aaron: you can get good coffee at Artigiano and good pastries at La Petite France

Recent Montreal transplant (welcome!) Aaron Cope (yes, that Aaron, the one with the incomprehensible but cool squiggly banner graphic) has some funny observations on eating in Vancouver. Read the whole thing, but all I can say is that there is good coffee downtown (check out Caffee Artigiano and Take 5; two branches of the same Italian family both with free WiFi. I am no coffee geek but I think their coffee is fab!) and there are excellent sweets and pastries at La Petite France (and I dare say their baguettes aren't bad either) in Kits.

From [this is aaronland] Things I have learned eating in Vancouver for two weeks.:


There is no good coffee downtown. There is only fair to adequate coffee on the peninsula that has to be teased out from between the ubiquitous Starbucks. (I am waiting for the onslaught of medical conditions suffered by people walking around stiff-armed with foofy coffee drinks gripped tight like a Lego hand. Maybe everyone is already inured, though, having to carry an umbrella all the time.)

Once you cross any of the bridges, going South, I can recommend the place on the corner of Spruce and 9th and Cafe Calabria on Commercial Drive. Probably any spot on Commercial Drive with a TV set and clusters of old Italian men watching football, or Formula-1 racing, is worth visiting but there's only so much espresso a person can drink in one afternoon so I can't say.


There are no good baguettes. Anywhere. I'm pretty sure I've tried everything the city has to offer, now. That doesn't mean there aren't good breads but the baguette remains something of an enigma here. It does not occupy the same place of imagination for people perhaps because they also favour eating cheese on cracker. Which only adds to the mystery.

There are no good pastries, unless you like Pollack-esque chocolate swirls on your pain au chocolat and a quarter-inch of glazed sugar on everything else. Even the bakery at the Culinary Institute does it so it's best just to think of it the same way you do, say, "tofu fish".




Oh, and the pain au chocolat at Provence Marinaside is perfection!

My favourite baguettes are from Patisserie Lebeau on 2nd, just off Burrard.