no pizza at all (actually, maybe just the Funghi pizza).

Vincent from EatMarketing told me that fennel pollen is the third most expensive spice next to Saffron and Cardamon. It’s very rare, plus it’s expensive in Vancouver. It is also responsible for part of the complex flavours that came through in the pasta.

The owner showed us the secret ingredient and I tasted a little of this funnel pollen. I wouldn’t have noticed the pollen if I wasn’t told about it, but then maybe it was the spice that made the pasta so delicious.


After the main dishes, I was ready to try the desserts as I had been looking forward to trying the nutella calzone.


First I had the tiramisu. Although the tiramisu was small in portion, I could taste its coffee-soaked layers and creamy mascarpone. It was different than the tiramisu from Cosca because the one from Cosca was drier. I prefer Novo’s wet and creamy tiramisu. Some people like that this is not too sweet. I liked this tiramisu but my favourite tiramisu comes with fancy things like chocolate drizzles or biscotti on the side.


When the panna cotta was served, I was amazed by its huge size!  Compared to pudding-like panna cotta I tried before, Novo’s panna cotta had a really dense gelatin-y texture. It was almost like Taiwanese pudding, but even denser. I couldn’t taste the vanilla but I liked that there were vanilla seeds in the panna cotta.


Finally, I tried the Nutella calzone. The item sounded pretty good, although I wouldn’t say it was my favourite dessert of the night. First, this dish was too sweet because of the thick nutella. The calzone had the identical dough as the pizza. Because of the chewy dough, there was too much richness in this dish. What I liked was the addition of nuts in the filling. However, it would have been better if the filling was a bit thinned out and if the calzone came in individual pizza pocket, because the calzone pieces were too big and hard to cut.

The whipped cream was freshly made so some people really liked it. I tasted a little although I don’t like to eat whipped cream. It was really thick, unlike any other whipped cream I tried. I thought it was too rich to eat it with the nutella calzone though.


I was glad to have the chance to try Novo’s pizza while having a good time with other foodies and bloggers. I feel I need to try Neopolitan pizza at other restaurants to get a sense of the true taste of Neopolitan pizza. I liked Novo’s ambiance with its open kitchen and artisan ovens. It was pretty cool to see pizza being cooked in a 900°F oven.

  • Ambiance
  • Favourite dishes: Orecchiette, panna cotta, and meat balls
  • Great service

  • I expected crispy thin crusts, but the pizza was rather chewy
  • I can hardly understand the menu since my Italian food vocab is pretty limited. That also means I need more research/education on Italian cuisine.
  • There were too few meat options for pizza, but perhaps that’s what Italian cuisine is like?

Novo Pizzeria and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Novo Pizzeria and Wine Bar
2118 Burrard Street, Vancouver


-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Hakkasan 客家人 – Chinese, Richmond

Hakkasan is a contemporary Chinese restaurant in Richmond that serves Chinese cuisine with a modern twist. I am reserved about food that comes with twists or fusion flavours. What it means to me is changed flavours of authentic cuisine that ends up tasting mediocre due to lost focused flavours.

I first heard about Hakkasan from a colleague that dines out quite often. I decided to purchase a deal from IndulgeLiving so I can try the restaurant without spending too much. The deal I got was $29 for an exclusive 5-Course Tasting Menu at Hakkasan Contemporary Chinese Cuisine (Reg $65/pp).


First course: Plum Glazed Duck Breast, Organic Salad

The salad showed the concept of this restaurant with its combination of Chinese-style duck breast with organic salad. Because I don’t like cold meat too much, I thought the salad only tasted okay. The sauce complemented the meat well and I really enjoyed the fig, but I’ve tasted better salads elsewhere.


First course (my companion’s choice) Butter Garlic Escargots in Puff Pastry

I sampled a small piece of the escargots and it tasted like Chinese mushrooms. The puff pastry was hard and dry so I didn’t like this dish.


Second course: Creamy Organic Seafood Chowder

This chowder had a weird jelly-like texture and it tasted similar to sweet corn soup. Although there were bits of seafood meat in the chowder, I didn’t like it overall.


Third course: Steamed ½ Lobster, Specialty Garlic

I was informed that their minced garlic was processed in a special way that it will not give you any “garlic breath.” Certainly, I did not taste any garlic in the lobster dish, however, to me it also didn’t have too much taste. I almost never eat lobster and other shelled seafood because I hate the hassle of de-shelling the seafood. Therefore you can imagine how hard I had to fight with the lobster to eat it.


Fourth course: Hakka Pork Patty, Mini Pot Rice

This was probably the better tasting dish out of everything in the set menu. The pork was pretty tender and the vegetable of choice (zha cai) was not too salty. I prefer chewy/harder rice but this dish was pretty tasty to me.


Fifth Course: House Dessert (Lemon Square)

A tiny lemon square (about half of the size of a business card) was served for dessert.  I don’t like lemon desserts so I only tasted a small bite and gave it to my companion. It tasted like an ordinary lemon bar. A unique Chinese dessert like rice balls or buns would have made a better impression.


I didn’t like Hakkasan because the food was okay at best. Aside from the salad, the cuisine at Hakkasan is more defined (being Western or Chinese) than Chinese cuisine with a twist. The dessert, lobster, and chowder were Western while the only Chinese dish was the rice (the item that I actually liked).

Sometimes food of a set menu you get from a deal can be disappointing. It seems Hakkasan offers many types of set menus on a regular basis, so I am not sure whether it is because of the deal or the usual set menu is like this too. The names of the dishes sound pretty fancy, but when I tasted the food, it did not amaze me.

Since the portion of each dish was small, I was not full after the 5 courses. The lemon square was the smallest dessert I have ever gotten at a restaurant.  Had I not gotten the set menu with $29 (regular price is $65), I would be upset, although I think $29 is more like a regular price and $65 is just way too unreasonable.

  • Hakka Pork Patty, Mini Pot Rice

  • the deal itself didn’t provide much value
  • food was okay at best
  • not much “twists” in the food
  • small portions especially dessert

Hakkasan Contemporary Chinese Cuisine 客家人 on Urbanspoon

Hakkasan Contemporary Chinese Cuisine 客家人
110-2188 #5 Rd, Richmond

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Meloty Fine Tea – Desserts, Vancouver

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.

Google Maps Screencap

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.

  • The desserts were the highlight of this visit! Next time I might skip the savoury ones and eat more from the dessert plates
  • Favourites: cheesecake, panna cotta, matcha tart, creme bulee
  • Ambiance was nice
  • Washroom was really fancy (the women’s at least :P)

  • Although you can get unlimited food, it was almost impossible to refill anything because I had no more room after trying every single item

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 on Urbanspoon

Meloty Fine Tea
#1161-8328 Capstan Way, Richmond

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Meat & Bread – Sandwiches, Vancouver


I would be surprised if you have not heard about or tried Meat & Bread in Vancouver, the hyped-up sandwich shop which stayed #1 on Urbanspoon’s Talk of the Town list since a long time ago.

Because I don’t get how sandwiches or hot dogs can be out of this world, I dislike most hyped-up restaurants. More often than not, I think these hyped-up places are meant to attract tourists and generate curiosity and traffic, instead of offering real good food like less known places that only locals know about. I was even more determined not to go especially after I heard from ex-coworkers that their sandwiches were not worth the hype.

I was very reluctant to try Meat & Bread until my classmate suggested to try it out before a final exam one day. So I agreed, only because I can blog about how I was right about the hype. (So arrogant confident of my own opinions huh?)


Meat & Bread serves sandwiches, soup, salad, drinks and ice cream sandwiches. I think $8 is really expensive for a sandwich without any sides.


You eat at a communal table, like eating in a school cafeteria.


Porchetta (fatty, boneless Italian pork roast) sandwiches in the making


Porchetta sandwiches with mustard ($8)


For $8, There wasn’t a lot of meat in my sandwich. Actually, I think I was given less meat than my companion. I didn’t know what Porchetta was and I chose it because it was the most popular. I regretted the decision because I hate eating animal fat (bacon, pork belly and etc). Also, I was having a hard time eating the sandwich because the meat kept falling out of the sandwich. My experience wasn’t very good since I really dislike getting my hands messy. I would have wrapped the sandwich if they didn’t put the slab of mustard.

I didn’t like the mustard and salsa verde sauce because they tasted weird and the salsa was a bit sour. The only noticeable flavour of the sandwich was from the meat and fat, rather than from the sauce. I liked the piece of skin in the sandwich which added extra crunch. Although it was essentially fat, it didn’t taste that greasy compared to the fat from the porchetta.

Although I did not like the porchetta sandwich at all, I liked the crispy ciabatta bun. I wish other sandwiches shops can offer that as well.


I tasted a sip of my companion’s curiosity cola. It was not carbonated like regular cola so it tasted like cola that sat overnight.


The disadvantage of eating at a ‘specialized shop’ is the limited options. It’s really difficult to find something I can eat (and like) at Meat & Bread because I don’t like porchetta, I don’t eat hot chicken wings because of its spiciness, and I would not spend $8 for a meatball sandwich. I know they had lamb neck option before, but I wouldn’t want to come back again.

The verdict: Meat & Bread is not catered to someone picky like me, but I have lots of friends that love their sandwiches.

I love desserts but I don’t sugar coat my opinions. Thanks for reading my honest review about Meat & Bread!

  • the ciabatta bun

  • the sandwich
  • limited options
  • the hype
  • the price
  • the line-ups

Meat & Bread on Urbanspoon

Meat & Bread
370 Cambie Street, Vancouver

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

The Eatery [VFBM] – Japanese, Vancouver


The Eatery is a popular sushi joint located in Kitslano. I’ve been wanting to try this place after reading reviews and hearing good things about their sushi. Like dim sum, sushi is best shared with other foodies, so I organized a meetup with the Food Bloggers Meetup Group. I was joined by Jun (Kunio Photography), Danielle, Jeffrey, Ronald and Vincent (Eat Marketing), Anabelle, and other FBM members.


The interior of The Eatery is certainly different from most Japanese restaurants. I felt like I was in a haunted house or a science museum of some sort..



The menu of The Eatery features more than 30 different sushi rolls and many other items! It was pretty difficult to decide on which items to order. In the end we chose a few sushi rolls, appetizers, and 2 sushi platters to share.


Tuna Tempura ($7.25) – The foodie Danielle told us this is her favourite & must-order item at the Eatery. At first I was pretty excited to try it, then I was startled when I tasted the half-cooked tuna. Since I don’t eat raw fish, I did not like this dish although the sauce and flavour was good. The other foodies seemed to like this though.


Assorted sushi rolls


a different angle

All the individual sushi rolls came in this platter. There were Spicy Salmon Crunch ($5.25), Toyko Roll ($4.95), Devil’s Tail ($7.75), The Figa Roll ($5.95), X-Rated Roll ($6.95), Godzilla Roll ($6.95).
I did not try the rolls that have raw fish or scallops, but I like The Eatery’s sushi in general, especially you can substitute sushi rice for brown rice for $0.50!
These were the sushi platters we shared. If you want to know what rolls were in these platters, the menu pictures provide the description. Since it was so dark in the restaurant and there were so many sushi rolls, I had no idea what I was eating either!

Big in Japan sushi platter ($59.95) – I really liked the yam fries that came with the platter. It was nice to eat some comfort food in addition to good sushi.


My favourite was the Captain Crunch roll (bottom right)! I did not expect a deep-fried California roll to be so crunchy and delicious. I wish I had more than one piece! I thought I would like the Viva Las Vegas roll too, but the spicy mayo was too much for me.


Chicken Oko Nomi ($12.50) – Okonomiyaki with chicken. Since okonomiyaki is one of my favourite dishes, I want to find the best okonomiyaki in Vancouver. Compared to other places I have tried, I would say the one at The Eatery is the best so far because:

  • it was crispy, fresh and delicious
  • chicken made the dish more filling
  • the dish came with two different dips – mayo and seaweed sauce. I personally prefer the seaweed sauce because its sweetness was unique. However, a Japanese foodie in our group told me he thought this okonomiyaki was too sweet to be considered authentic


The Wheel of Fortune ($54.95)

Most of the sushi rolls in this platter had raw fish, so I only ate the Found Nemo roll and some of the crab pieces (with spicy mayo). I personally prefer the other platter because of my dislike of raw fish.

Group photo taken by Jun of Kunio Photography. Click on the photo to read his blog post on The Eatery / Meetup event.

My first visit at The Eatery was a great experience, despite not sampling every sushi roll. Because the selection of sushi rolls is so impressive, I need to go back again to try more individual sushi rolls! In addition, The Eatery has a daily special menu with discounted items.

  • Chicken Oko Nomi (although it is pretty pricey given its small portion)
  • Captain Crunch roll
  • sampling many sushi rolls with foodies
  • brown rice option (big bonus!)

  • the pub-like atmosphere & loud music made it hard to have a good conversation
  • the location. With so many good sushi restaurants in Burnaby and izakayas in Downtown, I would probably choose The Eatery only if I happen to be in the area.

The Eatery on Urbanspoon

The Eatery

3431 W Broadway, Vancouver


-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Bel Cafe – Desserts/Cafe, Vancouver


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's croissants


Bel Cafe's soups and sandwiches


Bel Cafe's cakes on the display


Bel Cafe serves sandwiches, soup, croissants, salad, shortbread, cakes, lemon tarts, pound cakes, and macarons.


Bel Cafe's individual cakes on the display


Bel Cafe's macarons


Bel Cafe's macarons - $2 each


My companion's latte


Dark Chocolate, Raspberry and Vanilla cake & Lemon Tart

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.


Bel Cafe's macaron menu

I had to try Bel Cafe’s macarons because I saw my favourite flavours – black sesame and pistachio. I am saving the chocolate flavour (my ultimate favourite) for a later trip. Stay tuned 😉

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!

  • Favourites: Chocolate cake and pistachio macaron
  • convenient location – close by Pacific Centre
  • clean, modern, and elegant space
  • quality desserts while being budget-friendly
  • great service

  • sesame & yuzu macaron was sour
  • less variety than other dessert cafes (e.g. Thomas Haas or Ganache)

Bel Cafe on Urbanspoon

Bel Cafe
801 West Georgia Street, Vancouver

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Aoyama Cafe UCC Coffee – Japanese/Cafe, Vancouver

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.


Seafood casserole

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.

  • the banana french toast was really good, and different
  • the specials appear very budget-friendly. I might come back next time if I come by Aberdeen
  • nice interior design

  • the food looked better than it tasted
  • the service was not good (long wait)

Aoyama Cafe (UCC Coffee) on Urbanspoon

Aoyama Cafe (UCC Coffee)
Unit 1008 4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Ganache Patisserie [VFBM] – Desserts/Bakery, Vancouver




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.


Ganache's cake display

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!

  • great selection of cakes
  • a yule log is inexpensive if you split it between many people

  • it’s a small store so it’s sort of difficult for large groups to share a cake in the store
  • the cake looks/sounds better than it tastes
  • too much French vocabulary that I don’t understand & cannot pronounce

Interesting read: Caroline’s review of Ganache yule log

Ganache Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Ganache Patisserie

1262 Homer St, Vancouver


-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Japadog [VFBM] – Food Cart/Hot Dog, Vancouver


Japadog – The famous Japanese hot dog that started the food cart revolution in Vancouver. The foodies from the Food Bloggers Meetup decided to make this the 3rd stop during our Food Cart Crawl.

I have heard about Japadog, and passed by the cart many times, but I have never tried one. I admit, I am not a big fan of hot dogs and I refused to give in to the hype, until this day.



We visited the store on Robson, which opened in 2010. Visiting a “food cart store” made it much easier to share street food during the Food Cart Crawl in this cold weather.


Menu on the outside


Menu inside the store




We got a combo to share. In this combo there are:

  • an Okonomi Japadog – Kurobuta sausage topped with bonito flakes
  • butter & shoyru fries – butter and soy sauce flavoured fries. It is $2.39 by itself
  • a can of soft drink

The combo costed $9.14 before tax.  Of course I had to order something sweet beside the combo, so we also ordered a Kurogoma Age Ice – sesame ice cream on fried buns ($2.99).


We all ate the ice cream sandwich before it started melting. The bun tasted like Chinese fried bun, which is essentially the same thing. The ice cream was less sweet than I anticipated. I think adding condensed milk drizzles would make it look and taste more appealing, at least for someone who has a big sweet tooth like me.


I have heard of shaker fries in McDonald’s in Asia, but I have never tried them. These were surprisingly good! These fries tasted a little salty and cheesy, and they were fresh. For $2.39 I would pick Japadog’s shaker fries over any fast food’s fries.


Like any other hot dog stand, you can add as much condiments as you’d like.


After I tried 1/4 of the japadog, my impression was – Japadog was really just a dressed-up hot dog. The Kurobuta sausage tasted almost identical to a Taiwanese sausage. It was good to finally try one, only to know that I was right with my prediction.

  • butter & shoyru fries
  • sesame ice age
  • having street food in a store

  • hot dogs 😐
  • the price of everything altogether ($13.59 for all the food shown above)
  • Japadog tasted like the one I made at home

I have made Japadogs at home before (See Picture), so I certainly have a higher expectation when I pay for something that is easy to make at home. The Okonomi japadog did not impressing me much. Perhaps other innovative flavours like seafood japadogs at the Waterfront will be better? I am actually looking forward to trying those at the next Food Cart Crawl with Food Bloggers.

For folks that like hot dogs and want something different at lunch time in Downtown, this could be one of your options. Just be aware that a lunch combo costs about $10 after tax, which is almost at the same price as many lunch specials in Downtown. Japadog is definitely not my cup of tea, because my idea of street food = cheap food. The Taiwanese “small sausage in large sausage” is more like my type of food. I hope you enjoyed my honest review of the famous Japadog!

Japadog (Robson Store) on Urbanspoon

530 Robson St

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny