- sugar cookie
I first tried Beaver Tails quite a few years ago up in Whistler. It’s fried dough in the shape of a beaver’s tail and topped with sweet toppings. At that time, I ordered the classic, which is cinnamon and sugar. I was in love. It took years before I came across it again, but I found it at the P.N.E. and I ordered it again in cinnamon and sugar – so good! A year later, I went back to Whistler excited to have it yet again and was so disappointed when I learned they had closed down. Earlier this year, I learned that Beaver Tails has a food truck and that you can follow them on facebook to see where they are. I’ve been doing that, but I haven’t seen them come downtown yet. So hard to get them up here in Vancouver!
I recently travelled to Montreal. Before I got there, I randomly decided to look up if they have a Beaver Tail store front and I was so happy to learn that they have like a trillion locations there! I was so excited to reunite with this delectable dessert.
Once I arrived in Montreal, I saw a Beaver Tails store front on practically every corner. I saw more Beaver Tails then I did Starbucks.
This time I ordered the triple trip. It has chocolate hazelnut spread, peanut butter and Reese’s pieces.
You know how when you haven’t something in a really long time, it’s possible to remember it much better in your head than it is? Like you romanticize it and then when you finally try it again it’s not close to how good you think it is? Well, this was not one of those cases. This was better than I remembered it. Piping hot fried dough with melted nutella and a drizzle of peanut butter and topped with crunchy Reese’s pieces. Every bite was delicious. It was one of the foodie highlights of my trip.
In a way it’s probably a good thing that these are not that easily accessible to me in Vancouver. I literally could eat a couple of these a week lol. It’s a dangerous thing. However, I can’t wait until it crosses my path again and I get to have my next one.
I met my girlfriends for weekend brunch to celebrate a birthday. We went over to Per Se Social Corner.
This restaurant is absolutely beautiful. From the greenery outside to the beautiful wood interior, the extravagant bar and funky light fixtures. It looks super high end and I was impressed.
I got the avocado and sourdough – which is simply sourdough bread slices with sliced avocado on top. I added two poached eggs. It also comes with a salad. I added a side of crispy goat cheese. One of my friends got the same, but added bacon. We both found the avo-toast to be under seasoned and requested salt and pepper to add. Otherwise, it was pretty good. I loved, loved, loved the crispy goat cheese. They were two small goat cheese balls. I could have eaten a million of those. Wish I ordered more.
My other friend ordered the brunch bravas – double cooked Spanish potatoes, poached eggs, spicy marinara topped with hollandaise, smoked paprika and aioli. She loved it.
So one thing I wasn’t a fan of here – when I made the reservation online I was asked if it was a special occasion. I put in that it was a birthday. I guess in my head, I think that if they know, then they usually do something special. Most restaurants bring out a dessert or a glass of champagne or something. I’ve even received cards at restaurants before. At the very least they say happy birthday to acknowledge it. Towards the end of the meal there was nothing said or brought out so I asked the server if they do anything because we were celebrating my friend’s birthday. Her response was “we don’t have candles”. It came with a look of annoyance in my opinion. It made me feel kind of weird and embarrassed. I don’t understand why that is asked on the reservation questionnaire online if the restaurant doesn’t offer any way to make it special.
My friends and I agreed that our server wasn’t overall that friendly. I also waited a long time for water refills when the restaurant was not very full.
The restaurant is still gorgeous and I would love to check it out for dinner sometime. The dinner menu looks great. Hopefully service will be better next time.
I’ve been going to Spa Utopia Pan Pacific for over a decade. It’s a beautiful spa in a great location inside the Pan Pacific Hotel.
I visited recently and it was my first time going since the covid restrictions were put into place.
So let me start from the beginning – I booked my appointment online. It was super easy. I booked a 75 minute hot stone massage. As my appointment got closer, a friend of mine mentioned that when she went earlier in the year, she needed to schedule time in the steam room and sauna. I wanted to take advantage of the steam room also, but I didn’t see anything about this online so I gave the spa a call. The woman on the phone was very friendly and helpful. She explained that things had changed once again and now it was a first come, first serve situation.
I arrived about fifteen minutes before my appointment. The receptionist took me to the back and showed me to my locker. Inside my locker there was a robe and a towel. She brought me sandals in my size. I got changed and sat out in the lounge. I was the only one there and had the space all to myself which was nice.
The lounge at Spa Utopia is pretty gorgeous. They do have towels rolled up and placed on some seats to encourage social distancing. They used to offer fruits and nuts in the lounge, but obviously that is gone now. I was enjoying some quiet time to myself before my RMT, Eugene, came to get me.
The room is sanitized before we arrive for our service. Eugene confirmed with me that I did not have any covid symptoms, reminded me to keep my mask on during my treatment and went through my problem areas with me.
I had my 75 minute massage. This was my first time in years getting a hot stone massage and it was great. I would recommend it. Eugene was receptive to my requests to increase pressure. The massage was fantastic.
Once the massage was over, Eugene brought me a glass of wine (he asked what I wanted for my beverage) and a wrapped granola bar which has now taken the place of the fruits and nuts in the lounge. After relaxing for a few moments, I headed back into the change room.
So the change room has bathrooms and showers. As mentioned earlier, there is a sauna and steam room. I took advantage of the steamroom. There is signage to keep your time in there to a minimum of ten to fifteen minutes. It was kinda nice to not have to share the steam room with strangers.
I had a pretty great experience as usual. I feel like it’s good value for what you pay. I’ve been to fancier spas, but paid a lot more. This is my go to because it’s a luxury experience without being ridiculously expensive.
One thing I do want to mention, in the past I’ve gone to Spa Utopia in the summertime. It used to be that for $10 you could also have access to the hotel rooftop pool and hot tub. My visit was in the midst of October so I don’t know if this is being offered, but if you’re going in the summer months it’s definitely worth it to ask. You could spend the day at the spa followed by some time sipping bevvies poolside.
It’s almost that time of year again and YVR Cookie has recently released their holiday menu. I had the pleasure of trying them out and they are heavenly. These are the new treats that dropped:
- Chocolate Candy Cane – this cookie is such a vibrant green! It is literally the same color as the Grinch. Love it! This cookie has peppermint cookie dough loaded with milk chocolate chunks and semi-sweet chocolate chips. It’s topped with white chocolate drizzle with candy cane pieces. It’s filled with melty (I warm mine up) milk chocolate. Yum!
- Holiday Apple Pie – cinnamon nutmeg cookie dough loaded with yogurt chips, dried apple and cinnamon flakes. It’s topped with apple cider glaze and filled with apple pie filling. That cinnamon cookie dough with the combination of the apple pie filling is something else. Literally apple pie in cookie form! This was my favorite.
- Spiced Gingerbread – Spiced gingerbread cookie dough infused with house-made gingerbread spice mix and cinnamon flakes topped with cinnamon sugar and filled with cookie butter. Their cookie butter is unmatched. Mmm! Plus I love me some gingerbread cookies, another winner.
YVR Cookie never fails to impress me! The new flavors are so delectable – a must try! These are also the perfect cookies to leave out for Santa. 😉 He will absolutely love them.
I first heard about this restaurant about a year ago when someone I work with was raving about how amazing it was. For a date night, Chris and I decided to finally go and check it out.
So first thing to know is that Oca Pastifico does not take reservations. It’s kind of a smaller space. They have about 19 seats. They open at 5 p.m., so we went down a bit earlier. We thought we would walk around a bit and then be there right for opening, but when we arrived at around 4:35 p.m. there was already a line-up. It was a cold, rainy fall day and I was really surprised, but that made me even more excited to try it out. There were exactly 19 people in front of us (of course), but I was happy to learn that after the first group is seated, they take down your name and phone number and call you when a table becomes available. I was initially thinking that they were seating from the line-up and we would need to wait there. We walked around a bit and browsed in shops nearby until our seats opened up about an hour and a half later. When we came back we noticed a sign stating that they were full for the evening. Moral of the story – get there early.
The menu is written on a chalkboard at one end of the restaurant and changes daily. On the far end of the chalkboard, it said that they have a Chef’s Tasting Menu option for $70 a person that is 5 courses including a salad, antipasti, pasta and dessert. This is the option that we went for and the option I highly recommend for each of you. I loved it so much and I want to do it again and again and again.
I explained that I don’t eat pork and they were able to accommodate. The cool thing about the Chef’s Tasting Menu (especially if you’re a foodie or an adventurous eater), is the surprise factor. The food started flowing our way. We had:
- Pear and Gargonzolo salad with hazelnuts
- Antispasti plate with imported salami and prosciutto, with some pickles and peppers (I didn’t have any of this)
- Squash Rotolo with smoked pecorino cheese
- A pasta with a fresh tomato sauce and basil
- A pasta with rabbit and chanterelle mushrooms
- Gnocchi with beef shank and onion ragu
- Almond semifreddo
I loved the tasting menu because I ended up trying things I would have never opted to try on my own. I’m not someone who normally would every order squash anything, but it was unreal. I maybe wouldn’t order rabbit, but the dish was sensational. Their ragu is a process that takes over 2 days to make. The semifreddo was smooth and delicious (I thought I didn’t have enough room, but I surprised myself when I made room to finish it off). I want to go as far as saying Oca Pastifico has the best pasta I’ve had in Vancouver. Each dish blew me away. So good!
Another cool thing that I need to mention – Chef’s Tasting menu was marked as 5 dishes, but we had 7 dishes. We had our salad, antipasti and two pastas. We were positive that the next thing that they were bringing out was dessert. We weren’t ready for the experience to be over yet because each bite was like we’d died and gone to heaven. We decided that we would order a pasta off the regular menu just so it wouldn’t have to end. When we called our waiter over to ask if dessert is next he said no, if you want more we will bring you more. I will bring you dishes until you are done. We had to tap out at 7 dishes because we were absolutely stuffed, but I was so impressed that this is how they operate. You can tell it’s about passion. There is a lot of love and care that goes into making the food. It’s really amazing.
The service was wonderful. The space is quaint and inviting. I do wish that they went into a bit more detail when describing the dishes (which is why some of my descriptions above say “a pasta” haha), but in my book when they hit it out of the park the way they did, this is minor.
My rating system is out of 5 on here, but I wish I could give them a 6. It’s that good. You gotta go eat here.
Our first stop when we arrived in Montreal was William Grey Terrasse. It was a great place to start off our trip because it has a really vibrant energy.
It is an outdoor terrace with heat lamps, with it being October, it still did get chilly. Our group kept our coats on so I would recommend you dress accordingly.
The views are just wow. You can see Montreal all lit up and it is so gorgeous. It made us even more excited to have arrived in this beautiful city.
Their menu isn’t extensive, but what they have on there they do pretty damn well. I had their sunrise sangria and their beef burger with a side salad. The sangria was so delicious, I could drink liters lol. The burger was juicy and delicious – very memorable. The salad was kind of boring – would have been better with a tastier dressing. Even so, it wasn’t bad. It was fine.
It was my friend’s birthday and they brought out a tiramisu for her. It was in a small glass. Delicious, but we noticed it had icy/frozen parts the closer you got to the bottom.
Going back to the views, it is simply breathtaking. You can see La Grande Roue de Montreal (observation wheel) lit up and the beautiful skyline. A definite photo-op. I would go back for the views alone.
Argentina – known for romance, the tango and their massive prawns…
By now you all know how much I love Tacomio. It is, hands-down, the best Mexican spot in Vancouver. They’ve introduced a new item on their menu – Argentinian Prawn Tacos. In true Tacomio fashion, they did not disappoint. A grilled hand-made flour tortilla with wild Argentinian prawns, creamy organic sprout slaw, jalapenos, fresh pico de gallo topped with valentina mayo. Yum!
First thing I noticed off the bat was just how massive these tacos are. They are loaded with huge prawns, and lots of them! Each bite was crunchy, juicy, meaty. I knew they were going to be good because it’s Tacomio, but I was blown away. The hubby and I just kept shouting “Oh My Gawd!” to each other between each bite. You can taste that the ingredients are fresh and of good quality. These tacos are insanely good! I’m a big fan and I think you will be too.
They’ve got tons of other great menu items too. Here are a couple of my previous reviews:
Drop me a line and let me know what you think!
Thank you Tacomio for letting me try these tacos out!
While in Montreal, I checked out Crew Collective Cafe and I was not ready – wow! It is so beautiful and grand. It’s hard to believe that the main purpose for the space is a cafe! That’s also what makes it so unique and cool.
Crew Collective Cafe is located in a historic heritage building that was once a Royal Bank of Canada. The space has been maintained so it looks the same way it was in it’s hayday. It reminds me of the bank scene in Justice League or The Dark Knight.
When you walk in, you can’t help but be in awe of the magnificent ceilings and stunning architecture.
It was pretty full when we got there and we were told there wasn’t any space to sit. We decided to take our photos and grab some food to go. It looks like a lot of people come in to work from here. They have a lot of plexi glass work stations and little booths. Such a gorgeous place to spend a workday!
The menu has lots of light morning eats like pastries and croissants and obviously your favorite coffee shop beverages. They offer one of the bagels Montreal is known for – Fairmount Bagels. I ordered the smoked salmon bagel and it was so delicious. My friends and I loved our beverages and our orders varied from lattes, to coffee to hot chocolate. My friend got a bagel with jam and could not stop raving about how the jam had fresh strawberries in it. She was thinking about it again the next morning.
We lucked out while we were there. As soon as we got our food a bench opened up. We sat and ate and chatted and did some people watching and took in the breathtaking ambience.
I feel like this needs to be on your Montreal bucketlist! Such a unique experience. I loved it!
My hubby and I had a double date with another couple in Gastown. After our activity, we started wandering around looking for a place to have dinner.
I had checked out The Flying Pig before with a few girlfriends. I remember having to wait for a while back then and since then I’ve tried to come back numerous times and there’s always been a long wait. I was so sure we were going to be turned away, so I was so pleasantly surprised when they said that they were going to be clearing a table outside and we could be seated right away.
Let’s get right to the goods. I had:
- Monkey’s Choice – this was my cocktail. It has bumbu rum, flor de caña 12 year old rum, sweet vermouth, pineapple and star anise bitters. Brûléed banana. When I originally ordered this, I though that the banana was going to be a flavoring in the cocktail, but it was actually served with a caramelized banana. It was much more fancy than I expected and it was strong. I liked!
- Salt and Pepper Humboldt Squid – delicious calamari with lemon and dill yogurt. Crispy and well seasoned. So good.
- Red Wine Braised Beef Short Rib – roasted bone marrow, aged white cheddar mash, cabernet veal jus. This was really freakin good! The short rib was delicious and I love, love, loved the white cheddar mash. I wish there was more of it! A bit stingy on the serving size of that lol. I could have eaten a big bowl of just that.
My friends ordered the West Coast Seafood Paella and they liked it also.
The service wasn’t very memorable – I would describe it as mediocre at best. The seating outside wasn’t the best either, wobbly. The last time I came I was seated indoors and I think I would opt to sit there again next time.
The food was pretty damn good.