New Donut in Town

Despite the saturated coffee market along Main St. in Vancouver, another café seemed to magically appear overnight in early June: the Forty Ninth Parallel. Located at the corner of 13th Ave. and Main, it was kept a well-hidden secret via temporary walls and scaffolding plastered in graffiti and concert advertisements.
And what an attractive surprise once it was revealed.
The building pays homage to wood and industry, and has an authentic, robust atmosphere, circa fur trading posts in the 19thcentury. Dark woods mingle with black metal and rust-coloured brick. The ceilings are high with wire light fixtures that dangle from above. One of the eating areas is a long, communal table fitted with seats that swing out on metal arms from underneath. From here, you can watch the pastry chefs hard at work making delicious treats behind tall glass that boasts the name “Lucky’s”, established in 2010. The space is generous, yet cozy.
 Things have come full circle, as people become drawn to spaces with a genuine rather than synthetic, or even cheap, feel.
It opened its doors the second weekend in June, and by 9 a.m. Saturday morning, the place was buzzing with customers. Despite the popularity of places such as JJ Bean (located just a block away) and Our Town, people in the Mount Pleasant community were clearly thirsty for something new. Or maybe it was merely the new scene, where hipsters come to be seen; yet, the place was filled with all types of people – the young, the old, families, couples, and singles working on their next novel.
Six months later and the place is still abuzz with animated people sharing stories over rich-tasting coffees, often accompanied by a to-die-for peanut butter and jelly donut, or curiously delicious apple bacon fritter. These are not your typical Tim Horton variety donuts. Forty Ninth Parallel coffee may be expensive, but it is bold and makes no excuses – and they have a feature scone or donut every day that can be paired with a drip coffee for $4. Not terrible considering a specialty beverage at Starbuck’s (whose beans aren’t nearly as sophisticated) runs closer to $5. And to top it all off, the coffee at 49th Parallel is Fair Trade, making it more justifiable as a daily purchase.
The original 49th Parallel (sans Lucky’s Donuts) is located on 4th Ave. in Kitsilano, but is soon moving to a larger location down the street at the corner of Yew and 4th Ave., in what used to be Kitsilano Coffee. This new space will include a Lucky’s Donuts of its own for shoppers, strollers, and runners in Lulu Lemon pants to enjoy.Stay tuned for more information on its grand opening!

Fast Food “Artistry” shifts from sandwich to taco

Eating on the go can be challenging, especially if you lead a healthy lifestyle. The easiest thing for me has always been Subway, a quick service restaurant built on the little-known mandate at the time (in Canada they opened in the glorious 80s) of fresh ingredients. Now, after years of eating there and after a few so-called sandwich “artists” have ruined my veggie patty, it’s time for a change.
A niche market for Mexican food lovers has recently emerged in Canada, where burrito eating has become a bit of a sensation.  In the GTA we have places like Big Fat Burrito in Kensington Market and a number of Burrito Boys in the areas of Port Credit and downtown Toronto, to name a few. They represent a revolution of healthy-minded individuals who love the fresh ingredients and spicy flavours of Mexican food, but have been searching for something better than the sad tortillas from Taco Bell.
On the west coast of Vancouver, healthier options include Burrito Bros. Taco Company in Kitsilano. They make all of their food in-house, and their ingredients come in fresh on a daily basis. Homemade tortilla chips and salsa, both roja (red) and verde (green) are included with every meal, a crispy complement to the juicy burritos. Each one is packed to the brim with veggies, rice and beans, and your choice of protein: beef, chicken or Baja fish.  Impressively, they even have veggie “ground round”, a simulated ground meat that most vegetarians are familiar with, but something I have never seen on any restaurant menu. All of these fresh ingredients are topped with zesty pico de gallo, and burrito sauce, but you can also add your own heat with a variety of hot sauces that are the real Mexican deal.
This place is excellent if you’re on a budget, since most of the dishes range from $7-8, and you can get Red Truck on draft for $4.50 and double Margaritas for $6.25. I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a 2 oz. drink anywhere in the city at this price! The atmosphere is casual but colourful in its vibrant Mexican décor, and the wait time for your food is usually only 10 minutes, depending on how busy it is. When the weather permits, they have a great sun-facing patio: a perfect place to enjoy a Corona or Pacifico while chomping down on a spicy burrito.
One of the most impressive things about Burrito Bros. is that they have a Buy 10 Get 1 Free card! They even keep it on file for you (don’t worry, it won’t be too hard to find as they are organized by letter and gender). I haven’t seen something like that on offer since the days of Subway stamps, which was discontinued with no clear explanation. I mean, if privately-owned Burrito Bros. can do it, why can’t they?
Burritos Bros. is located at 2209 West 4th Ave. in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Visit their website at