The Parkside Brewery

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During my visit to Port Moody for sushi, the guys wanted to check out some of the breweries since there is a street filled with them. We decided to check out Parkside Brewery which has both a patio and indoor seating.


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Parkside has their own beers but also features a few guest taps which is nice. They not only list the alcohol content but also the IBU or International Bitterness Units scale which I much appreciated since I don’t like bitter beers. You first choose and pay for your beers and then you can bring your beers to any open seating you find.


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Dusk Pale Ale, Riot Brewing Dark Mild (Guest Tap), Beauregarde Blueberry Wit, Skate or Dye Mango ISA (left to right)

I decided to share a Park Bench Flight with M since I only wanted to have two beers. The two beers I tried were both fruity and I especially enjoyed the Skate or Dye Mango ISA as it had a passionfruit aftertaste. I felt that the Blueberry Wit didn’t have enough blueberry flavour compared to the mango ISA. For $8 a flight, the price was quite comparable to the other breweries in the area. I loved how they were put on a little wooden bench!


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The cool thing about the area is that most of the breweries have teamed up with food trucks to offer food to pair along with the beers. At the Parkside Brewery, they had The Frying Pan dishing up their signature fried chicken sandwiches, but since we were heading to sushi after, we decided to check out The Wandering Mollusk instead. They were serving up some oysters and I wish we had some wine to go with these! Love the idea of collaborating with food trucks!

– Great variety of beers including guest taps

– Can get quite busy so seating can be difficult to find for larger groups

Price Range: $10-15 per person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: 3 Parking: Free parking at nearby streets Overall: 3.5


Parkside Brewery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



HJU:Z Lounge

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

Last week, I attended the grand opening of HJU:Z Lounge inside the Westin Bayshore hotel. To be brutally honest, I thought the name sounded like a ticker symbol, but soon learned that it should be pronounced as “Hughes”. The restaurant is inspired by Howard Hughes, a successful film producer and leader in aviation. You will find many aviation themed decor in the lounge because of this.


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Before they revealed the actual lounge, we already knew it would be extravagant since they had some Ferraris in the lobby!


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Finally, they dropped the curtains, and we were welcomed into the space of the newest lounge. The restaurant and bar are the perfect blend of art deco inspired design with a modern flair and nostalgic atmosphere.


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On the menu, you can expect to find a rotating selection of cheese and meats hand selected by Chef Alex Mok. Such a perfect snack to pair with some drinks while enjoying live entertainment.


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Speaking of drinks, the lounge offers no shortage of drinks from wine, champagne and spirits. Most notably is the featured cocktail menu which offers 7 cocktails which have been carefully curated. Some of the cocktails on this menu include the Alaska No.2, a gin-based drink which features an iceberg and sliver of gold leaf and the Apple Jack Silver Fizz which features apple brandy, cider, and egg whites. Pictured here is the Eiffel 75 which features Hennessy Cognac, lemon juice, chardonnay lees sirup, topped with Charles Heidseick champagne and lemon oils. If you try all seven cocktails on the list, you can actually unlock the secret 8th drink!


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As for the food, expect to find modern, contemporary cuisine inspired by Hughes’ world tour, with inspirations from the Russian, French, and the American kitchens.


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The menu is expected to rotate seasonally and is curated by Chef Alex Mok.


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We didn’t get to try a lot of the dishes in full, but on the menu will be dishes like this Scrambled Duck Egg which features Canadian sturgeon caviar, citrus whipped cream scramble and frisée salad. What beautiful presentation!


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There is also the Hibachi Wagyu Beef, 28-Day Aged Striploin and Lamb Lollipops for those meat lovers. We tried the Lamb Lollipop and it was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and well seasoned.


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So HJU:Z has delicious food and drinks and a beautiful venue, but what really caught my attention was the live entertainment. For seven nights a week, you will find live entertainment provided by Siegel. On this particular night, we enjoyed some amazing live music along with dancers throughout the night. You will want to get up and dance with this lively music! What a great spot for live entertainment while enjoying your dinner or a late night drink!



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Botanist opened up earlier this year at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. It took over the previous location of Oru, which I quite enjoyed. Botanist has completely renovated the space though, giving it a beautiful and elegant ambiance. I’ve been wanting to try this restaurant for a while, and S decided to bring me here for my birthday.


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We were seated in the “Garden”, which has beauitful floral chairs and wooden tables. The decor in here is truly beautiful.


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We were told that the Garden has over 50 different species of plants, and you truly feel like you are in a garden. They also have a cocktail bar, dining room, and outdoor terrace garden.


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Botanist is known for their cocktails. If you sit at the cocktail lab, you can order some really fancy and sophisticated cocktails. I can’t find the name of the one I ordered anymore, but I remember it had gin and some lemonade in it. It was then topped with lavender. Light, sweet, and fresh.


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To start, we were given complimentary bread that was topped with poppy seeds and served with whipped butter. The bread is shaped like a leaf which follows the whole botany theme of the restaurant. Even the serving plate which is a piece of petrified wood adds to the theme. The bread was delicious with the whipped butter!


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Pan-Seared Scallops

To start, we shared the Pan-Seared Scallops. This was a beautiful work of art and featured onions, green apple, guanciale, brown butter, and snap peas. What made it extra special was that the scallops were wrapped with a thin slice of guanciale, which is an Italian cured meat. The scallops were cooked perfectly with a beautiful brown sear and not rubbery at all.


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Herb-Crusted Lamb Saddle

For our mains, S got the Herb-Crusted Lamb Saddle which featured green garlic panisse, favas, shallots, and natural jus. I am not familiar with this cut of lamb, but it was cooked to a beautiful medium rare and very tender! The panisse was very interesting. It is supposed to be similar to a polenta, but we found it tasted almost like fish cake. Overall dish was colourful and delicious!


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Duck Breast

For myself, I had the Duck Breast which featured spaghetti squash, rhubarb, and natural jus. After my first bite, I immediately thought it tasted like Chinese roast duck! The skin was extremely crispy, while the meat was a beautiful pink and tender throughout. The slightly sour rhubarb worked well with the meat along with the spaghetti squash. I really enjoyed the Asian flavours of this dish and it was executed very well.


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Meyer Lemon Polenta Cake

To finish, we shared the Meyer Lemon Polenta Cake which featured apple, honey, angelica brulée, lemon buttermilk ice cream, and a ring shaped polenta cake. The dish was expensive but the presentation was spot on. So many components, but everything worked well together. I found the polenta a little too dense for my liking, but the light ice cream helped balance it out.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the food at Botanist. I felt that every dish was presented like a piece of art. Although the prices are on the higher end (think Hawksworth prices), I found that the portions were very reasonable. The mains were all very filling although they will cost you around $40 each. Service was also spot on although I felt like the service was almost a little too attentive and I was being watched! Ambiance of course is perfect for any date night. Happy to have this new addition in the Coal Harbour neighbourhood!

– Ambiance is beautiful
– Food was well executed and presentation was spot on

– High end prices (not your everyday meal!)

Price Range: $60-100

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

Food: 4 Service: 4 Ambiance: 5 Parking: 3 Overall: 4


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

Storm Crow Alehouse

Looking for a place to chill after work and have drinks (other than the typical Earls and Cactus) turned us to Storm Crow Alehouse which opened earlier this year on Broadway.

Long Island Iced Tea

What’s cool about this spot is that there is a whole wall of board games which you can borrow while enjoying your drink. They have all types of games from 2 player games to games for a large group. We started off with jenga along with some Long Island Iced Teas. They have a large selection of drinks, but I found their cocktails to be just okay. Perhaps stick to the beers.

Mount St. Nacho

Since we were quite hungry from work, StevieD and I shared the Mount St. Nacho. The nachos were topped with cheese, jalapeños, red onions, roasted corn and black beans, pico de gallo salsa and sour cream. We added pulled chicken for an extra $6 so the whole dish came to $26, which is not cheap at all. And frankly, the dish sucked. The chips were not crunchy and the chicken was dry. I expect a lot more if I pay this much, and we left disappointed. Probably some of the worst nachos I’ve had.

Hillbilly Style Chik’n & Waffles Dee-Lux

S got the Hillbilly Style Chik’n & Waffles Dee-Lux and these sucked too. This came with house-breaded chicken strips and waffles served with maple cream sauce and honey mustard. The chicken strips were so dry! And same with the waffles…

All in all, we were extremely disappointed with the food at Storm Crow. I’d suggest coming here just for the drinks and the board games, but grab dinner elsewhere. They do a treasure box thing when your receipt comes which goes along with their whole theme.

– Fun board games
– Good place to chill with large groups

– Skip the food
– Service isn’t too great

Price Range: $20-30

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

Food: 1.5 Service: 2 Ambiance: 3 Parking: 3 Overall: 2

Storm Crow Alehouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sai Woo

Super late post again but back in early May, us accountants finally celebrated the end of tax season! Our firm treated us to dinner and drinks at Sai Woo in the heart of Chinatown. Sai Woo doesn’t server your typical authentic Chinese food, it’s more of a westernized style of Chinese food.

We basically booked the whole restaurant and the inside decor is beautiful! I loved the fairy lights and the ambiance gave a nice chic and elegant feel.

Their cocktails are what I would come here for and they have a long bar on one side where you can come in if you want to just enjoy some drinks.

Sai Woo Sour

E and I decided to go all out that night (since we were’ paying!) and tried to go down the list of the cocktail list. Yes, huge headache the next day, but it was fun! We started off with the Sai Woo Sour which featured Bombay Sapphire East, Benedictine, ginger syrup, lemon juice, and egg white.

Elderflower 75

The Elderflower 75 was my favourite and consisted of Finlandia Vodka, St. Germain, lemon juice, and sparkling cava. This was the fruitiest drink and extremely easy to drink. Plus, it’s always classy to have some cava in hand.

Smoking Gun

The Smoking Gun is the men’s drink and the process in making the drink is super cool to watch. They light up the drink and some smoke comes out then they throw in this huge ice cube. The drink consisted of El Dorado 12 year old rum, bitters, brown sugar, oak, and tea smoke. A very bitter drink and great for those who like to drink straight rum. The guys said it was too sweet from the brown sugar though…but us girls found it bitter!


Another favourite was the Carioca with Cacha 51, guava juice, orange juice, lime juice, and sloe Gin float. Another one of those lighter and fruitier drinks which I enjoyed.

Tuna Tartare

As we booked the place up for a private event, our menu was already pre-ordered and it included some canapés to start. I didn’t get pictures of all of them but a memorable one was the Tuna Tartare which came with nori on top. Quite yummy! They also seem to enjoy using raw ingredients at Sai Woo.

Wagyu Beef Carpaccio

We were able to choose two appetizers each. For myself, I chose the Wagyu Beef Carpaccio which came with broccoli puree, crudite, rye crumble, sorrel, and candied lime. To be honest, I found this to be just average. The beef lacked flavour and the plate itself was also extremely small for the price.

Beet Salad

E got the Beet Salad which came with buckwheat cracker, yoghurt, blackberry sauce, fermented grapes, and herbs. A colourful dish but E also said it was just average.

Sai Woo Salad

My second appetizer was the Sai Woo Salad which comes with smoked sockeye salmon, gem lettuce, frisee, pickled tomato, blue cheese cream, and fennel. Again, something was off about this dish. It was way too acidic with the pickled tomatoes overbearing the whole dish. The smoked salmon was also more like cooked salmon as it was fully cooked. Everyone agreed this dish was too pickled.

Pressed Lamb

For my entree, I got the Pressed Lamb which was my favourite of the dishes. The lamb was packed into a rectangle and was crispy on the outside while staying very moist in the inside. It came with seasonal vegetables of what appeared to be brocolini, braised shallots, kale, sherry jus and a side of long grain rice.

Ling Cod

Some of the other diners got the Ling Cod which came with oyster mushrooms, green onion puree, greens, and jasmine rice. Apparently this was extremely salty for some while being perfect for others. Seems like they have inconsistencies in seasoning.

Lemongrass Chicken

The other entree option was the Lemongrass Chicken which came with vermicelli noodles, bitter greens, and a sunny side up fried egg.


Dessert was just as disappointing. the Baklava was unappealing to look at and consisted of pistachio nuts, toasted nuts, honey rose pearls, and phyllo chips. This was sort of an deconstructed baklava but something about it just didn’t seem right.

Chocolate Cake

The Chocolate Cake came with candied fennel and orange marmalade and it appeared that most diners did not enjoy this. Perhaps it was gluten free and therefore the cake itself was very hard and dry.


Overall, we found the food at Sai Woo to be underwhelming but we think it might be because they aren’t experienced with catering to a large group. Most diners who have gone to Sai Woo on a regular day have had good experiences, so I would probably give them a try during their regular service. I have to say that their drinks are great so I wouldn’t mind coming here to grab a drink. Plus the decor is beautiful inside!

Sai Woo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Shiny Tea

Shiny Tea opened up shortly after the new addition to Aberdeen Centre, called Aberdeen Square, finished renovations. It’s actually really close to the Canada Line skytrain connector. I heard a lot about their tiny white pearls so I finally decided to come check it out.

On a Sunday afternoon around 4pm, this place was PACKED. This is a take away only location and the lineup to order was massive. There were also tons of people waiting for their drinks when we arrived.

They have an extensive list of drinks and many choices if you enjoy tea flavours. They claim that they are authorized by the inventor of Taiwanese’s tapioca milk tea. Prices are around the same as Chatime and they offer large and medium sizes.

Panda Milk Tea

We both got the Panda Milk Tea as it features a mix of small white pearls and regular sized black pearls. You are able to customize your drink by sugar and ice level, just like Chatime. We went for 50% sugar level and found that it was barely sweet, whereas if we got 50% at Chatime, it would still be very sweet. I would suggest getting 25% less sugar then if you want your drink to still be a little sweet. We found that the small white pearls were really just sago which you find when you order mango sago desserts. Therefore, I didn’t find it that special. Plus, they are so small so I found that I swallowed them without chewing which probably isn’t very good for you… Anyways, their milk tea is quite smooth and you can smell the brew of tea all around the surroundings. Still, I think I prefer Chatime’s roasted milk tea, but Shiny Tea is pretty good if you want bubble tea and you’re near Aberdeen. Overall, we waited 10 minutes in line to order and another 20 minutes for our drinks.

– Great choice of tea flavoured drinks
– Choice of small and big pearls
– Able to customize sugar and ice level

– Long waits to order and receive drink

Price Range: $5/person

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

Food: 3.5 Service: 3 Ambiance: N/A Parking: 2.5 Overall: 3.5

Shiny Tea Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chatime (Surrey) – ChineseBites Media Event

NOTE: As part of the ChineseBites media event, all beverages were free, but all opinions are based on my own personal experience.

Chatime is expanding again! For all you Surrey peeps out there, no longer do you have to make the trip to the other locations for your fix of Chatime! The newest addition is in Whalley, right next to Surrey Central in a strip mall. I was invited by ChineseBites to their soft opening and was able to try any drinks I liked.

My favourite thing about Chatime is the ability to customize. You can choose the sugar and ice level. I find that most of their drinks are on the sweeter side, so 50% or less is the best. There are also many toppings to choose from and each topping is $0.50.

I brought K along to the event since we are both fans of Chatime. Our go-to item is always the Roasted Milk Tea with Grass Jelly, but since we were able to get our drinks comped, we decided to be adventurous and try drinks we’ve never tried. The first was the Tieguanyin Tea Latte. The drink is divided into layers when you first receive it and after shaking it, you get sort of a milk tea. It’s much thicker than their normal milk tea though. The tieguanyin tea flavour really came through and is perfect for those who enjoy the tea itself. One of our new favourites.

We were curious about what the Oriental Beauty was all about, so we gave it a try and added aloe vera. It turned out to be a tea based drink and was rather sweet due to the aloe vera. We couldn’t figure out what kind of tea it was, but it’s definitely one of those Chinese teas. Quite refreshing actually.

K really enjoyed the Oolong Tea. We added rainbow jelly in it so it was a bit odd due to the sweetness. Also, the jelly is too big to go through the straw. The tea itself is very strong though so more on the bitter side. K loves bitterness of oolong tea so it was perfect for her.

The Matcha Mousse is topped with a thick layer of cream and tastes sort of like a frappucino but without all that crushed ice. Instead, there are just ice cubes at the bottom. I thought this was average as it was quite gritty. Strong matcha flavour though.

Our last cold drink we tried was the Jasmine Green Milk Tea with Grass Jelly. This is pretty good and I would order this again to change things up. The milk tea was smooth and had a nice jasmine tea fragrance to it. It was also my first time trying their hot drinks and we got the Roasted Milk Tea with Pearls. We asked for it to be warm instead of hot so that we could drink it right away. Plus, you don’t need to worry about sucking up the pearls and burning your tongue. This was great and lived up to their cold version! I would highly recommend getting this during the winter.

Overall, Chatime at the Surrey location did not disappoint. Pearls are still on point with a nice chew and not overly sweet. Drinks come in two sizes and most start at around $4.30. This location also has a decent amount of seats for you to enjoy your drinks.

Check out my prior reviews from my visits at the Broadway location: Visit #1 and Visit #2

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

Singapore & Taiwan Trip (Day 11)

On our fourth day in Taipei, we took the MRT to Beitou station. It took around 30-40 minutes from Ximen. Upon exiting, you will smell the sulphur from the hot springs. Beitou is famous for its hot springs and is also the most mountainous and highest of Taipei’s districts.

We had pre-booked a private hot spring in advance as they are reasonably priced compared to the ones in Canada. I did some searching and chose Grand View Resort in Beitou. The great thing is that they offer a shuttle bus from Beitou MRT station and drive you up the hills (which you otherwise would need to walk or cab).

The resort is gorgeous! I found service to be rather cold, but the people here can speak fluent English. The great thing is that you do not have to stay here to use the hot springs. You can just pay for a one-time use charged by time. They do however offer hotel rooms with hot springs within your room. That is so neat and I would love to try it sometime.

You can choose between public or private hot springs. We ended up choosing the private hot spring where you get an independent bath house with the hot bath outdoors.They have different rooms with designs that are a bit different. You can email the resort to ask for the pictures. We chose Ylang-Ylang. The room was spacious and had a couch, private shower, bathroom, closet, and sink.

For our room, the hot bath is outside. They have high brick walls so there is absolute privacy but you can still sort of hear the people next to you when you’re outside. The price is fixed at NT$2,300 for the room and allows two guests for 90 minutes. You can add NT$600 for each additional guest. The 90 minutes includes showering and getting dressed. They will call you 15 minutes before your time is up.

This was a super relaxing experience and we enjoyed that it was private. The other option for hot springs was to use the famous Millennium Hot Spring which costs a fraction of the price but is filled with people. We opted for this so we could really relax. Plus it was super clean.

They also provide you with all amenities you need, whether it be shampoo, bath wash, lotion, makeup swabs and even a brush. They also provided these cute little matcha panna cotta kind of desserts. It was refreshing to eat after being in the heat.

After the hot springs, we took the shuttle to take us back to Beitou station. They are only able to drop you off at the Beitou main station. Therefore, we had to walk back up the hills to go to sight see the area. Along the way, we found 山西刀削番茄牛肉麵, which features hand-cut noodles.

We got their famous hand cut noodles which were mixed with beef and vegetables. The plate was large and good value. We also got their fried rice which was pretty good. All their dishes had that wok flavour. The ambiance is rather shabby, but we found many locals coming here during lunch hours.

Of course, we had to get some beers as our drinks along the way… Fruit beers are the way to go!

After around a 15 min walk, we found Beitou Hot Spring Museum. The building was actually built as a public bath house under the Japanese rule and was once the largest bathhouse in east Asia.

Today, the bathhouse is a free museum where you can see the old bathhouse on the ground floor and other history of how hot springs became significant in the area. Only downside is that they have no air conditioning in here, so it’s super hot inside still!

Take another 5-10 minute walk, and you will find the Beitou Thermal Valley (地熱谷). It is also known as Hell Valley.

The Geothermal Valley is a volcanic crater filled with steaming natural sulfuric hot spring water and has a temperature between 80 to 100 degrees Celsius and therefore is fenced. Not the best place to linger around on a hot day, but it’s pretty neat!

The water from the Thermal Valley are the source of the hot spring bathing facilities in Beitou. The water contains radium, which is said to have beneficial health affects for fertility, long-term illnesses, rehabilitation, and skin beauty.

After exploring Beitou, we took the MRT to Dongmen Station to meet up with J who had took the train from his city to meet up with us. So nice to have a Taiwanese take you around! He took us to Smoothie House (思慕昔) for some desserts pre-dinner.

Smoothie House is now a chain dessert shop and they have so many flavours! The menu looks so appetizing already.

We got two shaved ices to share. Both were mango flavoured with tons of fresh mango. One had a pudding on top while the other had a scoop of mango ice cream. They were really good! The shaved ice is super thin just like the ones in Korea.

After shaved ice, we headed over to 8% Ice 冰淇淋專門店. I guess we were on a dessert hopping trip.

8% Ice is famous for their ice cream and is pretty hipster inside. Prices are not as cheap though, but the ice cream and popsicles looked delicious!

J had the Passionfruit while me and S shared the Sakura Plum. We found the passionfruit to be too sour and the Sakura Plum to have an odd flavour. Flavourwise, they were just okay. Pretty to look at though. J said that the gelato is much better.

We were going to meet our celebrity friend E for dinner that night, so we took a taxi to the restaurant. He had suggested to eat hot pot at 火鍋世家涮涮屋(台北延吉店).

You get individual hot pots here and you can order a la carte or combos. Sort of Gokudo in Richmond. We chose the combos so they came with a variety of vegetables, shrimp, and fish balls and that sort of stuff.

The combo also comes with your choice of noodles. I got the udon.

S and I both got a meat combo, so we ended up sharing our meat. We got the regular beef and it was very good already. Extremely tender with the right amount of fat.

We also got the pork bacon which was surprisingly quite good. The meat combos range from around NT$280 and can go up to NT$580 for premium cuts. The restaurant provides unlimited drinks, self-serve ice cream, and self-serve sauces. Quite a good value to get you full.

After dinner, we decided to go get drinks. We ended up taking a nice walk after a huge meal and headed into the Da’an district where E normally hangs around. He took us to this nice cozy bar called Tickle My Fantasy. It was very quiet when we got there as it was rather early, but it got very crowded at the end of the night.

E suggested we all get the famous Long Island. This is not your typical Long Island, but rather known to be potent. The ones we get in Vancouver usually have very little alcohol, but these were strong! We watched the bartender make our drinks and noticed it was mostly all alcohol. The drink is around NT$500 but a good deal because one drink will be enough. We all had a good night and it was great to see our friends again. As we stayed out past 12, the MRT had closed so we ended up taxing back to our hotel. A great night indeed.


Grand View Resort: No. 30, Youya Rd, Beitou District, Taipei City

Beitou Hot Spring Museum: No. 2, Zhongshan Rd, Beitou District, Taipei City

Beitou Thermal Valley: Zhongshan Rd. near Wenquan Rd, Beitou District, Taipei City

Smoothie House: No.15, Yongkang St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City

8%ice冰淇淋专门店: No. 6, Lane 13, Yongkang St, Da’an District, Taipei City

火鍋世家涮涮屋(台北延吉店) (Songshan district):

Tickle My Fantasy: No. 8, Section 2, Anhe Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City