Forty Ninth Parallel Café & Lucky’s Doughnuts (Main St.)

41

Since Shishinori closed pretty early, and we wanted to get some sort of desserts so we could continue our conversations, we ended up driving a few blocks down to 49th Parallel Cafe & Lucky’s Doughnuts on Main St. I believe they have a second location, but this one opens later. Free parking down in the residential areas so that’s always a plus!

42

The cafe is actually quite big, and there are tons of people studying or on their laptops here. There is also a patio outside, which is great for the summer. Good choice of seating as well, from communal tables to two seaters.

43

The cafe is famous for their coffee, but they also launched Lucky’s Doughnuts, because I mean, coffee and doughnuts do sound like a good pairing right? Since we came pretty late, we were disappointed to see that most of the unique doughnuts were all sold out.  The lady said they wouldn’t be baking any new ones soon, so we had to just settle with what there was. The doughnuts are supposed to be made fresh everyday throughout the day. S said that if you come here in the morning, you can get the freshest and best choice of doughnuts!

44

Coconut Bismark

The only more unique doughnut left was the Coconut Bismark, which had a coconut cream filled inside and vanilla glaze on top. It was then topped off with a Swiss meringue and some toasted coconut flakes. It was very creamy and sweet. Very strong in coconut flavour for sure.

45

Sugar and Spice

Sugar and Spice was more like a cake-based doughnut. It was dusted with sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom, so it tasted quite like your typical mini doughnuts at the fair but not as soft.

46

Since I’m not a coffee drinker, I went for the teas instead. I chose the Organic Fujian Bohea Black Tea, which had a fruity and honey aroma. I love how you get your own teacup and their signature mug.

47

Overall, Forty Ninth Parallel Café & Lucky’s Doughnuts is a great place to have late night conversations, or to even study. I wish there was a closer one to Richmond, so we have more choices other than the typical chain stores.

Forty Ninth Parallel Café & Lucky's Doughnuts on Urbanspoon

Tom N Toms Coffee – Busan

IMG_9502

Tom N Toms Coffee is a South Korean coffee shop with multiple franchises. We saw plenty in Seoul, but we always ended up eating something else. We decided to get breakfast here since it was next to the metro station where we lived in Busan. We got take out so we could bring it on our train back to Seoul. Other than coffee and other beverages and snacks you would find at a coffee shop, they are also famous for their pretzels. Their pretzels are freshly made to order and you can see here the lady is rolling out our pretzels. Since it is freshly made, it does take around 10-15 minutes, so don’t get it if you’re in a hurry. We were almost late for our train!

IMG_9503

This is their menu for pretzels. There are definitely a lot of variety. From sweet to savory, there is something for everyone. You can also make it into a set, which comes with a drink.

IMG_9504

Parmesan Pretzel

K and I decided to share two pretzels. First, we got the Parmesan Pretzel, which we found to be our least favourite out of the two. The pretzel wasn’t a whole, and instead, was cut up into little bites. Tons of Parmesan cheese on it, so the flavour was really good. However, we found the texture wasn’t as soft as the other pretzel. We felt like it was a bit of a rip off compared to the other pretzels, since it was quite plain. Something you could get at a pizza shop too.

IMG_9505

Corn Pretzel

The Corn Pretzel was really good! A pretzel baked with mayo, sweet corn and cheddar cheese. The dough was super soft, and the stringy cheese along with the sweet flavour of the corn was a great match. I would definitely recommend this one! All in all, a great place to visit if you want some coffee and pretzels. A great change from the typical Starbucks menu. The pretzels aren’t cheap though, as they price around CAD$5-$7 each. You could definitely get a bowl of noodles at a Korean restaurant at this price. I guess anything that speaks American or European food in South Korea is pricier. Until next time Busan! Next up, back to Seoul!

Cafe Sacher – Vienna

IMG_8475

When in Vienna, you’re told to visit Cafe Sacher at the Hotel Sacher. Hotel Sacher is a 5 star hotel and is next to the Vienna State Opera. Luckily, it’s also open on Christmas Day, so a perfect place to visit since basically nothing is open that day. The hotel was founded in 1876 and is known to be one of the best hotels in the world, especially known to be the place where the upper class stayed.

IMG_8468

The inside of the cafe makes you feel like royalty, with chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, comfy couches, and paintings hung all around. Red velvet is everywhere in the room. Your servers are also dressed in maid outfits, so you can really believe that you’re a royalty at that moment.

IMG_8467

So what’s so special about Cafe Sacher, other than the royal decor? The Sachertorte! It’s a type of chocolate cake that was invented by Franz Sacher for the Prince. Cafe Sacher is famous because this Sachertorte was first served here. It’s known to be the Original Sacher Torte. This cake has basically become a significant icon in culinary for Vienna. You’ll find various variations of this sacher torte at many other places in Vienna. The menu also has other items, including actual entrees, but obviously people come here for the cake! I thought it was funny how the menu came on this little handle too.

IMG_8471

We were here basically for breakfast, so we got some hot drinks to begin. Yes, we eat dessert for breakfast! K had the Cappuccino, while I chose the Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream. K said her Cappuccino was very good, but not amazing or the best she’s had. For myself, I found the Hot Chocolate to be too milky. It wasn’t strong in chocolate, and instead had an almond milk flavour to it. It was okay, but I probably wouldn’t pay that price for it. What’s interesting is that your drinks will also come with a small glass of water. I guess you’re supposed to cleanse your mouth and such? I have no idea…

IMG_8469

And then came the famous Original Sacher Torte. You will see the chocolate seal stating it’s from Hotel Sacher on your cake. I should have gotten a side view of the cake, but it’s essentially a chocolate cake with a thin layer of apricot jam. The top is coated with dark chocolate icing and is served with a portion of unsweetened whipped cream. To be brutally honest, I think this cake is way overrated. It was good, but I don’t think it was amazing and it wouldn’t be something I would crave to eat. I agree it was pretty moist, but I’ve had chocolate cakes that are much more moist. I found it rather dense, and there was a strange chocolate taste to it. Perhaps it was the apricot filling, but I didn’t really enjoy that taste. The icing is also sort of hard, which I didn’t like. I honestly think that it’s just too expensive for what is is. I can now say I’ve tried the original recipe for the Sacher Torte, but I doubt I would visit again.

IMG_8470

We also tried the Viennese Apple Strudel, because Vienna is also famous for their apple strudels! Man… I really wanted to take that apple strudel class for kids at the Schonnbrun Palace… Anyways, this was again just average. It wasn’t bad, but for what I paid for, I could be having some really good strudel. It had an abundant of apples, but the whip cream cost extra. Seriously… it’s just whip cream.

IMG_8472

And here was my breakfast. Definitely an expensive breakfast. To add on, you have to pay I believe 1 euro for your coat check, and they sort of FORCE you to coat check. They set the temperature really high in the room, and advise you it’ll be warm inside. And obviously, when you dine at these fancy places, you’re pretty much obligated to pay a decent tip. But seriously, the maids here who serve give the worst attitude ever. If you don’t want to serve people, why do you even work here? Perhaps we didn’t dress like aristocrats, hence the poor service, but I don’t believe there should ever be a reason like that. People here need to be trained about what good customer service is.

Aksum Coffee House – Brussels

IMG_7482

C and I had done some sightseeing and since it was a rainy day, we wanted to take a rest and looked for a coffee shop. Aksum Coffee House was rated as the top coffee house in Brussels on Tripadvisor, so off we went. It’s a little hidden since their company name isn’t in vivid colours. A tiny mint green shop owned by an Ethiopian man.

IMG_7477

The inside is filled with vintage coffee machines and African artwork on the walls. There’s only a few seats but when we were there on a weekday, there weren’t that many people. Their menu is also very limited, with some cakes from a local bakery as well.

IMG_7478

For myself, I got the Hot Chocolate, since I’m not a big fan of coffee. When it arrived, I was surprised by the way it looked. It was very frothy at the top, and you could see glimpse of chocolate at the bottom. I mixed it up, and it became a light brown colour. Taking a sip from it, it didn’t really taste like typical hot chocolates. It was frothy, and the chocolate taste wasn’t too strong. There was a nutmeg flavour to it as well. The drink was a bit pricey, but apparently they use high quality ingredients.

IMG_7480

C got a coffee drink. I don’t remember what it’s called, but it had a special name and the owner recommended it. However, he warned her that it might be a little bitter. There was a shot of espresso in it, which made it strong. She didn’t really like it because it was so bitter, but I believe true espresso lovers will enjoy this drink.

All in all, I wasn’t too impressed with their drinks. It might just be me, since I’m not a coffee expert, and don’t know much about coffee. Still, I find the drinks to be quite pricey.

Costa Coffee – Manchester

IMG_7419

Since S and N are on exchange at the University of Manchester, S decided to take me there. Funny how it was my first choice of exchange school, but I ended up in Spain. The university is definitely massive compared to ESADE. It reminds me of UBC with much more campus life. Its’ massive, but the buildings are located on a strip called Oxford St., instead of how UBC’s buildings are on a massive plot of land.

IMG_7423

Gingerbread Latte

While on our way to N’s residence, we stopped by Costa Coffee to grab a drink. Costa Coffee is all over UK and some cities in Europe. It’s basically the Starbucks for the UK. During the holiday season, they had all these cute cups with Santa images, but sadly, the shop we were at didn’t have any of the cups… S got the Gingerbread Latte. It was topped with cream and sugar crystals shaped like stars. A gingerbread man was topped on it. Super cute!

IMG_7424

White Chocolate Mocha, Christmas Yule Log

For myself, I got the White Chocolate Mocha, which was only topped with the star shaped crystal sugars. I also found it to be very bland and lacked any chocolate taste. Definitely not as good as the ones at Starbucks. I also got  a Christmas Yule Log. It was a chocolate cake with a chocolate cream filling inside. On top, there was a piece of chocolate toffee and icing sugar on top of everything. Surprisingly, I didn’t find it too sweet. Not bad!

Bits and Pieces of Munich during Oktoberfest!

IMG_6301

Oktoberfest is a pretty crazy time of the year for the Germans. I didn’t really know about this event until I was trying to plan possible trips during my exchange. I was on exchange for the winter term, and Oktoberfest was an even that screamed a must go! Honestly, I’m not a huge beer fan, so it wasn’t a super appealing event for myself, but what better time to go when I’m young. Plus, visiting Germany was on my list! Oktoberfest is the largest annual fair in the world that takes place in Munich and lasts for around 17 days. People from all over the world come to attend this festival and it is a way to celebrate the Bavarian culture. It actually occurs in the end of September and lasts til early October. At first, I imagine the place to just be for beer. However, it’s a place for the young and old. Families attend in their German traditional outfits, with the females wearing dirndls. You can totally get a gist of their culture, and if you’re not in for the beer, no worries. It’s basically an area of amusement parks with assortment of rides and games, stalls for crafts and food, and last but not least, the beer tents. For myself, I found it pretty weird that one day I would sit next to a grandma, and another, a crying baby. And they are all drinking beer! Well, not the baby, but everyone around the baby is…Definitely an event where they don’t exclude anyone!

IMG_6299

On the first day that we arrived, we didn’t get into the city center until around noon. It’s nice that this event is quite close to the city center, so it’s easily accessible. A tip for this event is that you must arrive very early! People basically stay at one beer tent from day to night, so if you don’t arrive early, you basically cannot find a seat. There is also an option to secure a seat by reserving online ahead of time, but it is of course pricier. So by the time we arrived at the event, there was no seats left at any tent. We ended up exploring the festival grounds and grabbing some lunch. First off, I grabbed a hot dog! Something about the sausage just tasted so much better than those hot dogs back at home..I guess it’s the authentic German Wiener!

IMG_6305

Another popular item we found at many stalls were chocolate covered fruits! They came in white, milk, or dark chocolate and you could choose from a variety of fruits. This one was a mix of bananas and strawberries covered in white chocolate. Completely satisfied my sweet craving! These are quite pricey though, and everything at the fair is basically priced up.

IMG_6375

In the evening, we were recommended to visit the Hofbrauhaus am Platzl, which is one of Munich’s oldest beer halls, dating back to 1589! It is owned by the public Royal Brewery in Munich, which is owned by the Bavarian state government. The beer hall is crazy! It’s basically like the tents at Oktoberfest again, with lines of tables and benches and people who look to drunk to be drinking any more. I’m not sure if this is what it’s like on regular days without Oktoberfest. The place is really hectic, and there are no reservations. You basically scout around and find yourself a seat. Service is also pretty bad here, and I wouldn’t blame the servers as they have to deal with all these intoxicated, obnoxious people. First thing to note is their beer. They only come in a litre, and is referred to as a mass of beer. You would think that a mass will last these people all night, but the locals around us told us they can drink aruond 6-8 litres….Yup. That’s how the Germans do it. Anyways, I’m not a big beer fan, so I can’t really comment on the taste and such. But being someone who doesn’t drink beer often, I actually really enjoyed my beer. There’s a lot of foam on the top, but it’s actually something the Europeans prefer, and you will find most beers to be poured with the foam on top. However, something about the taste of the beer is really different from cheap beer. It’s a lot easier to drink, and doesn’t have that bitter aftertaste. I can see why German beer is so well recognized as one of the best.

IMG_6384

Half of the diners had some dishes in front of them, while half were here really for the beer. It was dinner time for us, and we were not crazy beer drinkers, so of course we ordered some food! There were some Germans from all over Germany here in Munich, and they gave us a few suggestions on what were typical German dishes. First, in the far back was the Roasted Pork Knuckle. This was really good! The outer layer had a crispy skin, and inside, the meat was tender and flavourful. It came with a side of potato dumplings, which we all enjoyed a lot. It’s got a nice chewy, bouncy texture compared to regular mashed potatoes. To the right was an order of Half Roast Chicken. This was by far our favourite. I’ve never had a roast chicken with such tender and moist meat! The skin was also roasted so it was a little crispy. This came with a side of mashed potatoes, which were just average. Lastly, we wanted to try authentic German Wieners. We were told to try the Weisswurste, which are white sausages, but they were sold out. We ended up getting normal wieners, that didn’t taste too different from typical American wieners. It came with mustard and a side of mashed potatoes.

IMG_6391

The next morning, we got up early to find a seat in the tents at Oktoberfest. However, we made a pit stop for breakfast. It was some sort of fast food bar with salads, buns, and typical German snacks. We didn’t really know what to order since everything was in German, but most of the items were some sort of meat. Totally fine with me! We saw some locals order a bread roll with some sort of meat in it, so we asked for it as well. It’s called Leberkase which is a type of sausage that is baked in a mould and cut into slice. It reminded me of spam basically. It was put inside a bread roll, and had some sweet mustard inside. It was actually really good, and cheap, filling breakfast!

IMG_6397

After grabbing breakfast, we headed over to Oktoberfest. We found a tent called Ochsenbraterei, which I later found out is famous for offering ox dishes, as the tent is named. The first picture up top, is what the tent looked like inside. Each tent is decorated differently, and apparently specialize in different aspects. You’re also supposed to find different types of crowds in each tent. We found our tent to be quite family-friendly, with ages of young to old. At Ochsenbraterei, they serve beer from the brewery Spaten. Many other tents also serve this beer, so it is quite popular. Again, it was very easy to drink. It felt sort of weird to be drinking a litre of beer when it wasn’t even noon yet though…

IMG_6405

K had the Munchner Leberknodelsuppe mit Schnittlauch, which is a liver dumpling soup with chives. It was actually really tasty and the liver dumplings just reminded me of sausages. Next, we shared 2 orders of 1/2 frisches Wiesen-Hendl, which is the Roast Chicken we had the other night. We found this one to be a little more salty compared to the one at Hofbrauhaus. Still, it was moist and tender! Lastly, we had an order of Kartoffelknodel 2 Stuck, which are German potato dumplings. These were our favourite! Extremely chewy and sticky and the sauce was so delicious! Keep in mind that the food inside the tents will be much more expensive than outside. A mass of beer will also cost almost 10 euros.

IMG_6353

Lastly, during our time in Munich, we actually didn’t do too much exploring, since Oktoberfest took up most of our time. The other reason was because Munich was freezing cold! Okay, well maybe Vancouver is currently colder than Munich during the time I went, but a 1 degree weather in Munich with no car and long walks out in the cold wasn’t the most surreal experience. Hence, we ended up spending our time in a coffee shop most of the time. The other problem was we had a day in Munich, which was their holiday and everything was closed! San Francisco Coffee Company was our hiding spot most of the trip. It was basically a Starbucks for us, and it was interesting that it was named San Francisco… Not sure if this is actually an American company. It was perfect for us to warm up and the fact that there was free wi-fi and plenty of comfy seats made it perfect to catch up since we were social media deprived. Here, I have a basic Jasmine Green Tea.

IMG_6438

On another day, I tried their Matcha Latte, which I found a little too sweet. Not bad though!

IMG_6412

And lastly, a picture of some of the stalls at Oktoberfest. These heart shaped gingerbread cookies were everywhere. Girls would wear them around their necks.  They’re called Lebkuchenherz, and they are decorated with icing and have love messages written on them.

And that is all for Munich! I wish I had explored the city more, but it was definitely a wild few days.

McCafe – Milan

IMG_5661 (640x480)

As students on a budget, we often end up eating on a budget. Milan definitely dug a hole in our wallet as we could not resist the shopping. What ends up happening is we either don’t eat or we eat cheap. Since I don’t like to sacrifice my stomach, I choose to find alternatives for food. And yes, we end up at McCafe. I mean, McCafe isn’t exactly cheap as well, because compared to Canada, McDonalds in Europe is actually quite pricey. But it is probably one of the cheaper options in Milan. We chose to get the dessert combo deal, where you can get a small drink with a dessert for a set price. I ended up getting a Cappuccino with a Tiramisu, while my sister got the Strawberry Cake. The tiramisu was actually really good! It was moist and had a strong coffee flavour. The cake was also not bad, and for the price we paid, we were quite satisfied. It’s always interesting to check out the McCafes in Europe because each city has a different menu!

The Coffee Bun

IMG_3869

J told me that The Coffee Bun has some really good…well coffee buns, of course. They currently only have two stores in Greater Vancouver. One in Coquitlam and the original store is in Lower Lonsdale in North Vancouver. The shop definitely grabs your attention with such a large coffee bun sign.

IMG_3871

They’re famous for their original coffee bun, but they also have variations of the bun. Some have cream inside, and even ice cream! They also offer honey bread, waffles, and an assortment of beverages, including coffee and tea.

IMG_3870

I couldn’t help but take a few snapshots of their cake displays. I’m guessing they do special orders for the cupcakes and wedding cakes. Not sure how well they taste, but they sure look good!

IMG_3872

Look at those cupcakes with faces on them! Extremely cute!

IMG_3873

And these Santa Claus cupcakes are so adorable. They would make the cutest Christmas desserts to bring to a party.

IMG_3897

Ice Cream Coffee Bun

This is the Ice Cream Coffee Bun. It is essentially a bun with an aroma of coffee cut in half and a scoop of ice cream is placed inside. The buns remind me of Chinese buns in terms of texture and taste. Definitely has the egg and butter taste to it, but it’s also got a slight hint of coffee flavour. The outer edges are also crispy which is a plus. The bun is warm and begins to melt the ice cream, so you need to eat this quickly before it all melts!

IMG_3927

Blue Lemonade

On a second occasion, we went back to get coffee buns again. This time, J also got the Blue Lemonade. It reminded me of Mountain Dew with lemons. I thought it was a bit sour for my liking, but then again, it’s lemonade.

IMG_3928

Ice Cream Coffee Buns

And of course, we got the Ice Cream Coffee Buns again. Maybe I should try some of their other variations next time. They also have shaved ice, which looks really good. I love how the place is a great hangout place to chat with friends. It’s similar to a coffee shop setting, but with these awesome buns!

The Coffee Bun Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon