Whether you’re working, seeking work, going to school, figuring out your next move, taking care of family members, retired or just trying to get through this thing called life, a quick treat during the day provides a nice pick-me-up.
Here’s a list of five quick bites and sips that cost $15 or under.
In the past, this list might have been for items $10 and under, but thanks to inflation, supply chain woes and general havoc caused by the pandemic, $15 is now the cutoff.
Yuzu 4 U
Dandelion Teahouse & Apothecary
109 W. Seventh St., Vancouver; 360-718-7642; www.dandelionteahouse.com
The good vibes alone make going to this downtown Vancouver teahouse worthwhile. At Dandelion Teahouse and Apothecary, daughter-and-mother team Kat Stein and Marianne Wilson Stein have created a welcoming oasis filled with teas, herbal medicine, local artwork and little treasures. The monthly menu fluctuates but always yields fascinating tea-based sippers. May’s menu included the Yuzu 4 U ($4.75) made with hojicha powder, yuzu syrup and milk served over ice.
Hojicha is a roasted green tea that has a mild sweet and smoky flavor. For the Yuzu 4 U, hojicha powder is whisked (like matcha powder) then added to the drink to create a layered look. The yuzu syrup adds a bright citrus. Oat milk goes well with the flavors in this drink.
Strawberry Milk Tea with Sea Foam and Golden Boba
1125 S.E. 163rd Place, Suite 103, Vancouver; 360-314-6542; www.facebook.com/DingTeaVancity
This locally owned shop is part of a Taiwanese drink company with stores all over the world. My first experience with Ding Tea was at the shop on North Williams in Portland where they post the “secret” menu on the wall near the cash register. I got a not-so-secret Cap’n Crunch drink there with ube, strawberry flavor, and cheese foam that I won’t soon forget.
I was pleased to find an east Vancouver outpost of this high-quality tea company. The strawberry milk tea tastes ($6.95 regular size with sea cream and golden boba) like strawberry shortcake modified to be sipped through a thick straw. The sea foam, a creamy topping with a bit of salt, adds another layer of texture and flavor. I like golden boba in this drink because it’s infused with honey. The typical black boba is cooked in a brown sugar solution. I prefer the taste of honey in this drink.
Vegan Kale Bowl
OMW Uptown Market
207 E. McLoughlin Blvd., Vancouver; 360-859-3011; www.omwuptownmarket.com
The words “vegan kale bowl” ($14) don’t excite most people. Maybe this dish at the recently opened OMW (On My Way) Market should instead be called “rainbow of yum bowl.” It includes spiced lentils, edamame, carrots, radishes and sunflower seeds tossed in lemon juice and tahini. The market also offers other grab-and-go goodies like a hearty chicken bowl ($14) with saffron rice, mixed beans, roasted tomatoes, greens and fresh herb chimichurri, as well as a turkey sandwich ($9) with pesto, sun dried tomatoes, Mama Lil’s Peppers and pepper jack cheese on Kalama sourdough bread.
219 Pioneer St., Ridgefield; 360-818-3687; sugarsbarbecue.com/bbq-trailer
Owner and pitmaster Lynnae Oxley-Loupe won top accolades in barbecue contests, appeared on TV shows “Chopped,” “BBQ Brawl” and “BBQ Pitmasters” before opening her barbecue truck at Carts by the Park in Ridgefield.
Sugars Barbecue offers chopped brisket, pulled pork, chicken, ribs and a new spicy chicken sandwich. I appreciate the simple but exquisite presentation of the cart’s barbecued meats. The half-pound sliced brisket ($15) comes with barbecue sauce and pickles. The smoky tender beef sings under the influence of the sweet and tangy sauce. Adding slices of the vinegary pickled cucumbers and onions provides the perfect bite.
219 Pioneer St., Ridgefield; 360-488-8752; www.instagram.com/sushikato_wa
Sushi Kato recently opened in the Carts by the Park pod in Ridgefield. Don’t get all worked up about the idea of a sushi burrito because it really isn’t a burrito made of sushi. No tortilla, cheese or beans are involved. It’s more like a long sushi roll that didn’t get sliced into pieces. I guess calling it a sushi log wouldn’t be much better.
At Sushi Kato, burritos are fish (raw and/or cooked) and veggies rolled in nori, encased in an outer layer of rice and crispy rice. On my visit, the special was the spider roll burrito ($15). It came with fried soft shell crab, romaine lettuce, cucumber matchsticks, avocado, spicy mayo and cream cheese rolled into a nori shell covered in sushi rice and crispy rice bits — a spectrum of flavors punctuated with crunchy, creamy and chewy textures.
This is just a start. Email your favorite quick picks, tips and everything else food and drink related to firstname.lastname@example.org.