Tag Archive for commercial drive

Commercial Drive Bakeries

I am a girl who likes her sweets. I love a good bakery. And a cluster of them together??!? Pure gold. 

You can walk from one to the next, and that, my friends, burns calories so you can have an extra cookie or a slice of cake when you get to the next one. 

Yeah, there’s a method to my madness. 

Here in Vancouver, there are a couple parts of the city where you can find bakeries blooming. Yaletown is obviously the first, but Commercial Drive, with its Italian/Portugese roots, is also very rich in the baked goods. 

You’ll find everything here–I mean obviously a lot of old-school and new-school Italian baked goods, but also French patisserie, and some modern takes, as well. 

My list starts in one of two places: at La Tana, which is almost all the way to Hastings at the north, or at Flourist, which is as far south as this map will take you. In between? A treasure-trove of tasty baked goods. 

round loaves of sourdough bread

Flourist, 3433 Commercial St

I’ve been watching and waiting on this one for a while. The newest of the Commercial Drive Bakery gang, Fourist just opened up this bricks-and-mortar location a couple months ago, after running a successful online business for the last few years. They were selling dried goods: flours, beans, pulses, grains, but have now created a cafe/coffee shop, selling baked goods made from their raw ingredients. You can buy authentic sourdough bread here, or learn to make it and buy all you need to make it at home. There’s something for everyone, including lots of vegan treats. My fave? The Chocolate Chip cookies, or beans on toast. 

Fratelli Bakery Commercial Dr

Fratelli–the mind boggles.

Bakery Sate, 2879 Commercial Dr

It’s a bit obscure, as it’s tucked around behind a big storefront on 12th, but it’s well worth seeking out. Sate has some of the most interesting and creative croissant flavours in the city. If you are matcha-obsessed, they have matcha croissants, as well as other out-of-the-box flavours like Banana-Chocolate-Hazelnut or Pomegranate Cheesecake. 

Fratelli Espresso Shortbread

Fratelli, 1795 Commercial Dr

Fratelli is the oldest of all the Commercial Drive Bakeries. Open since 1997, Fratelli is part of a triumverate of Italian perfection: there’s the bakery, La Grotta Del Formaggio beside it, and Cafe Calabria beside that. It’s the most Italian you can be in the city. Fratelli is also the bakery on this list that has the biggest selection. There are literally 100s of items baked every day for sale, and they are all pretty spectacular. They go from cakes to cookies to bread to savoury items… yeah, it’s a tough decision to make. One of my favourite things here is the espresso shortbread, but really, you can’t go wrong with pretty much anything. 

Oatmeal Sandwich Cookie Oh Sweet Day

Oh Sweet Day, 1706 E 1st Ave

Another fairly new addition to the Drive, Oh Sweet Day started as a blog. Fanny Lam started a blog, and then, in an attempt to monetize, began to sell Christmas Cookie Boxes. They were so popular, she wrote a cookbook, and eventually, opened up her own shop. She’s known for two things: cookies and mini cheesecakes. 

Kougin Amann

The Bench Bakehouse, 1641 Commercial Dr (in Il Mercado)

Open less than a year, The Bench is run by a husband-wife team who trained both out of Paris and San Francisco. So they have great breads, as well as great pastries. They do some fun, creative croissant flavours here, too, but my favourite thing to order is the Kougin-Amann. 

Livia Sweets

Livia, 1399 Commercial Dr

Hands down, this is my favourite place on the drive. Part bakery, part cafe, it has such a charming European vibe, I just want to move in. The coffee is really great, too. There are baked goods, but also things made from their house-made bread… well I just can’t say enough nice things. Really, go. 

Caffe La Tana

Caffe La Tana, 635 Commercial Dr

It’s attached to Pepinos, and they share a kitchen. This charming little spot beside the York Theatre is owned by the same folks that brought you Savio Volpe, so as you can well imagine, the pasta is great. This is the day-time version of Pepinos, with coffees and pasta, lighter fare. They also have some pretty dope baked goods, fresh bread, and a whole little Italian market with specialty imported items. It just has the most European vibe… 

What’s your favourite Commercial Drive bakery? Did I forget any? Comment below! 


How to Make Neapolitan Pizza (and how you can get some for free)

Ah, a day in the life of a food blogger. I never know where it’s going to take me–and yesterday, it took me to a local food truck to learn how to make authentic Neapolitan Pizza.

Now, I just have to say for the record, that Neapolitan Pizza is the real deal. It’s not something that comes out of your freezer, and you may not live in a place where you can even get it delivered. This is a classic pizza style from Italy that features a very thin crust, and the crust must be prepared by hand in order to qualify as Neapolitan (there’s a certification process and everything!). It’s then baked in a very hot oven, usually around 800-900 degrees, and that’s what creates that beautiful, puffy crust, that’s crispy and chewy on the outside, but still soft on the inside.

The Community Pizzaria Food Truck comes with a built-in, wood-fired, pizza oven.

The Community Pizzaria Food Truck comes with a built-in, wood-fired, pizza oven.

The simplest of these pizzas are done Margherita style. Traditionally, these pizzas were prepared by the wives of Italian fishermen as they came home from a day of work, and the colours reflect the Italian flag: red for the tomato sauce, white for the cheese, and green for the basil. It’s the epitome of taking simple, fresh ingredients and preparing them in such a way that they sing. It’s what Italian cuisine is known for.

If you’re a big fan of Italian cooking (as I am), you’ll want to get down to Commercial Drive this Sunday for Italian Days. The Drive becomes car-free, pedestrian-only, and all the restaurants and shops come out to play and celebrate Italian Culture in Vancouver. There’s music, food, dancing… it’s an awesome party. And free!

Hmmm... which one of these was made by trained pizza chef, and which one was made by me??

Hmmm… which one of these was made by trained pizza chef, and which one was made by me??

You can also, for free, have a slice of this exact pizza I learned to make (and then got to eat–NOM) yesterday. Mogo is a new kind of online online financial service, based right here in Vancouver, and they aim to be more socially responsible than some of the other banks out there. While many banks are raking in billions in profit on interest and the like, Mogo aims to help save your money and keep you out of debt–their whole philosophy is Do More, Spend Less. I think we can all get behind that.

Mogo will be sponsoring the Community Pizzeria Food Truck on the Drive this weekend, as part of their Mogo Perks Program. Sign up for a Mogo membership (either online or in person on Sunday), and free, authentic, wood-fired Neapolitan (they call it MogoRita Pizza--*rimshot*) pizza for you! They’ll be there from noon to 4 p.m., or until it runs out. A little birdie told me they’ll be handing out free swag, as well!

Community Pizzaria

Here’s Michael, the owner of Community Pizzeria, showing me how to make a pizza. They have a wood-fired pizza oven built right into their truck. It was super fun–but I doubt I’m good enough to join him on the line on Sunday. I will, however, be in the lineup outside–for free pizza (and I can tell you first-hand, it’s really, really delicious!). Hope to see you there!

This post was sponsored by Mogo Money, but the opinions are my own.