Tuesday 29 August 2017

Edible Obsessions | Rosé All Day Brunch at The Market Jean-Georges

Rosé Popsicle Cocktail | Rosé All Day Brunch Series

I practically fell out of my seat yesterday morning on the Skytrain when I received an email from the head of public relation team at the Shangri-La Vancouver. Apparently my recent Instagram posts of their infamous Rosé Popsicle caught her attention and before I knew it, I was sitting across from Market Jean-Georges Executive Chef, Ken Nakano!

The Rosé All Day Brunch Series at the Market Jean-Georges has been the place to be on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Instagram feeds have become inundated with Rosé Popsicle Cocktails, a house-made fruit popsicle over which Ruffino Sparkling Rosé is poured and finished with fresh raspberries. I enjoyed the iciness of the popsicle and it tasted amazing with the bubbles from the sparkling rosé. The Popsicle is one of six Rosé cocktails on the brunch menu and also feature Kim Crawford Rosé and a more affordable wine, the Jackson Triggs Reserve Rosé. I am a big fresh berry girl, so it was tough to not order one of the others, but I had come specifically for the popsicle. 

August 2017 also happens to mark Chef Ken's second year with the Shangri-La; however, he has been immersed in the hotel food scene for nearly 20 years which includes his time at the Fairmont Vancouver and more recently the Rosewood. Unlike the regular dinner and lunch menus which are solely signature recipes chef Jean-Georges, the brunch menu is Chef Ken's creation. I could listen to the Chef speak about food all day and it was touching to hear him speak so lovingly about his mother's cooking and being raised in a Japanese home helped foster his love of food. 

"Tradition is passed through food. Food is day to day, it is rooted-deep in our lives" 

There are lots of exciting new dishes planned for the fall at Market, but it also means the Rosé All Day Brunch series will be coming to an end soon. I only just tried this marvellous brunch and I wish I went sooner. As an influencer, I sometimes try to avoid overtly-hyped trends as I want to do something different. I am so glad I took my friend up on this girl date because the hype is well deserved by the Shangri-La. 

We were seated outside on Shangri-La's stunning third floor patio for the Rose brunch menu which is exclusively served Saturday and Sunday from 11:30am to 3pm. This might be the first and only time you will be at a restaurant where your reservation is primarily made for a patio - that is also quite roomy -  and not a first come first serve basis; however, it is also served indoors if you prefer it. Brunch started with mini cinnamon buns that were not only adorable, but perfect in flavour and texture. I knew I was going to spoil myself with food, so I got two entrees, the Bircher Muesli and the Three-Egg Omelette. 

The egg was fluffy and enveloped mushrooms, wilted spinach, grilled red peppers and farmhouse cheddar. There were also a generous number of bacon strips in the omelette, but I am not a big pork eater so my friend happily ate them for me. The omelette also came with a side of crispy golden potatoes. When it comes to eggs, I can only eat them with ketchup, so I politely requested some from our server. What I was not expecting were the adorable little glass Heinz ketchup bottles! I honestly died from seeing how tiny they were and I shamelessly asked if I can take them home with me. 

The Bircher Muesli may seem like a weird thing to order when going out for brunch at one of Vancovuer's luxury hotel restaurants, but I actually enjoyed it more than the omelette. When oatmeal and mueslis are done right, they can taste amazing and Chef Ken definitely knows how to make a sensational bowl of muesli. It was decadent and full of lovely flavours like tart apple, coconut shreddings and fresh berries. Chef Ken has promised me that he is going to teach me how to make his Muesli and I am most definitely going to be taking him up on his offer. 

Chef Ken's personal favourites are the Smoked Cauliflower "Croque Madame" and the French Toast. A slice of smoked cauliflower is paired with gruyere cheese and a perfect sunny up egg between perfectly toasted sourdough bread. Chef's second favourite is also vegetarian friendly and loved by everyone no matter the age. The french toast is thick-cut pieces of brioche bread, caramelized bananas and finished with a rich chocolate sauce. 

"The french toast is decadent, but basically a dessert for an entree" 

I appreciate Chef Ken including so many vegetarian dishes on the Rosé All Day Brunch menu since I find far too many menus are saturated with meats and seafoods. My own parents are vegetarian and it can be tricky to find a restaurant where their only option is a salad. 

My friend had the Braised Shortrib Hash with two poached eggs, sautéed peppers and lemon chilli asparagus. We both liked the heat from the chilli's as it was bold and really enhanced the flavour of the braised shortrib. After three entrees, I felt like my stomach was going to burst, but I could not leave without a sweet bite. To prepare myself for one more dish, I did a little jog up and down the bridge between the restaurant and the stairs. 

Unlike the rest of our brunch, the Market Cheesecake just did not do it for us. The rhubarb sorbet was far too sweet and I was not too fond of the cheesecake's texture. I did express to Chef Ken that I was not too keen on the Market Cheesecake's flavour and he appreciated my honest feedback. Next time I will be ordering the Lime Bar that comes with spiced caramel and vanilla scented carrots - cannot wait!

Going into Fall/Winter, you may start to feel a presence of Chef Ken's mother and his Japanese heritage on the menu. As Vancouver restaurants continues to decrease their carbon-footprints by sourcing ingredients more locally, you can expect to see more vegetables, especially root vegetables. Chef Ken excitedly revealed his plan to ferment the fresh vegetables using miso and tsukemono techniques. Processes like fermenting or curing or salting for him not only preserve the food, but also helps the food develop a more robust flavour. The insurgence of traditional food preservation methods in Vancouver echoes Chef Ken's own fond sentiments of having his mother pass on Japanese traditions to him. 

Vancouver has been enamoured with the Shangri-La's Rosé All Day Brunch and it is most definitely the highlight of summer 2017. The Rosé Popsicle is sensational both in taste and appearance. Chef Ken's vision was brought to life by the entire team at the Shangri-La Vancouver as it takes a team of talented individuals to create a spectacular dining experience. I seriously urge everyone to make a reservation for Rosé All Day because the final seating of Summer 2017's ultimate brunch will be on September 17!


EDIT: The last date for the Rosé All Day Brunch has been extended to Sunday September 17th, 2017

The Popsicle was delicious! Icy and the perfect amount of sweetness from the berries.
That final pour on the Rosé Popsicle | Rosé All Day Brunch Series

Complimentary mini cinnamon rolls | Rosé All Day Brunch Series

Brunch is served | Rosé All Day Brunch Series

Three Egg Omelette with crispy potatoes | Rosé All Day Brunch Series
Adorable mini Heinz Ketchup Bottles | Rosé All Day Brunch Series

Bircher Muesli, the best one I have tasted to date | Rosé All Day Brunch Series
Braised Short-Rib Hash with Two Poached Eggs | Rosé All Day Brunch Series

Market Cheesecake with Rhubarb Sorbet and Strawberry Sauce | Rosé All Day Brunch Series

Monday 14 August 2017

Local Love | VSO Harry Potter in Concert

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban in Concert!!!

A couple of weeks ago, I go to listen to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO) Harry Potter series. This summer, the VSO did the third book in the series, The Prisoner of Azkaban, which happens to also be my favourite book and movie! I am so happy I was able to get tickets for Prisoner of Azkaban as I did miss book one and book two...super lame. 

Hi Hedwig!
I have gone and watched the VSO play numerous times in the past, so I was expecting something similar for Harry Potter. It was nothing like I imagined, completely different! The VSO played the score for the movie from beginning to end. The movie was projected onto a huge screen above the VSO, and the orchestra played the score live. The scenes from the movie felt so much more intense. We were sitting a few rows from the stage to the right, so by the double bases and cellos; therefore, we could feel the deep base reverberate through the floor. Honestly, it is so hard to describe the experience, you just had to be there to understand. 
This was my favourite book cover for the Prisoner of Azkaban
It is a bit of a shame that the audience was more focused on the movie being played and not so much on the orchestra playing, but the orchestra did receive a standing ovation at the end of the show. I really loved how this VSO series was designed. My friend and I were seriously confused when the movie began to play, but then we finally understood what was happening. Needless to say, it was a great surprise! Since this was a VSO production, there was an intermission which was nice as the seats in the Orpheum Theater are not the most comfiest as the facility is very old. I definitely needed those 15 minutes to just get up and walk around to loosen up. 

Prior to the show, we ventured upstairs where they had an exhibition set-up of rare books from the University of British Columbia library. It was really neat to see a few of the props used in the movie, signed copies and the various edition covers as well as a first edition! So that was just a cool addition to the show. 

I wish they were selling Luna's glasses. They are tres chic! Also just to the right is a Tiffany & Co. lightning book mark.
My suggestion for future VSO Harry Potter productions would be to come a little early so you can look at the exhibition of rare books. It is also a good time to pre-order drinks and food for the intermission. I most defintily will be pre-ordering at the next show because after enduring the huge line for the concession during intermission, we found out they had sold out of the popcorn. However, as the Orpheum is in the heart of downtown, we decided to head a few doors down to a pizzeria that sold by the slice. The show is later in the evening, so the pizza helped settle our growling stomachs. I also recommend trying to get tickets for the upper balcony and if you end up booking very late like me, then choose right stage as it was really good. Lastly, bring some cash because they had a little stand selling Harry Potter merchandise! I wish I had known because I totally would have gotten a wand ($50!), but I did have enough for the cute T-shirt. 

I cannot wait to join my fellow potterheads at next years' Goblet of Fire! Hope to see some of you there.


Thursday 10 August 2017

Local Love | SeaWheeze 2017 Exclusive Runner's Shop Line

One more day until I run the 2017 Lululemon SeaWheeze 1/2 Marathon!
Two days from now, I am going to be running my first ever 1/2 marathon, the Lululemon SeaWheeze 2017! I am very excited because SeaWheeze is known to be a very fun high energy marathon and I have only heard amazing things about the event as a whole. Now in its 6th year, the SeaWheeze has become a must attend for runners both across Canada and the USA! That is HUGE! 

As this is my first year, I really did not know very much about the events that precede and follow the actual 1/2 marathon. The day prior to the race, Lululemon sets up a Runner's Exclusive Shop at the Vancouver Convention Centre that opens at 7am for the registered racers and opens to the general public at 11am. The exclusive SeaWheeze gear is so highly coveted that runners have actually lined up 2 days in advance! Marathon runners are one of the most disciplined and self-motivated athletes that I have ever met, so I am not shocked that they are just as serious when it comes to shopping for their run gear. 

Lounging on Air Inflatable Bag Chairs as they patiently wait for Exclusive Runner's Shop
Today after work, I headed down to the Vancouver Convention Centre to check out the set-up and chat with some of the campers. For many, this will be their second night out on the pavement waiting in line for the Exclusive Runner's Shop. A lot of the runner's are from out of town. I met individuals from Texas, Alaska, Calgary, Mississippi and Toronto. Just really shows how big the SeaWheeze has grown to be. Aside from one heavily inebriated women, everyone was taking it easy and just chatting with their neighbours in line. A huge number people in line were lounging on "Air Inflatable Bag Chairs" which looked extremely comfortable and I really want one now. At the very front of the line was Andrea and Jodi and their group of friends who have been waiting in line since Wednesday August 9th at 9AM! Now that is commitment! And since then, many more have joined these ladies in anticipation of being one of the first to shop the 2017 SeaWheeze Collection. 

Andrea and Jodi | Number one in line for the SeaWheeze 2017 Exclusive Runner's Shop

"It's like tailgating without the booze, but with like-minded amazing people" 

In the Jack Pool Plaza, volunteers were busy preparing for the pre-marathon events taking place all day tomorrow, Friday August 11th. There is a huge pegged wall that will turn into a large public art piece under the main tent. Along the sea wall is this year's "YOGA. RUN. PARTY" sign. I am not too keen on the pattern/colour that the sign has been done in. The Yoga is a brown wood, the Run is green grass and the Party I think is amber coloured beer??? I think last year's all white signs were far more chic and fit the Lululemon brand better as well as made for better pictures. 

Suki's genius way to ensure no one lost their place in line
The Suki's team were doing complimentary french braids for all the runner's waiting in line. I thought it was very sweet of them to do so as I find with the summer heat and humidity, I just want my fair out of my face and off my neck, so I am certain the women in line really appreciated this service. Since no one wants to lose their spot in line - especially after waiting HOURS - Suki's had a genius solution of using giant signs to mark the person's spot in line while they had their hair done. Honestly though - GENIUS! 

Flow Water Alkaline Water | SeaWheeze 2017
Lululemon has also invited Suki's back for tomorrow, so keep an eye out for their stylists if you are wanting your hair braided! This was my first time having my hair braided professionally and I could not believe how fast and how neatly she was able to braid my short hair. What I would not give to have my hair done professionally styled each and every day. 

Flow Water Display for Lululemon SeaWheeze 2017
Lastly, I got the pleasure of witnessing Flow Water's creative team construct their amazing display for the SeaWheeze. I am in love with their colour palette, the shades of teal and blue that is broken up with soft greys. I found the use of the umbrellas to be quite funny because Vancouverites know that 60% of the year, we live in RAINcouver. I cannot wait to take a million shameless pictures with them tomorrow in the hopes of getting the perfect Instagram picture. 

I will be heading down to the convention centre around 7:30am tomorrow to pick up my runner's package. Please do give me a wave if you see me there as I would love to meet you! I wish I could go to the Exclusive Shop, but I have to head to work. 


Wednesday 9 August 2017

Edible Obsessions | Cannoli Sundae at Beta 5

Beta 5 Ice Cream Social | Cannoli Sundae
When it comes to Italian pastries, cannolis are my absolute favourite! Whenever I go to an outdoor market or festival, I always keep an eye out for cannoli king's food truck because I just cannot get enough of them. I tend to order the pistachio cannoli most because in my opinion, I think it is the best one. 

Beta 5 Chocolates decided to take my favourite italian pastry and re-imagined it as an ice cream sundae. A mini cannoli filled with a lovely orange scented ricotta cream sat atop a scoop of pistachio ice cream and ricotta stracciatella ice cream. The sundae was also garnished with candied orange and pistachio pieces, vanilla chantilly and expertly crafted long dark chocolate ribbons. I swear it was a total coincidence that they did a pistachio ice cream for the cannoli sundae, but it was a delicious coincidence that I loved! 

Beta 5 has always done fantastic stracciatellas. A good stracciatella for me is a creamy ice cream that is not too strong in flavour and full of chocolate shards. The chocolate pieces need to be thin and large enough that when you bite done, you get a crunchy texture followed by a rich dark chocolate taste. The pistachio ice cream was phenomenal, full of great flavour and very creamy. 

My favourite part had to be the adorable mini cannoli that was filled with an orange scented ricotta cream. The orange flavour was too subtle for me and could have been stronger. I also loved the long chocolate curls. Just like in the stracciatella, the chocolate curls are satisfyingly crisp and then melt into a creamy dark chocolate. 

A valiant effort in making a cannoli, but I think Cannoli King still makes the best ones in the lower mainland. The pastry cream filling needs a little improvement.


Friday 4 August 2017

Latte Moment | La Glace Grand-Opening

La Glace | One scoop of Ganache topped with Meringue Kiss, Macaron shell & Marshmallow

This new Parisienne ice cream parlour, La Glace, holds a special place in my heart as I met owner and ice cream master, Mark, around the time I started Pink Tea Latte. In fact, we were both just beginning our new ventures, so when I heard Mark's ice cream cart was now a storefront, I had to go congratulate him in person!

Mark and ice cream are like me and green tea lattes, it is an integral part of his life and has been since he was a young boy. Thinking he needed to lead a more "serious" profession, Mark began working at a bank, but frankly his heart remained elsewhere. He actually sold homemade ice cream during the holidays to his co-workers at the bank and they all agreed that he did not belong in an office.So in 2015, Mark said goodbye to the mundane nine to five work life and decided to pursue his culinary dreams. The little La Glace ice cream cart could often be spotted at Holt Renfrew, William-Sonoma and private parties.

La Glace | Rainbow of house-made marshmallows

Sitting on the corner of West 16th and McDonald, this boutique ice cream parlour, La Glace, is a refreshing new addition to the saturated ice cream market in Vancouver. The moment I stepped foot inside, I was transported to a world of chic Parisienne patisseries. Beautiful white carrera marble glistened from behind the showcase which was offset by muted gold fixtures and accents. From the chrome carapina lids to the teal blue upholstery, every little detail was selected by Mark and his team.

Just like the style of his shop, Mark is the first to introduce Parisienne style ice cream to Vancouverites. Only the best ingredients are used in the making of La Glace ice creams like local organic Avalon milk and cream, fresh BC berries, freshly cracked eggs and real vanilla bean pods.

French style ice cream is made with a base with a base with more heavy cream than milk and thickened using egg yolks. The result, a luscious and velvety textured ice cream.

Since so many egg yolks are used in the making of La Glace ice creams, I was curious to know what happens with the whites? The beautiful coloured meringue kisses, marshmallows, rocher and macarons that are available as toppings are made using the left over whites. I sincerely appreciate the effort La Glace has made to use ingredients to their fullest; therefore, reducing waste and being that much more sustainable. It also means La Glace has the most bougie ice cream toppings ever and did I mention, one topping is included in the price of your ice cream - YAY!

Owner Mark Tagulao | Image provided by La Glace

The french ice creams are all churned in house and the flavours will be rotating on a weekly basis. Favourites like the Creme De La Creme, Ganache and Chocolat A La Menthe will be always available, but other flavours like the Citron, Bananes Foster and Muscadine will come and go. Also on the menu are vegan french ice creams, but how Mark attains the silky soft texture without a traditional egg creme anglaise remains a secret.

I love how Mark has taken inspiration from his Filipino family to create the Vegan Coco Pandan ice cream which is a decadent pandan infused coconut cream - tasted phenomenal! The Creme de Le Creme may just be my new favourite vanilla ice cream as it was this silky custard like pudding in ice cream form. A close second from the flavours I tasted was the Honey Laurier, an unexpected combination of almonds, burnt honey and bay leaf. I loved the crunchy texture from the unpeeled coarsely chopped almonds as well as the  subtle sweetness of the bay leaf and burnt honey. If you are a big peanut butter person, I highly suggest the Vegan Chocohuete. It is a little denser in texture, thus taking a little longer to melt, but the rich peanut butter was balanced by the addition of chocolate flecks.

La Glace | One scoop of Ganache topped with Meringue Kiss, Macaron shell & Marshmallow

The kitchen is my playground. I am constantly thinking of new recipes and flavours. 

My favourite part of the new La Glace brick and mortar store (aside from the decadent ice creams) was the stunning hand painted mural on the west wall. Four beautiful peacocks perch on a branch amidst swirls of gold filigree, white flowers and tiny song birds. I really cannot express how badly I want that exact mural to be painted in my room. A mix of art-deco and art-nouveau, the mural brings an elegance to the already stunning La Glace. Mark was kind enough to share with me why peacocks play such a big role in his branding. His late aunt had a big hand written recipe book from which his mum cooked from, which eventually fostered a love of baking and cooking in Mark. Alongside the cookbook, his late aunt's beautiful pair of peacock statuettes were passed down to Mark which he cherished. The amazing team at Arithmetic Creative worked closely with Mark in developing the branding for La Glace and executed the mural flawlessly.

La Glace | Stunning hand-painted and designed mural 

La Glace is now open and scooping delicious French ice cream for everyone to enjoy during this crazy Vancouver heatwave. In the coming weeks, expect to see takeaway ice cream pints, Macaron/Cookie sandwiches and profiteroles.


Thursday 3 August 2017

Gurly's LIfe | Wonder Woman and Beta 5 Win

I attend every single Beta 5 Ice Cream Social that I can as the flavours are always so creative and they are often only available for that one day only. As I love photography, I will submit my pictures for their weekly ice cream social contest.

Sometimes a picture turns out so well, you expect it to be a winner and that is how I felt about the picture I took of the Blueberry Sour Cream Sundae. The past images I submitted were good, but this picture was great and if I had not won, I expect the winning picture to have been mind blowing otherwise, Beta 5 was going to receive a strongly worded email from me. Fortunately my pudgey ice cream spoiled gut feeling came true. 

I was embracing my inner geek life by rocking my Wonder Woman comic book inspired retro graphic t-shirt which I got not too long ago from Hot Topic (you can still find it here!). I love the red trim detailing on the sleeves and the neckline as it makes the shirt feel a little more special than just a white graphic tee. The lighting was perfect, and my camera was cooperating. 

The best part, the picture turned out more epic than I could have imagined! I am totally going to be rocking my Wonder Women shirt more this summer. Also, if you have not seen Gal Gadot's Wonder Women, I urge you to do so as the moving was genuinely good. The acting was on point and the story was well executed. I really loved how well Gal portrayed Princess Diana's (aka Wonder Women) naivety when it came to the "real" world. As well, Wonder Woman is one badass character who is totally slaying the superhero movie genre while simultaneously empowering females.

You can keep up with my crazy daily adventures on instagram: @pinktealatte . I also love when you guys take the time to comment, so leave me a comment below or on my instagram. 


Wednesday 2 August 2017

Chic Finds | Carol Priest Skin Care + Giveaway

Carol Priest Skincare | Damask Rose Toner
I am a very particular individual when it comes to my skincare regime and I often approach new products with a huge amount of skepticism. Perhaps it stems from me having annoying acne flare-ups throughout my teenage years which continues to linger in adulthood. Though I no longer have big angry breakouts, I will have a couple of small ones on my cheeks and along my jaw line.

I decided to step away from my normal skincare routine and take-up Carol Priest Skin Care's offer on sending me some products for review. Prior to me accepting, I did a little research into the brand as it was completely new to me. They are a family run business in New Zealand and believe in small batch preperation of each product using as many natural botanical ingredients as possible. They are still relatively new to the Canadian market, so do keep your eye out for their skin care line. 

Blue Chamomile Facial Wash Cream ($46 / 3.5 oz) This was my first time using a cream cleanser, so it was a bit of an adjustment for me. To use, spread a dollop of the Blue Chamomile Facial Wash Cream, splash your hands with water and work the cream into a lather on your face. It is recommended to remove the cleanser with a damp cloth, but I splash my face with water before drying it with a dry face towel. 

Carol Priest Skincare | texture of the Blue Chamomile Facial Wash Cream
I have always used high foaming cleansers, so it was very weird using something that does not foam or get sudsy. There are other cream cleansers on the market, but I just never used them, so I reached out to the company to get some more information on why this cream formula. Carol Priest products are non-irritating and suitable for those with sensitive skin. Only cream cleansers are offered as they are devoid of irritable surfactants, the compounds that create the foaming effect. At first it was off-putting because my face did not feel squeaky clean to me. After a month of use, I have become more accustomed to the cream cleanser. 

Lettuce & Jojoba Moisture Lotion ($61 / 100mL) I am all about moisturizing! I literally drench my body in creams every night and always have several different lotions, creams and body butters on my dresser because I refuse to have dry skin. In a fascial moisturizer, I always look for something that is light weight, absorbs into my skin quick; therefore, not leaving my face greasy or sticky. The Lettuce & Jojoba Moisture Lotion met all my criteria. I also found I only needed 3/4 of a pump as it was a very thin consistency.

Carol Priest Skincare | Lettuce & Jojoba Moisture Lotion
Damask Rose Toner ($43 / 100mL) I like how the Damask Roser Toner is packaged with a spray pump as it makes it very easy and quick to use. I honestly avoided toners because I am just far too lazy to add in an extra step of using a cotton pad 5:30 in the morning (yup, that early because I start work at 6:30 am three times a week!). The toner has a very lovely delicate rose scent and in this heat, the spraying the toner on my face was very refreshing. It is a good toner, does not irritate, and most importantly, did not dry my skin out. 

It is really exciting to see Carol Priest joining the natural skin care market in Canada. If you are wanting to try their products, feel free to use the code PNKTL for 15% off your order (expires August 21, 2017). 

More importantly, I am doing a GIVEAWAY! Carol Priest sent me a whole package of goodies to give away to one of my readers. You will receive: 
• Damask Rose Toner (25ML)
• Marshmallow Root Moisture Cream (great for combination skin types) (15g)
• Damask Rose Hand & Body Moisture Cream (15g) 
• lots and lots of samples of their other products

To enter, head over to my instagram @pinktealatte and find the post with the Carol Priest products. To qualify for the giveaway, you need to comment what product you are most excited to try and why. The contest will close August 13, 2017 at 12 PM PST. 


Products received as PR samples for review consideration; all opinions are my own.