Field Trip: Finding kitchen treasures at Woolloomooloo’s WXY Yakka~ 讓我找到回憶跟創意的小店

Many of you know that Woolloomooloo is a hip urban gastropub in Taipei that serves Australian-style lattes and a wonderful variety of Western style entrees and appetisers.

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But, to me, the best part about Woolloomooloo is the desserts.  My most heartfelt love goes to their strawberry tart.  It is perfection on a plate. The organic strawberries are ripe, sweet and juicy, and the creamy smooth tart base has just the right hint of tanginess.

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學生時代的時候, 我在澳洲住了將近四年。 那時候, 最enjoy的是澳洲的咖啡。 那裡的咖啡就是小小的一杯, 但非常濃郁。 喝完了那一杯真的會讓你精神百倍。 回想一下, 我那幾年加起來大概喝了上百杯的小小杯咖啡吧! 後來時透過好朋友 Janet 才知道 Wolloomoolo 也能喝到澳洲 style 的咖啡。

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Product Discovery: Yong Le Fabric Market Part 3~ The Ribbon Roundup!

The upcoming holiday season has reminded me of my love of ribbons. Ribbons have always been a weakness of mine. I have a habit of saving every pretty ribbon that comes my way, and I can never resist a pretty ribbon on sale.  There are quite a few places to shop for ribbon in Taipei; you can buy them in bookstores, such as Eslite (the Xinyi and Songyan branches both have nicely curated selections) and of course you can buy them at VVG Chiffon. However, ultimately, the place where you will be most spoiled for selection is in the Yong-Le Market area.

For this post, I’m going to introduce three of my favorite shops, where I buy most of my ribbon. They are all located within minutes of the Yong-Le Market building.  (It’s hard for me to give directions, but I’ll include either the shop sign, or the business card, which you can use as a point of reference) I’ll also include a “best finds” explanation for each store, so it’s easier to narrow down your shopping choices. (in case want a more focused shopping experience)

Just a quite FYI before I begin: Most of these stores only accept cash, so make sure you have plenty on hand before you arrive. Based on personal experience, I try to have a handful of small bills and change, which makes the buying process a whole lot smoother.

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Field Trip: VVG Thinking

My first experience at the  VVG (which stands for Very, Very, Good)  group of restaurants was brunch at VVG Bistro.  I remember being charmed by the eclectic flea-market finds atmosphere, and I was inspired by the creative presentation of the food.  I recently found out that they had added quite a few new restaurants, including one called VVG Thinking.  I decided to visit on a Friday afternoon, after suffering from a particularly severe case of writers block (and job fatigue).   My usual cure for such malaises is to use coffee and dessert as treatment options.

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VVG Thinking is tucked into a quiet corner of Hua-Shan Creative Park, away from the general hustle and bustle.  I got a little lost trying to find the “brick building” area of the park, and in between being jostled by excited elementary school children wearing matching T-shirts, (also on a field trip) and the suffocating humidity, my nerves were more than a bit frazzled by the time I happened upon the brick building that housed VVG Thinking.

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The cavernous brick interior is adorned with wacky chandeliers, and mismatched wooden furniture, and fronds of greenery.  I was led to a window  table in a quiet corner. The generously sized tables at VVG Thinking are spaced just the right distance apart:  close enough for unobtrusive  people watching and far enough so you can hear just murmurs of their conversation. Based on my previous experience at VVG Bistro, I was tempted to order a few different desserts just to see the presentation.  My rationality returned after a few minutes away, and I settled on just one dessert, a the mixed berry compote cheesecake, accompanied by a berry flavored tea. The tea arrived first, served in a mason jar mug, atop a brown leather coaster.  The tea’s flavor was just the right balance of sweet and sour.

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The cheesecake arrived a few minutes later, and I was surprised to find that it came in a glass, instead of a plate. I was expecting the usual triangle of cheese + crust+ berry compote topping combination.

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Instead, the cheesecake arrived in short, squat oval glass container, accompanied by a cute silver shovel-shaped spoon.                                                                           

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Mixed Berry Cheesecake Anatomy

After digging into the dessert, I discovered that it was sort of like an inverted cheesecake.  Instead of the usually buttery crust on the bottom, this crust was reinterpreted into a crunchy topping, slightly tinged with the flavor of cinnamon and perhaps a touch of ginger.  The mascarpone filling had a light lemon flavor, and went well with both the berry compote and topping. In addition to being a  visually cute shape, it turns out the spoon was the perfect implement for eating this dessert. The spoon neck is the perfect length to dig through all three layers of the cake, and the bowl of the spoon fits just the right size mouthful of crunchy, velvety, sweet and sour filling.

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After finishing my dessert, I wandered to the shop upstairs, where I was excited to find an entire floor of  books, kitchenware, clothing and stationery supplies.

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All the merchandise is interspersed with fun knickknacks, like hippos, polar bears, felt animals and vintage typewriters.

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There were so many items that I never knew that I wanted until seeing them there. Suddenly,  it seemed like I really needed some gorgeous white enamel flatware and matching canisters…

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Or just a few pieces of Japanese ceramics and a shiny green teapot.

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In the end, after about an hour of undisturbed browsing, I couldn’t resist buying  two miniature cake tins.

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The sales assistant was lively and engaging, and she was well-informed about all the origins and details of the products on the floor. She even asked me about  what kind of cakes I was planning on baking (vanilla bean bundt cake!) while she was carefully wrapping up my purchases into a dark brown paper bag, sealed with a matching piece of Washi Tape. Overall,  VVG Thinking was a delightful place for a field trip.  First and foremost, it’s a place that’s visually interesting.  The high ceilings and pleasant lighting make it one of the more serene places to be on a Friday afternoon in Taipei.  The staff were friendly and attentive, but mostly left me alone to eat and daydream and browse in peace.  So if your brain is feeling tired and overworked, allow it to wander over to VVG table for some inspiration.

Information: VVG Thinking   Address: Huashan 1914 Cultural & Creative Park |MRT: Zhongxiao Xingsheng Station|Phone:  (02) 2322-5573 | 華山文創產業區   紅磚六合院 C 棟 (杭州北路 X 北平東路口)

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