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Pastry chef coming to Vancouver

We (hubby and I) are visiting for a week in July form the SF Bay Area. Of course I am in search of great food. I am especially interested in great and innovative pastries and ice cream. I love great crossiants,and danish for breakfast. I love to try imaginative pastries for lunch and dinner.

We are staying near 1st and Wylie near the Cambie Street bridge. Any places we could walk or hop on the skytrain for good coffee and pastry for breakfast?

The list of restaurants we are considering are- lunch and dinner

Japadog, Brioche, Go Fish, Rangoli, Chioppino, Refuel, Blue Water Cafe, Peid a Terre, L' Altro Buca.

Any additions for any places that I should consider for desserts that are outstanding/ I am pretty picky!

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  1. Vancouver does not seem to me to be a big pastry town. I do enjoy Thomas Haas' stuff -- his newish place on Broadway would be near you, and he also makes a mean panini for lunch. I'm also quite fond of the traditional French pastries from Baguette and Co further down Broadway. Nowhere for a really stellar croissant that I know of. My favourite Danishes come from Patisserie LeBeau, though they are better known for their waffles, which I also like, particularly the savoury ones.

    I can't think of a single ice cream I would recommend to a San Franciscan -- I know y'all are serious ice cream eaters. Nothing that can remotely compare to Humphrey Slocombe or BiRite, I'm afeared. If you like soft serve and are going to Victoria, I could recommend a place but otherwise...

    Good coffee is another story. You can do very nicely here if you seek out places like Elysian (one quite near you on Cambie), 49th Parallel on 4th, Wicked on Hemlock... you can even get a Gibraltar at Elysian if you happen to be a fan of the Blue Bottle version :-).

    I like your resto list, except for Blue Water, which underwhelmed at a recent visit. Haven't tried Brioche. You're light on Chinese and Japanese, both of which we do pretty well in these parts.

    Have an awesome visit, I'm sure you'll get other responses but please ask more questions if you are so inclined. Your home board has been awfully good to me and it would be nice to pay it forward a bit :-).

    1. I can not think of one place I would recommend for pastries. I am always disappointed in bakeries. Their treats look good but are sadly lacking.

      For gelato I do like Mum's on Denman Street. And I'd go to the Lift for lunch one day. The food is good and it's just nice to have lunch sitting on the water.

      1 Reply
      1. re: julesincoq

        I agree that Thomas Haas is the best we have to offer for pastry. In fact 49th Parallel on W. 4th is easily one of the best (and hippest) coffee places in Vancouver and they serve a nice selection of Thomas Haas croissants and other Viennoiserie that they bake on site so two birds with one .......

        You would also do well to make your way to Granville Island which is a nice walk along the seawall from where you are (maybe 30 minutes on a nice day). You'll find excellent coffee at JJ Bean which is a take away stand. Pastry is not quite as good but ask for a warm donut from Lees (morning of course) and you won't be disappointed sitting outside by the water watching the city go by.

        1. Cincin in Robson street for desserts. The pastry chef's Thierry Busset, one of the Marco Pierre White alumnus from Restaurant Marco Pierre White.

          His desserts are pretty good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jecolicious

            Speaking of Thierry Busset....he is opening his own patisserie/chocolatiery on Alberni (slated to open in the fall).

          2. Thanks all. I am depending on a friend to help with Asian cuisine which we love! Grayelf, did you see the article about Humprey Slocombe in the NYT this past Sunday? I am not very impressed, but like Bi Rite. There are some good places in the East Bay too. Thanks for the coffee recs too. Looking forward to seeing your beautiful city again and eating well!

            1. Boulangerie Cho Pain on Davie Street near Bute makes a pretty decent croissant as far as Vancouver is concerned.

              In terms of ice cream, has anyone tried Milwaukee Market Creamery on Hornby Street between Drake and Pacific? It seems to garner good reviews (on Yelp) for the frozen custard but I haven't been myself.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ange7a

                Thanks for the reminder about Cho Pain (bad name, good baking), ange. They have the best Eccles cake I've ever tasted, but I've never tried their croissants as we seem to only get tea snacks there.

                And thanks for the NYT tip about HS, OP. When I googled for it, I also got a Nov 09 article about HS' Boccalone lard caramels -- so gotta get me some of them on next SF trip. I'd like to try Sketch when they reemerge from babyland, and I'd like to try more of ScreamSorbet but my favourite ice cream so far is at Nieves Cinco de Mayo in Fruitvale. I wish there was something like that in Vancouver. I'll have to try that frozen custard ange mentioned...

                1. re: grayelf

                  The article might be on the NYT website. It was in the Sunday, July 4 magazine. I don't know if the NYT website is "open" . Sketch is on the web-no retail anymore- is that "babyland"? You sound like you get around the bay Area? Perhaps you have already been to lush gelato or Ici.

                  1. re: zinfanatic

                    I did find the article and it was really interesting, so thanks. I heard that Sketch was available on the web but I can't get my head around ordering something frozen online, and I don't imagine they deliver to Canada anyway. I also heard they were taking time away from bricks and mortar to start a family, but I'm hoping they'll open a store again. Haven't tried lush or Ici yet but they are on my radar. We head to SF Bay Area twice a year, inshallah, and love to be gastrotourists there.

              2. There's a patisserie on Arbutus between 10th and 11th on the EAST side of the street that has croissants, pain au chocolat and almond-filled croissants my friends go completely crazy for. I think its called Plaisir Sucre. It is not the one across the street (I'm not knocking it, just never been in the door).

                For the imaginative part of your query: a friend swears by the Japanese bakery on Burrard (around 8th). I've had a few fun things from there.

                But for me nothing is as good as a Thomas Haas scone and I sure do like looking at the other stuff there, but have yet to indulge.

                3 Replies
                1. re: waver

                  I haven't confirmed, but I believe Kei's (Burrard St) is closed (or is closing soon). The owners are moving back to Japan.

                  1. re: fmed

                    I read the owners are leaving but I thought the pastry chef was staying, albeit going in a different direction?

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Aggh, just when I thought I was so clevah.

                2. It was warm today, and I was thinking about the ice cream talk on this thread. I'm like grayelf: there are some things in SF or the Bay Area I wish we had here, namely the Indian ice cream place in the Mission district. What I'd do for a scoop or smoothie of cardamom or rose water right now. Maybe the OP would be interested in the SE Asian ice cream desserts here like halo halo, faluda, or cendol. It's been a while since I've had halo halo at either Goldilocks, New Town, or Pinpin. I do like the faluda at Bo Laksa King. And there must be some cendol experts here, especially the ones who go to the food courts at Crystal Mall or Richmond.

                  1. The BEST place for ice cream in Vancouver is a new place called Bella Gellateria, 1001 W. Cordova @ Burrard. Blew me away - far and away the best I've had in Vancouver. His gelato's are made fresh daily, kept covered in stainless steel containers (exposed ice cream creates ice crystals....bad). His machines are the only ones in North America, with the exception of Wolfgang Puck.
                    His specials change daily - when we went we had cilantro/lime, torrone (my fav), chocolate and amarena cherry, straciatella (chocolate chip).....oh my - party in my mouth. It's pricy, but I'd rather had that kind of quaity than a huge scoop of mediocre.

                    Another cool thing is you can watch him actually making the gelato from the front window. I've heard his fresh apple sorbet is a revalation....wouldn't that be perfect for a day like today??

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Quattrociocchi

                      I've walked by that place a few times while they were still in construction (usually on my way to Giovani). Thanks for the heads up. It isn't too far from where I am working so I will make sure to check it out very soon. Definitely interested in the apple sorbet.

                      1. re: fmed

                        Let me know what you think fmed - another sorbetto that sounds interesting - Gewurtzraminer (made with a BC wine....forgot the name). Glad I don't live or work nearby....!!

                        1. re: Quattrociocchi

                          That does sound good, quattro, especially the cilantro lime (I heart cilantro in cocktails, why not in gelato?).

                          I'd still like to find good "regular" ice cream, as I sometimes crave a richer, creamier mouthfeel than you typically get from gelato...

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Has anyone tried the ice cream from the retail store at Avalon Dairy? I keep meaning to but I'm never down that way.

                    2. Within 15 min walking distance is my favourite Japaese restaurant - Toshi on 16th ave, just east of Main street. Average ambiance but amazing food. No reservations so lineup at 4:30 to garantee a seat when they open at 5pm. You won't be sorry.

                      1. Have to second everyone that there unfortunately are no good ice cream places here in Vancouver. Gelato yes - real ice cream no.

                        This isn't a breakfast place - but a great place for tea or to pick up sweets....Our favorite place for dessert pastries is 'Nottes Bon Ton' - Vancouver institution. French-Italian bakery that has been around since 1926. They do buttercream like you would not believe. Real stuff. http://nottesbonton.net/