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Noche Flamenca Comes To Havana Theatre

28 Jun

If you have not experienced flamenco dance, you are truly missing out on an amazing experience. The music, the raw emotion, the dance, the storytelling, it’s like being transported to another world. If you wish to check it out, you are in luck as you don’t have to travel far. This July you can catch Noche Flamenca at Havana Theatre, 1212 Commercial Drive. The show will feature the most established Flamenco artists in the city who are continuing the legacy of Vancouver’s Flamenco scene that began at the legendary Kino almost 30 years ago. You are invited to come experience the rhythm, passion and power of this Spanish music and dance tradition. There are several upcoming shows with the first one kicking things off on July 2nd. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. To reserve your table and tickets, visit Havana Theatre.

Pandora Park Summer Market June 30

20 Jun

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House and Vines Art Festival invite you to the Pandora Park Summer Market happening Wednesday, June 30th. You can find fresh produce, local art as well as some creative workshops. The market happens in the southeast corner of Pandora Park, 2325 Franklin Street, between 3:00 – 6:00 pm.

Cheese Making Workshop: Mozzarella, Burrata & Bocconcini June 18, 2021

8 Jun

If you are craving an in person event, the Italian Cultural Centre is hosting a Cheese Making Workshop on Friday, June 18th. The focus of this workshop will be on making mozzarella, burrata and bocconcini. The class is led by Paula Maddison who is based on Gabriola Island and has extensive experience in cheesemaking. Paula will teach you the lost art of cheesemaking and show you some of the secrets in making these Italian cheeses in this demonstration class. The workshop will be held in one of the halls at the Italian Cultural Centre and only a limited number of tickets will be available to ensure it is a socially distanced event. Tickets are $110 for this 2 hour class and available directly from the Italian Cultural Centre.

National Donut Day June 4th: Where To Find Great Donuts In East Van

31 May

National Donut Day is this Friday, June 4th. In honour of that, we thought we’d highlight where we can find some great donuts in East Van. Specifically independent shops as we all know Tim Hortons and where you can find one. Outside of that, there are some obvious choices like Lucky’s Doughnuts, Cartems Donuts and long standing Duffin’s Donuts which has sealed a place in Vancouver’s collective history. New on the scene for us is Mello located near Chinatown which we have yet to try, but are looking forward to stopping in soon.

What we wanted to find were some spots in East Van that didn’t automatically come to mind when you think of donuts. One of those for us is Breka Bakery which has an apple fritter that is hefty in size and easily sharable between two, or not. Breka has a changing variety of donuts on hand, but the filled ones with apricot or raspberry filling are pretty delish. The added bonus of Breka is that no matter what time of the day or night you get a craving for a donut, they are open 24/7.

Next up is Swiss Bakery which we hear posted some fun flavours the other day like Maple Bacon bits with Custard, Walnut and Rose Petals with Chocolate Ganache, London Fog and Lavender with Custard, Chocolate Long John, Lemon Glazed, Chocolate Pearls and Peanut Butter and Jam. Low and behold they sold out quickly, but you are in luck, they will be available this week until Friday, June 4th. Don’t want to miss out on some of these great flavours and if you want to be sure you don’t, you can place in order online. Visit them at Swiss Bakery.

If Cartems is your go to spot, we learnt that they are offering a unique flavour this week, Sour Apple. It’s being billed as the ‘perfect mix of sweet and tart’. It’s a cake donut with green apple glaze topped with green apple chip. If this speaks to you, Sour Apple is only available till this Sunday, June 6th.

Did we miss your favourite spot? Drop us a line anytime.

Photo Credit: Swiss Bakery

Spring Dessert Virtual Class With Chef Giulia Lombardo March 28th

21 Mar

Giulia Lombardo invites you to join her for a virtual cooking class this Sunday, March 28th. In this 1 hour class, Giulia will show you how to prepare a delicious English trifle dessert with an Italian twist. You will learn step-by-step how to make a trifle that’s layered with lemon curd, vanilla cake, Chantilly cream and fresh peaches. Before your virtual class, you will receive the full Trifle recipe by email with the ingredients and your shopping list. During the virtual class, Giulia will provide step-by-step instructions on how to create this delish dessert. If on the other hand you prefer to watch the video and make the trifle after at your own pace, you have that option as well. This virtual class is by donation with a suggested price of $20 per person. A portion of the ticket sales will be donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. To register, visit Eventbrite. You can also visit Giulia on Instagram @justguiliaa to see what else she’s been creating these days.

If want to try another fun creative recipe over Spring Break that’s easy to make at home, check out Giulia’s recent feature on ETalk.

Valentine’s Day Cheese Tasting Event For Two – SOLD OUT

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.

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)

Buy Local This Holiday Season

26 Nov

We don’t have to tell you it’s been a rough year for small business. On recently updating our Places We Love listing, we were saddened to remove some favourite spots no longer in business like Doctor Vigari Gallery and The Flower Box. These were two long time staples on Commercial Drive. As you’ve likely heard, it’s important to shop local this holiday season if you wish to see these businesses on the other side of the pandemic. We have always been passionate about supporting our local business community and wish to remind folks these local businesses are the ones that provide donations for your school fundraisers, sports clubs and other community events. Now they need YOU.

Local business woman and social entrepreneur, Elizabeth McKitrick, who owns Second Nature Home in Cedar Cottage, was recently featured on CTV News discussing her thoughts on shopping local. McKitrick said she’s hoping people “just don’t go to Amazon.” “It’s like a black hole, really, for cash,” she said. “It’s going into Jeff Bezo’s pocket. He’s the wealthiest person in the world, and I just think, ‘Why?’ We have other ways of helping out communities.” And if you missed the recent CBC Marketplace episode showing where all your Amazon returns go, you may wish to enlighten yourself.

When gift shopping this holiday season, you have the opportunity to make a difference and support those makers and creators living among us. They are those micro businesses, side gigs and entrepreneurs trying to stay afloat and stores like McKitrick’s support these businesses. So instead of lining the pockets of the richest man in the world, how about lining the pocket of your neighbour down the street or across town?

To give you a starting point, we’ve set out a few of our favourite stores for shopping local in East Van. One of the many reasons we likes these stores is because they all support other local artisans, makers and small business.  So visit them in person or online and see what items they have that might make that perfect gift for someone special this holiday season.

Second Nature Home

Second Nature Home is a home décor boutique located at 3565 Commercial Street in Cedar Cottage.  The store has a wide range of items outside of home décor including  jewellery, gifts for the foodie in your life, something cute for the new baby or new mom and much more. They are open Tuesday to Saturday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sundays from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. They will also be open till 8:00 on Wednesday in December.

Plenty + Spare

Plenty + Spare is located at 2168 East Hasting Street. It’s easy to miss by the smells of their neighbour Delish Gluten Free Bakery which can draw you in by your nose literally, but do stop into Plenty + Spare. They create an array of beautiful handmade bath and beauty products and stock a number of other items perfect for gift giving. Added bonus, they’ve just updated their website for online shopping and offer store pick up as well as free shipping for orders over $60.

Giving Gifts

Giving Gifts is a beautiful space located at 4570 Main Street. The store tucked between 30th & 29th Avenue is made of up 5 rooms packed with items from over 100 local as well as fair trade artists from around the world.  It is a gift giving boutique so you will easily be able to pick up a few gifts for just about any age. They are open Monday to Saturday from Noon to 6:00 pm and Sundays Noon to 5:00 pm.

Jackson’s General Store

Jackson’s General Store located at 1490 Kingsway (at Dumfries) near Knight Street. This space is the epitome of cool with a distinct retro vibe. Store owner, Mike Jackson, has created an eclectic mix of unique items in store which features clothing, gourmet food, books and if you are looking for a candy fix that is a blast from the past, this is your spot. Jackson’s General Store has also created some Care Boxes which support local brands and can be delivered to your door. Jackson’s General Store is open Monday to Saturday 11:00 am to 5:30 pm and Sundays 12:00 to 5:00 pm.

The Coast Goods

The Coast Goods has just opened their doors in the last couple of months. They are located at 1302 Victoria Drive. This is great neighbourhood shop that focuses ethically sourced home decor and giftware again supporting our local independent artisans. They are open Tuesday to Sunday, closed Mondays. Be sure to check them out and give them a follows on Instagram.

Olive & Wild

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this beautiful shop located at 4391 Main Street. They have an amazing array of home decor items and lots of great things on hand for gift giving. They feature local as well as international artists. Olive & Wild is open 7 days a week.

Why we should Shop Local.

For every $100 you spend with a local business, $46 is re-circulated back into the BC economy (vs $18 for multi nationals). Small business re-circulates 2.6 times more revenue in the local economy as do chains. 

One Seed One Community Project: 2021 Growing Season

25 Nov

The Grandview Woodland Community Seed Library has a new initiative for 2021 that will be run virtually in light of COVID-19. The aim is to teach people how to grow food and save seeds. Those that participate will have the opportunity to learn about planting, harvesting and the seed saving process. Organizers have selected four things to grow that do well in containers so if you don’t have a yard or garden, you will still have the opportunity to participate from your apartment balcony. Participants will learn to grow Oregon Sugar Pod Peas, Lacinato Kale, Little Red Pear Tomatos and Purple Peacock Beans.

To be eligible to participate in this project, you must live in Grandview Woodland, Strathcona, Hastings Sunrise, Mount Pleasant, Kensington-Cedar Cottage or Renfrew-Collingwood. You must also have a personal email address, access to email and internet to be able to receive information and support over the growing season. To learn more, visit One Seed One Community.

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