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.
Tiny Karmavore Organic Juice Bar sends the scent of fresh fruit and vegetables wafting throughout the River Market at Westminster Quay, tempting busy shoppers to stop and indulge in a glass of puréed produce. Following the same health-conscious philosophy that fuels Karmavore's café location, the juice bar uses only fresh, organic ingredients in its vegan offerings. Alongside glasses of fruit and vegetable juice, the shop serves up a variety of handmade wraps and salads, each of which blesses diners' hearts for their healthy choices on the way down.
Catering to thirsty lips and empty stomachs, Wired Monk boasts a menu full of caffeinated beverages and delectable light meal options. Beat morning moodiness back into hibernation with hearty breakfast sandwiches and bagels, such as the bountiful breakfast bagel bedecked with egg, cheddar, ham, and tomato ($5.35), or rise like obedient dough to freshly made scones and muffins baked daily in-store. For lunchtime noshes with brawn, choose the chicken-cheddar-chutney panini ($8.95) or the fully stacked mediterranean-veggie sandwich ($7.95).
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.