Faubourg Paris

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

For a limited time, you will be able to get a taste of the lavvender field of Provence France at Faubourg.

 

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Faubourg has launched their summer lavender menu which features products including lavender earl grey macarons, lavender and strawberry pastries, lavender mixed berry smoothies, lavender lattes, lavender tea lattes, blueberry and lavender chaussons, and more. The menu is already available now and will be available until early to mid September.

 

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These desserts were sample sizes of the actual for the media tasting, so the actual dessert is much larger. My favourite had to be the Lavender and Strawberry Pastry (the circular one). This dessert features a lavender honey and sage mousse paired with a sweet strawberry gelee and a lavender vanilla sponge cake. I especially loved the sugar crystals on the rims! Not overly sweet but very strong in lavender flavour.

 

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All items at Faubourg are handcrafted and prepared fresh daily using traditional French recipes and high quality ingredients with no preservatives added. To demonstrate their commitment for quality, the pastries are prepared every morning and the viennoiseries are baked throughout the day ensuring the freshest products for the customers.

 

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Products are available starting June 4th, in the following locations:

Downtown: 769 Hornby Street Vancouver, BC V6Z 1S2
Kerrisdale: 2156 W 41st Ave Vancouver, BC V6M 1Z1
Park Royal: 792 Main Street, Park Royal S West Vancouver, BC V7T 1A2
Le Café: 175-628 East Kent South avenue Vancouver, BC V5X 0B2

 

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

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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

Éclairs: Easy, Elegant & Modern Recipes

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If you’ve been following social media, you’ve probably seen éclair pictures showing up everywhere. Or you might’ve been part of those long line ups at L’Éclair de Genie which just opened up in Vancouver and is the first boutique in North America.

 

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Recently, I was sent a copy of Éclairs: Easy, Elegant & Modern RecipesThe cookbook is written by Chef Christophe Adam, the owner of the éclair boutique. Chef Christophe’s remarkable career has taken him from three Michelin-starred restaurants in London to Fauchon in Paris to eventually opening his own éclair boutique. So if you are obsessed with his éclairs, you can now learn how to bake your own!

 

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The cookbook is visually beautiful with step by step instructions for 35 recipes.  Many of the recipes look just like the ones sold at the boutique and are easily interchangeable.

 

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The book also provides a list of equipment, along with basic rules and helpful tips to assist both the beginner and the experienced baker. I cannot wait to start baking!

 

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Check out my review of the éclairs at L’Éclair de Genie if you are interested!

L’Opera Patisserie

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L’Opera is located on Minoru Blvd next to the shops near Hilton Hotel. It’s an odd location for such a fancy looking patisserie. But good for me, since I don’t need to travel all the way downtown for some good pastries! There’s also free parking behind the Sheraton/Hilton parking lot. Anyways, I’ve purchased a pastry for a friend here, but I haven’t actually tried them myself. C gave me a box of L’Operamacarons for my birthday, so I am finally able to write about them! It comes in a beautiful box with a ribbon. The owners are Asian, but had training in Paris, so the shop and decor are all very Parisian.

When you open the box, you have a little note which tells you how long and how to store your macarons. They use natural and organic ingredients, so they can spoil if not kept properly.

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Green Tea, Caramel, Coffee, Chocolate, Pistachio, Rose

The macarons were actually quite small in size. Dainty and light. I found them smaller than the ones at Thiery. What I liked about them was that the colours were all very faint and light. It’s a sign that they probably didn’t use food colouring to achieve the colours. Creamy fillings and the shell itself is up to standards. I also like how they aren’t too sweet. My favourite was the coffee. It had such a strong aroma of coffee and I think there were some crushed coffee beans in it too.

Overall, very satisfied with the macarons at L’Opera. They come at around $2 a piece, so quite standard. It’s also super close to home, so I’ll definitely be visiting more often. They also have afternoon tea, which I hear is pretty good. Will definitely give that a try next!

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The Cake Workshop

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On my birthday, my family pre-ordered a birthday cake for me. Instead of going to the usual mainstream bakeries, my dad has been frequently ordering cakes at The Cake Workshop. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, but the baker actually only recently opened an actual cake shop in the food court of Pacific Plaza Mall on Odlin Cres. He started the business at home, but eventually had too many orders and so it was better off to open an actual shop. My dad says he’s an experienced baker and used to bake in Hong Kong for years.

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I chose to have the Tiramisu, which came nicely decorated with strawberries and whipped cream. This was a 6″ and cost only $18. Much cheaper than many other bakeries out there. The cakes are simple and nothing too fancy, but of good quality! I think most people enjoy his cakes because they aren’t as sweet as most of the cakes at other bakeries. If you’re someone who finds cakes too sweet, than this might be the choice for you.

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The cake part of the tiramisu was moist, light and fluffy, whereas the mascarpone cheese was smooth and creamy. You do need to pre-order the cakes in advance. There aren’t any cakes for walk in sales at the shop. You also have the choice of getting the cake delivered for free if it’s within Richmond, or you can pick up at the shop.

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Bits and Pieces of Amsterdam

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During my visit in Amsterdam, I also snacked on some food that I think are worth mentioning. After the Burger Bar, we walked a few steps and smelt some freshly baked goods! It was coming out of the Metropolitan, which offers a variety of pastries and sweets, including waffles, ice cream, and chocolate.

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For myself, I chose this Chocolate Crispy Ball. It wasn’t something I had seen before, so I decided to give it a try. It’s sort of like corn flakes but coated with chocolate and all stuck together. Not bad, but it got a little too sweet after a while!

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Then, another night we were wandering the streets and ended up in Chinatown. We were starving and M suddenly disappeared into Nam Kee. Nam Kee specializes in Chinese BBQ meats, and the ironic thing is that I usually hate it when my mom buys this back in Vancouver.

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However, a few of us girls decided to share a box of mixed meat and the weirdest thing was I thought it was so delicious! I guess when you don’t eat something for 3 months, it tastes really good to you. I used to eat this pretty much every week when my mom was lazy to cook and I just got sick of it… And never had I thought soy sauce on rice could be so delicious… The meats were lean and you got a lot for the price you paid for. Nam Kee also has 2 other restaurants in Amsterdam, one of which we visited on a different night. However, I didn’t’ think the other restaurant was as good as this one. Or perhaps I was just really hungry and standing on the street eating this take out box was so satisfying…

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Duvel beer is a Belgian beer owned by a Flemish family. It’s a strong golden pale ale, which M said was really good. Although it is supposed to be a little bitter, I found it quite easy to drink. I enjoy my beers to be light and easy to drink.

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Our hostel had a bunch of coupons for activities in Amsterdam, and one that caught our eyes was the XtraCold Ice Bar. Honestly, we were all quite disappointed in this. It cost around 16 euros and to make things worse, S and I had split up from the group. We also got a bit lost trying to find the bar, and by the time we got there, we were told that we only had 15 minutes left of the “experience”. When we bought our tickets, we had “reserved” a time for the experience… Apparently, the whole experience only lasts around 50 minutes. We asked if we should still go in, and the guy at the till said it was up to us, but that we wouldn’t be getting the full experience. Since we didn’t want to split up from the group, we quickly got put into these parka jackets and gloves that were supposed to keep us warm. They also gave us some 3D glasses. When we got in, all our friends were freezing. Apparently the experience was watching some penguin cartoon show… which I definitely did not understand for the last 15 minutes. The ice room was extremely small with “fake glass”. I’m pretty sure it’s not real but more like clear plastic since I took off my gloves and touched it. They also did not have enough seats, so many people ended up having to stand in the back for the entire show. They have a mini bar in there with one bartender and you receive 2 complimentary shots in these ice shot glasses. Honestly, I did not think it was worth our money and our friends were freezing for the whole hour and said we hadn’t missed out much and would’ve rather came in late so they didn’t have to suffer the cold. They also didn’t allow photography inside, but only with their camera which of course, you needed to pay for the photos after. Outside of the room, there is an actual bar with more normal temperatures, and I thought the setting seemed pretty nice. I’m pretty sure the drinks were really expensive though, and it seemed more like a tourist attraction since the bar was pretty much empty.

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On a different morning, we got up early and went to look for some breakfast. And…we ended up at a Donair shop and ordered some chicken nuggets and fries. The chicken nuggets actually reminded me of Mcnuggets and they were extremely crispy on the outside. The fries were also quite different from American and Spanish fries. They were very crisp, and my friends said they were Belgian fries. Belgian fries are fried twice, hence they are much crispier.

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During our sightseeing, we found the famous I am Amsterdam sign!

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Another cool attraction we discovered was the Amsterdam Cheese Museum. It’s not exactly a museum because it’s more like a cheese shop. Inside, they have literally all types of cheese. Cheese with flavours such as truffles, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, sausage and much more. My favourite was the pesto cheese and the hickory cheese which literally tasted like sausage! The shop is quite small, but it’s filled with such a large variety of cheese, and almost every type of cheese has samples for you to try. The staff are also really friendly and don’t really force you to buy anything. I wish I took some cheese back, but my backpack traveling really limited how much space I had… Downstairs, there is an extremely mini museum. They have a few boards with some cheese history, and then they have outfits and props like traditional Dutch wear and clogs for you to dress up in to take pictures. Other than that, it’s really more of a cheese shop than a museum. Worth checking out if you’re a cheese lover and won’t take up too much of your time!

Serrajordia – Sant Cugat

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Mousse Cups

ESADE is located in Sant Cugat, and honestly, I don’t find food that appealing there. I guess it’s just that there’s limited choices, and the prices are higher than out in the city. However, on our walk to school from the station, we always pass by Serrajordia. K made it almost like a habit, to always grab a small breakfast there. He said their little pastries, like their mini cookies and biscuits were really good! I, on the other hand, always had breakfast at home, so never really got to try their pastries. However, most of my friends said they are a great bakery! One day, C invited us to her dorm for dinner she would cook, and I decided to stop by Serrajordia on my way to get some desserts. They have a variety of cakes, and also individual mini cakes, but I looked in the freezer and saw these little mousse cups. How convenient and cute! They aren’t the cheapest desserts out there, but definitely worth the money when you think about places like Thomas Haas. I got two Lemon Mousse Cups, one Triple Chocolate Layer, and one Chocolate Mousse. Each one were topped with little crispy chocolate balls and some had chocolate or berries on it. Everyone enjoyed them! They were smooth, but because we had fridged them and they hadn’t cooled enough, they were almost like an ice cream texture, which none of us minded. My favourite was the triple layered chocolate!  Now I wish I had tried some of their other pastries. I doubt I would come back here since it’s so far from the city…

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Anyways, if you haven’t realized, I’m putting a little twits to my food blog and introducing some places I’ve visited while on exchange. I guess it’s a way for me to remember and document some of the things I’ve done and to help others who are traveling in Europe. One of the first places I visited in Barcelona while my sister visited, was Park Guell. It’s basically one of the top tourist destinations for Barcelona tourists. It’s a little difficult to commute here, just because the metro doesn’t take you straight to the entrance. However, if you take a bus, it’ll get you right to the station, and the last bus stop is Park Guell, so not that hard. It’s a garden with amazing architecture designed by Antoni Gaudi, who you must recognize when you visit Spain. I feel like pretty much all architecture Barcelona is famous for is done by him! It’s extremely tourist-filled during the summer months. During September, when my sister visited, it was also free to go in. We got lucky and didn’t need to pay!

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Many people refer to this place as looking a bit like Candy Crush or a Candy House. I do agree. Everything seems like it’s sugar coated with frosting. And I absolutely love the mosaic you find at the top. You’ll also see the statue of a salamander that is popularly known. This park is basically one that you won’t experience any where else. It’s not one of those romantic parks you find yourself in London or Paris, but one that is whimsical, artsy and fun. You’ll find yourself taking pictures of literally every angle of this park. There’s so much to see, you won’t even feel tired climbing up to the top of the park with the burning sun on you! A must see!

Bits and Pieces of Venice

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City of water…If you guessed Venice, you’re correct! I don’t normally post pictures of myself, but I took so many pictures while traveling, I might as well share some of the scenery with you all! During our stay in Milan, we actually took a day trip to Venice by train. The train was pretty fast and we were there in less than 2 hours. Maybe even less! We decided on a one day trip, since we found that the hotels in Venice were extremely expensive! We basically had half the day to explore and hoped it would be enough. If you’re planning to go to Venice, I can assure you that a day trip is enough. The city is beautiful, but it’s honestly quite small. If you want to really take it slow, then a maximum of two days will give you enough time to literally explore the whole city. First off, we hadn’t done any research of this place. We were hoping there would be a tourist center where we could get some maps and such. Yea, there was a tourist booth, but all the maps cost money! We ended up wandering without a map and actually hit all the tourist spots! So no need to really buy a map…To be honest, I found Venice one of the most touristy cities I visited. I felt like everyone around me was a tourist, and I couldn’t really figure out if locals even lived here (well, of course they do). Plus, be warned that everything is expensive! They really know how to get the most out of us tourists…

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Spritz Veneziano

So we were warned ahead of time that food would be expensive, so we tried to settle at average looking cafes and restaurants. After exploring the city, we decided we would grab an early dinner since we would be on the train around dinner time. We walked back towards where we arrived by train as we remembered there were a line up of restaurants. At this point, it didn’t even matter if they were tourist traps – honestly the city was catered to tourists. During our exploration, we realized everyone was drinking this orange drink in a glass. They often came in a wine glass, and my sister insisted that we had to try this. According to her, it must be the drink all the locals drink here… Alright, after doing some research on it, I can tell you that it’s so popular here because the Spritz Veneziano is actually originated in Venice! A-ha. Anyways, it is a drink prepared with prosecco wine, which is an Italian white sparkling wine. It is then combined with a dash of a bitter liqueur such as Aperol, Campari, or in Venice, Select. It is then topped off with sparkling mineral water. Sometimes it is also garnished with a slice of orange or olive. Sadly, all three of us hated this drink. I guess it was the bitter liqueur that they used, that really turned us off. Even worse, was this drink cost a lot, and the three of us had each ordered one. Just when we thought it would be a delicious, fruity cocktail…

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Spaghetti with Clams in a White Wine Sauce

We had settled at this restaurant that had what was called a “tourist menu”. Now most of the restaurants in Venice basically have this. They also have something called a cover charge. Cover charge is essentially a charge per person for just sitting outside. Actually, I’m not sure if you need to pay a charge just for sitting. But we sat outside, and this was added to our bill. Not to mention that service was just terrible. And they expect you to tip here… Service like that really does not deserve any tip. Anyways, K and my sister order the tourist menu. If I remember correctly, it came with a salad, pasta and another dish, which I wish I could remember. This was their pasta dish which was Spaghetti with Clams in a White Wine Sauce. This was actually pretty good! It had a lot of clams and the pasta was cooked to al dente.

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Seafood Risotto

For myself, I ordered the Seafood Risotto, which was off the regular menu. I absolutely loved this. It was a bit pricey, but I think it was still under 20 euros. It was really good though! The rice was cooked to perfection, not too chewy and not too soft. The sauce was amazing. There were bits of clams and shrimps inside and it came with three more mussels. The seafood was surprisingly quite fresh. Not the freshest I’ve had, but quite decent! Loved this dish.

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And now let me show you some of the shops around the city! Venice is basically filled with narrow streets which are really pedestrian walking only. Every once in a while, you would see the canal, and then you would enter just a street with buildings on both sides. It’s almost like a maze. Along these streets, you will find shops from bakeries, to pasta shops to mask shops and etc. It’s extremely popular to see these shops that sell almond cookies and these gigantic meringues. If you’ve been to Macau in Asia, my friends told me that is what Venice really reminds them of.

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There are also tons of pasta shops! Well Italy is famous for pasta, so it’s no surprise. They claim they are handmade, and I was just drawn into their colours and detailed patterns. I love how they are shaped into Venice infrastructure, gondolas, hearts and much more! The colouring is also natural as they are made from vegetables or spices, which is pretty cool.

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More pasta! I thought these were pretty cool since it was curry flavoured. They also had some truffle flavoured ones. Mmm!

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And yea…we ended up getting some gelato again. This was amazing because it was pear flavoured! I love how the Italians use every fruit they can think of. Super refreshing. Underneath is a scoop of pistachio. I can never get enough of that.

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And my sister decided to buy one of those gigantic meringues. It’s literally the size of two fists put together. This one was pistachio flavoured. However, all we could taste was sugar. Well meringues are made of egg whites and sugar… It was so sweet that we both took a few bites and threw the rest out… You need ten people to finish this! It was pretty expensive too…

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And last but not least, I’ll finish this post with a picture of gondolas! I didn’t get a chance to take one since they are quite pricey and wasn’t worth it when we only had three people. Also note that these guys don’t actually sing… Thought it would be all romantic like in those movies…Nope! Oh well, Venice is still a beautiful city to visit! Jealous of anyone who is heading there! Next post: we head back home to Barcelona!