The Wedding Café refreshes couples planning their big day with nuptial knowledge dished out alongside fair-trade organic coffee, salads, and paninis. The airy sky-blue-and-white dining room doubles as a resource centre where betrothed couples garner guidance from wedding planning books and magazines, browse brochures and reception-site menus, or connect to WiFi to run vows through plagiarism filters. As planners pour matcha green-tea lattes into mugs, they also dispense wedding advice, including referrals for trusted vendors.
Black café tables offer a calm space for planning ceremony details and finding the proper laser needed to cut the cake, but The Wedding Café dishes its fare out to non-planners just as joyfully. Paninis come equipped with accents such as cranberries or basil-pesto mayo to highlight chicken or turkey and complement a plate of Moroccan hummus with pita chips. Cupcakes, meanwhile, tap dance inside a glass display case, and wedding-themed merchandise waits to be gifted.
Although mambo 'taliano's mustard-yellow awning calls the eatery a "ristorante and piano bar," it's difficult to say which aspect has more influence. The chefs fully commit to the menu of traditional Italian staples by rolling pastas, curing Alaskan salmon, and making fresh mozzarella in-house. These sorts of touches add a homespun quality to dishes such as the spaghetti with pancetta and pecorino romano cheese, and the thin-pounded veal milanese with arugula and cherry tomatoes. To help prime palates, the appetizer selection features everything from marinated Sicilian olives to a shareable antipasto platter with cured meats and roasted vegetables. The aromatic herbs and the sight of diners enjoying meals at the outdoor patio help attract passersby, but so does the sound of live jazz emanating from the dining room. Solo pianists and ensembles aim to entertain patrons with soothing background melodies. Coupled with the sounds of spirited conversations, these performances help create a lively atmosphere where diners can comfortably enjoy a casual meal, a glass of wine, or an impromptu dance off.
The Marmalade Cat Café stands out among the restaurants, galleries, and spas crowding Pandosy Street. Purple flowers line the front porch in warm weather, matching the Victorian building’s boldly coloured facade and inviting passersby to literally stop and smell the flowers. The interior of the café is just as enticing. The aroma of hot coffee floods the air, and free WiFi begs guests to kick back with their laptops or books that they wish were laptops. Fresh-baked muffins, cookies, and pies—including gluten-free options provided by Prairie Creek Edibles—lie inside a glass display case, not far from where baristas pull shots of rooibos red espresso and create lattes and cappuccinos from cow’s milk or soy milk. Heartier appetites will find relief with one of The Marmalade Cat Café’s made-to-order sandwiches, such as the Sunshine bagel topped with two scrambled eggs and shredded cheddar or a roasted chicken sandwich paired with cranberry sauce. Like the desserts, all sandwiches can be made gluten-free.
After years at the helm of his family’s 60-year-old garden centre in Burnaby, Barry Kuypers opted for a change of scenery. He and his family moved to Kelowna and opened The Kelowna Flower Farm. Now managed by his daughter Carrie, the plant centre welcomes clients with a country farm's hospitality and a green thumbs up. The gardening professionals choose shrubs, blossoms, and herbs that can adapt to the Okanagan climate, and their bedding plants run the alphabet from abutilons to zinnias. Clients have their choice of around 2,000 hanging baskets and heritage perennials, which return year after year to remind households to file their taxes. A selection of exotic plants adds flair to yards with tropical water plants, mandevillas, and lemon trees to replace money trees that have only sprouted IOUs.
At Cottage Quilting, shelves groan under the weight of more than 3,500 bolts of fabric awaiting adoption by nimble hands. Friendly staffers help customers navigate reams of brightly hued designer cottons, sweet floral prints from Amy Butler, and vivid batik patterns in their quest for the perfect cloth. They can also point crafters toward hand-dyed threads, pattern books, and tools such as rotary cutters and mats, as well as new sewing and embroidery machines from Bernina and Brother. Their classes dole out guidance and inspiration for students of varying skill levels, focusing on anything from binding basics and hand embroidery to crafting reversible aprons that enable a single chef to play both good cop and bad cop with fallen soufflés.
At Lake Country Cycle Ltd., bicycle lover Cameron Donald pours his energy into providing a host of bike services. Using skills acquired at the Winterborne Bicycle Institute in Guelph, where he obtained his professional bicycle mechanic certificate, the shop offers everything from standard tune-ups to full bicycle rebuilds. Lake Country Cycle Ltd. also lubes chains, adjusts bearings, and even custom-builds new wheels for cyclists who thought a roll through the brier patch sounded lovely. If customers require a new ride, the staffers help them choose road, mountain, and kids bicycles from manufacturers including Scott and Louis Garneau.