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. :(

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Leonidas Coupon

There is another coupon for Leonidas Chocolates!
To see my previous post: Leonidas Chocolates

For $12, you can get 2 waffles, 2 hot chocolates, 2 chocolate-covered strawberries, and 2 Belgian chocolates! :)

The coupon is redeemable starting on March 28, 2012 and expires on September 28, 2012.

Click here to buy yours today: Leonidas Coupon
(coupon deal ends on March 28, 2012)

Leonidas Belgian Chocolates
#29-1055 Canada Place, Vancouver BC

Leonidas

One thing that I do when I am bored is to browse for some good food deals on sites like Groupon and LivingSocial. When Milk Tea told me about a deal for this new Belgian chocolates dessert place near Waterfront station, I was eager to try it out!

Leonidas, situated right beside the Vancouver Convention Centre with a great view of the water, is a small shop that specializes in Belgian chocolates. Leonidas chocolates have been around since 1913, and there are stores all around the world (from Paris to Hong Kong).

When Mochi and I entered the little dessert shop, the first thing we noticed was the large selection of chocolates on display. The store itself was not too big, with only five tables inside (outdoor seating will probably be available when the weather is a bit warmer). They also had a variety of other desserts such as macarons, gelato, and boxed chocolates.

Chocolate boxes

Cakes

Macarons

An assortment of Belgian chocolates on display

More Belgian chocolates - Chocolate cups

With the SocialShopper coupon, we were entitled to two cups of hot chocolate, two chocolate-covered strawberries, two liege waffles, and six Belgian chocolates. Mochi and I decided to have the six chocolates to-go. As for hot chocolate, we had the choice of either white, milk, or dark chocolate hot chocolate. I opted for the dark since I like my chocolates to be less sweet and more bitter, and Mochi chose the milk.

Hot chocolate - dark 4/5

Hot chocolate - milk 3/5

The hot chocolates were served in cups that had an insulating layer so that our hands were not burned. It was a cold and windy day. I warmed my freezing cold hands on the warm cup and took sips of my favourite hot drink. I liked my dark hot chocolate a lot; it tasted very chocolatey, and yet was not too sweet. The milk hot chocolate had a distinct milky flavour, and was sweeter than the dark, but tasted very good as well. According to a friend, the white hot chocolate is very sweet so unless you like your drinks super sweet, the milk or dark would probably be the better options.

While drinking the hot beverages and listening to calm music, the waffles and strawberries arrived:

Liege waffles 4/5 and chocolate-covered strawberries 3/5

The waffles had been warmed in an oven, and sprinkled with some icing sugar. Beside the waffles were two strawberries that had been dipped in milk chocolate, then drizzled with white chocolate. Sweetened whipped cream garnished one corner of the plate, and the plating was complete with drops of caramel and chocolate sauce that had been drawn into the shape of Leonidas’s signature L.

The liege waffle tasted soft and warm, and had bits of sugar in the corners. It was my first time having a Belgian waffle, and in my opinion it tasted really good, especially with some whipped cream. Mochi enjoyed his waffle too.

The strawberries were good, but my favourite chocolate-covered strawberries are still the ones from Wicked Spoon (Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas).

Before leaving, Mochi and I selected six different chocolates. It was hard to make a choice since there were so many different kinds. In the end we chose a dark chocolate ganache, dark hazelnut ganache, “I Love You” lemon cream filled chocolate, tiramisu cup, dark chocolate truffle, and a white chocolate marzipan cup. Their chocolates are smooth and at original price, cost a lot less than Godiva, yet is still good quality chocolates. It is made with 100% cocoa butter and pure chocolate.

For the quality that you get for the reasonable price, I would pay Leonidas another visit the next time I pass by Vancouver Convention Centre.
Leonidas on Urbanspoon

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!

WE. Coffee 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