The creators of Karmavore Cafe + Dessert Lounge believe that, if you are what you eat, you should eat healthily, sustainably, and compassionately. As practicing vegans themselves, they know that such feats are not easily accomplished and can often mean steering clear of favorite foods. But they also know that, unlike convincing a toddler that broccoli is a special treat for good children, finding tasty vegan food is not impossible.
To prove it, they enlisted the help of vegan baker Ashley McLean. McLean's desserts may be egg-free, lactose-free, and cholesterol-free, but many customers don't even realize it, Karmavore's manager said in a New Westminster News Leader article. They're drawn into the shop at the sight of the cakes, apple pies, and peanut-butter bars on display. These treats satisfy sweet teeth after heartier vegan wraps, burgers, soups, and salads from the deli.
There’s a comforting vibe at Divine Indulgence Café. Even though there's no family currently residing inside, the warm, repurposed house keeps its homelike atmosphere. The dining areas evoke the feeling of a well-worn abode with dark-wood furnishings and shelved knickknacks. The coziness extends to the menu as well, surfacing in comfort food dishes such as fish tacos or guacamole burgers made with house-made beef patties, Havarti cheese, bacon, guacamole salsa, and fresh baguettes. Decadent slices of cake and more than 20 different flavors of tea also add to the cafe's homeyness, as does the the baristas' constant reminders not to play ball inside.
Fresh, made-to-order Mexican dishes might not be what one would expect to see in Vancouver's Chinatown district, but that's just where the family behind Hogan's Alley Cafe plates its hearty breakfast and lunch dishes. Red, green, ranchero, and mole sauces, ladled over the restaurant's egg dishes, enchiladas, and chilaquiles.
During the winter at Stomping Grounds Coffee House, guests can look over the steam of their coffee cups and out toward a rolling meadow surrounded by ranch-style fences. The windows and walls are rolled away during the summer, leaving the shop open to the warmth of Osprey Village.
Whether hunkering down or enjoying a breath of fresh air, guests can dig in to specialties such as fresh juices, organic coffee, housemade turkey chili, ham-and-swiss sandwiches, and locally made pastries. The eatery fires breakfast specialties for early risers, and it also arranges catering platters for large parties.
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.
Among the lively chatter of friends and the glow of 11 HDTVs, Rusty’s offers a home away from home where patrons can relax and beer spills are not a big deal. Bartenders pour tall, frosty glasses of Canadian and import brews and shake up martinis and cocktails. The menu offers eclectic dishes, such as perogies and chorizo, butter-chicken rice bowls, and Big Kahuna flatbread. Patrons can pop in to catch the Canucks, BC Lions, and Whitecaps or stop by on Mondays to flex their golden pipes or practice their duck calls during karaoke. As a part of the community, the team at Rusty’s looks to help their patrons drink responsibly and offers a complimentary pickup-and-drop-off shuttle service from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m.