Indoor playgrounds are a God send for parents in Vancouver.
It rains a lot here so you can’t always bring your kids outside every weekend. At Circus Play Café, you have a chance to allow your child to have fun at a safe and clean environment. Parents can have their coffee, baked goods and use WIFI to catch up on emails. There’s a ton of seating and a couple of high chairs to feed the kiddies too. The space is a good size for younger children between the ages of 1-3. I think I saw some younger babies as well as older kids as well though. There are play kitchens, slides, puzzles, books and a whole slew of toys to keep kids entertained.
The owners are friendly and although the place was getting packed around 10:30AM, they kept their cool. I saw staff talking to a few parents and tidying up the areas as kids were throwing toys around. I’ve been waiting for an indoor playground to open up in this area and I hope they stick around for a long time.
This post is long overdue, but I didn’t want to not write about Stefanos Restaurant. They deserve some recognition.
Stefanos is located in New Westminster on the main road, Columbia Street. I have to admit I’ve never heard about the place, but word of mouth put this restaurant on the radar.
My friend, Shirley had her wedding lunch at Stefanos and everything was handled wonderfully. They accommodated our group at the last minute as well, but everything went smoothly. The wedding took up a little more than half the restaurant on the second floor. We had microphones for speeches and a dance floor for people who want to let loose.
The food was delicious. For my main, I had the roast lamb was tender, moist and seasoned well. The roast potato was cooked well and flavorful. Everyone had shared appetizers which featured a little of everything on the menu. There were spanakopita, calamari, hummus and meatballs.
The staff were personable, helpful and full of smiles. This alone made a huge difference. From the time the reservations were made until the last person left the restaurant, we were treated very well. Not many of the guests brought their kids, but there were plenty of high chairs if they were needed. The restaurant is spacious so the kids could have played in an area of their own as well.
Stefanos is out of the way if you’re visiting Vancouver from out of town, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth checking out.
My friend, Bryan has been raving about Burrito Boyz for a good 3 years now. Anytime I plan a visit to Toronto and ask about places for lunch, the answer is always the same. “Oh man, you need to check out Burrito Boyz!”
Finally, I had a chance and even with all the hype, Burrito Boyz lived up to its name. We walked in on a Friday afternoon and this place was packed. There were people shouting for the next customer in line and shouting for orders that were ready to go. It was a little overwhelming since we had a baby with us, but we eventually found a seat and settled in.
My husband and I both ordered the halibut burrito, which can be customized to your own liking. It was honestly, the best fish burrito I’ve ever had. The halibut was lightly battered and deep fried. The batter was still crispy, while the fish was juicy as we bit into our enormous burrito. Inside my burrito, surrounding the fish were rice, beans, guacamole and lettuce. The only mistake we made was order a large burrito for my husband because that thing is massive. I barely finished my small and he only ate about 3/4 of his. Not only are the portions laughably big, the prices kept us well within budget.
I wouldn’t say Burrito Boyz is a kid friendly establishment because there were no high chairs or change tables, but it was loud enough that my baby didn’t have to speak in her inside voice. Despite the hectic environment, packed restaurant and no high chairs present, I’m glad I checked this place out.
I’m not a person who craves Vegetarian food. The dish almost always feels incomplete to me. A salad? Let’s slice some grilled chicken on that rabbit food. Baked potato? Let’s sprinkle some bacon on it. However, I can make room for Sweet Cherubim from time to time.
Sweet Cherubim is a casual eatery, which shares the space with a grocery store. Staring at their menu, it took me the full 5 minutes to make a decision since I kept changing my mind. They have samosas, moussakas, lasagnas, burgers, sandwiches, rolls, subjis, rice bowls, soups, salads and many desserts. (All of which are vegetarian)
I finally decided on the ‘Soup Special’, which came with a cup of soup, salad and rice. This way, I can try a little bit of everything. I chose the kale soup, quinoa salad and rice. The 3 items looked tiny, but make no mistake, it is filling. The food was tasty and healthy without being too greasy to weigh me down. Next time, I’m going to try their subji, which I learned is a term that means ‘vegetable dish’. Subjis can be dry, wet or in curry form and the ones at Sweet Cherubim looked delicious.
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.