Caffè Artigiano – New Summer Menu

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

Last month, Caffè Artigiano launched their new summer menu with a selection of chilled caffeinated (and decaffeinated) artisanal iced coffee, teas, and sodas along with some new food menu items. I was invited to check out the location on Main and 24th.

 

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The Main Street location is extremely spacious with long communal tables as well as seating for smaller parties. Love the cool vintage Italian vibe in here.

 

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There are a number of new menu items for food this summer as Chef Dawn Doucette has curated some new breakfast and lunch items. Chef Dawn has worked with Michael, the Director of Coffee, to introduce menu items that pair well together for the summer.

 

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This also includes some pastry items.

 

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Italian Sodas

For drinks, we tried the new Italian Sodas which guests can choose flavours like the frutti do bosco berry or peach syrup. The flavoured syrups are mixed with sparkling San Pellegrino and topped with fresh blueberries or mint. These make light and refreshing beverages and are great for those who enjoy a bit of a fizz.

 

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Affogato

Another exciting addition is the Affogato, which features a dark espresso poured warm over a scoop of cold vanilla gelato from Mario’s Gelato. This item is available at locations that have freezer space, so this includes Park Royal, YVR (McArthurGlen Designer Outlet) and Hornby Street.

Other summer beverages included the Ice Cofffee, Iced Caffè Latte , Iced Spanish Latte, Frappé, Shakerato, and Ice Tea. What’s great here is that they do not use powders and syrups in their coffee drinks and therefore much healthier. Further, kid’s drinks are made with organic milk, soy, or almond milk, and also available for an added price for adults.

 

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Pavarotti 

There are many new sandwich options which are drawn from Italy. The Pavarotti  features green olive tapenade, Italian mortadella, nitrate-free country ham, smoked salami and provolone served on focaccia. The focaccia is toasted beautifully and the ingredients inside are savoury with a hint of spice from the salami.

 

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Paolino Piadina

The Paolino Piadina features rustic Italian flatbread, parmesan breaded chicken, roast garlic aioli, mozzarella, marinara sauce and arugula.

 

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Breakfast Wrap

The Breakfast Wrap is filled with scrambled eggs, marinara sauce, potatoes, cilantro, green onion and served with a side of salsa and sour cream.

 

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There are also several new salad options, all of which are colourful and fresh. These are prepared at the commissary kitchen in Vancouver.

 

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Overall, a great selection of new summer menu items. I especially love the new iced drinks and affogato, which are perfect for the hot weather.

 

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This summer Caffè Artigiano is giving away all things Vespa! Prizes include some of their bright red gift cards, loaded with $20 worth of great coffee drinks in their caffès; a Vespa LX50 day rental for two; and five bright red Vespa bags full of coffee, a travel mug and gift card, and in one of those bags, a key to a brand-new Vespa Primavera 50 Rosso Dragon. Follow them, comment and share pictures of the scooter at their various locations around BC this summer for your chance to win!

 

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Check out their social media for more details!

Caffe Artigiano Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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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

Dunn’s Famous – Relaunch Media Event

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

I’ve been to Dunn’s Famous during the PaintNite events, so I was excited when Peak Communicators contacted me about the Dunn’s Famous Relaunch Media Event. As I was away during the actual event, Peak Communicators was able to arrange for me to visit the restaurant at another time. I met with Yonathan Delgado, the General Manager who gave me a thorough tour of the newly re-opened restaurant.

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Dunn’s Famous is the only franchise outside of Quebec. The store launched in 2011 and the grand re-opening was on October 9, 2015. They have revamped their menu to focus more on their signature dishes, but have also added a couple of new items. My immediate reaction when I entered was how bright the restaurant is now.

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You’ll find brick walls on one side and tables with black and white photography of Quebec.

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The new addition is the deli experience where customers can purchase both quick lunches and also goods to take home. They offer a variety of smoked meat, pickles, salads, and soups. Of course, you can also choose sit-down dining, but it’s great that there’s an option for Downtown workers for a quick sandwich.

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Dunn’s Famous specializes in authentic Montreal smoked meat, an artisan meat product produced from beef brisket that is cured and spiced using old-world techniques before a slow cooking process. It is then steamed again and hand sliced to order, before used to create the iconic Canadian Montreal smoked meat sandwich.

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Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich

Of course I had to try their signature item, so I ordered the Montreal Smoked Meat Sandwich. For the sandwiches, you can choose the size, cut of your meat, mustard, and any side add ons. I asked for advice from one of the servers (who by the way, are extremely well-trained and knowledgeable with the products) and chose the smallest size, a 4 oz meat sandwich, with a medium cut, and Dijon mustard. They use rye bread which comes from the local bakery, Brekka, so the bread is extremely fresh. All sandwiches also come with a pickle, which is refreshing to eat between the sandwich. The smoked meat is seriously some of the most melt-in-your-mouth meat I’ve had though. This is because Dunn’s offers the only hand-sliced Montreal smoked meat in Vancouver. The hand slicing is an art that takes years to perfect and allows the meat to be cooked for a longer period of time and it can be cut against the grain. This would not be achievable with a machine. With a medium cut, you get a mix of lean and fat meat, so you still get the perfect melt-in-your-mouth texture.

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Quebecoise Poutine

For my add-on, I chose the Quebecoise Poutine. The fries are hand cut and made from Kennebec potatoes, and topped with fresh Canadian cheese curds covered in an original BBQ beef gravy. The gravy is made in house from scratch using roasted beef bones and a signature barbecue spice mix, which I thought was quite different from your typical gravy sauce. I quite liked this and the fries were extremely crispy.

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Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the service and food at Dunn’s Famous. There are very few, if any, Montreal smoked meat restaurants that I’m aware of so it’s great that Dunn’s still keeps the traditions and authenticity of this delicious artisan meat. Great location and I’m loving the new vintage retro ambiance at the restaurant. Plus, you can now bring home the smoked meat to assemble your own sandwich!

Dunn's Famous Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gudrun

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When K came back, I suggested we go try Gudrun. It’s been opened in Steveston for quite some time, but I always just past by it without looking into it too much. Finally, we decided to go on a rainy weekday.

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They seem to change their menu daily, based on what’s fresh in the market. Their menu is fairly simple with probably under 10 main menu items.

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The inside is dimly lit and filled with wooden tables and chairs. There’s also a long table – great for large groups. It’s an open kitchen and there’s also a bar table. The service was amazing, with our server being super friendly and checking up on us occasionally. He might also be the owner, but I’m not sure. It was really relaxed and chill, and we didn’t feel rushed or pressured to order more. He would actually chat with customers, but he saw us having our own conversation, so he gave us plenty of space. I also love how they have pillows so you can feel like you’re at home. Absolutely love the ambiance here!

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Mac & 5 Cheese with Side Salad

K got the Mac & 5 Cheese which came with a side of salad. The Mac & Cheese was definitely very cheesy and creamy. It might be a little pricey for a mac & cheese, but you can tell that this ain’t any cheap Kraft Dinner!

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Meat Sandwich – sopressata, red peppers and cheddar

J and I both got the Meat Sandwich. It came with sopressata, which is an Italian dry salami. It also came with a side of salad, which had a really good light dressing. A bit of those tiny little pickles and olives too. A very simple dish, but it tasted amazing!

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The sandwich was also filled with red peppers and cheddar. I loved the pairing of the peppers and salami. It wasn’t too salty, and the bread was grilled perfectly!

Overall, we were extremely pleased with Gudrun. It may be a bit pricey, but the relaxing environment really makes it a great place to chill and catch up with friends. They also have a large selection of wines and meat or cheese boards, which would be perfect for a late night hangout. Fresh ingredients with well-executed dishes and impeccable service!

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Teacup Kitchen – Manchester

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The next day, S and N took me around Manchester to do some sightseeing. There isn’t that much sightseeing though, and compared to other cities I’ve visited, I would say that the city is mostly locals. I felt sort of silly taking pictures and acting all touristy. One of the more significant attractions was the Manchester Cathedral which is a medieval church located in the city center. It’s a Gothic style church and has undergone restorations various times. The inside was being restored I think, so we weren’t able to go inside. Other than that, we just did some shopping at the huge Primark at Piccadilly Garden!

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After shopping, we met up with their friend C and we went to the Teacup Kitchen. They told me it was for afternoon tea…since we’re in the UK and you have to have a British-style afternoon tea! However, the Teacup Kitchen was quite different from what I had imagined. Most of the afternoon tea spots in Vancouver are all decked out and quiet, but Teacup Kitchen was more like a cafe and very casual.

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They offered a large variety of different cakes. It was more like a cake cafe where people could just lounge and chill here with tea and cakes. Some people were on laptops and working away. I actually really liked this casual environment and the waitress was extremely nice and friendly.

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Although I found most people ordering just a cake and a tea, or some of their lunch menu, which included sandwiches, we still went for the Teacup Special Afternoon Tea. This came with a choice of any loose leaf tea and a selection of savory and sweet snacks. It’s available from 2:30 pm. At first, we were each going to order a set, since that’s what normally happens in Vancouver, but our waitress was a little shocked and suggested us to just order 2 sets between the 4 of us. She said there was quite a lot of food, and good thing we stuck with her on that. However, each of us still got our own individual teapots. I chose the Blue Sky Earl Grey since it seemed to be the most British… The description was “a quality blend of black teas, infused with bergamot but then given a hugely aromatic boost of grapefruit”. I liked how the tea separator was on top of the pot, rather than inside, since it really avoided the tea leaves getting in the tea. They were also very attentive in providing us with hot water refills.

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This was one set of the Teacup Special Afternoon Tea. Instead of having the sweets at the top, like I normally see, they had the savory sandwiches at the top, then moved into some sweets in the middle, and then some sweeter cakes and scones at the bottom layer. This was beyond filling between two people. The only problem was it was a little difficult sharing some of the items.

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The top layer was filled with all savory items. It’s been a while, so I don’t remember exactly what each item was called. There were two Egg Salad Sandwiches, a Cheese Quiche, and a Sausage Roll. There was also this Cheese Twist type of pastry.

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The second layer was already filled with sweets. I believe the cupcake was a Flourless Chocolate Cake. It was a dark chocolate ganache and was gluten-free. Surprisingly not too sweet too. Next was a Lemon Meringue Tart. The pastry case was crisp and sweet, and was filled with lemon curd. On top, it had peaks of meringue. The last was a Flapjack. It was very dense and extremely healthy. It was made with rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, mixed fruit, cinnamon, crunchy pecans, and put together with honey and syrup. It was a little chewy but I really liked the texture and flavours.

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At the very bottom were the sweetest treats! The Hearty Scone is their famous classic English scone but with a twist. It’s baked in a heart shape! They slice it in half and fill it with a raspberry jam and clotted cream. I liked how the scone wasn’t as dense as the typical ones, and the top was crispy. The yellow baked good was a Lemon-Licious. Its a lemon sponge cake with a zesty flavour to it and topped with citrus icing and white chocolate curls. This one was a little too sweet for my liking. Lastly, it came with two mini Battenbergs. Battenberg cake is a light sponge cake and is covered with marzipan. When cut, they show a checkered pattern. This one was a red velvet and vanilla sponge cake.

By the end of our afternoon tea, we were thoroughly full even though we only ordered two sets. I can’t imagine having the whole set alone! I wish I could try some of their other cakes. It seemed like such a cool place to chill after school or on the weekend if the weather isn’t so great.

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La Surena

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La Surena is inside Centro Commercial El Saler in Valencia. This mall was near our hotel and on a rainy evening, M and I decided to look for nearby food. We ended up in the mall and on the floor where all the food stalls and restaurants were. We came across La Surena and thinking that I knew all the Spanish in the world after just taking Spanish100, I decided to attempt to translate the menu. I read chicken and fish and all, and naively thought that I would be having a fantastic meal for a ridiculous price. Yea right… So our meal came to $11 euros and that included 2 large pints of beer.

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And this is really what he had ordered… 7 mini sandwiches and a salad for S (which was also the most expensive item on our bill). So apparently on specific days, you can get mini sandwiches for just 1 euro! Yea, and they were filled with all the ingredients I had attempted to translate…So I hadn’t exactly gotten the translations wrong, I just didn’t know they would be coming inside a sandwich…a mini one to be exact. And although M hates sandwiches, he admitted that these were pretty good! The ingredients and sauce inside really made it delicious. I actually wouldn’t mind having these agin to be honest. Just funny how I sort of tricked M into getting sandwiches when I really didn’t know. The place was packed and their other popular items are nachos which are also dirt cheap. This would be the perfect place to grab a quick snack and a beer. On different days, they also have other deals such as a bucket of beer for a really cheap price.

The Red Wagon

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After watching countless Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives after midnight and having cravings of those greasy dishes, I’ve finally made my way to one of the featured diners. I’ve heard people raving about The Red Wagon, but it’s not exactly located in an area I would often go by. To be exact, I didn’t even know where it was. Located in the East side, this is definitely an area I never visit. It wasn’t too bad to get there though. A Canada Line skytrain to Waterfront, and then a short bus ride takes you one block away from this diner. As you can see, people were lining up, and it was around 1pm on a weekday.

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But then J and I just walked in, since we weren’t sure if we should leave our name first, and the waitress told us to grab a seat right away. I guess the group outside was quite large and needed to wait for a large table. So if you’re looking for a table for two, it’s definitely easy! Literally no wait at all! So awesome, since we had imagined ourselves lining up.

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This picture reminds me of the scene I saw on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives! But yea, as you can tell, the place is quite small. The kitchen area is extremely small as well.

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Iced Lemonade, Iced Coffee

On a hot, sunny day, we needed some refreshers. I chose the Iced Lemonade, even though I was afraid it would be too tart. Surprisingly, it was quite sweet! They must’ve put some sweetener in or something. The colour was also extremely yellow…almost golden yellow. Not exactly the colour of lemonade I see when it’s freshly squeezed. But hey, it tasted great! J said his Iced Coffee was quite strong, but good. They also gave him an agave sweetener syrup, since he told us that sugar wouldn’t melt nicely in the iced drink. How thoughtful!

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Crispy Pork Belly Sandwich – pickled veg, jalapeno, cilantro, mayo, baguette, chips

Onto our food! OMG. This was like delicious. We sort of chose the Crispy Pork Belly Sandwich, since the daily special was sold out, but am I glad I decided to try it out. It comes with a side of chips, which I believe are freshly baked, and extremely crispy. They are also ever so lightly seasoned with salt and are absolutely delicious. I wish they sold these to go. For $12, it’s a decent price for the amount of food you get, because you will actually get full by the end. I mean, you pay that price for a burger at many Western restaurant chains, but this is way better.

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Onto the sandwich itself. I was not expecting so much pork belly in it, but it was filled with it! They were quite large pieces, but the pork belly was so soft, that it wasn’t a mess to eat. Other than the grease that was just pouring out. Yup, by the time I finished devouring this sandwich, my plate was filled with oil and grease. The pork belly had a good balance between the amount of fat and meat. This is definitely not something you should be eating everyday, but this is worth having a cheat day. I’m not a big fan of cilantro or even veggies in my sandwich, but for some reason, all these ingredients just added so much flavour and worked so well. I didn’t even pick out any cilantro, like I would usually. The baguette was also soft to bite on the inside, and crispy on the outside. I have to say, I enjoyed this sandwich more than the one at meat and bread, even though the two aren’t exactly the same.

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Pulled Pork Pancakes – 3 buttermilk pancakes layered with pulled pork, JD-spiked maple syrup

And of course, we had to get their infamous Pulled Pork Pancakes. Pancakes aren’t my usual go-to item for breakfast, but these ones were amazing. The buttermilk pancakes were extremely fluffy. One thing I usually hate about pancakes are how dense they are made, and it makes you feel like you are eating a bunch of cake. This one was exactly the opposite. Fluffy and light. And who knew pulled pork would go with pancakes? I sort of questioned that at first, but once you try it, it will change your mind completely.

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There is so much pulled pork in between each layer of pancake, and the flavouring is perfect. They also have their signature Jack Daniel’s syrup. I actually didn’t really taste any alcohol, but the flavour was definitely a bit different from normal maple syrup. This is a must try and well worth your $13!

By the end of the meal, we were completely full. We both shared each of the plates, and we couldn’t end up finishing all the pancakes. It’s a good idea to also take a walk after…since you will feel very guilty for eating all that oily food. I wouldn’t suggest coming here every week for breakfast, but it is definitely a must try! Oh, and when your bill comes, you get some coca cola gummies. I don’t know why, but it gives me a retro feel to it. Service was also quite pleasant. Our food did take quite a while to arrive though. At least 20 minutes. Other than that, I was extremely pleased with my food at The Red Wagon! PS. You could say this is heart attack food…so beware 🙂

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BG Urban Cafe

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Santa Fe Smoked Turkey Wrap

I’ve actually never ate at BG Urban Cafe but this chain cafe is everywhere. I didn’t know what was good so decided to grab a wrap. I got the Santa Fe Smoked Turkey Wrap which they grilled for me. I found that it was way too soggy after a bit though, and the sauce which was watery kept dripping everywhere. I’ve never had so much difficult eating a wrap! The flavour was a little bland which I was fine with since the sour cream helped it a bit.

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