[Japan Series] Day 3: Ippudo Ginza 一風堂 銀座店

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On Day 3, we trained to the Ginza district, which is home to one of Japan’s most expensive real estate. Here, you will find all your luxury retail stores, department stores, and fancy restaurants and cafes. Although I wasn’t expecting to purchase anything here, it is always fun to walk around and see the beautiful stores.

 

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There are your luxury stores here, but you can also find a huge Uniqlo store which has 12 floors! Uniqlo offers much more affordable prices and is perfect for every day wear.

 

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We didn’t spend too much time in department stores, but instead found Ginza Place, which actually opened in 2016, so was very new to us. Inside, it has a Nissan showroom, Sony showroom, and a few eateries.

 

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I am not a car person, but S is. However, I actually thought the Nissan showroom was really cool. They have some very futuristic cars including this one. I mean, how beautiful is this wooden interior? Other than cars, upstairs, we got to try the virtual reality headset, which was pretty cool. The Sony showroom also showcased many of their newest products. Worth stopping by if you’re interested in cars and to cool from the heat!

 

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For lunch, there weren’t too many options in the area since many are on the pricier end and we didn’t want to splurge too much. I suggested we try Ippudo Ramen. The restaurant is now a chain and has stores internationally (although none in Vancouver). Both of us haven’t tried it, so this was a great opportunity! The Ippudo Ginza location is located in an alleyway off the main street and can be a bit hidden. When we arrived, there was a short line up, but luckily there are a few chairs for us to wait outside.

 

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We waited around 15 minutes and got our seat at the bar right in front of the chefs. The interior is quite modern actually and the seating is rather comfortable. The table has some side dishes that go well with your ramen. My favourite was the spicy bean sprouts. So addicting!

 

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Gyoza

We ordered Gyozas to share and they came with a small dollop of spicy chili paste. The gyozas were small but packed with flavour and pan fried to a beautiful golden brown. Crispy on the outside and juicy inside.

 

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Shiromaru Classic – Special

I believe there are only 4 ramens to choose from. S and I ended up both having the Shiromaru Classic. This is their original tonkotsu ramen since their inception, so I had to see what it’s all about. The broth is cooked for over 18 hours and left to mature for 24 hours to extract the savoury taste of pork. It is served with homemade Hakata-style thin and straight noodles, cha-shu, black fungus and green onion. For 790 yen, you can get this basic bowl of ramen. However, we chose the Special which costs 1,020 yea and includes a soft boiled egg and a few sheets of seaweed. The ramen was good, but S and I both agreed we enjoyed Ichiran more. The broth is much lighter but still packed with a savoury pork flavour. My favourite was the egg though as it was cooked perfectly with the yolk spilling out. Not so sure if I would come back again in Japan again though since I thought it was quite comparable to some of the other ramen spots in Vancouver. Or maybe I’m just biased towards Ichiran!

After lunch, we walked around Ginza a bit more and began our long walk towards the Tsukiji Fish Market. To be continued…

Address: 4-10-3 Ginza | 1F Central Bldg., Chuo 104-0061, Tokyo Prefecture

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Botanist

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Botanist opened up earlier this year at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It took over the previous location of Oru, which I quite enjoyed. Botanist has completely renovated the space though, giving it a beautiful and elegant ambiance. I’ve been wanting to try this restaurant for a while, and S decided to bring me here for my birthday.

 

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We were seated in the “Garden”, which has beauitful floral chairs and wooden tables. The decor in here is truly beautiful.

 

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We were told that the Garden has over 50 different species of plants, and you truly feel like you are in a garden. They also have a cocktail bar, dining room, and outdoor terrace garden.

 

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Botanist is known for their cocktails. If you sit at the cocktail lab, you can order some really fancy and sophisticated cocktails. I can’t find the name of the one I ordered anymore, but I remember it had gin and some lemonade in it. It was then topped with lavender. Light, sweet, and fresh.

 

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To start, we were given complimentary bread that was topped with poppy seeds and served with whipped butter. The bread is shaped like a leaf which follows the whole botany theme of the restaurant. Even the serving plate which is a piece of petrified wood adds to the theme. The bread was delicious with the whipped butter!

 

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Pan-Seared Scallops

To start, we shared the Pan-Seared Scallops. This was a beautiful work of art and featured onions, green apple, guanciale, brown butter, and snap peas. What made it extra special was that the scallops were wrapped with a thin slice of guanciale, which is an Italian cured meat. The scallops were cooked perfectly with a beautiful brown sear and not rubbery at all.

 

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Herb-Crusted Lamb Saddle

For our mains, S got the Herb-Crusted Lamb Saddle which featured green garlic panisse, favas, shallots, and natural jus. I am not familiar with this cut of lamb, but it was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and very tender! The panisse was very interesting. It is supposed to be similar to a polenta, but we found it tasted almost like fish cake. Overall dish was colourful and delicious!

 

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Duck Breast

For myself, I had the Duck Breast which featured spaghetti squash, rhubarb, and natural jus. After my first bite, I immediately thought it tasted like Chinese roast duck! The skin was extremely crispy, while the meat was a beautiful pink and tender throughout. The slightly sour rhubarb worked well with the meat along with the spaghetti squash. I really enjoyed the Asian flavours of this dish and it was executed very well.

 

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Meyer Lemon Polenta Cake

To finish, we shared the Meyer Lemon Polenta Cake which featured apple, honey, angelica brulée, lemon buttermilk ice cream, and a ring shaped polenta cake. The dish was expensive but the presentation was spot on. So many components, but everything worked well together. I found the polenta a little too dense for my liking, but the light ice cream helped balance it out.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the food at Botanist. I felt that every dish was presented like a piece of art. Although the prices are on the higher end (think Hawksworth prices), I found that the portions were very reasonable. The mains were all very filling although they will cost you around $40 each. Service was also spot on although I felt like the service was almost a little too attentive and I was being watched! Ambiance of course is perfect for any date night. Happy to have this new addition in the Coal Harbour neighbourhood!

Pros:
– Ambiance is beautiful
– Food was well executed and presentation was spot on

Cons:
– High end prices (not your everyday meal!)

Price Range: $60-100

1: Terrible 2: Poor 3: Average 4: Good 5: Excellent

Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4

 

Botanist Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

[Japan Series] Day 2 Cont’d: Conveyor Belt Sushi at Numazuko Shinjuku

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Conveyor sushi belt restaurants are usually not that good, but are always fun to try out. I did some searching on Google and found Numazuko in the Shinjuku area was highly rated. However, when we went for an early dinner, there were no line ups and the inside was not busy. Guess that should’ve been a sign already…

 

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Anyways, we sat down, and were given a menu of which I think you can order directly from or you can choose the plates from the conveyor belt. Honestly, looking at the dishes that went by round after round, nothing really spoke to me. The other problem was that there weren’t that many other diners, so I felt that the sushi might have been sitting around for a while.

 

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The plates are colour coded, which essentially tells you the price. I believe they start at 90 yen, but many of the sushi with fish cost up to 520 yen, which isn’t super cheap for a convey belt restaurant. Each plate comes with two pieces.

 

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After some slim pickings, I settled for the scallops and some salmon and tuna. Honestly, I didn’t think the seafood was very fresh and that we have much higher quality in Vancouver. It was quite disappointing, and I’m not sure why this spot is so highly rated. Perhaps if seafood is not readily available in your city, then this may be quite good, but compared to Vancouver sushi, this was below average. Wouldn’t recommend for Vancouver locals.

 

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After a disappointing night, we walked around the busy Shinjuku and enjoyed the night lights. I love how the streets of Tokyo are always so busy even late at night.

Address: 3-34-16 Shinjuku | 1F Ikeda Plaza Bldg, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture

[Japan Series] Day 2: A day in Shinjuku 新宿 – Ichiran 一蘭 and Wa Pasta

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The next morning, we decided to take it slow and just walk around the streets of the Shinjuku neighbourhood. First things first – breakfast! There are many options and fancy bakeries in our neighbourhood, but trying to stick on a budget, we decided to go to Family Mart to just grab some quick snacks. I absolutely love the Family Marts and 7-Elevens in Asia. There are so many choices to choose from! My all time favourite are the onigiris. I ended up having these each morning. They are usually under 150 yen, so under CAD$2.

 

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Shinjuku station is known as the world’s busiest railway station and home to the business and entertainment district. On a weekday morning, it wasn’t too busy as most locals were at work. Of course, it is still much more busy than the streets of Vancouver though! We decided to check out many of the famous Japanese department stores (because there is always so much to see even if we can’t afford it!) and also admire the tall buildings and towers in the area.

 

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Getting close to lunch time, I suggested we check out Ichiran 一蘭, one of my favourite ramen spots in Japan. It is a chain restaurant, but I don’t care, because I absolutely love their ramen! If you’ve had Danbo Ramen in Vancouver and like it, then I’m pretty sure you will enjoy Ichiran. We went to the Shinjuku location, but there are Ichiran stores in almost every district.

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Even though we went to the restaurant before the peak lunch time, there was already a line up, and it didn’t stop after. Once you get closer into the store, there is a ticket machine, where you purchase your ticket for your ramen. This is really common in Japan, and I absolutely love it, as you don’t need to worry about payment after. The hostess can help you out if you have some trouble with the Japanese menu, but usually you can sort of figure it out. Then you are taken down closer to the seating area, where you will see a light up board that shows which seats are available. It’s super high tech like that! The hostess will also give you a piece of paper so you can fill out your specifications of the ramen you ordered.

 

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The seating here is perfect for single diners as there are dividers separating each diner. However, you can easily close the divider so you can see your friend! This location only has 19 seats, but ramen is quick, so the turnover is usually within 30 minutes for each diner.

 

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Here is the ordering menu once you have purchased your ramen ticket. I like how they have an english version now, so no need to worry if you can’t read any Japanese. Here is my order! Once you are ready, you click the button on your table and hand your sheet along with your ticket you purchased to the person behind your table. I believe the ramen is 790 yen, and the soft boiled egg is at an additional cost.

 

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Once you’ve handed in your order sheet and ticket, the person will pull the blind down. You basically won’t ever see the people behind the blinds during your whole visit. I love this intimacy so you can just enjoy your food. There are also cups on the side, green tea powder, and a tap for hot water so you can make your own green tea. I ordered the marinated soft boil egg, and this comes with the shell and a packet of salt. You will have to peel your own egg, but it’s worth it!

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As you can see, the egg yolk in Japan is almost orange! Quite different from what I’m used to. The egg yolk is not really runny here, but more of a medium creamy texture. I still find it great with the ramen! You can also dip it with some salt to eat on its own.

 

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Here is my order of ramen. The broth is rich and flavourful, and the noodles are thin and firm, just the way I like it. The selling point here is the spicy sauce, which is not numbing spicy, but extremely flavourful instead. Even if you don’t like spicy, like S, he still really enjoyed the broth on its own.

 

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S paid extra to purchase the extra chashu ticket. However, we were quite disappointed with this and the amount you get. I would skip this next time. Even the chashu that comes with the ramen already is not anything exciting. They are not known for the chashu, but rather the broth, spicy sauce, and noodles. Definitely would skip the extra meat next time.

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After lunch, we continued to wander the streets of Shinjuku. We ended up inside Mylord, a trendy department store with 7 floors of shopping and 3 floors or restaurants. As our feet were getting tired, we decided to stop by a cafe to cool down and rest our feet. We ended up at Wa Pasta, which I can’t seem to find the restaurant name anymore. So not sure if the name changed, or if it no longer exists. I got the Yuzu and Orange Pudding which was creamy smooth and perfect with the citrus.

 

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S got the Hazelnut Chocolate Cream Puff. Sweet and beautifully presented, perfect for those who love chocolate.

Overall, a cute cafe with both pastas and desserts to choose from. Mylord has so many options to choose from, so is a great place to stop by after shopping.

Ichiran (Shinjuku Central East Entrance location)

Address: 3-34-11 Shinjuku | Peace Bldg B1F, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture

Mylord Shinjuku

Address: Mylord, 1 Chome-1-3 Nishishinjuku, 新宿区 Tokyo 160-0023, Japan

[Japan Seires] Day 1: Marugame Seimen Shinjuku Gyoenmae, Tokyo

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Almost a year later… I’m finally getting to my Japan travel posts. Last September, S and I did a 3 week vacation in Japan. Our first stop was in Tokyo and we booked an Airbnb in the Shinjuku area. Accommodation in Japan is expensive, so I highly recommend using Airbnb if you want to save some money. Hotels are obviously covenient, but can cost almost twice as much each night.

Our Airbnb host, Yopey, had a nice flat nearby Shinjukugyoenmae station. The station is 2 stations away from Shinjuku station, and around a 10-15 minute walk from the busy Shinjuku area. It is a residential neighbourhood, so not noisy at all. However, because it is a bit further away, we found that it was not as convenient, as we always had to walk at least 10 minutes after a long day or take the extra stations back. However, you definitely can save some money by living a little further away. The flat was also much larger than I expected for Japan, and everything was clean and modern. From past experiences, I would recommend staying in the Shibuya area if you enjoy shopping and the young lifestyle. Shinjuku felt more like a business district and shops were more high end.

From the Narita airport, it takes roughly an hour to get to the city center. Therefore, I actually recommend flying into the Haneda airport, if possible, as it is only 30 minutes or so away. However, most airlines fly into Narita and it is also usually cheaper as it’s their main international airport.

 

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By the time we got to our Airbnb, it was already around 8pm. And by the time we settled in, it was getting late. We decided to walk around the neighbourhood to find some quick eats. We ended up finding Marugame Seimen, which I later learned is a chain restaurant, known for quick, value and decent quality udon.

 

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You get to choose cold or hot udon, and you just let the chef know. I think there are more options, but clearly I couldn’t read all of the menu. The chef was very accommodating even though we spoke English. He then gives you your udon and you move down the line to the tempura station, where you can choose already prepared tempura to add to your udon. Then, the cashier will add up what you’ve got on your tray and you pay.

 

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S got a hot udon. They also provide a station where you can add green onion and tempura batter on top.

 

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For myself, I got the cold udon, which comes with a light soy dipping sauce. We were both surprised with the quality of the udon for such a quick convenient shop and low price. The udon itself is below CAD$5 and was extremely chewy!

 

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The tempura though, is quite average. The batter is rather thick and the oil is old from reusing it. The tempura is also lukewarm as it has been sitting around. I would probably skip the tempura next time, but you sort of want something to go with your udon, hence people will still purchase it.

Overall, the spot is great if you need a quick cheap meal. We found lots of locals here, many of which were businessmen who had just gotten off work.

 

Address: 1-4-13 Shinjuku, Shinjuku 160-0022, Tokyo Prefecture

Diner en Blanc Vancouver 2017 Returns!

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Vancouver’s largest all white dinner party is back for the summer! This year, Diner en Blanc Vancouver will take place on August 24, 2017 at a secret location. This year, the dinner will take place at two secret locations and Vancouver will be the first city outside of Paris to do so.

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Hopefully by now, you’ve scored yourself one of those exclusive invitations. After experiencing the event last year, I can tell you that this event requires lots of work and preparation if you want the day to be perfect! Read along to learn what tips I have for preparing for this beautiful all-white event!

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One mistake I did last year was doing everything last minute. If it’s your first year, you’ll find that you likely don’t have a lot of the required items. When it’s down to crunch time, you’ll find that most items are sold out and you’re left purchasing the most expensive product and one that you may never use again. With less than one month to go, here are some tips for any first-timers:

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What to Wear

  • Shop early for your outfit! You can check out the typical retailers like Zara, Aritzia, or Forever 21, but chances are you will match with someone else. Try looking for outfits from vintage stores or independent retailers such as in Gastown or on Main Street.
  • Remember you need to wear all white! This means even your shoes need to be white. Don’t wear off-white or any other colours. You will stand out but not in a good way!
  • Wear comfortable shoes or at least bring a pair as backup. You’ll be hauling your tables and chairs to the venue so wearing sky high stilettos won’t help. If the venue is on the grass, wedges, flats or sandals would also be easier to walk in.
  • Accessorize with gold or silver accessories because you are allowed to!
  • Bring a light white scarf or cardigan in case it gets cold in the evening. Last year, it was hot throughout the night, but you never know!

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What to Eat

Sure there is catering which you can purchase in advance through Diner en Blanc, but for most of us, the catering menu seems quite expensive for what it is. In fact, we purchased our wine in advance through their website since you’re not allowed to bring your alcohol, but the line up to retrieve it took extremely long. The good thing with ordering through them is you don’t need to think about packing your food though. Anyways, for those of you are packing your own food, think of items that can be served at room temperature. The fact is, it will be hot out and it’ll likely be a few hours from transportation to set up. So any food that needs refrigeration would likely spoil, and food that is typically served hot would become lukewarm. I would suggest charcuterie boards with some bread since it also looks great on the table. If you’re too lazy to get the board set up, I would suggest buying take out such as sushi.

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What to Bring

This was probably the most difficult thing for us since we didn’t have white tables and chairs. I’d suggest purchasing or asking your friends as early as you can. We even tried rental stores, but they were completely sold out for the day.

For chairs, I would suggest foldable light chairs such as these from Ikea. As for your table, it actually doesn’t need to be white, since you can easily cover it with a white tablecloth. However, a table can be very heavy, so make sure it is foldable and light to carry. There are specific dimensions that you need to adhere to and the table must be a square shape since they will be placed next to a strangers so the line of tables need to look somewhat aligned. By the time I looked, most tables were sold out, and I ended up carrying a heavy and expensive table from JYSK. I saw some people carrying these roll up tables which were super handy as you can just sling it over your shoulder. I would also bring a trolley that can be folded up and hidden under the table if you want to ease carrying all the tableware. A picnic basket for the tableware may work, or else make sure to bubble wrap all glass and ceramic ware.

Other items to bring:

  • white table cloth
  • white cloth napkins (lots of fun to wave it around at the beginning of dinner)
  • wine glasses
  • white plates
  • silver or gold cutlery (no plastic!)
  • sparkling or still water
  • garbage bag and extra bags to put your dirty plates and cutlery in at the end of the night
  • paper towel
  • matches (to light your sparkler at the end of the night)
  • electronic candles
  • flowers or other white/silver decorations (try to find items that are light!)

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Hope you’re ready for one of the most photo-worthy event now! Be sure to walk around the venue and check out other people’s outfits and table decorations. And remember to capture the moments at the end where they hand you sparklers to light. Probably one of the most magical moments of the night! Enjoy and have fun!

Gojoy: U-Pick Goji Berry Farm

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Disclosure: We were invited to the farm as part of media, but all opinions are my own.

Blueberries, strawberries, and cherries. We are all familiar with these fruits and are lucky that the lower mainland and Okanagon boast in these produce, making it very common for u-pick during the summer. But have you heard about u-pick for goji berries?

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Out in Aldergrove in the Fraser Valley, owners, Peter and Danise Breederland are excited to offer their 11-acre goji berry farm, Gojoy, for a second season of U-Pick. U-pickers are able to harvest fresh goji berries right off the vine, and given Gojoy is the only goji berry farm in Canada, this makes it a perfect stop for some summer family activity.

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I was greeted by Danise Breederland, the farmer’s wife who gave me a detailed tour of their large farm. The Breederland family has been growing peppers for many years. However, they had this large piece of land and felt like it was being wasted. When Peter discovered goji berries and their “superfood status”, he was determined to grow this superfood in the fertile lands of the Lower Mainland. Countless farmers told Peter the berries wouldn’t grow, but he still decided to grow this unique crop. His success in doing so, and innovation in growing these berries and creating value-added products, is noted and commended. Gojoy is the only goji farm that has gone to market in Canada.

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For centuries, the goji berry (gojis) has been part of a healthy diet for millions of people and, more recently, gojis have been recognized as a bonafide superfood. The goji berry, also known as the ‘happy berry’,  is known to enhance overall happiness and joy. They are a nutrient-rich food containing multiple health and wellness-promoting properties.They’re rich in Beta-Carotene, Zeaxanthin and vitamins A, C and E, giving them amazing antioxidant properties. Many studies also suggest that goji berries are beneficial for the immune system, cardiovascular system, eyes and liver, and can boost energy and metabolism!

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The goji berry actually starts as this beautiful lilac flower.

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July is usually when they are the most plump and ripe. Danise said this year, the goji berry season for U-Pickers should last until mid August, but check their social media and website to stay up to date. Look at how plump these are!

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I actually first tried goji berries from my mother’s cooking. Goji berries are very common in Chinese cuisine, especially in savoury and sweet soups. But one thing that’s different is that the goji berries we commonly see are dried. This was my first time trying fresh goji berries and seeing them on the plant itself. I have to say, they are much sweeter and obviously fresh. They have a bit of a bitter medicinal aftertaste, similar to a pepper. They are perfect for eating on its own, mixing with smoothies, or simply adding to savoury dishes and desserts. Gojoy has a collection of recipes on their website if you want to get inspired.

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At the farm, you can U-Pick from Mondays to Fridays from 10:00am-4:00pm and Saturdays 10:00am-7:00pm. They will give you a small bucket with a strap to hang around your neck/shoulder and you can then stand up and pick with both hands. The U-Pick prices are as follows:

100 gram clamshell: $2.00
450 gram clamshell: $7.50
1 kg: $15.00

They also have specials when you pick in bulk.

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Other than U-Pick, you can also purchase a tree and plant your own goji berries. Peter has proven that goji berries can be grown in the lower mainland, so with some sunshine and tips from Peter himself, you will be sure to harvest many berries each year. Goji trees go for $65 for a regular size, and $85 for a larger tree.

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Look at how plump these fresh goji berries we picked are! Fresh picked goji berries can last around 3-4 days. If you can’t finish them in time, then you can freeze them and they can last much longer. If you choose not to pick the gojis, you can purchase pre-picked fresh gojis or boxes of frozen gojis at the farm or at stores such as Choices across the lower mainland.

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For those who want a quick and healthy smoothie, Gojoy also sells Goji Smoothie Boosters. Each bag comes with 5 frozen berry purée sticks, which is a blend of six 100% BC-grown berries (gojis, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, and strawberries) all of which are packed with vitamins and antioxidants. The goji berries are the main ingredient, and you can then add other fruits such as apples or oranges and yogurt to create the perfect smoothie. You can also just eat the sticks like freezies!

Overall, I highly recommend checking out the Gojoy farm before the U-Pick season ends. What a fun summer activity for the family and the perfect opportunity to learn more about this superfood!

Wild Rice

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Note: All food and beverages were complimentary, but all opinions are my own.

Thanks to VancityTastes, I was invited to a media tasting for the launch of Wild Rice‘s new summer patio menu. Wild Rice used to have a location in Vancouver, but now it is located at the River Market in New West. I don’t frequent New West, so I had never actually been to the River Market and was surprised to see that the area is right in front of the waterfront. With the warm weather now, they have opened up their patio, which is right in front of the water. What a beautiful space to enjoy your meal!

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You can also choose to sit indoors, where there is both a dining area and a lounge if you’re looking for a quick bite and drinks. The interior is dimly lit with modern decor and the best part is their open kitchen concept. You can sit at the lounge and want the chefs do their thing. Wild Rice is known for the fact that they make their dishes as you order. That means nothing sits under a heat lamp and nothing is reheated. They also source their ingredients from local farms and partners with Ocean Wise for seafood. We also learned that the owner learned cooking from his grandma, so all dishes have an Asian flare and are meant to be shared. I’d say that the owner has put his own twist and modernized the traditional dishes, so is more Asian fusion.

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Gin & Tonic

To start, we had a Gin & Tonic. This was rosemary infused, featuring a Victoria premium cocktail gin and mixed with tonic water.

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Vegan Kale Caesar Salad

As for food, we started with a Vegan Kale Caesar Salad which featured a cashew tofu dressing, roasted garlic, crispy chickpeas, olives, red onion, and balsamic reduction. The kale tasted fresh and crispy, but the star was definitely the crispy chickpeas. I think they might have been fried, because they were super light and addicting! And I don’t even usually like to eat chickpeas since I find it to be too dense. Overall, the salad was light and refreshing, perfect for the warm weather.

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Gluten Free Polenta Fries

The Gluten Free Polenta Fries were a beautiful golden yellow and was battered with cornmeal, topped with green onion, and served with a side of chili aioli. Personally, I am not a huge fan of polenta because of how dense it often is. For me, I found the fries to be dense and the cornmeal texture to be a little overwhelming. However, that chili aioli was addicting, and complemented the fries well so they weren’t as heavy feeling.

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Vegetable Potstickers

The Vegetable Potsticks were all perfectly wrapped and pinched and pan fried to a beautiful golden brown. The filling includes smoked tofu, napa cabbage, shiitake mushroom, and carrot. To dip, there was a ponzu dressing on the side which gave some acidity.

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Gluten Free Salt & Pepper Squid

My favourite of the night was the Gluten Free Salt & Pepper Squid. The squid is lightly battered and fried, then topped with jalapenos, grilled lime, house tartar. The squid was not tough at all, but just the right chewy bouncy texture.

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Berry Mojito

Switching up my drink, I tried the Berry Mojito which featured crushed bramble berries, mint, lime, and rum. For me, the drink was very fruity so I could barely taste the alcohol. You could easily drink many of these without noticing the alcohol! Dangerous!

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Chicken Adobo Steamed Buns

A new menu item they just added are the Chicken Adobo Steamed Buns. These Chinatown baos come with a soy braised soft boiled egg, house pickles, and roasted garlic. The flavours were great, but I think many of us were confused as to why the buns were only filled with the chicken adobo near the bottom. The bun was soft and fluffy, but we just thought the construction of the bun was a bit odd.

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Mini Poke Bowl

The last savoury dish was the Mini Poke Bowl. This features ocean-wise salmon on scallion verde rice, onions, roasted cherry tomatoes, spicy pineapple, cucumber and seaweed. Definitely not the authentic poke, but the flavours worked together with a nice kick from the spiced pineapples. I also liked how there was a soy marinade throughout the rice and not just at the top. I always find it difficult to mix all the ingredients together, so it’s nice that the soy is throughout the rice so you don’t end up with just plain rice at the bottom.

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Twisted Fashion

To finish, we had the Twisted Fashion which featured bourbon, ginger reduction, and orange bitters. A much stronger drink, this is not for everyone. I actually quite enjoyed this as it had a hint of ginger which brought bit of sweetness to it.

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Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

For dessert, we had the Gluten Free Chocolate Cake which was served with raspberry sauce and mint ice cream from Tre Galli Gelato Cafe from next door. I think the cake is normally served with chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream, but not sure why it got switched up. The mint ice cream was great, but I think the vanilla ice cream would have been a better pairing. The cake was a delicious molten-like cake and many of the bloggers had more than one serving!

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Overall, the new summer menu at Wild Rice features a colourful array of light, refreshing dishes. Many of their dishes are also perfect for vegetarians or those who require gluten-free dishes. With such a nice patio and waterfront view, this makes a great summer patio spot for drinks and dishes.

Wild Rice Market Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato