49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

 

49th Parallel Latte

49th Parallel Latte

 

Ah, it is Friday, and since my plans to do a giant experiment today at work went down the drain due to …. [my laziness], I will write about…. coffee!

Today was a decent coffee day: I went to the Starbucks at work and was happy to find pretty much all my favorite baristas to be present. So, as per usual, I put down my mug without saying a word and I got my Americano made perfectly to my specifications – without my mug being all dripping with coffee on the outside and that little piece of white sticky note with my order scrawled on it still stuck to my mug, and room still remaining. (That, of course, would constitute a bad coffee day, and that happens when that one Least-Favorite Barista Boy – LFBB – is present. I swear he does it on purpose because he dislikes me for some reason.)

Anyway, yesterday though, was a good coffee day: I didn’t have my Starbucks.

I went instead to 49th Parallel Roasters – this is a coffee house not to be missed – their espresso is excellent, their lattes pretty, their couches chocolate brown, and their cups sky blue. This is, indeed, a chic little cafe sitting on Vancouver’s 4th Ave. 49th Parallel Roasters are founded by the same guys who created Caffe Artigiano,  so naturally, their coffee scores high points with me. It’s too bad I don’t live or work in that neighbourhood. I really like their Americano.

If you can’t get down to their cafe, their locally roasted coffee can be found at markets like Meinhardt, Whole Foods and Capers, as well as some other coffee places. I have a bag of their organic Ethiopia Yergacheffe Konga. 

 

49th Parallel Roasters

2152 W 4th Avenue, between Arbutus and Yew

604-420-4901

Caffe Artigiano 06.28.08. Betty’s 86th.

I think there was a new guy at the Artigiano I go to at Kerrisdale. Well, whether or not he is new, he made a pretty nice heart the other day. Then again, everybody seemed to have gotten the same heart…


artigiano latte art

 

This day was special: it was one of E’s old neighbor Betty’s 86th birthday. We didn’t know this – we had drove by to see E’s old place in the neighborhood, and happened to see Betty’s niece in the garden and were invited in to say hello. E hasn’t seen Betty for over a decade and Betty’s starting to suffer from dementia but still remembers E fondly. After we found out it was her birthday that day (and after having said latte at Artigiano), we went down to Michelle’s Cake house on W. Boulevard and got her a tiramisu. Too bad I didn’t take a picture of it, it looked quite pretty. I would have chosen the fresh mango cake but Betty seemed more like a Tiramisu kind of gal. Anyway, Michelle’s Cake House is an Asian bakery, and makes fabulous cakes and pastries. There was a gigantic lineup when we were there; they take numbers.

We brought the cake back to Betty’s place just in time as her friend told us she was just about to call and order a cake for Betty. ^__^

 

Michelle’s Cake House

6033 West Boulevard, Vancouver

604-261-3284

An entry I don’t want to make: Gogo Tea Cafe

I have been M.I.A. for a bit. I’ve just been lazy – it’s not that stuff at the food-front has been boring, I have been stuffing myself and gaining the pounds and eating out – so I am terribly backlogged for posts! ;D

Anyway, I don’t really like to blog about restaurants I don’t like, so this post has actually been sitting in my drafts for a while now. It is a bit mean to give bad reviews, though at the same time wouldn’t it be cruel to not spread the word about places that are not worth dining at?

Anyway, so here it is, Gogo Tea Cafe – a tea house in Richmond that have waitresses in Cosplay. If you live under a rock, then it doesn’t really matter that you don’t know what Cosplay is – this would just be another tea house with waitresses in funky uniforms. Unfortunately, it is worse if you are into Cosplay, because this would just be another tea house with waitresses in funky uniforms. And not Cosplay. Whatever. When it first opened it was like the “have you been there yet?” “we have to check it out” type of it place. Trendy? Not really. Oh they try. But I expected more from a so called  “maid” cafe.

I will say though, it’s nice that the cafe is upstairs (though the view is not all that spectacular), and the place looks pretty slick:
Gogo tea

Unfortunately, there is a very bad stench from their bathroom, and unfortunately, their bathrooms are located right at their entrance, conveniently killing whatever appetite you have as you walk in.

Again, I will say this: their menu is quite big, and varied, so there are endless choices: fried snacks, noodles, hotpots, sizzling hot plates, all kinds of meat. Not bad. Typical tea house stuff.

First up, chocolate, and mango milk tea. They come with the set lunches, which is good. Unfortunately, the latter tastes just like this instant bubble tea powder mix I bought once at some Taiwanese tea house:
Tea

Tomato rice with an egg on top:
Tomato rice

Vegetable hot pot. There are quite a few things in here, which is good I guess. Although, this is not vegetarian – their choice of soup base is either chicken or pork, or beef. They did not have a vegetable soup.
Vegetable pot

Rest of the hotpot sides: more of what’s already in the hotpot – tofu, mushrooms, cabbage etc. There was also a bowl of white rice. Soy and spicy sauces for dipping, as well as minced ginger and green onions. And I guess it is pretty thoughtful of them to give you a little lychee jelly snack as a dessert:
Veggie sides

Herb Chicken hot pot. They’re not skimping on the chicken, I guess:
Herb Chicken Hot pot

The sides, same kind of stuff, but with (ugh) SPAM:
Herb Chicken sides

I will say I always like little heated pots you get all to yourself for a meal. One of their stoves didn’t really work though, so the pot of stuff never boiled up or even stayed warm. (We ended up just switching the pots mid-meal, nobody bothered to replace the stove.) Neither the drinks nor the food was great enough to have me going back ever again. It was also very empty for a weekend lunch. Despite this, the service was slow and rather unattentive.

Ugh. And I am so done with this post.

Gogo Tea Cafe

2170- 8188 McKim Way, Richmond

604 244 7336

Weekend’s Happy Latte

Saturday AM. Caffe Artigiano Kerrisdale. Happy grande latte.

Happy Latte

 

I bought a 1/2 pound of their Columbia El Castillo. I don’t have an espresso machine, or I’d have gotten their Private Reserve. I’ve also grown to like espresso more than drip brew, but at home this is much better than drinking instant stuff. And on weekends I guess I have time to brew a little coffee. This Columbia turned out to be excellent- mildly sweet, not at all bitter, low acidity. Just the way I like my coffee. (Actually, I like this better than the Americano that I typically have at Artigiano, which has a more sour aftertaste.) 

Columbia El Costillo

Coffee | Take 5 Cafe

Where I work, there is Starbucks, Second Cup, and Tim Hortons located within one building. You’d think that is a lot of choices but given that I don’t coffee from the latter two, there really isn’t anywhere else to go. At about a 5 minute walk, Starbucks is the second closest. Second Cup takes about 3 minutes and Tim Horton’s about 8. This morning, I walked out into the cold clammy Vancouver rain to Starbucks (my building is not directly connected to where the coffee is), to get my usual – a grande Americano, double, no room. (Their Americano I can take because it is not bitter or acidic. It is the only thing from Starbucks I drink, because I can’t stand their drip brew.)

Today I went at my usual time – when it is most quiet (although this particular location has never screwed up my orders even when busy). The usual gang I am used to seeing is there, but then suddenly the person preparing my drink is an unfamiliar face, whom I take to be a new barista girl. Hmm. She is quite nice, and asked me whether I wanted room. I had already said it, but that’s ok – no room please. In a few moments she hands me my Americano, sitting in the sleeve (because I am a wimp). I picked up the cup and immediate knew something was weird. I took a sip. It was cold! COLD! Not ice cold, but like coffee-that’s-been-sitting-for-a-day cold! WAH?! GAH! GACK! ACK!

Now, I am quite used to Starbucks’ branch-to-branch, day-to-day, barista-to-barista inconsistencies with my Americano’s. Sometimes, it is not very hot, other times it is. Some days, I suspect they give me an extra shot. Some days “no room” means only half a cup. Doesn’t really matter, since it’s not the greatest stuff anyway, and the deviation from the norm is usually not that much. It will have to do in this Bux-monopolized world.

But not COLD coffee. Not my first, vital morning cup of joe, not on a clammy day like this. That barista must have had skin so thick she couldn’t tell that the cup of coffee she was holding all that time was not at all hot! So I gave it back, she nicely apologized and gave me the “no idea what happened there” explanation, and quickly made me a normal one.

I never expect anything awesome from Starbucks, but I never had something this … scary, either.

Which brings me to a Bux-related story. The other day at Metrotown, I almost lined up for Starbucks. Thank goodness I didn’t and instead tried an Americano from the newest branch of Take 5 Cafe there. I wasn’t expecting too much – but it was really great. Not over roasted, not bitter, only very very slightly acidic, and had a good body. I even like it better than Caffe Artigiano’s, which I find slightly more acidic. Take 5’s Americano is the one to beat!

take5

Take 5 Cafe (various locations in Vancouver, soon opening on West 4th!)

Tri-ty Cafe 翠緹

Tri-ty Cafe (翠緹) has been opened for quite a while now at the Save On mall on Ackroyd Rd. It’s a Taiwanese cafe and tea house that occupies what used to be one of my go-to HK-style restaurants- Much and More (or was it More and More, I can never remember.) It’s pretty busy all around the clock, since they not only serve bubble tea and snacks, but also meals of noodles/rice/hotpot/sandwiches. I have always wanted to try this place. Finally came for dinner with my parents (who have already came here several times).

Anyway, Tri-tylooks pretty suave, and the whitish decor kind of reminds me of Pearl Castle. At most tables you get this little LCD screen that continuously flashes food porn a la Tri-ty, making you wish you had ordered that noodle dish instead of the one you did, then actually making you order more. This is a great tactic! 

Trity Cafe

For an appy we ordered the pork and daikon soup. Unfortunately this both looked and tasted gross – it was like pork and daikon floating in diluted pig fat, not soup. Maybe that’s why it never made it to the little screen.

Pork and Daikon Soup

 The Grilled mackerel and rice came with half a soy-marinated egg, and a bit of marinated veggies. The fish was pretty tasty.

Grilled mackerel and Rice

紅燒牛肉麵 Beef Noodle soup: I didn’t try this, but it wasn’t too bad, according to Mom.

Beef Noodle Soup

Seafood Hot Pot: This was served with a bowl of rice, and had imitation crab meat, fish balls, tofu-wrapped fish cake, tiny scallops, jumbo shrimp, kamaboko, and napa cabbage. Not lacking in variety or quantity there. I enjoyed this one.

Seafood Hot pot

Complimentary dessert: Creme caramel. Not great but not bad, surprisingly, it wasn’t overly sweet which is fine by me. Plus it’s free. Grad students like free food.

Creme caramel

The service was OK, but our server couldn’t speak English very well (I had her explain something on the menu to me, and she couldn’t do it in English. Finally Mom had to speak in her broken Mandarin. Heh.) I’d come back again, perhaps for lunch or snacks. The quality of the food is not bad (though pretty comparable to restaurants like this) – they do have some pretty interesting dishes, and it’s the kind of place where there is bound to be something for everyone. Not a bad place to just sit and enjoy a drink and chat with friends either.

Tri-ty Cafe 翠緹
130-8100 Ackroyd Rd, Richmond (in the Save On mall)

Agro Cafe and Siegel’s Bagels @ Granville Island

A nutritionist might start commenting on how I have not been having the most varied diet. Indeed, I seem to be constantly blogging about cafes, latte’s, and bagels of late. Ah but we can be biased foodies, at least for a while right?

Granville Island… It’s a bit of a trip for me and I’ve been there so often that I don’t really end up buying anything interesting at the Public Market. But I still love just soaking in the place. Nothing like coming down here and grabbing a Siegel’s bagel for lunch. Or any other place in the Public Market for that matter. Still, I can’t resist a good bagel.

Siegel’s Bagels

I’m not sure whether their lox and cream cheese is the best, but it’s not bad. There’s just a bit too much cream cheese though:

Lox and cream cheese

On this visit I also stopped by the Agro Cafe, a popular coffee shop/bistro on Railspur Alley serving organic coffee and food. It’s pretty large and spacious, with seating upstairs and outside. Service is friendly. Usually the outside is filled with people, but it wasn’t busy when I came. I just had coffee, because unfortunately I already ate lunch. They do serve up some nice sandwiches, soups, and snacks though.

Agro Cafe

Hmm, Agro’s latte. What can I say… It is good, not too bitter, the art is nice, but doesn’t have quite that great body and aroma of Cafe Artigiano’s, which is heavenly and still my favorite. The Americano here is pretty good. And I do so love their orange mugs. 🙂

Agro’s Latte

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Related post: Siegel’s Bagels

Agro Cafe
1363 Railspur Alley (Granville Island)
1207 Hamilton St (Yaletown)