Café Ekberg has been around since 1852. They serve buffet breakfasts and daily lunch specials, however, we were here for a quick stop during our shopping expedition as Dragon was asleep and I needed to sit down (she was sleeping on the hip seat and I have been walking with her ‘attached’ to me like a koala for at least 4 hours!)
Café Ekberg is a very popular café and not only does it serve breakfast and lunch, it also serves great pastries and cakes. It is famous for the napoleon which we ordered and I have to say, I can understand why. Pastry flaky and the cream filling were not super rich. Perfect with a cup of tea!
I also couldn’t go past the ginger bread – it wasn’t too sweet and didn’t have a strong ginger taste which Dragon also loved!
Service was friendly and polite. The place was busy no matter what time it was but the pastries are definitely worth going for.
Next door to the café is a patisserie in which you can buy more cakes and bread to take home. We bought a couple of bread for Dragon to eat and no doubt she demolished them!
On the first few nights we were in Helsinki, Dragon and I were still very jet lag. ‘The Mother’ has been in Europe a week earlier so he was ok and has adjusted. Unfortunately for him, Dragon and I ended up sleeping rather early, mid-afternoon early, 4.30pm on the first day and then 5.30pm on the second day. He was so looking forward to going out for dinner with us, however, we were so tired that an earth quake couldn’t wake us up!
On one of the nights, he went to get Hesburger – Finland’s version of McDonalds – he bought me a chicken burger and chicken nuggets for Dragon. I have to say, it was pretty decent and I preferred this over Mc Donalds.
Jet lag is never fun, she got up at 2am the first day we were there. It took her about 4 – 5 days to go back to normal. Rule of thumb I hear, one day for each hour, which is about right.
So unfortunately we didn’t go out for dinner very often in Helsinki as we ate a lot of Pizza, and left over pasta! HA!
GA’s rating Café Ekberg: 7.5 / 10
Address: Bulevardi 9, 00120 Helsinki
Tel: +358 9 6811 860
I have such a weak spot for desserts. I used to think that it was the most important meal of the day and there was a stage in my life that I had to have it after dinner.. as you can see it really didn’t help with the weight loss or my hips and thighs for that matter! Now I try and eat more fruits but I would have the occasional desserts once in a while.
After our meal in North Point, we wanted something sweet and as I was taking Dragon for a walk I stumbled across this dessert place, Trolley Dessert. it was relatively empty, I asked the owners if they were new and they said at the time, they have only been opened for a month or two. I’m not sure what was here previously as I don’t venture out to North Point very often but was definitely curious enough to check it out. The menu was vast! From memory 4 pages long and yes they did have English menu for me who can’t read Chinese! They had all sorts of desserts for everyone, and you could add extra goodness to your dessert.
I have been craving grass or herbal jelly of late, and they don’t make the grass or herbal jelly like the one at meetfresh! The grass jelly with cha cha and green bean – it was seriously good! It wasn’t too sweet or too milky – the combination was just perfect.
M couldn’t go past the black sesame glutinous rice balls – this is usually my favourite. Served hot with ginger – the more ginger the better obviously! I think my favourite for this is at Aunty Sweets – the last time I was there, I couldn’t help but order 2 servings of it! OMG!
‘The Mother’ is on the hunt for the best mango, pomelo, sago dessert with mango ice cream. He was pretty happy with this one, especially with the ice cream.
Overall the desserts I thought were nice. I am definitely keen to try the others so will definitely be back! It was relatively empty that evening, I do hope that they will still be there for my next visit! Hopefully soon!
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
Shop 2A, G/F, Ngan Fai Building,
84-94 Wharf Road,
North Point, Hong Kong
Ph: +852 2512 0820
I have been to Modern China a couple of times now – so will combine both visits in the one post. Founded in 2002, I first went to Modern China about 2 years ago, the Tai Kok Tsui location in Olympian City and enjoyed it. I didn’t realise that they opened one in Times Square, Causeway Bay until my dear high school friend took me there. Located on the 10th floor of Times Square, we rocked up at about 1pm and thankfully we didn’t have to wait for very long – 15 minutes max?
The restaurant was quite spacious, cold – temperature wish, décor was a little cheesy I thought – not very modern at all! Menu was vast! It took us a while to decide what to order, but left all the ordering to my M.
We started with the golden tea smoked eggs (HKD15 each) – oh my, these babies were deliciously smoke-y and cooked to perfection.
The shredded cucumber salad (HKD38) was refreshingly light and a little spicy which gave it a nice kick.
I couldn’t stop eating these delicious moreish, fat and juicy prawn and vegetable dumplings.
We both couldn’t go past the jung-bor style pork (2 pieces for $68) – OH MY GOD is all I can say. Tender, juicy pork, it was fatty, it was soft, it was calorific, but it was good! So good that I could probably eat two portions on my own!
We also these plain buns to eat with the pork.
Came back with the family about 1 month later and because my dear cousin was in town. He wanted the golden tea smoked eggs – we all got one but I am pretty sure he ate more than his share J
The sizzling beef with Beijing leek (HKD88) was good but nothing special I thought.
We ordered the sliced fish in spiced sauce (HKD126) and indeed it was spicy but it wasn’t as spicy as I had hoped. It didn’t leave that tingly sensation on my tongue but the fish were incredibly tender.
We couldn’t go past the mouthful small steamed meat buns aka xiao long bau (8 pieces for HKD46) – perfect!
The chefs special fried rice (HKD88) was good, I love the pork floss on top!
And no doubt we ordered the jung-bor style pork also. Service was a bit of a hit and miss. Very minimal but food was reasonably good. We didn’t have dessert at Modern China, but we did have dessert elsewhere.
We ended up at Tsui Yuen Dessert at North Point, one of the many branches and I couldn’t go past the mango sago dessert – possibly my favourite dessert.
However, we also got the black sesame ‘dumplings’ in ginger – my favourite! The strong ginger gives it that nice kick and I love black sesame – so win win!
Overall a great evening of food, I hope you had a great time in Hong Kong dear cousin, come back soon!
Shop 1002, 10/F, Food Forum, Times Square,
1 Matheson Street. Causeway Bay
Ph: +852 2506 2625
Tsui Yuen Dessert
G/F North Point Road
Ph: +852 3104 1528
Shopping in Hawaii is seriously fantastic, I wish I bought more stuff. One of the malls that we went too was Ala Moana – pretty cool mall with some high end and low end shops. ‘The Mother’ didn’t really want to shop but thought we could all grab some lunch before we went our separate ways – boys went to the beach and me, hang out at the shops for a few hours.
Shokudo was on Lobster Dynamite’s list. It’s not quite in the mall, it was outside near the parking lot. It was quite a spacious and bright restaurant, loved the modern décor and the food was fantastic at reasonable prices.
The menu vast, we thought we would pick a couple of dishes to share and started with the yuzu Hamachi carpaccio ($13.95) – thinly sliced yellowtail sashimi with yuzu pepper vinaigrette topped with pickled wasabi was a favourite of ‘The Mothers’. The sashimi was fresh, the vinaigrette really gave it a nice touch.
The calamari tempura ($8.45) – tender calamari lightly battered and deep fried served with wasabi aioli was delicious. It had the right amount of batter and it wasn’t oily or sickly and who could say no to wasabi aioli?
‘The Mother’ loves edamame ($3.95) – lightly salted boiled soy beans, they were a great started. I do like them sprinkle with chili though – it gives it that extra zing!
The pork gyoza ($6.95) – Japanese potstickers served with chili soy sauce was a hit, so good that the boys ordered two servings of this. I couldn’t help but steal a couple of them also!
I ordered their lunch bento box – chicken karaage ($8.95) with was absolutely fantastic! Crispy and tender chicken, it went down too nicely with the wasabi aioli. I was secretly hoping the boys didn’t want any and thankfully – they didn’t!
It also came with some rice, salad, edamame and miso soup.
Now dessert, Shokudo is quite famous for their honey toast and even though we were full, we HAD TO get one.
TWO GINORMOUS slices of Japanese white bread, toasted with the centres cut into little cubes and topped with creamy ice cream and drizzled with honey. You can add toppings such as chocolate, strawberry, caramel, sweet red bean and the like but we wanted it plain.
Our jaw dropped as the lady put this on our table – OH MY GOD! It was definitely a generous serving. Even though the bread was toasted, it was still quite fluffy and drizzled with honey and eaten with ice cream it was absolutely divine! We didn’t think we could finish it, but boy were we wrong!
Service was indeed friendly and food came relatively quickly. We were tempted to get the sushi pizza but thought that would have been too much – we needed to make room for the honey toast and I am glad that we did!
Deliciously full, I tried very hard to stay awake whilst shopping and to be honest, that wasn’t difficult as I was overjoyed by all the ‘Sale’ sign! Lobster Dynamite and ‘The Mother’ went for a drive and the beach and picked me up about 4 – 5 hours later.
If you are in the area and want a Japanese fix or just honey toast, Shokudo is definitely a visit.
GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10
1585 Kapiolani Blvd
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96814
Ph: +1(808) 941-3701
I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this place – Bubbies Ice cream! It’s not your average ice cream but mochi ice creams. Mochi ice cream is a Japanese confection made from mochi (pounded stick rice) with an ice cream filling and these little babies were absolutely frigging delicious!
Bubbies can be found in the University district, apparently where college student hang-out. It does get busy and there aren’t many tables inside. We weren’t planning to dine in, as since Lobster Dynamite lives about 5 minutes away so it made sense to take away.
The place was relatively busy, their specialty I think is the mochi – different types of flavours. The regular mochi flavours are on the left and the specials and chocolate dipped ones are on the right. We bought a dozen and I was hoping the guy behind the counter would give us one of each, but instead two of six different flavours – lychee, guava, chocolate peanut butter, mango, chocolate espresso, green tea and azuki bean.
We cut six mochi into thirds, for Lobster Dynamite, ‘The Mother’ and myself. My least favourite would have to be the lychee and guava. My favourite out of the combination was definitely the chocolate espresso followed by the green tea. The next day I had the chocolate espresso on my own – it was MINE!
Would have liked to try the tiramisu or the strawberry dark chocolate chip! Definitely a must visit if you love ice cream and mochi.
They also had other dessert – ice cream and other desserts with funny names – like ‘come here little girl’, ‘knock me up’ or ‘maybe the bag broke’ – we didn’t try any of them but would definitely be interested next time! lol
A couple of friends have raved about Leonard’s Malasadas, so I had HIGH expectations. Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Avenue in Honolulu is a popular bakery, queues can be long and parking can be a complete nightmare. The attraction is the deep fried yeast dough which resembles a Portuguese version of a donut without a hole – the malasada.
Usually deep fried, and often coated or filled with different types of filings. The traditional is just plain with icing sugar, but on offer were custard, chocolate and the flavour of the month.
We got half a dozen, 2 traditional, 2 chocolate, and 2 custard – it was warm and good but considering I had high expectations it was a bit of a letdown. It was good but nothing special I thought. It was like a warm donut but softer and it didn’t have the hole – it didn’t leave me with any wow factor. The custard was probably better, but it was a little too rich for my liking. I had a bite of ‘The Mother’s’ and that was it, unlike bubbies – I wanted more!
The bakery is nothing fancy, small, and run down. You can order other things besides malasadas – different types of donuts, cakes, cookies and many more but we were here for the malasadas and that’s what we got!
If you are in the area and are curious then definitely get some, but like I said early, I think the mochi ice cream wins for me!
GA’s ratings: Bubbies: 8 / 10
1010 University Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96826
Ph: +1 (808) 949 8984
GA’s ratings: Leonard’s Bakery: 6.5 / 10
933 Kapahulu Ave
Honolulu, Hawaii, 96816
Ph: +1 (808) 737 5591
On our first day in Honlulu, we went for a drive with Lobster Dynamite and The Professor. We drove to Oahu’s North Shore, walked around and stopped at possibly the most famous Shaved Ice place in Honolulu – Matsumoto. Matsumoto has been around since 1951 – opened by both Mamoru and Helen Momoy Matsumoto.
It is located about 10 minutes drive from the Dole Plantation site on the Northern side of the island, a scenic drive into North Point. We drove past looking for parking and the line was incredibly long! So many tourists, wanting to try this shaved ice, including ‘The Mother’.
It’s a tiny store, I didn’t go in as there were just way too many people. They have a multitude of syrup flavours – anything you can think off they had – strawberry, pineapple, lemon, coconut, banana, coconut cream, pinacolada – you name it! The list just went on and on. You can have the simple snow cone or be super indulgent and add on a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the bottom of the paper cone, or even add a generous scoop of azuki beans. Both ‘The Mother’ and Lobster Dynamite had neither; they just wanted a simple cone.
The shaved ice was HUMUNGOUS! I don’t think the photo really justified it! Huge shaved ice drizzled with syrup – from memory, ‘The Mother’ had melon, lychee and coconut – weird combination I thought but it seemed to work. It was just one sugary / syrupy drink! It was good for a warm day but talk about sugar over doze. I don’t know if I would have lined up for more than ten minutes though, it was good and I understand the fascination but I probably wouldn’t have gotten one on my own. ‘The Mother’ seemed to have enjoyed it but I could tell towards the end he was pretty much over it! lol
I can’t remember what Lobster Dynamite had, but I did prefer the colours on his ice than ‘The Mother’s’!
We drove around the island, stopping at Laniakea to look at the turtles. I think the boys really wanted to go snorkeling, however, weather was just too horrid and I don’t think they had their snorkels with them. Definitely next time… there will be a next time!
Next stop was definitely lunch – Ola at Turtle Bay Resort. The resort looked amazing, we didn’t really get a chance to walk around as our main focus was food! It was past 3pm when we got there, so the restaurant was closed, but they were still serving bar food which suited us fine.
‘The Mother’ and Lobster Dynamite both ordered the Ola slider combo with fries – Kalua pork slider with guava bbq sauce and from memory a cheddar cheese burger.
The Kalua pork slider was absolutely amazing; the pork was incredibly tender and the spices – fantastic!
Thankfully I ordered the kalua pork nachos – not what I expected what nachos would be. Five large thin and crispy corn chips all topped with generous amount of kalau pork and cheese with guacamole and tomato salsa on the side.
These babies were fantastic! The pork, the guacamole, the crispy corn chips – DELICIOUS!
The Professor wasn’t overly hungry, so opted for the cheese and fruit platter which looked very healthy and very tasty!
Overall it was a lovely meal – I really enjoyed the nachos and the pork sliders were fantastic.
Deliciously full, Lobster Dynamite drove us back to Waikiki, whilst I had a quick snooze in the car.
GA’s ratings: Matsumoto: 6.5 / 10
66-087 Kamehameha Hwy
Haleiwa, Hawaii, 96712
PH: +1 (808) 637-4827
GA’s ratings: Ola: 7.5 / 10
57-091 Kamehameha Hwy
Kahuku, Hawaii, 96712
Ph: +1 (808) 293-0801
I have heard wonderful things about Baroque Bistro Bar Patisserie which is located in The Rocks. A dear friend from Hong Kong, J, was visiting, so suggested this place. Baroque serves classic French Bistro dishes, desserts and of course they are well-known for the macarons which are made daily in the kitchen.
The chef behind this wonderful restaurant is Peter Robertson, ex Oscillate Wildly and Bilsons. I love the decor, it is a mixture of modern, contemporary and traditional, I love the cooper pans hanging from the ceiling, the cooper lights and the translucent plastic chairs.
We started with fresh baguette which was served in a large red bowl (like a bunch of flowers!) and olive oil. The baguette was fresh, crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside. Dipped in olive oil it was fantastic!
Oh my…. the cheeks were so tender that it just melted in my mouth. It was a rich and hearty dish, perfect for cold winters day. The vanilla parsnip cream was oh so creamy and sinful and absolutely magnificent. It was exactly what I needed that I day.
J couldn’t go past the special of the day, Fish with crab cream and mash ($33) – silly me have totally forgotten the name!
The fish was cooked to perfection, crispy skin, the fish was moist but yet firm. The crab cream was to die for! It was one of the nicest fish dish I have had. J absolutely loved it and we both still talk and dream about the crab cream, it was just superb!
For dessert, we ordered a couple of macarons (which I didn’t take a photo off!) pistachio and sour cherry – it was nice but still a little too sweet for my liking. I liked the combination of sweet and sour, the sour cherry centre was strong but wonderful. I didn’t have the other, Lychee, J said it had a strong lychee flavour, but she did prefer the pistachio and sour cherry.
It was a wonderful and relaxing lunch, the atmosphere and ambiance fantastic. Service friendly and they had a vast range of wine. Child friendly, we had baby A with us and they were all kind and hospitable.
I heard that each week Baroque makes 8,000 macarons! Unfortunately, I didn’t buy any desserts but no doubt I will be back to buy one of these lovely sinful sweets.
Baroque Bistro Bar Patisserie
88 George Street, The Rocks
The Rocks, 2000
Ph: +61 2 9241 4811