East Meets West = West Coast Cool: Tangram Creamery @ Arbutus Vancouver

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Last Saturday I got a “hot tip” from my foodie pal Ms. Moto about a “cold delight”; she couldn’t stop raving about the hoji-cha ice-cream and insisted we must go, and go we did…..there was no turning back.

Tangram is the latest addition to our local ice-cream craze; located  on the busy Arbutus Street (2729 Arbutus) between West 11 and 12 Avenue, just a couple of minutes walk away from one of my favourite butchers Pete’s Meats.

There were Nine offerings on their menu, displayed prominently on the wall:  Seven ice-cream flavours (Tahitian Vanilla/Double Chocolate/Guatemala Coffee/ Matcha/Hoji-cha/Salted Caramel/Strawberry Strudel) and two sorbet (Mango/Lychee).

Heeding Ms. Moto’s advice, I decided to go for the Hoji-cha and added a scoop of Guatemala Coffee in a “cup”, an ice-cream version of my own “yin-yeung” (tea and coffee duo, a Hong Kong style cafe reference):

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The distinct smoky tea flavour hit instantly on the first bite (hoji-cha is a charcoal roasted Japanese green tea, originally from Kyoto).  As I savoured, the silky milky-ness came through and finally the right amount of sweetness lingered on, tantalizing my palate and playing a trick in my mind: I felt as if I was enjoying an ice-cold “hoji-cha milk tea”, it was absolutely brilliant!  I don’t ever recall any other ice-creamery having such an offering.  Let’s not forget the Guatemala Coffee, which is richer in flavour and slightly bitter, definitely well suited for coffee lovers.

The day before Valentine’s, I decided to pop by Tangram again to pick up another pint for dessert, and try something else which I had my eye on since the other night: A single scoop of Strawberry Strudel ice-cream in their house-made Langue de Chat (cat’s tongue shape), a French sugar cookie cone.

One bite and I was smitten: the strawberry’s tartness and sweetness were well-balanced, the freshness and the strawberry flavour, combined with specks of strudel, gave the ice-cream a different texture, it was heavenly. The cone was flaky and complemented the ice-cream very well, the tail end of the cone was dipped in chocolate is a nice touch; however I found it melted quite quickly, perhaps I was really taking my time to savour every bite.

This is just a personal preference: I find their scoop sizes just right and I like their texture, it may not be the creamiest but it is smooth and silky.  The pricing is very reasonable: one scoop for $5.00, double for $7.00, triple for $9.00 and a pint (16 ounces) costs $10.00; add an extra dollar and you can enjoy the special French sugar cookie cone/bowl.

At first glance I somehow thought “Tangram” was Korean (thinking along the lines of “Gangnam” style), it is the “English” name for the Chinese “QiQiaoBan”, the incredible “Seven pieces Transformation Puzzle”, derived from Chinese (tan) and Greek (gram) origin (Check out Wikipedia!).  Their  brand “story” behind its name is another “story” for me to uncover some other time.

To my dear friend Ms. Moto: Thanks for introducing us to this wonderful place; cannot wait to go there to try something else with you next time (OO)

By the way, we picked up a pint of Lychee Sorbet…it was so refreshing!  Look forward to see what else Tangram will bring us this summer!

Information:

Tangram 2729 Arbutus Street, Vancouver, BC (Between West 11 and 12 Avenue, Kits area), follow them on Instagram @tangramcreamery 

Local ice-creamery; friendly service and reasonable price point, communal table and seating available; must try hoji-cha flavour (especially for Japanese tea-lovers) and their in-house made cookie cone, other offerings include coffee and macaron ice-cream dessert, their taste is authentically Japanese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sweet and Savoury September

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Peggy’s Point Lighthouse

A Sweet and Savoury September..and a dream came true…”if it has to be, it is up to me”

Sharing: I had the best time learning how to make relish and canning with Jo and friends..

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A humbling and fulfilling experience as Kitchen Help Volunteer at Union Gospel Mission..

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Visiting friends and kids: Homemade kid friendly sushi salad lunch at home…

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Lunch with old friends and kids at home : A homemade kid friendly sushi salad – sushi rice, canned tuna+shredded crab meat+kewpie+Ojai lemonaise, boiled egg (or Japanese egg omelette), braised shiitake mushrooms, Japanese pickled radish (takuan) and seaweed. Broccoli and radish salad with ginger apple dressing, store-bought salt pepper roast chicken.

Had a fabulous dinner with hubby at Kinome Japanese Kitchen (2511 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC), this picture was published in the Province Gastropost Vancouver!

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Japanese pumpkin (kabocha) and edamame Korokke (panko crusted) with side salad at Kinome Japanese Kitchen

Dear friends delivered the Wickedly delicious creme brulee from Crackle Creme (245 Union Street, Vancouver Chinatown) to our home:

http://www.cracklecreme.com

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Take your pick: Yuzu, Salted Caramel, Vanilla Bean or Organic Matcha ?

And a travel dream came true – Snapshot by the Sea: My Maritime memories in Halifax, Nova Scotia (sneak peek of upcoming blog post)

http://www.novascotia.com

2.5 hours of Fun and Tasty Downtown Somo (South of Morris Street) Food Tour with Local Tasting Tours (Thank you Emily!)

http://www.localtastingtours.com

http://www.storiesdining.com

http://www.selwoodgreen.com

http://www.cafechianti.com

http://www.smilinggoat.ca

http://www.theuncommongroup.com

http://www.foxhillcheesehouse.com

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Cherry Yogurt Gelato at Seaport Farmers Market – Foxhill Cheese House
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Smiling Goat Coffee and Pastry (15 ingredients) and Mexican Chiapas Coffee
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Pan Seared Rice paper wrapped scallop at Stories

Delicious seafood risotto at The Bicycle Thief Italian Restaurant…

http://www.bicyclethief.ca

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After dinner stroll along the sea walk….

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A dream came true: I made it to Peggy’s Cove!

http://www.grayline.com

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Beautiful and quaint…beyond words can describe
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Scotsman and the lobster

Simple and delicious lunch at Mckelvies: Pan seared Local rainbow trout with tarragon sauce 

http://www.mckelvies.com

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One hour harbour cruise on Tall Ship Silva (old pirate ship) around the harbour:

http://www.tallshipsilva.com

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An old pirate ship: the brave and strong can try to pull the sails

A quick visit to the Nova Scotia Art Gallery: do you know who is Maud Lewis? She’s a famous Canadian folk artist, we learn something new every day…

http://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca

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Lobster roll (yes more food) at Seaport Farmer’s Market

http://www.halifaxfarmersmarket.com

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Goldwater lobster shack at the Seaport Farmers Market
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Lobster roll: Fresh baked bun and home made mayo with succulent Nova Scotia lobster meat..

And on my way home…quick stopover in Toronto to visit an old friend…and a quick visit to the St. Lawrence Market..yes it’s all about friendship and food..

http://www.stlawrencemarket.com

http://www.upexpress.com

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St Lawrence Market, Toronto
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Lunch at Le Papillon on Front: Love the spinach salad with feta and raspberry vinaigrette, I also enjoyed their Jean Pierre crepe (broccoli, spinach, onion, feta, tomato sauce – picture not shown)

When I returned to Vancouver…we enjoyed an Italian meal with my friends, Peter (@pastaboypeter on twitter) and James (house historian) who now lives in Italy and came back for a visit..

Stringozzi (shoestring fresh handmade pasta at home), bruschetta with concord grape compote/ricotta/pancetta bits and mozzarella di buffala with cherry tomatoes, salt baked sea bass, Avonlea cheese from PEI, warm savoy cabbage salad

http://www.seafoodcitygi.com

http://www.cioffisgroup.com

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Beautiful sea bass from Seafood City, Granville Island, my favourite seafood shop. 400F and 20-25 minutes later..

Warm Savoy Cabbage and radicchio salad, with toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, fried pancetta bits (optional for non-vegetarians), shavings of Parmesan Reggiano with home made Manuka honey balsamic vinaigrette,  I took the main elements from the salad I had at the Bicycle Thief (Halifax Bishop’s Landing) and added my own touches, recipe coming!

http://www.eatlocal.org

http://www.cranberriesnaturally.com

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Homemade Warm Savoy Cabbage and Radicchio Salad

And today I’m on AM 1470 Fairchild Radio Ms. Deborah Moore’s show sharing my experience with all of you..Thank you Deb M for having me on your show, and thanks everyone for tuning in!

My wish for everyone: La Dolce Vita.

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August 19th, 2015 Radio Show

IMG_8884I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM1470 this morning 10:30am sharp!  Really look forward to chat with her about food and anything else! Content is subject to change, depends on the flow of the program.  Thank you very much for tuning in!

Cool down with “real food” – Hiyashi Chuka (Japanese Chinese Cold Noodle)

Here’s my version of the Dipping sauce: 200 ml dashi stock (or chicken stock), 120 ml organic soy sauce, 100 ml rice vinegar, 1 Tablespoon sesame oil, maple syrup (sugar is normally used, adjust to taste)

Heat dashi, soy sauce and maple syrup in saucepan, bring to a boil and turn off the heat.  Add the rice vinegar while mixture is hot, then finish off with the tablespoon of sesame oil.  Pour mixture into clean glass bottle, refrigerate after it cools down.

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My version of hiyashi chuka: Boiled prawns, fish cake, cherry tomatoes, seaweed, braised shiitake mushrooms, cucumber , kinshi tamago (egg omelet), and Chinese noodles, served with homemade dipping sauce and japanese mustard
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skewer the prawns with bamboo sticks when blanching

Pork Belly Garlic Scape wraps with “shogayaki” sauce:  (full recipe coming soon); I served this with cauliflower “fried” rice and it was a delicious combination.  Thank you PPQ for inspiring this dish!

Ginger apple sauce: mirin, soy sauce, grated onion, grated granny smith apple, grated ginger root (ratio 1-1-1-1-1) and sake or water (1), maple syrup (to sweeten, adjust accordingly)

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Food Finds on East Hastings:

Mr. Red Cafe: Northern Vietnamese cuisine, friendly service, delightful dishes prepared with lots of care and love, great prices

address: 2234 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC.

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Traditional Vietnamese sticky rice with mung bean and fried shallots
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Appetizer: Steamed pork and shrimp tapioca dumpling wrapped in banana leaf

Basho Cafe: Quaint and cozy Japanese cafe serving savory lunch sets and the cutest baked goods with In-house Coffee Master 

2007 East Hastings (and Victoria)

http://www.bashocafe.com

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Tiny tasty baked goods on display at Basho: mochi cakes, lemon loaf, matcha brownie., kabocha muffin…just to name a few..and we want to try them all!

Pear Tree: 17 years on East Hastings..it’s great to revisit old favourites in town http://www.peartreerestaurant.net

In April I celebrated my birthday at Pear Tree restaurant and had the most delicious vegetarian carrot risotto ever..I had to ask our server three times to check if indeed it was vegetarian…

Are you sure this is a vegetarian dish?
Are you sure this is a vegetarian dish?

Chau Veggie Express: 5052 Victoria Drive (between 34th and 35th): Serve primarily Vietnamese inspired vegetarian and vegan dishes, casual communal dining.

http://www.chowatchau.ca

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Insanely delicious taro chips with spicy dip (made from tofu)

Must try: To Die For lemon Loaf, made by hand in Vancouver, BC 

http://www.itstodiefor.ca

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Food waste:  What can we do?

The new organics/recycled bylaw and volunteer stints at UGM makes me rethink more about the way we live..

Coincidentally last month I came across this interesting post on Twitter which led to an old article posted through Chef Marcus Samuelsson’s website…

http://www.marcussamuelsson.com/news/165-billion-in-food-waste-what-can-you-do