The time has come to review the various things that took place this month but had been too busy to write individual posts for.
1. Jule (College St. and Carlton St.)
Ever since I've been frequenting the downtown area, I've made it a personal, unspoken mission to visit all the bubble tea places possible. Jule, a name homophonic with a gem or other glittery item commonly deemed precious, seemed to be a unique choice for this cafe. Mind you, it was not easy to find the storefront given that a large temporary protective structure that had been set up around the building for construction purposes had blocked it completely out of street view.
I've heard lots of good things about Jule from social media, both on Yelp and on Instagram. And thankfully, Jule's interior was just as sophisticated and roomy as the images uploaded.
I had arrived not too long after opening, thus the place was essentially empty with the exception of one seemingly hard-working student on her laptop.
Apparently they use the same ingredients in their drinks as Bubble Republic (the popular, and might I add overpriced, Jule drinks are exempt as they utilize fresh milk/cream), so you're not missing out if you happen to be a local that's never had the chance to try the Mississauga-based tea shop. In contrast, their environment is much, much nicer; they also serve a variety of desserts such as mille crepe cakes, cheesecakes, and macarons for the more social crowd.
The name has likely appeared more than once in the news recently, and I'm not surprised. The UP Express is a speedy, comfortable new train that services two stops on GO Transit's Kitchener rail corridor before making its final stop at Pearson Airport's Terminal 1, and manages to consistently execute this route in 25 minutes as promised. While the station itself isn't the easiest to locate upon arriving at Union Station, it is definitely a welcoming sight to see: it's well-lit, has screens that show up-to-date flight departure information, CIBC ATMs and machines that allow certain types of foreign currency to be exchanged, an accessible bathroom on par with Fairmont Pacific Rim, as well as more than enough friendly assistants to provide aid when necessary.
The TTC is known for primarily one thing: being consistently unreliable. As a transit provider, there should be more staff looking into their faulty system to improve it, rather than poking at the UP Express's apparent "lack" of ridership during off-peak flight hours and insisting it be merged with their own repulsive system.
Similar to airport food, Balzac's is unmistakably on the pricey side, with a medium iced mocha ringing in at around five dollars. As with Second Cup, a small array of sweeteners and topping containers were placed at the end of the bar, though this would have to be the only similarity shared between the coffee joints. Quite frankly, the iced mocha tasted more like cocoa powder mixed with water and topped with ice and foam than a standard one. I suppose I'll just stick with trusty Starbucks next time.
I happened to stumble across these Canada-limited My Beauty Diary sheet mask sets at the T&T Supermarket at Langham Place (the same mall in which zenQ and Cha Me. Cha are located). Approximating at only $1 per mask, the deal was just too difficult to resist!
My second trip to Front St. Foods was not a solo one, and happened to take place during lunch hours - this was precisely when lineups were longest, but, luckily, the wait was accompanied by live music.
- A quinoa burger and ice cream sandwich lunch combo
- Presotea's most popular drink, Panda Milk Tea - complete with icky-tasting milk tea and horrendously soggy tapioca (Ugh.)
- A Super Mango Drink from Sugar Marmalade that required a whopping twenty minutes to obtain despite a near-empty restaurant
- A prototype of an upcoming recipe - Chocolate-Matcha Crepe Cake
- Royal Milk Tea w/ Coconut Jelly and Milk Foam Wintermelon from Gong Cha
- Redeeming a fresh fruit and froyo smoothie from Qoola
- Tenderous Rib Ramen from Ajisen
- A complimentary slice of tarte au sucres, which was extremely buttery and a level of sweetness that could be described as "diabetes-inducing"
Had I not read the Top 5 Halo Halo article from insauga, I would've never known that such a bakery existed. Hidden in a fairly old plaza behind the Petro-Can appearing just after the highway exit, Happy Birthday Cakes offers customized birthday cakes, a wide range of pastries, as well as Halo Halo. This particular Filipino dessert has been on my food radar lately, and my love for the ube-leche flan-shaved ice concoction is only getting stronger. This supposedly "lighter" version, as quoted from insauga's article, wasn't as filling as I had expected. It still contained a good quantity of jellies and beans at the bottom, though it did not feature the same vividly-coloured jellies as Quiapo! Quipo!, nor the ube ice cream or toasted rice flakes. It was also, in my opinion, sweeter in comparison. There was an approximate ten minute wait, despite there not being any other customers inside the shop, though I can definitely confirm that a return will be made if I'm ever in need of a quick fix.
View the full album HERE !
- Homemade Matcha Slushie
- Kimchi Grilled Cheese
- Post-Unplugged Chatime drinks: Pineapple Green Teair and Matcha Red Bean Milk Tea
- Beyond-amazing Halo Halo from Quiapo! Quiapo!
- Frankenfrap and Green Tea Lemonade from Starbucks
- Old-Fashioned Plain and Sour Cream Plain donuts from Tim Hortons
Stay tuned for the next set, as I may be attending a number of events throughout the month!