Main Street Gossip


The only consistent thing about Main Street in the Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver is that it’s always changing. Restaurants come and go, antique shops close down to make way for more modern ware/wear, and heritage buildings get taken over by the more financially viable, if unattractive, “Cash Money”.  Stay tuned for all the details on what’s new in our ever evolving neighbourhood!

The Gossip – Coffee and Baked Goods
Since we moved to Mount Pleasant a year and a half ago, we have seen various establishments go under, or get torn down and redeveloped, usually into more appealing venues. And often, the focus is on coffee and baked goods. And with the success of so many of these places so close together, it is obvious that Vancouverites covet their coffee and sugary treats.
Within about a year, and within seven blocks of one another, six different places opened to serve caffeinated drinks and sweet fare.  One of my top choices, Forty Ninth Parallel, is a gourmet coffee roaster with delectable donuts to boot (try the peanut butter and jelly, they are to die for). This place is always bustling with customers, so be ready to wait in line on the weekends, and to clamor for a seat. They often play their music loud, so if you’re looking for a quieter place to work, try another venue such as Gene Café or JJ Bean at 14thand Main.
French Made Baking, located on Kingsway between 8th and Broadway, is another new bakery worth a pit stop. Owned and operated by men and women who are authentically French, it is small and unassuming; and the sign does little to communicate the charm within. They specialize in the now trendy macaron, but also boast other sinful treats, such as the real pain au chocolat, layers of delicious pastry surrounding little surprises of dark chocolate. Their café au lait also merits a taste – it is rich and creamy, and begs for regular croissant dipping. Be prepared, however, for the strange hours French Made Baking keep: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. throughout the week.
Only a few stores down the block from the French bakery is La Petite Cuillère, which in many ways is an homage to typical British tea houses. Despite the oddity that an English tea house has a French name, and the French bakery an English one, La Petite Cuillere is recommended for its savoury lunches and sweet dessert offerings. Try the quiche and salad, or the pesto chicken wrap (a great to-go option), along with one of their many inspired tea options. One of the most memorable things about this place is the women who run it: they are two sisters with their mother, and they all exude kindness and positivity.
Across the street and connected to the Mount Pleasant Community Centre is the newly refurbished Pleasant Beans, a good place to stop for JJ Bean coffee after one of the many activities on offer at the centre. The coffee shop often has homemade granola bars (yum!), and also make grilled cheese (for the kiddies, but who’s kidding who, we adults love them too).
I have yet to try newest additions The Last Crumb, a mere block and a bit from Forty Ninth Parallel and JJ Bean, or Bonchaz Bakery at the corner of Main and Broadway. Although Bonchaz may be next on my list, as they offer a free muffin with coffee before 11 a.m., or so local legend claims. Let me know if you’ve tried either, and what you think!

 

Check in soon for the latest gossip on restaurants, breweries, and clothing stores in Mount Pleasant!
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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!