Cafe Habana – East Village Spanish Joint

During my trip to New York we hit up a few, ok I lied, MANY restaurants. We chose Café Habana a small yet popular Cuban / Spanish joint in East Village. Café Habana is known for their corn and Cuban sandwiches.

Cafe Habana - East Village Spanish Tapas

During lunch time it was packed and we were seated in a cramped corner. Once I tasted their Cuban sandwich they could have sat me on a bus stop for all I cared. It was that good!

Cafe Habana cuban sandwich

The Quesadilla de Pollo was typical and the intensity of the flavours was dull.

Chicken Quesadilla

Next trip back I will be trying the corn.

Café Habana on Urbanspoon

Soirette – Macrons & Tea

Soirette is a new Macrons & Tea café in Coal Harbour. Stepping into the cafe, everything looks so pretty, almost too pretty to eat. Alas, my stomach won out.

Soirette Macrons and Tea
Soirette Macrons and Tea

One very positive selling feature is their creative variations of macrons. Ranging from Lavender, never was a big fan of eating lavender, it always reminded me of detergent. Matcha, malibu, lemon, raspberry, pistachio, caramel fleur de sel, passion fruit and etc.

Rose Macrons
Rose Macrons

We decided on half a dozen:
Matcha , rose, malibu, white truffle,  casis, pistachio. My favourite was the savory white truffle macroons. Geesh.. I wanted to stretch that piece of goodness, so I ate with tiny nibbles and rolled my eyes at every bite. The truffle intensity was so powerful without becoming overwhelming. My second choice would have to be the rose macarons, light sweet flora.

Colors of the rainbow  - macrons
Colors of the rainbow – macrons

They also sell a tiny selection of cakes, I didn’t get to try them though.

Saffron Cheesecake and Tiramisu
Saffron Cheesecake and Tiramisu

Before Soirette we hit up Thierry for their macrons and lemon tart (my favourite pastry at Thierry, just the right amount of lemon, amazing!). Thierry was reputed to have the best macrons in Vancouver. While Thierry’s selection is very limited, the quality of the macrons was a tad bit better than Soirette. The texture of Thierry’s macrons was perfect.
Soirette Macarons & Tea on Urbanspoon

Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt – My New Obsession

I’ve recently became obsessed with Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt on Cambie,  a self-serve frozen yogurt bar.

Menchies frozen yogurt
Menchies frozen yogurt

First you choose and sample from a selection of yogurt, they do vary by day. The setup reminded me of 7-11’s slurpee machines. Don’t go too crazy on the samples, while I understand that it’s self serve refrain from being greedy, like the cheap skate I saw who collected samples of each flavor for everyone at his table. I don’t even think he purchased anything!! Flavours that day ranged from Strawberry Tart, Coffee, Triple Chocolate, Key Lime Pie, Red Velvet Cake and original.

Yogurt Bar Selection

You move down to choose from a huge selection of toppings, from chocolate, gummy bears, nuts, fruits, mocha, lychee, oreo’s. You name it, they probably have it.

Fruit toppings
Fruit toppings
Candy Candy Candy!!!
Candy Candy Candy!!!

Lastly, you choose the syrup. I decided to forgo this, I had enough candies piled in my cup to give me a sugar high to last me for at least half a day.

syrup
syrup

They charge by weight. Not sure how Menchie’s compares to others in terms of price ie Qoola and Pink Berry but, you sure do get a lot more variety of toppings. As for the yogurt itself, the quality of the yogurt is a tad bit better at Pink Berry but, it’s also a lot pricier and, you only get 2 toppings. My frozen yogurt cost me $3, how can you not be happy?

Frozen yogurt goodness
Frozen yogurt goodness

Walking out of the store with a cup full of goodness, who wouldn’t be jealous? I kept on getting hungry stare downs. Didn’t care, I was already on a high.

Menchie's Frozen Yogurt on Urbanspoon

Deer Garden Signature – Richmond’s Fave Noodle House

Deer Garden a popular Chinese noodle house in Richmond is almost always packed. They are known for their steaming hot flavorful bowls of noodles and their very low prices.

I am a sucker for steaming bowls of noodles and, usually it’s the main reason why I would be in Richmond. I have yet to find a comparable of noodle house outside of Richmond.

Reputed grilled beef tongue – so tender, I would absolutely re-order this dish. Pan fried and sprinkled with salt & pepper. $6.95 4.5/5. Not for the squeamish, you cannot mistake this body part, it’s a tongue you are eating.

Grilled Beef Tongue

Fish filet, crispy and hot on the outside and flaky on the inside. Reminded of something you can eat at PNE. 3/5

Breaded fish filet

You can select from a selection of soups and toppings. Their signature fish soup is their best seller.

Fish puffs squid, vermicelli 7.95. I’ve been to so hot pot and cattle café, also in Richmond, and Deer Garden beats it out of the park. The broth was not as oily as some places and the portions were huge, I had two dinners out of this dish. Loved that it came out steaming hot, unfortunately, I was impatient and greedy and burnt my tongue. 4.5/5

Chinese Creamy fish broth noodle soup

Fish broth with veggies, pig’s blood and fish balls. Alright, I was never a fan of chunks of stewed blood. The broth was the same as the previous dish, not much different than the previous dish.

Fish Broth Noodle Soup

Deer Garden Signatures 鹿園魚湯米線 on Urbanspoon

Similar Restaurants in Vancouver

Chef Hung Beef Noodle House

Richmond Cheap Eats Food Tour
Damso Korean

JJ’s Restaurant – Best Lunch Deal

VCC culinary school is one of my favorite lunch spots and, definitely on my list of best lunch deals. It is delicious, cheap and usually booked up a week in advance. It took many attempts to get a table of 6. Apparently the buffet needs to be booked 2 months in advance. Yea, it’s that good.

What I love about culinary school’s or cooking schools is that they make everything from scratch, no processed shortcuts.

Appies…

Charred Vancouver Island Octopus, Chorizo and chick pea stew $4. A damn good deal! It was good and the portions were similar to Hawksworth entrée sizes.

charred Octopus

Roasted vegetable soup was hearty and healthy $2.50

Roasted vegetable soup

Salmon, prawn and scallion cake with Thai lemongrass sauce $4 had a nice layering of flavors.
Salmon cake

Entrees…

Scallops with truffled potato gnocchi and crispy artichokes $10. This creamy dish was very filing. My friend who can usually eat for 2 was full. I would have preferred if the gnocchi had more buoyancy, it was too soft.

scallops with truffled potato gnocchi

Slow cooked leg of lamb and pan roasted loin, rosemary jus $10. The meat was tender and flavourful. It’s $10 for lamb and loin!

Lamb leg and loin

I had to call attention to the sides, Cucumber and squash was pretty and delicious.

Cucumber & Squash

Related Lunch Deals:

Hawksworth at Georgia
Fairmont Hotel Waterfront – Herons
Joe Fortes


JJ's Restaurant (VCC) on Urbanspoon

Culinary Art School – Art Institute of Vancouver

One of the more acclaimed culinary school tucked on Granville. The quality of food is superb. Compared to VCC’s JJ’s Restaurant the price point was a little more expensive.

Service was impeccable and welcoming. It’s kinda endearing when young to be cooks shyly serves you.

Butternut squash with apples, this was delicious mmm…$7
Butternut squash with apples soup

Arugula & beet salad, portion is smaller than usual but, still very refreshing.
Arugula & beet salad

Braised lamb butternut squash risotto and pear. The risotto was a nice switch to the usual cream and loads of butter. $19
Braised lamb butternut squash risotto

I recommend reservations, this place gets packed for lunch.

Related Lunch Specials:

JJ’s Restaurant at Vancouver Community College

Joe Fortes

Culinaria on Urbanspoon

Cartems Donuterie – Claim to Fame

DONUTS. This word is enough to induce Homer Simpson into a trance-like drool. Lately this word is on the tip of most foodies’ tongues.

How so?  One donut company that has been on my radar is Cartems Donuterie. This donuterie is known to use fresh, locally sourced, and organic ingredients. Their claim to fame is their handmade donuts are offered in a variety of creative flavors and are one of the shops that offer vegan and gluten-free donuts.

Caroline (Food Persuasion) and I set out on this tasty adventure and found out that we should have waited at the shop when we first arrived. When we came back a few minutes before opening time, she was shocked to see a line up form in front of the shop.

Since the shop is located on Hastings and Carrall (edge of Gastown), you’re bound to find some very interesting characters there. Some of the interesting passer-bys thought that we were crazy lining up for a $3 donut. Damn, these donuts should be tasty!

Another interesting character to note was the man on a bike near the door. He was a hoot! He blurted out that he doesn’t believe in lining up but rather go in and grab what he needs and leave. “This is how I got this muffin!”, he boasts. Then HE went on to say how good the donuts are at Cartems. One guy in the lineup pointed out to the man that he had a muffin (mind you, it was a Superstore sized jumbo muffin). The man scoffs, “This thing? Meh!” and pretends to throw it over his shoulder. Everyone in the lineup had a good laugh before proceeding to buy the yummy donuts.

Initially, my intention was to get the Maple Bacon Bourbon. After hearing that the first 2 people in the line bought all of them, my heart was broken.

what was left

Caroline and I decided to get different donuts to try, instead. I got The Campfire and the Earl Grey and Caroline got the Breakfast donut and the Triple Chocolate threat.

After purchasing the donuts, we went to International Village to sample our goodies.

The first donut we tried was the Triple Chocolate Threat. This is a chocolate donut dipped in chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crisp Callebaut chocolate pearls. This chocolate donut was slightly dense and dry. It wasn’t as rich as I expected. However, I loved how the chocolate pearls gave texture to this donut.

Triple Threat Donut - Cartems Donuterie

The next donut we tried was the Breakfast donut. This was a baked whole wheat donut with organic figs, flax seeds and honey. Densely packed with healthy ingredients, this donut tasted like a healthy pancake. It also had pockets of honey which was a pleasant surprise.

Breakfast donut - Cartems Donuterie

The third donut we had was The Campfire. It was a chocolate donut dipped in chocolate ganache, sprinkled with graham crumbs, and topped with a handmade vanilla marshmallow that’s drizzled with chocolate. This was the ultimate s’mores donut! This donut was light and chocolately and not sugary sweet. It was my favorite chocolate donut! The handmade marshmallow was definitely a nice touch.

Campfire Donut - Cartems Donuterie

Last but not least, was the Earl Grey donut. This was an earl grey cake donut with an earl grey glaze, sprinkled with mallow flowers (flowers used in earl grey tea). This donut was slightly dense and the subtle flavour of the tea comes through after one bite. This was my favorite donut of the ones I’ve tried!

Earl Grey Donut - Cartems Donuterie

Overall, Cartems Donuts are definitely worth it! It’s made with locally sourced organic ingredients and are handmade. They come in many creative flavors and are simply delicious! I also recommend visiting the shop as the owners, Rags, was fantastic, as you can see him and his team being passionate in what they do. (Not to mention the interesting characters you’ll see when you are waiting in line for the donuts.)

One day, I hope to try all the flavors.

One day, the Maple Bourbon Bacon donut will be mine! 😛

Cartems Donuterie (Pop-up Shop) on Urbanspoon


Author:

Anita of (Petite Foodie)

A Dynamo Food Blogger with an infectious enthusiasm for sharing her love of delicious food with others. You can reach her on twitter @petitefoodie or check out her blog Petite Foodie

Related Eateries:
Giovanne Cafe
Thierry Patisserie
Ganache Patisserie