Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck

A long, long time ago, my spuddy Potato had given me gave me the inside scoop on Nordstrom’s VIP BFF premiere event; I had booked facials, bra fittings and makeovers for my bestie KitKat and I (all free of cost). And after a whole morning of being pampered, picking off the delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts, recieving mountains of free samples and enabling each other to make purchases (portion of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Foundation), KitKat and I hit the streets of downtown Vancouver with our high spirits and radiant post shopping glow. While we strolled around as advertising agents of Nordstrom with our gazillion shopping bags, we came across Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck and KitKat suggested we get a sandwich to share as we haven’t officially had lunch yet (though we’ve been munching throughout the morning). I couldn’t resist, so we split a sandwich before the two of us split.

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Mom’s Grilled cheese Truck has daily specials and classic grilled cheeses which you can customize.We ordered a classic grilled cheese on sourdough with havarti cheese ($8) and made it a super-deluxe with double smoked bacon and avocado (+$1.75 each). If avocado is available as an add on, you can count on KitKat ordering it.

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Just look at this beauty gleaming in the sun. It was ooey gooey goodness. The slices of toast were nicely buttered and the avocado added a smooth creaminess that mellowed out the saltiness of the cheese. The only complaint I have is that I don’t eat fast enough as cheese cools down and congeals too quickly, but that’s no fault of Mom’s of course.

Mom's Grilled Cheese Truck Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe

There was a huge storm and power outage yesterday and all of my plans ended up getting cancelled. But other than blown over trees and traffic, everything seems back to normal. Mamallama, Baby-Paca and I had made plans to catch up over dim sum with my auntie, uncle and cute little cousin at Kirin today. My giggly little cousin’s grown so much since I’ve last seen her (she’s in second grade now), but she never fails to tell me that I’m pretty and that I’m her favourite. While I was slightly embarrassed over the fact she said it over the table for everyone to hear, I was actually quite flattered. She just makes my heart melt.

I don’t know the reason, but I’m very unmotivated to write about dim sum or the typical Canton style restaurants. Perhaps because I usually only remember the names of the dishes in Chinese, or because I’ve just been so saturated with it that I don’t feel compelled to talk about the experience anymore. I’ll probably get around to it sometime though.

Moving on to the main subject of this post, after dim sum, we drove to Thierry for dessert because who doesn’t love cake? Not I. The cafe was relatively busy at 4:30 in the afternoon. Their tables are small with little elbow room and placed quite close to one another. Not very suitable for big groups. We were at the counter trying to decide what to order for the longest time as everything looked scrumptious, but we finally decided on 3 cakes and a macaron.

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Thierry’s Le Russe ($7.75) was composed of hazelnut dacquoise, feuilletine, and praline buttercream. The top layer of the cake was soft and had a marshmallowy texture, while the bottom layer had a crunch to it, which provided an excellent textural contrast. The hazelnut dacquoise in the middle was full of nutty flavour, however, the dollops of praline buttercream were a bit too sweet and overpowering. 

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Mamallama likes chocolate, so we ordered the Chocolate Succe ($6.75) for her. The cake had hazelnut meringue and dense chocolate mousse encased in tempered 70% chocolate. The chocolate shell was firm, making it difficult to cut into. The hazelnut meringue and the chocolate mousse were both smooth and tasty without being too sweet. The bottom layer of the cake had the same crunchy component as the Le Russe. 

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While our server recommended the MilleFeuille ($5.75) (she said it was one of her favourites, tasty and not too sweet), it turned out to be our least favourite. The tahitian vanilla bean pastry cream tasted like Bavarian cream and had a gelatinous custard like consistency. The puff pastry was light and provided a slight crunch, however, there was just too much cream and too little pastry in comparison. While the pastry cream and puff pastry wasn’t too sweet, the fondant on top was cloyingly sweet, which ended up making the cake as a whole too sweet.

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Again, we took our server’s suggestion when we were choosing the flavour of the macaron. We got the white chocolate raspberry ($2.25). While I enjoyed the raspberry jan in the centre, I didn’t really like anything else about it. It was incredibly soft. Unfortunately, I like the chewier kind of macarons. It was also a tad too sweet.

Sometimes you just need to hear someone else’s opinion to confirm your own decisions. You know what I mean? But I thought it’d be rude to ask for suggestions and not take any of them. Nevertheless, I think we should risk coming off a little cheeky and follow our hearts next time. Overall, the desserts were decent, but maybe just not what we had in mind.

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THIERRY CHOCOLATERIE PATISSERIE CAFE
+1 604 608 6870
West End
1059 Alberni Street, Vancouver

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

After an awesome day of slip and slide with an enthusiastic hub of Vancouverites, we changed out of our bikinis, deflated our inner tubes and hopped on the SeaBus. KitKat wanted to slurp some noodles, so we scurried off to Santouka for ramen. It was around 10pm when we got there but it was still bustling with people. Luckily they had seats for us at the bar.

Santouka is by far our favourite authentic ramen joint in Vancouver. You know they’re good when there’s always a long line up outside their shop. Service is swift and their noodles are always perfectly cooked to al dente, and quality is consistent. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with Santouka.

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KitKat and I ordered their goro-niku gyoza ($5.95) to share. These pan fried pork dumplings were delectable. The skin was thin and perfectly crispy on the bottom. The pork inside was juicy and full of flavour.

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KitKat ordered the kara miso ($11.45). Initially, I was going to get the kara miso too since I was feeling a little chilly from being in and out of the water, but after our long walk down Robson, my body warmed up and I no longer wanted something steamy and hot. I opted for the tsuke-men ($12.45) instead, where the ramen is served cold on the side with a bowl of their hot simmered pork bone soup seasoned with shoyu for dipping. The tonkotsu broth was rich and creamy and had deep, concentrated flavours, without being overly fatty or salty. There were pieces of menma (fermented/braised bamboo shoots) tender cubes of pork, aji-tama (soft boiled egg) and green onions in the soup. While I expected the egg to have a semi runny centre, it was overcooked and not short of being hardboiled. The ramen noodles in the tsuke-men are different from the usual noodles they use in all their other ramen selections. These dipping noodles are slightly thicker, denser, and chewier. The portion of noodles are also bigger. I ended up packing about a third of my ramen home. I’ve had Santouka’s tsuke-men before, but I had forgotten what it tasted like and thought I’d try it again. While it was good, it wasn’t as amazing as the kara miso. I prefer the smaller portion size, complexity of the spicy miso broth and thinner noodles.

After ramen, we frolicked over to Chatime to top off our day with some tasty boba. While a cellphone (water damage) and a pair of (KitKat’s) sandals were lost (twice) today, we still had a fantastic time. The following day I made the upgrade and got a new phone (finally). Some memories are gone forever, but that makes room for new and better ones, right? At least that’s what I try to convince myself.  In the end, we just gotta cherish what we have while we still have it. I’m still struggling to come to terms with the concept of loss, but good food and awesome company undoubtedly makes the disheartening task easier. Carrying on…

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HOKKAIDO RAMEN SANTOUKA
+1 604 681 8121
West End
1690 Robson Street, Vancouver

Chatime

After dinner at Tropika, KitKat, Jujube and I headed over to Chatime.  It was blazing hot, and bubble tea had been on my mind the entire day. Claiming to be the #1 bubble tea brand in the world, I felt like I had to try it. I’ve passed by the downtown location quite a few times before, but every time I was either in a hurry or was too full.

When we got there, there was a line (like usual), which gave us a bit of time to decide on what we wanted as the menu was pretty extensive. I was deciding between the jasmine green tea mousse or pearl milk tea. KitKat and I ended up ordering a regular jasmine green tea mousse ($4.50 plus .50 cents for pearls) and Jujube ordered a regular pearl milk tea ($4.30). Customization options were available for sweetness and amount of ice.

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The jasmine green tea mousse is supposed to have 2 discernible layers, the mousse/milkcap layer, and the tea layer. However, I received my drink partially mixed so my jasmine green tea appears slightly milky (KitKat’s was unmixed). The proper way to drink it is without the straw with your mouth to the rim of the cup so that you can taste the flavour of the tea and the mousse/milk cap separately before it blends in your mouth to create that perfect milky tea medley. I had the straw just so I could get the pearls. The freshly brewed jasmine green tea was fragrant, light and refreshing, but I felt like the mousse/milkcap could’ve been thicker and a little more salty. There was also a coconut-y aftertaste to the mousse/milkcap that I wasn’t very crazy about. It was still good, but not amazing. I guess my tastebuds have been spoiled by Lattea’s milkcap teas in Taiwan (they were the best!)  The pearls were good, but they totally don’t compare to Half and Half’s honey boba in LA, which are always made fresh and sweetened with honey (they’re still warm when they’re served with your cold drinks!)

I also got to taste Jujube’s pearl milk tea, which is Chatime’s top pick. It was delicious, which made me regret my decision on the jasmine green tea mousse. The milk tea was aromatic and velvety smooth. It had the perfect ratio of tea to milk.

The regular size is actually a small, and the large is the typical standard size you’d get at other bubble tea places like Bubble World or Bubble Queen. I thought the prices were kind of steep compared to other places. Nevertheless, I think I’ll be returning just for their pearl milk tea, and I’m definitely going to get the large next time, because it’s just that good (not to mention it’s a better deal).

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CHATIME
+1 604 699 9119
West End
1274 Robson Street, Vancouver

Tropika

It was girls’ night and KitKat, Jujube and I were actually on our way over to Guu Garlic when we passed by Tropika, Jujube got excited and asked us whether we’d be down for some Thai food instead. Since our feet were aching and our stomaches were growling from some intense shopping (it’s hard work, k?) we were totally down for some immediate gratification as Guu was still a few blocks away and would probably have a wait list.

We were brought to our seats promptly and we immediately began browsing through the menu. We started off with some drinks. KitKat got Tropika’s Sunset, Jujube got Deep Blue Sky and I got a Lychee Daiquiri. I was under the impression that my lychee daiquiri was going to be alcohol free since it was listed under virgin cocktails (didn’t see any daiquiris in the cocktails list), but SUPRISE! it had alcohol. It was also a $3 up charge. I didn’t mind it, it tasted good, but unfortunately for me, I got the bad end of the gene pool when it comes to the Asian glow so I gave KitKat my drink near the end because I didn’t want to be red when we hit the streets. Out of all our drinks, Tropika’s Sunset tasted the most boozy. The Deep Blue Sky was refreshing with peachy notes, the blue colour was also really pretty.

For food, we ordered roti, satay skewers, Indonesian spring rolls, pad thai and green curry chicken.

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Roti canai ($6.25): The ideal roti consists of thin flaky dough, fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside. This Malay flatbread was flakey, and had a nice buttery flavour, however, I would’ve preferred if it had a crispier exterior. It was still pretty tasty with the thin curry dipping sauce it was served with though.

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Satays (choice of beef, lamb, pork or chicken. Min order of 6 sticks at $1.50 each): We ordered beef, lamb and chicken. The meat had a nice char on the outside and was tender and juicy on the inside. The flavourful chunky peanut sauce was nutty and spicy with a touch of sweetness, which went great with the skewers.

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Indonesian spring rolls ($5.50): Pan fried chicken, Chinese mushroom, and shredded jicama, served in a crispy shell of deep-fried flour and crushed peanuts. This was my least favourite dish. The inside of the spring roll was almost entirely all jicama (Mexican turnip) which just tasted bland and starchy. The aggressive flavours of the sweet and spicy chill sauce made up for the lack of flavours of the spring roll, but the filling was a little disappointing.

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Pad thai ($14.95): Stir fried rice noodle with chicken, shrimp and tofu with bean sprouts, crushed peanuts and lime on the side. In the menu description, they forgot to mention they also add tomatoes. That’s not really a problem, but the sauce just tasted too tomatoey. I was promised flavours of tamarind, fish sauce, peanuts and lime, but instead, I got spicy tomato. The shrimp also tasted a bit overcooked, but everything else was alright.

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Thai green curry chicken ($16.95): Chicken, green beans and eggplants in green chili coconut milk curry. I was bummed that this didn’t have potatoes (because I like potatoes). The curry was very aromatic, and smooth and creamy. KitKat doesn’t like eggplants, but I thought they were the bomb. The eggplants had deep flavours (I think they were roasted beforehand?) and were soft without being overly mushy. I bit into it and it was just like an explosion of flavour. KitKat doesn’t know what she’s missing out on. The chicken was tender, but they tasted like the leaner cuts of meat, which have a slightly tougher texture (but without the dryness). We were unaware that the curry didn’t come with rice, so we ordered 2 bowls of Hainan rice to go with our curry, which pretty much arrived right away.

Overall, we had a nice time at Tropika. Except the fact that KitKat and Jujube were laughing at me the entire time I was trying to get that money shot (Jk. I had a pretty good time too, but food blogging is serious business, ok? Hahah). Anyway, service was polite, glasses were refilled before they were empty, our food arrived quickly, and dirty dishes were promptly removed. Tropika also has another location in Fairview and Lansdowne, Richmond.

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TROPIKA
+1 604 737 6002
West End
1128 Robson Street, Vancouver