A list of places to do afternoon tea in Vancouver

Food cravings seize me with sudden and often inexplicable vigor. When I dream of tea, the mind spins in a vortex of earl grey, scones, and triangular cucumber sandwiches with the crusts sliced off. Need your tea fix? Here’s quick and dirty list of places in Vancouver that offer afternoon tea service. Comment below if I’ve left any out.

Adonia Kerrisdale Tea House
2057 West 41st Ave | Kerrisdale
604-261-0049

Adorabelle Tea Room & Gift Shop | $16-25
12051 Third Avenue | Steveston Village, Richmond
604-241-1947

Applewood Country Gifts | $10-22
6345 120 St | Delta
604-596-9007

Bacchus Restaurant at the Wedgewood Hotel
845 Hornby Street | Downtown
604-689-7777
Read about our afternoon tea experience here >

Butchart Gardens (Vancouver Island) | $30-45
800 Benvenuto Ave | Brentwood Bay, Vancouver Island
250-652-8222

Clancy’s Tea Cosy | $11-17
15223 Pacific Ave | White Rock
604-541-9010

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver
900 W Georgia | Downtown
604-684-3131

Fairmont Empress (Victoria)
721 Government Street | Victoria
1 (866) 540-4429 | (250) 384-8111
Read about our afternoon tea experience here >

The Fish House at Stanley Park
8901 Stanley Park Drive | Downtown
604-681-7275
Read about our afternoon tea experience here >


Flueri Restaurant at Sutton Place
845 Burrard Street | Downtown
604-682-5511

Little White House | $14-18
9090 Glover Road | Fort Langley | 604-888-8386
2626 Montrose Ave | Abbotsford | 604-853-0909

Provence Marinaside
1177 Marinaside Crescent | Yaletown
604-681-4144

Provence Mediterranean Grill
4473 West 10th Avenue | Point Grey
604-222-1980

Salmon House on the Hill | $22-29
2229 Folkestone Way | West Vancouver
604-926-3212

Secret Garden Tea Company
5559 West Boulevard | Kerrisdale
604-261-3070
Read about our afternoon tea experience here >

T Room (no website)
4445 W 10th Ave | Point Grey
604-677-2579
Read about our afternoon tea experience here >

Tracycakes
101 – 2636 Montrose Avenue | Abbotsford | 604-852-1433
15015 Marine Drive | White Rock | 604-541-4668

The Urban Tea Merchant
G3 – 825 Main Street | West Vancouver | 604-926-3392
1070 W. Georgia Street | Downtown | (604) 692-0071
MY FAVE! Read about our afternoon tea experiences here >

White Heather Tea Room (Victoria) | $18-55
1885 Oak Bay Avenue | Victoria
250-595-8020

I’d like to turn this post into a compendium of Vancouver high tea, but I know that the list is nowhere near comprehensive. Please help me add to this selection so that I may evaluate these offerings for you, as the compulsion to sip tea and nibble dainties hits me again and again. Feel free to raise a hand to join me on these adventures, too.

Filipino Restaurant Series: Cucina Manila

Cucina Manila: storefront

The third establishment on my Filipino dining wishlist was Cucina Manila, a turo-turo restaurant by Joyce Station.  It was highly praised by a colleague and a salsa dancing acquaintance, both of whom make their respective commutes from New Westminster and the West End to partake in its culinary offerings.

Inside Cucina Manila

It was hyped to be much better than Sandy’s Cuisine, the restaurant that has recently trumped Josephine’s Restaurant as my Filipino restaurant of choice.  Last weekend, my husband and I made the trip over to Cucina Manila to see just what was so extraordinary about this place.

Let’s start with the menudo, the pork stew that was once my favourite at Josephine’s and whose degradation I have been lamenting ever since.

Cucina Manila: menudo

While the quality was indeed better than the recipe currently being dished out at Josephine’s, it still doesn’t compare to my mom’s recipe, nor the one that I’ve secretly loved more than my mother’s by former Josephine’s chef, Mang Rene.

Cucina Manila: monggo

The other dishes we ordered were decent at best.  Both of us were let down that we had travelled all this way for food that we could have made better at home.  We also weren’t thrilled that there was no posted menu to speak of.  It quite intimidated my husband, who felt very conscious of his lack of Filipino vocabulary and his unfamilarity with the dishes that were on display.

Cucina Manila: turon

Hoping that our dining experience was just an off day, I took home an order of daing and kutsina to try out over the next few days.

Cucina Manila: daing

Daing is butterflied milkfish that’s been marinated in vinegar and garlic and fried till crispy.  It’s one of my favourite Filipino breakfast dishes, but cooking something this pungent at home would induce the wrath of all of our neighbours (not to mention my husband).  The daing from Cucina Manila did a good job of satisfying my breakfast craving, and was probably the best tasting item out of the ones we had sampled.

Cucina Manila: kutsinta

The kutsinta was passable.  It was by no means as good as the stuff my aunts have served us at the monthly Filipino potlucks we attend, but it was better than anything I could have made myself.

Would we come back and see if we’d like other dishes at Cucina Manila?  Probably not.  Perhaps I’m so used to how my family makes certain dishes that the style of cooking at Cucina Manila is simply not to my taste.  Perhaps my husband’s discomfort at feeling out of place and unwelcome as a non-Filipino was an impression I’ll have a hard time overcoming.  At any rate, Josephine’s and Sandy’s are much closer to our downtown abode and will likely continue to be our go-to places until I complete my tour of the other Filipino restaurants in the Lower Mainland.

Want to convince me otherwise?  Leave me a comment and let’s see if I can be persuaded to try Cucina Manila once more.

Cucina Manila
5179 Joyce Street | Vancouver
(604) 435-4508

Cucina Manila on Urbanspoon

Other blog reviews of Cucina Manila:

Filipino Restaurant Series to date:

    [imgset:72157607020469536,square,true]

    Crepe heaven is found at La Bretagne Creperie

    This is Blogathon post #34 of 48 in support of the David Suzuki Foundation

    La Bretagne Creperie is place I go to satisfy my frequent cravings for crepes and galettes.

    La Bretagne Creperie: peche melba?

    It’s leagues better than the other franchises that are spattered across downtown Vancouver. Enjoy your meal while sipping on apple cider and listening to Isabelle sing French ditties while she cooks.

    La Bretagne Creperie
    795 Jervis Street | Downtown Vancouver
    (604) 688-5989

    La Bretagne Creperie on Urbanspoon

    [imgset:72157606388138865,square,true]

    Blueberries in season: celebrate with this blueberry-banana bread

    This is Blogathon post #21 of 48 in support of the David Suzuki Foundation

    Tis the season for blueberries! Your grocer should be brimming with bulk packages of bluey goodness by now. Ours was, so we used half of our container to make our favourite summer baked good: blueberry-banana bread, care of our trusty Betty Crocker cookbook.

    Blueberry-banana bread

    The one thing I’ve changed is the timing of the preheat. Most modern day appliances get to the set temperature in under 10 minutes. If that describes your appliance, follow the directions below. If you have an older oven that takes longer to heat up, preheat the oven as you grease the pans.

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/4 cups sugar
    • 1/2 cup butter, softened
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 1/2 cups mashed *very* ripe banana (3 medium ones should do it)
    • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries

    Directions

    1. Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in the centre of the oven. Grease bottoms only of 2 8″ loaf pans or 1 9″ loaf pan.
    2. Mix sugar and butter in a large bowl. [You can use your stand mixer from this point on, which is what we do.]
    3. Stir in eggs until well blended.
    4. Stir in banana, buttermilk, and vanilla and beat until smooth.
    5. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until just moistened.
    6. Stir in blueberries.
    7. Preheat oven to 350 F. Divide batter evenly between pans.
    8. Bake 8″ loaves for 1 hour or a 9″ loaf for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack.
    9. Loosen sides of loaves; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. [We usually can’t wait that long and start eating it as soon as it stops burning our tongues!]
    10. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature for up to 4 days or refrigerate up to 10 days.

    Filipino Restaurant Series: Josephine’s

    Filipino food mosaic

    Filipino cuisine is the ultimate in comfort food. I may be a little biased, having been born in Manila and then raised by a mother who is an amazing cook…but I have many non-Filipino friends that can attest to the yumminess of Filipino home cooking (my husband included). You just have to be very open to pork in all its glorious forms.

    The problem with my love of Filipino food is that I don’t know how to cook all the dishes that I enjoy. Living downtown and preferring not to drive also compounds the sourcing of unusual ingredients like kangkong and sampalok. Cue Josephine’s Restaurant, which for years and years has been my #1 place to patronize when my Pinoy cravings needed to be assuaged.

    filipino champagne lunch

    Photo by Curtis Carlson Photography. Lunch before my wedding “catered” by Josephine’s.

    Lately, I’ve been harbouring traitorous feelings about Josephine’s. It is owned by family friends and former chef Mang Rene, of the original Broadway restaurant gem that was Mang Rene’s, was well loved by our family. With these ties, it is with extreme disappointment that I report the dreadful decline in the quality of the dishes that Josephine’s has been putting out.

    The saddest change is in their menudo. Their menudo used to be so tantalizing that my husband and I never felt the need to make it at home. We’d simply order it to go from Josephine’s and enjoy the aroma of stewed tomatoes and pork throughout the car ride home. One could even venture to say that it was better than my mother’s (shhh). These days, the menudo is bland, watery, not as vibrant in colour. Key ingredients have changed. There used to be lots of raisin, tomato, potato, and sausage (okay, hot dog…). Now it’s more or less a monotonous sea of pork.

    Bad menudo: the catalyst for change. I’m leaving the warm, once-delicious embrace of Josephine’s to flirt shamelessly with the other Filipino restaurants in the city. I’ll be sure to keep you all informed of my quest to find an authentic Filipino eatery to commit to. If I find one that’s really a keeper, we may go ring shopping and begin choosing baby names.

    What do you think of Josephine’s?

    If you have been to Josephine’s lately and care to disagree, please please comment! I want to know what is still good. Is the palabok still worthy? Has anything else suffered the same fate as my dear menudo? Give me the scoop!

    Josephine’s Filipino Restaurant
    2650 Main St | Vancouver
    (604) 876-8785

    Josephine's on Urbanspoon

    Filipino Restaurant Series to date:

      Making artisan sausages with Slow Food Lions Gate

      Update: Read what Slow Food Lions Gate co-founder Brenda Farrell had to say about this workshop on the Slow Food Lions Gate blog.

      Group shot 1

      My first encounter with the local Slow Food scene came in the form of a fun sausage-making workshop care of Slow Food Lions Gate. Sebastian and Jessica of West Vancouver’s Sebastian & Co took us through a demo of how to make their Sicilian beef sausage before we broke up into groups to make our own.

      Sebastian's sicilian beef sausage

      We were given 6 recipes to choose from but were encouraged to branch out from that. A couple of groups did experiment, making bratwurst as well as a pork/beef blend with fennel seed and cumin. My group attempted Sebastian’s chorizo recipe which calls for four different hits of heat.

      Ingredients

      • 5 lbs pork, 40% hand-chopped
      • 1/2 cup white vinegar
      • 2 tablespoons paprika
      • 1 tablespoon chili flakes
      • 3/4 cup chipotle in adobe sauce, pureed
      • 2.5 tablespoons minced garlic
      • 1 tablespoon crushed black pepper
      • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
      • 1 tablespoon cayenne

      Directions (with visuals)

      1. Choose a casing for your sausage. Sheep casings are the smallest and most delicate at 2/3" – 1" in diameter, and are usually used for breakfast sausage. Hog casings are the more commonly seen size at 1.25" – 1.75". Beef casings can be as large as 4.25" in diameter. They are typically used for salamis or garlic sausage. Another option is synthetic casing, made from reconstituted collagen. These come in uniform packs and are made in a range of sizes.
      2. Sausage casings packed in salt

      3. Untangle your chosen casing from the bundle it came from (it is usually hard-packed in salt). Rinse the salt thoroughly from the outer shell. Fill the inside of the casing with water like a hose and squeeze it through to rid the salt from its interior. Let soak in a bowl of cold water while you prepare the sausage filling.
      4. Washing the casing

      5. Grind the meat as specified. Chorizos are generally hand-chopped and/or coarsely ground. Breakfast sausages are made with finely ground pork.
      6. Inside the meat grinder

      7. Assemble the wet and dry ingredients that make up your marinade. Massage this into the ground meat until thoroughly blended.
      8. Chorizo marinade

      9. Cook a sample patty of your sausage filling for a taste test. Correct the seasoning as needed; it’ll be much more difficult to change the flavour profile after the sausages have been stuffed!
      10. Sample sicilian beef patty

      11. Stuff the filling into the casing using whatever equipment you have available. At home, that could be a pastry bag, a sausage attachment on your stand mixer, or even with your hands. Key points: tie a knot at the tail end of the casing; keep natural (animal) casings wet throughout the entire stuffing process; leave a bit of slack (do not overstuff) or the casing may rupture. Twist off and/or tie a knot at the other end of the casing when you are done.
      12. Sausage in the making

      13. Twirl the first segment of sausage 4-5 times away from you to create the first link. For the next segment, twirl a similar length of sausage 4-5 times towards you to create the second link. Repeat, alternating the direction that you twirl each link.
      14. Our finished chorizo

      15. You generally want to hang your linked sausage for at least a day before separating into individual links. Separating them too soon may cause the casing to break apart.

      After all of that, you should get beautiful chorizo much like this:

      Our hand-made chorizo

      Since each group tried a different recipe, we all took home samples of each other’s creations. I arrived chez nous with a package containing our chorizo, Sebastian’s demoed Sicilian beef, lamb sausage with rosemary, bratwurst, the pork and beef blend with cumin and fennel seed, and a mild Italian chicken sausage.

      At home with our new artisan sausage collection

      That night we ate simply: a trio of fried sausage on a creamy bed of polenta.

      Artisan sausage trio with polenta

      For the next sausage dish, I took the Sicilian beef out of its casing and rolled it into mini-meatballs, tossing it with stellene, julienned asparagus, smoked hot paprika, olive oil, and roasted garlic. Fan-freaking-tastic.

      Stelline aglio e olio with sicilian beef sausage and asparagus

      This workshop was educational and fun, costing only $16 for a week’s worth of dinner. What more can you ask for? It also re-ignited my love affair with chorizo. However, I will no longer be satisfied with the bland mass-produced chorizo at our downstairs grocer. I’ll have to make a trip out to Sebastian’s shop in Dundarave soon and get us another fix!

      [imgset:72157604649098866,square,true]

      Tinolang Manok: ginger chicken stew with spinach and papaya

      I’m back home from my trip to Atlanta, trying to eliminate the massive sleep debt I’d accumulated over the past two weeks! There are also hundreds of photos to sift through and quite a few pages of restaurant observations to decipher from my little notebook. While I get that sorted out, here’s a recipe handed down from my mother’s side that should assuage Bruce’s craving for something soupy.

      Chicken tinola

      Tinolang Manok (Chicken Tinola)

      The Filipino idea of soup is a little different from Western notions. Nearly everything, including our soups and stews, are eaten on a bed of steamed rice. We throw ingredients into a giant pot, let it simmer for a good long while in its liquid, and then attempt to eat the stewy or brothy mess on a flat plate using only a fork and spoon. Don’t bother asking for a knife—the meat should already be falling off the bone, as intended.

      This recipe is one of the quicker ones: under an hour from prep to finish, serving 4 comfortably or a couple with baon (leftovers) for the next day. If green / unripe papaya is difficult to find, a couple of chayotes works fine. We have also tried it with ripe papaya in the summer months. Doing so does change the flavour profile quite a bit, but you may enjoy the colour contrast and additional sweetness that ripe fruit will lend to the broth.

      Chicken tinola: ingredients

      Ingredients:

      • 8 – 12 chicken drumsticks
      • 1 medium onion, chopped
      • 1 2-inch-long piece of ginger, sliced wide and thin
      • 1 bunch or bag of spinach
      • 1 green papaya, chopped into 1-inch pieces
      • 1 litre chicken broth
      • 1 tablespoon patis (fish sauce)

      Directions:

      1. Sweat the ginger and onion over medium-low heat until the onion goes translucent. Raise heat to high. Add chicken and saute until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
      2. Add patis and chicken broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat down; cover and simmer until chicken is fork-tender, about 20 – 30 minutes.
      3. Add papaya and simmer another 10 minutes or until soft.
      4. Taste the broth. Is it seasoned enough? If not, add more patis to taste.
      5. Turn off heat. Stir in spinach, covering until ready to serve over steamed white rice.

      To be extra Filipino, make individual dips of patis and Tabasco for each place setting, spooning a little bit of the dip on your spoonful before it enters your mouth.