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.
The crafty chefs at Organic Connections' beachfront cafe placate hunger cries with fresh, organic items crafted into the menu's offerings of vegan, vegetarian, and live cuisine. Dining duos can split piping soups, such as a daily special or a classic borscht, a hearty blend of cooked beats and veggies that, like Mrs. Potato Head's cocktail attire, is capped in sour cream. Seasoned pumpkin and sunflower seeds sprinkle over the signature salad, priming palates for entrees such as a traditional red-quinoa bowl packed with nutrients and slathered in a mild curry sauce. Food artisans pile a rice-bowl special high with seasoned organic rice that sings its flavours alongside freshly steamed vegetables and a daily sauce. Though not included in today's Groupon, patrons can sip selections of organic juices and smoothies. Live music dances through the air on the weekends, and guests can belt out menu orders in three-part harmony on open-mic nights each Friday.
There are two ways to watch Heather White and Lori Joyce bake their preservative-free cupcakes from scratch. Guests can pop into one of their bakeries on the days the duo is in the shop or they can watch from the family room as the ladies craft desserts from basic ingredients on their TV show The Cupcake Girls.
It took time to build up the Cupcakes empire. What started as a teenage dream for the two friends seemed remote after they went their separate ways, one pursuing a degree in animal biology, the other working in the fashion industry. When the two reconnected later in New York City by a simple twist of fate, they realized they still pined for the possibility of owning a company together. They drew up the plans, packed their bags, charted a course back to Vancouver in a cupcake-shaped hot air balloon, and started their first store.
Today, inside their retro-style locations, bakers craft cupcakes made with real butter or design specialty cakes for all manner of noteworthy occasions, such as weddings, birthdays, and parties thrown in honour of winning a national cupcake-eating contest.
Situated cozily within their beachfront fortification, the culinary virtuosos at Iguana's Beach Grill shell out hearty platters of pub grub anointed with a Southwest American twist. The kitchen's bacon-and-cheddar burger (an $11 value) spans the cavernous gap between two bun halves with a succulent, beefy bridge. Meanwhile, the crab-and-gouda dip ($11) blends snow-crab meat with a mighty triumvirate of smoked gouda, aged parmesan, and cream cheese and arrives with an entourage of pita chips for dipping. Freshly plucked fruits of the sea play a starring role in main dishes, such as the portabella ravioli ($17), setting garlic prawns afloat on top of whole-wheat pasta, portabella mushrooms, ricotta, and roasted red-pepper pesto cream. Diners can relax on the beachfront restaurant's heated patio, ideally located for tossing table scraps to vagrant mermaids, or swing by on a Friday or Saturday night for live entertainment.
Situated a garlic knot's throw from the oceanfront, Italian Touch Restaurant combines the comfort of Italian classics with the modern ambience of its chic dining room. Beneath geometric lamps and surrounded by funky wall art and deep-red walls, white tablecloths showcase steaming bowls of lobster ravioli in a creamy sauce and slabs of meaty lasagna crowned with bubbling mozzarella. Out on the outdoor patio, the wait staff ferries the Italian Touch Platter for Two, a mélange of grilled chicken breast, homemade sausages, and wild salmon flanked by al dente penne and a crisp garden salad.
Behind their storefront's wood sign and bright red door, Jimmy Flynn's Celtic Snug's bartenders pour cold pints of Guinness to complement hearty Irish stews, seafood, and meat crafted fresh daily. Each morning, chefs whip up black pudding for traditional Irish breakfasts and then use Guinness to enhance the flavours of later day offerings such as bison burgers and barbecue pulled pork sandwiches. In addition to draft brews, Jimmy's crew can also fill glasses with local and international red and white wines.
Creamy textured walls, Celtic-themed paintings, and panoramic views of the White Rock Harbour wrap around the eatery's cozy confines. The dining room also hosts occasional performances from live musicians and special events such as whisky tastings with James Joyce's ghost.