Food & Exams (Yet another food journeys post)

Exams….

This is what I feel like after the last exams of undergrad.

Sprouted mini purple potato

Like a potato that’s past its best by date?  Or maybe transforming into something new.  On a side note, I learned that purple potatoes sprouted purple sprouts.  Go figure.

But now for the edible food!  In no particular order over the last month…

Tarts Bakery

Item ordered: Raspberry Macaroon tart (full size)

Cost: ~$6 for fresh, $3 for day old

Overall: 8/10

Raspberry macaroon tart

I’ve always passed by Tarts on the way to UBC (It’s right beside the 99 B-line stop at Granville, close to the new Murchie’s) but never had a chance to step in.  My roommates told me about their special cheesecake during the cheesecake festival but they didn’t have a chance to go either.

As you can see, the tart got half eaten before I thought about getting a photo. The lady behind the counter said that this was the tart that started their journey to open the bakery in the first place.  And, I definitely like how they jazzed up the inside of an otherwise boring white box.  The tart crust was really good, crumbly and rich.  The filling had a strong raspberry flavor and surprisingly worked very well with the coconut.  However it was a little too sweet for my taste.  I like sweets but the sugar from the raspberries and the sugar from the coconut were a bit overwhelming.

Raspberry tart

It survived a little longer than the bite-size butter tart I got there which I ate promptly so I wouldn’t have to share.  The butter tart was good but I’ve had better.  I prefer the deeper ones from the La Brasserie food truck when I can get them, because there’s more filling and more crust.

Tarts Bakery on Urbanspoon

Yolks Breakfast Truck

Item ordered: Tiramisu pancakes

Cost: ~$12

Overall: 3.5/10

Tiramisu pancakes

I’ve heard lots about Yolks but the first time I went there they weren’t anywhere to be seen.  I walked up and down Beatty and Dunsmuir and looked both ways.   So when my roommates proposed a study session downtown, I suggested Yolks for breakfast/brunch.  I was piqued by the idea of tiramisu pancakes.  What the heck would tiramisu pancakes taste like? Espresso infused pancakes with a whipped cream filling? And more importantly, could I make it at home?

The line wasn’t huge when we got there but they were really backed up.  Which was fine if the food was good…

I know, it’s a low rating.  It’s not a place I would return to again since I didn’t enjoy it very much, and expensive.  Slow service was a bit ridiculous given there were 3 people in the food truck.  And the food did not match my expectations.  The tiramisu was a small soggy slice on top of 5 small disc pancakes.  It was a little tangy which makes me suspect that they mixed the mascarpone with something else (if there was mascarpone in the first place).  Pancakes were too rushed and not cooked through.  If you’re going to make me wait half an hour for my food, 2 extra minutes to make sure the pancakes are cooked through would be nice.  I probably should have said something to them but I wanted to get some studying done.

Yolk's Breakfast on Urbanspoon

T&T Supermarket

Item Ordered: Assorted buns

Cost: ~$7 for half a dozen

Rating: 8.5/10

Assorted T&T Buns

These were acquired as a cheap lunch on our study session day partly because they were super cute.  My favorite ones are the hedgehogs in the corner.  They were filled with red bean and super yummy.  T&T also came up with a chicken teriyaki bun that’s super yummy.

6 yummy buns

All 6 were really good.  Steamed buns have always been comfort food for me.  The lucky cat/doraemon look-alike was filled with taro I think.  The happy bird had pumpkin filling, the brown sugar bun did not have a filling, and the frog had a green tea filling.  I think only the frog survived to the end of the day.

T & T Supermarket 大統華超級市場 on Urbanspoon

Rogue Wetbar

Items ordered: Nachos, bellini

Cost: ~$13 for nachos, $6 bellini special

Overall rating: 8.5/10

Bellini

Post-studying session, all of us were hungry again, so we headed over to Rogue Wetbar (the one in Waterfront Skytrain station).  Rogue always has amazing food and drinks, and this bellini was no exception.  I always order this if I’m there on a Saturday as it’s their special.  Topped with a fuzzy peach, it’s sweet and fruity and my kind of drink.

Nachos with mango and chicken

This was surprisingly good.  I liked that they put in mango and lots of interesting toppings instead of just the typical cheese and nachos.  I don’t remember all the ingredients that went into it but it was tasty.

Rogue Kitchen & WetBar on Urbanspoon

Sake Maki

Items ordered: Grilled squid, agedashi tofu, spider roll, cream cheese and salmon roll, deep fried banana and green tea ice cream

Cost: ~$36 ($21 after Groupon)

Overall: 6.5/10

I saw a groupon for the new Sake Maki location on W. Broadway so I thought I would go check it out.  Their first location got pretty good reviews.  It was okay but I wouldn’t go back without a groupon as their prices are a bit steep for the quality of food.  The agedashi tofu was pretty standard though I found it had a slightly chalky aftertaste.  Not sure if that was due to poor quality tofu used.  I liked that they served it separate from the sauce so we could eat it more slowly instead of having soggy tofu at the end.  The grilled squid was definitely the best of the night, and we couldn’t stop eating it.  It was cooked perfectly without being too rubbery.

Both of the rolls left much to be desired.  I don’t normally order cream cheese and salmon rolls (I think they’re also called Philadelphia rolls but I might be mistaken), and I’ve only had it one other time as part of a bento box.  There was too much cream cheese in this roll and it kind of swallowed up the flavor of the salmon.  Also their salmon texture was a little more like tuna rather than firmer like salmon usually is.  The spider roll was a disappointment.  All of the other spider rolls I’ve had had softshell crab on the inside, and substantially more.  For some reason, they decided to put very small very thin pieces of softshell crab on the outside of a california roll and call it a spider roll.  At $9, I’d like a bit more crab and a bit less “filler”.  Finally, we were served the fried bananas and ice cream last.  It was paired with green tea ice cream which did not go well with bananas.  But, the bananas were crunchy on the outside and melted and delicious on the inside.

Overall, Sake Maki has decent appetizers but their rolls need more work.  Given how many sushi joints there are in Vancouver, they will definitely have to improve in order to survive in Kitsilano.

Sake Maki 清酒 on Urbanspoon

And now for old favorites revisited…

Oyster Express

Items ordered: Gorge Inlet Oysters (Buck a shuck special), Steamed mussels (happy hour special)

Costs: $1/oyster, $12.50 for mussels

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Fresh Gorge Inlet oysters

Steamed mussels

Steamed mussels

I’ll let the photos do the talking.  Their oysters are always gorgeous and perfect, no matter what their daily special is.  At $1/oyster, it’s one of the best tasting and best deals in the city.  I also love the casual cafe atmosphere.

Their mussels are delicious.  Order them.  I usually hate mussels because they’re overcooked or not fresh.  These ones are perfect.  The portion is quite large for one person and I wasn’t able to finish it so I took the sauce and leftover mussels home.  The white wine in the sauce was a little too raw but I reheated it and tossed it with pasta the next day.  Yum.

Oyster Express on Urbanspoon

Bella Gelataria

Items ordered: Sakura gelato and orange creamsicle (orange and vanilla) sorbetto

Cost: ~$7 for 2 scoops in a cup

It doesn’t look super pretty but the flavors are amazing.  James has done it again.  I can’t stop going back there.  He created a limited edition salted cherry blossom gelato that tasted like umeboshi with a floral note.  Then, to top it off he made a creamsicle sorbetto.  That’s right, a classic milk-based dessert with no milk.  Both of them reminded me of childhood.  I ate a lot of sour plums and drank sour plum juice when I was a kid in the summer because they were supposed to help quench thirst and cool you off.  And creamsicles!  Who doesn’t love creamsicles.  Sadly it was limited time only.

My initial thought was that the orange creamsicle flavor was actually Sunshine (orange, grapefruit, and lemon), but then I saw the black specks and realized it had vanilla in it.  Their Tahitian vanilla with Balsamic Vinegar is simple but amazing.  If you haven’t been yet, go check it out.  Now.  They have a chocolate and Ileach Scotch flavor currently.  And their 99% noir infini chocolate flavor is back.

Bella Gelateria Handcrafted Gelato on Urbanspoon

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