Bakery · Dessert · French · Restaurants

Yann Haute Patisserie

L and I started a new tradition. We go out to a restaurant to celebrate Valentine’s Day on any day other than February 14th. The reason is that most restaurants are far too busy to give us the experience we want. For this post, let’s listen to “White Wedding” by Billie Idol.

L picked up a lovely sake, a dozen long-stemmed red roses and he made my favourite dish, spam musubi. I, in turn, surprised him with desserts from Yann Haute Patisserie. I have to say that we both killed it this year. The roses were gorgeous, and the sweet sake and salty spam musubi pairing hit the spot. However, the star of the show was the desserts.

I ordered a set of Lovely Eclairs ($16), Paris-Calgary ($7.90), and Mille-Feuille ($7.90). The pair of eclairs came in chocolate and vanilla. The chocolate was intense – the glaze, the chocolate itself and the ganache filling. In comparison, the vanilla eclair was light, and the vanilla bean flavour filling was pronounced, but in a wholesome way, like an old-fashioned vanilla ice-cream cone. Of the two, I preferred the heavy, luxurious flavour bomb of the chocolate.

I let L eat the macaron that crowned the Paris-Calgary dessert. He said the macaron tasted terrific. The dessert itself was like a Ferrero Rocher but with high-quality, fresh ingredients. The center was piped with hazelnut praline and cream. The flavour reminded me of a chocolate hedgehog. L couldn’t believe how much work went into this dessert – the gooey center, crispy shortbread, cream and puff pastry.

The mille-feuille was made of beautiful crispy layers of caramelized puff pastry, oozing with thick, creamy Madagascar vanilla bean cream. L exclaimed that whoever made this dessert has mad culinary skill. I concur.

L loved that all the pastries weren’t too sweet. He said all the desserts were excellent yet different from each other. I’m not a sweets person, but I’m such a fan I plan to return to buy some more cakes. Honestly, I would be happy to make a meal out of these creations. The pastry chef at Yann Haute is so talented, I’m turning over a new leaf. Hitting the Sauce gives Yann Haute (and L) two phat thumbs up.

Bakery · Bars/Lounges · Cheap Eats · Curry · Fast Food · Happy Hour · Italian · Mexican · Patio · Pizza

First Street Market – Pure Street Food, Saffron Street, Moose and Poncho

On Sunday, L and I checked First Street Market. I’ve heard favourable things about all the vendors – particularly the places I’ve never tried such as Actually Pretty Good, La Mano, and Friends with Benedicts. However, on this visit, I came specifically for Pure Street Food and Moose and Poncho, two restaurants I’ve frequented in the past. For this review, let’s listen to “All These Things That I’ve Done” by The Killers.

We grabbed a spot at the First Street Bar, just in time for the tail end of happy hour (4:00-6:00 p.m.). I ordered a glass of the Vinho Verde (HH $5, Regular $7, HH Bottle $25, Regular $35) and L chose the Snake Lake Pilsner (HH $5, Regular $7).

The Portuguese white wine was served ice cold. I found this wine bright with strong tropical notes. Other than First Street Market Bar, I don’t know anywhere else in the city where you can get a drinkable bottle of wine for only $35. Where was this place when I was in school?

At Pure Street Food I ordered the Bun Bo Sate ($12) and a Fire Chicken w/ Melted Cheese Sesame Donut ($6) for L. The broth was thick, rich and beefy. The slices of beef shank, brisket and beef rib were flavourful and tender. The noodles had a nice bounce to them.

I took a bite of the sesame donut. The flavour of the crispy sesame shell was prominent. L thought the fire chicken was delicious and not painfully spicy like he experienced in Korea.

L ordered four tacos ($6 each): Carnitas (confit pork) and Suadero (lime-marinated confit beef). Both the pork and beef tacos were tasty. I found the seasoning and quality of the meats delectable. I also liked how the flavour of the cilantro wasn’t overpowering. I mentioned to L that I wish he ordered some salsas ($3.50 each) to go with the tacos, as Moose and Poncho make some wicked dips. He said he didn’t see that option when he ordered and the staff never mentioned there were additional sauces he could have purchased. L thought the tacos didn’t need any more sauce than the one he was provided.

I was still hungry, so I ordered a Masala Dosa ($13) from Saffron Street. I remembered seeing Miss Foodie rave about this vendor. As always, she is correct. The crepe was light and delicate, fragrant with the smell of coconut. The potato filling was soft and creamy. I enjoyed alternating each crispy bite into the lentil stew, tomato and coconut chutney. I would order this again.


First Street Market reminds me of the food halls in Toronto, but more intimate and modern. I appreciate the concept – chef-driven, high-quality fast food paired with a bar offering inexpensive drinks. I look forward to my next visit! Hitting the Sauce gives First Street Market two phat thumbs up.

Bakery · Dessert · French · Restaurants

Le Picquenic and Peasant Cheese – Valentine’s Day

I told L I was taking care of our Valentine’s Day plans. He looked suspiciously skeptical and I knew he thought I was tricking him again. I swear, give your spouse a test the occasional time and he’ll never forget his lesson. I actually didn’t have any sinister plans. Quite the opposite. I felt that after 10 years of taking me out for Valentine’s Day, I could do something he liked. For this post, let’s listen to “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Franki Valli.

I ordered L a Valentine’s Tea Box ($34 per set) because I thought it would appeal to his British sensibilities. I was impressed with Le Picquenic special touches, like the card, ribbon, and flowers on the box.

The Kyoto cherry rose tea was lovely. The tea smelled sweet and fragrant. You could taste and smell the roses and what I thought was almond.

The cucumbers in my heart shaped sandwich were thinly sliced. I thought I could taste a hint of dill and perhaps cream cheese.

The egg salad was a classic high noon tea sandwich. The filling was creamy and eggy, pressed between two slices of soft white bread.

L enjoyed the turkey and cucumber croissant. He thought it was a delicate bite. I found the croissant sweet.

The prosciutto and brie canapé was tasty. There was a lot of prosciutto in one bite and I enjoyed the saltiness from the meat.

The blueberry scone was baked just the way I like it – a little dry and crumbly. I like that texture because the butter tastes creamier against a crustier surface. The jam added a smidge of sweetness to the savoury scone.

The cream puff was my favourite of the bunch. The whipped cream inside the pastry was puffy and cloud-like.

For dinner, I ordered a Valentine’s Cheese Platter ($50) from Peasant Cheese. For this occasion, Peasant Cheese added macarons and cannelé from the French bakery Yann Boutique. What a spread! The presentation, quality of cheeses and assortment of condiments and crackers is bar none. In the dozen or so times I’ve ordered from Peasant Cheese, I’ve always been impressed.

I’ve ordered the mixed cheese plates before and I usually get olives, pickles and other sour and tart accompaniments. This time around, we were treated to dried fruit like apricots, figs, and other candied treats. I loved the radish slices and pea shoots. I wrapped each radish slice with brie and ate it like a wrap.

There was so much food on this platter, we only managed to eat a third of it. We left the remaining amount to be snacked on in the following days. I know that recently, people are building their own cheese plates. Personally, I cannot make one as pretty as Peasant Cheese. Food also tastes better when you don’t make it. Hitting the Sauce gives Peasant Cheese two fat thumbs up.

17th Ave · Bakery · Dessert · French · Mexican · Restaurants

Con Mi Taco, Black Sheep, and Wow Bakery – COVID-19 edition

Right before The City of Calgary declared a State of Local Emergency​, my friend Lovegastrogirl visited me for wine and snacks. Before she left, I sent her home with saffron lime pistachios from Ayoub’s Dried Fruits and Nuts, a bottle of my favourite wine that I discovered at Bar Von Der Fels, and a moisturizer she admired. For this post, let’s listen to “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC.

Lovegastrogirl surprised me last Friday night with a Beef Birria Taco Kit ($38) from Con Mi Taco and pastries. I’ve been wanting to try the birria ever since FoodKarma’s posted her hubby’s photos on Instagram.

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Photo credit: @therealbuntcake

Our kit included a 2/3 pound of 18 hour chili braised beef chuck, ten freshly ground hand-pressed corn tortillas, lime wedges, onion garnish, mozzarella cheese, cilantro garnish, salsa morita, vegan jalapeño aioli and birria broth.

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Photo credit: @therealbuntcake

The beef chuck was tender and saturated in flavour. We found the beef and broth so rich, that instead of dipping the whole taco into the broth, L and I just drizzled the sauce on the very top. The combination of the broth and sauces created a smoky, spicy profile. I’m really into Con Mi Tacos sauces – it’s more complex and creamy than what I’ve sampled in my trips to Mexico.

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Photo credit: @therealbuntcake

I prefer the beef birria taco over al pastor because I like heavier, richer tasting meats. L stated while he enjoyed the birria, his all time favourite is al pastor.

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The Guacamole and Chips ($10) was a hit too. The dip was cool and creamy, with just the right amount of salt to make the flavour of the lime and avocado pop. I liked that we received so much dip, we ran out of chips before we finished the guacamole. Usually it’s the other way around because avocados are expensive.

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I took FoodKarma’s advice and used the leftover broth for Mexican ramen. The broth must be potent because it made a beefy bowl of noodles. Con Mi Tacos should consider selling their broth to customers to use at home. I would buy it.

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Lovegastrogirl also brought us pastries from Black Sheep and Wow Bakery. L and I shared the Blueberry Croissant ($4) and the Pan au Chocolat ($3.75). I was impressed with the flaky crisp shell and the big air bubbles inside the pastry.

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The house made blueberry jam is delectable. I’d order this again and I don’t normally order pastries with fruit filling. I would buy this jam if Black Sheep ever bottles it up for sale.

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The pain au chocolate contained two sticks French Valrhona chocolate. Such a simple combination but when high quality chocolate and pastry is used, it’s a perfect pairing.

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Black Sheep offers contactless delivery and pick up at their store. The stop is open every day except for Tuesday, from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

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Lovegastrogirl also bought us pastries from Wow Bakery. I knew beforehand that she was a fan of Wow Bakery because she bought a cake for the No Man’s Dinner at Moon Korean BBQ. Wow Bakery is piloting a free delivery system with no tip for orders $25 or more until June 15th.

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We tried a French baguette ($2.99), Sweet Almond Bread ($3.80), and an Onion Cheese Bread ($4.50). L crushed the almond bread. The onion cheese bread reminded me of my homemade pizzas. My favourite of the bunch was the French baguette from Black Sheep, which I used to make a sandwich the next day.

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L said if we were in prison, Lovegastrogirl’s generous gifts would make us her prison bitches. I agree. I’m no one’s bitch. Next Thursday is my turn to treat her. But how am I going to top her?

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

I’m not a competitive person, except when it comes to hosting parties. Since I can’t host anymore, I’m going to bring the party to Lovegastrogirl. I’ve been scouring her Instagram profile to get clues on what would appeal to her.

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

As you can see from her posts, she’s a complex person. She has an affinity for finer things in life, like views from expensive tourist spots, over ordering at fancy restaurants, and consuming grossly overpriced cocktails. But she also has a soft spot for fast food, Cluck N Cleaver, and dazzling sweaters.

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

If you have any suggestions on what to get her, send me a message. I have until Thursday to come up with a plan. Thanks again Lovegastrogirl, you really know how to spoil a friend.

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Photo credit: @lovegastrogirl

Wow Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bakery · Beer · Restaurants

Sweet Relief

Last Friday I attended a Yelp Elite party. The event was called ‘Local Love’ because it was a partnership between Freehold Brewing Co. Sweet Relief, Dandy Brewery, Ol’ Beautiful and Outside the Shape.

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After browsing through the pretty merchandise at Outside the Shape, L and I walked upstairs to meet Matt, the one of the owners of Freehold Brewing Co. Matt showcased four beers and paired each beverage with treats from Sweet Relief, a bakery located in Victoria Park.

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The first beer was Big Chutes Lager. The lager was easy drinking, clean, with a hint of citrus. Matt referred to Big Chutes as a ‘patio crusher’ because you could easily spend an afternoon on a patio crushing this beer. I can see why. I found this lager refreshing and light. I liked the tiny bubbles foaming at the top. L said there was a lot of taste in the lager.

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Next we sampled Pegasus Pale Ale from Ol’ Beautiful Brewery. The ale was paired with a square that reminded me of a homemade Oh Henry chocolate bar. I enjoyed the buttery crust and the taste of the dry roasted unsalted peanuts, which contrasted with the sweet stickiness of the caramel.

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I could taste a bit of grapefruit and grassy floral hops in the Pegasus ale. I don’t normally like hoppy beers, but I found this ale easy to drink. I could crush this one on a patio too.

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The third beer we sampled was Lacy Saisy Saison. I could taste warm hints of cloves, ginger and orange. L and I have a hard time finding a beer that we both equally love. I think Matt did the unimaginable. He created a beer that both hard core and casual beer drinkers could enjoy. I think Matt may have saved our marriage. No more fights at the liquor store. L said this was the first saison he liked.

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Matt informed us that farmhouse ales or saisons as we know them, date back a long time ago in Belgium. Farmers would brew the beer, bury it in soil and then open it up in the summer for the weary workers as the water was undrinkable. Don’t quote me on that because I accidentally deleted my notes from the evening on my phone and I’m going by memory.

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The dessert pairing for the saison was a jam cookie. Two sugar cookies were pressed against a sticky, flavour packed jam. The cookie was chewy and soft, buttery and sweet. I plan to buy some of these jam cookies and the dessert bar for a future party. These treats are much better than I can bake at home.

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The fourth beer was Dandy in the Underworld Stout. I liked this beer. Bubbly and dark with rich coffee and chocolate notes. Matt said oyster shells are used in the process for  calcium carbonate. I wanted to ask Matt more questions about the stout and saison but other Yelpers kept dominating the conversation and having side chats so I couldn’t hear what he was saying. I was sitting at the front right across from him too.

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I hope Freehold Brewing Co. finds a new space for their brewery and restaurant. In the meantime, you can find Freehold beers at Nash, Notable, Craft, Beer Revolution, Bar von Fels and all the Nationals. Stores that sell Freehold include: Coop, Domestic Bottle, Kensington Wine Market, Highlander (Marda Loop), Liquor Depot (Killarney/Marda Loop) Vine Arts and Willow Park.

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Thanks to Miranda R for inviting me and allowing me to use her photos. If you want to get invited to future Yelp Elite events, sign up and start writing reviews. From there you ask a friend (me) to nominate you.

Sweet Relief Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato.

Bakery · Restaurants

YYC Hot Chocolate Festival

I was contacted by the event coordinator from Calgary Meals on Wheels. Every year they organize the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest, a friendly competition that invites local businesses to compete for the title of Calgary’s Best Hot Chocolate and Calgary’s Best Spirited Hot Chocolate. For this post, let’s listen to Vianne Sets up Shop.

I gave my vouchers to Pak to Eating and asked her to be my official hot chocolate taster. Below is a picture of Pak to Eating and her reviews.

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Bean Stop YYC

Pak liked the complex flavours of this drink. She thought the ginger and lemon compliment each other nicely as it balanced out the cabernet and dark chocolate flavours. The sprinkles were a pretty touch.

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Café Rosso  – Orange Blossom

Pak gave points for presentation – the whipped cream, dried orange slice,  orange zest and cookie bar. Pak thought the cocoa had a light orange flavor with a pretty strong floral taste. She found the consistency of the drink to be watery. It was not sweet, chocolately or heavy. She thought the cookie was yummy.

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Monki Bistro – Matcha Hot Chocolate

Pak liked the richness and frothiness of this drink. The large, toasted marshmallows added a crisp top layer and as it melted, blended in with the rest of the drink.

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Caffe Artigiano – Naval Orange Hot Chocolate

Pak liked how this drink was so smooth and frothy. The proportion of chocolate to orange was perfect – neither the chocolate or orange flavouring overpowered each other. This hot cocoa tasted just like a chocolate orange.

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Cococo Chocolatiers Earl of Grey of Sunshine (Bankers Hall location)

This was Pak’s favourite hot cocoa. She thought the hot chocolate was rich and creamy with a perfect balance of Earl Grey and ginger. It was not too sweet and the delicious piece of ginger chocolate elevated the experience.

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Thanks Calgary Meals on Wheels for the vouchers and for making Calgary a better place.

The Bean Stop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bakery · Banh Mi · Restaurants · Vietnamese

The Bake Chef Co

I visited the U of C recently to see my optometrist. It’s weird to go back to my old university. I forgot how slowly students walk, unhurried and without any gumption. For this post, let’s listen to something that puts more pep into my step.

When I studied and worked at the U, I would frequent Noodle and Grill Express, OPA! and The Bake Chef. The Bake Chef was my go-to spot for hot dog buns and Vietnamese subs. For around $5.00 I would get a vegetarian sub that was much tastier than Subway. I remembered how light and crusty the bread was, slathered with butter and other sauces, heavy with carrots, cucumbers and shredded lettuce. I had a hankering for a sub so I stopped by after my appointment.

The selection of subs have expanded. Before you could choose between sate beef, sate chicken, and vegetarian subs. Now you can get tuna, pizza, traditional cold cut combo and some other types too. I ordered the cold cut combo. The price was $7+.

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The bread was doughy and yeasty. The vegetables were tired and sparse. There was only one layer of meat. My cold cut combo lacked the flavour explosion I get at my new go to sub spots – Trung Nguyen and Thi Thi – in Chinatown. Trung Nguyen and Thi Thi charge $5.50 for their assorted sub.

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I posted my disappointment on my Instagram account. As you can see, several people defended Bake Chef. Lol – I love the love that the Bake Chef gets from its fans. Based on the comments, I must have gone on an off day. That or perhaps my taste buds have changed over time. I’ll suspend judgement until I get another chance to try it again.

The Bake Chef Co. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bakery · Brunch · Dessert · Restaurants

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe

My last day in Vancouver. Naomi chose Thierry so we could enjoy our breakfast in the sun. We managed to get a table by the front of the business. There was a Chow Chow dog tied up near our table. Tourists walking by assumed it was my dog (because the breed is originally from China?) and after petting it, told me my dog was a cutie. I just nodded and accepted their compliments as graciously as I could.

I love Thierry for their pastries. Naomi ordered a pain au chocolat ($3.95), a pear danish ($2.95), croissant au jambon, two americanos ($2.75) and a cappuccino ($3.25).

I love Naomi. She is one of my closest friends and her alpha female traits have served her well in life. However, when someone argues with her, she goes full on mortal combat. There was a mix-up at the counter when Naomi ordered all her pastries and at one point I was worried she’d bring out her nunchucks. Thankfully, all it took was her receipt as proof to clear up the confusion.

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I ordered a cappuccino and a ham and cheese croissant ($4.99). I think the sweets, like the cakes and danishes are the best items to try at Thierry. My croissant was flaky and the cheese tasted like it was gruyère. The ham was thickly sliced, folded over and it tasted like it was good quality. My cappuccino was alright. The foam was nice and light, but I prefer my espresso to be stronger and heavier on the creama and less milky. I think Mercato in Calgary makes the best cappuccino.

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If you’re in the hood, I would make this a destination for dessert and an after dinner drink. There’s also gorgeous macarons, chocolates and treats you can purchase which make for great gifts.

Thierry Chocolaterie Patisserie Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17th Ave · Bakery · Cheap Eats · Restaurants

A Taste of Beirut Bakery

On Sunday, L and I were running errands all day. We wanted to grab something quick for lunch and we heard that new managers have taken over Green Cilantro. We both had a craving for a Vietnamese sub, but unfortunately, Green Cilantro isn’t open on Sundays.

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I haven’t had a good shawarma in ages, so we checked out A Taste of Beirut. While I was deciding what to order, an employee gave me a chicken fatayer to sample. This little meat pocket of heaven was delicious. It’s like a meat pie crossed with a pizza bundle.

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I ordered a regular chicken ($8) and a beef ($8) wrap. The condiments were the standard variety of lettuce, pickled beets, raw chopped onions, juicy tomatoes, pickles and hot peppers. Two different sauces were squirted on both wraps.

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The chicken and beef wrap contained ample meat. I preferred the chicken which was moist and juicy. The pita is grilled, which made a satisfying chomping sound when I munched away.

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The beef was nuked in the microwave. I could detect cinnamon in the seasoning. Normally I like beef more than chicken, but I found the beef dry. L liked the beef more than the chicken.

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We were full after eating a regular size wrap. If you live in the hood, give A Taste of Beirut a chance. Personally, I like this place more Little Lebanon, a popular shawarma spot across the street.  I would return again for the chicken wrap and the chicken fatayers.

A Taste of Beirut Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bakery · Restaurants

Glamorgan Bakery

I always buy my cakes at Glamorgan Bakery. It’s close to my house and the cakes are reasonably priced. For example, I bought a 10″inch round cake and embossed a picture for about $55.00. In addition, I also made a cake for my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday party, so the 10″inch size from Glamorgan was perfect for 25 people. My sister-in-law said the number seven candle looked like a one. It looked like a seven to me. And if you can’t read the writing on the cake and put two and two together, I feel sorry for you.

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I chose the chocolate filling, chocolate cake and the butter cream frosting. For an extra charge, you can get Black Forest and other more exciting flavours. What I really like about the cakes is that isn’t too sweet. It taste like the cakes I had when I was a kid, spongy layers that taste fresh and homemade. Nothing too fancy. Plus, I’m always impressed with the screening job Glamorgan does with the photos.

If you’re in the hood, pick up some cheese buns, old-fashion sugar cookies, Florentines and scones. I hope Glamorgan stays around for a long time. This is one gem I want to return to over and over again.

View my food journey on Zomato!

Glamorgan Bakery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato