Trees Organic Coffee revisited

Polly and I revisited Trees Organic Coffee for their best cheesecake in Vancouver. It’s been more than a year since we visited Trees Organic Coffee, our first cake meet place.


Trees Organic Coffee is along the site of the Canada Line construction. The view from Trees Organic Coffee at the moment is not very nice. Nevertheless, the business is still pretty good when we were there.


Trees Organic Coffee is located just at the site where the 440 tonne tunnel-boring machine broke through into the construction site for the line’s Waterfront station. This finishes the second of side-by-side bored tunnels from just south of False Creek to just north of Pender Street on Granville.

Polly and I ordered two slices of cheesecakes and a piece of cinnamon bun to share.


This is a Banana White Chocolate cheesecake. (more…)

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Cafe In in Vancouver

Updated: 3rd Jan 2015; This restaurant is closed according to

Polly and I met again for coffee. I found this Cafe In from a Chinese Food Magazine. It has two locations in Vancouver, one at 5707 Balsam St and another in 3335 W. 4th Ave. We went to the one on 4th Ave.


There are banners with the words ‘Award-winning Intelligentsia Coffees on the store front of this cafe. I wonder what it means?


When we walked into this cafe, we noticed there are many signs of Godiva chocolates. First of all, there are two wall shelves loaded with Godiva chocolates.


There is this gold mosaic mural on the wall which represent Godiva’s divine chocolate. The logo was inspired by the popular legend. It tells of the persistent Lady Godiva who rode naked in order to persuade her husband to abolish his onerous taxation of Coventry. This mosaic mural is also found in the washroom but in silver.


We like the simple and yet cozy interior deco. Potted plants are placed at strategic locations which brings some freshness and liveliness to the interior.


I also like these mosaic pieces of coffee art and cup and saucer. It brings out the mood for a cup of coffee. (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Gastropod

Updated 4 June 2009: closed (source from Urbanspoon)

Suanne and I had always been mesmerized by the legend of the top restaurants in the world. Namely, the El Bulli and the Fat Duck. Some day, we hope to have the opportunity to dine out in one these places. For now, we settle for something more attainable … a restaurant owned by a chef who had worked in one of these restaurant.


The chef behind Gastropod is Vancouverite Angus An who according to his biography is said to had a stint in the Michelin 3-stars Fat Duck. In the local scene, Gastropod had won many awards and perhaps one of the best restaurants along 4th Ave in Vancouver.

Featuring modern European cuisine, Gastropod had won the Gold Award for Best New Fine Dining and Silver Award for Best Design from the Vancouver Magazine’s 18th Annual Restaurant Awards. We knew that we would not go wrong with such a restaurant … and we were right.


The setting is chic and inviting with white linen and simple lines. Best of all, the service is very friendly, sincere and unpretentious. They did their very best to connect to us which made our entire experience very enjoyable.

BTW, Gastropod’s DOV menu is $35 per person.


Someone must make it mandatory for all restaurants to provide bread, like they provide glasses of water for each table … don’t you agree? Gastropod is one of those who had simple but great bread. Their butter had sprinkles of salt which really enhances the flavour. When we finished the bread, they promptly came by asked if they could give us more.


For the appetizer, we had their Duck Two Ways which came as a “$5 supplement”. This is a 24-hour confit leg, liver parfait and cucumber salad (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Chambar

I had been to Chambar twice before with the last time during last year’s Dine Out Vancouver. However, this year, I decided to go there again because Suanne had never been there before and wanted to try their famous mussels.


Chambar is a Belgian restaurant located on Beatty St just outside that Stadium Skytrain station in Vancouver. Our reservation was for 5PM. By the time we arrived 5 minutes before, many had arrived earlier and waited at the lounge. We can see that Chambar is perhaps one of the most popular DOV venue.


We got seated in the inner dinner hall which I preferred because it is wider and had a big window (not that there is a view from it anyway). One thing you will notice about Chambar is that the walls are decorated with art pieces which they help local artists showcase their work.

Just a couple of tables away was a group three Asian diners who also whipped out cameras and took pictures of their food. For a moment, we were wondering if they are one of food bloggers we know. We tried to establish eye-contact but failed. I thought it will be great to say hi to bloggers.

Oh, we were also told that we had only 1.5 hours for DOV. We understand the reason why.


Since this is a Belgian restaurant, I chose a Belgian beer. They had a good selection Trappistes beer which is renowned to be “all one needs” and are known to be brewed in monasteries by monks. I got myself the Rochefort 8 which is 9.2% alcohol. Small bottle but packs quite a punch.


For the appetizer, we had the La Salad d’Hiver. This is a Belgium endive and watercress salad with cranberry and vanilla vinaigrette. (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Aurora Bistro

Updated 4 June 2009: closed (source from Urbanspoon)

It was Saturday night — one of those DOV nights that were unrushed, unlike some of the nights where we had to rush from work to dinners. It has unbelievably busy at work in that I hardly had time to to even have a proper lunch. So, I treasure my weekends a lot more these days.


We went to the Aurora Bistro located on Main Street in Vancouver. This was a last minute change of venue from an earlier booking for Pub fare. It’s surprising that we even got a table considering how absolutely packed the bistro is on a Saturday night with a DOV event on.

We were the first in and within just 20 minutes, all the tables were already taken up. They had a sign posted by the door that due to the demand during the DOV, there is a 2 hour limit for each table.


We had never been to Aurora before but had heard a lot about them. I had imagined that they would be rather big and posh. However, the place is long and narrow with just enough tables arranged in two rows.

I guess looks can be deceiving because for what it’s worth, the Aurora Bistro is actually a Gold Medal winner of the Vancouver Magazine’s Annual Restaurant Award. They won the 2007 Best Regional Restaurant of the Year for contemporary West Coast cuisine.


We started off with the Aurora Cocktail. It is a gin, Elephant Island apricot wine, and fresh lemon juice served up with a splash of BC bubble. It’s Aurora signature sparkling cocktail. They loaded up the gin quite a bit which got me quite tipsy for a while.


The appy was a great start with what called the Sloping Hill Pork Rilettes with quince mustard and cornichons. Rillettes are made by slow cooking pork in lots of fat until it’s very tender. (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Unwine’d

Updated on 10th January 2011: This restaurant had been closed according to

Suanne and I sort of gate crashed into Joseph and Elizabeth’s Dine Out. When we found out that they are going to Unwine’d, we asked if we could tag along too. We met Joseph in the “chowtimes dinner” at Tong Kung about a couple of months ago.


Unwine’d has strange name. It must have been a play on the words Wine and Unwind. It is described as a wine and tapas lounge, quite evidenced by the variety of casual table settings. The place is really dim and again both Suanne and I had so much trouble reading in the dark. I think we should just get ourselves one of those mini torchlights for the dine outs.

Hated the choice of music. The constant pounding was simply too much for Suanne and I. But we were not surprised with the choice of music as the place was teeming with a really young crowd.

We got ourselves a high tables with stools right in front of a TV and the bar. There was a Canucks game on the TV that night but I did not pay much attention to the game. It was simply too painful to watch … the Canucks had been losing an awful lot of games of late, including the one that night.


Joseph and Elizabeth ran a bit late and for us, we were early. Got myself a Stella. The Stella Artois seems to be a popular “imported” beer in Vancouver — at least that is my perception. I said “imported” because I think it is brewed under license in BC. What I like about this Belgian lager is that it’s light.


As an appetizer, the Lobster Butternut Bisque was a good start. Made from Atlantic lobster and butternut squash, it is lighter than I expected from a bisque. Despite that, it was flavorful and does leave a lasting after-taste for quite a while.


The other appetizer we had was the Crab Cake. (more…)

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Dine Out Vancouver 2008 – Ouisi Cajun and Creole Bistro

For this year’s Dine Out event, Suanne and I virtually selected our choice of restaurants rather randomly. We thought we wanted to have a bit of varieties. So, the first place we selected was a cajun and creole place — the Ouisi Cajun and Creole Bistro.


The Ouisi Bistro is located on Granville Street in Vancouver. It is located across the street from venerable West, which we had waited and waited for a special occasion to go, someday. For now, the Bistro is good enough.


The place is really dim even though the picture above looked bright enough. We must be getting older as we had a tough time looking over the menu even with the lone candle on the table. I must say that it’s sort of a Frenchy setting because of the many fleur-de-lis symbols decorated along the wall.

And the music was great … jazz. We were there early at 5:30PM and having the entire place to ourselves was certainly great. It was great until a group of 10 boisterous girls came in which quite ruined a quiet evening I was expecting! All I heard was their screaming and laughing. I think they got drunk.


On our table was two bottle of hot sauce. While waiting for the food, we tried them. There is one called Fear Itself Habanero Sauce and the other was Auntie Bev’s Hot Sauce. Oh man … the Auntie Bev’s Hot Sauce sure was hot … we like it. You don’t really feel the heat for the first 10 seconds or so but it will gradually grow very very hot.


I had the Big Rock Traditional Ale which is kind of soft. Frankly, I just randomly choose a Canadian ale but was a good choice.


Like the few southern cooking places I had been to, Ouisi also served corn bread with butter. There are 4 really big pieces. I don’t know how this is normally served but I think it would great if they had warmed up the bread a bit. It was crumbly and sweet but just that it’s a bit dry.


For dine out, my strategy is to order what I want and Suanne order what she wants. But no, Suanne insists that we order different dishes so that she can try more varieties.

Our first appetizer was the lamb and rosemary sausage. (more…)

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Caffe Artigiano on West 41st, Vancouver

Polly and I went to Caffe Artigiano for our cake meet. We have no idea that Caffe Artigiano is the home of the Canadian Barista Championships from 2003 to 2006 until I checked their website after I came home. Artigiano also had several medals from the World Barista Championship medals. Not quite gold but silver and bronze … pretty cool.

Caffe Artigiano has 5 outlets in Vancouver in all. They are located on Pender St, Hornby St, West Hasting St, Park Royal in West Vancouver and Kerrisdale. We went to the one in Kerrisdale.


Caffe Artigiano is a very busy caffe as there were many customers come and go while we were there. I wondered why they are called a caffe and not cafe … you have any idea why?


We were quite disappointed in the beginning as we did not find any cheese cake in their buffet. However, there were scones, biscotti, bars, sandwiches and wrap.


We ordered two scones and a biscotti to share. This is the blueberry scones. The serving is quite large. We enjoyed it with some jam.


We liked the second scone better, it’s made with nut and dried fruit. This scones is more crunchy and has lots of nuts and dried fruit in it. The biscotti is not what I expected. This is more cakey like instead of the crunchy type. The scones were $2.95 each while the biscotti was $1.95.


The best is the coffee. I ordered the Caffe Mocha for $3.39. It is very smooth and creamy. The cream formation is so creative.


Polly had the Caffe Latte for $2.99. This is the best coffee we had ever had since our cake meet. For the true coffee lover, you must visit Caffe Artigiano.

Click the link below for more coffee art. You will like some of the prettiest coffee art I have ever seen. Note that the ones below are not from Artigiano’s.


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Chili Pepper House on Kingsway

It was one of those weekends that we had absolutely nothing to do. Normally, we had something planned for the weekend but for that one week we did not have anything planned at all. Since we had all the time in the world, we decided to drive a bit further from Richmond. So, we drove all the way to Vancouver … to Kingsway and Rupert.

The Chili Pepper House is an Indian-Chinese restaurant. I think the owner’s background is that they are Chinese who once lived in Indian. Since this is an Indian restaurant, we knew that their food would be spicy.


We immediately liked this place because the owners were so friendly and spent a lot of time chatting with us, even offering to tell us more about their restaurant. I believe it is because they saw my camera! Some restaurants (some, not many) had a disdain for cameras but not this one.

The Chili Pepper House is actually more Chinese than it is Indian. They call it “Fine Indian (Desi) Style Chinese Cuisine”. Their top dishes are all spicy. One thing though, they do not serve pork at all. I am curious why they don’t serve pork. I had always thought that you don’t get beef in Indian restaurants and no pork in Muslim or Jewish restaurants.

Anyway, we did notice that they have more East Indian customers.


Scouring their menu, we came across a dish that sounded really nice … Five Treasure with Chicken, Beef, Prawns, Scallops and Squid. What came was not exactly what we had in mind. It’s like sauce stir fried with the ingredients. It’s not that it’s not good … it was but the dish was underwhelming. It costs $14.95.



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Watermark on Kits Beach

Updated 14th Jan 2011: This restaurant had closed according to

I had always enjoyed a nice drink and dinner after work … more so on a weekday than on a weekend. Work had been hectic as always. After a solid 8 hours at the office, I would always jump at a chance to go out for a drink and after work dinner.

About a month or two ago, there was a Prix Fixe event in selected restaurants in Vancouver sponsored by San Pellegrino. Suanne and I love these type of events and had always wanted to invite another couple to join us. We could think of only one couple who we were pretty sure would enjoy doing this — Viv and Ole.

Suanne and I arranged to meet up with Viv and Ole (and their beautiful baby) for dinner during one such weekday. Viv and Ole selected the date and time and left the choice of the restaurant to us. We chose the restaurant with the best waterfront view … the Watermark on Kits Beach.


I remembered this restaurant well. A few years back there was some controversy around the building of this restaurant. This place used to be a beach front concession. When the idea to redevelop the concession, there were quite a bit of protest that this restaurant will mar the beauty of the beach.

The project turned out quite OK. Now it has not only a first class full-service restaurant, it is also functioning as a beach-level concession, changing rooms, and a lifeguard station. The Watermark is on the elevated second floor which gives a sweeping view of the English Bay.


Suanne and I went a bit earlier. We wanted to spend sometime walking around the Kits Beach and take some pictures. During the warm summer months, this popular beach would have been packed with people. Not so that day we were there. As a matter of fact, it was very cold and chilly.


I believe Watermark has the best view of the Kits Beach and English Bay. We had an option to either take the much warmer indoor tables but choose the tables out by the patio.


At first we were a bit apprehensive of sitting out at the patio. It was not too bad. For one, the patio is heated and they have thoughtfully provided blankets to keep the legs warm if needed.


It was great watching the sun set from where we sat. I can’t complain … life had been good.


For drinks, I had the Mohito with mango flavour (should it not have been spelt as Mojito?). It is rum with fresh lime, and fresh mint. As hard as I tried, I can’t taste any hint of mango at all … it was overwhelmingly minty. I felt they overdid the mint thing.



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