In the midst of all the industrial buildings on N Fraser Way (just off of Marine Drive) is a little gem for dairy lovers. Avalon Dairy sells organic milk products right from the source so that means you cut out the middle men. What does that mean? Lower prices and fresher merchandise.
Grocery stores don’t carry their full line of products and usually carry only Avalon’s milk, but when you’re at the headquarters, you get the works. They sell everything from milk, butter, cheese, sour cream, yogurt, egg and ice cream. I promise you that their ice cream is just as good, if not better than gourmet ice cream parlors and with the added bonus of being organic. Avalon Dairy sells them by pints or scoops so I’ve always been able to treat myself to a cone every time I replenish the milk supply for my daughter. I’ve also heard their organic chocolate milk is to die for, but I have yet to try it. I’m almost afraid to try because I don’t want to start an addiction I can’t handle, especially when I’m lactose intolerant. However, judging by the glowing reviews on their chocolate milk, it might be worth the pain.
Going for frozen yogurt is one of my favorite things to do after dinner. So when my cousin, Betty requested we get dessert, I happily obliged. This Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt location is fantastic since it’s close to my house and I have an excuse to walk there. If you’re not around the area, there are plenty of underground parking as well as street parking.
The self serve option is genius, along with the ability to try the different flavors by yourself until you can finally make that important life decision. Which flavors and toppings do I want? You’ll be able to take your time deciding without anyone bothering you. My favorite flavor is definitely the salted caramel with crushed almonds, mochi balls and yogurt chips for toppings. Don’t worry, if salted caramel isn’t your thing, there are usually at least 7 other flavors and a huge variety of toppings to choose from.
Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt is a chain, but they’ve hired competent staff, provides a point card system, has fun/colorful decor and most importantly, serves delicious and unique frozen yogurt. It’s no wonder there are more Menchie’s stores frequently opening all over North America.
In Portland, there are a few restaurants and bakery I tend to go back a few times during same trip. Nuvrei is one of those places. This bakery is located in the Pearl District and has some pretty amazing baked goods.
From macarons to bagels to cookies, they’ve certainly mastered it all here. I’ve tried both their turkey bagel and smoked salmon bagel and they were delicious. Freshly baked bagels, crisp vegetables, moist turkey or the smoked salmon in between a cheese crusted bagel and toasted to perfection. Between the two bagel sandwiches, I wouldn’t be able to tell you which one I enjoyed more.
The macarons were light and packed with flavor. I was pretty full by the time I finished my sandwich, but I’m not letting anything get in the way of a little dessert. We polished off half of the box and saved the rest for a snack an hour later. The only regret I had was not buying a second box.
This past weekend, we celebrated my daughter, Mikayla’s 1st birthday. She’s a summer baby so I had many more choices of venues in the city. I knew I wanted the party outdoors since there are over 50 guests including children. After narrowing down my search to kid friendly and unique locations, I finally found Burnaby Central Railway.
This park is located in Confederation Park with parking all along the street. There are canopies set up for your party that’s on a grassy area a little elevated from the regular picnic tables. They can hold up to 3 parties during one time slot, which are 11am-1pm or 2pm-4pm. Make sure you book ahead of time online because this place is popular. The staff in the concession stand are great and the train conductors are good natured older gentlemen. They all operate the trains during the weekends as hobbies.
It’s tiring for a small child to be out for over 2 hours in the sun and with so much commotion around, but Mikayla was a trooper. She lit up and babbled the whole way around the whole park while sitting on the miniature train ride. While the train weaved around the park, there was a light breeze, which helped with the heat as well. You will cut through tunnels, notice toy sculptures and pass by other trains. The ride takes about 15 minutes and are $2.50 per ride unless you purchase in bulk, which will cost $2.00 per ride. There was no question that it was money well spent.
Thyme To Indulge started as a boutique gourmet catering company and has within the last year, opened a restaurant on Main Street. Their motto is quality over quantity while trying to use mostly local and seasonal ingredients.
The restaurant’s black striped awning stands out from the other hip businesses. Their décor has a beautiful French bistro feel to it with iron patio chairs outside. I ended up sitting outside with Ben and Mikayla because it was quite stuffy inside. There are however, no booster seats or highchairs so you’ll have to hold your baby. Although, Thyme To Indulge didn’t seem very kid friendly, they tried to be as accommodating as possible, which was appreciated.
The BC Eggs Benedict was tasty with a tiny hint of dill, but the highlight of my dish were the breakfast potatoes with parmesan. The pancakes felt a little stiff and it could have been better. However, we still enjoyed our meal and the service was excellent.
The low quality, shady restaurant that went by the name of Grand Buffet is finally no more. In its place, my wish has been fulfilled as a new dim sum restaurant has taken its place. Hello, Lee Garden Seafood Restaurant.
I was surprised at how the old dining area with fluorescent lighting was pretty much gutted and transformed into a tastefully decorated restaurant. The layout is long and curved with chandeliers and floor to ceiling windows all along one side. It’s a great place to beat the summer heat because they are not cheap with using air conditioning. I almost had to go home to grab a light sweater. Service was excellent and the washrooms are clean. There are however, no change tables for your baby, but that’s not surprising for an Asian restaurant.
As with all new Chinese restaurants, the quality of food is high and the prices are reasonable. One can only hope it stays that way for as long as possible. In the meantime, I will enjoy my monthly doses of greasy Asian brunch items, while washing it down with tea.
As a daughter to immigrant parents, I’ve spent all my life eating Chinese food. We tend to eat simple Cantonese dishes at home, but when there’s a special occasion, we try to go to a restaurant. This is how I know for a fact that service is not a key criteria in your meal. Luckily, some restaurants in Vancouver realize it’s actually an important part of your experience besides the food. No. 1 Beef Noodle is a casual Taiwanese restaurant that understands this as well.
From the moment we walked in, our family of 3 were greeted with smiles. We had to wait for a table since it was the lunch rush and were finally seated in the corner. A table for 4 opened up and they offered to let us sit there if it would be more comfortable. That may seem like an insignificant thing, but trust me when I tell you that Chinese restaurants don’t usually do that. The main goal is always to maximize the space and diners, meaning you squish everyone in to serve as many people as you can in the shortest time possible.
When we were ready to order, I wanted to order the fish hot-pot with rice and the waitress promptly told me that it’s a little spicy in case I was going to feed my baby as well. I was actually going to, so I’m glad she told me about that because usually they don’t really care. You ordered it, can’t you read? She also brought over a little bowl with utensils for my daughter without me having to ask. Sounds pretty straight forward, right? Trust me, this is great service and I’m pleased.
The food here consists of mainly noodles and rice dishes. My favorite is the beef brisket and tomato in noodle soup. I’ve also had the crispy fried pepper chicken on rice, which is also quite good. For dessert, I love their shaved ice with condensed milk, strawberry and lychee. One thing that is very typical of an Asian restaurant though, cash only.