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As with most Brunch Crawls organized by Richard Wolak, you never know what to expect and I’m happy to report that on the Yaletown Brunch Crawl, it was a nice balance of savoury items from House Special’s Asian fusion menu, decadent pastries at Ganache Patissierre, fragrant coffee at Rocanini to revitalizing smoothie drinks at Loving Aisle and calming organic teas at Teeja.
863 Beatty Street
I always love it when the place of registration for the Brunch Crawls is at a coffee shop as it a sure guarantee that our first breakfast item will be a cup of good java which is a great way to kick start the Brunch Crawl. At Rocanini Coffee, it was Rum Latte with almond milk (vegan option) which was full bodied coffee with a very distinct rum flavour. For the ultimate coffee fanatics, Rocanini sells Jamaica Blue Mountain Organic for $75 a bag. Wondering why it is so expensive, it’s because the plant grows in the Blue Mountains at 2,300 metres (7,500ft) which are the highest mountains in the Carribean. You can pick up these coffee beans at one of Rocanini’s four locations: Yaletown, Steveson, Kerrisdale and Mount Pleasant where they roast their beans.
1262 Homer Street
Cuisine: Desserts Café
Goyave Citron, blood orange chiffon, lemon mousseline, guava gelee, lemon curd and mandarin oranges
Croissant, Madeleine, Macaron
Croissant aux Bleuets Mutes, vanilla pastry cream, blueberry-blackberry compote
We originally wanted our second stop to have a more substantial Tasting Plate but as House Special wasn’t quite ready to open their doors, we moved onto Ganache Patisserie. If you’ve ever attended a wedding in Vancouver, then you’ve probably tasted one of Ganache Patisserie’s cakes as Peter Fong is well known around the city for having the best wedding cakes.
I’ve been to Ganache Patissiere on a Tasting Plates food event so I was already salivating when I saw them on the itinerary because the cakes and pastries here are truly indicative of what French pastry should be – light, moist, flavourful and flakely. My favorite of our Tasting Plates was the Goyave Citron as it had so many citrus flavours that came together harmonious with blood orange chiffon, lemon mousseline, guava gelee, lemon curd and mandarin oranges. It was light and moist and each bite was a pure delight. The Croissant aux Bleuets Mutes was flaky and tasted like a sweet bite of summer with its gorgeous blueberry and blackberry flavour. Note to lactose intolerant people, there’s an almond milk option for lattes.
1269 Hamilton Street
Cuisine: Modern Vietnamese
Congee Noir, black and white rice porridge, congee with Chinese donut, boudin noir sausages
Vietnamese Festival Cake, sticky rice roulade with pork, housemade 5-spice sausage, mung bean, cucumber, pickled cabbage and celery, sricacha chutnye
Steamed Glass Dumplings, banana leaf wraped tapioca dumplings, ground pork, cured shrimp, nouc cham, pork crackling and red chili
I’ve been a fan of House Special ever since I came here for Taste of Yaletown as I love their Asian fusion cuisine which for the most part, is spot on. I loved the Spicy Congee with the boudoir sausage as it gave it a nice spicy favour without all the fatiness that a typical Chinese sausage has. Because I love sticky rice, the Festival Cake was right up my alley as the addition of sricacha chutney just elevates the Chinese version of sticky rice. I didn’t like the Steam Glass Dumplings though as I’m not a fan of tapioca which had a gummy texture. The prevalent flavour was that of the cured shrimp which was too briny.
Because I no longer cook, I’m always looking for food to take home so I was happy to notice that on House Special’s website, there’s a link for you to order food to pickup or delivery via YPDine. I’m not sure if there is a fee, but I know I’m dying to try other menu items such as Hearty beef stew pho with beef shank, or Confit duck frybread which apparently is sesame hollow bread.
Living Produce Aisle
1168 Hamilton Street
Cuisine: Juice bar and salads
Green Dream Smoothie, pea shoots and kale microgreens, apple and banana, grapefruit juice and aloe vera juice
Peanut Butter Cup, pea shoots and broccoli microgreens, peanut butter, banana, chocolate protein powder and almond milk
Microgreen Salad, pea shoot, purple radish, broccoli, Nasturtium, pum;kin seeds, honey & olive oil dressing
After a month of eating sugar and spice and everything nice, it’s a nice change to have healthy organic food and drinks that actually tastes good and is literally fresh off the vine as flats of every green imaginable can be seen in Living Aisle’s storefront. I normally detest any drinks with kale and pea shoots but Living Aisle used enough of the apple, banana and grapefruit juice to not only disguise the “superfoods”, but to give the smoothie a rather pleasant taste. The same also applies to the Peanut Butter Cup as the prevalent flavour you taste is chocolate – what a great way to pump up the vitamins for your children.
I loved the Microgreen salad as it not only contained some really healthy ingredients like kale and broccoli, but pea shoots which I love as I find they have more flavour and crunch than alfalfa sprouts. The cranberries gave it a sweetness that makes the healthy greens more palpable. I plan on coming back here when it’s hot (if the snow ever goes away in Vancouver) and try other smoothies such as the Carrot Cake smoothie (radish, broccoli, carrot juice, strawberries, banana, coconut and pumpkin spice because why pay for sugar when you can have pure goodness in a cup?
TeaJa Organic Teas
1072 Mainland Street
Double Cream Earl Grey, Vanilla Rouge tea
Ever since I reduced my intake of sugar by more than half, I’ve been drinking tea. So it was with great interest that I noted that TEAJA TeaBars serve a wide variety of signature tea beverages crafted with TEAJAs organic teas. Imagine tea smoothies, tea lattes, carbonated teas, iced teas, wellness tisanes and matcha based beverages. We haven’t forgotten about our coffee drinker either! TEAJA TeaBar also serve a full selection of coffee beverages. Our unique menu has a strong focus on organic, local and sustainable ingredients.
TEAJA TeaBars has organic loose leaf teas and healthy beverages. Besides tea, TEAJA Teabars also serves coffee, espressos, lattes, ice teas, smoothies. Pair your beverage with baked goods and savoury snacks from local suppliers. Tea lattes are also served here. TEAJA TEabars also serves Signature Organic Ceremonial Matcha drinks.