Fondway Cafe – Media Launch

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NOTE: All food and beverages were complimentary as part of the media launch, but all opinions are based on my personal experience.

I was invited to Fondway Cafe‘s media launch last Sunday organized by Chobee PR. Apparently Fondway used to be inside Crystal Mall, but it has relaunched near the Metrotown skytrain station, so is very accessible.

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Their menu offers coffees, teas, and cafe style snacks. It is a Taiwanese cafe but mixed with a hipster European feel.

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They offer over 60 teas and you can purchase the teas to bring home. They also sell a variety of tea and coffee appliances.

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For the media launch, we got to sample an array of their garden fruit teas. The teas are brewed with a special machine called Teapresso that uses a 9-bar water pressurizer to extract the flavour of tea.

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Signature Iced Tea

I tried the Fruit Garden, which had hibiscus, rose-hip peels, apple bits, citrus peels, and sunflower petals. The teas were served cold and I enjoyed the fruitiness and floral flavours.

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We then moved over to the coffee bar where the girls were pumping out the drinks. They offer coffee beans from Elysian coffee roasters and the beans are from Guatemala and Costa Rica.

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Nitrogen Coffee

Fondway differs from other coffee shops as they feature a Nitrogen Coffee, which is cold brewed and infused with nitrogen gas to create a silky texture and bubbly taste. The coffee was very smooth and clean but I found it very odd that that the coffee taste disappears after you consume it. Your first initial contact with the coffee will give you that strong coffee flavour, but it disappears right after. It’s great for people like me who do not enjoy the after coffee taste that lingers in my mouth.

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Honey Lemon Coffee

The Honey Lemon Coffee was a bit of an odd one for us. We found it to have that odd sour taste that we didn’t really enjoy.

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Grass Jelly Milk Tea

One of my favourites was the Grass Jelly Milk Tea. The milk tea was strong in fresh tea flavour.

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Caramel Macchiato

We also tried the Caramel Macchiato with one shot of espresso. The coffee was smooth and the caramel wasn’t too sweet. I also noticed they have really neat menus where you can check the items you want to order with an erasable marker. Pretty neat!

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And then we hurried over to the food! This was a foodie’s dream with all the food presented beautifully!

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Belgium Waffles, House Salad

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Taiwanese Sandwich, Chicken Croissant

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Tuna Waffles, Cheese Salmon, Pumpkin Cracker, Daily Sandwiches

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Daily Soups

Daily Soups included a Minestrone and Clam Chowder Soup. M and I both agreed the chowder was the best. It was flavourful and didn’t taste like your typical canned soup.

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These were the items we sampled. Our favourite was the Cheese Salmon which featured smoked salmon on top of a cracker along with cheese, lettuce and dill. The Tuna Waffle was also a favourite as the waffles were light and fluffy and tuna was flavoured nicely with a light mayo. The Taiwanese Sandwich was a nice twist as it featured waffles as the bread.

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Coffee Pana Cotta

And onto the desserts! We started off with the Coffee Pana Cotta which is more like a creme brulee with coffee caramel liquid at the bottom. Quite sweet, but the custard was smooth.

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New York Cheesecake

The homemade cakes then started rolling in. The New York Cheesecake had sugar on top and it was torched to give that creme brulee hard sugar feeling. The cheesecake was denser than what I would’ve liked as I prefer the light and fluffy Japanese ones, but good nevertheless.

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Ujikintoki Cake, Seasonal Fruit Cake, Earl Grey Cake, Concentrated Chocolate Cake

We also got to try a variety of their daily cakes. Since we were too full, we only tried the Earl Grey Cake. The cake itself was very fluffy, but I found that the hazelnuts on top stole the show so it tasted more like a hazelnut cake. More earl grey flavouring and less hazelnuts would’ve made the cake perfect.

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Overall, we had a good time and enjoyed the beverages and snacks that Fondway offers. Service was also extremely friendly and waitresses are able to speak both Mandarin and English. I can see this as a cute place to catch up with your girl friends.

Fondway is offering a grand opening day special and you can experience a 4 signature course for only $20. You can choose from either option A or B. Please see picture above for details and contact details to reserve your ticket in advance.

Fondway Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Cattle Cafe

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I’ve never tried Cattle Cafe and since the Richmond location was closed and we were near Metrotown, we decided to head over for lunch. Cattle Cafe is your typical HK style cafe food and I would say it’s quite similar to Deer Garden. I found the seating and interior to be quite modern and clean compared to many Chinese restaurants.

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Sliced Beef in Satay Soup with Hand-squeezed Fish Noodles
S got one of their classics which is the Sliced Beef in Satay Soup with Hand-squeezed Fish Noodles. The noodles have a nice chew because they are made from fish. I liked the satay soup which was slightly spicy but not overbearing. I’d definitely order this dish next time!

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Mixed Meat & Fish Balls with Flat Noodle Seaweed Soup

For myself, I ordered the Mixed Meat & Fish Balls with Flat Noodle Seaweed Soup. You get some pork, meat, and fish balls as well as fish tofu. The broth is quite strong in fish and seaweed flavour. Not bad.

Overall, Cattle Cafe is a good option for quick HK style food. I found that prices weren’t the cheapest with each dish still costing at least $9 and the portions being a little on the smaller side. I find the portions at Deer Garden to be much larger. Service is quick and to the point so don’t expect any more.

Pros:
– Average eats
– Clean spacious interior

Cons:
– Don’t expect much service

Price Range: $10

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

Food: 3 Service: 2 Ambiance: 2 Parking: 2 Overall: 2.5

Cattle Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cafe Granja Viader – Barcelona

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Cafe Granja Viader was recommended by my Spanish professor. This cafe has so much history! The family business began in the 1870s and started as a farm. They are also among the first to start the dairy industry in Spain, and they invented Cacaolat, which you will see all over Spain. Cacaolat is basically the Spanish version of our Milk2Go. The cafe is actually located just inside the streets off of La Rambla, so extremely accessible. You’ll find locals eating here with their children, but tourists have also discovered this cafe and has been a popular destination.

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The cafe still has such a vintage feel to it! Very basic furniture with the waiters dressed professionally.

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Painters are hung around the wall. We came just when the second opening time began, and hence we got a seat right away. The cafe closes from around 2-5, abiding to the siesta. Therefore, many of my friends have found it difficult to visit here, or when it’s open, there are usually huge crowds.

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Swiss Hot Chocolate

N had came to visit me in Barcelona, and I decided to take her here after she got off her flight. Another friend had suggested items to order, so I followed. First, we got a Swiss Hot Chocolate. This was basically the Spanish Hot Chocolate, but topped with a huge lump of whipped cream. The whipped cream was actually light and didn’t have that heavy milk taste that cheap processed whipped cream had. You need to realize that the hot chocolate in Spain is literally melted chocolate. It’s so thick! I don’t think they put any milk in it… The whipped cream really helped lighten the hot chocolate and give it a more milky texture.

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Spanish Hot Chocolate

My friend suggested we order just a Spanish Hot Chocolate, and because the Swiss one had so much whipped cream, you could just scoop over half of it onto the one without the cream. This worked out perfectly. When we tried the Spanish Hot Chocolate by itself, we felt it was too heavy. They use dark chocolate, and hence it’s not too sweet. But still, imagine yourself drinking a cup of just melted chocolate… It’s quite something. We both agreed that we wouldn’t be drinking hot chocolate in a while… Extremely rich and smooth though!

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Churros

We also got an order of Churros. The plate came with around 4 looped churros and there was one that was a bit different. It had a lot more sugar on it and had a slight cinnamon taste to it! The churros were fresh and surprisingly not too sweet. I did find that the churros were a little hard for my liking, so I ended up dipping it in the hot chocolate. It was the best way to eat it, especially since it got a little boring just drinking the thick hot chocolate.

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Overall, I was quite satisfied with Granja Viader! It’s a nice place to sip on some hot chocolate and grab a snack. I really felt like I had went back in time and was experiencing the true Catalan way of enjoying tea time.

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To finish off with some Barcelona attractions, I attended the El Clasico 2013! For those who aren’t football fans, like myself, El Clasico is a football match between the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. The two teams are among the richest and best teams in the world, and Barcelona and Madrid themselves have always been rivalries in football. Also because of other political issues, like independence, the two cities are always heated when they compete. My friends luckily convinced me to attend, and it was the best decision! I’ve never been to any sports game in my life, let alone football being of any interest for me. However, it was so much fun, and the crowds were full of spirit. Never felt so excited watching a game! Camp Nou, the stadium is also the largest football stadium in Europe! It was fully filled and although our seats were almost the last rows, we still had clear vision of the game. And of course, Barcelona won!

Tapa Tapa (Arenas) – Barcelona

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I took a Spanish history class at ESADE, and it was one of the best classes offered there! Truly learned so much about Spain and coming from a country with such a young history, it was so interesting to actually finally understand some of the European history. One our our assignments was to visit an assigned site in Barcelona. For my group, we were assigned to visit the Olympic Museum and then check out the Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys, which was the stadium that was renovated for the 1992 Summer Olympics. For tourists who are only in Barcelona for a few days, the Museum is definitely not worth your time as it only gives a timeline of the history of the Olympics. However, the stadium is worth a visit if you are going to see Montjuic since it is on the way up the mountain and also free. Not anything impressive, but it’s pretty cool to know how the Olympics really changed Barcelona from a city of nothing to one of the top tourist destinations! The Barcelona Olympics is said to be one of the only Olympics where the investment and costs actually benefited the city more than any other host city in Olympic history. It’s almost difficult for any city to repeat the dramatic change that occurred.

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Anyways, after an afternoon researching for our assignment, we headed back to Plaza Espanya on the bus. Next to the Arenas, which is now a mall, but a bullfighting arena in the past, is Tapa Tapa. There are around 3-4 Tapa Tapas around Barcelona, and it’s known to be catered towards tourists.

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We chose to settle here anyways to grab a snack. The menu barra really caught our eyes since it was a pretty good deal. I believe the menu was only 8,60 euros, which is really cheap! An amazing deal, since most of their tapas are at least 3 euros anyways. I’ve been to other Tapa Tapas before as well, and I realized that they do not offer this lunch menu. I think it’s because the Tapa Tapa at the Arenas has less traffic, especially tourists. The other locations include Maremagnum at Port Vell and on Passeig Gracia, which constantly has tourists. Since it’s a tourist spot, they also offered an English menu to make things easy.

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I think what attracts tourists to Tapa Tapa are the colourful pictures of their menu that’s always placed outside. For foreigners, it’s always great to see pictures to know what they’re ordering.

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For our menu, we were given a choice of water, soda, or beer. I ended up choosing a sparkling water. It’s called “agua con gasse” in Spanish. I find that Europeans drink sparkling water a lot more than Americans. It’s not something very common for us. This one was called Vichy Catalan, and the bottle was really cute!

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Potato Omelet

We each ordered the set menu, but chose to share some of our food, so hence there are lots of food pictures! To start, we all chose the Potato Omelet, which is a typical Spanish tapa. I actually ate this quite frequently at school, since it was an affordable item at the school cafeteria. It would come in a sub with the potato omelet inside. Potato chunks are mixed with egg to form this little cube. It’s usually served cold and placed on bread that has been brushed with tomatoes.

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Lettuce with Goat Cheese Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

My friends ordered this as they were huge fans of goat cheese. I still haven’t been able to acquire to this taste, so it was only okay for me. Came with some croutons, and the vinaigrette dressing really made the salad tasty!

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Three Cheese Risotto – Gorgonzola, Emmental, Brie

Some of us also got the Three Cheese Risotto. I loved this one! It was very creamy and cheesy since it had three types of cheese. For people who aren’t into very strong cheeses, this dish may be a little strong for your liking. Since I’m not into blue cheeses, the Gorgonzola really hit my taste buds. However, since it was mixed with two lighter cheeses, it wasn’t as strong.

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Three Cheese Croquettes

This was by far one of my favourites! Ever since my first time trying croquettes, I have been so into them! These were purely just cheese, and hence extremely cheesy when you bite into them. The outer layer was also deep fried, but not too oily.

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Crispy Shrimp

These were great to snack on! Reminded me of popcorn shrimp back at home. It came with a garlic mayo. The outer layer wasn’t too thick, and the shrimps were still fresh.

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Trio of Mini Hamburgers with Cheese, Onion and Mustard

This was also one of our favourites. They were actaully hamburgers without the burger. So essentially the beef patty only. On the left, the patty was topped with mustard. The mustard was so delicious! Not the cheap American yellow mustard on hot dogs. This was grainy mustard with mustard seeds still in it. My absolute favourite! In the middle was a patty topped with melted cheese. This was also quite good, but the cheese cooled down quickly, so wasn’t as cheesy anymore. Lastly, on the right was a patty topped with grilled onions. I didn’t expect this to taste anything special, but the seasoning they used on the onions and after being grilled really made it a great patty!

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To finish off your meal, there’s coffee! It’s popular to finish your meal with a cafe! We really enjoyed this since they let us choose any type of cafe. Usually, it’s strictly coffee. They let us choose and we chose the Cappuccino. It came with plenty of foam and topped with a bit of coffee powder. Not shabby!

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So even though many people say Tapa Tapa is just for tourists, I think the lunch menu at the Arenas is quite worth it. I’ve been to the other locations and don’t think it’s as worth the money you pay for, and agree that they are quite touristy. Our service was attentive, and sitting at the bar was lots of fun! You get a taste of typical Spanish tapas at a great value.

ABC Cafe

Vermicelli in Fish Soup with Fish Tofu and Beef

Black Pepper Spaghetti

Wandered around Aberdeen to decide what to eat, and ended up ABC Cafe again. This is my second time and it was a lot more empty than during their grand opening. I decided to try their “Make your own noodle soup” menu and was quite surprised that the portion was quite large. Overall, it was pretty good, with quick service and decent food.

ABC Cafe on Urbanspoon

ABC Cafe

Baked Alaska

ABC Cafe recently opened at Aberdeen Mall in Richmond. The restaurant has a nice, clean atmosphere and service was quite fast. The prices are relatively expensive for HK Style Cafe food, but the ingredients used are also of higher class. They have dishes like steak, and a variety of seafood. The food is more western styled than most Chinese cafes. Overall, the food was quite good. Nothing too special I guess. My friend was craving some Baked Alaska afterward, so we ordered it. The flame went up and unfortunately, I think it burned the meringue too much so that it was actually burnt on the sides and had a bad aftertaste. Inside, was fruit cake as opposed to a brownie base that I usually have. It was still good, but I wish it weren’t so burnt!

ABC Cafe on Urbanspoon

What8ver Cafe

Ice Cream Toast

I finally got a chance to try What8ever Cafe. Yes, such a weird name eh? This small bubble tea shop is located in Richmond, and when I say small, it really is SMALL. There are a total of 4 booths I believe, with two outdoor tables. Service is also extremely slow, so if you’re in a hurry, this is not the place to go. I hear they also have extremely long waits during late nights, but luckily, I got there early and had no wait. They have typical Taiwanese dishes and drinks, but they also have cream floats which aren’t found at most bubble tea shops. Definitely a must try! And of course, their famous ice cream toast! It’s basically a loaf of bread with the center block cut out. It is then cut into small sticks, and are like french toast sticks, that are put back in. It is finished with ice cream and topped with fresh strawberries, banana, Pocky sticks and an Oreo cookie. Delicious! Be sure to make reservations if you want a seat though!

Check out their site for the menu: http://www.what8ver.com/

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