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:

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My cheese panini:

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MM’s smoked chicken panini:

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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!

Mia Cucina

Yesterday I had a very lovely dinner at Tianmu (天母), a very lovely area in Taipei City. Tianmu has pretty restaurants and nice residential areas. It’s a bit like Neihu, and I like Tianmu and Neihu better than downtown Taipei because they remind me of Vancouver; not too overly populated and there’s a lot of open space.

The dinner was at Mia Cucina, a vegetarian Italian restaurant behind Tianmu Sogo, a mere 2 minute walk from exit 2 of MRT Zhishan Station. When I first heard that we were having vegetarian for dinner, I was a bit skeptical… I really like my meat. But Mia Cucina was THAT good! Meimei and I are already talking about coming back again next time.

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They have cool drinking glasses here. They look like jam jars!

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Interior of the restaurant:

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A pretty chalkboard menu near the kitchen.

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This restaurant puts an emphasis on healthy eating with fresh ingredients, and portions are large as well. Expect to spend ~300 to 400NTD per person here; I think it’s really good for what you get.

Pumpkin soup (this one has a limited quantity everyday) (4/5):

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Pumpkin lovers rejoyce! Rich and creamy pumpkin soup with a couple of pieces of toasted ciabatta bread on the side for dipping.

Strawberry pecan salad (3.5/5):

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This strawberry pecan salad is a must-order at Mia Cucina. Our friends thought it was a bit on the sour side because of the vinegrette and pineapples. But Meimei and I loved it! The lettuce was crunchy, and it was tossed with apple slices, pecans, strawberries, cherry tomatoes, and pineapples.

Wild mushroom panini (4.5/5):

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Paninis are my favourite kind of sandwiches, even if it’s vegetarian. Inside there was mozzarella, eggplant, mushrooms, and pesto sauce, with a few thick-cut fries on the side. Crispy ciabatta bread, and warm cheesy goodness inside. I want to try their three cheese panini next time. I’m still looking for a cheese sandwich that can match or be better than the grilled cheese sandwiches at Burgoo in Vancouver.

Jalapeno and Jack cheese flatbread (4/5):

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Jack cheese and Jalapeno atop a crispy flatbread. The Jalapeno wasn’t too spicy (probably because the seeds were removed, and that’s always the spiciest part).

Mushroom pasta (5/5):

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Everybody loved this dish! The pasta was cooked al dente, and the sauce wasn’t too heavy or salty. The mushrooms at this restaurant taste delicious!

And last but not least, dessert. Maple pecan waffles (5/5):

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They were really generous with the pecans, and used real maple syrup. This waffle reminded me of Canada because of the maple syrup. I love maple. Nectar of the Gods.

The total for our meal was ~1800NTD (~60CAD) for 5 people. Not bad at all!

The place changed my mind about vegetarian food. Vegetarian food can actually be delicious if the food’s prepared well, and it’s not vegan, so there’s cheese! :) The only downside about this place is that the tables are too large, so even though it’s spacious, it’s difficult to talk to the person sitting across from you without screaming. My throat hurt after the meal. :(

More W.E. Coffee

A few weeks ago I went back to W.E. Coffee for a second time to use up the coupons that I bought from Indulge Living. I went with A, M and J on a sunny afternoon to relax and eat some yummy food. We noticed some differences immediately upon arrival at the restaurant. Before, the server would lead us to a table and give us menus then take our orders. However, that has all changed. We must now go up by ourselves to the counter and give our orders and pay before we get our food. I don’t like this new change all that much.

I didn’t really have a proper lunch when I got there even though it was 2pm already. So first I ordered a panini to share with M. We got the smoked turkey panini. It came with smoked turkey breast, basil pesto, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, provolone cheese and dijon mustard on ciabatta bread.

Smoked turkey panini ($8.99)

A close-up of the smoked turkey panini

This was my first time having a panini. It also came with a salad on the side. It was extremely delicious! The panini tasted very flavorful and the bread was nicely toasted and had a nice crunch to it. The ingredients were really fresh and worked together perfectly. I thought that the vinaigrette used in the salad was a bit too sour for my liking though but I still polished off the entire plate with M.

J and A both got the tuna salad and fresh vegetables waffle:

Tuna and vegetable waffle Full ($12.99)

Tuna and vegetable waffle Half ($7.99)

A wanted to get the red bean green tea waffle at first. The first time that we came, the waitress told us that there was a new waffle flavour that has not been added onto the menu yet: red bean green tea. However, I guess it was not too popular so they no longer serve it! That was too bad. I think red bean and green tea taste great together.. especially on a waffle.

After the panini, M and I got the Strawberries and Ice Cream waffle for dessert:

Strawberries and ice cream waffle Full ($12.99)

A close-up of the strawberries, ice-cream and custard.

This is my favourite waffle flavour. Not just at W.E. Coffee, but just in general. There is just something about strawberries and waffles that I really enjoy. I prefer sweet waffles over savory ones as well.

All in all I must say that it was a very enjoyable and tasty experience. However, I think that W.E. Coffee is a bit pricey. However, a once-in-awhile indulgence is always nice!

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