Pandemic Pivot Creates Roman & Ash Design

24 Jan

2020 was a year of change and challenge for many.  With it also brought new opportunities and new ways of looking at things.  We’ve seen a few creative pivots due to the pandemic we’d like to share with our readers.  First up, Johnny Defazio of Roman & Ash Design.

Johnny creates handmade wooden shelf units perfect for Vancouver’s often tight living spaces.   In March of 2020, Johnny lost his decade long executive job right before his second son, Ashton, was born. So pandemic hits and he’s a family man with 2 young children to support, Roman 3 ½ years old and Ashton 5 months old, what do you do?

Johnny chose quickly to pivot and ditch the suit & tie for a saw and wood. He already had a great space to work in and a passion for using tools. So last Spring he started creating some fun and unique designs in his garage. He started with small hexagon shelf units, then he started rolling out triangles and unique corner shelf units. Over the Christmas holiday season, he created white wash stars which were a big hit. Soon came the requests for custom work which requests continue to roll in.  

Johnny is also now creating wooden hearts in a white wash which can be personalized to display someone’s name or a small phrase. We think that could make a unique personalized gift for someone’s birthday or maybe even Valentine’s Day. Just sayin. You’ll see we’ve included photos of a number of Johnny’s designs. We invite you to give Johnny a follow on Instagram @johnny_defazio. Of course, feel free to reach out to him directly with any custom orders to requests for information.  As always, support local when and where you can.

Valentine’s Day Cheese Tasting Event For Two

22 Jan

Like many things this past year, Valentine’s Day will be a little different. Whether you believe in the ‘day’ or not, there’s no harm in showing some love to those you care about whether that’s your partner or a close friend. For us cheese, wine, chocolate and bread is just a little piece of heaven. With that in mind, we wanted to share a fun event the good folks at les amis du FROMAGE are hosting. It is a virtual Facebook Live event hosted by Allison Spurrell. Les amis du FROMAGE will set you up with a tasting kit to pick up just prior to Valentine’s Day which includes:

Cheese (8 types)
Crackers
Chez Christophe flutes
Accompaniments 
Kasama Karkar Island dark chocolate bar
Tasting menu

The Facebook Live event runs for one hour. Cost is $95 for your kit loaded with delish goodies which will be available for pick up from the East Vancouver store on 3 different days. Note, wine is not included but they do have some recommendations for you. Cut off for ticket purchase is February 7th. To grab your ticket, or get more information visit, les amis du FROMAGE.

East Van’s Housewives Of Hip Hop Kicking It On Tik Tok

17 Jan

Truth be told, we are not big fans of reality TV shows and even the mention of the housewives shows make our eyes glaze over. Then something caught our eye on a scroll through Instagram recently and we were hooked, East Van’s very own Housewives of Hip Hop.   These ladies we can get behind.  They are 6 moms brought together by their love of dance and having fun. Along their journey, they have built meaningful friendships as an added bonus.

It all started 6 years ago when the moms were dropping their kids off at Boogaloo Academy for a dance class. The ladies decided the kids were having all the fun and they wanted in on some of that. Soon after, the owner of Boogaloo Academy, Jheric Hizon, taught them some hip hop moves which they then performed at a studio year end dance and that’s where the journey took off.  In 2018, they entered some dance competitions in the “adult street dance” category and next thing you know, the ladies won 2 silver medals and invites to perform at the WestCoast Women’s Show and the Victoria Women’s Show.

So who are the women behind the Housewives of Hip Hop?  There are 6 women in total, Kerrie, Mirella, Alexa, Jen, Julie and Natalie.  Due to COVID-19 restrictions, they have been unable to dance as a group in studio, so 3 of the East Van moms who live close to each other have been dancing in back lanes, carports and parks in various parts of East Van getting their grove on to some great tunes. For those who danced their way through the 80s and 90s, you’ll recognize a number of songs. The music takes us back to a much simpler time in life, a lot to be said for that in a pandemic.

To date, the Housewives of Hip Hop have 2.7 million views on TikTok. You can check them out there, or give them a follow on Instagram @thehousewivesofhophop to cheer them on. Most video clips are 12 -15 seconds.

The Housewives of Hip Hop also have a message they wish to share with women of all ages. Find something that brings you joy.  They would like to inspire others to be true themselves, have fun and follow their passions.  They have secretly found theirs.

Photos & Video: Courtesy of The Housewives Of Hip Hop

It’s Back …. Do You Want What I’ve Got? A Craigslist Cantata Returns Feb 5-7, 2021

11 Jan

Did you miss The Cultch’s presentation of A Craigslist Cantata in November? You are in luck, it’s back for a short run February 5 – 7, 2021. If you haven’t already heard about this fun virtual show it’s your personal ads set to music and streamed to your living room. You are invited to join a cast of wild and wacky characters from the Craigslist community as they attempt to buy and sell online, all the while longing and searching for human connection. Do You Want What I’ve Got? A Craigslist Cantata. The production touches on social isolation and is live-streamed from The Cultch’s Historic Theatre. You can expect a witty and poignant exploration of physical distancing along with original songs such as 300 Stuffed PenguinsChili Eating Buddy and Decapitated Dolls. The production features the incredibly talented local cast including, Meaghan ChenoskyJosh EpsteinChirag NaikAmanda SumAndrew Wheeler and choreography by Amanda Testini. The production is written by the talented Veda Hille, Bill Richardson and Amiel Gladstone. Tickets start from $29 for a 1 viewer household and $58 for a 2 viewer household. To grab your ticket(s), visit The Cultch.

Exhibition & Book Launch The Poetry Project – Parker Art Salon January 7 – 31, 2021

8 Jan

ParkerArtSalon in collaboration with Beedie Luminaries is hosting a new Poetry Project Exhibition and Book Launch at the new GALLERY GEORGE at 990 George Street, directly across from Parker Street Studios.

Beedie Luminaries students were invited to participate in this Project by submitting a work of poetry, inspired by a selection of art provided by the ParkerArtSalon. The poems will be exhibited with the corresponding artwork by the Parker artists. The result makes for two completely different creative ventures.  The aim is to encourage viewers to slow down as the words expand upon a visual idea, providing a more personal experience with the art.

Connecting the dots: Throughout the exhibition which runs January 7 to 31, pink dots will indicate select pieces of artwork, proceeds of which will be shared with BC Women’s Health Foundation. To view the art is free, but you must book a time slot through Eventbrite.

The poetry project books will be available for purchase at George Gallery, 990 George Street for $25.00.

Looking For Something To Do? Murals In Mount Pleasant Await You Anytime

29 Dec

If you have a little extra time on your hands this week and are looking for something to do, we have an idea that’s free and outdoors. If you haven’t yet wandered the murals that are dotted around Mount Pleasant, we highly recommend it. The Vancouver Mural Festival may be over for 2020, but the amazing art is there for you to see anytime. Just bundle up, maybe grab a hot drink from a local business to keep warm while wandering. The local businesses will appreciate your support and you won’t be disappointed by the art. Here’s a sampling of what you will see, but the photos don’t do it justice. We recommend checking them out in person.

Merry Christmas, Buon Natale, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Frohe Weihnachten East Vancouver

25 Dec

Merry Christmas

Frohe Weihnachten

Buon Natale

Joyeux Noël

Feliz Navidad

Feliz Natal

Maligayang PaskoSretan Božić

Vrolijk kerstfeest

Wesołych Świąt

Καλά Χριστούγεννα

Missing Santa – A Virtual Event This December

9 Dec

It’s days before Christmas and Santa has disappeared! Detective Bill Jingle is on the case and he searches for help from Santa’s close friends, a talented group of interesting people. Most have not heard from the jolly fella, but a few have clues. Can you solve the riddle of where Santa is before the detective and the elves do?

With magic, music and merriment a partly animated virtual adventure is perfect entertainment for the whole family. No need to worry about COVID restrictions, as all the fun can be had safely from your living room. And if Santa is found, you have the opportunity to purchase a video phone chat with him. HoHoHo. Also, added bonus is that you can watch and re-watch the show as many times as you want between December 18th and December 23rd.

Missing Santa is brought to you by Labmations and David C. Jones Production and is also a fundraiser for the West Coast Kids Cancer Foundation. The foundation creates joy and community for families tackling childhood cancer and blood disorders in British Columbia. They provide daily, practical support for all families going through this journey.

Missing Santa will be available online December 16th through to December 20th. Video calls with Santa are available December 14th through to December 20th. There is no limit to how many people can watch the show together, so you only need to buy one ticket per household. To purchase your ticket, visit Labmations.

Taste of Main: Charcuterie Boards Support Main Street Businesses & The Food Bank

8 Dec

Every once and a while something creative and unique crosses our path that makes us go, yes! Love this! Taste of Main is one of those. What is it exactly? Taste of Main is a not-for-profit run by university students currently living across the country who grew up near Main Street. They wanted to do something to give back this holiday season. They’ve pooled their talents and reached out to partner with Main Street businesses to offer locally-sourced charcuterie boards to be delivered as gifts. They have curated appetizers from a number of Main Street businesses including Swiss Bakery, Goldilocks Bakeshop, Main Street Honey Shoppe, Chef Claire’s, Jasmine Mediterranean Foods, Fine Delectables Charcuterie and Innocent Ice Cream to name a few. Their boards include pastries, breads, cheeses, dips, and spreads. It should be noted vegan and gluten free boards are available. Taste of Main has been designed to bring exposure to the local businesses they love and offer support during these difficult times. 90% of the proceeds are divided between the 10-15 businesses they have partnered with and added bonus is 10% of the funds go to the Vancouver Food Bank. Pre-orders are now available until December 17th. Deliveries and/or COVID-safe pickups will be made on December 23rd. Cost is $75. To place your order, visit Taste of Main.

Updated: Our Favourite East Van Bakeries

1 Dec

With Christmas coming we thought it was time to update our Our Favourite East Van Bakeries. Personally, I think a sugar coma will help us get through the holidays this year. Although in theory, you may have more time to bake, but will you? If you haven’t mastered the art, or some say science of baking, good news, you have lots of great local options. Whether you are craving an Italian pannetone, a German stollen, cheesecake or Christmas cookies, you will be sure to find it locally. Get ready, we’ve set out a long list. Coming from a line of bakers, sourcing out great bakeries just comes natural. Enjoy.

COMMERCIAL STREET

Flourist, 3433 Commercial Street

Is a unique spot with a focus on using 100% traceable grains, beans, and freshly milled flours that support Canadian farmers. All their delish items can be delivered to your door including their flours should you wish to try your hand at baking. Added bonus, they feature quite a few recipes on their website. If you want them to bake, oh you are in for a treat. Many options to choose from including Pumpkin Pie Galette, Butter Tart Bar, Pear Custard Buns, Cinnamon Raisin Bread and so much more. Curbside pick up also available.

COMMERCIAL DRIVE

Bench Bakehouse, 1641 Commercial Drive

On The Drive, but tucked away every so slight in the Il Mercato building at 1st and Commercial is the Bench Bakehouse. You will see it easily enough at the entrance to the Super Valu. They have a great selection of naturally leavened breads and French inspired pastries. If you are looking for some family fun this holiday season, they also have on hand some DIY Gingerbread House and Gingerbread Men Kits.

Seasons Bakery (formerly Bakery Sate), 2879 Commercial Drive

This spot has just recently switched things up and rebranded and added to their team. Eric Ho, Pastry Chef, is still on hand to make delish croissants, artisan breads, scones and cookies.

Fratelli Bakery:  1795 Commercial Drive

This Italian bakery makes one of our favourite things, St. Honore cakes. Others may try and imitate, but personally we think theirs is hands down the best. Why accept imitation, as they say.  They also carry an amazing selection of dessert items.

Oh Sweet Day Bakery, 1706 East 1st Avenue

This sweet shop, literally and figuratively is run by the lovely Fanny Bay, who is a self taught baker and cookbook author. The shop is new to The Drive as of June 2019 and her loyal followers have shown lots of love during the pandemic. Fanny is known for her signature cheesecakes, shortbread cookies and modern buttercream cakes. If you are looking for a delish gift, she is also offering Holiday Cookie Gift Boxes (as pictured above).

Livia, 1399 Commercial Drive

A newer spot on The Drive with a loyal following that makes an array of delish artisan breads and other sweet treats. They have pivoted to offer more meals which are available from their Pick Up window. They’ve also been busy as well making jams available for purchase. We hear the Blackberry Cardamom Jam is a must try.

Uprising Breads Bakery: 1697 Venables Street

This spot is just one block West of Commercial Drive and is most certainly a favourite go to spot for two things. One is Ginger Snaps and the second is pie.  They generally have small and large pies on hand and on Fridays pie is 25% off which means, get their early or they will be all gone. They do have a wide range of sweet and savoury items including delish scones. This East Van staple has been a part of the community for over 40 years.

THE FRASERHOOD

Batard Bakery: 3958 Fraser Street

This is a favourite spot not only for their amazing bread, but something I’ve come to love financiers made from mostly almond flour. They have some amazing individual decadent desserts for taking away or having in, but their seasonal treat that has us excited is a German stolen passed down from Oma’s recipe (translation grandmother for those not up on their German) and yes for the diehard fans, with marzipan.

Breka Bakery:  6533 Fraser Street

I grew up on just about everything from this bakery when it was called Fraser Bakery. It has many German favourites including a variety of strudels, Black Forest Cake, Christmas cookies and a Bee Sting cake or Bienenstich in German which is a white sponge cake with pastry cream in the middle and topped with honey glazed shaved almonds.Delish if you’ve never tried it. One unique thing about Breka, is that they are open 24/7 seven days a week. Don’t let that fool you though, it’s generally a busy spot so be prepared to wait a bit.

Ubuntu Canteen, 4194 Fraser Street

A food savvy reader has brought this spot to our attention located at Fraser & 27th in the old Bows X Arrows space. It’s billed as a restaurant, community space and bakery. We have intel that says this is a spot to hit for organic breads and pastries. For bread lovers, check out the Bread Subscription.

MOUNT PLEASANT

Gluten Free Epicurean: 633 East 15th Avenue

Located in Mount Pleasant at the intersection of Kingsway & Fraser with great neighbours Like Matchstick Coffee and Les Faux Bourgeois. Everything here is made in house and is a 100% gluten free for celiacs and those that are gluten sensitive.  They have an amazing selection of sweet and savoury ready made and frozen. Be sure to check out this quaint little spot.

HASTINGS SUNRISE

Delish (Formerly East Village Bakery): 2166 East Hastings Street

Lots of delish options for sweet and savoury items including scones, cupcakes, cookies and more.  Quinoa is used a number of their baked goods, which is certainly a heathy choice.  They also have some vegan options.

Italia Bakery: 2828 E Hastings Street (#104)

Holy cannoli, this spot has a great selection of Italian sweet treats. You won’t be disappointed. They also have a great selection of cakes at the ready.

Black Rook Bakehouse: 2474 E Hastings Street

This spot is famous for it’s Black & Tan Cake which has been featured as the one of the things you must eat before you die. Really, we aren’t making it up.  They have an amazing selection of desserts, cake and pies.  Did we mention their cakes have names, Harold was a running favourite, but if you happen to catch these cakes featured on social media, best be quick. These cakes don’t tend to last long.

Le Gateau Bakeshop: 3458 East Hastings Street

Tanya Muller is the owner and pastry chef of Le Gateau Bakeshop and we think the creator of some of the most beautiful wedding cakes we’ve ever seen.  Outside of wedding cakes, they carry an array of seasonal sweets cupcakes, tarts and cookies all decadent and beautiful.

Pacific Bread Company, 2086 East Hastings Street

This one is recommended by our followers as a must try. They have a great selection of artisan breads, celebration cake, pastries and a whole lot more including pizza.

JOYCE/COLLINGWOOD

Panaderia Latin Bakery, 4906 Joyce Street

Well this one has crossed our radar before and an Instagram follower reminded us about this sweet shop that specializes in Latin desserts, cakes, pastries, empanadas and breads. If it’s cake you are looking for, the Mango Cake and Dulce De Leche Cakes are recommended.

MAIN STREET

Sweet Thea Bakery Pop Up Shop, 4305 Main Street

If you’ve attended any farmer markets and craft fairs over the holiday season, you will find Sweet Thea Bakery with a whole lot of delish goodness. They offer decadent cookies, stollen, plum pudding and a whole lot more. They are currently set up at a Pop Up Shop at Main & 27th Avenue until December 27th. If you can’t make it person, visit them online, they delivery and a couple of other pick up options.

Swiss Bakery, 143 East 3rd Avenue (just off Main Street)

We’ve been hearing so many great things about the Swiss Bakery and readers reached out to say, they need to be on this list. Although we haven’t made an in person visit yet, their website has lots to get us excited including frissants, carmelized puff tart, stollen and Christmas cookies.

Trafiq Café & Bakery:  4216 Main Street

Trafiq is a chic little café which we’ve only popped into briefly, but we keep hearing great things about this spot and the cakes look to die for. They have a Lemon Lavendar cake that’s caught our eye and sounds amazing. Their Instagram feed is drool worthy honestly. Give them a follow.

NANAIMO STREET

Half Baked Cookie Company, 1211 Nanaimo Street

This one comes recommended from our followers who wrote to us and said Half Baked Cookie Company needs to be on your list. If you love pie, well this is certainly the place to go. The menu is mouth watering and there are some seasonal flavours definitely worth checking out.

ONLINE SHOP

Best Kind Bakeshop, #150-1507 Powell Street

Something else that has landed on our radar is the Best Kind Bakeshop which is an online bakery featuring Chef Mark Burton’s sourdough breads and other baked goods. You can find baguettes, double chocolate rosemary sourdough cookies, cinnamon buns and croissants. To place your order, visit him online at Best Kind Bakeshop.

We hope you’ll support some of these great local businesses this holiday season.

Photo Credit: Oh Sweet Day (Above) + Sweet Thea Bakery (Below)

%d bloggers like this: