Tom Sushi

Tom Sushi is a new restaurant that recently opened on Vancouver’s Davie Street. This actually used to be another Japanese restaurant called Bistro Hatzu which I also liked but it looks like it moved to a new location closer to Main Street. I’m so glad a new sushi joint opened up here though! There are several other options around the area but so far, none have really satisfied my taste.

The interior was bright, welcoming, and looked spacious. Their menu was also very well designed and was laid out nicely with lots of options to choose from without feeling like there was too much going on.

Smoked Dynamite Roll & Red Dynamite Roll

I came here with my coworkers during lunch. Since all three of us were hungry, we decided to order a party tray to share. We opted for the Tom Special Roll Tray ($59.95). This included 6 different signature rolls: Red Dynamite Roll, Smoked Dynamite Roll, Snow Dragon Roll, Black Dragon Roll, Salmonholic Roll, and Rainbow Roll.

Black Dragon Roll & Salmonholic Roll

Everything was presented well and was delicious! My top three were the Rainbow Roll, Salmonholic Roll, and Smoked Dynamite Roll. The fish was fresh and the rice to filling ratio was just right. My only complaint with this particular selection is that the Red Dynamite and Smoked Dynamite rolls were too similar to be placed within the same tray. I wish they had replaced one of them with another one of their specialty rolls to provide more contrast.

Rainbow Roll & Snow Dragon Roll

The service was friendly and attentive; our tea cups were constantly refilled. Also, you can get free miso soup and a 10% discount if you are a hospital employee. You just need to show your ID badge to avail of this. I will definitely be coming back to try the other items on their menu — they have bluefin tuna specials, nigiri, box sushi, as well as cooked food like katsu, udon, and cold soba noodles!

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Ambiance – 9/10
Value – 9/10

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Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionery

Glenburn is a retro diner-style cafe on Hastings, Burnaby serving up all sorts of sweet treats including ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes, sodas, and floats. They have a vast variety of options under each of these categories but my family and I were most interested in their specialty sundae menu (not pictured here but available on their website).

Menu

Even that was difficult to choose from, as everything sounded so yummy! Eventually, we decided on the O.M.G. Brownie sundae ($9.75).

O.M.G. Brownie ($9.75)

This was a house-baked gluten-free brownie at the base with a scoop of caramel pecan fudge ice cream topped with whipped cream and a peanut butter sauce. Doesn’t it sound so decadent? I’m actually not a huge fan of brownies but it was really yummy! Even though the brownie was gluten-free, it was still moist with a good texture and fudge flavour. I especially loved the caramel pecan fudge ice cream; it was just the right amount of sweetness for me. If I’m not up for something so heavy as a sundae, I wouldn’t mind just getting a scoop of this ice cream for next time.

Sweet & Salty Pretzel ($9)

We also got the Sweet & Salty Pretzel sundae ($9). This was a vanilla and caramel pecan fudge ice cream layered with butterscotch sauce and crushed salty pretzels and of course, topped with whipped cream. I liked the contrast of the sweet and salty here – I never realized that pretzels would go so well with ice cream until I had this! The butterscotch was nice too but it can definitely become overly sweet if you have too much. Perhaps in moderation, this can be enjoyed better.

I enjoyed the desserts but I wish there were more tables available! They only had two small tables at the front and the rest was counter seating which was also limited for such a busy shop. Granted, the place isn’t very large but it makes it difficult to enjoy something like a sundae if you can’t sit down to eat it. If you’re just having a regular ice cream or milkshake it’s not as much of an issue because these can easily be eaten outside. Otherwise, I recommend checking out this place if you’re in the area looking for something sweet to eat!

AnnaLena

Located in the lovely area of Kitsilano, AnnaLena is a modern Canadian restaurant that serves up locally inspired dishes with a West Coast flair. All of their dishes are meant to share which is nice so you can try more things.

AnnaLena

We started off with a couple of oysters with foie gras. These are raw oysters with a bit of apple, jalapeno, and foie gras shavings on top — basically an elevated oyster. This was SO good. The foie gras just melted in my mouth and the oyster was so fresh… I could’ve had another one or two but these are quite pricey at $5 a pop! If you enjoy oysters, this is a must try.

Oysters with Shaved Foie Gras ($5 ea)

I really wanted to try the torn bread after reading so many reviews raving about it so we ordered the mussels ($21) which comes with a side of their special torn bread. The mussels were off the shell, plump, and juicy. The torn bread was AMAZING, and even more so dipped in the lovely garlic and thyme broth. I can’t even properly describe it. The texture of the bread was incredible. It had crispy edges all around yet it was soft and fluffy inside. This was by far the best bread I’ve ever had. The torn bread (with or without the mussels) is another must try!

Mussels with Torn Bread ($21)

For our second entree, we ordered the 36-hour Wagyu Short Rib ($48). At such a steep price and the most expensive item on the menu, we were expecting this to also be amazing but sadly, it fell quite short of our expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but it wasn’t worth the $48. The beef was not as tender as we had hoped it to be, nor was it very flavourful. The red wine jus was lacking in depth.

36-hour Wagyu Short Rib ($48)

I was still feeling a little peckish so we also got dessert to share. It was a beautifully presented Semolina Flour Cake with Lemon, ice cream, and honey cream. The cake was moist and I loved the honey cream and the tartness of the lemon. This light dessert was the perfect end to an overall very delicious meal.

Semolina Flour Cake with Lemon

Food – 9/10
Service – 9/10
Ambiance – 9/10
Value – 7/10

TWG Tea Salon & Boutique

TWG Tea Salon is an upscale tea shop as well as a restaurant/cafe. I had been here a couple of times when it was still The Urban Tea Merchant but this was my first time since it became TWG. The boutique has shelves lined with all sorts of varieties of teas and from different countries around the world. It’s quite an impressive display and selection of tea and they have an extensive tea list and menu that describes each one in more detail. If you are a tea connoisseur or even if you’re just interested in learning more about tea, this is a great store for you! The staff are knowledgeable and willing to help you out.

Lovely collection of teas

I was actually brought into the store today thanks to an Instagram giveaway that I won hosted by TWG and the Vancouver Gourmet Club. As part of their giveaway, I had their Mother’s Day set menu which is normally worth $68. It’s a limited time menu available now until May 17th. The set includes a main course, dessert, and your choice of tea.

Mother’s Day Set Menu

I had the Pink Flamingo Iced Tea which was a fruity green tea with notes of hibiscus. It was refreshing, although the hibiscus was not my personal favourite. I’m glad I got to try it though! My sister ordered the Grand Wedding Iced Tea ($11) as per our server’s recommendation and we both enjoyed this one. It’s a lovely black tea infused with tropical fruits. I would definitely order this one again.

As part of the Mother’s Day set, the main course was a Lobster Spaghetti. It had large chunks of lobster, garlic flower tempura, cheese, and mushrooms garnished with tea leaves. Both my sister and I felt like the spaghetti could have been cooked a little longer — it was too “al dente”. The tempura was also quite oily. Otherwise, the dish was not bad; the pasta could’ve had more depth of flavour and substance but the lobster chunks were juicy and delicious.

Lobster Spaghetti

My sister ordered the BC Salmon & Matcha Beurre Blanc ($28) which is one of the entrees on their regular all-day dining menu. This was delicious. The salmon was fresh and very tasty, while the matcha beurre blanc sauce elevated the whole dish even more. The edamame and mushrooms were also very good accompaniments to the dish.

BC Salmon & Matcha Beurre Blanc ($28)

Lastly, I had a dessert that was included in the Mother’s Day set which was basically a Strawberry Tart. It had quite an interesting appearance, with a strawberry tuile on top. Setting the tuile to the side revealed the tart lined with fresh strawberries topped with a sorbet which had a coconut and lemon flavour. Unfortunately, I wasn’t too fond of this dessert. Not only am I not a fan of coconut, but the texture of the strawberry tuile was also a little off. It wasn’t crispy, as I presume it should be, but rather, “papery” and kind of chewy.

Although there were some aspects of the Mother’s Day set I didn’t enjoy as much, I’m still glad I got the chance to dine here. We experienced the service to be friendly, unlike what some other reviewers have stated and the ambiance is truly lovely! I’d like to come back to try their afternoon tea sets next time and explore their vast array of teas!

The Alley 鹿角巷 – New Bubble Tea Shop in Vancouver

Ever since trying out Tiger Sugar brown sugar bubble tea in Taiwan, I’ve been on the lookout for a bubble tea shop here in Vancouver that offers something similar in terms of flavour and quality. That’s why I was excited to try out The Alley, a new bubble tea store that opened up on the corner of Hornby and Nelson.

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Deerioca Series

They are most known for their “Deerioca Series”, with the Deerioca Fever being the most popular.

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Menu

They had a pretty extensive menu, although the prices were quite steep — you’re looking at spending at least $6 for one drink. I wanted to try the Morning Dawn which is part of their Aurora Series — they’re super colourful (and Instagrammable) drinks served in a plastic bottle. Unfortunately, it would’ve taken 15 minutes to make it so I decided to get something else instead. They’re quite expensive too, at $8.50 for a small bottle!

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Royal No. 9 Milk Tea & Deerioca Fever

I opted for the Royal No. 9 Milk Tea which had a sort of fruity, fragrant flavour to it. It’s not your typical milk tea so it was good to try. I also added grass jelly for an extra 50 cents but the toppings were really sparse.. I kind of felt ripped off on that (and you can’t even really see much grass jelly in the picture).

My sis got the Deerioca Fever with fresh milk (it comes in either fresh milk or soy milk).  It wasn’t too sweet even though the sugar level is fixed for this one. I actually wish it had more brown sugar though. After the first few sips, it kind of just tasted like sweet milk and it didn’t have the sort of caramelized flavour that I was looking for.  I thought their tapioca pearls were good but my sis thought they were too hard… they probably could’ve been a little softer.

Having had to wait in line for this, I would say my experience was decent. The bubble tea wasn’t anything extraordinary, but it wasn’t bad either. I would probably come back and get the Deerioca Fever for myself and to try their other drinks though, notably the Aurora Series which looks super fruity and refreshing.. I just wish it were cheaper! Needless to say, I’m still on the search for a really good brown sugar bubble tea around here!