Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe

I’ve heard a lot about Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe, especially in magazines.  However it wasn’t until recently when GRock’s friend started working there as a baker that I’ve succumbed to lots more praises and recommendations from GRock. The final nail in the coffin was when GRock showed me a picture of this magical looking poached plum tart that they had for the Fall season.  I had to have it, so finally I made a date with Miz Brown Sugar, C-Dizzle, and Erin to visit the bakery for a sugar coma fest.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe: Baked Goods

There are a ton of baked goods to choose from obviously, but they have a pretty extensive cafe menu too.  We were instructed by GRock to arrive no later than 10:45am on a Friday for the best selection.

And it was a wise decision, as we saw that the store was constantly busy.  We were lucky though that their signature item the Almond Croissant was still plentiful even by the time we left, as were a lot of their other goodies.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Latte

Miz Brown Sugar is vegan so all she had was a latte (every baked good has eggs in it).  She was very excited about the latte art.

Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Cheese Scone with Porchetta & Smoked Cheddar

Since we arrived so early, I hadn’t had a chance to eat breakfast yet.  Neither had C-Dizzle and she quickly hopped to it and ordered a Brioche with Duck Prosciutto, Rillette Mayo, Red Oak Lettuce, Candied Walnuts & Apple ($9.5, not pictured).  I was originally just here for the sweets, but once she unwrapped her sandwich, I knew I had to get one too.  So I picked the Cheese Scone with Porchetta & Smoked Cheddar ($9.5, pictured above).

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Raincity Grill

Raincity Grill

Groupon had a tasting menu deal for Raincity Grill, a place I had yet to visit, where 2 can dine for $95.  Wendy had taken her mother out for a previous Groupon tasting menu at Raincity and really enjoyed the meal, and since my mom was coming to visit I decided to do the same.  My mom has never been to a small plates restaurant so I’ll pass the review over to her for a fresh perspective on the evening:

Raincity Grill Buns

I was pretty excited when I found out what type of meal this would be. The first plate to arrive was of course the bread and butter, little buns that could have been warmer but were nonetheless very tasty. The dish of salt was a nice surprise but maybe a tiny spoon to scoop it with would be helpful. Could be my inexperience but I wasn’t sure how to get just enough.

Raincity Grill: West Coast Oyster with raspberry & shallot mignonette

West Coast Oyster with raspberry & shallot mignonette

This is a little embarrassing to admit but I had never tasted a raw oyster before. I wasn’t about to get squeamish so I quickly slurped it up and it was amazing, so fresh with a hint of tartness from the raspberry. Alas there was only one but I could become a devotee of the oyster.

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Bocuse d’Or Test Kitchen Tasting with Chef Alex Chen

Bocuse d'Or Test Kitchen Tasting with Chef Alex Chen

Bocuse d'Or Test Kitchen Tasting with Chef Alex Chen

Wendy was extremely excited to receive an invitation for us to attend an exclusive tasting event for Canada’s entry into the Bocuse d’Or.  For those who haven’t heard of it this biannual competition is an international event held in Lyons, France and will take place on January 29th and 30th this year.  It’s one of the most prestigious awards to win for a chef and the competition has produced insane extravagances such as Spain’s 2005 1 million Euro entry inspired by Salvador Dali; they brought out their fish course in a one meter high crystal egg!  This year Chef Alex Chen of Vancouver earned entry into the competition.  This is no easy feat, since of the 56 countries entering only the top 24 are chosen, and from there the competition is whittled down to just one representative per country, along with their Commis and Coach, to compete in the final event. Chen has previously held posts such as the Four Seasons in Toronto and Chicago and his most recent position as Executive Chef at the Beverly Hills Hotel, which he resigned in order to train for the Bocuse d’Or.

Bocuse d'Or Test Kitchen Tasting with Chef Alex Chen

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Random Eats – Kyoto

Honestly, while in Japan, I never went into a meal or ate anything because I was hungry.  It was more because I HAD to eat it because I’m IN FREAKIN’ JAPAN.  It may be a while before I come back so I needed to eat everything I wanted to eat.

Which will explain the insane amount of food pictures I took.  It would be too much of a hassle to do separate posts on each thing so I’ve decided that, for some of them, they’ll be by day.

T's Cafe Kyoto

Before we headed off to Kyoto, we found a little cafe just across from our Shin-Osaka hotel.  After taking a look at their menu outside, we decided to have breakfast here.

T's Cafe Kyoto: Japanese coffee

T's Cafe Kyoto: Egg & Cheese toast

Again I must reiterate- Japanese coffee is damn good.

Anyways for my breakfast I chose the Egg & Cheese toast.  It came with a salad of sorts.

Japanese bread is notorious for being soft, fluffy, chewy, and this was no different.  It was thickly sliced and topped with chunky scrambled eggs, ketchup, and cheese.  It was simple and so good.  I’ll probably try to make this at home. Continue reading

Paul Croteau Confections at Campagnolo Caffe

Paul Croteau Confections

Paul Croteau Confections had approached a bunch of local food bloggers to sample Mr. Croteau’s creations.  He is currently the pastry chef of Campagnolo Restaurant and Refuel restaurant, and now he’s ready to “spread his wings” and open a confection shop of his own.

We were invited to Refuel restaurant to have a tasting.  Unfortunately I was not able to make it but I was offered a sample pack of the goodies to be picked up another time.

Paul Croteau Confections: Patés de fruits

First up were the Patés de fruits (pronounced “pat de fwee“), which were essentially fruit puree boiled down to a concentrate and thickened.  Raspberry and Passionfruit were the flavors.

They were both very intensely flavored, and obviously pretty sweet.  They were pretty soft and gives no resistance when you bite into it.  I guess I was expecting more of a gummy texture but I don’t think that’s the point of pates de fruits anyways.  I much preferred passionfruit to raspberry mostly due to the fact that the raspberry one tasted a lot like those hawthorne patties Asians have when taking Chinese medicine….if you know what I mean.

Next was the Almond square which was described to me as sort of like a florentine cookie.  It was flavored with nuts and candied citrus peel set into caramel with a cookie base.  This was very, very oily though, and I felt the whole morsel was overpowered by the citrus peel.

Paul Croteau Confections

Wrapped in the wax paper was the Soft salted caramel, which I was excited to try.  I’ve always wondered how salting something sweet would intensify the flavors.

Now I had mixed feelings about this.  I did like that it was certainly a new combination of flavors for me.  Right away you are hit with the slight saltiness which melts into the sweetness.  And that was kind of the problem.  It was too soft and melted too quickly.  Mind you I liked the fact that it didn’t stick to your teeth and quite honestly the flavor was actually very very good.  If only it was a little bit firmer then to me personally it’ll be perfect.

Next was the Grignotine and it was one of my favorites.  It was quite simply candied walnuts hazelnuts covered in chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder.  Simple.  Awesome.  You can probably keep eating this without thinking as it was not overly sweet.  Even more awesome??  The hazelnuts are locally sourced~!  Seems like PC Confections try to use local products as much as possible 😉

The Nougat contained nuts such as almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts, covered with chocolate on two sides.  Personally I would’ve liked more nougat than nuts so it’s not my favorite.  That’s not to say it wasn’t good.  Just personal preference 😉

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