Archive | Local Business RSS feed for this section

Petition To Bring Non-Food Vendors Back to BC’s Farmer Markets

23 Feb

One of our favourite vendors at the Vancouver Farmers Market is East Van based The Front Yard Flower. Co. As the name depicts, it initially started with growing flowers in the front yard of Rose Dykstra’s childhood home. Her business has grown substantially over the years and has evolved to include growing flowers on a farm in Richmond.   There is a large financial investment in doing this, along with time.  Rose Dykstra along with other small businesses sell their items at the many farmer markets around Vancouver.   In March of 2020 when the COVID restrictions hit, many non-food vendors were shut out of the farmer markets which caused angst and hardship for many of the vendors.  The ban lasted from early April 2020 to June 2020. Rose’s flower business had to suddenly pivot to e-commerce and with a perishable item this was no easy feat.

The ban for non-vendors had been lifted over the summer and fall. In mid-December the ban on on-food vendors went up again. This was at a time when many of the non-food vendors rely on sales from the Christmas period to support their families. As of today’s writing, the current ban continues with no sign it of being lifted.

Vancouver Farmers Market has done a great job of adhering to COVID protocols in an outdoor environment.  Rose Dykstra doesn’t see why she and other non-food vendors have been shut out the markets.   On this point, we do agree.  We are big supporters of local business. As we think about this issue, we know people are still having birthdays, anniversaries and celebrating new babies. What does this mean? People are still buying or sending gifts, often in lieu of in person celebrations. We see it regularly on our walks. Gifts are being delivered in person with masks, dropped at the door, then a brief interchange before saying a few words and leaving the gift behind.

In our view, by including non-food vendors you are including them in the BC economy by allowing them to work and to continue to sustain themselves, their families and any employees they may have.  If you can’t get it locally, where will people turn? For many items, our guess is Amazon. We’d much prefer people support local vs. Amazon. As it comes to flowers and Rose’s business, really could we not all use some flowers to brighten up the spaces we are all stuck in during this pandemic that just seems to go on and on?

If you are in support of bringing back non-food vendors to Vancouver Farmer Markets, feel free to add your support to the Petition at Change.org.

Sauvignon Blanc Cheese Tasting March 28, 2021 With les amis du FROMAGE

19 Feb


On the success of their recent Facebook Live tasting event, les amis du FROMAGE has lined up another event for cheese and wine lovers. Host Allison Spurrell will again be leading this 1 hour tasting which features the wine varietal Sauvignon Blanc. The tasting package is featured for 2 people and includes:

Cheese (8 types)
Crackers
Olives
Accompaniment
Tasting menu

Heads up, the wine is not included in the ticket price, but they have partnered with Marquis Wine Cellars who have helped choose the best pairings as well as a discount. After you purchase your ticket, you will be contacted by les amis du FROMAGE with a discount code for the suggested wines which we’ve set out below.

The Sauvignon Blanc Cheese Tasting event happens Sunday, March 28th at 6:30 pm. To purchase your ticket, visit les amis du FROMAGE. Note, cut off for ticket sales is March 21st.

Local Love This Valentine’s Day

10 Feb

We know not every one gets behind Valentine’s Day. Some see it as a made up day. Even if that’s your view, considering what a struggle this past year, why not show someone special a little love just because. It can be your partner or a good friend who has been a great support for you this past year, your sister, mother, brother. Or what about that next door neighbour or isolated senior? Whomever it might be, there are so many ways to say “I Care”. As we love our local businesses, we wanted to highlight a few you can throw your support behind this Valentine’s Day.

Soprasotto

Pizza Love

A few East Van pizza joints (and likely more) are doing heart shaped pizzas for Valentine’s Day. Check out Lombardo’s Ristorante and Soprasotto on Commercial Drive and Pizza Farina on Main Street.

Flowers

Who does not love to get flowers? There are so many great options in East Van whether it’s local florist shops like the Flower Factory at 4285 Main or Full Bloom on Commercial Drive. If you are lucky enough to have a neighbourhood corner store, be sure to check them out. They often have a nice selection on hand. If you are in River District this Sunday, you can also stop by the Brock Floral Cart which will be on site at the foot of Kerr Street near Romer’s Burger Bar. This is a mobile floral cart that will have a selection of flowers available from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm or until sold out. It won’t be quite as pictured, but you get the idea.

Sweet Treats

Oh Sweet Day

So many great local businesses are offering sweet treats for Valentine’s Day whether it’s chocolates at Beta 5 or the Purdy’s outlet store on Kingsway. If it’s cookies you are after, Oh Sweet Day, Bench Bakehouse and many others have a great selection. To see a full list of our Favourite East Van Bakeries, click the link. If you are looking for sweet treats for the kids (big and small), don’t forget the Licorice Parlour. They’ve added some new items so not just licorice.

Jewellery

White Sapphire Anna

If this is the year, you are going big on the jewellery front, we invite you to check out Era Design Jewellery at 1795 Venables Street near Commercial. They design some beautiful jewellery whether custom or ready made.

Love Songs

Jill Barber

If you are looking to set the mood with beautiful love songs, you will want to catch Jill Barber’s live streamed performance from The Cultch on February 14th.

Whether you celebrate the ‘day’ or not, be sure to show your local businesses some local love this weekend.

Virtual Cooking Class With Just Giulia February 12th

9 Feb

Giulia Lombardo invites you to join her for a virtual cooking class this Friday, February 12th. Giulia is going to teach you how easy it is to make fresh pasta. You can follow along step by step as she cooks, or watch her cook and then try it on your own after the cooking class. The menu for this upcoming class is:

Squash and Mascarpone Filled Heart Shaped Ravioli with
Sage and Brown Butter Sauce
Suggested Wine Pairing: Poplar Grove Pinot Gris

The cost of the cooking class is $20 with a percentage of the proceeds being donated to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank. The fun kicks off at 6:00 pm. To register, email her directly at justgiulialombardo@gmail.com. Note, space is limited. You can also find Giulia on Instagram @justguiliaa or check her out You Tube. We’ve included one of her delish You Tube videos below. Mangia bene (translation: eat well).

Pandemic Pivot: Loved & Local New Online Shop

1 Feb

2020 was a year of challenge and change for many and 2021 continues on that same vein.   The pandemic has many people pivoting to earn an income from a new source. Today we’d like to introduce you to Jenn Franzen who did a complete 360 and created Loved & Local.  Jenn was a self-employment travel agent for 15 years. As we all know, with the current travel restrictions, planning trips isn’t first and foremost on people’s mind nor will it be for some time. So Jenn pivoted and created Loved & Local.

Loved & Local is an online store that features gently used clothing and accessories for women, men and children.  Loved & Local also carries items from local artisans including Oona Clothing,  Mosaic Earrings, beeswax food wraps by Etta & Olive, candles by Grain & Honey and knitted toques by Littlee Lambs Boutique to name a few.

Loved & Local carries a wide range of items and yes they deliver!  They offer free delivery on orders over $20 within a 10 km radius of Loved & Local which is located in Hastings Sunrise. If you are interested in trying on a specific item, feel free to reach out to them directly.   They have also just added a weekly auction on Facebook and Instagram that runs from Thursday to Sunday with a starting bid of $1.00. For those wishing to give back to charity in an easy way, Loved & Local supports some local charitable endeavours including Victory House Mental Health Facility. They are currently selling Valentine’s Day cards made by residents. 100% of the sale proceeds go back to Victory House.

We invite you to visit Loved & Local online and give them a follow on Instagram where they post many of their newly acquired items.  As always, support local when and where you can.

Dine Out Festival February 5 to March 7, 2021

27 Jan

Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this year for a longer run being 31 days vs. last year’s 17 days. Diners will have more time to safely explore more restaurants over a longer period of time. The festival brings together over 300 restaurants, wineries, craft breweries and suppliers for dining and culinary events. What’s new this year is a host of virtual tasting events. We invite you check them all out at Dine Out Vancouver Festival, but have set out a few that caught our eye.  

Virtual Beer Tasting

A Virtual Beer Tastings is presented in part by Canadian Craft Tours and runs from February 5th to March 6th. This event is open to those in the Greater Vancouver Regional District and includes the delivery of your supplies for the event along with a virtually hosted event which lasts 90 minutes. Cost is $90 per person plus taxes. You can add a cheese pairing for an additional $30 per person. For more information and to book your spot, visit Canadian Craft Tours.

Dumpling Masterclass with Chinatown Tours

This Dumpling Masterclass got us excited. Having once made dumplings from scratch, they were some of the best. This is a great opportunity for some hands on experience with expert guidance. During this masterclass, they will discuss what makes a good filling, how to prep the ingredients and the best way to fold the wrappers. Cost for the event is a very reasonable $30. To book your ticket, visit Peek.com.

Virtual Coffee Tasting

If you love cold coffee, this one’s for you. The Vancouver Coffee Snob and Prototype Coffee present a virtual tour into the world of cold brew coffee. You will have the opportunity to sample cold brew coffee and learn how the different non-dairy milks affect the taste. You will also get to play some trivia and test your coffee knowledge. This event runs several times between February 6th to February 21st. Cost is $90. To book your ticket which includes delivery of your supplies, visit Canadian Craft Tours.

To see all the restaurants participating in this year’s Dine Out, visit their website. Note, for those not comfortable with dining in during this time, many restaurants are offering a Take Out option for Dine Out. Visit Dine Out Vancouver Festival for more information.

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 – 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)

%d bloggers like this: