CACAO 70 Dip Shop

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I’ve been wanting to try CACAO 70 for a while now, but the other locations were a bit out of the way for me. So when I heard the dip shop opened in Steveston Village in Richmond, I was excited to go check it out. The shop is quite small with only a few seats, so it’s more of a grab and go spot. Love the cute decor inside the store though! You can get waffles, drinks, and of course their famous dipped ice cream.

 

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There are a variety of melted chocolate or dips to choose from. The ice cream itself is a vanilla soft serve that comes from the machine. The ice cream is then inverted and dipped into your dip of choice. I found the dip to take a while to really harden though.

 

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Sesame Dipped Soft Serve

I chose the Sesame Dipped Soft Serve and like I said, I found the dip to take too long to harden. Even after getting my pictures, the dip didn’t really harden to a shell. You would need to wait quite a while if you wanted that texture. Instead, it’s a soft flexible shell. The sesame dip has a white chocolate base so I also found the dip to be too sweet for me. However, S didn’t seem to mind it. The ice cream itself was creamy but I wouldn’t say it’s anything to go crazy about.

Overall, the soft serve is decent and if you have a sweet tooth, then this is a nice option if you’re looking for something other than Timothy’s at Steveston Village.

Pros:
– Unique twist to traditional soft serve
– Soft serve is creamy and smooth

Cons:
– Some flavours are on the sweeter side

Price Range: $5-10 per person

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

Food: 3 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free and paid parking in Steveston Village Overall: 3

 

CACAO 70 Dip Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Shipyards Night Market

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media event, but all opinions are my own.

Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver is one of my favourite spots to visit every summer. S and I try to visit once a year and the best time to visit is when the Shipyards Nights Market is going on. If you are coming from downtown Vancouver, the easiest and quickest way is to hop on the seabus which operates roughly every 15 minutes in the evenings. It takes only 12 minutes to arrive in Lonsdale Quay and only a short 5 minute walk to the night market.

 

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The Shipyards Night Market happens every Friday from 5pm – 10pm until September 28, 2018.

 

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To find the start of the night market, look for the yellow crane next to Tap & Barrel. The best part about the night market is that there is no admission fee to enter. Your only cost is the food and beverages you’ll purchase. So feel free to come by to just walk around if you already ate. A great date night spot!

 

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If you come early around 5pm, you’ll avoid line ups and the crowds. By 7pm, the place is quite packed. There over 40+ food trucks from all over metro Vancouver parked at the night market. This is your one stop shop if you’ve been wanting to try a food truck but it’s too far for you!

 

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As part of our media tour, our first stop was the famous JJ’s Hot Cobs. Perfect for children and the family!

 

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Corn on the Cob is $4 and includes butter and your choice of seasoning.

 

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There is a selection of seasonings at the truck and you can choose as many as you want as it’s self serve once you get your corn. We went with the garlic salt which added some saltiness to the corn. The corn itself is already good enough on its own though because it was sweet and piping hot!

 

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Moving on, we tried Disco Cheetah which I first came across 3 years ago at this same night market. It was a tiny truck back in the day, but this has become one of the most popular trucks at the event. The menu has also changed a lot since then, but it continues to serve Korean fusion dishes.

 

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The dishes at Disco Cheetah are so colourful and appetizing to the eye! S and I shared the K.F.C. Fries which translates to Korean Fried Chicken with French Fries. The boneless chicken is topped with a sweet chili glaze, pickled red radish, scallion and garlic mayo. The chicken was juicy and the sauce was not overpowering. Other dishes you can find at this truck include rice bowls or fries with various proteins and pulled pork sliders.

 

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Moving on to a different cuisine (because there are so many to choose from), we checked out The Reef Runner which features Caribbean street food.

 

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I had the Jamaican Beef Patty which was new to me. The flaky pastry shell was filled with ground beef and various spices. It reminded me of a curry pastry I had in Japan. Really enjoyed this and will be getting it again!

 

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Getting a bit thirsty, we tried Kics Lemonade for some homemade lemonade. There are various flavours to choose from and I chose the Mango Lemonade. If you’re looking for something sweet and sour, then this is perfect refreshment for you.

 

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Of course we had to end our meal with some dessert. This was actually my favourite food truck of the night. Chouchou Crepes features some delicious French crepes all run by one lady! She works on three crepes at a time to make sure the line moves as quickly as it can!

 

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S and I shared the Nutella Banana Crepe and it was the perfect way to end our night. The edges were crispy with the center having a nice chew. The food truck also has crepes that are served with a splash of rum and apparently they’re really good! You can find both sweet and savoury crepes at Chouchou Crepes.

 

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And if you’re 19+, then you can head over to the Beer Garden which serves local craft beer, ciders, wine, and highballs. The beers were literally on tap from the side of the truck, which I thought was a pretty cool concept. Drinks are affordable and they give you a generous pour.

 

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Entry in the beer garden is again free, so you just need to purchase your drinks and have a good time! There is live music every night featuring local bands.

 

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After you have filled your bellies with some food and drinks, head over to the pier which extends 700 feet over the Burrard Inlet. Turn back and check out the new developments by the Quay including a third hotel coming in 2019.

 

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Or get to the end of the pier and enjoy a stunning view of the Vancouver skyline. To be fair, we went on a smoggy day, but imagine what a view this would be on a bright sunny day!

 

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There have also been many new developments in the area, including the Polygon Gallery, cool new public amenities such as the 48-metre-long Megabench, a water feature for splashing in and cool off, and a brightly painted alleyway, appropriately titled ‘Fun Alley’. Each year, there is also an artisans market where you can shop locally made goods!

 

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Overall, the Shipyards Night Market is a fun Friday night activity whether it be with friends or family. With 40+ food trucks and vendors, a 19+ local craft beer garden,
artisans market and live music, you’ll be sure to have a good time!

 

Boba Boy (Kerrisdale)

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Disclosure: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of a media event, but all opinions are my own.

Boba Boy opened up their Kerrisdale location earlier this year and also recently opened one in Burnaby. The boba shop started back in Ontario and has expanded to Vancouver. They are known for their freshly made tapioca balls.

 

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The Kerrisdale location has a few two seaters up front with more seating in the back for larger groups. The space is modern and clean and lit with natural light.

 

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Who can resist the cute logo of the Boba Boy! Guess where the funny hair style comes from? Of course, it is inspired by the tapioca balls!

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The shop has a variety of drinks from smoothies, teas, milk teas, and fruit teas. As for their freshly made tapioca balls, you can choose from original, taro, matcha or sesame. The original balls are clear instead of black.

 

 

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Taro Smoothie with Matcha Pearls

The first drink I tried was the Taro Smoothie with Matcha Pearls. The smoothie was creamy but I’m pretty sure the taro was powder as the colour was too purple. As for the tapioca pearls, they are quite different from the ones from other chains because they are handmade. The pearls are more chewy and can get a bit tough if they sit in the cold drink for too long. They also stick together more but I actually don’t mind them knowing that they are hand made. They probably don’t have as many additives or preservatives so it’s much healthier. The matcha flavour is also quite strong and has a bit of a bitter taste but I like that strong tea taste.

 

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Strawberry Milk with Pearls

T got the Strawberry Milk with original pearls. How pretty is this! I didn’t get a chance to try this one though.

 

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They also offer two containers – one is a plastic one-time use cup and the second is a reusable bottle. You are required to pay an extra $2 for the bottle, but if you bring it back, you get a discount on your bubble tea. Not sure how often you’ll remember to bring the bottle though as I usually get bubble tea spontaneously, so not sure if the bottle is that worth it. But this is great if you need to carry your bubble tea around.

Overall, the drinks itself are nothing too special compared to other bubble tea chains. However, their tapioca balls which are hand made is what sets them apart. I think the chewiness is a personal preference since some people may find them on the harder side. But, overall, still a very unique feature and great that they are healthier than the usual pre-packaged tapioca.

Pros:
– Handmade flavoured tapioca balls are a unique feature

Cons:
– Some people may find the tapioca balls to be chewier than usual

Price Range: $5-10 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3.5 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 3.5

 

Boba Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Salt & Straw

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A trip to Salt & Straw is a must when visiting Portland. Now that they opened a location in Seattle, I guess that makes it more convenient for us to visit as well. After lunch at The Waiting Room, we walked by Salt & Straw and of course a line up had formed.

 

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The line moved a bit slow this time so we probably waited 30 minutes before we got our ice cream. The nice thing is that you can try as many flavours as you want once it’s your turn.

 

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The waffle cones are freshly made and smells delicious throughout the store. They have classic flavours but also seasonal flavours that switch up every month.

 

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Honey Lavender and Smoked Sea Salt with Chocolate Covered Feuilletine

The last time I visited, I had the Honey Lavender and I loved it. So of course, I had to get it one more time. Both the honey and lavender are sourced in Portland. If you enjoy floral flavours, then this is perfect for you. As for the Smoked Sea Salt with Chocolate Covered Feuilletine, this was part of their limited edition flavours. The ice cream features a cherry-wood smoked sea salt-base with chocolate-covered feuilletine folded into it. The feuillentine are light and crispy! Love the sweet and salty pairing of this ice cream.

Overall, Salt & Straw did not disappoint once again! Worth the wait and a must when visiting Portland!

Pros:
– Great flavours and well executed

Cons:
– Be prepared to wait in line!

Price Range: USD$5-7 per person

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

Food: 4.5 Service: 3.5 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free street parking on weekends Overall: 4

 

Salt & Straw Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ruby Jewel Scoops

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Ruby Jewel Scoops was nearby our hotel, so after doing some shopping, I suggested we grab a snack. The shop features handmade ice cream and are also famous for making ice cream sandwiches with their cookies! There was a bit of a line up in the afternoon, especially because they only had two people scooping. You can choose to have your ice cream in a cup or add an extra dollar for a waffle cone.

 

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Caramel with Salted Chocolate

We decided to get a single scoop of Caramel with Salted Chocolate to share. The ice cream was creamy and it was not too sweet because the salted chocolate balanced it out. The waffle cone itself was okay but I prefer the ones at Rain or Shine. Decent size for the price and nice that it’s conveniently located where all the shopping is.

Pros:
– Great variety of flavours to choose from – many of which use local ingredients

Cons:
– Waffle cone is just average

Price Range: USD$3-8 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 3.5

 

Ruby Jewel Scoops Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Blue Star Donuts

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Not my first time at Blue Star Donuts, but because it was so close to our hotel, I suggested coming by for a quick snack. Blue Star is known for their high quality ingredients and unique flavours. They have some of their most classic and popular donuts on display everyday, but usually will have some rotating flavours as well. The donuts are not cheap, and I think they might’ve increased prices since the last time I visited as well. Donuts are around USD$3-4 so definitely a premium.

 

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24k Rose-Rosé

I noticed they had some new flavours including the 24K Rose-Rosé which features a French dark chocolate buttermilk with a rose water and sparking rosé glaze. I loved how the colour was sparkly and the glaze itself was strong in rose flavour. This was actually our favourite because the chocolate donut itself wasn’t overly sweet. The donut itself is super crunchy on the outside but moist inside.

 

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Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk

The second donut we got was the Raspberry Rosemary Buttermilk which featured a glaze made of fresh raspberries and fresh rosemary. This one was slightly sweeter and had a bit of tartness to it but featured the same buttermilk cake batter.

Both donuts were very filling and is great for sharing. It was interesting that both the donuts we chose also had this cool square shape inside the circle. Quite different compared to the typical ring donuts they usually have. Worth giving a try but definitively a bit of a splurge.

Pros:
– High quality ingredients
– Interesting flavours

Cons:
– Not cheap!

Price Range: $4-5 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Paid street parking Overall: 4

 

Blue Star Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Smart n Save Cafe

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Smart N Save Cafe has been around for quite a few years now, but I didn’t learn about this until recently because the cafe is situated in such a random location in Richmond. It’s on River Road on the second floor of a office complex and does not have too much signage you would notice while driving. The cafe is actually connected to the Smart N Save grocery store in Lansdowne Mall. If you’re craving Hong Kong style cafe food and snacks, then this is the spot for you.

 

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Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup

I love Imitation Shark’s Fin Soup and I always get this at the night market, so it was no surprise that I had to try it here. The consistency was thick and gooey with a good amount of chicken and vegetables. Pretty good and red vinegar was provided to add a splash of acidity.

 

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Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich

I heard that the Fresh Beef & Eggs Sandwich were a huge hit here, and it definitely did not disappoint. Such a simple dish, but the beef was extremely tender and the eggs were fluffy. I liked how they also toasted the white bread a bit. And yes, white bread definitely brings back childhood memories. And no crusts please!

 

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Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast

Another dish they are famous for is the Deep Fried Prawn Paste Toast. This is such a classic HK style dish which we can’t usually find here. The prawn paste was bouncy and the toast itself was covered with panko bread crumbs and deep fried to golden brown. The mayo paired the dish very well.

 

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Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball

Another street food favourite is the Mixed Sauce Plain Rice Roll with Spicy Curry Fish Ball. The rice roll was surprisingly thin and smooth and the sweet sauce was delicious paired with the plain rice rolls. To add, the curry fish balls were a delicious complement. Loved the spicy sauce! Highly recommend getting this.

 

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Fish Paste Siu Mai

Last but not least, we had the Fish Paste Siu Mai which comes with 12 pieces and a side of soy sauce. I actually prefer eating the fish paste style siu mai rather than the ones you get at dim sum. Yes, these are the cheaper version, but they are so bouncy!

 

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Overall, I highly recommend checking this hidden gem if you’re craving HK style snacks. You won’t find much service here but it’s pretty cool since they have a QR system in place. Once you sit down, they give you a QR code for your table. Just scan it, and you’ll be taken to their website where you can order your dishes. When you click on a dish, it automatically transfers to the kitchen and you’ll hear a little ring. Then they will bring you your food when it’s ready. Water and utensils are self serve. The interior is actually better than I expected being bright and clean.

Pros:
– Great spot if you’re craving HK snacks
– Items are way cheaper and better than the night market

Cons:
– Don’t expect much service, but QR code system works

Price Range: $10 per person

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

Food: 4 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking in the complex Overall: 3.5

 

Smart n Save Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

T-Go Tea

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

Last month, I visited T-Go Tea which opened up in Central at Garden City a while ago. It’s located under the Walmart and a great addition to this complex.

 

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Right now, the shop mainly has beverages only, but they are working on a small food menu, including teaming up with a pastry chef.

 

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There is a large list of drinks and they are known for their Teapresso beverages, which uses a special equipment to extract the flavours of tea. They also have the sea salt foam drinks which are super popular now.

 

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They focus on quality of ingredients here. For instance, their teas are purchased from Taiwan and are premium and made in smaller batches. They do not add syrups in their beverages, but rather the teas are infused with natural fruits or flavours when they are manufactured. The pearls also have a shorter life span compared to the ones other bubble tea shops use, to decrease the amount of preservatives.

 

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We got to smell some of their teas and they were absolutely fragrant!

 

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Rose Oolong Latte

The first drink we tried was the Rose Oolong Latte. This is made with fresh milk and has a hint of floral. Pearls had a nice chew and weren’t too sweet.

 

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Honey Aloe Green Tea

If you’re looking for some non-dairy beverages, then one of my favourites is the Honey Aloe Green Tea with coconut jelly. This was naturally sweetened with the honey and very refreshing.

 

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Diamond Purple Rice Black Tea

The next drink, the Diamond Purple Rice Black Tea, was very interesting with a cube of milk which is supposed to represent the diamond. As the cube melts, the milk disperses out into the drink. Really cool concept!

 

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Sweet Peaches Smoothie

Other than tea based drinks, they also feature smoothies, perfect for the kids, or if you’re craving something a little thicker. The Sweet Peaches Smoothie was one of my favourite as it was sort of like a peach icy. It was refreshing and great with the pearls. I’m not sure if the drinks are usually presented with all the fruits on top though. They even have an avocado smoothie drink and a kale smoothie! Perfect for those coming out from the yoga class in this complex.

 

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Oreo Cookie Blizzard Smoothie

Last but not least, we tried the Oreo Cookie Blizzard Smoothie which surprisingly wasn’t too sweet. This would be perfect for the kids but definitely probably not the most healthy option available.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the beverage options available and how they have differentiated themselves by focusing on healthier alternatives and premium teas. Good to see another addition in Richmond!