Basho Cafe

It was one heavy rain afternoon, my girlfriends and I came out to meet for a Saturday afternoon catch up. This place gets pretty packed on weekend afternoon, so we had to come back later (an hour before they close up). Then I return for a early brunch visit with my family.

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This is such an adorable restaurant, every corner of this place shouts cute. This cafe is ran by a friendly Japanese family. Their decor reminds me greatly of Cafe de L’Organerie near Granville. 🙂

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Pot of loose leaf tea, they only have small collection of tea (I would say around 5-7 types). Served with black sesame butter cookies. They have a variety of cookies, small cakes, scones and other baked goods displayed.

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Tuna Tataki (seared tuna) lunch set – similar to the grilled vegetables lunch sets comes with salad, baked good, soup and tea. Delicious tuna tataki with yuzu(?), which brought the flavour of the tuna out lightly without overpowering it.

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Soy milk matcha latte – for almost any drink you order I notice they always give you a small piece of cookie. This matcha latte is smooth and not too sweet, very delicious.Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Eat-In Lunch Set – comes with a few cookies as sweets, grilled vegetables on rice, salad, soup and a cup of tea. The colourful vegetables presented on a tray along with other colourful small cups and bowls. The vegetables were fresh and I especially loved the pumpkin mash – oh so tasty.

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For the baked goods, we got matcha cranberry cookie, mochi brownie. I LOVED the mochi brownie, I don’t know if this already existed long time ago but it was my first time discovering it. It was rich in chocolate but with a mochi texture, very chewy and bouncy. I am in love, it even made me attempt to make it at home later too! So much fun. 🙂Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
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Black sesame cookie and miso madeleine – the miso madeleine was very strong in miso flavour therefore is salty. It was very interesting, I wouldn’t say I love or hate it. Though I think many will find this kind of odd. Black sesame cookies were delicious, I had to order another piece. :pExif_JPEG_PICTURE

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Breakfast Scone Sandwich – basically what it looks like. A scone cut open with an egg and a slice of tomatoe (similar to the BLT concept.)


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Another thing that I have noticed is that there are lot of home made textile pieces in this restaurant, from coaster to pot warmer all either knitted or stitch patches. Gives you the feeling of grandma’s place. :3

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Overall I really like this place, although I think might be a tad bit (tad bit) hyped. It is cute and cozy with friendly staff service and great place to sit and chat with some friends. (Hard to get to without a vehicle in my opinion.) Everything they serve are done with delicacy and care which I really give props for that. I would revisit for sure!

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Graze

I haven’t been to a lot of western vegetarian cuisine out there, so this year Dine Out Vancouver I decided to try something new. “Graze’s all plant-based menu (including all of our wines, beers & spirits) incorporates as many locally & organically produced ingredients as possible.  Building on this foundation, we also grow our own herbs & vegetables, collect rainwater for our garden, compost our kitchen waste, reduce/reuse/recycle everything we can, support ethical suppliers, reduce our power consumption, solar heat our hot water, are very particular about our paper and cleaning products and are always looking for ways to do even more.” http://grazerestaurant.ca/ This is written on their website, and this is what sold me on trying them out.

When I first walked in their restaurant I noticed right away their beautiful wall full of people. Yes it is a giant wall with paintings of people, but it was so dark that I couldn’t take a photo of it. But you really need to look at this beautiful wall. Seriously.

They actually have quite a bit of selections for the dine out menu, each course has about 4 selections which I think is great! After we placed our order, my brother unrolled his napkin to lay out his utensils
 then he saw this.

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Okay, this is quite disturbing. Knowing the napkin you were about to use has someone else’s lipstick stain on it
 Maybe they tried to wash it and it didn’t come off? The waitress made a witty comment about the stain is hers. But still
. =_=  Or I am just having my luck with these dirty restaurants experience
 XD

Appetizers:

Organic yam & red pepper chowder, local corn, cracked black pepper, lightly curried, smoked paprika

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Now I know this soup is suppose to have smoked paprika, but something smelled real burnt here. Don’t get me wrong the soup is great aside from the burning taste, but you know if there is burning taste in any food it is very difficult to get out of it. Because you will simply keep thinking about it over and over – it is burnt.

Salad – Salad of persimmon, pistachio and pomegranate with arugula & almond chevre

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This salad took me by surprise, there is a light tangy taste to the dressing and with the refreshing taste of persimmon at the bottom was really great combination. There are also bits of persimmon along with the salad with crunchy pistachio and almond chevre.

Winter Salad – Winter Salad of lacinato kale with roasted golden & red beets, pear & fig with toasted hazelnuts

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My mom sometimes makes kale at home but usually cooked, this time I got to eat it raw with my favourite beets. 🙂 This is also another delicious salad. Kale is originally very tasteless with very chewy thick texture, but it was so great to be mixed with light beets, pear and fig to balance out the flavours and textures.

Entrees:

TAGLIATELLE – Yam and parsnip broad ‘noodles’ with farro cakes & saffron coconut cream sauce

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Their “noodles” are made out of very thinly sliced parsnip and yam. (Which I found amazing how they can slice them so thin.) Aside from the delicious ‘noodles’ I also adored their saffron coconut cream sauce. Oh my god it is delicious!  Although the only sad thing about this dish is that all ingredients are good, but they don’t blend. None of the flavours were able to blend and absorb into each other.

STEAK & MUSHROOMS – Tea-smoked grilled tofu steak & pepita crusted portabello, beluga lentils & porcini-red wine sauce

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I am not quite sure what is tea-smoked grilled, it was rich in flavour. But I little too heavy in my opinion, I wasn’t quite sure what I was tasting… However, the tofu steak was nice and chewy.

CREPES – Basil & chickpea crepes with marinated & grilled seasonal vegetables & organic tempeh

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The flavour of basil worked really well with the chickpea crepe, brings out the flavour of chickpeas flawlessly. However the crepes are tough, quite difficult to cut with my knife and chew on. They almost taste like overdone pancake that had been left on the grill for 3 hours
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PEROGIES   – Yam & eggplant perogies, sautĂ©ed oyster mushrooms, crispy shallots, pickled beet shred, smoky coconut cheddar sauce, spicy tomato jam

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Every since I started to see perogies selling in food trucks, it always reminded me of Chinese dumplings but except it is made of potatoe. This one is made of yam and eggplant, which gave it a lighter flavour than potatoes but sure does stuff you up quickly. The sauce for this perogies is delicious, but here comes another smoky item that also taste a little burnt. (At this point, I really question how they make anything smoky in the kitchen.)

Desserts:

You will surprise how filling all their portions are, I could barely finish my entrĂ©e and dessert seems so impossible to finish. But regardless being a sweet tooth of course I will eat the dessert. 😛

Hazelnut macaroons with cardamom pear sorbet and vanilla creme

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Delicious macaroons that are not too sweet, with flaky coconut bits and light hazelnut flavour. My favourite? The sorbet, although it melted with the speed of lighting but I absolutely adore the flavour.

Cacao & rose-infused black cherry trifle layered with toasted cashew crumble
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The flavour of rose shoots out as you take every bite of this black cherry trifle. Lots of overwhelming flavour, the cheei8es, rose and chocolate with bits of chewy cashew. This dessert is not for the faint of heart, they are powerful flavours that fights with each other for your attention.
Lemon mousse filled cannoli, lavender coulis

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I have to say this was the most disappointing ‘mousse’. I know they cannot use gelatin because that would make it not vegetarian but as a baker myself I know there are many many ways to make mousse without gelatin and it will keeps its form. But this just looked like melted ice cream. The flavours are fine, they taste great but presentation is really lacking on this dessert. I almost didn’t want to eat it at all. L

Overall I think there are many better vegetarian restaurants in the lower mainland. This one is priced fairly high but not living up to its standards. There are lots of room for improvement, some of the dishes are so creative just need fine tuning.
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Bandidas Taqueria

There are many restaurants that I see and never visit, and this is one of them. I always see that it is quite busy, so for Mother’s day we visited for breakfast. And yes it was still very busy, we had to wait for a bit for our table but it wasn’t a too long of a wait.

Aside from their sign, I like their interior decor also. It is really casual but somewhat reminds me of rain forest or a greenhouse. (It could also be because I am visiting on a very sunny day?) Anyways, the whole place is filled with plants (real plants) on tables and as decor.

I went to check upon their website to understand more about their decor – they are aiming for environmental friendly and low-impact on the community. Ah that explains it a little bit. They also seems to have a few organic choices on their menus.

This is a vegetarian restaurant and no MSG (written on the menu) in their food items. 🙂

I went with my family so I ordered a Breakfast Burrito for my mom – Scrambled free-range eggs, fresh salsa, pinto beans, sour cream and cheese in awhole wheat tortilla. This was very yummy with the sour cream and salsa on the side. Though I really wish they would give us just a little bit more sauce.

For myself I ordered the Lemmy – A poblano baked with pinto beans, cheese & ranchera sauce, topped with two free-range eggs, served with tortillas & hash browns. This dish is very filling, I think it is due to the amount of beans in this dish. I could really only eat half of it. I love putting the beans and salad bits on the tortillas. The poached eggs were perfect! I really liked the eggs, it was cooked to the perfect moment. A little runny but not too much with firm skin. :9

My brother got the Chili – A hearty vegetarian bean stew topped with melted cheese and avocado. He also got two poached eggs on the side. The chili is actually quite delicious, and very good with the avocado. (I was shocked how the avocado went so well with the vegetarian chili!)

It was one satisfying breakfast without being too harsh in the wallet and no meat!! If you are a vegetarian, you need to try this one out. 🙂

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