Starbucks – 587 Main St., Vancouver, BC

What does it mean to have Starbucks in the heart of Chinatown

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The Millennium Gate of Vancouver Chinatown acting as an entrance point into the Chinatown area.

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On the left, the Sam Kee Building, a.k.a. the 1.5 m building, beside the newly renovated 522 Shanghai Alley building with Coup Salon as store front on the street level.

“A Starbucks in Chinatown? Really?” was our reaction when we first heard this from Katie. The new Starbucks sits at the intersection of Keefer and Main in the heart of Chinatown. The tall condo above with a coat of fresh paint and shiny glass windows is strikingly different from just across the street, with shops that have discoloured awnings and uneven, cracked sidewalks. Inside the coffee shop is your usual Starbucks atmosphere: the warm yellow lights, baristas with green aprons, and coffee aroma. There are many food options convenient for on the go, including muffins, sandwiches, and cheese and fruit platters.

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The Rennie Collection at the Wing Sang Building on Pender Street. It was constructed in 1889 for Yip Sang, a prominent Chinese-Canadian businessman whose Wing Sang Company flourished, and it acquired historical preservation and heritage designation by the City of Vancouver in 1999. Four years of restoration and renovation turned the building into a private exhibition space for the Rennie Collection.

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Beside the Rennie Collection are Rennie Marketing Systems and Rennie & Associates Realty, all under The Rennie Group Ltd.

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Musette Caffè, a bike-themed, biker-friendly coffee bar, on Pender Street.

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Pender Street water main replacement project , upgrading critical water infrastructure on Pender Street from Gore Avenue to Seymour Street. With no through traffic at E Pender St during working hours, and one lane in each direction at Main St for vehicular traffic all other times.

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Blim, an independent, family-run art and craft facility and fashion retailer.

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Flatspot Longboards, a skateboard store, located below the Vancouver branch of the Hung Mun Association, a civil organization banned in China, and Hung Mun Sports club of Hung Ga Kuen, a school of southern Chinese martial art.

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Sai Woo, a new, modern (fancy $$$) Western restaurant and bar named after the original Sai Woo Chop Suey, which first opened its doors in 1925. It is located below the Chin Wing Chun Society, an association that provided support and protection to people with the surname ‘Chin’, ‘Chan’, or ‘Chen’, whose ancestral birthplace was Wing Chun Village in Hunan Province.

We ordered some coffee and food. Starbucks coffee always seems to have a burnt taste in their coffee, despite being a coffee shop, and our visit was no exception. The food was also mediocre compared to the myriad of cafés in Vancouver. But Starbucks is still a popular destination for students and white-collar workers to grab coffee for studying, taking a break, or hanging out. One reason for its popularity is their atmosphere. Starbucks strives to create “a third place between work and home” (1). A place with soft lights and comfy chairs, their successful marketing strategy made them into an international iconic brand. Now, almost every corner has a Starbucks, not just in Canada or the US, but all around the world. Wherever you are on the planet, people can expect the familiar walking into the coffee shop.

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Framework, currently under construction on Pender Street east of Main Street, is a new condo development by Porte Development Group. Sales for available units range in price from $429,900 to over $449,900.

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188 Keefer, a new 17-storey condo under construction on Keefer Street and Main Street, on the site of a former casino. One-bedroom units at 188 Keefer will start at $239,900 and two-bedrooms at $399,900.

Starbucks in the heart of Chinatown brings something familiar to the unfamiliar. Chinatown has a large ethnic Chinese population and is known to have a distinct, vibrant culture but seen as undesirable and unsafe. It is known to be in “Canada’s poorest postal code” (2), and for the middle and upper class of Vancouver, Chinatown seems too foreign. By bringing Starbucks- a place that is now almost too generic and “too popular to be cool” (3) – to Chinatown, it acts as a bridge that connects to the outside. With Starbucks, it’s as if Chinatown immediately becomes accessible .But for whom does it become accessible? Who are the customers that Starbucks serves and what lifestyles are catered for these shops?

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Matchstick Coffee Roasters, a Vancouver-based coffee bean roastery, retailer, and cafe. Each coffee is brewed by the cup to ensure control over when and how the water is introduced to the coffee for a quality extraction.

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221A, a non-profit artist-run centre that presents exhibitions, talks, publications and special projects that explore the role of design in the shaping of contemporary societies. Founded by 14 mostly international students from Emily Carr Institute in 2005, the organization has presented over 70 exhibitions, talks and publications by contemporary artists, achieving meaningful public dialogue on the lived experience of design since it opened a dedicated public space at 221A E Georgia Street.

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Phnom Penh Restaurant, named after the capital and largest city of Cambodia, is a famous family‑run eatery that serves Vietnamese‑Cambodian cuisine (and the best chicken wings). Beside it, Quality Enterprises Ltd., a merchant in the food products – wholesalers and/or manufacturers section. Behind them, Solheim Place (on the left, part of S.U.C.C.E.S.S. housing society with 86 residential units for low income families, seniors and independent living persons with disabilities) and V6A (on the right, a boutique 9-storey building built in 2010) on Union Street are visible in this photo.

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Hand-written sign outside Mamie Taylor’s, a modern American restaurant on Georgia Street that opened in 2013.

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Tin Lee Market, a local grocery store, and Gar-Lock Seafoods, a seafood retailer, on Georgia Street.

“Exclusionary displacement… refers to the sense of isolation that people feel when their family and friends have been displaced. Their social network may be eroded, although they can remain in place. It also refers to the sense of isolation people feel from the influx of high end restaurants, and boutiques, that they can’t afford.” (4)

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Street view of Gore Ave. between Georgia St. and Union St. Customers are seated on the street patio of The Pie Shoppe / Panoramic Coffee Roasters.

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Vancouver Especially (A Vancouver Special scaled to its property value in 1973, then increased by 8 fold) by Canadian artist Ken Lum, as part of 221A’s semi-public program at 271 Union Street.

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Vancouver Especially, operated by 221A in conjunction with Semi-Public Society for Art and Architecture. The installation is a 1:3 scale replica of a mass-produced, Vancouver architectural style of homes known as the “Vancouver Special”, popularized from 1965 to 1985 with an estimated 10,000 homes built.

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Harvest Community Foods (grocery and foods shop began as a community project called This Space, in which a public vote determined the use of the space as a local foods grocery), and Crackle Creme (small, craft-style dessert cafe serving up artisan crème brûlée and authentic Belgian liège waffles) on Union Street.

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Charlie & Lee, an independently owned and operated fashion retailer that focuses on independent, local, made in North America or ethically sourced goods.

As Chinatown becomes familiar to the outside, it simultaneously becomes unfamiliar to the people already there. Chinatown has a lower income for a median household and a larger population of elderly residents than Vancouver (5). So we wondered about the demographics of the Starbucks in Chinatown. “There’s usually Chinese seniors who talk out loud, young professional workers, “yuppies”, homeless people, queer people, and rich people”, a customer in Starbucks said. And if Starbucks is a way to “demonstrate their status- both social class and more subjective characteristics, such as being modern, international or fashionable” (6), what does it say about who they want and don’t want in Chinatown? Shops reflect the consumers of the place, and Chinatown’s shops are quickly being replaced to draw young people from middle and upper class. Besides Starbucks, there are countless new and hip coffee shops, boutiques, pubs, and bike shops along the streets, which also do not serve the interests of the people living in Chinatown. It is not the elderly or low-income families that are shopping at boutiques or browsing the Internet on their laptops at cafés.

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A temporary moved sign on the window of the Jimi Hendrix Shrine, the only remaining landmark that suggests a black community was active in Hogan’s Alley (the local, unofficial name for Park Lane). It was an ethnically diverse neighbourhood during the first six decades of the twentieth century, home to many Italian, Chinese and Japanese Canadians, a number of black families, black businesses, and the city’s only black church before it was destroyed in 1970 by the Non-Partisan Association for the government’s construction of the Georgia Viaduct.

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“Leaving Historic Chinatown” sign under the Dunsmuir Viaduct, which is voted by the Vancouver City Council to be demolished along with the Georgia viaduct on October 27, 2015. The current twin viaducts were built in 1972 as the first phase of an extensive freeway system right into and through downtown Vancouver (before the freeway plans were solid), razing buildings in the area, including the Hogan’s Alley community right in the bulldozed area. The project, however, did not complete as it was opposed concerned citizens, including the Chinese community which joined together with white supporters to prevent the freeway from being implemented.

Along the streets of Chinatown, there are large cranes and busy construction workers. Many of the old shops still remaining are closed with newspapers plastered on the wall. Demolishing buildings doesn’t simply just remove the buildings, but along with it, the stories, culture, people, and communities. Without the people, the stories in Chinatown quickly become a part of the past. It seems that “people are starting to consider this place a museum, not a real place where real people live” (7). Under the newly built Starbucks are stories that have been buried and forgotten. What was there before Starbucks opened? And even before that?

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188 Keefer, designed by renowned architect, W.T. Leung, contemporary amenities, mixed-use retail and services at street-level . Viewed from Main Street.

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The Flats (yellow building), a new condo development by Panther Constructors Limited at 219 Georgia Street with a total of 28 units, on top of the newly opened Fat Mao (“Lucky Cat” in Cantonese) Noodles by Chef Angus An (aka the executive chef and owner of Kitsilano’s Maenam restaurant and Longtail Kitchen in New Westminster’s River Market). The menu focuses on noodles and spans Asia with Thai, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Singaporean influences

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The Keefer Block, built by the Solterra Group, began construction in 2012 and completed in 2015 with 81 units ranging from 450 to 1012 sq.ft. and a Starbucks Coffee at the corner of Main Street and Keefer Street.

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Construction worker paving new sidewalk by 188 Keefer on Main Street.

The loss of communities and cultures seems irreversible. And people have different perspectives of the changes happening; some are embracing the change. Bob Rennie, a real estate marketer, likes the “contemporary building in heritage… they complement each other [and creates] balance” (7). And many of the newer buildings in Chinatown attempts to create this balance, including Starbucks. In the café, there is a red dragon on a blackboard hanging on the wall- the only thing that detours from the Starbucks we all know. Perhaps the dragon is an attempt to celebrate the unique culture of Chinatown. Perhaps it is to convey that the old and new could coexist. But in an attempt to keep the culture while ‘revitalizing’, how is Chinatown reduced down to a red dragon?

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Side of Starbucks viewed from Keefer Street.

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Inside of Starbucks, with store design controlled by Starbucks Corporation.

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Discussion of assignment at Starbucks, with toasted graham latte (for here), salted caramel mocha (bartsia made a mistake with the drink, so he gave it to me for free), and bo lo bao (pineapple bun, bought from New Town Bakery on Pender Street).

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Store hours of Starbucks written on blackboard. (but of course drawing of a dragon was required since it was in Chinatown, how else would one represent China if not with a dragon?)

Initially, Chinatown was established to provide “social, emotional and material support and at times, protection from racial hostility” for the Chinese immigrants (8). But the function of Chinatown shifted in the 1930’s as “Chinese associations made efforts to promote Chinatown as a culturally exotic tourist attraction that offered Oriental cuisine, Chinese artifacts, and folkloric festivities to the public” (8). So commodification of Chinatown is not a new phenomenon; the shift in the 1930’s was beneficial for the businesses in Chinatown. And now, Chinatown attracts young professionals and artists seeking for affordability and rustic authentic features and is quickly becoming the hip location with the right balance of cheap authentic food and new high-end shops. This current shift is beneficial to larger real estate markets and investors. Commodification of Chinatown is, and has always been, profitable. And consequently, the history and culture is simplified into a trend, a background, an object. The vibrant culture is disappearing, and it seems that “Chinatown will be gone… half of it is the Westerner’s world” (7).

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Bao Bei Restaurant on Keefer Street, with “influences taken from Taiwan and Shanghai as well as the Sichuan province [while they] continue to look for ideas and inspiration to keep the flavours true but to take a more modern approach to Chinese cuisine”.

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Walking on the newly paved Keefer Street as we make our way back to the Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain station.

And no one is saying that communities remain static; they do change, buildings get worn down, they get replaced, and people move. But anyone can see the frighteningly rapid changes that are transforming Chinatown day by day. “Without the red lamps, it would look like any other city,” Christina said. And no matter the intent, whether the changes are called ‘revitalization’ or ‘preservation’, the people who are the most vulnerable are ultimately being displaced. So what will it look like next year? How many more pubs and cafes will come up until Chinatown becomes unrecognizable?

Written by Cathy Lee

Photography by Christina Lee

Photo Captioning by Katie Fung

References

1) Starbucks Coffee Canada. Retrieved from http://www.starbucks.ca/about-us/our-heritage

2) Skelton, C. (2010). Is Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside really “Canada’s poorest postal code”?. The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved from http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2010/02/10/is-vancouvers-downtown-eastside-really-canadas-poorest-postal-code/

3) Lutz, A. (2015). Starbucks is desperately tring to shed its ‘basic b—-’ image. Business Insider. http://www.businessinsider.com/starbucks-is-trying-to-stay-premium-2015-3

4) Sutton, S. (2014, Nov. 1). What we don’t understand about gentrification. TEDxNewYork. Retreived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqogaDX48nI

5) PT&E Committee Agenda (2012). Chinatown Neighbourhood Plan and Economic Revitalization Strategy. City of Vancouver. http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/report-chinatown-neighbourhood-plan-economic-revitalization-strategy.pdf

6) Maguire, J. S. (2014) Starbucks symbol of class status in China, research reveals. University of Leicester. http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2014/january/starbucks-symbol-of-class-status-in-china-research-reveals

7) Christensen, D. (Producer), & Kwan, J. (Director). (2013). Everything Will Be (Motion picture). Canada: National Film Board of Canada.

8) Li, P. S. & Li, E. X. (2011). Vancouver Chinatown in Translation. Journal of Chinese Overseas, 7, 7-23.

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Can you eat healthy on $4 a day?

Fortune

How much did you spend on breakfast today? Even better, dinner last night? If you’re one of the 47 million Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), your budget for any given meal is around $1.44. Yes. Just over one dollar.

While these federal benefits are designed to be supplemental – there are numerous families whose sole resource is the SNAP money they receive. What are they able to buy with that money? Can it be nutritious?

These questions are important as states, such as Missouri, bring up bills to restrict food assistance and as we move ever closer to the perils of summertime where families (without school lunch/snack assistance) are ever more reliant on the program. The irony is that the while the government spends $80 billion a year on SNAP, we spend more than 15 times that ($1.3 trillion) on health care. If SNAP can’t provide…

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It’s Worth the Wait: Café Medina

I’m sure you have been hearing about the Café Medina a lot lately, you might have even been there already! But I’m here to tell everyone else who hasn’t been, go!

Scared of committing to the wait (or anything)? Let me walk you through what to expect.

1. When you walk up Richards Street, you will see a lot of people standing outside the cafe. Ignore them. Walk right in.

2. Your hostess is exceptional and she notices when new people walk in and takes their name. But if not, make sure you put your name on the waiting list.

3. You will be told that you can walk around and come back later. You will be scared you wouldn’t come back in time when your name is called. Don’t worry, your name wouldn’t be taken off the list if you miss your call. Your name stays on there so when you’re back you’ll be at the top of the list.

4. Once you are seated, you will be asked to pick a drink from their wonderful menu. I’d say there’s nothing wrong with drinking at 11am, so go ahead and order a Medina Lemonade. It is made with lemonade, lavender, mint, and gin. And it will be the best spiked lemonade, ever.

5. Or alternatively, a class Mimosa made with champagne and fresh squeezed orange juice is always welcomed.

6. Next, you will be asked to choose one or more topping with your Liège-style Waffle. Be warned, it won’t be easy. Fat Bunny chose the Ernest Cardamom Ice Cream topping, and I couldn’t pick between Peach & bourbon butterscotch and Mixed Berry Compote, so I got both 🙂

7. Finishing up your Mimosa? Get a beautiful Cappuccino.

8. Of course a waffle isn’t going fill you up! Learn from Fat Bunny and get the Fricassée, which had two fried eggs, braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, applewood smoked cheddar with grilled focaccia.

9. Or you might already have two waffle in your stomach, like me, you might not want to order a full breakfast. Your server understands you are already half full, so no shame in ordering just sides. I got an Avocado Toast with Baked Beans and Free-range Egg. While you are expecting to get a piece of toast with some avocado slices, a magical piece of thick toast with perfectly ripped avocado topped with freshly squeezed lemon juice and salsa shows up in front of your face, and your world is forever changed.

10. The bill comes, and you are surprised by the how much you are spending on brunch, but then you realize you are walking away with two food babies, so it’s allllllll good.

Café Medina

What Americans can learn from other food cultures

ideas.ted.com

Food feeds the soul. To the extent that we all eat food, and we all have souls, food is the single great unifier across cultures. But what feeds your soul?

For me, a first-generation Korean-American, comfort food is a plate of kimchi, white rice, and fried Spam. Such preferences are personally meaningful — and also culturally meaningful. Our comfort foods map who are, where we come from, and what happened to us along the way. Notes Jennifer 8. Lee (TED Talk: Jennifer 8. Lee looks for General Tso), “what you want to cook and eat is an accumulation, a function of your experiences — the people you’ve dated, what you’ve learned, where you’ve gone. There may be inbound elements from other cultures, but you’ll always eat things that mean something to you.”

In much of China, only the older generations still shop every day in the wet market, then go home and cook traditional…

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Secret UBC Lounge: Peter Wall IDEAS

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Fall has arrived, and midterms are around the corner (sorry to break the news), more time are spent indoor and at school. As college students, Tuesday dollar pizza and instant noodles are our lives. However, once in a while, we like to catch up with friends and go somewhere fancy. UBC students, look no further (than Rose Garden), and meet Peter Wall Ideas Lounge.

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While it’s a Faculty Lounge and technically not intended for students, it IS open for public (crashinggggg). It opens for breakfast, lunch, as well as 3-6pm for tapas. I found their sign while on my way to class, and just had to look for this place. Hidden behind some trees on the opposite side of the Chan Centre, IDEAS Lounge is simple, quite and beautiful.

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I ordered the House Fire Root Vegetable Chips, which includes kale, yam, lotus (only got one), and taro. Very crispy and it made me feel healthy, a little too salty though. I also got the Prosciutto & Young Mozzarella Flatbread, with cheery tomatoes, fresh basil, and olive tapenade, and it was amazing! Very fresh ingredients, and the perfect amount of seasoning.

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I went in an hour before my class, but the food came so slow I thought I’d be missing class (I wouldn’t mind missing class for good food though). However, it didn’t take me long to “finish my food” – because the portions were so big, I couldn’t even finish half. Yes, the bill looks a little crazy for a lunch, but I feel it was justified with that much food left.

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I would recommend this place for students needing a fancy break from their studying, ideal place for sharing a few dishes and beers with some friends (and share the $$$).

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Their link for the lounge seems to be broken, but it’s mentioned at the bottom of this page

Last of Vancouver Patio Season: Havana on the Drive

Summer has been good to us in Vancouver this year, it’s mid-September and I’m still walking around in T-shirt. However, like it or not, we all know that the famous Raincouver weather is around the corner – so let’s enjoy the sun while we can!

Havana has been a Vancouver favourite for years, and mine for ages. I remember coming here with my family in the early days of my Canadian childhood. I came here with my ex-roommate this summer, and food was as amazing as always.

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Fat Bear got the Jerk Chicken Wrap with soup, and a mango smoothie, and I got The Drive Burger with yam fries and chipotle mayo. I also decided to get a Cuban Coffee at the end. Honestly this place is just such a classic, their food and atmosphere of the restaurant is always fantastic! I would recommend this place for when you just want to chillex.

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http://www.havanarestaurant.ca/

6 Things Coffee Addicts Should Know

Before you know it, it’s almost September! Now, I know you’ve seen enough back-to-school ads EVERYWHERE, I just wanted to share some of my thoughts on coffee drinking etiquette. For those who know me, I’m kind of a coffee addict – problem is, I usually don’t like coffee by itself, which forces me to spend a lot of $$$$ at starbucks. Another thing is, I don’t focus well at home (staring at my cat is much more interesting than staring at my books), so naturally I spend a lot of time at coffee shops. Without further ado, here are coffee drinking tips I gathered over the years:

1. For the Night Owls – Know which Coffee Shop Opens late!

Want to study after dinner, but find most cafes open until 9pm at most? The following coffee shops all open until 11pm, so make sure you drop by before you pull an all-nighter:
The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar
Cafe Joie
Pearl Fever UBC
Starbucks at Bridgeport & No. 3 Road
Starbucks at East Hastings & Renfrew

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2. Find Out Which Coffee Truly Keeps You Awake

As much as I like my hazelnut macchiato, I know as a fact that a good ol’ Timmy’s double double really keeps me from falling asleep. Find out which store has the right poison for you, then use with caution!

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3. Load a Gift Card or your UBC Card

More and more stores are now having membership programs, and you should get on broad if you haven’t already yet. Also, if you don’t already know, loading and paying with your UBC card saves you 5% on most campus restaurants and cafes.

Why? Because you have nothing to lose. There is no difference between paying in cash, or loading a card and paying your drink with it. What do you gain? Free drinks and discount. So, why not?

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4. Bring your Own Mug

So you’re not using up a tree every time you get a drink. Better yet, also use it as a water bottle to ensure you drink at least a cup of water between your coffees. As a commuter, I understand the pain of having one more thing to carry, so check out Smash Cup! They were successfully funded on Kickstarter recently, so hopefully they’ll come to Canada soon!

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5. Order it as “For Here”

If you’re planning on doing some readings inside a cafe, get your drink as “for here”! Another tree saved 🙂

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6. Order your Drink 1/2 Sweet

Thanks to Freshman 15 (it’s real), I was forced to face the fact that sugar is evil. So in order to maintain my relationship with starbucks, I now always order my drinks half sweet. It tastes almost the same as a regular, but half the sugar amount saves me a lot of calories. I don’t do skim milk over regular milk because some nutrient are lost and replaced by artificial ones in the process of removing fat from the milk.

Now go drown yourself in coffee.

Don’t Skip the Nachos: The Foundation

The Foundation, probably my no. 1 guilty pleasure, best for when I want bar/junk food, but still wanting to stay “healthy” (they are vegetarian!). I’m not super creative, so I practically order the same dishes very time I go. That includes a huge ass plate of utopian nachos the size of my pillow with beans and perfectly melted cheese, served with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole. 

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Another dish I really like is the upper east side, black beans and mango served on rice. It is super refreshing and tasty, perfect for when you don’t have an appetite but know you should still eat something. I believe the dish in the back is their maple bean chile (I could be very wrong though). This photo was taken from a lunch date with my mom, and I remember we couldn’t even finish the two dishes, the Asian side of me says it’s very good value.

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I actually bring different friends to Foundation a lot, and I would let them pick the “other dish” (since the nachos is so big, one other dish for sharing is usually more than enough to fill two to three people). Hence, I don’t remember what the orange dish in the next photo is called, but I do know the following ones are lower east side and mango forte.

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Now, there was a time when I ordered sangria blanca because I wanted a little booze with the food. I’m not sure what hard liquor they put in there other than wine, but it did not as sweet as I wished 😦 but their mixed drinks are quite cheap though, with a single for $5.5 and a double for $7! Note: their music is very loud, not your best spot for heart-to-heart talks!

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Doesn’t seem like they have a website…

Walking up the Drive: Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen

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The sun was finally back in Vancouver and before we knew it, it was already Friday! Fat Bunny came home early evening, and we decided to be adventurous try somewhere new tonight! After browsing through Yelp, we thought we would try out a four-star Mexican restaurant called La Mezcaleria on Commercial Drive. However, we learned that there was going to be a 45-minutes wait when we got there, and decided to walk around and find another place instead.

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And this is when we found Kishimoto! We recently saw nagashi-somen in an anime, and naturally Fat Bunny was attracted by the big sign outside the restaurant. We did have to wait about 20 minutes to be seated as expected, and we were actually asked if we mind moving to the bar (we didn’t mind though).

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We had a 5 Kinds of Sashimi, and the chef had chosen seared scallop, tuna toro, wild sockeye salmon, hamachi, and tai. The dish was decorated with fresh flowers, and served on a block of ice, wrapped in peeled daikon!

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Cold Somen came right after, it is a kind of thin Japanese noodles made of wheat flour. Served in iced water and came with tsuyu, a dipping sauce, and we were to dip strands of somen at a time. Very cool and refreshing!

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Lastly, our Salmon Oshisushi came. It is a type of sushi where blocks of sushi were pressed in a special mould to create the perfect rectangular shape. Presentation was beautiful, and the sushi was delightful to say the least. Fresh salmon on rice, under a layer of cream sauce seared by torch and topped with fresh cracked black pepper and jalapeno.

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As promised, we ate with our eyes, and it was amazing. We will definitely come back another time.

Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen & Sushi Bar

Hidden Cafe in the West End: Greenhorn Espresso Bar

Hidden in a residential street in the West End of Downtown Vancouver, the Greenhorn Espresso Bar has been gaining popularity ever since it opened in January this year.

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Here you will find some more-than-impressive breakfast, brunch, and lunch items you normally wouldn’t find in typical cafes, along with exceptional espresso drinks.

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I found this cafe because Fat Bunny’s workplace is near by. While they do not have an actual patio, they do have a few tables available for outdoor seating in the summer. Yes it can get quite busy here, but I always manage to find space to sit as they have lots of seats.

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Last time I was here, I got their Ham & Cheese Croissant, and a London Fog. The croissant was very toasty and warm, as promised. London fog was sweetened with their homemade vanilla syrup, not as heavy as conventional sweetener, but not sweet enough for me.

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This time, I ordered their famous Grilled Cheese for lunch. Stuffed with aged white cheddar, feta, oven-roasted tomatoes, and basil, the filling lunch is served with their amazing tasting house made ketchup.

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Also, the Greenhorn Cafe is located right next to Production Road, a working studio and arts retail shop of local Vancouverites Annie and Hubert. Their products make the best gifts! So next time you’re in the area (hint: the Vancouver Pride Parade and the Celebrations of Lights), make sure you check out both Production Road and Greenhorn Espresso Bar 🙂

http://www.greenhorncafe.com/