Panini’s @ Neptune Bistro

I don’t know how long Neptune Bistro has been opened, probably because it’s in that back corner of Coppersmith Place Mall that I never pay attention to, although I shop frequently at the Kin’s Farm that just a few feet across the parking lot from it. (And Coppersmith Mall – I didn’t actually know it had a name – I thought it was just Ironwood Mall’s other side… I guess not!)

Anyway, I wanted to check this place out so I dragged NF here with me. (NF didn’t realize there was a cafe at the back of Coppersmith, either.) On the menu are panini’s, donairs, salads, sandwiches, wraps coffee, soup, hot entrees like tandoori chicken and pasta, various pastries… lots to choose from. There are also things like sandwich/soup deals for something like $6.99. 

The service is pretty nice, neighbourhoody. We ordered, took a seat inside (there are two tables outside) our sandwiches came in about 10 minutes.

 

NF ordered the chicken turino panini, and a coffee:

Chicken panini

Chicken panini

 

And I had the roasted veggie panini, with an Americano:

veggie panini

veggie panini

 

The ciabatta they used had a thin crispy crust and very soft fluffy crumb, it was pretty good, light bread. They didn’t use a panini press though, seems like the bread is just toasted. The veggie panini I liked- I think it was like this pepper relish that dressed it and that tasted really good. The portion sizes aren’t huge, but just good for me, though larger appetites may need something more.

This is a nice spacious spot and pretty cozy. There is free wireless access and a big screen TV with several couches in front of it, but the TV wasn’t on. It was lunch time so it was obvious that a lot of customers were from surrounding offices.

I’d definitely come back to try out their other menu items. For a fast, good, casual lunch spot, the selection and quality sure beats the other similar choices in the mall (Tim Hortons, McD’s etc). At least they’ll have decent coffee!

 

Neptune Bistro

Coppersmith Place Mall

#100 – 11331 Coppersmith Way, Richmond
604.277.6647

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Steveston Series III: Cimona Cafe

If you are feeling like a casual, down-to-earth meal, and pretty generous-sized, value-for-money deals, this is the place to go. Cimona Cafe makes the kind of food you can probably make in your own kitchen, so don’t expect anything fancy, but the quality will not disappoint. This place is like a homey diner. It is in a second floor/elevated log house, with a patio where you can watch the Steveston hustle bustle on Bayview Street from above. They’re really friendly here, and it feels like it is a family owned and operated little cafe, but don’t count on super speedy service, and on weekends they tend to be quite busy during brunch/lunch and there tends to be lineups. Have a little patience.

Many healthy options are offered on the menu: whole wheat wraps and breads, low fat dressings, egg white omelets, vegetarian dishes. It’s a casual spot with casual food but there are a lot of more “exotic” options too, and for a good price – Veal. Lamb. Sole. Halibut. Salmon. I’ve come here for dinner which I have enjoyed, but definitely find that it’s an awesome lunch/brunch place. Probably because breakfast is served till 3pm.

W and I came here for lunch recently, so I figured I will throw this post into my Steveston Series. We grabbed a menu and luckily found a table outside in the patio, which was almost full, and had a nice, relaxing time watching the …er… action… on Bayview:

cimona view

cimona view

Looking around I noticed that many people order the wraps here. W chose the chicken wrap with pineapple curry sauce. I tried a bit of it. It was pretty big and stuffed with tons of lettuce. The sauce was good too (you can choose from 3 different ones) – It wasn’t so heavy that W ate the whole thing (when usually she can only eat half a big wrap).

 

Cimona chicken wrap

Cimona chicken wrap

 
 

I was feeling like a lighter lunch so I had the tzatziki and grilled pita:

Pita and Tzatziki

Pita and Tzatziki

 

With a green salad:

 

Green salad

Green salad

I thought this was a pretty big size for the “small” portion. Veggies were quite fresh and crisp. The pita bread I liked – it didn’t seem like crappy quality packaged pita thrown in a toaster (though I am not sure exactly what type it was). The tzatziki was pretty standard tasting, but not bad. Couldn’t tell if it was homemade. You can also get hummous if you wanted.

Overall, both W and I were happy with our lunch. I still have to try a lot of the other stuff on their menu so I am going to keep coming back (on days when I have time to spare and relax though)!

Oh, and I’m not sure if this is an “issue” for anyone, it is for me on thirsty days when I down literally gallons of pop, because I would go to restaurants and get refills until my server gives me funny looks and offers me a jug since they get so tired of coming back every few minutes to refill my glass. Since this place is a cafe/diner, the pop you order will come in a can, and you won’t get refills.

 

Cimona Cafe and Catering

#201-3791 Bayview Street, Steveston

604-275-3753

American Grille @ The Marriott Vancouver Airport

The American Grille is located at the Marriott in downtown Richmond. Went for a weekend brunch. Pretty typical hotel dining-fare: Nothing fancy, but not terrible. Their menu has decent choices and also quite a few healthy options (low cholesterol, low fat, low carb, vegetarian), which is nice.

Thai shrimp salad with mangos, good-sized shrimp, not actually spicy:

Spicy Shrimp and Mango Salad

Mediterranean vegetable sandwich on ciabatta. I liked this- the bread was not bad, and the basil pesto was delicious:

Roasted veggie sandwich

Service was attentive, as expected at a hotel. There weren’t too too many people, but it wasn’t empty either. Partially open kitchen style – always interesting to see the chef (and sous chef) cooking it up. I may come back for dinner if I were in the neighbourhood, although I must admit that particular neighbourhood has too many yummy choices!

American Grille
Vancouver Airport Marriott Hotel
7571 Westminster Highway, Richmond
604 276 2112

Mix the Bakery

Mix

Ever since it opened in 2003, Mix the Bakery has been continuously voted one of the best Vancouver bakeries. It’s a modest, modern little bakery right next to Burgoo on West 1oth: I have passed by several times, I have even gone inside all googly-eyed, but haven’t tried anything from there. So, being in the neighbourhood a few days ago, I went in, bought a Parisienne baguette (their “Parisienne” is made with whole wheat, their “Rustic” is white), and left.

Ah, thankfully (?), posts at the Lab of Edibles are never this simple. The story is just beginning. As I headed out the door with the 2 feet long baguette, I briefly surveyed all the food people were eating – pretty darn delicious looking salads, hot soups, and grilled sandwiches. I was expecting more of a full-on bakery where they just sell a lot of bread and cakes, and not much of a hot-sandwiches and soups kind of cafe-style fare. So, after walking back to my car (which was, of course, not a moment before my hungrily tearing off a giant piece of the baguette and munching on it on the street like some starved grad student), putting my baguette in the trunk (lest some salivating passersby might break in to steal this wondrous creation), I decided to go back for lunch (despite having made plans to eat elsewhere).

Inside Mix

I am so glad I did. Like a lot of bakery/cafe’s, Mix is pretty small. There’s all the breads and goods displayed on one side of the shop and seats lining the other. There are about 5 tables and a bar by the window, so it fits about 20. It was lunch time, and the place was packed. I managed to get the little round table right next to the door. I ordered a small Tuscany Tomato Soup, which came with two slices of bread (I was told they were the house Campesino and sourdough, but I don’t think either was a sourdough). I asked for the bread to be toasted, and they told me it would take a little while because they had quite the lineup of sandwhiches waiting to be grilled, but the food actually arrived pretty quickly. It came on a little metal plate:

Tuscan Tomato soup

Both slices of bread were delicious. The one on the bottom that you can’t see here had these beautiful large, irregular airy holes. The one on the top tasted a bit like potatos. The tomato soup was awesome too – hearty, creamy, and with strong but well balanced spices. This cost about $3.50. I was looking around and their sandwiches were pretty big; their chicken salad also looked nice and fresh.

They also have these great looking cakes, cookies and sweets:

Mix Cakes

And of course, who can forget that Parisienne baguette sitting in the trunk? I ate about two-thirds of it that night. It’s definitely one of the best baguettes I’ve had in this city – the crust was crisp and fine, the crumb was soft but not overly so, and overall both combine to give a very nice chewiness. And the bread kind of dissolves in your mouth slowly but surely. I don’t really know how else to describe it. It was just really really good bread.

Mix Baguette

The staff here are friendly and helpful, and pretty happy to explain the food and breads to you. I am definitely going back soon to try out their other breads, soups and sandwiches.

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

Cucumber Cafe @ Sandman’s

I noticed this giant green sign that went up for Cucumber Cafe while driving down Highway 99 a little while ago, so I decided to try this place out. Cucumber Cafe is located at the Sandman Signature Resort on St. Edward’s Street in Richmond.

 Cucumber Cafe

I came for brunch last weekend with YW and NF. We were seated right away; the staff were quite friendly. The restaurant is split into two large dining areas (one seems to be orange-themed while the other is green), with tables as well as pretty comfortable, raised booths. The place is lit with a lot of round white lantern things, and there’s a fake fireplace near where we were sitting.

Cucumber

YW had the Spicy corned beef panini, which was made with ciabatta. This was pretty good panini, and NF couldn’t stop picking at it.

 corn beef panini

NF had the Ultimate Club, which had chicken, bacon, and oven-dried roma tomatos. The tomatos were really yummy. NF whined about why the club is not three-tiered. 😉

club

A nice, light meal for me- I chose the Mediterranean veggie wrap, with warm, roasted veggies inside.  

wrap

Cucumber Cafe prides itself in its hand-cut fries, but perhaps due to New Year’s resolutions all of us had the salad instead. I’m sure the fries are good though. The meals also come with this little apple slaw which was pretty cute and a nice sweet treat.

They have all-day breakfast, which always scores in my book. There is just something nice about being able to order a crepe or eggs benedict for dinner. This is a great place for breakfast, lunch, or weekend brunch, but dinner options seems mainly limited to beef, burgers, and pasta. There isn’t a seafood selection (the only thing is fish and chips). The service was not bad, our waitress was friendly and prompt, though there seems to be another waiter there who is incapable of smiling.


Cucumber Cafe
10211 St Edwards Drive, Richmond (at the Sandman Signature Resort)

9th Avenue Grill on Broadway

Hungry and standing on the corner of Granville and Broadway. Still, decided to bypass “bigger” places like Cactus, Earl’s, O-Thai, and Bogart’s to walked further down to 9th Avenue Grill for lunch. It’s a little grill/cafe place (seats about 35 people) just west of Burrard. They have all day breakfast and quite a big, diverse menu (omelets, benny’s, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, panini’s, salads, soup).

9th Avenue

Mango Chicken Panini: This was pretty good panini, with chicken chunks, bacon, and bits of mango inside. The mango salsa and cheese was juiiicy, but it didn’t make the bread soggy, which was good. The focaccia was really nice- thick and with a crispy crust.

Mango Chicken Panini

Spinach salad with chicken: This was a pretty decent salad. There was a lot of mushrooms, but not that much chicken. The kiwi-mandarin dressing was only slightly sweet – actually a bit sour for my taste.

Spinach Salad

The service here is great and very friendly. The food is fresh, there are many options on the menu (even for those low-carbers). The portion sizes are quite big, and you don’t have to wait too long. They seem to be able to accomodate your special requests pretty well too. The only thing is that they don’t have free refills for the pop. Also, the place is quite small, and can get a bit crampy when busy, so probably not the best place for a romantic date… 😉  I’d definitely revisit to try other things on the menu.

9th Avenue Grill
1822 W. Broadway (Just west of Burrard)
All day breakfast, open 7 days a week 6:30am-3pm

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)