Worst. Bagel. Ever.

worst bagel ever

I got sucked into this little place called Bagel and Coffee, it was across the street from my (very Japanese) hair stylist, and I’ve been meaning to check it out. Bagel and Coffee is located on the south side (ie. side facing McKim Way) of Pacific Plaza – on the corner of Cambie and Garden City in Richmond. It’s the giant words Coffee and Bagel that lured me in, because – well, it’s coffee and bagels, why else?

It was a rainy day, almost lunch time, there was one guy sitting outside and I think another customer inside the little shop. The decor is quite pleasant and warm, and it was clean inside.

The woman working there gave a very friendly welcome as I walked in. She speaks Mandarin, although I don’t. Anyway, today’s bagel was whole wheat, she touted (at least twice as I can remember, I think it’s because whole wheat is soooo good for you). So I got one. It was still warm. 

From the looks of it i should have known better. Or at least I should have when I sniffed at it. Of course it smelled like that very characteristic smell of whole wheat, which isn’t the problem, but it smelled so doughy and underbaked that I should have known better than to sink my teeth in it. 

Of course I did. And it was just… ugh. Gross. It wasn’t really underbaked, but it felt like it. The outside was not tough, it wasn’t even bagel like. It was heavy but it wasn’t the right kind of bagel-dense. It was like somebody’s first ever attempt at making bagels and they forgot to boil it or something. I just. Ugh. I’m sorry. I can’t continue on with this post.

 

I didn’t try their coffee. Maybe it’s better. Maybe somebody else would like to try it and tell me what it’s like, because I’m not going back soon.

 

 

Bagel and Coffee

Pacific Plaza- 8888 Odlin Crescent, Richmond

Herb and Olive Ciabatta from Safeway.

Although supermarket bakeries fall short of being real bakeries, of all the chain ones out there, I’d have to say that Safeway is one of the best. (Although that doesn’t really mean it’s good.) At least in my bagel experiences it has been so, and I think this is also true for their other breads. (Pastries I’m not so sure, to me they all seem pretty similar – ie. similarly overly sweet and disgusting). Maybe it’s because most Safeway’s seem to have large and functional bakeries, and maybe enough people buy their stuff since the turnover is actually somewhat decent.

Found this herb and olive ciabatta at Safeway that was quite good. For me a ciabatta has to have a certain shape and thickness. Though the look is not as rigid in defintion as a baguette, I guess. But sometimes some places make ciabatta that just don’t look quite right … too narrow, to thick? I don’t know. This one looked like it was trustworthy though:

Herb and olive ciabatta

The herb flavor was present but not so strong that you feel like you’re just inhaling a bag of powdered rosemary or something. The bread was not dense but had a pretty good looking irregular open crumb, the crust was slightly crispy even without toasting, and it was nicely flavored and therefore good on its own. At the same time, if you had to grill a panino this would make it so much more flavorful than just plain ciabatta. I’d buy it again.

 

Herb and olive ciabatta

Never met a vegetable – or a loaf of bread – I didn’t like.

Spring. One of the best times to visit Granville Island. It’s produce heaven!

Organic Heirloom Tomatos:

Hmmm, asparagus. I love asparagus.

asparagus

 

And a sourdough epi from Terra Breads. What, you mean this isn’t a vegetable?! No way! Oh well. It took me a couple of hours, but I ate the whole thing in one sitting anyway. Seriously, no bread is safe with me. MWAHAHA!

Sourdough Epi

La Patisserie – 金磨坊西点

La Patisserie is my favorite Asian pastry shop.

Many Chinese bakeries are known for both traditional Asian goodies (egg tarts, lotus-seed buns, moon cakes), as well as Western-style desserts (mostly of French influence, a lot of cheese cakes, mousses). La Patisserie is one such shop, and makes everything to such excellence. For years they were a small place in a Richmond strip mall, and I remember getting pastries and their sweet, soft loafs of white bread many a times with my mother. They also make my favorite cake here – fresh mango cake: a sponge cake filled with a thick layer of chopped mango and cream inside, and large slices of mango draping the entire outside. The sweetness of the cake comes mainly from the mango, which is really fresh. The cream is not overly sweet or thick at all, and the sponge cake itself is very light and fluffy. So it doesn’t feel like you’re eating a super dense, sweet cake, which I have never liked.

La Patisserie wedges

Often when I go I buy these wedges of cakes, a sampler box of sorts … Here I got a mango one, but not a fresh mango, therefore not my fave, but still good. Another which I believe is some kind of coffee flavored tiramisu. And a green tea one. Anyway, few years ago they expanded into Vancouver, so there is another store on Granville and 66th. Give it a try, and definitely try the fresh mango cake if they have any. I’ve never been disappointed.

 

La Patisserie 金磨坊西点

#2- 6360 No.3 Road, Richmond
Tel: 604-270-3092

8278 Granville Street, Vancouver
Tel: 604-269-0002

White bass steamed with umeboshi (pickled plum) and garlic

White bass is a fresh water bass, and kind of a fishy fish. If you find tilapia fishy (I don’t), this may be a bit fishier than tilapia for you. But the meat is also slightly fattier and juicier, plus it is cheaper than the market tilapia. It’s actually not fishy when cooked with some stronger but still simple ingredients – here it was simply steamed with umeboshi plums and fresh garlic slices, mixed in with some miso sauce, which went very nicely with the umeboshi.

 

Before: It is a good idea to sit the fish on a little bit of something (in this case it was stalks of green onion), to let the steam circulate:
before

After: Steam for about 20 minutes (depending on the size of the fish, this one was a little over a pound), then drizzle with a bit of veg oil, and soy sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro – as typical in pretty much all Chinese steamed fish dishes! 😀
ume and garlic white bass

 

Delish. Sweet, sour, and savoury – all in one. Made it again simple Cantonese style – just steaming with ginger (minus the umeboshi and miso) – and that tasted fishier (but it was still good for me). If I were to cook white bass again (and I would), I would go with the umeboshi and garlic.

 

 

Mix the Bakery: Hummingbird and a poor student’s request.

Mushroom soup

Went to Mix for lunch again last week. They had the mushroom soup (which was going so fast that by the time I went back for my coffee it was all gone). I love their soups- so home made and thick. This time I tried the Hummingbird and poppy seed bread to go with it – Both were really delicious. I love nutty, chewy, dense breads, and the Hummingbird tasted a lot like my favorite Alpine Grain bread from Healthyway.

I had too much bread at home and just bought fresh bread that day, so I was hesitant about buying more there. But I was still salivating over the sourdough and the baguette and pretty much everything else there. So I asked whether they had some sliced stuff left over that I could buy – the girl there was really nice and went to the back to see if there was anything she could get me. She came back saying there were “only” these two bags of sliced Hummingbird or the Cranberry. There were around 6 slices in the bags – about a third of a large round loaf. I said that was absolutely perfect and bought the Hummingbird. (I tried their Cranberry before, not bad, though not my favorite.)

Hummingbird

What can I say, I love Mix. Delicious artisan bread, lunch for a great price, friendly atmosphere, eager to please and satisfy the customer. Great bakeries treat and feed you like one of their own, no matter how big (or small, in this case) your requests may be. Mix definitely made my day.

 

Related Post: Mix the Bakery

Mix the Bakery
4430 W. 10th avenue, Vancouver (Right next to Burgoo. Near UBC.)
604.221.4145

It’s all in the yolk.

A buzz in health news headlines of the past few days has been this recent study, published in the April issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which found that eating more than 7 eggs per week causes increased risk of heart disease. This was a 20 year long study done on over 20 000 “Harvard-educated male physicians” who like to eat more than one egg a day. There are flaws in the study, and I am not about to do a critical review on it, but the authors did point out an important thing, which is that eating more saturated and trans fats does worse for your blood cholesterol than does actually eating more cholesterol. But obviously, eating more than 7 eggs a week does seem a bit much.

Another recent buzz may get a lot of people confused (or rolling their eyes at scientific research) – which is that eating more eggs can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 24 percent. The study was actually online before print in January and will be published in the June issue of the FASEB Journal. It is supported by previous findings that eating an egg a day or at least 6 eggs a week leads to a significant reduced risk of breast cancer. This is thanks to choline, present only in egg yolks (which also happens to be the cholesterol culprit. Ah, where is the happy medium?).

The good news is, if you want your choline and are worried about cholesterol, or are vegan, whatever, choline can also be found in coffee, skim milk, cauliflower, liver, and wheat germ (egg yolks provide about 25% of the daily supply).

And depending on whether you are an egg-lover or egg-hater, you can use either of these studies to back you up when you are in an argument. This is why I love being a research scientist.