Tag Archives: Food

Minami | Japanese Restaurant

Today, I wanted to introduce one of my favorite Japanese restaurant in town, Minami. They are very famous for their oshi sushi – also they are a sister company with Miku (another beautiful restaurant located at Waterfront, downtown). Minami is located in Yaletown, which is full of famous and delicious restaurant. I love Yaletown because […]

Smoothie Bowl

Last week I tried out my own version of a smoothie bowl! It’s quite a simple treat to make, and honestly, you can eat it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! It’s pretty healthy so that’s always a plus! Fruit is one of my favourite foods so I can definitely see myself making this in the near …

The post Smoothie Bowl appeared first on Lafleur Lifestyle.

Hot Pot Should Come with a Waiver

*feature photo is not my own. Our table was an absolute disaster of sauce and epic destruction, and the photos I did take caused me great shame.

Rain drop, drop top, cookin’ up RAW CHICKEN IN THE HOT POT POT.

I’m a lucky lady. Despite stating the contrary on a daily basis, I am. OK, so maybe I have normal day-to-day tribulations that make many people close to me utter, “that would only happen to you…’.
Just last week, I went on a hike, and right as I walked under a tree… it decided to drop a load of snow directly onto my head and neck. No one else. Just me.
Two weeks ago, my dog selected me for night time cuddles. Yay! She threw up in my bed at 3 in the morning.
One month ago, I lit a candle in my room. My mom negligently tossed my fleece pullover onto it while returning it to my room, sending it up in flames.

OK, maybe the last one isn’t ‘bad luck’, but rather a chat I need to be having with my mom about not putting clothing articles on an open flame.

Lauren, what does this have to do with hot pot?

Oh, I’m so glad you asked! I’m a lucky lady – my family is fantastic… and smart: they know I’m a lot kinder when fed, and we semi-regularly go out as a unit for what we like to call ‘International Food Night’. In the past, we’ve explored Thai, Malaysian, Himalayan, Indian, and so on. This week, we settled on Hot Pot!

Upon arriving, we were shown to our table and hastily given a giant page with a bunch of noodle, veg, meat, and soup options with boxes beside the seemingly-hundreds of items. Kind-of like the pages to receive at an ‘all you can eat’ restaurant, except just one page for the whole table. It took us 45 minutes to finally figure out what to do and what to select, and decisions were only made out of sheer hunger, stress, and anxiety over having absolutely no idea what we were doing. With a few recommendations from a server (that finally came over after us trying to wave someone down), we settled on getting 2 large pots, split into 4 types of soup broth, with mushrooms, leafy veg, spicy beef, chicken, scallops, and prawns.

I do not recommend doing it this way if you are a first-timer. 

If you don’t know what hot pot is, basically you have a conduction burner or 2 in front of you, you choose a bunch of stuff, some broth, and you cook the food yourself (right in front of you, at your table) in the pots of bubbling broth.

Everything started to arrive at the table, and panic ensued. This place was not noob-friendly, and being a bunch of noobs, we started to fight over how we should do it. My dad tried to convince us that you are meant to take a singular piece of meat (or veg) into some chopsticks and submerge it in the broth, holding onto the meat with your chopsticks the whole time its cooking. For about 7 minutes, we all sat there like idiots, spending 3 minutes on drowning each bite in broth.

Finally, we all decided that you’re supposed to dump all the meat into the broth, let it cook, and spoon it into your bowls. But for how long??? I let the chicken cook in the broth, took a piece out, checked it and noticed it was pink in the middle so I put it back in and grabbed that same piece of chicken after a couple more minutes and ate it. Everything from here on out was kind of a guess and check experience. At one point I took a scallop out, and convinced it was cooked through I took a bite…. discovering it was indeed NOT COOKED.

People were staring.

We finished our food and all decided that that was an experience, if anything. We also all decided that we were dumb.
As if we needed any confirmation on our collective stupidity, my sister looked up and noticed there were video instructions looping on a big screen right in front of us. The whole time. Instructions. 

Looking around, our table was in complete carnage. Sauce and green onions and broth was spilled everywhere, the entire family sweating up a storm because we foursome reason thought that “Extra Spicy Thai Red Chili” broth was a good idea.

The long and the short of it: hot pot is not for the faint of heart, and it should come with a waiver. Oh, and read the video  instructions – I am still certain I ate raw chicken! It was fun, and I’m sure delicious if you knew what you were doing, so if you go, bring someone that knows what they’re doing… because the staff is not interested in helping.


5 Ways to eat Healthier

Everyone has the struggle of wanting to eat healthy but also craving McDonald’s. So, how can we eat healthier but still remain happy? Today, I’m here to share my tips & tricks to eat and stay healthy. Have small portions but eat more frequently.This is my biggest tip that I can share with you guys. […]

SANDWICHES#1: Smokehouse Sandwich Co.

Not too sure what cuisine sandwiches would be under…

I didn’t know where to get lunch after class today, so I looked on google maps, which is how I like to decide on a place to eat.  I totally forgot about this little hidden gem in Downtown Vancouver. I’ve eaten in the Vancouver location once before, but the Richmond location is way more official. The Smokehouse Sandwich Co. downtown is hidden in an office tower, that overlooks a beautiful courtyard. Such a relaxing place to eat, especially if you’re alone, and on a nice day, like today.

The staff is really nice, they even gave me a free drink, a hot cup of honey ginger lemon. They gave me a free drink last time I came here too, which was a while ago. Although, it’s a free drink, I don’t like ginger… But I didn’t want to be rude, so I tried to finish as much as I could. It’s not bad, its sweet, a little sour and spicy from the ginger. It’s perfect if you’ve got a sore throat.

They also have cute mason jars for water and cold drinks.

The sandwich wasn’t the most photogenic sandwich ever, but don’t judge a book by it’s cover right? I ordered the Samson – coffee-crusted strawberry-glazed beef brisket with aioli, red bell peppers & lettuce. Honestly, I was disappointed, because it wasn’t as flavorful and juicy as I remember. I think they didn’t add enough aioli. And instead of just red bell peppers, there were also green and yellow, which isn’t a problem if you don’t discriminate between bell peppers.  Especially for a $10 sandwich, I was expecting more.

Perhaps this location is a franchise of the Richmond location, and they don’t make the sandwich as good as they do at the OG (original). 

While I was writing this post, I found out the Richmond Smokehouse Sandwich is on Foodora. Next time I’m stuck at home and hungry, I know what to get.

Til’ next food adventure,
keep munchin’!

Jethro’s Fine Grub

You haven’t experienced a pancake breakfast until you’ve been to Jethro’s Fine Grub. Not only does this petite diner offer meals at delicious prices. They also offer servings that are literally overflowing the plate and takes courage to consume the whole meal in one sitting.

It’s advised that you get there at 7:30 because a line is always quick to form and there isn’t a large number of seats available in the restaurant. I personally got the Gold Rush which was delicious and a great deal considering the amount of food I got for $14.

I highly recommend giving this restaurant a go next time you consider getting Brunch on the weekend as this place is perfect for both hangover meals and family brunch. Just make sure you get there early as possible for I cannnot stress enough how quickly this place gains a line.


TAKO is a korean taco shop, located right next to the Stadium-Chinatown skytrain station.

I always go there whenever I’m in the area. It’s a cute little restaurant, opened not too long ago. More of a quick eats kind of place, with stools and no round tables, but seating along the walls/window. Check out their Instagram for some nicer pictures.

I splurged and got two pretty filling items. First I got the BBQ short rib Tako poutine. Fries covered in salsa, small pieces of short rib, cheese sauce, mayo, and green onions. What  I love about Korean food is that they marinade their meat in a sweet and savory sauce almost like teriyaki. This combination of toppings and fries is very flavorful and creamy. Even though it took a while to bring this home, the fries weren’t soggy, which is great. Only downside is that the poutine is a little pricey at almost $9.

It was also their happy hour, so I got the Chicken Mayo Rice Bowl at $8. You can also get 3 tacos, a burrito, and quesadillas for $8 each from 2-5  on weekdays. Again the mayonnaise makes this dish very creamy. Chicken is fried but not crunchy, surprisingly. I’ve eating it at the restaurant before, and it still wasn’t crunchy. The soy sauce they use, its nice and sweet, which I LOVE.

 I don’t know any other Korean taco shop! Awesome place for a quick bite. Even though I think it’s a bit pricey for the proportions, it is Downtown Vancouver, so it isn’t out of the ordinary. Check it out!


Til’ next food adventure,
keep munchin’!

Chai Pumpkin Pie

Last week, midterm season had me feeling pretty stressed out. And when I’m stressed out, I eat. The other day, I ate 2 bags of popcorn in one sitting.  Anyways, I was on Pinterest the other day and came across the ultimate comfort food recipe: chai pumpkin pie. What better way to cure my midterm woes than by eating some chai pumpkin pie? I know pumpkin pie is popular around Thanksgiving, but who says I can’t eat it in March? Let me live, people. Seriously though, pictures don’t do justice to how amazing this pie is. It looks like a 2/10, but it tastes like a 10/10.

The original recipe was posted by food blogger Half Baked Harvest but I ended up making a few minor adjustments. I didn’t have any nutmeg at home so I used a bit of extra cinnamon. I also swapped out the heavy whipping cream for some plain heavy cream. I’m sure the recipe would be just as great with other minor adjustments. I ended up with some extra pie filling, so you could probably get away with using a crust that’s larger than 8 inches. Overall, I can say that this pie successfully cured my midterm woes, and I will definitely make it again in the future. What are your favourite pie recipes? Let me know in the comments below!

Chai Pumpkin Pie

  • 1 pie crust ((Home made or store bought, 8 inches))
  • 1 can pumpkin puree ((15 oz, or 2 table spoons under 2 cups) )
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I put the sugar into a blender until it was superfine)
  • 2 tsp real maple syrup
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  2. After refrigerating pie crust for at least 1 hour, cover crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Cover foil/parchment paper with beans, rice, or other pie weights. Blind bake crust for 25 minutes. 

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, eggs, maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, cloves, cardamom, ginger, salt, and pepper.

  4. Pour mixture into the pie crust and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes or until the pie is firm.

  5. Remove pie from oven and let cool. Refrigerate once cool. 

  6. Serve with whipped cream or other topping of your choice. Enjoy!

DINEOUT #3: Coasts

Another fine dining restaurant in downtown Vancouver, coasts, turned out to be my favorite dineout this year.

Originally, my friends and I were a party of 10, but 5 of them couldn’t make it in time because of an accident (don’t worry they’re okay). But we still got our nice room and long table. The waiter was probably the highlight of this Dineout experience. He definitely stood out with his service and outgoing and funny personality. All of my friends agreed that this guy was an awesome waiter. He even explained how our lobster bisque was made, and about his favorite Netflix series.

Speaking of which, we all ordered the lobster bisque for our appetizer. I really liked it! It was really creamy and not overwhelming. Very simplistic, since it was just soup with nothing else inside. Although there’s not lobster in it, you can definitely still taste it. Not the best presentation, but it was quickly brought to us hungry kids.

The Coast Cioppino was the popular choice of entree for my group. Beautiful presentation. A nice salmon filet on top of some snow crab, mussels, clams, and tomato broth. The salmon wasn’t dry but not as soft as I wanted it to be. And the snow crab was sweet and juicy. The other entree I got to try was the Pork Chop Tonkatsu. I enjoyed the sauce and how the pork was more tender than the average Pork Tonkatsu.

And the absolute best part of the meal, the dessert, was this beautiful banana coconut cake. It was still warm, which I think is crucial for this dessert to taste as good as it did. I love caramel, and the drizzle as well as the strawberry pieces enhanced the already delicious cake.

Again, my favorite experience this year. Great service, great food and great company.

Til’ next food adventure,
keep munchin’!


POKE #1: Poke Time

This is actually my second post about poke, the first one was about how Pokeritto is one of my favorite places to eat. I’ve been wanting to try new places for poke, and one of my classmates talked about Poke time. The Poke Time I went to was conveniently located next to the Chipotle downtown. the restaurant looks cute, and had an insta-worthy background. There were even some avocado seeds in cups for you to take home and grow! I would’ve took one but I had to rush home in the snow.

(ignore my extremely grown out nails)

By the way, follow my food Twitter @PICKIEATER_, didn’t really want to make a food instagram since I already have two accounts.

So here’s what I got in my poke bowl:

  • half salad half rice
  • Hawaiian marinated salmon
  • Hawaiian marinated albacore tuna
  • sweet onion
  • crab salad
  • seaweed salad
  • corn
  • masago
  • garlic chips
  • crispy onions
  • Hawaiian original sauce
  • citrus ponzu sauce
  • roasted sesame sauce

My first impression was that the bowl was really small, especially for $12, and in comparison with Pokeritto. The options are almost the same, but some toppings were extra charge, like tamago. A topping that Pokeritto doesn’t have that I was excited to try were the garlic chips, however, it turns out that its a hard texture rather than crunchy. My biggest issue with my bowl was that it was too salty. I think this might’ve been because I chose the marinated fish, and in combination with the sauces I added, it became a bit too salty. Next time I’m going to just get salmon and tuna without the marinade, and it’ll probably be better. And despite looking like a small bowl, it filled me up. I’ll definitely come back to try it again.

(just looking at these pictures makes me crave poke)


Til’ next food adventure,
keep munchin’!

5 Mindful Ways to Save Money on Buying Food

Okay, let’s be honest. No matter how hard you try to meal prep or bring food from home, it’s sometimes not satisfying enough or you’re still craving for more. I bring food sometimes, but other times I buy food; it’s all about the balance. No matter the reason, we eat out and that’s okay. Here are 5 little things you can keep in mind next time you go out for food:


1. Skip the Drink(s)

Try to opt for water because it’s free and good for you. Also, it adds up; but don’t be afraid to order that one drink once in a while though.



2. Keep Tips in Mind

If you’re at a sit-down restaurant, don’t forget to tip! It’s good to always add extra dollars/percentages when browsing the menu. Then, when you order your food, you will be fully aware of how much you will be spending.


3. Bring Food

I’ve yet to perfect the art of meal prepping, so I try to bring as many snacks or leftovers as I can with me. If I have a short class day, then I bring some snacks with me and wait until I come home to eat. If I have longer days, I’ll bring extra snacks and eat them throughout the day. However, if you’re not satisfied with that, try purchasing foods that are priced on the lower end (or something small aka something cheap). Then you won’t have to spend as much AND still satisfy your cravings.

4. Limit your Treats

Spending smart requires awareness. A way to limit yourself on overspending is to think, “well, I just bought ice cream a few days ago, I’ll skip this time”, or “I decided to not buy that frappuccino last week, I think I’ll treat myself today”. Another way to approach this is to limit ‘treats’ for celebrations such as finishing a midterm or overcoming an obstacle.

5. Plan Ahead

If your income for the upcoming week(s) isn’t looking too good, try to not eat out (or maybe just something small one day out of the week), but if it’s a thick paycheque, enjoy those cravings (or save your money!).

Snowy Village

Shaved ice is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time. I found this amazing little place called Snowy Village near Coquitlam centre that does shaved ice really well and also serves these really delicious sandwiches called Taiyaki. So far I have tried their Chocolate, Cheesecake, Oreo and Mango flavoured shaved ice aka Bingsoo. My fave has to be the Chocolate and Oreo with the cheesecake coming in next. I personally don’t like my deserts with fruit in them, therefore I would put the Mango Bingsoo last, however this is one of their most recommended flavours.


The seating area is quite cute. The chairs are fairly tiny, almost like a stool, but still sturdy enough to sit on.
Bingsoo is a Korean shaved ice dessert. This comes in various different flavours such as Oreo, Cheesecake, Injeolmi (Korean rice cake) and many more. This particular one is the Mango Bingsoo.
They also serve Croissant Taiyaki with various fillings inside it. This is the pizza Taiyaki which tastes like a grilled cheese sandwich.

Let me know what you think of shaved ice, have you tried it? Also let me know if you’ve heard of this place or been to it and what your thoughts are. I’d love to know!

-Shazia xx

DINEOUT #2: Chambar

Chambar is conveniently located right next to the chinatown stadium skytrain stop. I loved the design of the place as soon as I walked in! The interior had a romantic dark candle lit ambience and some artsy decor.

I think this was the first time eating Belgian cuisine, so it was a new experience. For the appetizer I ordered the Scampi. It consisted of four prawns and a side of preserved lemon and carrot salad with little pieces of pomegranate. Underneath the flavorful prawns was a creamy sauce, which I later found out was smoked baba ganoush. I’m not too big of a fan of the salad, but the pomegranate was nice and sweet.

Next up was the Gnocchi. Ricotta gnocchi surrounding a salad of greens, watermelon radish, apples, brown butter sauce and hazelnuts. It sounded delicious… but I regretted ordering it. Gnocchi was subtly cheesy, soft and slightly seared on the outside. But the salad was bitter, and again salads aren’t really my thing. But if you do like bitter greens, the apples and nuts add a great crunch. What I should’ve ordered was the braised lamb shank or the mussels. I had a taste of the lamb shank and it was so juicy and tender, not to mention, a generous serving.

For dessert was a chocolate mousse with a layer of what seemed like a softer version of oreo crumbs and espresso ice cream on top. I like espresso ice cream so the first two, layers tasted great together. But the mouse was very chocolatey and not very sweet, and I couldn’t finish it.

Not a bad experience, but it would’ve been better if I ordered a different entree and dessert. I didn’t have to pay the $40, since it was a treat. 😀


Hello again!

I apologize for not posting in… *gulp*… weeks. It was reading break, and this time around I actually had a lot of reading. That being said, I’m here now. Nobody panic.

Disclaimer: this is a long one. Be forewarned!

Last week was also Valentines Day. To be honest, I’m not one for the holiday. I think (know?) it was created by Hallmark in cahoots with Hershey’s to sell cards and kisses. So, I stuck it to the man and refused to go out on Valentines Day! ….we went out on the 13th instead. That’ll show ’em.

All kidding aside, I do like to go out once in a while for a nice dinner. After a little research we settled on Nightingale – a new, modern concept ‘Canadian cuisine’ restaurant that focusses on share plates and ‘social dishes’. The man behind it all is David Hawksworth, a critically acclaimed chef that first opened the very successful Hawksworth’s restaurant. Let’s just say, Hawksworth’s was out of our price range, and even if we could afford it, we wouldn’t have the clothes (or class) for it.

Nightingale was one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to.

My boyfriend and I made last minute reservations for 6:30 on February the 13th. We were told over the phone that they did have one table available, but asked if it was okay that it was a table in the lounge, where we would sit side-by-side and watch the action in the kitchen. We’re not picky so of course we said yes!

Our seats, in front of the action.

To say the decor is ‘cool’ would be an understatement. You walk in through double doors to be greeted by a friendly, casually-dressed host team. The dining room had tall ceilings, and a bar stretched from floor to ceiling – and I love a good bar. I can’t comment much more on the decor because it wouldn’t do it justice!

A terribly blurry photo of the terribly cool bar and high ceilings!

We were lead upstairs to our seats. It was better than we expected, actually, considering the ‘warning’ we were given on the phone. We sat in a booth seat sunken into the wall. It was more private than the average table, and it was right in front of the open-concept kitchen, like they said. It was also very hot, which was the only trade-off.

We were quickly greeted by not 1 server, but 2 servers and the expeditor (all at separate times, of course) who seemed to know what he was doing well enough to perhaps be someone that works in the kitchen as well? I can’t attest to this but we definitely felt looked after. The server advised us to order at least 3-4 plates to share amongst ourselves to get the full experience. We ordered some cocktails – which were delicious, might I add – and 3 items from the menu to start.

The Bramble
33 Acres Brewing – ‘Darkness’ Schwarzbier











First to come to the table was the Butternut squash tortelloni with sage brown butter, pumpkin seed, and goat gouda.
This is one of the best things I’ve eaten in a while. (For $17 for 6 tortellonis, it better be good.) The sauce was salty, but the creaminess of the pasta filling cut it for a perfect marriage of carby goodness.

Butternut squash tortelloni, sage brown butter, pumpkin seed, goat gouda.

Next we had the Roasted cauliflower with sunflower seeds and green harissa. Not sure what Harissa is but it was pretty damn good, whatever it was. I understand why they said to share because both these dishes were very rich while being a bit ‘one note’, so I think I would have been disappointed if I got this to myself and was the only thing I had. That being said, I definitely recommend this as part of the vegetable section, if you’re the type of person that conforms to eating vegetables. We were between this and the grilled broccolini, and thanks to our seats we were able to see the grilled broccolini go out and knew we made the right choice. (It was a pile of green).

Roasted cauliflower, sunflower seed, green harissa.

Last for dinner we got a pizza, upon the servers recommendation. It felt kind of strange to order a pizza when going out for a nice dinner but we took the advice and didn’t regret it! We opted for the Pork ‘nduja sausage, kale, roasted eggplant, fior di latte pizza whilst simultaneously avoiding having to attempt to pronounce ‘nduja. I let my boyfriend take the lead on that one. It was a proper Neapolitan style crust, which I can definitely appreciate. For $17, it was pretty standard. I think next time I wouldn’t get a pizza – it was delicious, but we saw a plethora of amazing options than were more unique, IMHO.

Pork ‘nduja sausage, kale, roasted eggplant, fior di latte.

By this point, we were completely stuffed. So we ordered dessert, because that’s the kind of people that we are.

You know when you eat something and and start laughing because that’s how good it is? The Salted caramel pot de creme did that for me. If you go here…. get this. ‘Nuff said.

Salted caramel pot de crème, whipped crème fraîche, butterscotch, vanilla breton.

Here’s a photo of something we saw and didn’t order but deserves to be seen because IT’S ON FIRE.

A flaming steak of sorts. I don’t get out much.

It’s done! We did it! If you made it this far, kudos. Reward yourself for reading my ramble by going to this restaurant, you deserve it!

TLDR: We went to Nightingale for not-not-Valentine’s day and it was good and the ambiance was cool and the servers were great and the food was delicious and I saw fire.



Nightingale by David Hawksworth is located at 1017 W. Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

Peer Review #2

Another peer review! This time around, it’s for Kim Kind of Cooks.

First impression: love the layout. It’s clean and simple, and I’m a slut for a good cooking blog (am I allowed to say that here? Let’s see how this goes). The blog itself reminds me that I haven’t actually added anything to my ‘home cooking’ page of my blog, which sparks an epiphany that I spend way too much money going out to eat… any who. Back to Kim Kind of Cooks – which, by the way, is a great blog name!

The About section is quirky, real, and honest. It is concise and explains a little bit of the why of the blog, as well as the what and the how. Kim has done an awesome job and I don’t think this page needs any tweaking! Also, love the bitmoji. It’s cute and relevant.

The three-photo layout is, IMHO, perfect for a recipe blog, as it shows more options at first glance! As we saw in tutorial, it’s also great that the photos and links to pages are hanging, or ‘half-showing’, which encourages the reader to keep scrolling. The pages make sense. I like that; the hanging menu for PUB 101, for example, categorizes it into sub headings of different assignments, which is awesome for navigation. On the topic of navigation, however, it’s unfortunate there is no ‘home’ button or icon to get back to the main page, considering how much I like it! Once you’ve clicked on a menu item, the only way to get back to the home page seems to be retyping in the url. Usability is great aside from this (and that’s saying something; just look at my Photoshop, AKA the Bane of My Existence post)
The Instagram feed on the sidebar looks great but there’s no clear link to the Instagram page itself. Sidebar makes recipe finding easy.

Grammar is great. No typos I could find except the recipe for Comfort Chili reads ‘Comfort Chill.’ Honestly, who doesn’t need a little comfort chill in their life though. I can’t wait to finally comfort chill after this week of exams.

The process posts I think are great and show knowledge of the readings and insight into class. Now that I look at this blog I actually think that I’ve been doing the process posts wrong…  Oops? I’ve still got time…

The recipes double up on ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner,’ but that is likely because there have only been 6 weeks, therefor 6 recipe posts and you don’t want a page to look naked! I feel this is already intended to be tweaked as more recipes get added, but I felt it was worth mentioning. What’s awesome though is the in-text links to the original recipes. Win.

Final note:loooooove baking with sour cream in it, so thank you for bringing your Sour Cream Banana Bread recipe into my life. Maybe I’ll finally have something to add to my ‘You Cooked?!” tab?


Dalina is a cafe & mini grocery store that is located in Chinatown (Main St. and E. Georgia). I heard many rumours about this mysterious place this year as one of Vancouver’s must go-to place. They serve some of the healthiest yet tasty dishes that have foods that can cater for everyone. In fact, people seem to be more attracted to its overall layout and design with its very aesthetic vibe. When the first thing you see is a marbled design wall, you know what kind of place you’re entering.

Interior of this place is absolutely stunning. Overall, gives me a very welcoming and elegant vibe. 

I ordered the Bicerin  ($5.25) which is one of their house specialties. The blend of espresso, dark chocolate and steamed milk is so flavourful and I’ve never had this experience anywhere else. The drinks are pricier compared to other cafes, but the presentation and HUGE portions make up for the price. 

After this experience, I feel like I’ve been cheated on by other coffee shops. This drink actually tasted like mocha. Not the chocolate to steamed milk ratio of 1:4. 

Gnocchi Pomodoro ($14.95):

I LOVE pasta and this dish caught my eye. Again, presentation was great but the taste was just average. I’m sure whether gnocchi normally has a distinct taste or not (since I’m not familiar with it) so I’d say I was able to enjoy the it for the chewy consistency. Also, I do wish if the dish was served warmer because the luke-warm temperature made the sauce and overall pasta to taste a little bland. Price is expensive, but so is everything else in Downtown. 

Insalata Toscana ($15.49):

My friend ordered this dish with the recommendation of the friendly staff there and this was AMAZING! It consists of free range chicken, pumpkin, kale, and some really good dressing that made eating healthy taste a lot better. I usually stay away anything kale-related because of it’s bitterness and consistency, but the way they prepared it for this dish was something I’ve never had. The portion was 1.5 x larger than the gnocchi (which is reasonable since it’s a salad), and my friend totally loved it, so did I!

Click here to look at their full menu!

The post Dalina appeared first on My blog.

Richmond, British Columbia

During the winter season, I’m always craving for noodle soup. I came upon this restaurant as I was driving to the supermarket.

The menu is very straightforward, you pick a soup base and the type of protein you want. There are also many side dishes to choose from. When you order your food it comes with 10 small dishes and your main protein in the middle. When they deliver the soup, it is extremely hot. You are suppose to put in the meat first to ensure that it will be completely cooked as well as your order ingredients.

You get a bowl a rice noodle that you put it last as it is already cooked and very hot it doesn’t need additional cooking time. *NOTE* you can get unlimited refills on the rice noodles. We also ordered the cold cut chicken with chili sauce which I think you can pass. The sauce was definitely not marinated enough and it seems to be lacking in the flavouring. I would still recommend you to go as the rice noodle soup is good and it’s not too expensive. You can also tell from the soup base that it tastes more natural and it advertises that there’s no MSG.

ADDRESS: 130-8100 Ackroyd Road, Richmond, BC V6X 3K2
PHONE: +1 604-370-3738

La Verne, California

During Remembrance Day long weekend, I visited a small town in California. I was craving pasta and we stumbled upon this Italian restaurant. Their pasta meals comes with garlic bread (picture below, top left) and a soup or a salad. If you know me, you would know that I’m not a salad girl. The soup was surprisingly good. I was expecting soup similar to Olive Garden which tends to be salty but the soup was surprisingly good with little noodle pieces and it was not salty.

We ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo which was better than what we expected. The noodles were thinner than the usual fettuccine we had (thinner as in flatter). The sauce was creamy but not too thick so it wasn’t too filling. We also ordered the lasagna, which we were a bit disappointed with. The sauce was a bit on the sour side and the cheese on the top was just one big layer of cheese which made it hard to cut through. The layers was a bit lacking.

We also ordered the four cheese pizza. Their pizzas are thin crust which I like because when you have less dough you can eat a lot more (at least that’s my way of thinking). It was a cheese pizza so I didn’t expect anything to go wrong and it didn’t. I would definitely go again to try out some other items on their menu.

ADDRESS: 2086 Foothill Blvd #D, La Verne, CA 91750, USA
PHONE: +1 909-593-8800
WEBSITE: http://pastacucinarustica.net/


Richmond, British Columbia

It’s winter and ’tis the season for hotpot! Honestly, to me, hotpot is all seasons, yes even in the summer~ (please remember there is air conditioners). The other day my sister and I went to a newly opened hotpot place in Richmond called: DolarShop. I believe is a chain store from China.

*Please note: there is a huge line wait and it is not AYCE (all you can eat) hotpot*

The benefit of this hotpot place is that you order your own soup base so it eliminates the difficulty of everyone sharing one pot (such as food allergies or people not eating certain things). They have many soup bases and I order the tomato one. *Also to note* that there is an additional $2.99 for condiments and fresh fruit which would be the sauce section, little appetizers like kimchi and peanuts, and they were serving watermelon at the time. It is unlimited.

Overall, the food was delicious (I don’t know how hotpot can go wrong unless their food was not fresh). Service was good but be prepared to be spoken in Chinese as long as you look Asian/Chinese. The down side was definitely the wait time. I would suggest going in earlier to put your name down as they take your phone number down. When it is almost your time to be seated they will give you a call. The design of DolarShop is very clean, modern, and bright which makes me feel more comfortable eating there because I can see what I’m eating.

ADDRESS: 720-5300 No. 3 Road, Richmond, BC V6X 2C7
PHONE: 604-370-7077
WEBSITE: http://www.dolarshop.com/en/Global.htm

Burn-Your-Face-Off-Spicy Soft Cauliflower Wings

How ya’ feeling today, champ? Doing alright? Feelin’ tough?

Well, if you’re feeling like you want to prove your toughness to the world then today’s recipe is perfect for you: Burn-Your-Face-Off-Spicy Soft Cauliflower Wings. After eating these bad boys, you’ll be able to walk into the Salty Spittoon no questions asked. Hell, you’ll get into the VIP section!

The reason these wings are so spicy is because this recipe calls for both tumeric and chili powder. Chili powder, as we all know, is quite the spicy customer, and its effects are increased with tumeric, the ingredient which gives curry its distinctive flavour. If you are able to handle the heat, tumeric has many health benefits, including being an antioxidant booster and having anti-inflammatory qualities.

This recipe requires a lot of bake time, so make sure you have an afternoon to yourself which you can make these during. Having said that, let’s get into the recipe!


  • Cauliflower (1 head)
  • Almond Milk (1/2 cup)
  • Water (1/2 cup)
  • Flour (3/4 cups)
  • Granulated garlic  (2 tsp)
  • Tumeric (1 tsp)
  • Chili powder (1 tsp)
  • Ground pepper (1/4 tsp)
  • Salt (1/4 tsp)


  1. Cut up your cauliflower into bite-sized florets

Usually, the best method for this is to first separate the head from the stalk, and then cut the florets from there into smaller pieces

2. Mix your other ingredients (Almond milk, water, flour and spices) into a mixing bowl or equivalent dish.

The texture of the ‘batter’ you’ve crated should be thick enough so that you can coat your cauliflower without worry of it dripping too much. Obviously, it’s hard to get perfect, but as long as you can get somewhere close, don’t fret!

Once you’ve done this, set up a baking sheet big enough to fit all of your florets on it with room to spare.

3. With your batter prepped, begin coating your florets

Try to wipe off as much excess batter as you can as you go, as extra batter means the ‘wings’ will be doughier

All of your initial prep is done! Set aside you trays for a second a pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.


4. This recipe requires 3 baking periods, in my experience, to reach the best level of crispiness.

During the first round of baking, your ‘wings’ will bake for 25 minutes at 450

During the second round of baking, they’ll bake for 20 minutes at 450

Finally, for the third round of baking, you’ll bake your ‘wings’ for 20 minutes at 350

Between every round, flip your wings. Pictured is my batch after the first round in the oven

 I made the awful mistake of drizzling sriracha sauce into my wings in between rounds (that’s why you’ll see the red stripes below)– do not do this, for the love of God. The wings will be incredibly spicy sans extra sauce, so don’t add anything else spicy unless you’re absolutely sure you want even more kick.

In my first attempt at this recipe, I only had my wings in for two rounds, and they came out far too soft, in my opinion, so I tried throwing them in one more time and that seemed to do much better texture-wise, and is why I have included three baking periods in this recipe instead of only two, like most recipes suggest.

When your wings are ready to eat, they should be slightly crisp, but not necessarily crunchy, and provide tons of natural spice from the chili powder and turmeric combined. A dipping sauce I’d recommend would be tzatziki, as it’ll provide lots of contrasting cool flavour in its ingredients.

Congratulations! You have now successfully made your very own cauliflower wings! Feel free to share this recipe around, and invite others to burn their faces off with you.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Summer 2017, back in Vancouver, I had the pleasure of spending my belated birthday dinner with my friends at Botanist. The restaurant took over the location where ORU used to be, at Fairmont Pacific Rim. When you first enter the restaurant it’s very nature-like. The colour scheme used is very soft, gentle, and natural. The cocktail drinks were delicious and most importantly free bread with whipped butter. The bread was delicious and they refilled it!

For appetizers, we ordered the scallops and the octopus. The scallops were delicious, cooked perfectly and the sauce matched nicely. However, the charred octopus was a little disappointing, a little difficult to chew and the sauce did not work for us.

The mains were excellent, we ordered different items and we all loved it. I ordered the roasted rib-eye, medium rare, it was cooked beautifully and so tender. This restaurant is a little on the pricey end but the food is definitely worth it. A good treat… once in a while.

ADDRESS: 1038 Canada Pl, Vancouver, BC V6C 0B9
PHONE: 604-695-5500
WEBSITE: https://www.botanistrestaurant.com/menu/

5 Tips for Grocery Shopping when you’re trying to save money

Ah, grocery shopping. The task we always leave until the last second, once we open the pantry and realize the only food we’ve got is a single apple and curry powder.

In this post, I’m going to give you 5 of my best tips and tricks for when you grocery shop, with the goal in mind of eating well and saving mucho dinero.

1. Buy your main source of protein in bulk and freeze ‘er

This tip applies to everyone irregardless of dietary preferences. Make sure that if you see a good deal on any source of protein that can be easily frozen, be it a box of chicken breasts (my weapon of choice), big slabs of tofu, or even veggie burgers, you stock up.

If you have a proper freezer (that can store anything below 0°C ), you can store bulk protein-rich foods for a remarkable amount of time: ground beef, for example, can be stored for up to 3-4 months, and chicken for up to 9(!). If you aren’t a meat eater, don’t worry: tofu can be stored for up to 5 months when frozen, even after being opened.

2. Make time, be a scavenger

This one may seem obvious, but it’s definitely still worth mentioning. If you’re able to get your main source of protein and one side (for example, frozen veggies or quinoa) in bulk, then you’re free to be more selective in your ‘one off’ meal buys at grocery stores.

For example, I usually take 20 minutes out of my week to troll the aisles of the Safeway near my house to look for deals. Safeway is definitely not the cheapest grocery store out there, but when you can afford to be picky knowing that you have fall-back meal at home if you don’t find anything, you’d be surprised at the good deals you’ll find!

3. Live by the flyer, die by the flyer

If you’re one of those people whose newspaper flyers follow a straight patch from mailbox to recycling bin, you’re missing out on a great way to find skookum deals every week. Big grocery stores usually put out a weekly flyer (if you don’t get it in-person, you’ll always be able to find it online) which has all of their best deals of the week. It’s basically all of the benefit of trolling the aises of these stores, without having to move fro your couch!

4. Don’t be afraid to look for food in unusual places

No, this doesn’t imply that you should be looking for scraps under your couch, it means that you can get surprisingly good prices on food at non-traditional food stores if you’re diligent enough. For example, Shoppers Drug Mart has a frozen food section which often features sales that blow other grocery stores’ out of the water. The reason for this is simply that they have to offer a wide selection to be seen as a legitimate place to buy groceries, but not that many people grocery shop there. As a result, things nearing expiry go on sale all the time for ridiculously cheap prices– last week I found $4.50 guacamole for $0.50 at my local Shoppers!

5. Avoid buying produce from big stores

Oftentimes, big box grocery stores like Safeway will sell very-well-presented produce for prices which look like highway robbery compared to smaller chains. The key is to know which smaller stores have particularly good deals on specific items. If you’re able to figure this out and have the time to shop around, there’s lots of savings to be had. I my case, I know a small market which has Gala apples on sale for $0.69/pound, which is a great deal. I’ll stock up on apples there, and when I happen to be in the vicinity of anther place like Triple A which has good prices on, say, oranges, I’ll stock up on those. It’s not entirely realistic to buy one type of fruit at a different establishment every time you need it, but by shopping around you’ll at least know where the real value is.