Assembli

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

Last week, we were invited to check out the newly opened Assembli on Cambie between West 7th and 8th near Broadway station. The focus on two main items: pizzas and salads. What differentiates them is the fact that their pizzas and salads are one set price and you can add as many ingredients as you want. This means the customer doesn’t end up with an expensive meal at checkout, and also makes it easier for the staff as they don’t need to constantly keep track of what “additional” items you got. 11 inch pizzas are $12.99 and salads come in regular size for $10.99 and large for $12.99.

 

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The interior has high ceilings and a beautiful painting of Vancouver. There are enough seats for you to dine in, but because of how quick the assembly line is, you can also grab and go. They offer online ordering for pick up, but have also teamed up with some other delivery companies, like Foodora to deliver straight yo your place. While we were there, I couldn’t help but notice the constant in and out of the Foodora deliveries.

 

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If you choose to come in to make your pizza or salad, then you can see all the ingredients you can add through the glass shield.

 

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Although you can customize your pizzas and salads, for those of you who cannot make decisions when there are an overwhelming amount of options, you can choose preset options. We were able to try some of these preset options at the tasting.

 

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O-Mega Brainiac

We started off trying some of their salads which were beautiful in colour. The O-Mega Brainiac came with mixed greens, quinoa, cucumber, cabbage, blueberries, beets, avocado salsa, walnuts, seed mix, and the goddess dressing. Normally, this salad comes with the glory dressing which is more of a tahini dressing. This was bright and great for the summer with the blueberries and avocado salsa.

 

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Sexy Hippie

One of my favourites was the Sexy Hippie which has brown rice, quinoa, roasted root veggies, celery, beets, parsley, walnuts, apple, and a honey dijon dressing. I think the honey dijon dressing was what got me as it was slightly acidic but sweet at the same time, making it very appetizing.

 

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Wild Cowboy

The Wild Cowboy reminded me of a deconstructed taco or burrito with all the fillings you would normally find in Mexican food. This had mixed greens, romaine, black beans, mixed bell peppers, roasted corn salsa, brown rice, cheddar, pico de gallo, and a southwest dressing. Ours also came with shredded chicken. Another favourite for me and I don’t even normally order salads!

 

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All Greek to Me

Onto the pizzas, these are just the right thickness. The crust is not as thin as flatbread, but not thick like the ones you get at Pizza Hut. Just the perfect thickness! The All Greek to Me pizza normally comes with genoa salami, goat feta, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, olives, olive oil tossed kale, artichoke, tomato sauce, and balsamic drizzle. Ours came without the salami but was already flavourful enough. This was my least favourite pizza as I’m not a fan of feta or olives. That’s exactly why the customization ability is perfect here!

 

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Smoke & Fire

Smoke and Fire features pepperoni, smoked cheddar, mozzarella, banana peppers, red onion, and a spicy tomato sauce. This is for those who love a bit of a kick. I actually really enjoyed this but would probably need a beer with it!

 

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Backyard BBQ

A colourful pizza was the Backyard BBQ which features herb-roasted chicken, mozzarella, cheddar cheese, red onion, bell peppers, cilantro, bbq sauce, yogurt drizzle, and an adobo sauce drizzle. The pizza is sweet from the onions and bbq sauce and would be great with the kids.

 

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Smooth Crimini Kale

Lastly, the Smooth Crimini Kale was my favourite. I love meat, but sometimes I actually crave vegetarian pizzas. This pizza has sautéed mushrooms, mozzarella, olive oil tossed kale, artichoke, red onion, and white sauce. All my favourite ingredients and you also feel super healthy eating it.

 

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Fiasco Gelato

Other than pizzas and salads, they also have a select few desserts, smoothies and gelato! Assembli carries the Fiasco brand gelato in their single serve cups. With so many flavours to choose from like Salted Caramel, Bourbon Vanilla, Dark Chocolate Sea Salt, and even dairy free sorbettos like Mango Pineapple, Strawberry Rhubarb, and Raspberry Lime, there is a flavour for everyone!

 

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Overall, Assembli offers fresh ingredients and the ability to customize at a flat price. Definitely a great spot to grab and go or sit down for a quick eat. I love how you can also make your meal really healthy or not so healthy depending on what you add to your pizza or salad. Plus, they have happy hour with drinks for $5 and salads and pizzas for $10!

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

Amade – Prague

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We were looking for some dinner after a long day and I didn’t a little Tripadvisor searching and found Amade Restaurant. It’s located at the old town of Prague where you can see the Charles Bridge since the restaurant is at the edge of the water. The building is apparently the renovated Patcha Palace, which they claim was where Mozart spent a lot of his time here when he visited Prague.

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The interior is actually really fancy. However, prices are actually quite reasonable. Perhaps CAN$15-20 for an entree. We arrived very late at night, around 9pm, but they still welcomed us. I don’t think service was amazing, but I didn’t feel annoyed and wouldn’t call it bad service.

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Pilsner Urquell

U and I both had the Pilsner Urquell. It’s crafted in Pilsen, which is a city in the Czech Republic. A pale lager beer with a golden colour since it’s bottom-fermented. It’s actually the first pilsner beer the world, which is pretty impressive!

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Complementary Bread

Then we got some Complementary Bread. It was actually pretty good! Crispy on the outside. The interesting thing was the condiments that came with the bread. First, there was the typical butter, but it was salted with something similar to bacon salt? It was a little smoky but salty. Pretty good! The other one was a little bit of a shocker. It was duck fat mixed with some herbs. It seems like duck fat is pretty common to be used with your bread as a spread. It actually wasn’t that bad! Very smooth and flavourful.

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Slow Baked Pork Belly in Ginger and Honey with Potato Puree and Roasted Radish

I got the Slow Baked Pork Belly and it was so delicious! It wasn’t a huge portion, but enough to make me full. Plus, it was under $15 I believe. The pork belly had a little bit of fat but not too much which I liked. The meat was so tender and you really didn’t have to chew much! The sauce was light and wasn’t overwhelming. The potato puree was perfect with the sauce. I mixed it with the sauce for some flavour and it was extremely smooth. The roasted radish were julienned thinly and worked well with the dish to give you some veggies.

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Country Salad with Poached Egg, Roasted Bacon and Buttermilk Drsesing

U got the Country Salad since she loves her healthy meals. I’m not sure how healthy this was since it came with tons of crispy roasted bacon! It also came with a poached egg with the yolk slowly pouring out. Mmm that’s always a good egg! She said it was delicious!

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Roasted Salmon with Saffron Risotto and Ginger Vegetables

K had the Roasted Salmon. Although it was a small piece, it was cooked beautifully with a light crisp and the meat flaked off nicely. Still was moist instead of being overly dry. It also came with a small bowl of Saffron Risotto. We thought it was a little odd at first when it came since it was green, but it tasted pretty good!

All in all, the food was pretty good at reasonable  price points. The atmosphere is a plus since it’s very cozy and modern looking. I’m not sure if I was exactly eating traditional Czech cuisine, although they do have a section that’s dedicated to some traditional dishes. I found it sort of similar to German food with schnitzels and such. I guess if you’re a meat eater, you’ll enjoy Czech cuisine.

El Vaso de Oro – Barcelona

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My sister had met up with her coworker and wife, and they had asked me where to eat… We were near Barcelonetta, and I was not very familiar with the restaurants in that area. A quick search on Tripadvisor suggested us to go to to El Vaso de Oro. It’s extremely close to the Barcelonetta metro station, but when we got there, we questioned if we were at the right place. From the outside, the wooden signage makes it look like an old pub. Peeking in, you’ll see a line of chairs against the bar. Locals all having some beer and tapas. Along the wall, you’ll see a few tables with no chairs. But don’t make that be the reason you leave, because it offers some of the best food! You’re going to have to squeeze yourself here to even find a spot to stand… Yup, we ended up standing by one of the bar stools, because there was no room at the long bar table. Worth it though!

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We had no idea what to order and with the menu being all in Catalan, it was quite difficult for me to understand anything. Service isn’t amazing or anything because it’s extremely busy in here, but this old Spanish man who worked behind the bar was really nice and would pop by to help us out. We asked what he would recommend, and with his limited English abilities and some finger pointing, he ordered several dishes for us to share. We got some complementary free baguettes, which were typical. Then, we got some Iberian Ham Croquettes. We also got some Iberian Ham Montaditos. Very typical Spanish tapas. I really enjoyed the croquettes since they are a little cheesy with the hint of ham. The Iberian Ham Montaditos were just alright. I’ve learned that I’m not a huge fan of Iberian Ham. I find it very strong in the pig flavour, and it’s not something I’m entirely into. It can also be quite tough sometimes and if there’s fat, then it’s very hard to chew. I’m more into the prosciutto type of ham, where it’s sliced very thing and easy to chew.

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Next up, we got the Russian Salad. This is also a typical Spanish tapa. It’s basically like a tuna salad. It came with these little baked pieces of bread, so they were super crunchy. The only thing was there was more salad than the bread, so you would get so much leftover salad to eat on its own. Putting the salad on the bread was so much better because you get a crunch as well. I would recommend getting this salad!

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Lastly, we got the Steak, which is what this cerverceria is famous for! Honestly, I didn’t get how good steak could be when I was reading the reviews. In fact, the steak isn’t that cheap either, and you only get around 8 pieces. But holy….these were heavenly. It’s cooked to perfection at medium rare and were the most tender pieces of steak I’ve ever had. They come already cut into cubes so it’s easy to eat, and there isn’t too much seasoning or what, but the flavour of meet just bursts in your mouth. Super juicy and is a must order! They also have steak with foie, but our friends were not big fans of foie. I could only imagine how great that would taste. We ended up ordering another plate of this steak because it was so good. I could seriously just come here to have a plate of this to myself and being fully satisfied.

Overall, extremely satisfied with El Vaso de Oro. We almost came back here another time because we were craving the steak so much. Even my Spanish professor recommended this spot for good steak. Super local place where you’ll here Spanish or Catalan only. I don’t think I saw any tourists when I went! It’s not the cheapest place to get tapas, but I think the quality of food makes it worthy. Good place to just grab a snack, but maybe not get full.

Coup d’Etat – Paris

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After a few days back in Barcelona, we were off again to our next destination: Paris! I’ve been to Paris when I was in high school for a penpal exchange, so it was great to be back after several years. I guess Paris didn’t change much, but it was weird that we were off to wander the streets ourselves this time. On my last trip to Paris, I had an Italian teacher who taught us French and knew Paris by heart. She was able to recommend us food at cheap prices, but of good quality. I found it to be a struggle this time without a local. Anyways, we had finished checking out the Louvre and we needed lunch so we wandered the area and ended up near the Rivoli metro stop. Many people were eating outside at Coup d’Etat, but we found it a little chilly and headed inside. The atmosphere is pretty hip and cool.

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French Onion Soup

We decided to share two appetizers and one entree. First, we got the French Onion Soup, since we were in France! This was so delicious and filling! Their appetizers are huge! The soup was really thick, with loads of onions, bread soaked in the soup and topped off with lots and lots of cheese. If you love cheesy food, this is the perfect item for you.

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Caprese Salad

My sister was still craving her Caprese Salads, so of course we ordered one. This was presented beautifully with tomatoes layered at the bottom. A few greens on top, and the buffalo mozzarella in the middle. It was topped with a chip that seemed to be a vegetable. Not quite sure what it was, but not bad! The mozzarella was fresh and another cheese dish meant we were completely filled up!

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 Croque Madame

Last but not least, when in France, order a Croque Madame (or Monsieur). It took us a while to figure out what the difference was between a madame and monsieur, but apparently a madame is the same as a monsieur but topped with a sunny side up egg. Both sandwiches have ham and cheese. There was so much cheese on this that we didn’t end up finishing it. Three dishes of cheese. Not exactly sure what we were thinking. However, it tasted wonderful and came with a side of salad to lighten things up.

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And here was our lunch! Overloaded with cheesiness! Also to note is that in Paris, tap water is quite drinkable. Therefore, when you ask for water, just let them know you want tap water. Finally a city where water is free again!

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And we’ll finish the post with a view of the Louvre!

Old Speghetti Factory (Gastown)

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Since it was dinner time and we were in downtown, J suggested we go to The Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown. I’m not a  big fan of the family chain restaurant since I’ve had some pretty bad experiences with the food, but J insisted that they had some great salad, so I decided to give it another shot. The place is definitely a family restaurant, and since we went for an early dinner, we were seated immediately. The Gastown location is said to be haunted too which makes everything a little more spooky! In the middle of the restaurant is an electric trolley. It is said that a train conductor died in a crash years ago and that people have seen his ghostly figure in pictures. Kind of creepy, since we were seated right next to the trolley.

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Classic Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic and Plain Butter

All items that you order that are under the “It’s all included” menu include some bread, soup or salad and dessert. To start off, we were given the Classic Sourdough Bread with Whipped Garlic and Plain Butter. This was decent and I especially liked the Whipped Garlic.

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Crisp Green Salad with Low-Fat Sesame Dressing

J chose the Crisp Green Salad with Low-Fat Sesame Dressing, since he said the dressing was really good the last time he had it. I took a bite and it definitely was pretty good. The dressing was sort of a vinaigrette based dressing with a hint of sesame flavour.
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Clam Chowder

As for myself, I chose a soup isntead of the salad. You normally get a Minestrone Soup, but I chose to add $2.25 to substitute for a Clam Chowder. It was thick and creamy, but I’ve definitely had better Clam Chowder. It was just alright.

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Pot-Pourri Spaghetti with Meat, Mushroom and Clam Sauce

And onto our entrees, we got of course some spaghetti! Since I couldn’t decide which sauce to get, I ended up getting the Pot-Pourri Spaghetti, which included all three of their most popular sauces. The last time I had spaghetti here, it was just watery and disgusting. This time, it wasn’t watery, but it still wasn’t any better. The meat sauce wasn’t anything special and I swear I could just buy the sauce off the shelf. The mushroom sauce tasted pretty much like the meat sauce except with mushrooms. The only sauce that I thought was decent was the clam sauce which actually had many pieces of clams in it.

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Spaghetti with Spicy Meat Sauce

As for J, he got the Spaghetti with Spicy Meat Sauce. This too, wasn’t any good. The sauce  wasn’t flavourful and you could just taste the spaghetti with a hint of spice to it. Anyone could have made this dish.
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Spumoni Ice Cream

For dessert, J got the Spunomi Ice Cream, which was a mixture of pistachio, chocolate and vanilla. I thought it tasted extremely weird and wasn’t a big fan of it.

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Vanilla Ice Cream

For myself, I got the Vanilla Ice Cream. I’m usually a big fan of ice cream, and will literally eat any ice cream no matter how full I am, but I only took a few spoons of this. I was just dissatisfied with my meal and the ice cream wasn’t even good.

Overall, we were pretty disappointed with our meal. The food is decently priced with all the items that are included in your meal, but the quality just isn’t up to par. We left with half our dishes finished cause it was that bad.

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The Chopped Leaf

Caesar (full salad) – Romaine, bacon bits, parmesan & croutons with creamy caesar

Chopped Signature (starter salad) – Romaine, onion, cranberries, feta, roasted pecans & croutons with chopped balsamic

African Spiced Lentil

M came down to join me for lunch during my internship a few weeks ago. Okay, yes my posts are becoming older and older! I just haven’t gotten time to get over all my summer posts. But anyways, I urbanspooned around for a place to eat in downtown, and also a place that served soup, since I was sick and also had my wisdom teeth pulled out. We ended up going to check out The Chopped Leaf, which is a salad, soup and sandwich place that is actually much nicer than a regular cafe. It seemed like a pretty new place, and I liked how you could see some of the chefs preparing the food when you line up.

Unfortunately, the daily soups change all the time, and all of the soups that were featured that day seemed to have some sort of spice. I opted for a Caesar Salad instead, which was quite boring I know. It was presented very nicely with bacon bits and all, and it was quite delicious. I wish there was a little more sauce, and I love my salads with sauce. Totally not healthy… M got the combo of soup and salad and he said they were pretty good as well.

Overall, The Chopped Leaf is a nice place to grab either take out, or a quick lunch or snack. It’s close by on Robson, and had quite a lot working people grabbing lunch. I found that their prices were a little high though, compared to what I could get at an actual restaurant. The prices are pretty much the same, yet I lack the service and ambiance. But oh well, it’s good if you don’t have much time.

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Charcoal Sushi & BBQ (Revisit)

Wakame Salad – marinated seaweed

Tokyo Roll – prawn tempura & cucumber topped with salmon & tobiko

Rainbow Roll – imitation crab, avacado, salmon, tuna, snapper, prawns, hokkigai

The Submarine – salmon, avocado & tobiko topped with seaweed salad

Lotus Roll – chopped scallop, imitation crab & avocado topped with tobiko, wrapped in cucumber

My parents were deciding where to have dinner on the long weekend, but realized many smaller sushi shops were closed that day. And so I ended up suggesting to go to Charcoal Sushi & BBQ since they always have some pretty unique rolls.

We waited for quite a while for our orders to appear on the table, and I guess the server/owner saw us getting a little impatient, so he gave us a Wakame Salad for free. Perfect – since we were actually thinking of ordering it before. Refreshing and had a little spice to it. Finally, we got our Tokyo Roll. It had prawn tempura inside, topped with salmon and tobiko and a sauce that was a little spicy, but gave the whole roll a great flavour. Next we had the Rainbow Roll, which consisted of salmon, tuna and hokkigai on the top of the roll. Looked really pretty! The third roll we got was the Submarine Roll. It had salmon inside and was topped with more seaweed salad. The seaweed gave it a great bite, as well as flavour to the whole roll. Lastly, we got the Lotus Roll, which I had already tried before. It was basically imitation crab wrapped with a very thin piece of cucumber. The menu description also claimed that there was chopped scallop inside, but it was the tiniest bit ever. Still, the Lotus Roll was extremely refreshing and had a great crunch with the cucumber slice.

Overall, Charcoal Sushi & BBQ was quite good with a large assortment of interesting rolls, and I would love to try the BBQ next time.

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Aoyama Cafe

Seafood Curry Japanese Spaghetti

Seafood Salad

Went to Aoyama Cafe at Aberdeen Centre to have a small little birthday dinner with the girls, and the restaurant was surprisingly quite empty on a Saturday night. I’ve been here a few times when it had just opened and I think they had more customers back then. I had the Seafood Curry Japanese Spaghetti and it was alright. Had a good portion of seafood and had a hint of curry flavour that wasn’t too strong. Nothing too special though, and I’ve had better spaghetti. My friend had the Seafood Salad, which actually looked quite appetizing amongst all the greens. Overall, I think it’s decent for some unique Japanese fusion food, but I think it is a little overpriced for the portions and overall taste. I think I’ve had better pasta, but I have to say, I am always pleased with their service since it’s quick and friendly. They also have awesome desserts and drinks, so I would definitely recommend going for that. It’s worth a try if you haven’t been, but definitely isn’t my go-to place.

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