The Lunch Lady: Worth the Wait!

Pork Belly & Vermicelli with Spring Rolls

Mama Izumi and I started out our Sunday picking up a pair of Vessis that I found on Facebook Marketplace. Bur we were about to embark on another foodie adventure! Originally, we had discussed going out for Korean, but the FB seller lived near Commercial Drive, so I said, “Let’s go to the Lunch Lady!” and Mamma was like, “Okay!”

The Lunch Lady is nestled in the heart of the Drive at 1046 Commercial Drive in East Vancouver.

Mama is usually game for any kind of restaurant that I suggest. We are foodies and this was our first time which was exciting for both of us. We had tried to dine here before, but the wait for a table was 45 minutes.

Mama Izumi
Mama Izumi – my foodie cohort

Today we were lucky! We found parking right beside the Lunch Lady and although there was a line-up, we arrived 5 minutes before they opened.

An airy space brightly lit, renovated bar and chrome table tops awaited us with a comfortable ambiance, filled with awesome music from artists like Drake. Friendly staff greeted us and served us throughout our meal. We ordered their Beef Pho and Pork Belly with Vermicelli and spring rolls. OMG, the pork belly was full of umami (Japanese for tasty)!

Beef Pho
The Lunch Lady’s Yummy Beef Pho!

Everything was fresh and full of flavour. Mama and I highly recommend the Lunch Lady and will definitely go back.

We would also like to thank Jasmine and all the staff for their attentiveness and great customer service!

Mayumi Izumi - Local Promoter
Mayumi Izumi – Local Promoter, Digital Creator

If you would like to learn more about the Lunch Lady follow them on their Instagram or make reservations on their website.

Local Small Business Feature Series — Oenomel Chocolates’ First Year Anniversary

Oenomel Chocolates Small Business Feature

Welcome to Fashion INVESTIGATOR INC.’s new Small Business Feature Series. Vancouver based, Oenomel Chocolates, is the first business to be featured and just in time to celebrate their first year anniversary.

Oenomel is a Greek word that means sweetness and strength. It’s what Melody hopes her chocolates bring to people.

I met Melody Hu, founder of Oenomel Chocolates on Instagram. I was intrigued by this lovely, ambitious organic chocolatier and started following her profile. She has graciously invited me to her local events but unfortunately, my schedule has not allowed me to attend thus far. My fingers are crossed that I will be able to join her next one!

Melody Hu Founder of Oenomel Chocolates
Melody Hu, Founder of Oenomel Chocolates

M: When did you open your business?

MH: I launched my business on February 24th, 2021. So, in a way, my business is my Valentine. I have so much passion and love for it!

M: Did you always want to own your own business?

MH: I have always dreamt of building a brand that incorporates values, such as craftsmanship, sustainability, and wellness. And using that brand as a tool to create wealth for my loved ones.

M: Where are you from? If you moved to Vancouver, why did you move here?

MH: I was born in China and spent my childhood both in Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China, and Auckland, where sheep outnumber humans. I finished high school and got my Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where I studied Neuroscience and started my first venture, a macaroon startup business. And gradually, I fell in love with this city and decided that I wanted to build my business and home here.

M: What was your inspiration for your business? 

MH: I wanted to create a product that incorporates health, wellness, and craftsmanship. I chose chocolates because there are too many sweets that are unhealthy. They tend to be filled with saturated fats and harmful amounts of sugar. I only use natural ingredients and organic, fair-trade chocolates that are sweet and delicious.

Blood Orange & Almond Oenomel Chocolate
Blood Orange & Almond Blood Oenomel Chocolate

M: What did you do before opening your business?

MH: After graduating from UBC, I worked as an intern in a stem cell research company in Vancouver and then in business development for an international law firm in Shenzhen, China. I gained invaluable experience from both jobs.

M: If you were in a different industry, did you enjoy your former career?

Looking back, I did enjoy my former careers. When I worked in the law firm, I had guidance, and learned to work with others in a team. These are lessons that I have brought to start and develop my own company as an entrepreneur.

M: Would you advise others to pursue a degree before opening their own business?

MH: I was glad that I got a degree before opening my own business. University was an experience beyond what I chose for my major. I learned to learn, I gained mentorship from professors who have expertise in their field, and I joined clubs where I made lifelong friends.

University life has a lot to offer if you embrace it. There are many famous successful entrepreneurs who don’t have a post-secondary degree, so it is possible to succeed in business without a degree.

But you should know yourself and know what environment and path are best suited for your career development. And no matter which path you choose, you have to believe in yourself, have confidence, and never give up.

Oenomel Valentine's gourmet truffles and bonbons
Oenomel Valentine’s gourmet truffles and bonbons

M: What would your advice to future owners with dreams of owning their own business be?

MH: See the value in yourself and your business and bring these values to people you wish to serve.

Work hard, understand and love yourself–Do these things well, and extend it to your employees.

Don’t stop learning, don’t be afraid to try new things and fail.

Never give up. There’s always a way to succeed.

M: Do you have a philosophy in life or a famous quote you would like to share with everyone?

MH: “Dream big, start small, begin now.” — Robin Sharma, The 5 AM Club

MILESTONES

Oenomel Chocolates is celebrating its first year anniversary on February 24 and although it is a a startup business, it gives back to the Metro Vancouver community.

In December 2021. Oenomel Chocolate organized a fundraising event and raised 200 CAD for a non-profit organization to distribute food to insecure communities.

Over 20 local musicians, artists, and businesses participated, and over 100 guests joined us for a beautiful Warm Company and Wine Evening. It was an event worth remembering.

In 2022, Oenomel Chocolate continues to support charities with good causes. We will be organizing fundraising events and making donations to charity through the sales of some of our products.

If you would like to learn more about Oenomel products please visit their website and support them by following their on IG and FB.

Mayumi & Mama Izumi’s Foodie Adventures — Fets Whisky Kitchen

Fets Whisky Kitchen

Welcome to my new series, Mayumi & Mama Izumi’s Foodie Adventures! Today marks my first installment and I’m very excited to write about Fets Whiskey Kitchen. It was my second and Mama’s first time at the yummy eatery and bar.

Located in East Vancouver’s Little Italy on ‘the Drive’, Fets is nestled beside Havana and across the street from Grandview Park.

Mama and I ordered their Country Fried Steak and the Cooper’s Breakfast. Fets’ Country Fried Steak is crispy on the outside and the organic meat is moist and tender on the inside — the best I’ve had. It is accompanied by Maker’s Mark Bourbon white gravy, rosemary biscuit & bread, sunny side up egg, hashbrowns (with sauteed onions), and a dash of greens (with pickled onions). Delish!

Fets' Country Fried Steak and Cooper's Breakfast
Fets’ Country Fried Steak and Cooper’s Breakfast

The Cooper’s Breakfast is so tasty that my mouth is watering reliving my memories of it. It is comprised of braised local pork, black beans, sunny egg, and cornbread. All the flavours in both dishes enhance rather than compete with each other. It is gourmet comfort food and my gourmand compliments go to the chef.

Not only am I a foodie, but also a coffee connoisseur. Fets did not disappoint. They serve Western Canadian, Canterbury coffee that is filled with multi levels of roasted flavour notes.

Canterbury coffee at Fets Whisky Kitchen
Canterbury coffee at Fets Whisky Kitchen

A definite must if you haven’t already had the pleasure to nom at this wonderful Commercial Drive restaurant. Besides the yummy eats, the customer service is also top notch and they have a heated patio. Need I say more?

If you would like to learn more about Fets Whisky Kitchen follow them on their Instagram.

I AM Grateful …

I'm Grateful

I am GRATEFUL …

I am grateful for so many things but top of mind — Mama Izumi, Big Sis and a certain someone who has recently come back into my life …

I risk “scaring” him off if he reads this blog BUT I guess that’s the risk I take for expressing my thoughts in the moment.

This moment is sooo delicious too … Leave it to a foodie to describe time with a food adjective. Hahaha … I’ve got my ear buds plugged into YouTube music and Shawn Mendes’ song, “In My Blood” and I’m feeling really happy.

Sooo back to gratefulness and this certain someone … We are supposed to go on a date today. I have the perfect outfit picked out too. My thrifty finds that I purchased from a Facebook Marketplace seller yesterday — sleeveless white & blue blouse that ties in the back with a teardrop opening $5.00 and stretchy jeans with a proper waist $8.00 (I hate low-waisted pants – they give me muffin top – yuck!).

We recently reconnected on Facebook and exchanged numbers and spoke on the phone a couple of times. Almost every time I think about him I get butterflies … Awww … I’m such a girl. Hahaha ….

This blog is going to be short and sweet like ME. I shall end this here for: 1) fear that he will read this and I may reveal TOO MUCH and 2) I will continue this later and let y’all know what happens …

Question is — WILL HE ACTUALLY CALL TODAY …. Fingers crossed, Babes.