Taste of Yaletown 2017 – Media Tour

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

The 13th annual Taste of Yaletown has officially begun! Running from Oct 13th to Oct 27th, Yaletown restaurants will be offering special menus at set prices. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to get a preview of what some restaurants would be offering during these two weeks.

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We started off at Xoxolat, a chocolate shop specializing in Single Origin and Estate chocolates. They also offer chocolate tasting and chocolate pairing classes which are perfect for a girls night out or date. They are new to Taste of Yaletown this year and will be offering a happy hour tasting from 4pm to 6pm Wednesday to Saturday. For $25, you will get 3 whiskey tastings and a selection of 8 chocolate treats.

 

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Now for those of you are who are like me and do not usually enjoy whiskey, you will be surprised when you pair it with chocolate. We got a sample of the whiskey along with three chocolates and were pleasantly surprised that the creaminess and fat in the chocolate paired very well with the strong whiskey. This is definitely a good spot to check out before dinner!

 

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After some chocolate tasting, our next stop was Lime & Moon Pie Company. Lime & Moon started in Bowen Island and now has their second shop in Yaletown. This is the shop where they get to experiment with more recipes so you will likely find a variety of changing pies each day.

 

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The shop is small with only two employees, but don’t underestimate the number of pies they can make! We were told that they made up to 60 pies in one day during Thanksgiving! Lime & Moon pies are all organic and they also have many vegan options. They make many pies for weddings and can also make pretty much any customized recipe you want.

 

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For the Taste of Yaletown menu, $15 will get you a slice of pie and a beverage. You can choose between a sweet pie slice of your choice paired with a scoop of organic vanilla bean ice cream or a savoury slice of tourtiere and side of organic greens. As for your beverage, you can choose between an espresso or tea. For $25, you can get two pies and two beverages. During the media preview, we got to sample the Caramelized Pear Custard Pie. The pie features organic pears in a subtle rosemary and brown butter custard. Love the hint of rosemary paired with the pears. The crust was flaky and the filling was not overly sweet.

 

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As for the savoury option, you get a Tourtiere which is filled with 100% alll-natural, non-gmo, no antibiotics, grain fed beef and pork from local suppliers. There is also organic onion, mushrooms, celery, garlic, stock, breadcrumbs, cinnamon, cloves, pepper and salt. This was served a bit cold for us since I’m guessing they weren’t completely sure what time we would arrive. However, I can imagine this to be delicious served warm as the filling itself is moist and flavourful.

 

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To finish off your meal, you can have a cup of espresso or tea!

 

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Overall, good pies and I love how they support the local community by sourcing many of the ingredients locally. Plus, this is the perfect place for vegans as they have a large variety of pies catered for vegans.

 

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As you can see, they have tons of fall pies right now! I really want to try their pumpkin pies now!

 

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Onto our second stop – West Oak. A beautiful venue with an open kitchen concept, the restaurant features a menu with locally sourced and sustainable selections of meat, vegetables and fruit. The seafood is also all Oceanwise certified.

 

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For the Taste of Yaletown menu, West Oak is offering a 3 course menu for $45. At first I thought it was a bit pricey, but given the portion size and quality of food, it is actually a pretty good deal!

 

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We started off with a half portion of the Truffle Cauliflower Soup which came with a crostini. The cauliflower soup had a medium consistency and was flavoured with truffle oil. You could smell the truffle once the soup arrived!

 

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Another option for appetizer is the Chilled Prawn Salad. The salad consisted of shrimp, smoked salmon, arugula, creme fraiche, and horseradish. This was a rather light dish, so perfect if you are going to have a meat dish as your entree.

 

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My favourite option for appetizers was the Burrata and Prosciutto Board though. This board also included fig jam, dijon, castelvetrano olives, balsamic reduction grilled bread. The star of the show was definitely the burrata which I believe the owner said is made in house. So creamy and great paired with the salty prosciutto. The fig jam was also spot on without being overly sweet.

 

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Moving onto entrees, we had the Roasted BC Salmon which featured scallion mashed potatoes, green beans, a citrus wild mushroom sauce with corn and prosciutto. I normally avoid getting salmon at restaurants because the chances are it’s overcooked. However, this was moist throughout with a delicious crispy skin on the outside. The cook on this was perfect!

 

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Another favourite at the table was the Mushroom Risotto with oyster and crimini mushrooms and Grana Padano cheese. The rice was cooked to al dente with the sauce being creamy and smooth. The cheese and slight truffle flavour really made it spot on.

 

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The Roasted Chicken was definitely a surprise for me. The dish featured grain-fed free range chicken, fingerling potatoes, broccolini, grainy mustard, and a white wine sauce. Apparently this is one of their dishes that has been on the menu forever. Well, they sure know how to cook chicken because the center was not dry at all. Pus, that grainy mustard sauce was absolutely delicious!

 

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My favourite of the night was their Seared Pork Chop though. This sat on a bed of gruyere mashed potatoes, broccolini, and apple dijon jus. Seriously, the pork chop was so tender! And paired with the apple dijon jus, it just felt so homey. This is actually a new item which they will add to their fall menu and I am so happy for this!

 

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To end the night off, dessert is Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta with Berry Compote. I found the panna cotta to be very smooth and creamy, but the berry compote was too sweet after a few bites. I liked how it wasn’t sour, but the sweetness was a bit too much for my personal liking.

Overall, the restaurants I got a preview at offered some really good food and I will defintely be back. Be sure to check out https://yaletowninfo.com/event/taste-yaletown-2017/ for menu details from the 26 participating restaurants!

 

West Oak Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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[Japan Series] Day 10: Day Trip to Nara 奈良

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On Day 10, we set off to visit Nara 奈良. As we had the JR pass, we took the Yamatoji train from JR Osaka station to JR Nara station. This took around 45 minutes. If you don’t have the JR pass, then I suggest taking the trains by Kintetsu Railways which only take 30-40 minutes. The train we took was much older than the ones in Tokyo but gave it a rustic charm.

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A quick ride and we arrived at Nara station. You’ll be greeted by a tourist center where you can get a map of the majority of Nara. I suggest grabbing one so you can make your way around easily.

 

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The walk to Nara Park itself takes around 15 to 20 minutes, so be prepared to walk a lot. You will pass by many shops and a beautiful lake along the way. The greenery almost makes this picture look fake!

 

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Along the way, you will also find some temples. Nara was Japan’s first capital city back in the day so has lots of history. We came upon the Kofukuji (興福寺) Temple, which consists of the five story pagoda. I believe you need to pay an entrance fee for these temples, but since we personally aren’t very interested in temples, we skipped this. There are many other temples in Nara if you are interested.

 

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Finally, after a long walk, we arrived at Nara Park (奈良公園)! Nara Park is famous for the hundreds of wild deer that roam freely in the park. In Shinto religion, the deer are considered as messengers of gods so these deer are known as national treasure.

 

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The deer are usually pretty tame, but there are some that can be quite aggressive, especially when they see you have food. You can buy deer crackers for 150 yen at many stalls, but you better hide your stack or they will all flock to you like this woman experienced!

 

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Look how cute they are! There are some baby ones that are very tame. The older deer can be quite aggressive as they probably lack attention by the tourists!

 

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I bought a stack of crackers and had a good time feeding them. A tip is to break the crackers in half so you can extend the chances you get to feed them. Also, if you move the cracker up and down, you can usually get the deer to bow to you before eating which is super amusing to watch!

 

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The park warns you that the deer can be dangerous though. I thought this sign was pretty funny, but I guess it can be true. I got deer head butting me from behind which was not expected! If you have kids, I would make sure they are supervised, as the bigger deer can be less tame.

 

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If you venture east of the park, you will find the Ukimido Gazebo. It is known as the floating gazebo and we found it to be a serene area to take pictures, especially with the reflections on the water. This area was much more quiet as most tourists only went to see the deer.

 

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The trip to Nara can be done in half a day if your main target is to see the deers. We were able to finish the park in less than 3 hours (although keep in mind we spent a very long time taking pictures with the deers). As lunch approached, we decided to walk back towards the station to see if there was food along the way. One spot that is super popular is Nakatanidou (中谷堂).

 

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Nakatanidou is famous for mochi (Japanese rice cakes)! They specialize in yomogi mochi which is made with mugwort, a Japanese wild plant, which gives the mochi the natural green colour. The mochi are filled with red bean paste and dusted with roasted soybean powder. What is most exciting about this stall is that the workers will “perform” the pounding of the mochi every half an hour or when there are crowds of tourists. The workers use these pestles and rapidly pound the mochi while another worker stretches and flips the dough. Seriously, they do it so fast that your heart skips a beat because they are that close to pounding the worker’s hands! I forgot to get a picture of this, but be sure to give this a Google and you’ll be impressed!

 

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One piece goes for 150 yen, whereas you can get a pack for a cheaper price. This was seriously the softest mochi I’ve ever had. I highly recommend trying this!

 

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Tucked the corner street near the mochi shop is Mentouan. We noticed a small line forming so quickly got in as well. Turns out, they are famous for udon in a bean curd pocket.

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We waited probably close to 30 minutes before getting a seat. The restaurant itself is rather small, fitting perhaps only 25 people or so, but the main problem was that there are only 2 people out in the front. There is a elderly woman who is essentially running the whole dining area, so she has trouble keeping up with cleaning up the dishes.

 

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The menu is limited, so S and I both ordered the same dish. We got the No.1 which is udon filled inside a bean curd bag, tied with a seaweed tie and put in a delicious dashi broth.

 

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Poke a hole in the bean curd and your udon noodles spill out! Such a fun way to eat this but the udon itself was nice and chewy and the broth was sweet and savoury. I believe a bowl cost just under 900 yen. As there are not that many other restaurants in the area, I highly recommend checking this out!

 

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On our way back to the station, I also came across the shop called Izasa. They specialize in Kakinoha-zushi. Famous in Nara, this type of sushi is made with cured fish (usually salmon, mackerel, and trout) and are pressed into a mold filled with sushi rice. Then the sushi is cut into bite size pieces and wrapped in a persimmon leaf. This store sold a variety of boxes, but the lady kindly let me know I could try a single one as well.

 

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I got the Salmon Kakinoha-zuzhi which was under 200 yen. I unwrapped the leaf and revealed my sushi. To be honest, I thought this was quite average as I am not a fan of cured fish and the rice was also not as soft as normal sushi rice. I could subtly taste the persimmon leaf but it was not very strong. Still, something to try if you are in the Nara area.

Nara Park
Address: Nara Park, Nara, Nara Prefecture, Japan

Nakatanidou
Address: Japan, 〒630-8217 Nara Prefecture, Nara, 橋本町29

Mentouan
Address: Japan, 〒630-8217 Nara Prefecture, Nara, 橋本町30−1

Izasa
Address: 16 Kasuganocho, Nara, Nara Prefecture 630-8212, Japan

[Japan Series] Day 9: Kuromon Market 黒門市場 and Umeda Sky Building 梅田スカイビル

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The next morning, I suggested we check out the Kuromon Ichiba Market (黒門市場). The covered market stretches over 500 meters and is a 2 minute walk from Nippombashi Station. Turns out this was only a 5 minute walk for us so we got here relatively early so we could brunch.

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The market is famous for its fresh seafood and meats. Many locals and restaurant chefs come here to purchase their ingredients. However, it has become a tourist spot so can get very crowded during lunch hours. What’s great is that the stalls can prepare the food for you right at the market.

 

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You will find stalls grilling seafood like crab, prawns, scallops, and oysters.

 

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Any many stalls with fresh sea urchin!

 

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One of the famous stalls is this tuna stall at the corner inside the market. They have all things tuna and you will find delicious fat chunks of tuna sashimi.

 

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Watching the chef cut the tuna is already quite fascinating. They have around 4 spots at this stall where you can sit. However, they have these ready made take out boxes as well. Turns out, they have some seating area around the corner, so when you purchase the take out box, just let them know you want a seat, and they will direct you to this other seating area.

 

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Look for this big fish head and you find this stall!

 

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There are many chirashi bowls, but also sashimi only plates available.  The price is quite good at around 2,000 – 2,500 yen for many of these take away boxes. Some are higher priced depending on the cut.

 

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I enjoyed tuna sashimi take away box which featured three cuts. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what type of tuna I got, but it was very delicious! The tuna is cut much thicker than restaurants though so some may find that it is not as appealing. Some of the cuts are also more of the “scraps” but they are pretty good for this price!

 

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Moving on, I found a small oden shop run by a granny. I got some daikon radish, fish cake stuffed with burdock and beef skewer. The radish was the sweetest I have had. The broth itself was light but sweet from the radish. Very homey and warming.

 

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Last but not least, we were told that we had to try the kobe beef at the market. Yes, kobe beef is famous in Kobe, but Kuromon market also sells it and at a relatively cheap price. There were quite a few stalls selling it and some were very fancy looking catering to tourists. My sister told me to try this stall though as they are not as decked out but still good. Prices are lower possibly because of less advertising.

 

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As you can see, there are a variety of kobe beef. Honestly, we didn’t really know how to choose them. My sister said to get the middle range and it would be pretty good. I think the ones we got were around 1,800 yen per 100 gram. They ask that you purchase a minimum of 200 gram. Many of the other shops will ask for more so this was also a plus.

 

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Look at that marble! They grill it for you right away. Because the meat is so fresh, they really don’t need much seasoning.

 

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They give you the plate of kobe beef and add some light soy and tell you to add the steak salt to your liking. At this shop, you will have to stand on the side to eat, but who cares because the kobe beef is much cheaper than at a restaurant. The beef was absolutely delicious and melted in our mouth. No regrets in spoiling ourselves for brunch!

I highly recommend coming to Kuromon Market if you are a food lover. Be prepared to spend much more here as the types of food found here are pricier but are considered a good deal for the quality you get.

 

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Up next, I wanted to check out the Umeda Sky Building (梅田スカイビル). It is not the tallest building in Osaka, but it has a very unique design. The closest station is Umeda station and even then you still have to walk at least 10 minutes to arrive here. But check out the architecture of the building! Pretty cool!

 

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Admission for adults is 1,000 yen but the 360 views at the top are amazing. The escalator to go up is also really cool. As you go up, look to your right and left as you can see views of the city as well.

 

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The escalator we were in are in these two bridges. The building has two towers and is connected by the Floating Garden Observatory on the 39th floor.

 

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Isn’t this cool? This is the middle of the dome and you can also go to the top for the outdoor observation deck.

 

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As you can see, there are seating area surrounding the observatory so you can get a 360 view of Osaka. Enjoy a cup of coffee here and you can literally sit here forever.

 

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The views are pretty amazing!

 

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I can imagine this being perfect at night time too.

 

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After taking in the views, we headed to Daimaru at Umeda station, which is a department store. Of course we had to check out the basement floor which is full of food. There, I found Rikuro りくろーおじさんの店 大丸梅田店 which is famous for their fluffy cheesecakes. The whole cake is only 675 yen! They bake them fresh and make batches at a time so sometimes you may have to wait a while once the batch is sold out. If you hear the bell ring, be sure to get in line because that means a new batch is ready!

 

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I bought the whole cake for myself…since S does not really like cheesecake, but for under 700 yen for a whole cake, I could not resist. A slice of cake here is already $7! You get the cute chef stamp on the cake and the bottom is filled with raisins. The cake was light and fluffy and melts in your mouth. Highly recommend trying it!

Kuromon Market
Address: 2-4-1 Nippombashi, Chuo-ku, Osaka 542-0073, Osaka Prefecture

Umeda Sky Building
Address: 1-1-88 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka 531-6023, Osaka Prefecture

Rikuro Cheesecake at Daimaru
Address: 3-1-1 Umeda, Kita Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 530-8202, Japan

[Japan Series] Day 5 Cont’d: Asakusa 浅草, Katgetsudo Melon Pan 浅草花月堂の店舗, Ueno 上野, and Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building 東京都庁

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After visiting Akihabara, we decided to train to Asakusa which is known for the Sensoji temple. Funny how the first thing we saw was another Don Quijote store though! Oh by the way… if you are here around Halloween time and need a costume, this is the place to buy it! I bet you will stand out when you return to Vancouver!

 

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Asakusa has a mix of modern but older buildings as well. Asakusa was known to be the leading entertainment district back in the day. During the Edo period, it was the site of kabuki theaters and a large red light district. Today it is most famous for the Sensoji temple, Tokyo Skytree Tower, and the bridge above the Sumida River. I remember visiting a few years ago during one of their famous festivals and this was the spot to watch fireworks. It was crazy hectic!

 

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If you’re going to visit a temple in Tokyo, then you should probably check out Sensoji Temple, as it is probably one of the most famous in Tokyo. You’ll first walk through a large entrance gate called Kaminarimon which leads to Sensoji Temple. I believe there are two gates in total before you hit the temple.

 

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Sensoji is famous because it is one of the oldest Buddhist temples, built in the 7th century. However, the ones we see today were built post-war, so are reconstructions. Still, it is pretty neat, especially with the large Japanese lanterns. Admission is free and you can usually go inside the temple but when we arrived it was near closing. The temple closes at 5pm.

 

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You will find tourists and locals doing rituals here such as writing a wish and tying it on this bar in a knot. There is also a water fountain where you pour the water over your hands along with some other rituals which are supposed to give good luck. Look around you and follow if you want to try it out!

 

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Between the first gate and the second gate, you will find a shopping street of over 200 meters, called Nakamise. You will find traditional Japanese souvenirs as well as local snacks here. At night time, it is lit up and is quite lively.

 

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My friend had told me there is a bakery that I needed to try at Asakusa. Tucked away in a street off this busy shopping street is Katgetsudo. They are famous for melon pans!

 

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Melon Pan is a sweet bun with a cookie like crust at the top. It is shaped like a melon, hence the name. It had some crystalized sugar on top, and when warm, the bun was soft and fluffy! Too bad we arrived near closing as well, or else they have other varieties to choose from, including adding ice cream inside. I thought it tasted like a pineapple bun that we commonly eat in Hong Kong. Worth trying as it is a cheap snack and Katgetsudo is known to be one of the best!

 

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After snacking, I suggested we visit the Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center which is nearby as I heard they have a free observation deck. The center is only eight stories, but you can still get a good view of the Nakamise shoppign street and the Sensoji Temple. It was quite gloomy that day, but I would suspect you can get some decent pictures.

 

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To our right, we saw the Tokyo Skytree and what is that…? A golden yam? Turns out that is the Asahi Beer Tower and Asahi Super Dry Hall! Too bad we didn’t get a chance to check it out. I believe they have a restaurant and beer on tap.

 

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We decided to then head over to the Ueno district to look for food. Ueno is famous for its park and also many museums. However, if you get off at Ueno station and walk out, you will find that there are tons of restaurants along the streets. There was also a street that sort of reminded us of a night market.

 

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We ended up finding this building that housed many restaurants and found a izakaya type restaurant called Kotekichi. They featured okonomiyaki and many omelette type of dishes. First up was a pork omelette filled with cheese and topped with mayo and takoyaki sauce. Really enjoyed this piping out.

 

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Next was a shrimp yakisoba. We were surprised that the shrimp were tiny dried ones. The flavour was great but I wanted fresh shrimp instead. Guess that would’ve cost a lot more though!

 

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Last but not least was a seafood okonmiyaki. They actually brought us the okonomiyaki with the wrong filling so we returned this back to the kitchen and they were very nice about it. Perhaps there was a language barrier issue!

 

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After dinner, we headed back to Shinjuku and S suggested we walk to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building (東京都庁). He read online that we can visit the observation deck for free. What a great idea because you can get a panoramic view of the city! We visited at night time, and I believe it closes at 11pm. However, there was still a line up to go in. We probably waited around 30 minutes as they have security check and also a wait to go up and down the elevator. The view was amazing and well worth the wait, especially since it’s free!

 

Senso-ji Temple
Address: 2-3-1 Asakusa, Taito 111-0032, Tokyo Prefecture

Kagetsudo
Address: 2-7-13 Asakusa, Taito 111-0032, Tokyo Prefecture

Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center
Address:
2-18-9 Kaminarimon, Taito 111-0034, Tokyo Prefecture

Kotekichi (Ueno)
Address: 1-54 Uenokoen | Uenonomori Sakura Terrace 2F, Taito 110-0007, Tokyo Prefecture

Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building
Address: 2-8-1 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku 160-0023, Tokyo Prefecture

[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

 

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

L’Éclair de Génie

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

L’Éclair de Génie has finally arrived in Vancouver on Robson Street and is the first boutique in North America. L’Éclair de Génie is a pastry concept started by renowned chef Christophe Adam. L’Éclair de Génie is adored worldwide with 25 boutiques throughout France, Japan, Hong Kong, Italy, and now here in Canada.

 

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There are usually ten flavours of éclairs at the boutique with two new flavours rotating each month. The brightly lit éclair shop is great for take out but also offers some seating in the back and along the side of the wall.

 

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Chef Christophe has dedicated the last 14 years to creating a chic snacking version of the French pastry landmark, the éclair. He flew in from Paris for the launch of the Vancouver store to share his passion for these delicious sweets.

 

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During the media preview, we were able to sample the  following flavours:

  • Caramel Beurre Salé: salted caramel & mascarpone cream
  • Vanille Pécan: vanilla cream & caramelized pecan
  • Chocolat Grand Cru: chocolate cream
  • Frambroise Passion: passionfruit cream, raspberry confit & fresh raspberries
  • Sirop D’érable: maple cream
  • Matcha Bambou: matcha cream & white chocolate
  • Pistache Framboises: pistachio chantilly, raspberry confit, fresh raspberries & roasted pistachios
  • Praliné Noisette: caramel mascarpone cream, hazelnut praline & caramelized hazelnuts
  • Citron Yuzu: lemon yuzu cream & crispy merringue
  • Vanille Framboise: vanilla cream, raspberry confit, fresh raspberries & white chocolate

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The Sirop D’érable which features an exclusive I love Vancouver design has definitely been a hit for the Vancouverites. Filled with maple cream, the éclair is rich but not overly sweet due to its petite size.  

 

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My favourite éclairs were the Citron Yuzu, Framboise Passion, and Pistache Framboises since I tend to like sweet and sour sweets. The amount of filling for these éclairs are just the right amount and the presentation is absolutely beautiful. The sweets range from around $6 – $7.

 

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Aside from éclairs, the boutique also offers a beautiful array of chocolates.

 

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Pastries are also available, which along with the éclairs, pair perfectly with their coffee and tea selection.

 

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Looking for a gift or to treat yourself? The boutique has a variety of take home sweets including caramelized almonds.

 

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And how cute are these chocolate bars?

 

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Overall, L’Éclair de Génie offers a delicious and beautiful variety of éclairs and I can’t wait to be back. It’s always great to have international boutiques opening up in Vancouver so we can too get a taste of these delicious pastries.

Chef Christophe Adam has also recently released his new cookbook: ÉCLAIRS Easy, Elegant & Modern Recipes. Check out my review on this step by step cookbook on making your own éclairs!

L’Éclair de Génie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato