26 Feb 2010, 11:50pm
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La Casa Gelato

If you google “gelato Vancouver,” chances are your first hit will be La Casa Gelato, an unbelievable tour de force of gelatoverse that boasts over 200 flavors. It’s located in the middle of no where (it certainly seemed that way to me, though I didn’t pay too much attention to my bearings en route), but its selection is so vast and awesome, I’m sure people would travel out of their way to visit this shop.

Flavors ranged from classic to crazy, with some petering on the edge of unfathomable or frightening. Browsing the flavors and tasting them was an experience in itself, and I though I didn’t love every flavor I tasted, I had to admire the vision and bravery that went into an operation that could whip up a batch of curry flavored gelato!

I must have tasted a dozen flavors at least, including a few “surprise” ones that my brother so nicely offered to me. But in the end I chose the marzipan, pictured above. It had a lovely hint of that sweet almond paste that I so love. I wish I could have it again!

The gelato adventure continues under the cut:

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Granville Island

Granville Island was one of my favorite places in Vancouver! So much so that in the short few days I was in the city, we went there twice…even though it took a couple bus transfers and a hike to get there. It’s a marketplace that has everything you could possibly want (almost), from fresh produce and seafood to fancy baked items and chocolates. If I lived in Vancouver, I would try to make my way out there every week. (*___*)♥ Love!

The market itself is indoors, housed in a very large building that holds dozens of vendors. I could spend hours browsing the aisles! There was a tiny booth specializing in tea, complete with a mini counter where you could drink your freshly brewed cuppa. Counters upon counters of delicate and delicious looking pastries that made my mouth water. A large shiny display of fresh caught salmon – pricey but well worth it (we took home a few to cook for dinner). There were soup counters, spice sellers, coffee vendors and candy makers. Even a shop that specialized in pies – both sweet and savory.

You could also shop for non-food items, like handmade crafts, fine art, photographs and the like. The second market building next door had more of those crafty shops too, though it seemed that those stores were more established ones, compared to the more casual market vendor feel in the main building.

Pictured above is one of the colorful and delectable pastry counters. I wanted to order everything in there!

More under after the jump:

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18 Feb 2010, 8:37pm
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Hello Cupcake

Today, The Washington Post reported that New York’s Crumbs cupcake shop will be opening their first D.C. store in May at the corner of 11th and F, NW. The owner was quoted as saying that Washingtonians are cupcake n00bs and that we need to be schooled (by them, I guess) on the true magnificence of The Cupcake. This threw a few locals into a bit of tizzy, which I found rather amusing. So a New Yorker wants to talk smack about cupcakes. “Whatever, whatever,” as Mike Isabella would say. Hell if I care, just give me my cupcake!!!1! \(^O^)/

…on that note: Hello Cupcake! I’ve blogged this place before, but that was only one flavor, so thought I’d revisit it again to post a few more. This isn’t really my favorite cupcake shop in town, but they do have a lot of flavors, which is nice. It can be hit-or-miss, so it’s important to select wisely.

Pictured at the top is the triple coconut, which is one of their better ones. The cake was light and airy, and I thought the icing was creamy and nice! Made with a trio of coconut cake, coconut cream cheese frosting, and toasted coconut flakes.

More after the jump:

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14 Feb 2010, 1:24pm
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Azuki Pepsi

Japan gets all the funky “limited edition” Pepsi flavors. Cucumber! Shiso! (this review is pretty funny). Azuki Pepsi was released last October, and I was intrigued enough to give it a try. (Azuki is of course, sweet red bean – ubiquitous in Japanese confections).

…ugh. SO SWEET. It tasted like syrupy cherry coke. I never would have guessed it was azuki in a blind taste test. But since I knew to expect the azuki, I might have imagined a vague hint of it somewhere in the aftertaste.

Verdict: never again.

Not that I drink much Pepsi anyway.

However: I do think cucumber soda or shiso soda is a brilliant idea, if you subtracted the “Pepsi” part of it. I had a fabulously refreshing cucumber soda at SEI last year that I think ought to be bottled for the masses.

10 Feb 2010, 1:02pm
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Georgetown Cupcake

Oh look, cupcakes from New Year’s Eve! Fear not, these were consumed a long time ago, rapidly and while in their peak freshness. I’d never let a perfect batch of fabulous Georgetown Cupcakes go to waste, after all! It’s just another case of slow blogging. XD;;

These were actually purchased at their newish Bethesda branch. I stopped in there for the first time about a month ago near the end of 2009. The shop is small, though maybe has a tad more room than their (old) Georgetown location. The good thing about stopping in so soon after Christmas was that they had their holiday flavors still available. X) Counter clockwise from the bottom left, the flavors here are: eggnog, gingerbread, New Year’s cupcake, chocolate peppermint, white chocolate peppermint, and another New Year’s cupcake.

A few close-ups under the cut:

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9 Feb 2010, 11:51pm
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Royal Milk Tea

Hey everyone! Hope all you Washingtonians are staying warm and safe. The winter double whammy is underway at this very moment, just outside my frosted window. Happily, the power is on, so I can actually blog this from the warmth of my home. Let’s hope it stays that way. (My whole weekend was shot from electricity outage!)

Ah, but to combat the winter, there is this: Royal Milk Tea. A fabulously sweet milky concoction that tastes like Japan. It was the first thing I had when I vacationed there almost 10 years ago, and its flavor still takes me back to the chilly streets of Tokyo, where ubiquitous vending machines sold HOT cans of coffee and tea, right alongside the chilled variety. I was amazed and confused by this marvel of a concept. A hot can! It was genius! And the perfect thing to warm me up on a blustery day in early spring.

This particular variety is the powdered version, which is super easy to make. Just mix with hot water, and done! My brother discovered Royal Milk Tea on HIS maiden voyage to Japan last year, and couldn’t get enough of this stuff. After coming back to the states, I scoured the local Asian markets and online to find a vendor who sold it here, but came up empty handed. In the end, I had to get it shipped from Japan – at great expense – but it was well worth the efforts.

It’s just got that very unique sweetness that I can’t seem to fix up in my own cup of tea.

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