This is a sponsored post written in partnership with W Skin Care.
If you follow Lainey Gossip, you’ll know that she loves and raves about Lorinda Zimmerman’s W Skin Care services as the anti-aging and facial miracle worker. I recently had a chance to try out their famous double blast treatment at the original Vancouver location, and loved the experience. It’s known to attract Hollywood actresses who actually fly down from LA just for the day for appointments. The unique combination of microdermabrasion and Low Light Laser Therapy (LLLT) is heralded for its effective yet natural looking results.
I am very wary of youth-seeking treatments like botox or fillers as they have the tendency to come out looking too severe and obvious in that “you’ve had work done” way. Which is why I really like Zimmerman’s restorative approach to skin care. Non-invasive, and more focused on enhancing the skin’s natural radiance vs. dramatically changing one’s face. Less Real Housewives and more Kate Bosworth.The clinic was bright and airy with a gallery-esque feel. Signature Northwest Coast art pieces displayed throughout the serene space.
After my initial post on Breka Cafe, I was contacted by head pastry chef Ann Cao to come in for a private tasting. As a previously impressed patron, I was happy to oblige.
We met, and chatted over a lovely lunch of smoked meat paninis and fresh fruit with granola topped yogurt. The granola is actually made in house, and I’m told it’s frequently asked for by customers who’d like to purchase a whole bag (which sadly, they do not offer at the moment).
During the holidays, I was approached by Salon Haze to come check out their fairly new West Broadway salon. They invited me for a complimentary hair service to review on my blog. Since I wasn’t looking to get my hair cut or colored, I opted to try their keratin smoothing treatment.
If I had to commit myself to one sandwich for the rest of my life, it would hands down be the Vietnamese bánh mì. It just has such a perfect blend of flavors and textures- sweet, sour, salty and spicy and all layered into one demi-baguette of deliciousness.
DD Mau is a small Yaletown based sandwich shop that’s taken a modern spin on the classic tradition soaked bánh mì. Think Ba Le meets Gastown’s Meat & Bread. I wanted to try out their fusion styled subs to see how they compare to their conventional counterpart.
One thing I love about Vancouver in comparison to Edmonton is the availability of 24 hours cafes and restaurants. You’d be hard pressed to find a good place for a late night snack or coffee around where I grew up. I myself am a self confessed night owl, so I was delighted to find that Vancouver has quite a few offerings for round-the-clock joints.
One that I recently discovered is the Breka Bakery & Cafe just off Robson and Thurlow.
I have a really bad habit of buying online coupons (ie: Groupon, Social Shopper, Deal Find, etc. etc.) and then forgetting to actually use them.
I can’t remember how many times I’ve bought deals from some absurdly obscure business in an effort to “try something new” and then just have it sit unnoticed until the expiration date is long gone.
This includes paintball tickets, scuba diving lessons, pole dancing fitness classes, circus training… ugh.
I mean I want to go do these things. Really, I do. It’s just that I never seem to get around to actually doing it.
I mean, when am I ever going to wake up and go, “huh, I really feel like going for a scuba dive today. Yes. Today is the day. Oh my god, didn’t I get a coupon for this? Wow, yes that saves me some money. I am so clever.”
So I’ve finally come to accept that there’s a great disparity between what I think I will want to do, and what I am actually going to do. Especially when it involves physical activity.
To combat this, I’ve decided to only buy online coupons for things I know that I will get around to using- so anything food.
I bought this coupon for Waffle and Berries, and was really excited to try it out.
It was $13 and included:
-2 Belgian Liege Waffles + up to six toppings
-2 Choice of Hot Beverages
For my waffle, I added blueberries, blackberries and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. The waffle was nice and dense, with just the right hit of sweetness.
I don’t usually like chocolate chips, but I found these ones really complimented the texture, adding that extra crunch. I think they were frozen beforehand maybe.
Whenever I get anything that has a myriad of ingredients kind of toppled together like this, I have to have a bit of everything in each bite. Like, I’ll dissect the berries with the waffle and scoop on some ice cream with chocolate chips just so that I can taste everything together because that’s how it was meant to be eaten, and I’ll feel like I’m missing the experience if I don’t. Does anyone else do this??
My boyfriend got his waffle with dark chocolate, whipped cream and also a scoop of ice cream. When given the option, he always like to make things as unhealthy as possible.
The whipped cream was actually really yummy, it was made fresh with a hint of strawberry.
I chose a caramel macchiato for my beverage. I liked this better than the Starbucks version as I find those too sweet.I wore my new straw hat with a fishtail braid and my dark wash denim romper.I really liked the decor and atmosphere inside. Modern but with little glimmers of charm scattered throughout.I love the little glass case with Tin Tin inside reading with Snowy. Adorable.
This was a great deal because of the coupon, but I would return in the future even at full price to sample some of the other waffle combinations.
This is a late post for my friend’s birthday dinner at Minami. She’s one of my good friends from Edmonton, and happened to be visiting Vancouver during her birthday week.
I’ve been trying to get around to trying Minami for a while. It’s a relatively new restaurant, opening it’s doors last June. Since then, it’s gotten rave reviews from critics and foodies alike so I’ve been dying to see what the fuss is about.
Fun fact: Minami is named after Aburi Restaurants CEO Seigo Nakamura’s youngest daughter. His other Vancouver location is named after his eldest daughter; Miku.
Unfortunately I was running late, and missed the start of the meal (which I heard was delicious) but I did manage to catch a few dishes, which are shown below.
The lighting was quite dim, so it may be difficult to make out what was served.
This is the Miku Roll, which had salmon, uni, crab, cucumber and rolled in flying fish roe with MIKU sauce.
I love all the components of this roll isolated, so it makes sense that together they make an amazing combination in my books.
We also tried the Wagyu Beef Soba: wagyu beef bolognaise, tempura oyster mushroom, shitake mushroom with dashi. I didn’t try this, but the consensus from others was that it wasn’t great, and a regretful menu choice.
And the Ebi Fritters: black tiger prawns, spiced couscous, sweet chili aioli and soy balsamic. There’s a version of this dish at every Japanese tapa restaurant, and I always enjoy it so I wanted to see how Minami’s rendition stacked up.
The verdict? It wasn’t bad, but I still think I like Hapa’s better.
This was my favourite part- dessert! :)
We ordered 3 different ones, which they plated beautifully with a candle and handwritten chocolate drizzle.
Earl Grey Berry Cake: earl grey cream, walnut sponge, earl grey cookie crust, blueberry & blackberry compote, japanese puffed rice, hazelnuts, chantilly cream served with cassis vanilla ice cream.
Lemon Cheesecake: light unbaked cheesecake, graham cookie crust, orange-lemon compote, rhubarb sauce served with rhubarb-raspberry sorbet.
Green Tea Opera: Green tea sponge infused with espresso and Frangelico liqueur, green tea butter cream, dark chocolate ganache, azuki bean cream served with green tea ice cream and green tea sauce.
They were all very yummy, but my favorite was the Earl Grey. I’ve never had anything like it before and the flavors really complimented each other well.
The cheesecake was pretty good too, but I enjoy baked cheesecake more than it’s chilled counterpart. I’m also not a huge fan of sponge cake so the green tea was just alright for me.
We all had a great time and a lovely meal. Most of our dishes were great if not mediocre. Although it is quite pricy, you pay for the quality ingredients and the luxe atmosphere.
The service was there, but our server seemed very rushed and forgot things here and there.
Overall, I really liked it and will definitely mark it as a spot worthy of another visit.
So I’ve been dying to go for high tea for the longest time. I just love the elegance of it all; the fine china, the delicate pastries, that feeling of being in such a cultured and refined ambiance.
Now originally, I had planned on going to the Fairmont which is a very popular and well-known establishment. But then I did some research, and came across Patisserie Für Elise. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect spot for my very first high tea experience.
I bought this delicate feathered fascinator a while back, but had no idea what/where I could possibly wear it to. And seeing as I’m not RSVP’ing to any royal weddings anytime soon, this seemed like the perfect opportunity.
So this tea shop is actually located in a heritage home in downtown Vancouver. It’s very discreet, with only a small simple sign in the window that can easily go unnoticed.
I love the Victorian style and charming colors.
Seeing the outside I was already intrigued.
As soon as I stepped in, I was blown away by how amazingly pretty and deliciously girly everything was.
It was like an explosion of pinks and florals and all things frilly.
The first floor is where the bakery is held, with a display case full of beautiful cakes and pastries. There’s also homemade jams and takeaway crème brûlées for purchase.
Upstairs is where the high tea is served. They have beautiful Victorian style furniture, with gorgeous detailing and a soft neutral colour palette.
Each teacup is different! We only had two, but I noticed that even at the other tables serving 4 or more guests, each teacup was unique to it’s patron.
There’s a large selection of teas available, each with a lovely description that is oddly reminiscent of a wine menu.. Ex: Assam: Rich, full bodied and malty…)
It was a tough choice as so many of them sounded so appealing, but we ended up getting the Honey Scented Tea (Rich and mellow, natural honey-like sweet aftertaste.) and the Assam (I couldn’t resist. Would it taste like my favourite French Bordeaux?)
Hah, but it was delicious. It had hints of floral in it, and I am in love with the raw rock sugar they served with it.
The honey one was also heavenly. The honey was very subtle but still noticeable, adding a light natural sweetness.
Our food came in a beautiful two tiered display tray. The top layer was desserts;
-Chef’s choice starter (fruit topped panna cotta with gold leaf)
-Mini Sacher torte
-Mini Fur Elise
-Pate de fruit
The bottom layer held all the savory items;
-Prosciutto, brie and fresh basil croissant
-Cucumber dill finger sandwich
-Curried egg salad cornet
-Creamy garden veggie puff
-Mini scones with apple vanilla jam
The scones were my favorite, they had an amazing buttery texture and the jam is simply delectable.
Not only did everything look great, but tasted amazing as well. All the staff were very friendly and knowledgeable. Our server described everything as it was served, and gave helpful suggestions on what order to eat it all.
Overall, I had a great first high tea and would definitely come back again. Maybe bring some girlfriends for a dainty afternoon get-together.
I ended up grabbing a few things to bring home as well.
This is the Für Elise, which was named after the store, and I’m told is one of the most popular. It is a strawberry shortcake with edible rose garnish.
This is the green tea with red bean mouse cake. So pretty :)
These cookies were very good.At 75 cents each, they were a great deal.
I’ve always thought it was a shame that most restaurants only serve brunch on the weekends. I love breakfasty foods, but can’t always get to them before the lunch service begins.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered Commune, a great downtown that serves brunch 7 days/week.
Tagline billed across the building “Those who eat together, stay together.”
They have a simple, modern aesthetic. There are booths lined against the wall, but other than that there isn’t much for private seating.
I wanted to try their vanilla bean latte. It was good, but I couldn’t really taste the vanilla bean. Was pretty much just a plain latte.
They also have these really charming old school cola bottles. I actually really enjoyed the taste; not as sweet as your average coke, and less bite. Sometimes I feel like pepsi is burning off the lining at the back of my throat.
For the main course, my friend ordered the bacon & cheddar omelette served with roasted potatoes, fresh fruit and multi-grain toast. He enjoyed the omelette, but the toast was a bit soggy.
This is the tuna melt with split pea soup, made with aged white cheddar, tomato, cheese & herb. He said it was very tasty, with nicely dressed tuna and great creamy texture for the soup.
I decided to go with the pulled pork eggs benedict: topped with beurre noisette hollandaise served with fruit and roasted potatoes. This was very delicious. The pork was well flavored and tender, going great with the eggs. The eggs themselves could have stood to be a little less cooked though (as I like to have the yolk still a bit runny in my bennys).
Overall, we enjoyed the experience as it was pretty decent eats with a nice atmosphere.