Thursday, March 5, 2015

cream puffs at chewy junior

All my life, I've never been particularly lucky. As a result, I've learned to make the most of a bad situation. Not to be overdramatic, but here's the "bad situation" that lead to the topic of this blog post: the soft opening of Soft Peaks. For those who aren't in the know, a new organic soft serve shop has opened in Gastown, and the hype over it has been overwhelming. (As of now, it's officially opened already, but as always, I've procrastinated, and this post is rehashing an event that happened months ago.) You know how I am when it comes to ice of course, I wanted to be there on the first day of their soft opening to give it a try. Alas, when I arrived after class, this was the sight that greeted me....

Having purposely made the trip down to Gastown, I was extremely disappointed- as were the other people standing nearby, judging by their groans of disbelief. I was also craving something sweet by this point, and considered walking to Bella Gelateria for some gelato. However, I remembered walking past Chewy Junior, which my friend had mentioned to me before, so I decided to stop by. Chewy Junior is a hugely popular chain in Asia, but this location is their flagship store in Vancouver.

Upon entering, I was instantly greeted by Ash, the owner, who was extremely welcoming. He introduced me to all the items on the menu and explained the whole concept of their cream puffs- they're baked, not fried, and are definitely unique compared to your typical cream puff. I decided on a chocolate oreo crunch one, and also their matcha nippon. I can't for the life of me remember how much these cost, but it was something in between $3-4 each. 

Apologies for the bad phone pics. I have to heft my laptop around for school which makes it impossible to bring my camera too :(

So delicious! I'm honestly not a fan of the traditional choux pastry used in cream puffs- I find it to be dry and slightly tasteless, but these were such a treat in comparison. The cream puff itself is chewy and reminds me of a Mexican pineapple bun, if you've ever had those from a Chinese bakery. Inside, the smooth cream complements the pastry so wonderfully without being overpowering. I'm always in the mood for cookies & cream/Oreos, so that one was definitely a hit, though the crushed crumbs on top added with the oozy custard made for a very messy experience, haha. Grab a napkin or two! The matcha cream was full of flavour, but wasn't sweet whatsoever, so the white chocolate drizzle on top balanced it out well. Miss Piggy (me) polished off both quickly, embarrassingly enough.

As you can see, they definitely don't skimp on the custard. Mmmm....I'm craving one (or two) now....
As you can see on their website, they have tons of other flavours as well, so definitely go check them out if you're suddenly craving something sweet while on the go! It's also right across from Waterfront Station, which is super convenient.

Chewy Junior on Urbanspoon

Sunday, February 15, 2015

hot chocolate festival: final recap! (2015)

So terribly sad that this is my last hot chocolate fest recap for the year- it's been a sweeeeet month!

Managed to round up my friends for a small after-school date at Bella Gelateria...which is an excellent excuse to order everything on the menu ;D (technically, they were kinda coerced into this decision.... "you can't order the same thing as me!!!! roz needs pictures for her blog!!!!)

Matt chose 'Erin Gone Bananas', I had the 'James Brown', Anna had 'Earl Goes Boom', and Christina had 'La Dolce Vita'. Of the bunch, 'La Dolce Vita' was definitely the best! You can't go wrong with dulce de leche.  'James Brown' was very rich, and the addition of spices is definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone. On my instagram post, I wrote about anise and nutmeg....and on second thought I'm not quite sure where I got the info that these were the spices in the hot chocolate? Did I make that up? I have no idea, haha. Anna and I weren't terribly excited by the cookie- Anna doesn't like ladyfingers, and while I don't mind 'em, the ones we had were a bit dry with not enough fior di latte gelato inside. Super sadface about it, since fior di latte is one of my favourite gelato flavours. I was hoping it'd be the same gBARs as last year :(

This is the same day I got a shout out from Cityfood Magazine- thank you!

As a result, here are some choice quotes from my friends regarding their drinks:
"I really like mine."- Christina

"It's quite sweet but not diabetes sweet."- Anna 
"A few sips would be fine, but like...the whole thing is a bit much, you know?"- Matthew Henderson, connoisseur of life

Moving on! I returned to Gem Chocolates twice for 'Miss Scarlett's Pecan Pie' & 'Cocoa Van Gogh'. I really enjoyed the former- it was a creamy and comforting drink which reminded me slightly of almond milk, thanks to a hint of the fragrant pecans mixed in with caramel. The pecan praline included was sticky & sweet, but delicious nonetheless! 

As for the latter, a Speculaas drink, it brought back all my Christmas feels- the gingerbread & cinnamon make it such a cozy winter drink! With every sip, there's always a slight cinnamon kick at the end that just spiceed it up a bit and made it so unique. The Speculaas chocolate was also quite different- a lovely caramel inside with a hint of gingerbread & cinnamon? Its appearance is so pretty as well. 

Last but not least, I had to end the festival with a bang of course (and on the last day itself, no less.) Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary is yet another place I've wanted to try since I first heard it was opening, but due to their location, I've never been able to make the trip. As I had Saturday free, and it finally decided to stop raining, I hopped on the bus and made my way out to Burnaby.

It was every bit as cute as I imagined- the shelves filled with candy from my childhood was one of my favourite touches, and of course, the interior itself was precisely what you imagine when you think of retro diners. Not to age myself (haha), but soda fountains and diners always remind me of the Archie comics that I used to read in elementary school!

My verdict? Delicious & faultless. Just a classic vanilla ice cream with a simple dark hot chocolate (which reminded me of Thierry's Ampomakia, but not as sweet, and definitely not as heavy!) The ice cream is good, and while I don't usually order waffle cones, theirs is crunchy and thick. I will without a doubt be returning in the summer for a milkshake or a sundae (which I should've done ages ago anyway...) 

I got so distracted while taking pictures that I didn't think of the obvious problem: how quickly ice cream will melt near a hot drink....oops.

To close off the festival, here are my top 5 favourites from this year:

  1. French Made Baking
  2. Butter Baked Goods
  3. Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary
  4. Gem Chocolates
  5. Koko Monk Chocolates

Hope you all enjoyed the hot chocolate fest posts- it really is one of my favourite food events in Vancouver :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

holts beauty bag spring 2015

I really love skincare and make-up samples, but have never tried out any subscription services (aside from Julep) because while I love surprises, I'm not willing to spend money on a box where I'm not entirely sure just what I'm going to get.

Now, I've known of the Holts beauty bags since I first saw their spring 2013 bag in-store. I'd eyed it every single time I walked in, but in the end, never purchased it since I wasn't sure if I'd use all the products. Looking back on it now...I really regret not buying it, haha. Since then, I've kept an eye out for new bags, but was never really completely sold on the samples they were offering. However, that all changed when I received an email about their spring 2015 bag....

...which as you can see, I've gone and purchased. There was really no doubt I would go out and buy this the minute I saw the samples that were included. Even when I actually picked up the's quite heavy! Just look- that sample of eye contour cream from Clé de Peau alone is enough to convince me. These are genuinely amazing deluxe samples- there's an eye & lip cream from Guerlain, an anti-aging creme from Estée Lauder, a hair mask from Oribe, a body cleanser from Aesop (a brand I've always wanted to try), a nail cleaner from Deborah Lippmann, a Chantecaille cleanser, a dermabrasion scrub from Darphin, and Clinique's custom repair serum (yet another product I've always wanted to try but was unwilling to pay full price for.) To top it off, you get a voucher for $10 off a min. $25 purchase! The bag itself is $35, but all of this is valued at $175- what. a. steal! The lady that helped me told me that this is one of their best bags yet, and I don't doubt it a bit. 

The bag itself is pretty cute and handy- there's a zippered pocket, and also a hook for hanging in the washroom, and the bag itself is pretty roomy. I love the bright magenta lining that just screams Holt Renfrew, haha. 

Here's a look at some of the samples out of their boxes.
I've tried the Darphin scrub once (which I do like so far), and the Estée Lauder creme as well since I'm already using other Estée Lauder skincare products. I know for sure I'll get a lot of use out of all these samples, and I'm just so happy with it all!

I also picked up Holts' holiday beauty bag which was a collaboration with Rebecca Minkoff. The bag itself is absolutely gorgeous- metallic and a bit like liquid gold glitter- but I wasn't too enthused about the samples, so I hadn't bought it right away (but it's on sale now!!!) 

I never purchase clutches or small bags like this, as I just have too many things to carry, but the best thing about this bag is the fact that IT ACTUALLY CAN HOLD MY DSLR!!!! I couldn't believe it! Again, the samples themselves aren't too exciting to me, but I will use all of them- I like the Estée Lauder eye serum, and the Laura Mercier isn't something I'll use daily, but will be pretty for a special night out, I think.

Playing my part as an enabler (as always)- I honestly urge you to go buy this season's beauty bag, because it's just such an amazing deal that no one should pass it up.