Cafe Marche

Yesterday I had pasta dinner at Cafe Marche. The reservation was at 630 but I didn’t get out of the office until 630… So I made MM wait until 710. X-x I made up for it by buying dessert! (I couldn’t buy dinner because MM bought a Groupon) V tagged along as well because I worked overtime and ruined his plans to play tennis. The food was amazing though and everyone was full and happy by the end of the evening!

Truffle mushroom pasta in cream sauce:

image

Chicken Risotto:

image

Shrimp pasta:

image

Souffle:

image

Raspberry mousse:

image

image

Everything was so tasty! It was our first time having souffle, and the raspberry dessert was really unique! The sponge-looking thing was pistachio sponge cake! The raspberry globe was icy and sour, with soft chocolate mousse inside. :) It wasn’t cheap though; it was the most expensive dessert on the menu at NTD350.

MM and I are planning to take mom and grandma there for mother’s day!

Panos

Today I went to Panos near Dongmen station for lunch with CF and MM. Panos is a coffee chain store in Belgium (according to MM, there are over 400 stores in Belgium!), and they have brunch items, sandwiches, pasta, salad, and smoothies. It’s interesting to point out that the smoothie flavours at this particular restaurant were created by the lady who opened up the famous mango ice on Yong Kang St. She’s also a major shareholder of Panos Taipei! Another fact pointed out by MM during our visit. She sure knows a lot of random but interesting facts. :)

Overall I found the food and place to be alright, but the service was horrible. It took them 40 minutes to make MM and my Paninis. Even the group that came after us got their order first! I won’t be back.

CF’s tuna brunch:

image

My cheese panini:

image

MM’s smoked chicken panini:

image

It was nice to see CF after not seeing him for over a month! Even though the meal was disappointing, the conversations we had were certainly far from that.

The end of another relaxing and fun weekend; I’m now ready to face another week of work!

Melange Cafe – Shinkong Mitsukoshi A11

This past Saturday I attended the ‘Family Day’ event hosted by Meimei’s company with mom and grandma. The event itself was aight. It was supposed to be a carnival, so there were stalls selling food (like dorayaki and stir-fried noodles), as well as bouncy castles. Some company employees also performed on stage, but because the place was so big, there was a lot of echoing going on, which hurt our ears.

image

image

It was held at Nangang Exhibition Centre (the very last stop on the Bannan Line), and it was my first time there. The place was huge, and there was free food, but in terms of entertainment, there were none of interest, so while Meimei had to stay there since it counted as a work day for her, mom, grandma, and I went off to have afternoon tea instead. We decided on Melange Cafe in Shinkong Mitsukoshi’s A11 building (B1), which is located right by MRT City Hall station.

We didn’t make a reservation beforehand, and Melange Cafe was packed. However, the turnover rate was pretty fast and we only ended up waiting for ~20 minutes. Not bad for a Saturday afternoon that was prime time for afternoon tea.

Melange Cafe also has the ‘one drink per customer’ minimum order rule, so we had to oblige, which meant I didn’t end up ordering a waffle like I had originally wanted to.

Some interesting facts about Melange Cafe: The owner of Melange Cafe actually used to work for Coffee Alley (another well-known cafe in Taipei), and decided to leave and start a new cafe. The first Melange Cafe is located at MRT Zhongshan station, and that one is only a few metres away from a Coffee Alley cafe. Talk about competition!

None of our drinks came with added sugar, and sugar came in a separate jar, to be added as desired.

Mommy ordered a cafe ou lait (3.5/5):

image

I’ve never seen coffee served this way before! It came in 2 pots: 1 pot contained coffee, the other contained milk. You can choose to pour it in the ratio that you like. How neat!

Milk:

image

Coffee:

image

The way that the pots are designed, you can even pour both at once!

Grandma’s osmanthus citrus tea:

image

She said that it tasted light and floral, with a hint of citrus. She enjoyed her hot tea quite a lot.

My royal milk tea, original flavour (3.5/5):

image

I added a bit of sugar to my tea because I like my milk tea on the slightly sweet side. It was good, but I would have enjoyed it that much more if the tea flavour was stronger. I felt like the tea wasn’t brewed long enough so the flavour wasn’t completely infused into the drink.

Club sandwich (3.5/5):

image

Melange’s club sandwich with egg, tomato, lettuce, cucumber, and chicken. Tastewise, it was very normal, but made for good finger food as an afternoon tea snack. It was a fun afternoon catching up with Mommy and Grandma. It’s rare to take Grandma out because she doesn’t normally venture so far into Taipei, so I’m glad that I got to have afternoon tea with her that day. We’re planning on a lunch date for this upcoming Saturday at 三本味 (I had previously blogged about that place). Thank goodness I do exercise on a regular basis. Eating is what I do the most in Taiwan!

Addicted to Dazzling – Dazzling Pink

Meimei once told me that a food blogger visited Dazzling Cafe more than 20 times, and counting. How can anyone visit a cafe that many times, even though there are now 8 locations throughout Taiwan? Is it that good? My first experience at Dazzling Mint was good, but my second time at Dazzling Pink (their first store) was even better. Dazzling Pink is also conveniently located near MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua station, and about a 3 minute walk from Dazzling Mint.

There’s a deal going on at all the Dazzling Cafe locations until the end of November, which is buy one honey toast or pasta and get the second one half off. How can I pass on a yummy deal like that?

We went for dinner that evening, and even though we didn’t make a reservation, we reserved on the wait list at 4:30pm for 6pm, and that’s how we got a table on a Saturday night. The service was really good, and the servers were all very attentive. The waiter who took our order had a very good memory too; we must have changed our order at least 10 times (changed mains, changed our mind about drinks, adjusted ice and sugar levels, and requested that our honey toast be on the crispier side), and he still got it spot on. Bravo!

The interior of Dazzling Pink is very pretty, with white and pink as their main colours: a girl’s paradise! They came out with a jewelry line as well, but I’m not too interested in their jewelry. I like food more.

image

Peach fruit tea (3/5):

image

This tea was sweet and peachy, and quite refreshing. All pastas come with a drink (from a small menu, and this was one of them. Not bad for a complimentary drink!).

Meimei’s hot black tea, also came with a pasta order:

image

It’s just black tea, so it’s nothing new. However, it came with a side of fruit slices that can be added to the tea for a fruity twist to black tea.

I ordered the rose latte again, just like last time at Dazzling Mint. I thought this drink was so good that I didn’t mind ordering it a second time. Actually, that’s what usually happens when I like something. I end up ordering it again instead of trying something new. I’m trying to slowly change that though, because trying out new things can be really fun!

image

Rose. Coffee. Lots of milk. It’s my perfect winter drink.

Scallop and shrimp pasta tossed in olive oil (4/5):

image

Chicken pesto pasta (4.5/5):

image

Smoked salmon fettuccini (4/5):

image

Dazzling cafe serves good pasta. All of their pasta is cooked al dante, but there wasn’t much shrimp or scallop in the seafood pasta, nor a lot of salmon in the smoke salmon one. The portions were not large either, but it’s perfect for girls who want to save room for dessert: honey toast!

Hazelnut honey toast (4.5/5):

image

Yum! We requested the toast to be on the crispier side. It was so divine, even our guy friends enjoyed it, and I thought honey toast was a girl’s thing!

I am addicted to Dazzling; now I know why it’s always full and reservations must be made weeks in advance. Taiwanese people are seriously good at decorating their cafes and restaurants! They are all so pretty and exquisite, and I think it’s something that North American restaurants still have a lot to learn from. But then again, it could be that North Americans don’t like the cute style that Asians prefer. So, each to their own.

Dazzling Cafe – Mint

Yesterday I had afternoon tea with Hazelnut. It’s been awhile since I last saw her because she’s been busy with school in Taoyuan and hardly ever have time to visit Taipei. We decided to try Dazzling Cafe Mint and had a nice chat over some coffee and honey toast. Dazzling Cafe has quite a few stores, and their first store (pink) and the mint are both conveniently located near MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua station. Dazzling cafe is famous for their honey toast boxes, and each store has unique menu items.

The minimum order here is one drink per person, so in the end we each ordered a drink and ordered one honey toast box to share.

Caramel honey toast (3/5) $240NTD:

image

The toast box was very pretty to look at. This wasn’t a special menu item, because all the special toasts at this location are Danish (and I don’t  particularly enjoy Danish toasts). The pretty swirls on the plate was honey, the little dish contained more  honey, and the yellow custard was also flavoured with honey. This toast came with a scoop of ice-cream (I think it might have been maple walnut), drizzled with caramel sauce on top. I want to try making honey toast myself next time. I saw them make it once at what8ver cafe in Richmond, Canada, and it didn’t look too difficult. I think 2 people sharing one toast box is perfect. I really wanted to try their Halloween special toast (they even cut the bread so it looks like a Jack-o-Lantern!!), but that one had to be ordered with a meal, which was only available during meal times. So boohoo. :(

I had a rose latte, and this was a store special (4/5) $150NTD:

image

There’s a little bit of alcohol in this drink, which warms you up on a chilly afternoon, and it’s a good choice for those who enjoy floral drinks (like me~). The coffee didn’t taste sour or bitter, and it was sprinkled with rose buds.

It was nice to hear Hazelnut’s stories and share my stories with her as well. It’s so easy to talk to her. :) I think that’s what friends should be like. No pressure, carefree, and no need to worry about saying something that might offend someone because it was interpreted in a different way. I understand that everybody’s different and are entitled to their own feelings and emotions, but I personally dislike misunderstandings and unnecessary drama. Also, for whoever’s reading this, please don’t take it personally because I am not writing about anybody in particular, it’s just a general statement. Kthxbye!

Pancakes @ Paddington Garden

Today I went out for afternoon tea with some local friends that I met through my internship program. We wanted to go for pancakes at Uzna Omom, but it was packed. In the end, we settled for Paddington Garden. The good thing about where I live is that it is close to many good dessert places and restaurants. Even though the price can get a bit steep, if you know where to look, you’ll find some great eats!

Paddington Garden has many locations; we went to the one that’s right behind MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua station. It was a short wait compared to all the other cafes that we tried going to after Uzna Omom… Coffee Alley, Dazzling Cafe.. They all had insanely long wait times. That’s what happens when you don’t make a reservation on a weekend afternoon in one of the most popular places to eat in Taipei. What can I say? Taiwanese people just love to eat.

Paddington Garden is well-known for their pancakes, even though they do offer other items on their menu such as sandwiches and tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet). For their pancakes, they offer both sweet and savoury options, so there’s something for all moods.

What’s our flavours today?

Mont Blanc pancakes (2/5):

image

Berry pancakes (3/5):

image

Strawberry and Cream Cheese pancakes (5/5):

image

The strawberry one was hands-down the best choice out of all three flavours. The cream cheese topping had vanilla ice cream beneath, and together with the 3-layered pancakes and strawberry sauce created a sweet and salty fusion that worked together perfectly.

The Mont Blanc was disappointing. It was dry, and in my opinion, isn’t that appealing to the eye. The chestnut paste tasted mediocre at best, and I would not recommend this to anyone.

As for the berry pancakes, it was topped with sweet and creamy vanilla ice cream to balance out the sour berries. There wasn’t anything too special about this one, but it wasn’t horrible. Just quite simply as the name suggests: Berries + Pancakes.

CF said he wants to take Milktea and me to the Paddington Garden in Banqiao (in New Taipei City) next time. I can’t wait to try some other menu items! Apparently their savoury cheese pancakes are supposed to be amazing!

Another weekend has come to an end, and even though I’m sad to see it go, I’ll look forward to next weekend, and the next, and the one after that. That’s the beauty of work: it makes you appreciate weekends so much more!

Good night, world. :)

Perfume Dance

Last week I went to Perfume Dance for dinner with MilkTea, CF, and Vicky. I think Taiwan restaurants are all so exquisite and cute, and Perfume Dance was no exception. It’s located between MRT  Zhongxiao Fuxing and Zhongxiao Dunhua stations (closer to Zhongxiao Fuxing).

The interior was mint green (one of my favourite colours!), and there were chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. They also offered masks for girls who’d like to enjoy their afternoon teas in style. This place is famous for their unique honey toast boxes and “golden bricks” dessert (variation to toast boxes), so reservation is usually required on weekend afternoons.

image

This was my scallop vegetable soup. It was a light soup that tasted fresh but not overly salty.

image

Fruit tea that we ordered to share. We chose hot rather than cold, because I think hot fruit teas taste better. I love passionfruit so I was delighted to find passionfruit at the bottom.

image

CF’s pumpkin and eggplant risotto. CF doesn’t like eggplants, so he gave them to Milktea and me. Perfume Dance’s risotto are apparently very popular, and I usually don’t enjoy risotto, but this dish was surprisingly good! The rice and pumpkin sauce blended together perfectly, but the portion size is not too filling…

image

Milktea’s chicken pasta. I forgot what the sauce was, but it was tomato based and tasted slightly spicy. The chicken was tender, and the pasta cooked al dente.

image

Vicky’s matcha and red bean Danish toast box. The Danish toast box is quite unique as most places only serve regular toast boxes. I got to try a bite of this, and I thought it tasted just okay. The bread was a bit on the dry side, and the filling was mediocre at best.

image

This was the best dish of the night. It’s called “Golden Bricks” and it’s so named because instead of the conventional toast boxes where bread sticks are toasted then stuffed back into the box, “Golden Bricks” are bread that’s cut into cubes, toasted, and arranged into a pyramid. The flavour we picked was Tiramisu, with vanilla ice cream, and milk and chocolate sauce drizzled on top. It sounds so simple, but it’s honey toast at its best!

Overall, we had a great time at Perfume Dance. The service was good, but I thought the price was a bit steep for what we were paying for. Maybe because I am so used to the cheap eats in Pingtung, and I’m still adjusting to Taipei’s prices. Next honey toast destination: Dazzling Cafe!

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!

Chicco

On Thursday I went to Chicco with A, M and J after eating some very yummy Korean food at Chungdam Ahn! (I will write about that in my next post)

Chicco is a Japanese coffee and dessert bar located at 1504 Robson St. Vancouver.

Chicco Cafe

There aren’t many tables and chairs in the small cafe. The maximum capacity is around 15 people so there is a minimum order of 1 order per person if you want to eat-in. There are many cute wall decorations and art displays made from clay plates and cups which makes the interior decoration quite unique. They also sell handmade clay cups and plates created by Japanese artists.

Interesting art work on the wall

I shared a green tea parfait with A. I didn’t want to order anything else since a parfait is more than enough for the two of us after a very big dinner.. However, due to the minimum order requirement, I had to order an iced coffee. It was too cold to be eating a parfait outside.. M got a royal milk tea and J got a medium latte. I think aside from the price, I will like this place a lot! $7.50 for a parfait is a bit expensive in my opinion.. It did taste very good though.

Green Tea Parfait $7.50

The green tea parfait came with green tea cheese cake, green tea ice cream, a couple of rice cakes, sweet red bean, whipped cream, green tea jelly, corn flakes, vanilla ice cream and sponge cake. (In the order that they are presented in the parfait)

My favorite was the vanilla ice cream and corn flakes layer. The salty flakes go really well with the sweet ice cream! However, the sponge cake layer was very dry.. The moisture in the parfait did not blend together really well. It was hard to get everything mixed together.

There are things about Chicco that I like and things I do not. All in all, I would say that Chicco parfaits are delicious but for the price that you are paying for, it can only be a once-in-awhile indulgence. It would be even better if they can lower their price just a bit and expand the store. I prefer places where the minimum order is a certain $ per person instead of one entire order per person.

Chicco on Urbanspoon

WE. Coffee

Ever since eating the best waffles I have ever had in Taiwan’s 咖啡弄 (Coffee alley),I really wanted to find somewhere in Canada that also served good waffles. I finally got the opportunity when IndulgeLiving offered 50% off coupons to this fairly new cafe, called WE. Coffee (1696 Robson St.). I couldn’t wait to try the place out and so when mommy came to visit from Taiwan, sis and I both saw that as the perfect opportunity to pay this place a visit.

We were immediately attracted by the displays even before going into the cafe. The large window display showcased a vintage coffee machine of sorts as well as plastic models of their foods including waffles, sandwiches and croissants.

Window display

Walking into the cafe, we were pleased to see a simple yet classy place, complete with decor based on a black and white theme. The servers were attentive, and everything looked sparkling clean. Even the restroom was pretty!

The interior of WE. Coffee

We decided to order half of the tuna salad & fresh vegetables waffle and half of the strawberries & ice cream waffle as well as a medium cup of mocha latte.

Half Strawberries & Ice Cream Waffle $7.99

The waffles were freshly made and is truly a delight for any strawberry lovers. It was flavourful, not too sweet, and with just enough fruits and cream to finish half the waffle. Half a waffle was the perfect amount for me. Not too little and not too much.

Half Tuna Salad & Fresh Vegetables Waffle $7.99

This is the tuna salad waffle that my mom ordered. She prefers savory over sweet. What she liked the most about this was the horseradish. I thought that the vegetables were very fresh; the cucumbers were crisp and the tuna did not taste too fishy. I preferred the strawberry one over this however, as I am more of a sweets person.

Medium Mocha Latte $4.35

The mocha latte came in a bone-china Wedgewood cup. My mom really enjoyed this drink. I had a little sip and was happy to find out that it did not have an acidic taste. There was no sugar added which was exactly how my mom liked it. There was a little jar of sugar cubes on the table for those who wish to add some sweetness to their hot beverages, but we didn’t end up needing them. I don’t know too much about coffee, but from my mom’s description, it was excellent.

Compared to Coffee Alley in Taiwan, I still have to say that Coffee Alley is better than WE. Coffee. They are equal in taste, with basically the same toppings for both the strawberry and the tuna waffles. However, Coffee Alley takes the gold for value but WE. Coffee wins by a little for ambiance. It is certainly a nice place to catch up with an old friend or just for a relaxing afternoon, enjoying a waffle while browsing the net using their wifi.

Rating:

Service 8/10
Ambiance 9/10
Value 7/10

WE. Coffee on Urbanspoon