To sum up the month's activities, I've
- Returned from vacation in Vancouver (though I'm still missing it direly)
- Succumbed to food poisoning courtesy of Chatime
- Recuperated just enough to participate in a few brief catch-up sessions
- Embarked on another term of the torturous and painfully dangerous journey known as "school"
- Unwillingly adopted a hermit lifestyle for the sake of completing various assignments before their due dates
Quite frankly, it hasn't been the most enjoyable period of the year, and I can only anticipate the coming months will be even more challenging to cope with. (Pardon any unforeseen mini-hiatuses on this space for the time being!)
1) Homemade Banana Bread with Baked Bananas
2) Hong Milk Tea Feat. Chun Byung from Hodo Kwaja
(P.S. GOT7 has finally made their long awaited comeback with "Hard Carry"! It's officially been my go-to track for the past week so check it out!!!!)
After hearing several positive remarks regarding Lucullus' pineapple buns, I decided to check them out on a lazy Saturday morning. The parking lot of their 14th and Kennedy was relatively empty - a rarity for Markham in general. I pulled into a shady spot with ease and entered the premises.
The interior was alike any other Chinese bakery: plastic trays and clear orange tongs by the entrance and rows upon rows of egg-washed buns in individual bread cases. Staff wasn't particularly friendly: they didn't even bother to crack a smile at any of the customers in line, but then again, this didn't come as a surprise to me.
Honestly, I could have overlooked all of the above (or opted for takeout only) had the Pineapple Bun lived up to its standards as described online. "Dry. Stale. Tasteless." were the three terms that emerged with the first bite. The cookie crust was flaky, but nowhere near the levels of crunchiness and sweetness experienced at other locations; the bun itself was also extremely depressing. Simply put, it was a very subpar product.
Commerce Gate is gradually making its way upwards on the ladder in terms of diversity. From the failed mess that was Donburi to the cute dessert shop that is Sweet Note, the plaza's latest additions have made it a hot topic all over my feed. The Alley, the most recent bubble tea outpost since CoCo, offers a tiny, rustic space with a cafe-like atmosphere.
Their specialties range from Royal No. 9, a milk tea crafted from Assam leaves roasted with blueberries to potted milk teas with chopped Oreo bits. Sesame-flavoured tapioca pearls - known as "Deerioca" - also seems to be a popular addition to drinks, though, oddly enough, the topping is only made available after 8:00 PM on Fridays and weekends.
After the tumultuous Chatime incident, we opted to steer clear of the milk teas, which tasted ever so strongly of milk powder. Instead, we chose Apple of My Eye, a tea-apple cider vinegar combo and Sweet Dew Oolong. Both beverages were associated with hefty price tags, neither worthy of them in the slightest. Service was decent, as was the environment, though the beverages themselves were really quite average.
It was clear that The Alley had made desperate attempts to differentiate themselves with uniquely-named products, though I felt nothing more than a lack of originality and poor ingredient selection.
6) Shortbread cookies + a fruity blend of black tea for an afternoon snack
8) Views from my workspace
9) Lunch consisting of a Hot Dog Bun, baby greens, and iced tea
11) Brown claiming ownership of my tea
12) Homemade Matcha Slush
13) Still very much obsessed with minimalist tattoo stick-ons from Everyday Toys
15) Spicy Chicken Patty + Mango-Raspberry-Pineapple Smoothie for dinner
17) More campus visuals
19) Testing out a new marinade on Salmon Fillet - it was successful, in case you were wondering!