Tag Archives: Fratelli Bakery

Valentine’s Day … This Year We Could All Use Some Love

6 Feb

rocksvalentinesdayValentine’s Day is just around the corner and we know that a number of people are opposed to the day itself in principal because really for those you love and care about, you shouldn’t need a reminder one day of the year to express yourself. But this year, to be honest, I think we could all use a little love. With world news being what it is these days, it’s rather disheartening, whether you are talking travel bans, or the recent events in Quebec and France. We could go on, but won’t. Instead, we’d prefer to focus on the positive and what you can do to make someone feel just a little bit better. It could mean buying or making something small for someone, or just taking some time out to spend with someone.  It could be a dinner for two with your partner in life, or your best friend or maybe a new friend. It could be as simple as a sweet treat and a card, a single flower or plant, a coffee/tea/cocktail or dog walk in the park, or doing something kind for a stranger. No matter the what, it is the action in doing and saying I value you and honestly, we think we could all use a bit of these days. So we’ve set out just a few ideas and some local businesses you can support while at the same time making someone feel special.

If you are looking for a romantic dinner out for two, no one quite does it like the French, we love Les Faux Bourgeois in Mount Pleasant and their Valentine’s Day menu is up on their site. Also, Bistro Wagon Rogue on Powell Street has a great menu, but note it is a small venue.  If you are thinking Italian, Federico’s Supper Club is offering a ‘full evening of love to share’ with a special Valentine’s Dinner for $80 per person which includes a 4 course meal, live music and dancing. Of course, Campagnola Roma is another great option as is Ask For Luigi.

Of course, there is always the option to eat in in which case, there are many great spots that can provide some help even if you are not the best cook. Gourmet Warehouse has a freezer section with some pre-made items as does Les Amis du Fromage on East Hastings plus great cheese to start or finish off the evening.   For dessert, we have so many favourites, but a few that come to mind include Fratelli Bakery on Commercial Drive, Batard Bakery and Breka Bakery on Fraser Street. Of course, Batard is situated nicely steps away from Earnest Ice Cream which we think is pretty perfect.

Looking for flowers, we have so many great florist shops in East Vancouver and red roses can be a little cliché for some and not to mention overpriced on Valentine’s Day. There are so many other flowers to choose from and great florists in East Van who will be happy to help you with some alternatives to roses. Check out Flower Factory on Main Street, The Flower Box on Commercial Drive and Full Bloom Flowers tucked behind Uprising Breads which incidently is now stocking some beautiful handmade jewellery from local artisans. If you know someone how loves nature, then we invite you to check out East Van artist, June Hunter, who is having a Valentine’s Studio Sale this weekend February 11th & 12th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm at her studio on 2785 Parker Street.

If you are looking for a special gift for Valentine’s Day, there are an array of choices in East Van. Our recommendation is to think personal.  If it’s sexy you want, Womyns’ Ware on Commercial Drive is your spot. Now if that’s too adventurous, Second Nature Home has some amazing soy candles that double as massage oil/body wax once melted by Earth To Body. They come in two sizes, minis for $5 and $21 for a jar, no breaking the bank here.  If it’s jewellery you are after, we see that local maker Devi Arts also has a nice selection of jewellery at Second Nature Home.  The Little Mountain Pop Up Shop on Main Street is having a Pop Up Shop For Lovers February 4th – 14th with lots of great gifts by local makers.  If chocolate is on your list, Lisa Lou’s Chocolate Bar and Beta 5 Chocolates will have something special for those wishing to give something sweet.

It’s not how much money you spend, it is all about making a small effort to make someone feel valued. It will make them feel better and we are pretty sure, it will make you feel better as well. Show some love this Valentine’s Day. sandheartestyzesty

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Do Brunch On The Drive

20 Jan

ILiveInEastVanMarch302013 356We are often asked where is a good place to go for brunch, coffee, dinner, live music or drinks in East Van. We started our brunch series with setting out some of our favourite spots in the Hastings Sunrise area. Next up we’d like to feature some very delish spots along Commercial Drive, some we’ve tried and some we’ve heard great things about through our grape vine.

Bandidas Taqueria, 2781 Commercial Drive
Brunch 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

We confess we have not tried this spot. We have noticed that it is a rare occasion that this spot is not busy, no matter the time of  day or night. Bandidas Taqueria serves brunch daily from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm as well as breakfast all day. Most of their items are gluten free and we like that they get their gluten free bread from local fav spot, East Village Bakery. Eggs, beans and guacamole are featured heavily on their brunch menu, but we have our eye on the Cornbread Muffin Tops with honey butter. Bandidas Taqueria will make any breakfast vegan. This spot is certainly on our list to try not only because of the food, but their focus on minimal impact to the environment and their of support local smaller distributors. Bandidas Taqueria is located just North of 12th Avenue on Commercial Drive. Just a 5 minute walk from the Broadway Skytrain Station if you are travelling from elsewhere in the City.

Café Deux Soleils, 2096 Commercial Drive
Breakfast 8:00 am – 3:00 pm Weekdays + 9:00 am – 4:00 pm Weekends

You can’t miss this spot for the colourful mural outside. Cafe Deux Soleils is a long standing business on The Drive having been there for over 20 years. Here you will find eggs, but you won’t find meat if that’s what you are looking for. You will though find  Veggie Ham or Veggie Sausage and lots of other great items as well as a kids menu. It’s a popular spot day and night as this spot includes a stage where you will find many local performers whether comedy, music, poetry and much more.

Cabrito Tapas, 2270 Commercial Drive
Brunch Friday to Sunday 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Havana is a great spot for many reasons, people watching from their patio is certainly one of them.  It’s always a busy hopping spot that offers modern Latin fare and Caribbean cocktails. It is another long standing business that has been on The Drive for 20 years now. Havana serves breakfast 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 pm with some great offerings including a Pulled Pork Breakfast Taco.  Another thing we love about Havana Restaurant, is they are a great supporter of local arts. They have a small gallery in the back next which is situated next to a small theatre which features some great local theatre groups. It’s a great intimate space if you haven’t checked it out already.  We recommend it.

Biercraft Tap & Tapas, 1191 Commercial Drive
Brunch Saturday, Sunday & Holidays 10:00 am – 3:30 pm

On the Drive since 2005, Biercraft Tap & Tapas is another long standing business on the Drive.  Everyone has their own unique spin on brunch on the Drive, as does Biercraft with    Bangers and Mash, and Stovreji Hash browns topped with Belgian beef stew, blue cheese crumble and two poached eggs for those with a hearty appetite, but we like the Eggs on Cornbread and for those coming with kids, they have a kids breakfast menu for $6.00.

La Mezcaleria, 1622 Commercial Drive
Brunch Wednesday to Sunday Until 3:00 pm

This is a fun lively spot at any time serving delish Mexican fare including breakfast as well as a great selection of mescal and tequila should you wish to go there.  They have some creative dishes, but what we have a hankering for is the Pan Frances which is Brioche French Toast topped with bananas, dark rum, salted caramel sauce, candied pecans, strawberries and gooseberries. If that doesn’t sound like a bite of heaven, we don’t know what does.

Storm Crow Tavern, 1305 Commercial Drive
Brunch Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am – 2:00 pm

Now if you like sci-fi and consider yourself a bit of a nerd, or want to experience something a little bit different, than the Storm Crow Tavern is your spot. As you can see, their window for brunch is a little smaller, likely as they’ve been up playing games until the wee hours of the morning. This is an eclectic spot with a menu to fit. If you wish to hang around post brunch to play board games and have a beer, they have choices out of the whazoo.

Tangent Café, 2095 Commercial Drive
Breakfast 8:00 – 3:00 Saturday – Tuesday & 8:00 am – 2:00 pm Wednesday to Friday

Although this spot is home to great live jazz music on Thursday and Sunday evenings, they also have a good breakfast menu. If you are a meat lover, you will find several options here, but if looking for vegan options, they have that too including a Malaysian Vegan Scramble.

The Dime, 1565 Commercial Drive

This is not a spot we’ve tried, but local historian Jak King and long time resident of The Drive swears by this spot. He says “it is nothing much more than a bar with background music, TVs on most walls, heavily tattooed staff (giving great service), and good cheap food.” Seems they offer a breakfast menu during week and a brunch menu on the weekends we couldn’t locate the latter, but Jack tells us Chorizo Hash Skillett is a good way to go. “It is a good plateful of potatoes and onions and peppers, a fried egg, with enough chorizo to give it a kick, and served with a form of hollandaise that is to die for.” Kicker is all dishes on the menu are $5.95.

Prado Café, 1938 Commercial Drive

As of Monday, June 19th the purveyors of kick ass coffee, have launched a full brunch menu at their Commercial Drive location.  We’ve seen some pics on social media and have to say the dishes look great. If you head one block up the street North, you can also check out their sister restaurant Spade at the corner of 3rd Avenue. They have a small breakfast menu but are open at 8:00 am daily.

While you are in this part of East Van, there is so much else to see, do and taste while on The Drive.  Whether it’s coffee, gelato, pasta, art, bookstores, cheese, licorice or chocolate.   If it’s cheese you are after, La Grotta Del Fromaggio is our go to spot.  We recommend one of their sandwiches to go, or if you’ve built up an appetite wandering, they are delish. If you love licorice, a stop at the Licorice Parlour is a must. If you aren’t a licorice fan, they also have handmade chocolates.  If you are looking for beer after a wander, Biercraft offers quite the range of Belgian beers. If it’s whiskey, then a stop at Fets Whiskey Kitchen would be in order and side note they do serve brunch as well.

For coffee, well we can’t just pick one, there are so many places offering great coffee, you can’t go wrong whether it’s Continental Cafe, Joe’s Café, Moja’s, The Drive Coffee Bar (you will find Cartem donuts here though) or any other café. If it’s a muffin and coffee you are after, JJ Bean at 6th Avenue. Their muffins are legendary.  Gelato, there are a few offerings which you can’t miss if you are walking The Drive, but if are looking for pastries, our personal favourite is Fratelli Bakery which an amazing selection of sweet treats.  If you find you’ve done a fair bit of walking on the Drive and want a light bite such as pizza, take your pick, Famoso Pizzeria, Lombardo’s, Marcello’s or a quick wander over to Via Tevere on Victoria Drive. Of course, if you wish to pick up some pasta to cook later at home, we recommend The First Ravioli Store on Commercial at 3rd Avenue. We could keep going as this area has so much to offer from Venables to 12th Avenue and a bit beyond on either side of that.  If we missed your favourite brunch spot that you think should be included, drop up us a line ILiveInEastVan@gmail.com and tell us why it should be included.

Bakeries in East Vancouver – We Run Down Our Favourites

18 Dec

IMG_3459We are often asked where is a good place to go for brunch, coffee, dinner, live music or drinks in East Van. So we are beginning to feature some of our personal favourites as well as those we’ve been hearing great things about. Our first feature was Let’s Do Brunch in the Hastings Sunrise area, next up we are tackling our favourite bakeries. With Christmas coming, many of us our looking for that dessert to serve, or sweet treats to have on hand we just might not have time to bake So whether it’s an Italian pannetone, a German stollen or Christmas cookies or those croissants for brunch, we’ve listed a few of our favourites spots.

THE DRIVE

Bakery Sate: 2879 Commercial Drive

This spot is run by Eric Ho, Pastry Chef & Owner, and he makes a mean croissant. Eric also has an amazing and delicious selection of gluten free cakes and desserts such as Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel, Black Forest and Cheesecake.

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.

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. Be sure to stop by and try this East Van staple that’s been a part of the community for over 40 years.

Andy’s German Bakehaus, 935 Commercial Drive

If you love German style cheesecake (think quark), flaky apple strudel and piled high Black Forest cake, this is your spot.  This is a smaller bakery and café and thus not high volume, but quality authentic German sweets and breads. So if there’s something specific you want, we recommend ordering in advance.  Definitely worth a stop.

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.

Brekka 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.  A personal favourite.  The added bonus is if you are in a time crunch trying to get yourself organized for Christmas and need to pick up some items in a hurry, Brekka is open 24/7 seven days a week.

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

East Village Bakery: 2166 East Hastings Street

A great selection of gluten free sweet treats perfect for a dessert tray. There are so many things we could list, but we love their blueberry orange chai muffins. They are in our view, hands down, the best muffin in the City. You’d never guess they were gluten free. The East Village Bakery also has gluten free breads, buns and pizza shells.

Italia Bakery: 2828 E Hastings Street (#104)

This amazing bakery has a great selection of cakes always at the ready. Lots of Italian sweet treats and a great selection of biscotti.

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 seems to be a running favourite, but when these cakes are featured on social media, best be quick. These cakes don’t tend to last very 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.  She of course also has an array of seasonal sweets cupcakes, tarts and cookies. All decadent and beautiful as you can see pictured above and below.

MAIN STREET

The Last Crumb Bakery & Cafe: 3080 Main Street

This bakery is a happening hub with lots of sweet treats to eat in or take out. It is run by sisters Joanne and Julianne Lee.  Although they have some decadent desserts, their specialty is comfort food such as pies, loaves, bars and cookies baked in small batches everyday.

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.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:  Half Baked Cookie Company and PBC Bakery. We’ve received some feedback that these two bakeries should be our list. Of course, there are many great bakeries in East Van not included, we write about what we know, so we will be doing a bit of research of our own soon to check these two out.

So much sweet stuff so little time. We hope you get a chance to get out and indulge your sweet tooth.

Photo Credit: Le Gateau Bakeshop

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Vancouver Foodster Brings Tasting Plates To Commercial Drive August 12

24 Jul

ILiveInEastVanMarch302013 356Richard Wolak of Vancouver Foodster is bringing  back his Tasting Plates to Commercial Drive.  What is Tasting Plates?  It is basically a culinary roving tour that takes place at different food and/or beverage establishments.  You register for the event at the designated spot in this case, Federico’s Supper Club, 1728 Commercial Drive.  You show up with your printed or digital tickets that you purchased online and in turn receive your Tasting Plates Cards and menus.   Thereafter, you wander whether by bike, foot, car or transit to the various venues and nibble away to your hearts content. Each location will have specific menu items on offer for the Tasting Plates.

Commercial Drive is a place we love to frequent. It has so much offer whether on the Drive itself or the neighbouring streets surrounding the Drive. If you are looking for a bite to eat, a coffee, a drink, live music, or just hanging out people watching, there are so many choices on the Drive. Richard will be featuring many of our favourites during his upcoming edition of Tasting Plates. On August 12th, you will start things off at Federico’s Supper Club.  Outside of enjoying something delectable from Chef Romy and always amazing service, you will have the pleasure of listening to the sounds of Lesismore. Next up on the list is Fratelli Bakery, 1795 Commercial Drive, which is literally a hop across the street.  Fratelli Bakery makes many Italian pastries including  breads, cookies, cupcakes, biscotti and cakes. This is our go to place for St. Honore cake.  Others can try to imitate, but in our opinion, Fratelli’s is the best hands down.   Next up is Prado Café at 1938 Commercial Drive which is all about perfecting great coffee. You won’t be disappointed. Another stop on this tour is Strange Fellows Brewing at 1345 Clark Drive which is one of East Van’s newer craft breweries and they do like to celebrate the strange.  While there, be sure to take a peak in the Charles Clark Gallery aptly named for its intersecting streets.  The gallery has been featuring some great local artists. There is lots to eat, taste and see on this Tasting Plates tour.   Early bird tickets are now on sale for $29 per person until July 28th.  After that date, you can purchase advance tickets for $40 per person after July 28th until August 10th after which tickets are $50.  So planning early is the way to go. Tickets are available via Eventbrite. This is sure to be a tasty tour. Bon Appetite!

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