CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice (Marine Drive)

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

CoCo’s latest location at Marine Drive has been open for some time now, and they will have their official grand opening this weekend. The location is short walk across the street from the Marine Gateway and Canada Line skytrain station.

 

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The location is brightly lit just like their other stores and has a decent amount of seating to enjoy your drinks. At Coco, you can customize your drink’s sugar and ice level.  Most drinks go for around $5 for a large. Regular is around $4.20.

 

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Of course they have the famous CoCo mascot here!

 

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Roast Pearl Milk Tea, Matcha Macchiato with Red Bean, Sago Taro Milk Tea with Pearls

I have tried a few of their famous drinks like 3 Guys and Bubble Gaga so I decided to try some drinks I haven’t tried before. The first was the Roasted Pearl Milk Tea which seems to be a new menu item. We had this at 50% sugar level but I think I would’ve preferred it at 70% sugar level as it was too strong in the roasted flavour. I think I still like Chatime’s roasted milk tea the most. In the middle is the Matcha Macchiato with Red Bean which I really enjoyed. Strong in matcha flavour and paired nicely with the red bean, it tasted like matcha red bean cake. Lastly, the Sago Taro Milk Tea with Pearls was my favourite. Although there are no taro chunks in this drink, I still enjoyed the tiny sago paired with the pearls. It’s like having Chinese dessert!

 

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To celebrate the Marine Drive’s grand opening, the Marine Drive location is having a buy one get one free promotion. From October 27 – 29, 2017, if you purchase any Top 10 Drink, you will receive a free medium Pearl Milk Tea. This is only valid at 491 SW Marine Drive.

The Top 10 Drinks include:

  • Red Bean Matcha Milk Tea
  • Lemon Yakult
  • Mango Smoothie
  • 3 Guys
  • Bubble Tea
  • Lemon King
  • Bubble Gaga
  • Black Tea Macchiato
  • Black Tea Latte
  • Sago Taro Milk Tea

CoCo Fresh Tea & Juice Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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[Japan Series] Day 6: Day Trip to Hakone 箱根

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On Day 6, we decided to visit Hakone 箱根 since Tokyo appeared quite sunny. I wanted to make sure it would be a sunny day because I wanted clear skies to see Mt. Fuji. Hakone is less than one hundred kilometers from Tokyo so many tourists will visit this spot from Tokyo. It is famous for the view of Mt. Fuji which is nearby and their hot springs. Many tourists choose to stay a night, but I found the accommodation quite expensive and lugging onto our large luggage on transportation such as a cable car did not make sense for us. Instead, we did a one day trip, which I can assure you is sufficient time. I had done lots of planning ahead of time, and learned about the Hakone Free Pass.

The Hakone Free Pass is a discount pass for tourists traveling in the Hakone area and covers all modes of transportation. It is only available for 2 days or 3 days of unlimited travel. However, I did some calculations and if you are going to take the whole route with all modes of transportation, the 2 day pass is a good deal even just for a one day trip. We chose the 2 day pass and the price breaks down further depending on where you purchase the pass. This really depends on where you are departing from. If you depart from Shinjuku station, the 2 day pass costs 5,140 yen. However, if you have a JR pass like we did, it is cheaper to take the JR train to Odawara station on your own since the JR pass provides unlimited travel and covers this route. If you are like us, then once you arrive at Odawara station, you should go to the tourist info center and purchase the Hakone Free pass. This will only cost 4,000 yen. Check out our JR shinkansen (bullet train)!

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Once we arrived to Odawara Station (小田原) and purchased the Hakone Zone Free Pass, we quickly headed to the station for the Hakone Tozan Train. We didn’t get a picture of the outside since we had to rush on the train as it had already arrived. The Hakone Tozan Railway (箱根登山電車) is Japan’s oldest mountain railway, hence the train is operated by a train conductor

 

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To be completely honest, I was quite skeptical about taking this train as it looked really old and it was going really slow. However, it was actually such an experience and lots of fun! The train goes through narrow valleys, over bridges and even through tunnels. I hear that there are flowers during the spring, but unfortunately when we went, it was mostly just green bushes. The whole ride takes under 40 minutes.

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I think the coolest part was that switchbacks are required. The train makes three stops along the way because it will hit a dead end, and the train conductor then needs to get off and go to the other end of the train so that the train can go the opposite direction. Think about a zig zag sort of route since it needs to climb up a mountain. Definitely something I have not seen before. Along the way, there are a few stops where there are art museums. One of the most famous ones is the Open Air Museum. This actually seemed quite interesting, but since we had a tight schedule, we skipped this. Thinking back, I think we would have had enough time to stop by for an hour. The last stop on the Tozan Railway is Gora Station, where we got off.

 

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At Gora Station (強羅), you can choose to visit some other museums and parks. This is also where many tourists will choose to visit an onsen (hot spring). However, unless you are staying overnight, most tourists will continue on and skip this area. The next mode of transportation is the Hakone Tozan Cable Car. So many people were waiting for this cable car, so when we got on, it was extremely crowded! Luckily, it was only a 9 minute ride. The windows are very wide on this cable car so you can check out the mountainous views. To be honest, S and I found this part to be a bit underwhelming. The views were average compared to the ones we have in Vancouver. I think the views on the cable car at the Grouse Grind are much more impressive. This gets you to Sounzan Station. The Hakone Tozan Cable Car is 9 minutes of heaven and connects the town of Gora, with its many hot springs (onsen), and a popular sightseeing spot, with Sounzan Station.

 

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Again, there isn’t much to do at Sounzan Station (早雲山), so most tourists will continue on to the next mode of transportation. Next up was the Hakone Ropeway (箱根ロ-プウエイ). Before heading on, the staff will give you a wet towelette to cover your mouth and nose. This is because the air will get very gassy as there are active volcanoes here.

 

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The ropeway takes around 30 minutes in total, but there is one stop in between that most people will get off at. The views here are spectacular. Here you will see Owakudani’s sulfur fields and the volcanic gasses. On a beautiful day, you should also be able to see Mt. Fuji, but unfortunately we could not see it as the clouds were in the way. Was pretty disappointed since that was the main reason I suggested coming here, but it still ended up being a fun trip.

 

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Here, we are approaching Owakudani (大涌谷). Remember to get off at this stop as there are lots to see! Owakudani is an area around a crater created by a eruption of Mt. Hakone 3000 years ago.

 

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The area is an active volcanic zone where you’ll see sulfurous fumes. It is quite hot in this area and definitely very gassy. It smells sort of like rotten eggs. If you have respiratory problems, this is probably not the right place for you.

 

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In this area, there is also the Hakone Geo Museum, where you can learn more about Mt. Hakone.

 

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What a view from Owakudani! Too bad we couldn’t see Mt. Fuji in the background.

 

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There is not much food here, but since it was lunch time, we needed to get something to fill up. I read online that the black eggs are a must try. The eggs are cooked in naturally hot water and the shell is blackened by the sulfur. The myth is that if you eat one of these eggs, it will prolong your life by seven years!

 

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Of course we had to get these black eggs! I think they were around 600 yen for 5 and the minimum order was unfortunately 5 eggs. Oh well, since we needed to fill up. The eggs are really just hard boiled eggs. Didn’t taste any different, but the shell is black so that’s a bit fun! Piping hot! They also have black coloured soft serve but I read online that it’s not that good so we skipped it.

 

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The food around here is qutie pricey since there is nothing else to eat here. So we grabbed one more snack. This was deep fried potato. Pretty good actually!

 

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After grabbing a bite and snapping some scenic pictures, we decided to continue along to the next stop. We headed back to Sounzan Station and jumped onto the ropeway again which took us to the last station, Togendai. There is not much to do in this area again other than some souvenir shops. From here, you can take a bus back, but there is a more interesting way!

 

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Pirate ship? Yes! Okay, well I’m not sure if they are called pirate ships, but they sure look like one. The Hakone Sightseeing Cruise links Togendai with Moto-Hakone-ko and Hakone-machi. Included on our Hakone Free Pass, we are able to take this ship for free which sails through Lake Ashinoko. The boat ride takes around 30 minutes and was very windy!

 

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Lake Ashinoko (芦ノ湖) was formed from the eruption of Mt. Hakone back in the day. Again, on a clear day, you will be able to see Mt. Fuji, but I really could not see it. Along the shore, there are a few small towns and some lakeside resort hotels, but really not much. The ship took us to Hakone-machi, where we quickly hopped onto a bus so we could go back to Odwara. This took under an hour, so luckily we got a seat. There are many buses that can take you back to Odawara but it can be overwhelming. I suggest asking the staff when you are buying your Hakone Free Pass so they can circle it on your map.

 

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The bus ride actually wasn’t that bad. Soon enough, we arrived back in Odawara. The city does not have much to do. The most famous would be the Odawara Castle. However, we wanted to make sure we caught our train back to Shinjuku, so hurried back to the train station after getting off the bus.

 

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The shinkansen were so much fun to watch as they passed by. They really go at crazy speeds!

 

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The shinkansen were also very clean and spacious. Way better than sitting on a plane! They even have bathrooms on it due to the long distances they travel. By the way, if you have a JR pass, you have the choice to reserve your seats. However, since we knew this train wouldn’t be too busy, we just went to the unreserved seating. Each train will have a few carts that are for non-reserved passengers, so it’s first come first serve. I would suggest reserving seats if you are taking the train during peak times, but otherwise, they seemed relatively empty. Off we went back to Shinjuku for dinner! Stay tuned! Highly recommend checking Hakone out for at least a day if you want a getaway from busy Tokyo!

 

Detailed information including the map of this whole route can be found here: http://www.odakyu.jp/english/destination/hakone/#link-01

[Japan Series] Day 5: Akihabara 秋葉原 and PABLO Mini

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On Day 5, we trained to Akihabara Station. Akihabara district is known for electronics and the die hard anime fans.

 

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Once we stepped out of the station, we immediately saw buildings covered with anime art and tall buildings full of electronics. Seriously if you think Best Buy has everything, you need to check out these electronic department stores… The number of floors are endless…

 

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I’m honestly not that interested in electronics, but S really wanted to visit. However, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by all the high-tech products they have in Japan. Even hair appliances were amazing! Anyways, I was looking out for food while S was taking pictures. Coincidentally, I found PABLO Mini! They are famous for their cheese tarts, but this shop sold their mini versions. Since S doesn’t eat cheese, I was happy that they had mini versions so I didn’t need to stuff myself.

 

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I got the original cheese tart and look how cute this mini version is! Plus, it was getting close to Halloween, and they added this cute little stick out. I’ve had the large Pablo tart, so I have to say the larger one is better. But still, if you want a quick snack, this is great. A must try and I would suggest getting the full size if you have a group to share with.

 

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After checking out all the electronic stores (which seems to never end), we got tired and both of us could not decide on a place to eat. Being upset, we randomly chose a ramen shop and ate. There were actually diners in there, so I could not imagine how bad the ramen could be, but I absolutely hated it. And I’m pretty sure S agreed. Look how messy the bowls were. The eggs were not cooked properly, the meat was super thick, and the broth was a thick mess. The bowl was large, but I’ve never had such a bad ramen.

 

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I got the Tsukemen, and again, it was disgusting. I wish I got the name down, but unfortunately did not get a picture of the outside.

Pablo Mini Akihabara
Address: 1-15-8 Sotokanda, Chiyoda 101-0021, Tokyo Prefecture

 

[Japan Series] Day 3 Cont’d: Tsukiji Fish Market 築地市場 and Roppongi 六本木

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After wandering the streets of Ginza, I suggested we walk over to Tsukiji Fish Market. What a mistake beacuse it was definitely more than a 20 minute walk and normally in Vancouver this is fine, but when we’ve been walking non-stop for a few days already, our feet weren’t feeling it. After making various pit stops, we finally arrived at the market. The market was supposed to move near Odaiba in late 2016, but it seems like they have delayed this until 2018.

 

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Tsukiji Market is a wholesale market for seafood, fruits, and vegetable. The market is one of the most famous in Tokyo because of the amount of fish it handles. Tourists can actually visit the market in the morning to watch the tuna get auctioned. However, you’ll need to get here around 5am to make the cut as there are limited spots. Otherwise, you should stop by in the early mornings to catch the most action. You can’t enter the warehouse before 10am though as they are afraid tourists will disrupt business at its peak. If you choose to arrive early, you can still check out the outer market, which is an area with retailers and restaurants. This is where you can enjoy a sushi breakfast as well and some arrive as early as 5am to get their sushi! We arrived around 2pm, which is usually the time many of the stores along the market begin to close down so it definitely wasn’t as lively.

 

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You’ll still find some retailers open but I’m not sure how fresh the fish would be anymore as the best would probably have been sold out by now. If you love sashimi, this is the market to get your fix! Tons of chirashi-don stores.

 

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There are also many stalls that sell quick snacks like these grilled scallops with sea urchin on top. Looks delicious!

 

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As we already had lunch and S doesn’t eat sashimi, we decided on a light snack instead. Tamagoyaki is very popular at the market! You will find some stores that have much fancier decor and packaging, but the 100 yen price at this store caught our attention.

 

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Tamagoyaki is a Japanese omelette which has requires the chef to perfect the skill of making many thin layers or folds. It is slightly sweet and is paired with some soy sauce.

 

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For 100 yen at this stall, we got a large chunk of tamogoyaki and it broke apart so easily because of how fluffy it was! I’m sure some of the fancier stalls are much better, but this already satisfied my craving and tasted delicious!

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As there wasn’t much going on at the Tsukiji Market by the time we arrived, we ended up training to Roppongi district. Roppongi is known as the city’s most popular nightlife district for foreigners. There are many bars, restaurants, and nightclubs that cater to the foreigners. Hence, prices are also higher in this area.

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After walking around the area, we couldn’t really settle with a restaurant and ended up training back to Shinjuku. Shinjuku is so busy at night and fun to walk around with all the bright lights.

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After a long day of walking, we just wanted something fast to eat and we settled at a random shop that seems to specialize in tempura type dishes and rice bowls. This is a super casual spot and again you can purchase your ticket in the vending machine before entering.

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S had the Pork Cutlet on Rice which was served very home-style. Definitely nothing spectacular, but it was cheap and quick.

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For myself, I got the combo which included prawn tempura, pork cutlet, and some meat patty that was battered and deep fried. The oil was definitely old as the colour was very dark. The coleslaw on the side helped make the dish less oily. Miso soup and rice was also included.

Overall, if you’re looking for some quick, affordable food, then these spots may work out for you.

Tsukiji Market
Address: 5-2-1 Tsukiji, Chuo 104-0045, Tokyo Prefecture

Roppongi
Address: Roppongi, Minato 106-0032, 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

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.

IMG by ukijojo on 500px.com

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.

IMG by ukijojo on 500px.com

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.

IMG by ukijojo on 500px.com

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 Sweets – 2017 Summer Collection

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

Wild Sweets is always coming up with innovative desserts each season. They have recently launched their 2017 summer collection, and we got a sneak peak to see what there is to offer!

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Cocoa Bean ‘Chocolate Iced Tea’

Last time I visited Wild Sweets, we got to try their Chocolate Tea, which is a drink made entirely from pure in-house roasted cocoa bean husks only and no sugar or any other ingredients are added except for a touch of vanilla bean powder. Now, for the summer, they have blended the tea with pure fruit purées and lightly sweetened with a vanilla syrup. You get this undertone of chocolate flavour, but the overall drink is fruity and refreshing when served cold. Currently, there are 5 flavours: Strawberry, White Pear, Lychee Raspberry, Morello Cherry, and Apricot Passion. My personal favourites are the Lychee Raspberry and Apricot Passion.

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Strawberry Cream C|Puff2

The new C|Puff2s are Wild Sweet’s take on the classic cream puff. However, their cream puffs are not round, but instead a square shape! The Strawberry Cream C|Puff2 features a choux pastry and almond cookie crust filled with a strawberry custard cream, white chocolate Chantilly mousse, fresh strawberries, red berry confit, and served with an encapsulated mint aroma pipette. It is then decorated with chocolate cereal pearls, paper thin hand-painted chocolate petals and chocolate ‘pasta’ strands.

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Chocolate Cream C|Puff2

The Chocolate Cream C|Puff2 features a dark chocolate custard cream, white chocolate Chantilly mousse, fresh raspberries, red fruit confit, red fruit Kirch aroma. I love how there are so many components to these desserts and they all work together. The amount of work that goes into each piece before it gets assembled is really amazing! What a piece of art!

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Praline Cream C|Puff2 

The Praline Cream C|Puff2 features a hazelnut praliné custard cream, white chocolate Chantilly mousse, fresh black berries, apricot passion confit, and orange liquor aroma. This is perfect if you love hazelnut, but can be slightly on the sweeter side.

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

CocoArt ‘Summer’ Limited Edition Collection

Each of the Summer 2017 Collection chocolates feature 2 types of fillings including a fruit-based liquid caramel while the other is a ‘Créme Fraîche Vanille’ – a lightly sweetened soft cream made by emulsifying fresh cream and butter scented with vanilla bean. All of the chocolates are hand-painted with cocoa butter colours in different artistic patterns. They are designed to be eaten cold from the fridge so make sure to keep them chilled! The following flavours are available:

  • Liquid strawberry / raspberry fruit caramel
  • Liquid apricot / peach fruit caramel
  • Liquid blackberry / cassis fruit caramel
  • Liquid mango / lychee fruit caramel

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Ice Cream Dessert

Last but not least, Wild Sweets has also come out with some Ice Cream Desserts. The one pictured above is the Dark Fruit Sundae which features:

  • Blackberry Cassis sorbet
  • Vanilla bean ice cream
  • White chocolate Marcona almond foam
  • Assorted fresh dark fruits
  • Blackberry cassis confit
  • Almond fruit brittle
  • ‘Burnt Ends’ custard cream crunch
  • BTB salted butter caramel popcorn
  • Vanilla ‘Salad’ cookie
  • Chocolate ‘petals & pasta’ decor

The other flavour is the Red Fruit Sundae which features:

  • Strawberry sorbet
  • Vanilla bean ice cream
  • White chocolate pistachio foam
  • Assorted fresh red fruits
  • Red fruit confit
  • Almond fruit brittle
  • ‘Burnt Ends’ custard cream crunch
  • BTB salted butter caramel popcorn
  • Vanilla ‘Salad’ cookie
  • Chocolate ‘petals & pasta’ decor

Yes – it’s crazy how many components there are to the ice cream! Each bite, you will find something different!

IMG by SophiaHo on 500px.com

Overall, there are definitely beautiful pieces of edible art for Wild Sweets’ new 2017 summer collection! You’ll have to pick these goodies up at the Atelier in Richmond, which is open Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM & Sundays from 12:00 to 4:00 PM. If you’re looking to pick them up from Mondays to Friday, you can also do so by making an appointment in advance. Check out their website for the full collection!

Wild Sweets Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato