Day 3 Itinerary:
- Shiny Tea (Aberdeen Square)
- Outpost Mini Donut Company
- Peaked Pies
- English Bay Beach
- Tangram Creamery
Y O L K S
1298 E Hastings St
What started out as a humble food cart, Yolks has blossomed into a full-fledged breakfast empire. Food truck business is still going strong, but fans can also find their fix at one of two brick-and-mortar restaurants located in the neighbourhoods of Strathcona or Fairview.
The original restaurant location of Yolks sits on the corner of East Hastings and Clark. You know you've found the right spot once you see the yellow awning and baby blue exterior. Apparently they will only be in this location for another year or two since there is a demolition clause on the building. Sad times.
Weekend line-ups are not unusual at either location. My sister visited Yolks on a previous trip and had to wait around 45 minutes for a table. We kept that in mind and chose to visit early on a Monday morning, around 9.
Only a few tables were occupied, meaning that service was quick, friendly, and efficient. One thing that we did notice walking in was a strange musky smell. I think we just got used to it because it seemed to go away after a while.
My sister decided to go for the "build-your-own" perfectly poached egg experience. Going down the flowchart, she decided on one egg, hand-carved maple ham with fresh spinach and Yolk's made Dijon, real hollaindaise, on an English muffin ($7.50). She also added a side of truffled lemon hashbrowns ($3.95).
My sister raved about Yolks last time, so naturally she loved it (minus the mustard but she's usually not a mustard fan). Her favourite would have to be the double smoked bacon option but she wanted to switch things up this time around. I tried one of the hashbrowns and didn't quite enjoy the truffle lemon flavour. It was a bit too pungent for my taste. My palette must also not be sophisticated enough to enjoy truffle oil.
One look at the menu and I knew the chicken and waffles ($13.95) were mine. Organic fried chicken, Belgian waffles, chicken gravy, and Canadian maple syrup. It arrives in a stack, with two waffle quarters sandwiching three pieces of panko-encrusted chicken. Chicken gravy is already smothered over top, while the maple syrup comes in a small creamer to add to your discretion.
This was honestly so good. Dare I say the best chicken and waffles I've had so far? (I've had my fair share.) The waffles were sweet and fluffy, while the chicken was fried really well. Crunchy and moist. Eating both together was the perfect balance between salty and sweet.
There's a lot of hype surrounding Yolks but it's well-deserved. I don't know if I'm patient enough to wait in line for it, but it'd certainly be worth it.
Our next plan of the day was to go back to Aberdeen Centre, as well as Richmond Centre, for a browse around. All that walking around surely makes one thirsty, so we stopped for some refreshments at:
S H I N Y T E A
4000 No 3 Rd #2340
Shiny Tea is another bubble tea franchise originating from Taiwan. They're proudly endorsed by Mr. Tsung-Ho Tu, inventor of Taiwan's tapioca milk tea, so they must be good right?
Vancouver has three locations of Shiny Tea so far, one in Burnaby's Crystal Mall, one in Chinatown's International Village, and the one we visited, in Richmond's Aberdeen Square.
Aberdeen Square is an adjunct to Aberdeen Centre and has a variety of small retail businesses and office space. It has direct pedway access from the Canada Line at Aberdeen station and also connects to Aberdeen Centre through a corridor.
Shiny Tea's menu is very large, featuring many different types of tea. They use premium quality tea leaves from Taiwan, and quality control is very strict as their tea and tapioca is replaced every four hours.
I went for a medium panda milk tea ($4.30) while my sister got a medium fresh lemon green tea ($4.30). Like all the other tea franchises, sweetness and ice can be customized.
The panda milk tea gets its name from having two types of pearls, black and white. I got 50% sweetness and the drink was barely sweet. In fact, it was almost watery and bland. Usually 100% is way too sweet at other tea shops, but perhaps 100% sugar is the way to go at Shiny? I've also sort of realized that I'm not a big fan of milk tea. (Does that make me a bad Asian?) Maybe I haven't had a good milk tea yet, but I much prefer my tea sans milk.
My sister's fresh lemon green tea (80% sugar) fared a little better but it was really sour. She probably should have stuck to regular sweetness as well, but she thought it was refreshing.
Not really impressed with Shiny Tea's offerings out of what we tried, but I think I just have to find "my" drink here.
S T E V E S T O N
An easy 20-minute drive away from where we were, we decided to visit Steveston Fisherman's Wharf. A total tourist trap, the village around Steveston is quite charming, with gift shops, cafes, and fish & chip stands. During the summer, fishing boats will be tied up to the dock, selling fresh caught seafood. I don't watch much TV, but Steveston is also a major filming location for the show Once Upon a Time.
Because it was in the middle of January, the weather was much cooler and there wasn't a ton of activity. Still, it's a cool place to visit and walk around. It certainly brought back a lot of memories of being here with my family. Here are some Steveston visuals below:
O U T P O S T M I N I D O N U T C O M P A N Y
12240 Second Ave #110
Mini donuts are probably the only reason why one should go to Klondike Days. (Sorry, K-Days.) They're smaller than a regular donut so you don't feel as guilty when you pop back a few of them in one sitting. Only until your hand reaches the bottom of the bag, you realize that you probably consumed a few donut's worth. But hey, everything in moderation is my motto. K-Days only comes by once a year right?
For those in Vancouver who can't wait until the PNE (K-Day's equivalent), there's a shop located in the heart of Steveston that serves these little babies all year round.
Outpost Mini Donut Company is a small operation, tucked beneath the stairs of a two-story commercial building. You probably would miss it walking past, if not for the wooden sign with 'MINI DONUTS' emblazoned on it.
The shop is quite small and cozy, with a sitting area designed ideally for one party. Most of their business is grab and go.
If you catch them at the right time, they have a mini donut machine behind the glass counter where you can watch the donuts being made fresh out of the fryer.
A cake stand holds all the donut flavours that they have on hand. Classic flavours include cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, chocolate icing with sprinkles, vanilla bean icing with sprinkles, and maple icing with sprinkles. The current seasonal flavours were coconut, blueberry, Boston cream, raspberry jelly, and salted caramel.
Mini donuts are sold by the half dozen (6 for $4.75) or Baker's dozen (13 for $7.50). They come served in a paper cone which is the perfect vessel to take on a stroll down the Wharf. If you prefer, they also sell them in boxes, but that will cost you an extra $0.50.
We got a Baker's dozen in a box ($8.00) and chose 4 cinnamon sugar, 2 vanilla bean icing with sprinkles, 2 maple icing with sprinkles, 2 chocolate icing with sprinkles, 2 Boston creams, and 1 salted caramel.
The donuts have the classic taste that you get at the fair. They're equal parts fluffy and cakey. The cinnamon sugar were the best ones, as I found the icing versions to be too sweet and artificial tasting. Always go with the classic!
The girl helping us wasn't exactly the friendliest (she seemed impatient and just shoved the donuts into the box) but if you're down by Steveston anyways, Outpost is a cute pit stop.
We opted for an early dinner, and drove back into Vancouver to visit:
P E A K E D P I E S
975 Denman Street
Aside from Tim-Tams, koalas, kangaroos, and Vegemite, the most Australian thing you could probably think of is meat pies, the perfect portable meal encased in pastry.
Until recently, Peaked Pies, purveyor of authentic Australian meat pies, could only be found up north in Whistler. But now they've opened up a second shop, this time more conveniently located in downtown Vancouver on Denman Street.
Peaked Pies serves nine different pie options, with fillings of steak, chicken, and even kangaroo! Dessert pies are also available, along with breakfast pies which are only served in the morning. You can see them in all their glory at the ordering counter.
The defining part of Peaked Pies is the option to "peak" your pie. This includes a scoop of mashed potatoes, mushy peas, and gravy over top.
The restaurant space isn't huge but it seems to be spacious enough. The concept is fast-food style, with ordering and pick-up done at the counter. Cutlery and water is self-serve, and seating is communal, aside from a couple of two seaters and a window bar.
Portions are quite big so we only ordered one to share since we had other food planned for the rest of the night. The traditional Aussie ($6.95) is a hefty meat pie filled with ground beef, onions, and gravy. We decided to have it peaked ($3.25) as well.
It's a good thing we shared because I don't think I would be able to finish one on my own. It's very filling with all of the components. It reminded me almost of a Shepherd's pie, especially with the combination of ground beef, peas, and mashed potatoes. I didn't find the crust to be particularly flaky or memorable but it might have suffered a bit under the weight of the gravy. Definitely a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs comfort food kind of meal.
E N G L I S H B A Y B E A C H
Because we paid for more parking time than anticipated, we thought that we may as well use up the rest by visiting nearby English Bay Beach to watch the sunset.
T A N G R A M C R E A M E R Y
2729 Arbutus St
Two desserts in one day? Why not? We're on vacation after all.
Located in Kitsilano, Tangram Creamery is one of the many gourmet ice cream shops in Vancouver. They set themselves apart by focusing on small batches and having an ice cream selection that changes weekly. They're open 7 days a week, from noon to 10:30 at night. Convenient for when those random ice cream cravings hit.
Prices are comparable to other shops around town. Spend that extra dollar and get their in-house made cookie cone. It's worth it.
The ice cream menu is written on their signature parchment right when you walk in. It changes weekly, although popular flavours will be on rotation quite frequently. Vegan and dairy-free options are also available all the time (perfect for Kits). As you've noticed, some of their flavours are Asian-inspired, and you'll often find matcha, black sesame, and red bean making an appearance. Even though the menu is small, there's something for everyone.
I went for a single scoop of lychee sorbet ($5.00) while my sister went for double chocolate ($5.00). We both opted for the cookie cone (+$1.00) which is a must.
I thought the lychee sorbet was really good. It had a nice lychee flavour and was pretty smooth for a sorbet. The cookie cone was also delicious, almost a cross between a buttery shortbread and a regular waffle cone. I don't think the two flavours went together all that well, the buttery cookie and the refreshing lychee, so I would probably get a creamier flavour next time around.
My sister enjoyed her double chocolate flavour as well. It had a darker flavour profile, with small bits of chocolate throughout.
Tangram Creamery seems like the perfect casual after-dinner spot. If you don't want to take your ice cream on the road, there's plenty of bench seating and a beautiful wood communal table.
Edmonton, can we have a gourmet ice cream shop? I promise I'll visit you even in the dead of winter.
Afterwards, we just drove back to our hotel to digest and relax. At around 9:30, we headed back out again for some late night fried chicken. So bad for you, yet so good at the same time.
C O C O R U
#2140, 8391 Alexandra Rd
Located on Alexandra Road's "Food Street", Cocoru is a restaurant fully dedicated to chimaek, otherwise known as chicken and beer. Hours are from 5PM to around 1 to 2AM everyday. It seems to be a popular late night spot, as it was packed full even on a Monday night. Since the only table available was reserved for a large group, we decided to just get take-out instead.
Cocoru's menu consists of a few appetizers such as salads, french fries, nachos, etc. but the main event is really the fried chicken. Served bone-in or boneless, chicken comes in full or half orders. Flavours aren't nearly as creative or extensive as Edmonton's own Seoul Fried Chicken but there's a decent selection, including: soonsal fried chicken (plain, served with French fries), soonsal yangnyeom (a tangy/sweet/spicy sauce), soy garlic, dak-gang-jeong (spicy), pa-dak (house special sauce and sliced green onions), and snowfall chicken (bechamel sauce and grated grana padano cheese). For those interested in drinks, Cocoru serves draft and bottled beer, soju, makkoli, and other Korean liquors.
We should've called in advance but the wait for our food wasn't too bad. About 15 minutes, the chicken was ready and we were out the door.
We decided to get their half and half boneless chicken ($23.00). Essentially, two half-orders, in two flavours of your choice. We got the soy garlic with sliced garlic flakes and yangnyeom with peanut crumbs. I preferred the soy garlic flavour as it was equal parts salty and sweet. Comparing it to SFC's soy garlic flavour, Cocoru's is much sweeter and doesn't have as deep a soy flavour. The yangnyeom flavour was also good, although a bit more spicy.
Our hotel was about a 5 minute drive away, and by the time we got back to the room, the chicken got a tiny bit soggy. It was still relatively crispy though and I appreciated that they cut off a bit of the plastic to prevent even more condensation. I think it would be a different story if you ate it in the restaurant though.
I'm not a fan of regular KFC, so Korean fried chicken is the only KFC for me. Cocoru serves a pretty darn good version.
And that concludes day 3! Two more YVR posts to go!