213 E. Georgia St., Downtown
With several locations dotted throughout Vancouver, Matchstick seeks to elevate the often rushed habit of grabbing a coffee and racing out the door (we’re all guilty) to an enjoyable ritual—a moment to slow down and enjoy the perfect cup. Aside from their smooth, rich coffee, there are delicious toast options (ricotta and honey, walnut-butter and jam), sandwiches (slow-cooked pork, ratatouille) and healthy muesli. Matchstick bakes all their own bread in-house daily (the scent alone will draw you in) and each loaf is the product of a few day's work due to time-consuming—but better tasting—ancient baking and leavening methods.
Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie
163 Keefer St., Downtown
This is a second offering from revered Kissa Tanto chef Joël Watanabe, and it doesn't disappoint. Bao Bei swaps Japanese-Italian fusion for Chinese brasserie food, with the odd dash of Gallic flavor. The menu—all Taiwanese and Sichuan influence—is short, with dumplings described as "petits cadeaux" (little gifts in French) and small starters, adorably dubbed "schnaks." The kick-ass fried rice is, as described—a mouthwatering blend of pork belly, squash, and spicy peanuts. The wine list is unusually extensive for an Asian restaurant, and a lot of thought has gone into curating cocktails that compliment the food. We recommend a pre-dinner drink accompanied by a serving of spicy cucumbers at the bar.
350 W. Cordova St., Downtown
The Block Owner Jennifer MacKay stocks a very deliberate edit of season-specific pieces like floaty Ulla Johnson dresses and Janessa Leone hats in spring, and chunky knits from Henrik Vibskov at winter time, making leaving empty-handed a real struggle. The store is set up to resemble an apartment, with carefully chosen pieces casually displayed on tables and shelves, adding to the relaxed vibe.
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