Happy, just because.

V shared a quote with me today that was exactly what I needed to hear:

Don’t let what one person says take away your happiness today.

So I will be happy. :) Because there’s no reason for me to dwell on something I cannot change, as long as I have put in the effort and tried my best. Some things cannot work out the way we want them to just because we want to solve the problem to make ourselves feel better.

Tonight’s dinner: Shark Bites Toast. The french toast with meat loaf and a sunny side up egg is the perfect comfort food on a rainy day.

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Weekends always fly by.

Movenpick Cafe – Savouries

I have never heard of Movenpick Cafe until coming across the name in Taiwan, but apparently it’s a well-known ice-cream brand here. Last summer I went for afternoon tea and had their ice-dripped coffee (so good!) and honey toast box. This summer I wanted to try their savoury dishes so decided to go for lunch with MilkTea and JT. We went to the one inside MingYao department store, near Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station.

Entrance to Movenpick Cafe

Entrance to Movenpick Cafe

Ice-cream bar off to the side

Ice-cream bar off to the side

Inside the cafe, there are comfortable seatings by the large windows, and also a small room for larger parties too.

Interior of Movenpick Cafe

Interior of Movenpick Cafe

A separate room at the end for larger parties

A separate room at the end for larger parties

Norway Smoked Salmon Salad (~$230NTD) 2/5

Norwegian Smoked Salmon Salad (~$230NTD) 3/5

MilkTea ordered a Norwegian smoked salmon salad. The dressing came on the side rather than drizzled on top, which is rather nice since everyone has different preferences for the amount of dressing that they like in a salad. The amount of smoked salmon was a bit disappointing though. There were only about 4 small pieces, and the rest was just lettuce, cucumber, and a bit of tomatoes and olives. I guess that’s to be expected, since it was a salad after all. This salad would be a healthy choice for those who want something light and nutritious!

Fruit tea - 4/5

Mixed Fruit Tea ($110NTD) – 4/5

Chicken and mushroom pasta in a bread box - 4/5

Chicken and mushroom pasta in a bread box – 5/5

JT ordered a mixed fruit tea and a chicken and mushroom pasta in a bread box. The fruit tea had fresh apples, kiwi, and passionfruit and it was fruity and not too sweet. I thought the bread box was a creative way to serve pasta! The bread soaked up the creamy pasta sauce, making this a very flavourful dish.

Gratin Penne with Chicken and Pumpkin Sauce ($220NTD) - 4/5

Gratin Penne with Chicken and Pumpkin Sauce ($220NTD) – 4/5

Last but not least, my gratin penne with chicken in a pumpkin sauce. MilkTea really enjoyed this dish (she loves pumpkin), and I’m not a pumpkin fan, but I thought this dish was very delicious as well! The sauce was not too heavy and the pasta was not overcooked, which is what sometimes happens in gratin dishes. I believe they used chicken breast meat in this dish, but the meat wasn’t too dry as it was soaked in pumpkin sauce. Yum!

Overall, Movenpick Cafe is a nice and ambiant cafe, and it doesn’t get too crowded (except for weekends!). I think their sweets are better than their savouries, but their pasta bread boxes are definitely worth a try!

Loose Moose Tapas Bar & Grill

I would never have come across this hidden gem if it wasn’t for JT! The plan that Sunday was actually brunch at the Twisted Fork, however we were told that we wouldn’t be able to get a table that day, so feeling dejected, we had to find another place to eat. Thankfully JT lives in downtown Vancouver, so when we came across Loose Moose, she told us that there were always long lineups at night because everything in the restaurant was $6. You can’t really find anywhere cheaper than that in downtown Vancouver (although there is The Famous Warehouse located right around the corner where everything on the menu is only $5).

Moose burger with fries $5.95

I ordered their Moose burger. It came with a side of fries as well. The portion size was on the smaller side, but it was perfect for me as I was able to finish everything without feeling too stuffed. As for the taste, there was nothing fancy about it; tastes like your average burger off the grill. I can see why it can get very busy at night though. It seems like a good place for people to watch a game together over a couple of beers and cheap food.

The Good
– Cheap eats (everything for $6)

The Bad
– Average tasting food
– Small portions (for those who are looking to get full, one order won’t be enough)

Loose Moose Tapas Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Cheesecake Factory – Downtown Seattle

At the beginning of the month, I was lucky enough to visit Tuliptown with Mochi’s family and MilkTea and catch the last of the tulips for the tulip festival. Since Mt. Vernon, Washington was so close to Seattle, we decided to swing by downtown Seattle for a late lunch. Of course we chose to go to Cheesecake Factory after the great time that we had at the Portland, Oregon location last time.

Exterior of Cheesecake Factory – Downtown Seattle

The interior looked the same as the Portland Cheesecake Factory, since it’s a chain restaurant. We started off with a basket of complimentary bread.

Complimentary Bread
5/5

Warm, delicious bread~ The whole wheat brown bread was the winner. It tasted great with butter and it had a sweet taste (from brown sugar, maybe).

Monterey Cheeseburger – $11.95
5/5

This cheeseburger came with melted Monterey Jack cheese, avocado, arugula, and red onion. Avocado and arugula are two of my favourite fruits and vegetables, which was why I picked this burger. I thought it was good, but very filling. It was also quite hard for me to bite it without sauce and filling getting everywhere (it was quite a handful).

Pasta Carbonara – $10.95?
3/5

This pasta consisted of spaghettini with smoked bacon, peas, and a garlic-parmesan cream sauce. The pasta was cooked al dente, and the bacon, peas, and sauce mixed well with each other. However, it was much too salty for my liking.

Barbeque Ranch Chicken Salad – $14.50
4/5

A delicious combination of avocado, tomato, grilled corn, black beans, cucumber, and romaine. It was completed with grilled chicken and topped off with onion strings. I enjoyed the combination of this salad, but I didn’t like how everything was so chopped up in this salad. Otherwise it had a nice mix of everything, and makes for a healthy meal too!

Skinnylicious Turkey & Avocado Sandwich – $9.95
4/5

I’m glad to see a special menu at the Cheesecake Factory for those people who are trying to watch their weight, because most of their food items come in such large portions that it’s hard to control how much you are eating without overdoing it. This sandwich had turkey, ripe avocado, and a couple slices of bacon.

Fresh Strawberry Cheesecake
5/5

Last but not least, we finished off by sharing a slice of Cheesecake Factory’s fresh strawberry cheesecake. My favourite cheesecake flavour from the Cheesecake Factory is still their Red Velvet Cheesecake, but this one was great as well. Their plain cheesecake, topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream made a simple yet delicious combination. The strawberries were really sweet too! :)

I wish that they can bring Cheesecake Factory to Vancouver!! Their cheesecakes taste much better than True Confections.
Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon

Fleuri

On Valentine’s Day, Mochi took me out for dinner at a nice restaurant in Sutton Place Hotel. It was on Valentine’s Day, so there was a set menu everyone had to get. It was a three-course dinner with a chocolate buffet at the end.

Fleuri's Valentine Menu

Fleuri is quite a big restaurant; there were quite a bit of people, but it was not crowded and there were empty tables, which meant hardly any line-up at the chocolate buffet!

To start, we were served complimentary bread and butter.

Complimentary bread with butter

The bread wasn’t warm, but they were soft and there were three different types: two different white breads, and a whole grain one with walnuts inside. I had the walnut one and it was delicious!

The first dish was an Albacore Tuna Crudo.

Albacore Tuna Crudo with orange, squid ink, cod roe, and crispy salami

Mochi really enjoyed the squid ink, as did I. I think the presentation of this dish is really beautiful and artistically plated. It tasted great too! The crispy salami and single piece of what I presume to be deep-fried noodle(?) really added flavour and balanced out the taste of the tuna and squid. The orange pieces added some sweetness to this dish. This unique dish was a great appetizer and all the flavours blended well together.

The next dish was the butter poached lobster:

Butter poached lobster with carrot pudding, carbonnara, fennel, and micro greens

The lobster was succulent and fresh, and the plating of this dish was again, elegant and beautiful. At first I thought the orange pudding was pumpkin, but it was actually carrot~ The greens served with all of their dishes also tasted very fresh and delicious.

For the main, I could pick between either the beef tenderloin or the sablefish and shellfish pot au feu. I picked the tenderloin, so Mochi picked the sablefish.

Beef tenderloin with forest mushroom ragout, horseradish foam, and aged cheddar croquette

Sablefish and shellfish pot au feu with creamy curry emulsion and consomme, clams, mussels, sweet peas, and curry squash

I asked for the beef tenderloin to be cooked medium, and it was cooked perfectly. It was tender and still pink inside. It was pretty filling though, and I had to give Mochi a lot of mine.

The sablefish that Mochi got was very delicious. A broth was poured over it after it was served on the table, and if you enjoy seafood, this is definitely a good dish to try! There was a generous amount of mussels and clams, and the sablefish flaked nicely and it tasted scrumptious with the soup. The only thing I did not like about this dish was the bitter plant that they put in this dish; I’m not exactly sure what plant it was, but it looked like a skinny carrot, but it was a lot paler in colour. It was some kind of root.

For dessert, we tried Fleuri’s chocolate buffet. Fleuri’s chocolate buffet is rated as being the #1 chocolate buffet in the world, and I can see why! I didn’t get to try every single thing, but from what I had, I enjoyed all of them. My favourite though has to be the freshly-made crepes.

Freshly made crepes

Crepe toppings such as whipped cream and Grand Marnier pastry cream

My crepe with a scoop of vanilla gelato

They offer other gelato flavours (such as chocolate, strawberry, and caramel) as well as sorbets to top off your crepe. The crepes here are one of the best I have had. They taste a bit chewy, and makes me wonder if they added mochiko flour into it? It reminds me a bit of the crepes that they serve at the Japanese konbinya on Robson st.

Here are some of their other desserts:

Chocolate mousse cup

Triple chocolate croissant bread pudding

This bread pudding was so good that I attempted to make it a few days after (and succeeded). Yum~ I’ll post up the recipe if I ever get around to it.

Almond macaroons

These macaroons are so cute; they are heart-shaped (for Valentine’s Day)! They tasted quite chewy, and the shell was a bit crunchy. Macaroons were not my favourite dessert (until I tried Soirette’s). At least the ones at Fleuri were not as sweet as the ones served in the Wicked Spoon buffet in Las Vegas.

Chocolate fondue with fruits

There were many different fruits, such as cantaloupe, honeydew melon, strawberries, grapes, and pineapple.

Additional toppings for the fondue

These are additional toppings that you can coat your fruits with after they have taken a bath in the chocolate pool. The dark chocolate shavings were great, and so were the toasted almond slices.

Cream puffs

I thought these cream puffs would be filled with pastry cream or whipped cream, but nope! Since this was a chocolate buffet, they were filled with chocolate mousse~

Opera slice

Here are some other desserts that I did not try:

White chocolate cheesecake

Milk Chocolate Raspberry Mousse

Pecan brownies

Silk Pie

Chocolate truffle cake

By the end of the night, I have eaten enough chocolate to satisfy me for an entire month! It was a delicious dinner nonetheless. Fleuri was also very thoughtful and gave each lady a beautiful long stem red rose at the end of the evening.

<3

Next time I will go back just for their chocolate buffet.

Thanks for the lovely dinner, Mochi! I had a great time. :)

Fleuri on Urbanspoon

Teahouse in Stanley Park

Today JL and OmNom went for a biking marathon around the Stanley Park seawall while I went for afternoon tea at the Teahouse with Mochi. The plan was for them to do two laps, which should give us plenty of time for afternoon tea. However, we did not expect to walk to Teahouse from Denman street.. Which was what we actually ended up doing.
It wasn’t too bad. The view was great and the weather was lovely. It was quite a long walk though. I would say it’s 30 minutes one way? On the way there, we stopped for a little food break and we ate the delicious D+ yeast bread that I bought from Konbiniya yesterday (Hokkaido cream flavour).

Hokkaido Cream Natural Yeast Bread

Finally we arrived at Teahouse. By then it was already 6:00pm.. Afternoon tea? I think not. It felt more like dinner.

Entrance to Teahouse

There were 3 different seating areas there. One outdoor patio as seen in the photo, one darker room with red wood furniture (I didn’t get a picture of that!), as well as the sun room (the one we ate in).

Sun room in Teahouse

Mochi ordered an Okanagan Pear Cider, and I had a special drink, the “pick-me-up”. It was basically Bailey’s with espresso over ice.

Pear Cider $6

This drink tasted fizzy, with a hint of bitterness. It’s like drinking an alcoholic soda (7% alcohol). Mochi actually got a bit tipsy after having a glass!

Pick Me Up $7

This was my drink: the Bailey’s with espresso over ice. They even added a cherry inside! I thought that it was a pretty drink and tasted just like ice coffee (with a hint of alcohol inside, but not very strong though).

We were going to order a red velvet chocolate cake for dessert, but I chose to get something savory instead, so I ordered a Teahouse stuffed mushrooms. We also got complimentary bread.

Complimentary bread with whipped butter

The bread was steaming hot and tasted really fresh! The butter melted nicely on the bread. Mochi usually dislikes bread crust, but he actually liked the one on this bread. I think OmNom will really enjoy this bread too since she is such a bread person.

Teahouse Stuffed Mushrooms $12

I have never had stuffed mushrooms before, but I have heard many good things about them! So I wanted to try some today. Sadly, Mochi did not prefer this taste. He thought it was too creamy and too flavourful. (Sorry! Treat you to something good next time?)

I thought it tasted really good. The mushrooms were stuffed with crab and cream cheese. Topped off with fresh greens, it did not taste too heavy to me. But then again, I am a huge fan of anything creamy and cheesy.

Close-up of a stuffed mushroom

Overall I liked the ambiance of the restaurant, as well as the delicious bread and friendly service. The view was spectacular too!

Alas, after the “afternoon tea”, it was another 30 minutes walk back to Downtown.. There was a free shuttle bus that came every half an hour or so, but it didn’t take a route that was convenient for us. It is mostly a shuttle bus for people who need to get back to their Downtown hotels. It’s still a thoughful service though for those that aren’t from around here!

Beautiful Stanley Park

The Teahouse on Urbanspoon

Cheesecake Factory

I am back from the Portland trip and I miss it there already! I had such a good time there. It was 3 full days of shopping, eating and sleeping. The majority of the time was spent on the road (sadly). I had wanted to visit more places but after spending an entire day at the Woodburn outlet mall, I realized that wouldn’t be possible.

So the highlight of the trip was dinner at Cheesecake Factory in Washington Square, Portland. I have heard so many rave reviews from friends about the place so I really wanted to try it out!

Upon arrival at Washington Square, I immediately noticed the Cheesecake Factory. Even though we got there at 8:30pm, there was still a crowd of people inside.

Cheesecake Factory exterior

The interior of the restaurant was really pretty. A friend compared it to the restaurants in Las Vegas? I wouldn’t know since I’ve never been to Las Vegas.. yet!

Interior of the restaurant (near the entrance)

Pretty lights

Cheesecake factory is separated into three different areas: restaurant, bar and bakery. After I’m 21 I would like to visit the bar section. It’s too bad that the drinking age in the States is so high.

Restaurant area

Bakery area

Bar area

The server was very friendly and seated us promptly after a table cleared up. First, the complimentary bread arrived while we pondered from their large menu what to order for dinner.

Complimentary rye and sourdough bread with butter

The bread was warm and very delicious! The rye bread was a hit with everyone at the table. We had to ask for seconds.

The drinks came next. Mochi ordered a strawberry fruit smoothie. OmNom wanted to order a skinny Margarita but she wasn’t 21 yet.. (Darn the drinking age in the States!) so JL ordered it instead.

Strawberry Fruit Smoothie $5.95USD

Skinny Magarita on the rocks

I had a sip of both drinks and they were both very good. The margarita tasted sweet and citrus with a kick at the end while the strawberry smoothie was very refreshing! I find it to be too big for one person though so this drink would be better shared between two people.

Next, the mains. I ordered a Factory combination: Chicken Madeira and Steak Diane.

Chicken Madeira and Steak Diane $19.95USD

I was not impressed with the server who gave me my order. The plate was flaming hot and instead of placing it on the table for me, he placed it directly onto my hands. Needless to say, my fingers got burned by the hot ceramic plate. That was my only complaint for the night.

As for the food, the chicken breast was really moist and flavorful. The melted mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken completed the dish! The Chicken Madeira was the best chicken breast that I have ever had.

As for the Steak Diane, I asked for my steak to be done medium rare, and it was exactly that. The steak was tender and paired very well with the fresh greens. However, I did find this dish to be a bit on the saltier side.

This dish was too much to be finished by me alone. I had to leave quite a bit of the mashed potato behind (Thanks OmNom for helping me finish some!)

For dessert, all of us shared a slice of Red Velvet Cheesecake.

Ultimate Red Velvet Cake Cheesecake ~$8USD

(The strawberry doesn’t actually come with the cake. Mochi took it off of his strawberry smoothie and stuck it on to garnish the cake.)

This was the best cheesecake that I have ever had in my entire life! The cheesecake was creamy and soft. It didn’t leave me feeling too full and it wasn’t too heavy. The red velvet part was also very tasty. (Red velvet is my favorite cake flavor) The white chocolate curls on the side of the cake and the whipping cream both added a bit of sweetness to this divine creation.

I will definitely be going back for more of their food, especially for their cheesecakes!

Ratings

Food 5/5
Service 4/5
Value 5/5

Cheesecake Factory on Urbanspoon