Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cute Pearl Tea House - Tasting event for Honey Toast Box


Cute Pearl Tea House

2130 W 40th Ave, Vancouver (map)

Cute Pearl Tea House on Urbanspoon

Food: 3.5
Price: Cheap

Over a week ago, Elaine of O My Sweet Tooth extended an invite for an tasting event at Cute Pearl Tea House. This particular event was mainly focused on a new item they would like to launch, and for sure there was NO WAY I was going to miss it. Why? Because this was for none other than my favorite: Honey Toast Box. If you've been following this blog, you will know that I am 'obsessed' with Honey Toast Box. Not only did I went out looking for places that served this, but I also created my own DIY version. On top of that, I always like to meet new people, so I gladly accepted this invite and off we went.

A total of 3 bloggers attended: Elaine of O My Sweet Tooth, Buddha Boy and Buddha Girl of Food for Buddha, and of course myself and R. First of, I would just like to say we had a fantastic time chatting and it was a pleasure meeting you all. Anyways, back to the food, or in this case drinks. I ordered the fruit green tea, which tasted like a tropical fruit juice with a hint of green tea. This was not overly sweet like some others I've tried. R ordered the Oolong milk tea, which I loved, because it was creamy and had stronger tea flavor comparing to mine, but R thought it was too sweet. Elaine had the passion fruit tea and Buddha girl had the lemon aloe juice with crystal pearl. The prices here are on par with places like Bubble World, with drinks starting at only $3.25, and going up to $4.50 for specialty items. I would consider this cheap, since the other day I paid around $5 for a Jasmine milk tea without pearls at Tri-ty cafe.

The 1st appetizer we got was the Taiwanese Deep Fried Chicken ($5.50). They brought us the authentic kind with fried basil leaf. Apparently you can also order it without the basil leaf. Although flavor here is milder comparing with other bubble tea joints, but both R and I thought it had just the right amount of season, also the chicken was rather tender and juicy.

We also got an assorted platter of marinated items including chicken wings, bean curd, pig ear and egg. The bean curd was rather salty, but the rest was not bad, especially the crunchy pig ears. The marinating sauce was generally on the sweeter side of things, but I would have preferred a more balanced flavor.

Buddha Boy & Girl ordered the Stir Fried Pork Assorted with Rice ($8). The name is really ambiguous if you don't read Chinese, because this was more like a hot pot stewed with pork blood and intestine. The sauce was really rich in flavors and was only slightly spicy (keep in mind, I can take spicy food). The pork blood was fully cooked, so it's not as 'bouncy' as I've would have prefer and since I am not a fan of intestine, I will not comment base on my biased opinion. :P

Actually this is not my first time visiting Cute Pear Tea House, I've been here numerous time when I was studying at UBC. My favorite has always been their deep fried Chicken Leg meal ($6.75). I can't believe their price is still so low, it's even cheaper than Bubble World. Anyways I am not sure if it's because I had glorified memories of this dish, but it didn't really live up to my expectations. Although the chicken was crispy, but it wasn't as juicy as I've liked. Also the coating was rather thick. Despite the mishap with the chicken, the flavor was still as good as I remembered: salty/peppery with a hint paprika like spice.

R ordered the Pork Knuckle with Rice. Although they say it's pork knuckle, but it was more like boneless pork hock. The skin was soft yet still retained that chewiness. The meat was very flavorful and soft. The sauce was a nice combination of savory and sweet flavors, and it goes great with rice. For only $7.25, I highly recommend this, as they were definitely not stingy with the pieces.

After a very fulfilling meal, the 'stars' finally arrived. The first toast box we received was the Apple Crumble Honey Toast Box. All the toppings you see were made in house. I particularly enjoyed the apple sauce, because its tartness really balanced out the rather sweet toast sticks and ice cream combination. As much I loved the toast sticks inside, but I was not a fan of the box itself. The box was only lightly toasted with nothing brushed on. Therefore the box was only slightly crunchy, and had no flavor. Because it wasn't toasted long enough, the box became soggy easily.

The Chocolate Brownie/Banana Honey Toast Box came next. Because this dessert was already topped off with banana, ice cream and chocolate syrup, thus the addition of the chocolate brownie was a bit much, because it turned into some serious sugar overload.

Here is what the inside looks like. These toasted bread sticks was delicious. They were sweet, buttery and crunchy on the outsides, and still soft on the inside. Now, if the whole box was toasted to this consistency and actually tasted like this, I think I would definitely finish the whole dessert box without a question.

The last toast box was the Strawberry Honey Toast Box with pudding. You see they actually had another pudding flavor, but we really couldn't eat that much food. They have combined the pudding and strawberry together in one toast box per Elaine's request. Just in case you don't see it, that light yellow custard resting underneath the ice cream is the pudding. If I had to pick a personal favorite, this would be it. I loved the fragrant, yet tart strawberry sauce on ice cream with the sweet bread sticks. I just wish there were more of the sauce. On the other hand, the pudding really didn't add anything, because it's texture and taste just was too different and did not mix well in general.

Anyways here is a short summary on what R and I like and disliked about these Honey Toast Box. We did give them these feedback right away, so the version they launch should be even better than the ones we tried. On the side note, they mentioned the price range would be around $7-8, which I think is quite reasonable consider the amount of work required.

Good Bad
Perfectly toasted bread sticks that are crunchy, yet soft in the middle Plate is too small to fit when box is cut open
Great balance of butter & honey flavor on the bread sticks The butter cream surrounding the rim does not add flavor, only sugar
Home made fruit sauces add balance to the sugary dessert The toast box was not toasted with honey/butter and was not crunchy enough
Beautiful presentation with
home made cookies
The sprinkled sugar on the bread after baking (way too much sugar)

As I already mentioned, this was a tasting event offered by Cute Pearl Tea House, so all the food we had was free of charge. However, there weren't any obligation or request from them, so I am writing purely base on my experience and taste preference. Since I've actually visited the restaurant prior to this event, I have to say they do have good food here at a very reasonable price. If it weren't so far away from me now, I would revisit often. :)


Buddha Girl April 19, 2011 at 3:33 PM

We had so much fun meeting and chatting with you and R! Remember...hehehe..."第一次見面的有善是人類最醜惡的一面"...hahahahahahahaha!!!

Buddha Girl April 19, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Oooops...I mean "友善"...correction! Hahahaha!

Diana April 19, 2011 at 3:51 PM

Looks like you guys had so much food to eat O.O

eeScorpius April 20, 2011 at 2:01 AM

I was just going to ask you what the Fruit Green Tea tastes like LMAO

Jenny April 21, 2011 at 2:26 PM

@Buddha Girl: hahaha well said!

@Diana: it was, R and I went a little over board with ordering 2 meals, good things we shared it all.

@eeScorpius: haha, now you know. So what did yours taste like?

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