75 East Pender Street
Strolling around in Chinatown is an interesting activity. I see many tourists doing it, with cameras slung from their necks, taking in all this part of Vancouver has to offer. Not only visually but also the many places to eat. After all, Chinese culture has a long culinary history and has pervaded its way into North American dining, and has a wide spread familiarity, albeit perhaps not always along the true lines of authentic and regional cuisine that the country has to offer and is yet under-explored by many. I’d say stick around here on foodosophy, as one of our keen writers GastronomyDomine (aka fmed) is a knowledgeable fellow when it comes to this genre and has posted more than a few reports on places you should try out. And hopefully more to come. (nudge, dudge, wink, wink)
Amid a mainly Asian collection of shops, eateries and other stores, you can find the slow spread of other kinds of places that are merging into this neighborhood. You can notice is especially if you walk from Gastown towards the heart of Chinatown. Now whether this is a good or bad thing, it surely is up for debate depending on your stance. I applaud though from a business perspective to give new things a shot, and inject old areas with new life and different choices. At least for me, coming across these on random strolls makes things interesting. Enough so to entice me to stop and go inside. The Everything Cafe was once such place.
From the outside, it looked like nothing special (along with the name), just another cafe serving food items apparently for locals and visitors alike to stop in from the cold. Perfect for a weekend morning. With baked goods and pastries, as well as breakfast items and more lunch worthy choices on the menu, the setting is casual, albeit a unique mix in terms of decor. Part industrial with its exposed fittings and concrete walls, that are then clashed against the long leather banquette that stretches along one wall. It had a high back, good for those who really like to have their back pressing against something relatively soft rather than just a hard wall. Folks with laptops abound, as it seems there is free wi-fi available too.
The glass counter with some easy to choose side items such as my lemon tart above splash right into your eye the moment you come indoors. Though not expecting to have something to eat per say, I couldn’t resist. You see, its been a while since I’ve had a sweet like this and lemon tarts are right up there among my favorite desserts. For those keeping score, its up there with cheesecake and any kind of ice cream. 🙂 It wasn’t overly sweet nor really glue-y in texture which was just fine by me. A nice dusting of icing sugar completed the picture and this was soon wolfed down along with my cup of coffee…
A latte to be precise. Made right in front of me as I watched, including the nicely poured steamed/frothed milk that developed into this bit of art. Smooth textures and a strong robust flavor profile made this a great cup of coffee. There seems to be a solid understanding and love of coffee by the baristas here, apparently with pedigree stemming from another of the city’s top coffee houses.
I enjoyed it so much that I decided to get a 3/4 lb bag of roasted beans (this was the only one they had that day for sale) to take home with me for home-use. From Stumptown Coffee Roasters, I just loved the name. Hair Bender. 🙂 To me, I get a lot of fruity, citrus and bright tinges of taste. I’m not a huge connoisseur of coffee by any means, but trying to learn more and more (and dropping my penchant for alcohol in return). Apparently, there are supposed to be some brown sugary, and chocolate flavors and tones as well and wrapped up by a smoky finish. I’m still making my way through this bag so hope by the end of it, I can capture on my own taste buds all the things I’ve read about this particular product.