Following her culinary curiosity all the way to Varcaturo, Italy, Tiffany Hudson’s found herself learning dry farming and food preservation. More importantly, she discovered how a dinner can bring a community together. After coming back to the States, Tiffany teamed up with Chef Martin Woods whose resume includes serving as opening sous chef at Bastille as well as executive chef at Re:Public. Together, the two created Cassoulet Café, an eatery that serves seasonal French cuisine amid a communal table.
And the collaboration isn’t running short on admirers. Writer Sally Wolff for the Cascadia Weekly praised Cassoulet as “evok[ing] the atmosphere of a country kitchen in France” complete with “heavy plates of well-made food.” These ever-changing entrees have included bacon cinnamon rolls for brunch, ratatouille for lunch, and goat cheese pansotti pasta for dinner, accompanied by specialty cocktails and ciders. Chef Martin also serves up the restaurant’s signature French bean stew bursting with duck and house-cured pancetta.
Along with promoting conversation amongst diners, Cassoulet Café fosters green living. This includes using fresh ingredients from local farms as well as reducing their carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds of CO2 emission. That accomplishment earned the restaurant a 2012 Sustainable Practice Leader award from General Biodiesel, a company named after the first robot five-star general in U.S. history.
At Hillcrest Bakery & Deli, longtime head baker, David Moyer, and his staff handcraft meaty deli sandwiches on housemade bread, along with tiered wedding cakes, individual pizzas, and fresh vegetarian fare. The bakery makes all its confections from scratch—meaning patrons can customize cakes with a special design or an aesthetically pleasing squiggle. Diners who swing by for a midday soup-and-sandwich special can also treat their four-legged friends, as the bakery keeps a supply of snacks for dogs.
A bakery outlet for Canada Bread Company Limited, McGavin's offers rows of loaves at wholesale prices. Fill bare cupboards or secret floorboard compartments with discount bread facing a dwindling shelf life, surplus bread from overzealous production lines, and fresh bread from local bakeries. McGavin's white or 100 per cent whole-wheat loaves (five loaves for $10.49) prove eminently slatherable. Other yeasty feasts include Dempster's Bagel six packs (three packs for $8.99), english muffin six packs (three packages for $6.99), and tortillas (three packages for $8.25). The popular discount special section, meanwhile, invites gluten gourmands to mix and match an ever-changing cast of short-dated dough bookends: every product, regardless of size, grain, or resemblance to Winston Churchill costs $1.39, and shoppers can mix and match an assortment of ten loaves for $12. Discount selections change daily and vary by location.
Marble Slab Creamery's story is international in its scope. In 1983, the first Marble Slab Creamery opened in Houston, Texas, serving their signature gourmet ice cream developed by two French chefs. Twenty years later, their expansion spread across the border to locations in Canada, thanks to their more than 50 flavours of ice cream, which are handmade daily in each store. The flavours range the traditional—such as peppermint, chocolate swiss, or strawberry—to the unexpected, such as cheesecake, birthday cake, and bubble gum. They stock lactose-free ice cream and low-fat yogurt—which proudly flaunts a size-0 ice-cream cup—and the goodies can be further modified with a plethora of mixins of the candy and fruit varieties. In addition to their singular cups and cones, ice-cream cakes and pints await full-on feasting frenzies.
Tamaringo’s Cafe sates the yelps of abdominal elves with a bevy of toothsome baked goods, lunch fare, and drinks, along with gluten-free eats. Spelunk through the lasagna and garlic bread ($5.99) to unearth rich cheese treasures, or employ a fearless fork to deliver mouthfuls of quiche ($5.75) to expectant mouths. Dessert squares ($2.49) sized perfectly for storage in recently installed cheek-pockets make tongue buds lapse into sugar-laced swoons, and the gelato ($3.50–$4.50) treats teeth to a decadent sweet and creamy taste duet. Meanwhile, the seasonal cakes ($4.95) keep chatty mandibles occupied and unable to gossip about how the uvula does nothing but “hang there like a second-rate stalactite.”