Konayuki – Round 2

Sunday afternoon was beautiful and sunny, so I decided it would be a good day to go shopping. It was a bit chilly outdoors, and after wandering around Shinkong Mitsukoshi square (there are always interesting street performers there and things to look at), and taking photos of a cute golden retriever all decked out in his Christmas attire:

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I decided to head over to Zhongshan station street mall, where it would be warmer because it would be indoors. Plus, there are a lot of book stores there. By that time it was already 5pm, and I was getting hungry. I ended up taking V to Konayuki for afternoon tea.

Latte:

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I originally ordered the macchiato without realizing that it was an espresso shot, but the server was kind enough to inform me of this, and I switched to a latte. I don’t drink coffee often, so when I do, I have trouble falling asleep. The latte at 5pm that evening kept me awake until 1 in the morning..

Sandwiches (smoked salmon and shrimp croquette):

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I really enjoyed the smoked salmon last time, that’s why I wanted to get it again. And I like the shrimp croquette sandwich better than the cheese croquette one, but the shrimp pattie inside was so tiny! The rest was all shredded cabbage.

Double fromage cheesecake (original and chocolate) with Hokkaido milk soft serve:

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As I had expected, the original cheesecake was better than the chocolate. The milk soft serve was good, but the one served at 711 was better.

Our total came to ~800NTD. V ordered a peach earl grey tea (cold) as well, but it wasn’t great, so I didn’t bother taking a picture of it. Surprisingly, the tea didn’t come sweetened. That’s quite interesting as most cold teas are usually sweetened before being served.

Their matcha drinks (both hot and cold) seem really popular as I saw a lot of people ordering them.

A cool and sunny Sunday afternoon strolling in Shinkong Mitsukoshi square, doing some light reading at a bookstore, and ending off the afternoon with afternoon tea at Konayuki. I enjoy Taiwan winters.

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Cheesecake: Success!

Today I baked a light cheesecake with Milktea. It took the entire morning, but it turned out really well! For some reason, baked goods always turn out better in Taiwan than in Canada… I’d love to try cooking in Taiwan too, but I’m afraid to use the gas stove… :( Too bad electricity costs so much in Taiwan, otherwise electric stoves would be more common.

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Cheesecake Etc.

The first thing that I noticed about Cheesecake Etc. was that it had strange hours: 7pm-1am. So when most of the restaurants are getting ready to close, Cheesecake Etc. is just getting ready to serve some late-night customers who are looking for something to satisfy their sweet tooth after dinner.

It was really dark inside the restaurant, and after my eyes have adjusted to the dim lighting, I saw that it was actually very spacious inside. The place was filled with wooden tables and chairs, and there was jazz music playing from the speakers. I saw a piano in the middle of the restaurant too, but there was no live music on the night that I went.

I expected the place to serve alcoholic beverages sinec it was a late-night place after all, but surprisingly it had none. The menu offered a selection of cheesecakes, coffee, tea, and they even had “non-alcoholic” beer! I wonder how that tastes like?

It was a cold evening when I went to Cheesecake Etc., and when I requested for hot water, the server told me that they didn’t have hot water.. they only have hot water with lemon which costs $2.50. I didn’t understand why they didn’t have straight up hot water if they have hot water + lemon. Hmm…

Everybody at our table ordered the original cheesecake with strawberries, and I was quite excited to try mine! The last time I had an original cheesecake with strawberries was at The Cheesecake Factory in Seattle (So good!).

Original cheesecake with strawberries – $5.75
4/5

Cheesecake Etc.’s original cheesecake with strawberries tasted creamy, and it was soft and not too heavy. I was a bit disappointed that the strawberries came as a sauce rather than as whole strawberries (like at The Cheesecake Factory), but it was still delicious nonetheless! This cheesecake was a bit different than the ones served at other places, because it doesn’t come with the graham crust. I was fine with that though, since the crust has never been my favourite anyway.

Cheesecake Etc. specializes in one thing, and they do it well. I think that their cheesecakes taste better than the ones at “True Confections”, because Cheesecake Etc.’s cakes are not too heavy nor too sweet. The next time I’m craving cheesecake in Vancouver, I’ll know where to go!
Cheesecake Etc. 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

Capstone Fondue

There aren’t that many places that offer fondue here in Vancouver. The first fondue place that I have ever tried was Capstone Fondue on Robson Street. I had their cheese fondue and overall, my experience was just average. Nothing special, and too expensive for what you get. This was a couple of years back, and a while ago I noticed that there was a Groupon for 50% off of fondue at Capstone, so I decided to give them another try.

I really like how they have an online reservation system on their website, especially because they don’t pick up phone calls so there would be no way to reserve by phone anyway.

Exterior of Capstone Fondue

Interior of Capstone Fondue

MilkTea, Mochi, JL, and I arrived at around 4pm, and it was already quite busy inside. The colour scheme inside was white and green. It was well-lit and it looked very pretty. They used to have bubble tea, but now they offer teas such as herbal teas and tea lattes (probably trying to change their image from a bubble tea place to a classy tea place).

We were promptly seated but we had trouble flagging down someone who could take our orders for us. After finally making our orders, we waited for quite some time before our orders came. We ordered a decadent cheesecake fondue for two and an ice-cream truffle fondue for two.

Individual pots of melted chocolate with a candle below

I liked these individual sized pots for the chocolate fondue. They didn’t have these the last time I was at Capstone.

Decadent Cheesecake Fondue for Two – $24.95
3/5

This is the cheesecake fondue. It came with cheesecake cubes, ice-cream balls (green tea, mango, strawberry, cookies&cream), lemon cake, banana bread, green tea(?) shortbread, and 4 toppings. The server didn’t even ask us what toppings we would like to choose.

I thought that the ice-cream “truffle centres” were the best, but they had to be eaten quickly because the melted chocolate did not stick well to melting ice cream. My teeth hurt a bit when I bit into the ice cream truffle, but I soon got used to it and it was tasty nonetheless. :)

Ice-cream truffle
5/5

The cheesecake cubes tasted alright, but after being at room temperature for a while, it started to melt and would crumble when we tried to pierce them with the little fondue forks. The lemon cake was too dry, green tea shortbread was too hard to pierce with the forks so we had to use our hands, and the banana cake was probably the next best thing after the ice-cream balls.

Next up, the ice-cream truffle fondue for two:

Ice-Cream Truffle Fondue for Two – $22.95
3/5

This one came with 16 ice-cream balls, shortbread, lemon cake, and banana cake. The only difference between this fondue set and the cheesecake one was that the cheesecake fondue set had cheesecake cubes and this one didn’t. Again, the server did not ask us what toppings we would like to have.

All in all, we were stuffed by the time we finished. The portions were good, and the individual pots were cute, but definitely not worth paying the original price for.

The Good:

– Ice-cream balls
– Individual pots
– Pretty store

The Bad:

– Pricey
– Bad service
Capstone Tea & Fondue 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