Unfi Saturday Market: Healthy food and brands for cheap!

Hey guys,

So my co-worker told me about this mysterious healthy grocery sale behind the Home Depot parking lot, that I now know as the Unfi Saturday Market. I tried to wake up for it last week, but alas, the alarm lost its battle and I didn’t wake up.

IMG_1014

This week, I managed to wake up at 7:30AM on Saturday along with my boyfriend, and we drove to the parking lot. We had no idea where to go. My co-worker’s instructions were super vague, but honestly, looking online revealed nothing about a sale either, so we drove around in circles. He did tell us that we should get there at 8:30AM though if we wanted the good sales. That gave us time to wander around aimlessly.

IMG_1003

Then we saw it. People started forming a line outside a warehouse. We weren’t quite sure if it was the right place (12757 Vulcan Way, Richmond), but most of the people in line were either in yoga gear, or were old asian grannies who looked like they could spot a good sale. So we decided to park the car and stand in line. We felt inadequate, with our one reusable shopping bag. People had carts, cooler bags, crates, and were basically standing at the ready. At 9AM, a super tall guy (who we now know is called Lars) opened the door, and people ran in.

IMG_1010

Lars, the giant who can solve any problem you may have at the market

Lars, the giant who can solve any problem you may have at the market

The sales were pretty good. Okay, so if we’re talking about regular canned Campbell soup which you can basically get at 70¢ a can, then it’s probably expensive. But we got five bags of Happy Planet soups for $7.50. They’re usually $6 a bag, so those are huge savings. Some items weren’t as cheap, especially if you don’t buy in bulk. E.g. Terra chips were $3 a bag. We bought a Camino chili and spice chocolate bar for $2 because we were curious about the flavour. Granted it probably would’ve costed more if we bought it outside, but again, the savings weren’t insane. We got 20 bars of the almond and cranberry Camino chocolates for $10 though (they were $1/bar, if you bought a box of $20, you get half off and thus $10). Again, buy in bulk for best savings.

Here’s was our haul for the day:

We regret not getting more of those cookie chips that’s prominently displayed in the first pic. We went home, opened it, took a bite and regret flooded in. Those Hannamax chips were pure cinnamon goodness. It was $2 a bag, and if you see it, I highly suggest you try it. They had other soup flavours there as well (butternut squash and something else), but to get the bulk deal they had to be of the same type. And we didn’t think we could finish 10 bags of soup by Monday.

We got so little compared to people who wheeled away carts of food. They would get 10 boxes of pistachios or something. It was quite a sight.

One thing to note is that you should check the expiry date on all the items. Our chocolate bars didn’t expire for another year, but we knew that our Happy Planet soups would expire in about 3 days. Same went for that roll of brie cheese we got. The expiration dates vary, so make sure that you’re able to put the food to use within the allotted time.

It’s worth checking out if you’re willing to wake up early on a Saturday. It’s out of the way, so I highly suggest bringing a car!

– Karen

Room Escape Games – G.U.E.S.S. HQ Review

Hey all,

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 11.37.10 PM

Last Wednesday, I went with my co-workers to G.U.E.S.S. HQ. I was excited to be spending some off-work time with my colleagues, but not so excited about another escape the room, live-action game. I was pleasantly surprised at how well done this one was! There’s a lot more tech, room (as in space for you to play in), and creative puzzles to beat compared to other ones! This was because (as an employee explained to us) the CEO behind G.U.E.S.S HQ was a past waterslide amusement park designer. He then tried out other escape the room games, and found them to be lacking. He came up with the idea to hire tech, video game, and set designers to create a game that he thought to be better.

IMG_0989

Located off Gastown, G.U.E.S.S. stands for the Gastown Underground Secret Society Headquarters. Even before actually starting the game, you get immersed. Your email came with a secret password, and they won’t buzz you into the premises without it. After we gave our password, they briefed us through our task to come, and made us sign some waivers.

We chose to do The Heist, one of the two missions available for a G.U.E.S.S. agent. Our goal was to break into a vault, and along the way you’ve really got to work together with your team to manoeuvre your way out successfully. Sadly, we didn’t make it all the way, but we were close.


IMG_0990

What was the interior like? It was easily five times as big as the usual escape the room games in Richmond. They also feature a lot of tech, like laser tripwires. You know in films when you’re like “how did they not see that laser beam?? It was so obvious.” It turns out laser beams are actually really hard to spot. We learned that the hard way. We did purchase a “detecting spray” to help us through, which was basically compressed air and water that can momentarily reveal the red lines that are not usually visible to the naked eye. But even then, it was hard to detect all the lasers.

There were also mechanized keypads all around the rooms, as well as motion sensors. Not going to give anything else away, but it was a pretty cool experience. The whole game lasted about 45 mins, with 15 mins on top of that for briefing and intro. They have small lockers to put away your phones and electronics, but it’s not big, so keep that in mind when you go there.

IMG_0988

One really neat thing about G.U.E.S.S is that once in a while, you can win $1000 if you make the top score after finishing their rooms against other competitors. That’s something that really gets the competition and stakes going! One downside is that G.U.E.S.S. is more expensive than the usual escape the room games. For example, the more popular ones in Richmond are going for about $120 to $142/6 people, whereas ours was about $189/6 people. We bought an online deal, which lowered it to $79 though, so keep your eyes peeled.

I remember when I first when to an live escape the room game at EXIT Canada. Man things have changed.

– Karen

The International Summer Night Market 2015

Hey all, This is more of a comparison post seeing what the International Summer Richmond Night Market is like compared to the Richmond Night Market at Bridgeport. I went to the Bridgeport one last week, and this week, the Summer one! IMG_0891 I started saturday with the Whitecaps game against Real Salt Lake yesterday! It was great being back in BC Place to cheer on our team— it was my first game of the season in which I actually went to the stadium. The other games, I had watched on TV. I really missed the atmosphere and it was definitely a lot more nail-biting watching it live!

Whitecaps selfies. Erik Hurtado was signing!

Whitecaps selfies. Erik Hurtado was signing!

Afterwards for dinner, we decided we’d go to the night market. I refused to pay another $2.75 to go to the Richmond Night Market near Bridgeport so we went to the International Summer Night Market. It wasn’t a big hassle, especially as my friend W. drove. How does it rate compared to the Bridgeport one?

Less crowded food stall area

Less crowded food stall area

There was definitely less people in general, which also probably led to there being less stalls— both eating ones and shopping ones. However, the lines are a lot shorter, and you get food faster. There is a smaller range in the variety of food: for example, the Bridgeport one had feverish stalls (more?) that sold solely beverages. In the Summer Night Market, there was more like two? One and a half. They only had one stall that specialized in bubble tea. They did have three that made hurricane potatoes though. IMG_0881 In general, prices were slightly cheaper, especially if you took the time to look around. My boyfriend and I each had a plate of Takoyaki. It was $3 for 4 pieces. There was another stall that sold it for $5 for 6 pieces or something (and that stall had more variety. You could have something other than just octopus), but we just wanted to fulfill our takoyaki cravings. At the Bridgeport one, the cheapest takoyakis we could find were about $5.50 for 6 pieces. Drinks in general were also cheaper, and honestly, I’d say you’d be saving if you ate at the Summer Night Market. You just have to be willing to sacrifice a bit of choice. IMG_0888 A quick sec to give a shoutout to Mr and Mrs Poppins! Such a cute couple, and we bought a bag of their seaweed furikake popcorn and walked around munching on it for the rest of the night. $2! And very interesting flavours. I’d highly suggest you go by since they have samples of their flavours for you to try! IMG_0876 The stalls were honestly not very interesting. But then again, I don’t love the stalls at the Bridgeport one either. If you wanted your cell phone cases, socks, and jewellery stalls, the Summer one also has them. Just less. But they’ve got less quirky stalls, making it a little less entertaining. IMG_0890 We ended up eating our food while watching people perform on stage. And then there was a competition for the people in the crowd to go up and do a series of challenges. One of our friends went up and automatically got free Krispy Kreme donuts! Anyhow, I still think the Summer Night Market is a great place to spend a night and just have street food and look at stalls. You’ll probably be done making a lap around it faster than the Bridgeport one, but hey, it’s free entry! Plus, less crowded 🙂

– Karen
Panda Market Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

EXIT Canada

Have you ever played escape the room games? If you haven’t here’s one of the first ones that I played way back then. Excuse the graphics because it is quite old, but if you wanted something better in terms of quality, feel free to just Google up something! There are loads of these games.

Basically, an escape the room games places the player in a room. There is usually a locked door, and using clues around the room, you have to work your way through the room to find a key or a passcode which leads you to your freedom.

I found out from a friend a while ago that in Richmond, they made one of these games…in real life. EXIT Canada.

What does this entail? I went a few days ago with my friends. You get to choose which adventure you would want to experience: a sunken ship, an egyptian one, a prison escape, or a laboratory escape. We chose the sunken ship.

I can’t go into details since that would be giving the game away, but you do have to go through more than one room. The room is not big (which is probably why they only allow parties of 6 people max), but I liked it. It is themed around a ship, and when you walk into the first room, you pick up a piece of paper telling you your backstory.

We had to open several locked boxes and such to get the code for the first room, and that included quite a bit of problem solving. You are allowed two hints and we used it all in the first room. We spent a good chunk of our allotted 45 minutes in that first room, so needless to say, we failed the overall challenge. Time really flies by. However, it was definitely an experience!

It’s not the easiest of places to get to, but once you get to Lansdowne station, it’s about a 15 minutes walk away. If you’re carrying stuff, they have storage cupboards for you to drop off your stuff (it locks, and you keep the key for the duration of your game). The staff is nice, and my overall experience was enjoyable. It costs around $23 a person, and the rate of the game goes up overall as you add more people to your group. I didn’t expect the most amazing theatrical experience, and thought that the rooms were well decorated. You reserve your time slot online, but don’t have to pay till you get there. If you’re looking for something new to do, you can go check out EXIT Canada!

-Karen

Richmond Night Market: expensive street food land

Hey all!

So I went to the Richmond Night Market (the one near Bridgeport station on the Canada line), and I blew a fortune on food.

For those of you who don’t know, the night market is a place where lots of stalls are set up and rented away to vendors to sell their merchandise. You get a lot of asian clothes, jewellery, and even the occasional apocalypse supplies stall. The goods they sell are relatively cheap, and you get a taste of Asia. Then, there are the food vendors.

To be honest, a lot of people only go to the night market for asian food. If you’ve ever been to Hong Kong or its surrounding cities in Asia, you can guess what these food stalls look like. They’re very much like street food you’d find in HK, except here, it’s concentrated into 3 lines of stalls. It’s jam packed with people, but you also find amazing food prepared right in front of your eyes. Downside? You end up spending a fortune because everything is in small portions and it takes a while for you to get full.

So here are some of the things I ate yesterday…

Oikos gave out free yogurt! At first, I stopped to see why everyone was lining up for yogurt. I mean, of all things to eat at the night market, you’d wonder why anyone would get yogurt. But then I realized that Oikos is found in supermarkets, so that would be like Nestlé opening a stand at the night market– which didn’t make sense. And then we found out they were giving away free yogurt.

This year, the night market near Bridgeport had a duck theme– probably as tribute to the giant floating duck stopping by Hong Kong. It was cute, but a bit random. And very hard to explain to people why they chose that theme. I tried with my friend, beginning with “Well, you know, Asians, ducks….” I kind of trailed off because I didn’t know how to end that sentence. But regardless, we took a few pictures with these culturally themed ducks, as well as the huge inflatable one.

They do have a competition going on where you can win a trip to anywhere in the world. They also have a wishing well for anyone who wanted to pay $5 for a duck, all proceeds going to the BC Cancer Foundation. Like the other night market, they too had performances. We saw some fire dancers there, and some musical acts. Oh talking about music, they have the most interesting choice of songs blaring on their speakers around the market. It’s all very diverse, jumping from English songs, to Korean pop music, to Chinese ones.

Bring plenty of cash if you’re going, because it is cash only! Go on an empty stomach if you want to try as many of the stalls a possible, but go on a decent one if you don’t want to go broke. Reminder that admission is $2! I almost forgot we had to pay to get in because I was so used to the old night market where it was free!

-Karen