Tag Archives: East Van

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

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.

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)

Holiday Favourite East Van Panto Goes Digital This December

30 Nov
One of our favourite things in December is attending the East Van Panto at The Cultch. It’s always good fun with lots of laughs for all ages. And honestly couldn’t we all use a few more laughs this year? For its 8th season, Theatre Replacement’s Artistic Directors James Long and Maiko Yamamoto are bringing the production digital direct to your living room.

In 2020’s Panto Come Home!  Artistic Directors James Long and Maiko Yamamoto sneak into the York to find a very sad pyjama clad Veda Hille parked at her piano. Seems she’s moved into the theatre and has been spending her days trying to relive Panto memories of old. In an attempt to cheer her up they call up a bunch of their favourite Panto friends to sing and dance her best East Van Panto hits. Things go sideways fast when the Phanto of the Panto swoops in. He’s been watching these things ever since Jack and the Beanstalk opened the York 8 years ago and has a few choice ideas on how to make this year’s Panto really work. We hear physically-distanced antics then ensue.

Expect a silly production as favourites from Pantos past come together to remix the best of the last seven Pantos into a brand new holiday extravaganza. From the ‘Cheese Song’ to the BC Ferry Godmother, Panto Come Home! is guaranteed fun for the whole family. So grab your front row seat where you can cheer, sing and dance along with the show in the comfort of your home, hey in your PJs if you want. Panto Come Home! runs December 17-27, 2020. Single tickets start from $35 with a Family Box available with other options. To learn more or purchase your ticket(s), visit The Cultch.

Sweet Thea Holiday Pop Up Shop On Main Street

17 Nov

If you love your baked goods as much we do, you’ll be excited to hear Sweet Thea Bakery is hosting a Pop Up Shop at 4305 Main Street for the upcoming holiday season. If you’ve attended any artisan markets and Christmas craft fairs around Metro Vancouver, you will no doubt seen them.  But, of course, due to the pandemic we all know that many of these in person events are not happening this year. But the good news for us is that Sweet Thea Bakery is offering their delicious baked goods at their Pop Up Shop on Main Street.  Some of the goodies you will find there include their delish Ginger Cookies, Chocolava Cookies, Honey Hearts, Chocolate Lebkuchen Cookies and Stollen.  If that isn’t enough, they have curated some of their market favourites for their Pop Up Shop for you to purchase while picking up some baking. Some of these include maple syrup, roasted nuts, small batch bean to bar chocolate bars, honey, hot sauces, jams and mustards.  Perfect gifts for the food lover or well, just you. If you can’t make it to their Pop Up Shop, we have more good news. They are offering Canada Post deliveries, or pick up at 3 different locations – Main Street Pop Up, Tsawwassen Quay Market (must be taking a BC Ferry to access) and their Langley Shop.  To place your order, visit them online at Sweet Thea Bakery or stop by their Pop Up Shop at 4305 Main Street which is open 11:00 am to 6:00 pm most days, but is open till 7:00 pm on Fridays.  Treat yourself and your family to some amazing baked goods while at the same time supporting a local business.

Vancouver Farmers Markets Kick Off Summer Season

1 May

VFMChardVancouver Farmers Markets bring back summer markets the first weekend of May.  Things will be a bit different in light of COVID-19. Having recently attended Riley Park Winter Farmers Market, my experience showed that vendors were well spaced out and counts were being kept on the number of people entering each area of the market. Granted some vendors had some spaced out lines, personally I prefer standing in a brief line outdoors vs. a long line indoors.

What’s new if you haven’t heard is vendors are now accepting online orders. Currently, you need to pick up your online order from each vendor, but Vancouver Farmers Markets are looking to implement a centralized pick up and delivery in the near future.    Our local farmers and producers need our support during this time and we invite you to keep them in mind when making your weekly grocery shop.  We’ve set out below the markets taking place in East Van. To see a full listing of Vancouver Farmer Markets, visit eatlocal.org.


Trout Lake Famers Market
13th Ave & Lakewood Drive
Saturdays 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
May 2, 2020 – October 24, 2020 

Riley Park Farmers Market
30th Avenue & Ontario Street
Saturdays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
May 2, 2020 – October 24, 2020 

Mount Pleasant Farmers Market
8th Avenue & Guelph Street
Sundays 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
May 24, 2020 – October 25, 2020

Main Street Farmers Market
1100 Station Street (Thornton Park)
Wednesdays 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm
June 3, 2020 – October 7, 2020

April 15th Canada Kicks Off National Take Out Day

14 Apr

CanadaTakeOutAs you may know, local restaurants are struggling in our new reality.  We have in the last week permanently lost 3 restaurants which are part of the heart and soul of Commercial Drive.  Cabrito Tapas, Federico’s Supper Club and Storm Crow Tavern have permanently closed.  We are sorry to see them go, but understand there are slim margins in restaurants and many factors that played a role in their decisions, a pandemic being the tipping point from which they couldn’t come back.

In order to help those in the food services survive during this pandemic, a movement has been started to encourage Canadians across the country to help support this industry which employs millions. Wednesday, April 15th kicks off the first national Take Out Day which restaurant owners and those in the food services industry hope you will make a weekly event for those that are financially able to. We hope you will consider participating whether it’s weekly, bi-weekly or monthly.  Every bit helps these businesses be here in The After of this pandemic. To learn more about the campaign and what restaurants are participating, visit Canada Takeout.  To learn more about what East Van businesses are operating take-out and delivery services, we invite you to check out our previous feature Support Local Where You Can which is updated regularly.

%d bloggers like this: