Tag Archives: Tea

CAPSTONE TEA & FONDUE – 160 – 9020 Capstan Way, Richmond, BC V6X1R4 – (778)297-5007

10 May

A dash of exhaustion.  A smidgen of self-defeat.  A pinch of anxiety.  A spoonful of confusion.  That was me approximately three weeks ago.  Burnt out.

I have a higher tendency than the average person to experience burn-out mainly because I have a slew of health issues that tend to pop up from time to time.  It’s exhausting trying to deal with those issues while juggling a full workload.  In this case, the particular health issue was asthma season.  It happens roughly between March-May of every year, then September-October, coinciding with seasonal change.  It was particularly bad this year for some reason; it was literally becoming almost impossible for me to breathe at many points in time.  Sadly, in these cases, it’s often my extra-curricular activities that have to get cut.  In this case, it was dashtodine.

Anyways, I think the worst is over.  Fondue, anyone?

Me and the foodie crew roll up in our car and begin to walk towards Capstone’s, an allegedly excellent place to pig out on Cheese or Chocolate Fondue.  Once we enter the place, we immediately notice the class and simple panache of the place.  Mirrors line the walls of the place.  Perfect for an exceedingly vain person to admire his or herself.  I stroll over to the mirrors and admire the view.  God I’m beautiful.  Well, in my mind at least.

“I love how tea is often given weird exotic menu descriptions that make you believe that you’re gaining some sort of unique super-power, depending upon which flavour you happen to choose.”

We pick a table and our amicable waiter drops by and offers us suggestions as to what to get.  Choosing between devouring a Chocolate waterfall and a Cheese waterfall is a tough call.

Chocolate it is.

Tea is also served before the Fondue makes its first appearance.  I love how tea is often given weird exotic menu descriptions that make you believe that you’re gaining some sort of unique super-power, depending upon which flavour you happen to choose.  I choose my super-power.  Green tea.

Maybe I’ll turn into a Ninja Turtle.  Or perhaps my skin will become exfoliated, and I’ll have increased powers of concentration and have the first peaceful night’s sleep I’ve had in years.

I’d still rather be a Ninja Turtle.

The Tea is served unsweetened, which brings out its natural and supposedly therapeutic properties.  It’s good for the first few sips but then becomes tiresome.  It would be nice to have the option of sweetening it. 

The condiments are brought out.  Matcha Cookies (well that’s what they look like), Banana Bread, Lemon Loaf, Apple Slices, Strawberries, Bananas, Pineapples and Grapes make their foray into our table.  Chocolate swimming pools are then presented to us individually, each cupped in a delicate vase with a candle underneath to maintain the warmth.  Elegant.  Classy.  This is definitely something I like.

Each condiment complements the Chocolate surprisingly well.  The fruits are all Chocolate-compatible, the Cookies plain enough to still carry the Mocha overtones, and Pastries take on a new life of their own once dipped in the Cocoa ponds.

All in all, a great way to get back into the fray of Foodie adventures.

Capstone Tea & Fondue (Richmond) on Urbanspoon

SWEET BUBBLE CAFE – 130 – 6068 No. 3 Road, Richmond, BC (604) 270-9993

30 Mar

PRICE: $4-$12

Right now I’m quite literally dashing to dine.  It’s evening meal break at work and I’ve been running around from shop to shop outside the mall I work at.  Everywhere I go a ‘CLOSED’ sign is standing guard between me and a much needed meal.  Time is starting to run out.

After ducking in and out of restaurant windows and playing charades with the owners (lip reading ‘ARE YOU CLOSED?’ – ‘YES WE ARE CLOSED’) I finally come across a place that doesn’t make me perform the tireless ritual.

I peer through the window of the door half-expecting to begin the tireless dance.  Just as I begin preparing to give my best ‘ARE YOU CLOSED’ charades impression, I lean on the door and realize that it’s…open. THANK GOD.

I crack open the door and begin to make my way to the cash register.  Asian pop music rings through the empty room.  Save for the tunes, it’s so still it feels like I’m at church.  Or a circus.  Polka-dot red and white sofas line the room. The black walls are highlighted with neon orange and green.  I’m just waiting for the clowns to start coming in.  I’m not used to this look, but I suppose it has its own kind of charm.

“I suppose hanging out in this place could help me get in touch with my Oriental side.  After all, I suppose we’re all really just different shades of yellowish-brown.”

I look at the menu.  While this is a very stereotypically Bubble Tea-looking place, they also serve a pretty wide variety of entrees.  I’m feeling the Crepes at the moment.  I place an order for the Tuna & Corn Crepe.  I’ve never had both of these foods surrounded by a very thin French Pancake.  I’m in.

I twiddle my thumbs while sitting at a table alone.  I feel awkward.  I’m not used to these kinds of places.  The colours are so bright.  The atmosphere so… Asian.  Hong Kong/Taiwan style.  I suppose these are the occasions where I can truly realize how much of a *Banana I am.

Even though my parents identify themselves culturally as Filipino, I suppose hanging out in this place could help me get in touch with my Oriental side.  After all, I suppose we’re all really just different shades of yellowish-brown.

The Crepe arrives and I hungrily wolf it down.  Savoury Tuna complements the sweet corn.  The warm but slightly crunchy Crepe complements the two.  The presentation is simple but elegant.  It can probably be best described as the most upscale Tuna Fish Sandwich I’ve ever had.  Simple, but awesome in its own right.

Content from the food, but still feeling pretty out of place in this joint, I lean back in my seat and begin to relax a little.

After a while it happens.  A feeling that I can’t quite describe, but it’s there.  Fleeting, but still noticeable.  That feeling that you get when you start feeling comfortable in what was an otherwise alien environment.

At home.  But just for a second.

It’s good feel a little more like an ‘authentic’ Asian, even if it’s just for a moment.

 

*To my international readers: Banana is Lower Mainland slang for an Asian with primarily Caucasian mannerisms – yellow on the outside, white on the inside.

 

Sweet Bubble Cafe on Urbanspoon

Reflections – PEARL CASTLE – 6060 Minoru Blvd, Richmond, BC, Canada (604) 279-0177

28 Mar

Every now and then, I think we all just need to pause and stop thinking so much.  Just stop and enjoy the sights, the sounds, and the tastes.

Bright lights.  Chandeliers cling to the ceiling overhead.  Soft cushions.   Leather seats are there to catch you when you’re ready to fall.  Solid Spruce.  Wooden tables under our hands, carrying our utensils, our tools of our trade.  Time to dine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beef Brisket Hot Pot has an almost reassuring glow.  Drenched in a Tomato Stew and served with Rice and a bit of Sweet Hot Sauce to accent the slightly savoury and tender Beef, it’s the tasty trophy you get once you cross the finish line of a long work day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Hot Milk Tea with Tapioca Pearls has a distinctly friendly shimmer, especially when you’re tired.

Red Rose Oolong Tea scatters a warm and lustrous scent throughout the air.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Seafood Hot Pot decorated with slices of Pork is a prize to behold.  Swimming in the Broth is some measure of satisfaction when it’s cold, wet, and rainy outside, and you’re inside a cozy restaurant looking out

Deep Fried Calamari offers crunchy relief, with salty overtones to help sort your thoughts out.

Jell-O makes you grin like a little kid again when you slurp it in your mouth.

The company of friends lights up a cold and rainy night.

Pearl Castle 圓香茶坊 (Richmond Centre) on Urbanspoon

WELL TEA – Suite 170-4811 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC (604) 278-7268

15 Mar

PRICE: $6-$30

It’s cold and dark tonight.  Rain is pouring through the cracks and crags of the wet pavement.  All that’s needed is lightning and thunder to start cracking their respective whips at us.  Seems like a scene straight out of a horror movie.  I think I need something bright, cheery, and friendly looking to lift me up.  A Bubble-Tea place, I think, is something that would do that just fine.

We drive up to Well Tea, a rather small and unremarkable looking joint, at least from the outside.  I’m skeptical.  Is this a joke?  I feel as if my friend is setting me up with an ugly date.

“Just trust me, man.”

Alright.  Sure.  We step inside and you know what?  I realize how shallow I’m being.  You just can’t judge a book by its cover.  Well, at least in the case of Well Tea that is.  I was expecting the inside to be garish and brightly coloured to an excessive degree, a  common fault of most Bubble Tea joints.  These places seem to enjoy hiring clown serial-killers to decorate their interiors.  Luckily, what I receive is very different from what I was expecting.

The place is brightly lit with thin, cylindrical lamp-lights hanging around like fireflies.  We’re greeted at the entrance by an elegant looking bamboo fountain.  Bamboo-style vegetation seems to be a common decorative theme in this place. Brown padded leather chairs and beige tables sit atop the sleek hardwood floor.  Encased in the floor are little glass compartments containing bamboo artwork.  Neat-o.   I just love the idea of walking on something so Feng-Shui. 

“These places seem to enjoy hiring clown serial-killers to decorate their interiors.  Luckily, what I receive is very different from what I was expecting.”

Let’s get to business.  The menus open up and we order some fancy sounding drinks.  Lavender  Green Tea with Tapioca Noodles.  Fresh Taro Slush.

They arrive pretty quickly and we sample them.  The Lavender Green Tea lives up to its name and provides a sweet aromatic experience with a bright after-taste of, you guessed it, Lavender.  The Tapioca Noodles go great with it, (better than Tapioca Pearls) because they are easier to drink, yet provide that same refreshing and gooey chewing sensation.

The Fresh Taro Slush is an icy good experience.  The light-purple Taro has an almost glow-y aesthetic to it.  It’s like a lava lamp in stasis.  A pleasure to look at, and an even greater pleasure to drink.  The Ice and the Juice mingle together perfectly; there is no separation between the Juice content and the Ice, as commonly seen in cheaper Slushes (“Auugh! Why is there nothing but Ice where my drink used to be?!”).  The subtle-sweet taste of Taro proves to be refreshingly light.  Bubble-Tea places have a tendency to make their Slushes waaay too sweet.  Thankfully this drink does not suffer from this problem.

We order up some chow.  It’s cold so we’re craving something soupy.  We order the House Special.  We have the option to create our own Noodle Soup Entrees.  I choose Beef Soup, Yellow Noodles, and Pork Slices, Pork Intestines, and Pork Balls to top it all off.  We’ll call it BYPPP for short.  I’m all about killing pigs.  My compatriot summons up Miso Soup, Udon Noodles, Beef Slices, Squid Balls, and Mushrooms (MUBSM).  Should be interesting.

My BYPPP makes its entrance onto the table.  I try it.  Holy CRAP that’s spicy.  I have a few more bites.  And salty too.  It’s initially quite shocking because I’m not really expecting it to be like this.  I don’t recall ordering Spice.  I ask my foodie compatriot and he assures me that I’m just being a pussy, and that this is the norm.  Hmm. Well I guess I’ll  have to start getting out more.  I keep sampling the Chow and after getting over the initial shock, the flavour begins to grow on me.  Alright.  This is what exotic food tastes like.

The MUBSM makes its way to our table and we give that a spin.  A more subtle down-to-earth savoury flavour.  Drenched in Miso, and decorated with a variety of Beef and Seafood overtones (the Squid Balls are AWESOME), this is the dish that I really should’ve ordered.  It’s good.  Not too salty, a more mellow yet savoury dish.  Win.

“Hey check out who’s over at that window.”

“Okay.  A girl.  What about her?”

“Ehehe, look at where she’s looking.”

My partner points just behind me to a couple.  They look good together.  I’m still confused though.

“Haha, she’s been there the WHOLE night.  Looks like she’s trying to see what kinds of extra-curricular activities her man is up to.”

Duh.  How could I have not noticed?  Looks like a player is going to be hating the game, ‘cause he’s about to find himself in a whole lot of trouble.  (Say that with a ghetto accent)

So how about that?  Great drinks, solid food, AND dramatic entertainment.  What else more could you ask for in a Bubble Tea joint?

We walk past the entrance after having paid our hosts and go outside.  The girl is STILL peering angrily into the window, and from the looks of it, her soon-to-be ex still hasn’t noticed.  She’d make a good Private-Eye.

Well Tea 茶井 (Richmond) on Urbanspoon