Monday, November 30, 2009

Midam Rice Cake House - Korean Style Desserts

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Midam Rice Cake House

110-4501 North Road
, Burnaby
Midam Rice Cake House on Urbanspoon

Food: 1.5
Service: 4
Price: relatively cheap

On our way to Ddoo Gau Bee (once again), I noticed a newly added sign for rice cake shop which also happened to be in the same square. Despite the fact that we were sort of in a hurry, we still decided to check out the new shop after our fulfilling meal.Midam Rice Cake House is located on the ground floor, tucked away in the far end of the square. The board posted beside the entrance showed delicate and nicely presented sweets, I was immediately intrigued.Upon entering, I was further impressed with their decor. They had quite a few displays such as the one shown above. Their decor was simple but elegant. There were regular tables, but also a few traditional ones (the ones you have to take your shoes off). Soft music was played in the background, and a table full of board games/magazine were also available if desired.As we only wanted to check it out, and had no intention to sit down (they will bring you a menu if you choose to sit down), we immediately went to the front counter. The array of rice cake/cake all looked beautiful. If presentation is everything, then I'd say they definitely gets an A. However, taste also plays a big part in all of this.After much debate on what to get, we finally settled on Apple Rice Cake, and Taro Cake. Although both looked delicious, but sadly I was not impressed with either one. The supposed Apple Rice Cake had zero apple taste. It wasn't really all that much like rice cake, it was more like dim sum turnip cake, except this is slightly sweeten. The Taro Cake was equally disappointing, the were only a hint of taro flavor, and the cake was rather dry and crumbly. The only good thing about these cakes is that it's lightly sweeten. I can't say much about the taro cake, but maybe the rice cake is an acquired taste, as the chef (very courteous) is actually Korean with many of his award plastered on the wall. He said that all desserts are made on the premises. The prices for these cakes are certainly not expensive, if memory serves me right, both cake came out to be about $3.90.

Although the cakes were disappointing, but I still want to go back, because I think it's really hard to find a nice relaxing dessert cafe with board games to play. Plus there are other desserts from their menu that we haven't tried. So in the end, I still look forward to going again and this time actually sit down to enjoy a few hours of conversation/games in this nice and calming environment.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Blenz Coffee - Seasonal Drinks

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Blenz Coffee

Located through out the Lower Mainland

Blenz Coffee on Urbanspoon

Food: 3.5
Price: Fair+

Since rain season has once again descend upon us, we have to resort to indoor activities. Ever notice that the coffee shops are always jam packed during this time of the year. It's simply because there are nothing better to do in this horrible weather. Actually it's quite cozy and relaxing to sit inside of a coffee shop sipping a hot drink while "enjoying" the rain.

Our first stop was Caffe Artigiano, but it was completely full. We then walked over to Take 5 cafe where a similar fate was met. So in the end, it was a choice between either Starbucks or Blenz, and it just so happen we saw Blenz first.
Actually it was the sign for the Classic Apple Spice outside of Blenz that really caught my attention, so we decided to jump in and see if we can find a seat. Lucky for us, there were literally only 3 seats left. The Classic Apple Spice was made with unfiltered, unsweetened 100% pure BC organic apple juice, then finished with fresh whipped cream and a dash of Cinnamon sprinkles. The drink was undeniably good, it had just the right amount of sweetness (as it should be, since it's unsweetened). The whip cream was rich with a perfect balance of cinnamon sprinkles. In a nut shell I liked it. However I wasn't too fond of the price (around $3.90 for a tall), I mean after all I am just drinking hot apple juice.The 2nd drink we tried was their seasonal pumpkin spice latte. R wanted it half sweet, which also meant it was lighter tasting, because the pumpkin flavor is actually a syrup, thus result in less sugar=less flavor. Since I am not a coffee drinker, I will let R do the judging. He thought the drink was good, because it has a strong espresso taste, but still had a distinct pumpkin flavor. He also liked this better than the one at Starbucks. Since we still had time to kill (we were waiting for another round of the Long Table Series), and it was getting kinda stuffy inside with the whole place packed and all, so we decided to get another cold drink to cool down. R heard some good reviews about the Iced Chocolate, so we ended up ordering that to share. I don't know if you could choose the chocolate (white, milk and dark) or not like their regular hot chocolate, because they never asked us, so we ended up with what tasted like milk chocolate. Although the Iced Chocolate was good, I don't see what's so special about it. It tasted just like cold chocolate milk, but a tiny bit more rich and creamy. At about $4 for a tall, I'd say this is somewhat of a rip off.

Overall, we did like the hot drinks at Blenz. It will definitely be on our backup list on days we can't find any other unique coffee shop to try.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Donburiya - Japanese Fast Food

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Donburiya
#5-1329 Robson, Vancouver
Donburiya on Urbanspoon

Food: 3.5
Service: 4
Price: Relatively Cheap

There are just too many Ramen joints in downtown Vancouver, so I am glad that something different has joined the scene: a fast food type restaurant that serves rice/noodle bows. I been wanting to try it out for awhile now, especially after reading reviews from both I m only here for the food and Cheap Appetite.

The restaurant is tiny, it can accommodate less than 20 people at a time. However since it is fast food/food court style, so lots of people get take out. They serve an array of rice/noodle bowls with a few appetizer/side dishes such as takoyaki, sushi rolls, and chicken karaage.


The takoyaki is pretty cheap, it was only $3.88 for 8. However as you can see from the picture, it certain lacks a few toppings such as dried bonito and dried seaweed flakes. Even though it's missing some common ingredients, but it was still significantly better than the ones I had at G-Men Ramen. At least these were hot, crispy on the outside and soft/gooey on the inside, and with a few visible pieces of tako. I would certainly order this again, despite the lack of toppings.

I couldn't decide between the noodle or the rice bowl, in the end I decided to choose the Buta-mayo don. It's described as gingered stir fried pork on rice with cabbage and mayo. For all the rice bowl, you have a choice between regular size ($6.50) or snack size ($5.50). I got the regular size, which was actually a pretty big portion that is very filling. The pork was good quality where is there is a good balance between the lean and fatty part. The thinly sliced pork is well infused with soy sauce and a subtle flavor of ginger. I thought the mayo complimented the pork very well, although I fear that this rice bowl is probably not too healthy.

The other rice bowl that we tried was the California don. This particular rice bowl is actually served cold and is essentially a California roll in a bowl but minus the seaweed, with the addition of egg. The initial disappointment was that it wasn't hot, but we quickly realized that this would probably taste weird if it was hot. The rice was sushi type rice and when mixed with the topping (crab meat, mayo etc.), plus the soy sauce it was actually quite good, until R. added the wasabi (I hate wasabi :P).

Service was super fast, our meal came out within 5 min after we ordered. Prices here are cheap, but then again it's only the food you are paying for, not service or ambiance. After the meal, I was happy and full. Since their rice bowls certainly made a good first impression, so now I am really tempted to come back to try their noodle bowls. Now, I think my next hard decision would be ramen or udon.

In the end, I would certainly recommend Donburiya, as it's fast, convenient located, and delicious, but good luck trying to get a seat during busy times.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Grand Re-Opening

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For reasons that I may one day abandon Shaw and other problems, I have decided to move my blog. So here it is, my "Grand Re-Opening" of my new blog: My Secret Eden 2.

I have been blogging now for more than a year, time certainly flies. My Secret Eden readership has grown significantly and it is all thanks to you. In celebration of my new blog, as well as my already pasted blog-a-versary and Christmas, I am hosting a Giveaway to thank all my readers/supporters.

The Prizes:
  1. one box of smoked wild pacific sockeye salmon
  2. one box of Pot of Gold or similar chocolate
  3. a $25 gift card to a restaurant or grocery store of your choice
The Rules:
  1. Open to all readers (However if I can't reach you by car within reason, only the gift card will be mailed. Sorry about that><)
  2. All you have to do is leave a comment below, one entry per person. (Feedback are appreciated, thanks)
  3. Giveaway will end on Dec. 1st, one winner will be picked by Random.org
Well, I hope everyone will enter this Giveaway, if you don't, I will be happily pigging out on the above prizes. ;)

HAPPY HOLIDAYS !

PS: for some reason, the background only show up in firefox, not IE. Can someone help please, thanks!