Seasons in the Park

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Seasons in the Park is an iconic restaurant inside Queen Elizabeth Park. I had visited the restaurant previously during dinner time to enjoy the night views of the city, but it was my first time visiting for a weekend brunch. The daytime skyline is just as beautiful and we were situated in an elevated area which gave a great view.

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Eggs Benedict

On the weekends, brunch is available and of course I had to take advantage of the brunch menu. I chose to get the Eggs Benedict and added a side of breakfast sausages. The eggs benny came with back bacon, topped with hollaindaise sauce and served with rosemary hash browns and seasonal fruits. The eggs were poached nicely and the hollaindaise sauce was the right consistency. However, I found the English muffin to be a bit tough. Hashbrowns were pretty good though as they were different types of potatoes including yam. Overall not bad, but wouldn’t make the list of my go-to spots for eggs benedict.

 

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BC Cod & Chips

S ordered the BC Cod & Chips which was served with an Asian inspired coleslaw, fries, and house made tartar sauce. This was also not bad but again, not the best in town.

Overall, we had a great experience at Seasons in the Park. The food although nothing to get excited about, is still not bad. The main reason to visit would be for the ambiance and view. The service is also very professional so a great spot to celebrate a special occasion.

Pros:
– Great views of the city
– Ambiance is great for a romantic evening

Cons:
– Food is nothing spectacular

Price Range: $20-40 per person

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

Food: 3 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4.5 Parking: Paid parking at QE Park Overall: 3.5

 

Seasons in the Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Caffè Artigiano – New Summer Menu

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

Last month, Caffè Artigiano launched their new summer menu with a selection of chilled caffeinated (and decaffeinated) artisanal iced coffee, teas, and sodas along with some new food menu items. I was invited to check out the location on Main and 24th.

 

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The Main Street location is extremely spacious with long communal tables as well as seating for smaller parties. Love the cool vintage Italian vibe in here.

 

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There are a number of new menu items for food this summer as Chef Dawn Doucette has curated some new breakfast and lunch items. Chef Dawn has worked with Michael, the Director of Coffee, to introduce menu items that pair well together for the summer.

 

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This also includes some pastry items.

 

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Italian Sodas

For drinks, we tried the new Italian Sodas which guests can choose flavours like the frutti do bosco berry or peach syrup. The flavoured syrups are mixed with sparkling San Pellegrino and topped with fresh blueberries or mint. These make light and refreshing beverages and are great for those who enjoy a bit of a fizz.

 

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Affogato

Another exciting addition is the Affogato, which features a dark espresso poured warm over a scoop of cold vanilla gelato from Mario’s Gelato. This item is available at locations that have freezer space, so this includes Park Royal, YVR (McArthurGlen Designer Outlet) and Hornby Street.

Other summer beverages included the Ice Cofffee, Iced Caffè Latte , Iced Spanish Latte, Frappé, Shakerato, and Ice Tea. What’s great here is that they do not use powders and syrups in their coffee drinks and therefore much healthier. Further, kid’s drinks are made with organic milk, soy, or almond milk, and also available for an added price for adults.

 

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Pavarotti 

There are many new sandwich options which are drawn from Italy. The Pavarotti  features green olive tapenade, Italian mortadella, nitrate-free country ham, smoked salami and provolone served on focaccia. The focaccia is toasted beautifully and the ingredients inside are savoury with a hint of spice from the salami.

 

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Paolino Piadina

The Paolino Piadina features rustic Italian flatbread, parmesan breaded chicken, roast garlic aioli, mozzarella, marinara sauce and arugula.

 

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Breakfast Wrap

The Breakfast Wrap is filled with scrambled eggs, marinara sauce, potatoes, cilantro, green onion and served with a side of salsa and sour cream.

 

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There are also several new salad options, all of which are colourful and fresh. These are prepared at the commissary kitchen in Vancouver.

 

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Overall, a great selection of new summer menu items. I especially love the new iced drinks and affogato, which are perfect for the hot weather.

 

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This summer Caffè Artigiano is giving away all things Vespa! Prizes include some of their bright red gift cards, loaded with $20 worth of great coffee drinks in their caffès; a Vespa LX50 day rental for two; and five bright red Vespa bags full of coffee, a travel mug and gift card, and in one of those bags, a key to a brand-new Vespa Primavera 50 Rosso Dragon. Follow them, comment and share pictures of the scooter at their various locations around BC this summer for your chance to win!

 

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Check out their social media for more details!

Caffe Artigiano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rain or Shine Ice Cream

Rain or Shine Ice Cream has been around for quite some time now and they have even opened up their second location on Cambie. For whatever reason, I had never visited the shop and thank god I finally did! MH, MW, S and I visited the Cambie store in the afternoon on a sunny day after lunch.

They make their waffles fresh in store but you can also have your ice cream in a cup. Their signature flavours are always on the menu, and the seasonal flavours will switch up based on what ingredients are fresh. “The ice cream is made from scratch in house using fresh, natural and sustainable whole ingredients, source locally, seasonally and organically whenever possible.”

Malted Milk Chocolate and Honey Lavender

We ended up choosing the Malted Milk Chocolate (on top) which features homemade honeycomb (free of corn syrup) coated in 70% dark chocolate and mixed into a Belgian milk chocolate base. Malted Barley is added to enhance the richness of this ice cream. We absolutely loved the crunch of the malted chocolate along with the sweetness of the honeycomb. The Honey Lavender (bottom) is made with organic and floral alfalfa honey from Aldergrove Farms paired with lavender from Tuscan farms in Maple Ridge. I’m a huge fan of floral, so this was my cup of tea!

Overall, we loved the ice cream here and the creative flavours they offer. The price is on par with the other gourmet ice cream shops in Vancouver and I felt the portions were pretty good for a double scoop (perfect for sharing). And did you know that their ice cream is 100% dairy with no eggs, no modified milk ingredients or artificial extracts? What goes into our food is really important these days and ice cream is no exception! Will be returning for some more ice cream before summer ends, but I guess they are open rain or shine anyways!

Pros:
– Creative and tasty flavours
– Seasonal flavours so you don’t get sick of the same ones!

Cons:
– Can have massive line ups on sunny days
– Waffle cones are okay in my opinion. I like the ones at Timothy’s more.

Price Range: $5-10

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

Food: 4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: 4 Overall: 4

Rain or Shine Ice Cream Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Anh + Chi

Anh and Chi is the new hip and modern Vietnamese spot that took over the prior space, Pho Hoang. The restaurant is owned by the same family but the children now run the restaurant.

The restaurant is clean and modern with natural sunlight shining in to make picture taking effortless. Be aware of the long line ups and no reservations here. We came here closer to 2pm and got a seat within 15 minutes.

They’ve really vamped up the decor and everything inside just has a modern flare to it.

Soda Ép: Hand-Craft Soda – Fresh Lime, Dragon Fruit Tonic, Salty Plum

We started off with their Hand-Craft Sodas which the servers recommended. From left to right is the Fresh Lime, Dragon Fruit Tonic, and Salty Plum. The Salty Plum really wowed us with the drink not being overly salty or tart. It had a nice balance and was very appetizing. A must order!

Chả Giò – Crispy Spring Rolls

Onto the appies of which included the Crispy Spring Rolls which comes in a beautiful woven basket. They really know how to play with presentation here and hence their high prices. $7 for two rolls is not cheap. The spring rolls are filled with pork, prawn, carrot, taro, bean thread vermicelli and black mushroom. Many of their dishes are served with lettuce, mixed herbs and a chili fish sauce of which you then wrap around. I have to say, the flavours of these spring rolls are very modernized but I loved it!

Sài Gòn – Prawn Salad Rolls

The Prawn Salad Rolls were also presented beautifully. Each order comes with one roll cut in half (pictured is two orders). You can also choose from grilled pork or chicken. The rolls were filled with lettuce, bean sprouts, rice vermicelli and my favourite ingredient was the mint which gave it a very fresh taste. It was served with a delicious peanut sauce.

Cánh Gà – Fried Chicken Wings

The Fried Chicken Wings were a hit at our table with a marinade of chili fish sauce, butter, garlic, and green onion. The outside was crispy with the inside moist. We did find that this dish was slightly on the saltier side though.

Phở Hoàng

We got a taste of their predecessors by ordering the Phở Hoàng but it still came at the new prices at $11 for a normal bowl of pho. This came with sliced beef sirloin, brisket, tripe, tendon and meatballs. The broth was actually pretty good but I wouldn’t pay the price for it when I can get the same or better at a cheaper joint.

Bánh Xèo – Vietnamese Crêpe

I’ve been seeing the Vietnamese Crêpe all over social media so I suggested we try this as it’s not something I would usually order at Vietnamese restaurants. Filled in a crispy egg omelette was pork, prawn, bean sprouts, and mung bean. This was served with the same lettuce, mixed herbs and chili fish sauce so you could wrap the egg in. I really liked how crispy the outside was but found the inside ingredients to be under-seasoned.

Khay Bánh Hỏi Lụi Nướng – Street-Side Platter

The Street-Side Platter is great for sharing and consisted of house-made pork sausage, beef in betel leaf, grilled chicken, fried spring roll & grilled prawn. It was served with fresh lettuce, mixed herbs, pickled carrots and daikon, fine rice vermicelli, rice paper and chili fish sauce. We were given a warm bowl of water to soak the rice paper in to wrap our grilled meats so you got some DIY fun. However, I found it quite messy to do and would’ve prefered to have the assembly already done for me. All the meats were grilled just right and flavoured very well. The only one that lacked flavour would be the prawn.

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Bún Thịt Nướng Chả Giò Tôm – Vermicelli Bowl

Lastly, we got the Vermicelli Bowl which was very similar to the previous dishes as they consisted of the same ingredients. I would skip this if you already ordered the above dishes. We chose to have grilled chicken and it also came with a grilled whole prawn, fried spring rolls, a bed of greens, mixed herbs & chili fish sauce.

Overall, we were quite happy with Anh and Chi but found that many of the flavours in their main dishes were very similar after a while. Still, it’s great to see Vietnamese cuisine go from the typical cheap eats to becoming modern and upscale. Of course, this comes with a price, but you are paying for the overall experience. Service was also extremely friendly which is a huge change from the usual pho joints.

Pros:
– Great modern twist and presentation
– Service is great and ambiance is beautiful

Cons:
– Pricey
– Some dishes become very similar in flavour

Price Range: $20-30/person

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

Food:4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 4 Parking: 3.5 Overall: 4

Anh + Chi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Commodity Juicery

NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary. All opinions are based on my own personal experience.

Last month, I was invited by Zomato to enjoy a private tasting at Commodity Juicery on Fraser St. I drink juices I make with a blender at home, but this whole cold-pressed juice thing is fairly new to me. I brought along M and E who were keen to learn more about cold-pressed juices and what a juice cleanse was all about.

The store is fairly small and is more of a take-away place. There’s really only three stools at the counter plus some chairs against the window. As mentioned, they focus on cold-pressed juices and these are listed with colourful numbers along with the ingredients for each.

In addition to juices, they offer plant-based ready-to-go meals. They range from salad bowls, soups, and desserts. When they say plant-based, it basically means vegan (so no dairy, seafood, or meats).

On the side, they have a fridge filled with their freshly made cold-pressed juices in take-away bottles. Carissa, the co-owner who hosted our private tasting said these can last up to 4 days unopened.

Sample of Cold Pressed Juices

We got to sample some of the cold pressed juices which were customer favourites. This colourful array of fresh juice from left to right included:

10: Sunrise: grapefruit, apple, lemon, mint
8: Orange Roots: carrot, turmeric, apple, lemon
6: Purple Puppy: beet, cucumber, cilantro, orange, apple
1: Sweet Greens – pineapple, kale, romaine, cilantro, green apple, lime
7: Morning Love: carrot, yam, lemon, cinnamon
4: Bright Greens: romaine, cucumber, kale, parsley, green apple, celery, lemon

My favourites included Sunrise, which is the perfect drink if you love fruitier flavours, and Sweet Greens, which again was a sweeter juice. I’m a sucker for fruiter juices even though it may have more sugar. You could really taste all the ingredients in the juice and it tasted very clean and fresh. M even mentioned why he had never tasted these kind of flavours in a juice before. These go for $10 a bottle normally.

 

Kale Chips

We then got to sample some of their Kale Chips which are lightly seasoned with chili. These were delicious and addicting. E and I both agreed we could snack on these all day long at work.

Minestrone Soup

A new addition to the menu is the Minestrone Soup which Carissa said is from her grandmother’s recipe. This was hearty and flavourful with a good assortment of vegetables and beans. No chicken broth is used, so this is vegan friendly.

Kale Caesar

The Kale Caesar is again a vegan version as the Caesar dressing is actually cashew-based yet still giving that anchovy flavour. To substitute Parmesan cheese, the salad is sprinkled with Rawmesean, which is a raw vegan substitute and tastes just like cheese! We could hardly tell! The salad was a mix of kale and romaine and this is normally topped with coconut bacon which is the bomb!

Mighty Greens

One additional juice we tried was the #3: Mighty Greens. This was made with cucumber, green apple, mint, romaine, celery, kale, and lime. This juice is supposed to help with weight management, liver cleansing, digestion, and suppressing appetites.

Matcha Mylk

Moving on, we tried one of their milk based drink, the #12: Matcha Mylk. This is made with cashews, almonds, matcha, maple syrup, and vanilla bean. I found this to taste like those Vita-Soy drinks but much more clean and less sugary.

Macaroons

For dessert, we tried their Coconut Macaroons. These were surprisingly very delicious even though they are vegan. A subtle sweet flavour and it gives you that feeling of begin full. Carissa said these would be good to have just before you go to a yoga class.

Relief Shot

We were all curious about what these “health shots” were so Carissa let us try the Relief Shot. This is usually taken in the morning to get you going and powered up. The Relief Shot’s ingredients included lemon and ginger and was topped with some cayenne. Wow, this took us by surprise and that spicy and gingery flavour really woke us up. I could really use this every morning.

Overall, we had a great time at the private tasting and enjoyed the introduction to a plant-based diet. Who knew vegan could taste so good! The staff are also very  knowledgeable and passionate to help find you the best fit and flavour profiles you enjoy. Juice cleanses are available as well so if you are looking into something like that, Commodity Juicery is a great option. A location is also in Smithers for those of you up north.

Commodity Juicery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sweet Revenge

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I’ve wanted to use my gift card for Sweet Revenge for a while, but I never really go to that area of Vancouver. Finally, I decided to head over there to get some desserts for my friend and I. I read reviews that the place is always packed with people since it’s only open at night, and indeed it was. People were lining up at the doors. I ended up getting take out and ate at my friend’s instead.

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The interior of the place is really cute though. It’s quite dim inside, but the red walls give it an interesting ambiance. They put framed pictures around, and the décor is quite vintage. I only waited around 5 minutes and my take out was ready.

Chocolate Mousse Cakesemi-sweet chocolate mousse, with cream cheese & a crunchy curst & White Chocolate Cheesecakeflourless cheesecake with home-made sauce

I got the Chocolate Mousse Cake, which was surprisingly not too sweet. It was smooth and had a really nice crunch at the bottom of the cake. There were also pieces of chocolate flakes on the top, which made a nice touch to it. The second dessert I got was the White Chocolate Cheesecake. It was recommended to me by the cashier. I really enjoyed this. It came with a raspberry sauce in a container. It wasn’t too sweet, and I love white chocolate and cheesecake, so it was the perfect pairing. Too bad I couldn’t see what it would look like presented on a plate with the sauce drizzled over it. My take-out box pictures clearly did not look as nice as the ones I saw in the store. Other desserts I really wanted to try were the tiramisu, and crème brulee, which were both recommended to me by the cashier as well. However, these had a $2 deposit that needed to be paid for the cups for take-out. I don’t live near that area so I wasn’t prepared to go back to return the cups, but I didn’t feel like paying that extra $2 either. I guess I’ll just have to try those desserts next time when I actually sit in. The place looks pretty cool with a variety of drinks as well. Check it out!

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