Treat Your Tastebuds To A Taste Of Italy at Caffè La Tana on Commercial Drive

Do you like good coffee and Italian food?  Try out Caffè La Tana on Commercial Drive.  Here is a press release about what you can expect.


Commercial Drive alimentari hires new head chef 
and introduces Valentine’s Day offerings
Vancouver, B.C. (January 28, 2019): Caffè La Tana is buzzing with espresso-sipping patrons seeking solace from the winter chill. Styled after the Italian alimentari, the cozy grocer and café offer a warm welcome where diners can linger over delectable pastries and pastas. With the recent appointment of Head Chef Letitia Wan and romantic Valentine’s Day offerings upcoming, the café is quickly becoming a neighbourhood favourite.
The Caffè La Tana team is thrilled to welcome Letitia Wan, whose impressive kitchen resume includes award-winning Vancouver eateries Di Beppe and Ask for Luigi. Chef Wan has rolled up her sleeves and is fine-tuning the restaurant’s fresh pasta program, which promises to attract pasta-lovers by the droves. “I am so excited to join the team at Caffè La Tana. Nothing brings people together quite like an authentic Italian meal, and I love that our guests can dine with us or take a taste of Italy home with them,” says Chef Wan.

Each morning, the kitchen crew crafts fresh pasta to sell in-store or cook up for diners seeking a simple, nourishing meal. Patrons can select their preferred pasta at the picturesque pasta fresca case, which features handmade egg noodles, seasonal stuffed varieties, and rare shapes like tajarin and orecchiette. A rotating selection of 3-4 pastas are sold by weight to take home, or to sample alongside a variety of house made sauces, such as cappellacci di zucca with brown butter and crispy sage.

Though pasta fresca takes centre stage, Caffè La Tana’s breakfast and lunch menu offers plenty of alternatives. Savour lobster tail with scrambled egg, avocado and smoked salmon or pancetta; Osteria Savio Volpe’s famed kale salad; or a salumi and formaggio plate served with gnocco fritto. Post-meal, browse colourful shelves stocked with local and imported fixings for charcuterie plates; in-season produce; and bulk Italian candies. Guests can purchase refillable bottles of house olive oil and vinegar, which are used at Caffè La Tana as well as sister restaurants Pepino’s Spaghetti House and Savio Volpe. Once empty, guests can simply bring their bottles back for a refill; $11 refill for vinegar and $13.99 for olive oil.
This Valentine’s Day, Caffè La Tana is serving up fresh, house made beet and ricotta stuffed ravioli, enjoyable over a leisurely meal at the café or to take home for a romantic evening feast. Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase fresh-cut roses for their loved ones.
Located at 635 Commercial Drive, Caffè La Tana is open daily from 8am to 6pm.

Milano Coffee Wins Two Gold Medals at International Coffee Tasting Awards in Guangzhou

Coffee typically in the morning, and wine in the afternoon and evening.  That arrangement is probably the schedule for many people.  We have an award-winning coffee roaster here in Vancouver: Milano  Coffee.  Below is their press release about their reward, plus when you can try their winning coffee.  Enjoy!


Vancouver, B.C. –  Milano Roasters wins gold. Master roaster and co-owner, Brian Turko, is celebrating the success created in his “mad-scientist” coffee roasting laboratory after being awarded two gold medals for Milano’s Silk Lili and Concept #9 espressos blends at the prestigious International Coffee Tasting Awards in the category of Non-Italian Blends or Single Origins Beans for espresso. A win for Silk Lili, named after Brian and Linda Turko’s daughter Liliana, feels especially sweet.
The additions of Silk Lili and Concept #9 to Milano’s previous gold wins for blends entitled La Futura, Butter, Velvet, Miscela Royale, Nuovo, Lucky 13, Cognac, Suave Rico, New Italian and Franks brings Milano’s grand tally to twelve gold medals in six years – which is no small feat. All the award-winners are available under Milano’s  Espresso Master’s Reserve line.
“The goal that drives us to keep our team striving for success is simple,” says Brian Turko. “To continually improve on creating and serving the best coffee in the world to our devoted customers and the coffee loving community in Canada.”
The eleventh edition of the international competition organized by the International Institute of Coffee Tasters was held in Guangzhou, China in December, 2017. Of the 162 coffees, 39 gold medals were awarded to coffees from Italy, Canada, China, Korea, Spain, Taiwan and Thailand. Milano’s coffees were the sole winners from Canada. Evaluations are completed by a panel of 28 international sensory judges who taste the coffees blind and have proven skills based of the method developed and established by IIAC and CSA. The International Institute of Coffee Tasters is an independent and scientific association for coffee tasting founded in 1993.

Meet the Makers 

January 25 | 156 West 8th Ave | 12:00 pm to 4:00pm
Milano owners Brian and Linda Turko, and Barry Henry, invite coffee lovers to ‘meet your maker’ on the afternoon of Thursday, January 25 at Milano’s West 8th coffee shop and roasting facility. Linda and Barry will be on the bar making the gold medal winning coffees, while Brian passionately shares all the details behind the blends. Go behind the scenes to see where all the roasting magic happens.
Milano’s Black Series 
Few roasters are producing dark coffees right now,  which makes it the perfect time to reveal Milano’s new Black Series. The luxurious dark roasts produced under this table are unique and special, offering great flavours that are dark but silky smooth. These coffees include Black Beauty, Black Jam, Black Lili, Black Candy, Sweet Black and Perfume Noir and are available at Milano locations.

Espresso Yogurt – a Milano Coffee x Tree Island Yogurt Collaboration

Yogurt and espresso lovers prepare! Milano Coffee and Vancouver Island’s Tree Island Gourmet Yogurt are combining two breakfast staples for a delicious collaboration that’s sure to give a kickstart to mornings. Customers across Canada can look for the product on grocery shelves this March at Milano cafés, Whole Foods, Urban Fare, Nesters, Choices, and anywhere Tree Island is sold.
#DOVF Yaletown Brunch Crawl Poster

Dine Out Vancouver 2017 Yaletown Brunch Crawl Review

Dine Out Vancouver is well underway, as well as Vancouver Foodster’s Brunch Crawls for Dine Out.  I recently attended the Yaletown brunch crawl and had a great time visiting restaurants and other shops that I have not had a chance to visit before.  That is always the nice thing about the Brunch Crawls.  Following are pictures and some comments from my Yaletown experience at the various venues.

Rocanini Coffee

  • 8oz Rum latte with 2 shots of espresso (decaf/caffeine), 6oz of steamed milk (other milk alternatives – soy, almond, skim, whole) and rum flavouring (no alcohol).

A great way to start the Brunch Crawl.  The coffee really did have a nice rum flavour to it, without the punch.

Rocanini Coffee's Rum Latte

Rocanini Coffee’s Rum Latte

House Special

  • Congee Noir – Black & White rice porridge congee with house-made Chinese donut, boudin noir sausage, and house-made XO sauce
  • Vietnamese Festival Cake – Sticky rice roulade with pork, house-made 5-spice sausage, mung bean, cucumber, pickled cabbage and celery, sriracha chutney
  • Steamed Glass Dumplings – Banana leaf wrapped tapioca dumplings, ground pork, cured shrimp, nouc cham, pork crackling and red chili.

This restaurant was really interesting.  I like Vietnamese food.  I do not have congee too often as there are other dishes that I prefer.  This one was quite flavourful with the boudin and XO sauce.  My favourite item though was the Vietnamese Festival cake.  I like sticky rice in general, and then adding the extra crunch from cucumber and spices from 5-spcie sausage and sriracha chutney made it a small flavour bomb.

House Special - Congee Noir, Vietnamese Festival Cake, and steamed glass dumplings

House Special – Congee Noir, Vietnamese Festival Cake, and steamed glass dumplings

Ganache Patisserie

  • Croissant aux Bleuets-Mures -vanilla pastry cream, blueberry-blackberry compote
  • Goyave Citron Mandarine – blood orange chiffon, lemon mousseline, guava gelee, lemon curd, and mandarin oranges
  • Madeleine
  • Raspberry Macaron

Probably my overall favourite stop at the Brunch Crawl.  The pastries here are done so well.  No item was overly sweet.  My favourite of my favourites was the Goyave Citron Mandarine (the item looking like a cake).  The guava flavour paired so nicely with the citrus and the mandarine oranges; and to top it off with fresh berries was a nice touch.

Ganache Patisserie - Crossaintm Madeleine, Macaron, and Goyave Citron Mandarine

Ganache Patisserie – Crossaintm Madeleine, Macaron, and Goyave Citron Mandarine

Living Produce Aisle

  • Pea Shoot & Kale Microgreens, Apple & Banana, combined with Grapefruit Juice and Aloe Vera Juice
  • Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie with Pea Shoots, Broccoli Microgreens, Peanut Butter & Banana, combined with Chocolate Protein Powder & Almond Milk
  • The Microgreen Salad – A mix of Pea Shoot, Sunflower, Purple Radish, Broccoli, Nasturtium, & Kale Microgreens combined with Pumpkin Seeds & Cranberries & lightly dressed with a Balsamic,
    Honey & Olive Oil Vinaigrette

I do not try smoothies that often that are made with greens, but gave it a try.  My preference was the Peanut Butter Cup smoothie.  The smoothie did have a strong peanut butter flavour and was very creamy.  It did not have too green or bitter a flavour which can come from greens.  I felt full and healthy after stopping here.

Living Produce Aisle - Green Dream and Peanut Butter Cup Smoothies

Living Produce Aisle – Green Dream and Peanut Butter Cup Smoothies

TeaJa Organic Teas

  • Double Cream Earl Grey OR Vanille Rouge teas

I chose the Vanille Rouge tea to try, made with Roobios tea leaves and had a drop of honey stirred into it.  Roobios is a red tea and is soothing to drink.  Try it.

Teaja Organic Teas - Double Cream Earl Grey and Vanille Rouge teas

Teaja Organic Teas – Double Cream Earl Grey and Vanille Rouge teas

Vancouver Foodster Presents Tasting Plates East Village on March 11

Local foodies and tourists alike are invited to tantalize their taste buds at our next Tasting Plates event.  This evening tasting extravaganza goes from 6pm until 10 pm and is presented by Vancouver Foodster.

Each restaurant will be serving up Tasting Plates for guests to enjoy and you will have a chance to visit many different types of restaurants throughout the evening, meet some new food loving friends, meet the chefs, and learn about each of the participating restaurants.

Visit our Tasting Plates site and view our past events, photos and more!

  • Vegetarian options will be available at many of the participating restaurants.
  • Bring along a friend or two, your significant other, your family or come solo.
  • A food networking dinner event connecting Vancouver’s vibrant food community.

Visit each of the participating restaurants at your leisure by bike, moped, transit, car, walking, roller skates, or carpooling.
Participating restaurants:

Platform 7

2331 E Hastings Street, Vancouver


Twitter: @Platform7Coffee

Cuisine: Coffee and baked goods

Platform 7 Coffee Brew Bar provides a unique coffee culture experience. Platform 7 transforms you to a Victorian London Train Station to experience beautiful hand-crafted espresso and coffee brew bar drinks. We selected Stumptown Coffee Roasters from Portland, as our flagship coffee roaster. Dialing in the perfect profile on our Strada, gives us the distinct pleasure in presenting the absolute best cup of coffee to our guests. From a delectable selection of the finest locally-sourced artisan bakeries to our tailor-made sandwiches, the Platform 7 experience can take one on an exotic journey to taste exquisite coffees from around the world. Providing a guiding and careful hand, our staff take great pride in presenting and serving our guests with unique and enticing brew techniques.


Windsor Meats

2276 E. Hastings Street, Vancouver



Cuisine: Butcher Shop and Meats

Windsor Meat co. East Village. Our newest and most artisan focused location featuring Heritage Free Range Pork, Local Grass Fed & Barley/Alfalfa Finished Beef, Free Range Chicken, House Made Sausages, and Charcuterie. We source all our fresh meats from only the finest B.C. ranches and farmers that take pride in ethically raised meat. Our butchers are highly trained in nose to tail butchery and sausage making and would be happy to custom cut or source anything you are looking for.


Di Olvia

2632 East Hastings Street


Twitter: @diolivastore

Cuisine: Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tastings Bar

Di Oliva Tasting Bar has over 50 kinds of Extra Virgin Premium Olive Oils from around the world and Balsamic Vinegars imported from Modena, Italy.


Odd Society

1725 Powell Street, Vancouver


Twitter: @oddspirits

Cuisine: Distillery tasting room

Jackalope’s Neighbourhood Dive 

2257 East Hastings Street, Vancouver


Twitter: @JackalopesDive

Cuisine: Southern


Pallet Coffee Roasters

323 Semlin Drive, Vancouver


Twitter: @PalletCoffee

Cuisine: Coffee roaster and cafe


renfew cafe

Renfrew Cafe

826 Renfrew St, Vancouver


Twitter: @renfrewcafe

Cuisine: Tea and pies

Advance Tickets: $45 per person. $148 for a 4 pack of tickets ($37 each) or $210 for a 6 pack of tickets ($35 each) * (get a group of your friends/family together and save by purchasing a 4 pack or a 6 pack). Regular Tickets $55 per person after March 8, 2015.

Note: Eventbrite fee and GST is extra on all tickets purchased online.

Tasting Plates Vancouver Coffee Crawl November 22

Vancouver Foodster Coffee crawl

Vancouver Foodster Coffee crawl

Do you enjoy coffee?  This event will let you try coffee from various locations thanks to organization by Vancouver Foodster.  The event is on Saturday November 22 in the afternoon, so hopefully the caffeine will wear off so you can sleep, or maybe you want that caffeine jolt to keep you going so you can visit the night clubs in downtown Vancouver till the wee hours.  Here is the notice from Vancouver Foodster.


Tantalize your taste buds at several restaurants, cafes and bakeries all over Yaletown, Crosstown and Mount Pleasant! This tasting extravaganza goes from 1:30 pm until 5:30 pm and is presented by Vancouver Foodster.

Each restaurant, cafe and bakery will be serving up Tasting Cups and Plates for guests to enjoy and you will have a chance to visit many different types of cafes throughout the event, meet some new food and drink loving friends, meet the baristas, and learn about each of the participating cafes and the coffees they serve.

Bring along a friend or two, your significant other, your family or come solo.

A coffee and food networking event connecting Vancouver’s vibrant coffee community.

Visit each of the participating establishments at your leisure by bike, moped, transit, car, walking, or carpooling.

Registration: Milano Coffee Roasters-this is where you will show us your printed or digital tickets and will pick up your Tasting Plates Cards.

Participating establishments:

Milano Coffee Roasters

156 West 8th Avenue



Serving: Coffee Roastery tours, Cuppings, Coffee

The Milano taste was developed from a century of artisanship in the Italian coffee tradition. This distinguished taste comes from the skill of the torrefazzioni – a secret method roasting and blending, closely guarded, personally taught, and handed down generation to generation. Our lineage of Musetti, Curatolo, and now Turko brings the family owned and operated Casa Torrefazione (house roaster and blender) into the twenty-first century.


1089 Marinaside Crescent



Serving: Desserts

Italian Napoletana pizzas, unique Italian desserts married with gelato from award winning Maestro James Coleridge.


Jam Blue Cold Brew

Location: tba


Twitter: @jambluecoldbrew

Serving: Cold Brew Coffee

Jamaica Blue Cold Brew is a distinctively bold & exceptionally smooth cold brewed coffee handmade with our special blend of Certified Jamaican Blue Mountain.


Momento Coffee House

577 Great Northern Way, Vancouver

Tel: 604-828-5282


Twitter: @momentocoffee

Serving: Coffee Pourovers featuring Bows & Arrows Coffee

Coffee with intention. We do espresso, pour over etc.



186 Keefer Place, Vancouver

Tel: 604-559-8897


Serving: Vietnamese coffee and dessert

Specializing in Vietnamese Cuisine known for their French style Vietnamese coffee, Vietnamese subs, Vermicelli bowls, noodle soups and more.

More cafes to be announced soon


Early Bird Tickets: $25 per person before November 7, 2014

Advance Tickets: $40 per person after November 7, 2014

Regular Tickets $50 per person after November 20, 2014.

Note: Eventbrite fee and GST is extra on all tickets purchased online.

Ticket price includes tasting cups and plates at each of the participating establishments throughout the event.

Note: ALL Tickets must be purchased in advance online. All ticket sales are final. No exchanges or refunds; however you are welcome to transfer the ticket to another person for the same event if you notify us in advance with name (s) of who will be attending in your place. Event produced by CMI Chat Media Inc. This is an all ages event.

Vancouver Foodsters East Village Tasting Plates – The Review

This week we enjoyed visiting restaurants, cafes, a distillery and a brewery in the East Village area (centered around Hastings & Nanaimo) in Vancouver.  I really enjoyed myself and was quite full by the end.  The portions served by each place I visited was substantial.  I have found a few new places that I would like to visit again.  Below is the menu from each location and a picture or two that I took throughout the night.  Enjoy!



Featuring Stumptown Hair Bender Espresso Beans:

  1. Espresso
  2. Americano
  3. Cortado  < I had the cortado, which is a double shot of espresso with milk in a small glass.

3 types of gluten free goodies:

Gluten Free Epicurean

  • Double Chocolate Salted Espresso Cookie (V) < I am a push over for chocolate, so this was my favorite.
  • Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie (V) < With this as my runner up cookie.

Italian Bakery

  • Italian Cookie (V)
Gluten free cookies at Platform 7 Coffee

Gluten free cookies at Platform 7 Coffee

My cortado and cookies at Platform 7

My cortado and cookies at Platform 7



Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 3 items:

  1. Cocktail Salteña (V) – Baked pot-pie, slight spicy and juicy, Beef or Vegetarian, filled with vegetables, potatoes and raisins. < I had the beef option. Full of slow cooked beef flavour.  Has a small amount of sauce inside to make it moist.  The pastry was flaky.  I will buy again.
  2. Quinoa Salad (V) – From the Bolivian Andes, mixed with fresh vegetables
  3. Alfajor (V) – Perfect light sweet cookie sandwich filled with Dulce de Leche and border with coconut < a wonderful, soft neutral flavoured cookie with a layer of dulce de leche through the middle and along the rim and bordered with coconut.  Really tasty and a good match with coffee.
  4. Beef Saltena, Quinoa Salad, and Alfajor cookie

    Quinoa Salad, Beef Saltena, and Alfajor cookie

Saltenas baked goods menu

Saltenas baked goods menu



Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 3 items:

  1. Parsnip soup (V) < a nice earthy root flavour with creaminess from a hint of dairy
  2. Sardines on toast, salad cream, radish and celery salad < Would be nice with a cold beer, or maybe a Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Gris.
  3. Beets and Apples, bitter greens and goats cheese (V)
Parsnip soup, Sardines on toast, and Beets and apples from Kessel and March

Parsnip soup, Sardines on toast, and Beets and apples from Kessel & March



Our Tasting Cups will include your choice of a selection of spirits (TBA at location) < We sampled their East Van Vodka and their Creme de Cassis liqueur.  I asked what serving temperature to use for the vodka.  I was told that room temperature is OK, or a slight chill from the fridge.  I picked up some floral notes on the nose and cherry fruit on the palate.  The Creme de Cassis liqueur was sweet, but not cloying and full of cassis flavour.  You can buy both at the distillery.  The vodka costs $36 and the Creme de Cassis costs $22.

Odd Spirits East Van Vodka and Creme de Cassis liqueur

Odd Spirits East Van Vodka and Creme de Cassis liqueur



Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 3 items:

1) Heritage Pork WHOLE Hog Roast: A unique pork experience from our premium pork supplier North Thompson Heritage Ranch in Barriere B.C. You will receive a portion of 10hr slow charcoal roasted Heritage Pork carved directly off the hog. < nice crispy skin.  The meat was so tender as it was roasted for 10 hours.  Would be great with a beer from Parallel 49 Brewery!

2) Irish Stout Chicken Sausage w/ Caramelized Onion. Made from LOCAL FREE RANGE chicken served with Kosliks Triple Crunch mustard. < lots of flavour in this chicken.

3) Asado NY Striploin kabob; Our house Argentinean Asado marinaded PEI (Free Range) NY Striploin Beef hot off the BBQ. < striploin was very tender and flavourful

Heritage Pork WHOLE Hog Roast at Windsor Meat Co

Heritage Pork WHOLE Hog Roast at Windsor Meat Co



Our Tasting Cups will include your choice of a selection of beers on offer (TBA at location) < The whole flight of their beers, 9 in total, was available to us to select one to try. I tried to find one similar to a Kilkenny. I was poured their Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale.  Nice level of hoppiness for me.

Parallel 49 Brewery Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale

Parallel 49 Brewery Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale

9 beers on tap at Parallel 49 brewery

9 beers on tap at Parallel 49 brewery



Our Tasting Plate will include all of these 3 items:

  1. Doichaang coffee < This is made from Thai coffee beans.  A first for me.
  2. Cinnamon roll (V) < The cinnamon bun is very good.  Not thick and doughy.
  3. Tom Yum Soup < If you like spice, you will like this soup.  It had nice slices of mushrooms in it and pieces of chicken.
Doichaang coffee, Cinnamon roll, and Tom Yum soup from Sweet Tooth Cafe

Doichaang coffee, Cinnamon roll, and Tom Yum soup from Sweet Tooth Cafe



Our Tasting Cups will include your choice of a selection of teas (TBA at location)  < I did not have a chance to visit Steam.  It was very busy with a long line up so I went to Sweet Tooth Cafe.

Fonte’s 4th Annual Holiday Coffee For a Cause

Fonte Coffee Roaster and Pike Market Child CareIf you are in the Seattle area and you like good coffee, you may want to buy coffee from Fonté Coffee Roaster, who will donate net proceeds of their Limited Edition Holiday blend to a charity. Read the details below.


Seattle WA — Beginning November 20 through the end of December 2012, Seattle’s Fonté Coffee Roaster will donate all net proceeds from sales of its “Limited Edition Holiday Blend” to The Pike Market Child Care and Preschool. Fonté has set a fundraising goal of $25,000 to underwrite the Preschool’s 2013 meal program, which will serve 25,000 meals and nutritional snacks for the entire year. It will also help the school reach its goal to make high quality child care and preschool programs available to children in need.  This year’s Holiday Blend will be available for $18 per pound at Fonté Café and Wine Bar, located in downtown Seattle across from the Seattle Art Museum or online at

Celebrating it’s 30th year, the nationally accredited Pike Market Child Care and Preschool continues to foster a passion for learning by ensuring families access to quality early education in a diverse urban environment. Since 1982, the Preschool has provided tuition assistance for 70% of families, with most living at or below the poverty level. Children in the program are afforded excellent care, healthy meals, and social and learning skills necessary to succeed in Kindergarten and beyond. For more information about the school, visit

“Each November at Fonté, we look forward to kicking off the holiday season with the release of our special limited Holiday Blend,” said owner Paul Odom. “As a father of two, I am really drawn to supporting children’s charities, especially the Pike Market Child Care and Preschool. Education and child development is important to me — this particular program helps so many.  This will be our fourth year to share the net proceeds, an annual tradition that has become very dear to us; it is our way of giving back and investing in the community.”

Fonté’s Master Roaster Steve Smith created this year’s Holiday Blend with some of their favorite coffees from the world’s 2012 crop. The creamy sweet Brazils next to rare cedar toned monsooned Indian coffees form a foundation supporting the lively interplay between a stunningly bright Kenya and the clean fruitiness of the natural Ethiopia Sidamo. The resulting cup is complex, but straightforward, featuring a smooth aged aroma that blossoms at first sip, dissolving into bright citrus notes and then reappearing in a wonderfully balanced aftertaste with distinctive cedar and sweet fruit aromas.

2012 Holiday Blend Coffees
Estate Brazil, Monsooned Malabar, Auction Lot Kenya and Ethiopia Sidamo

#  #  #

About Fonté Coffee Roaster – Celebrating 20 Years
Fonté Coffee Roaster, one of Seattle’s premium independent roasters provides single origin and specialty coffees and tea for cafes, retailers, restaurants and hotels.  The company was founded in 1992 by Seattle native Paul Odom to create coffees that would please the most discriminating enthusiast.  Fonté’s Master Roaster Steve Smith (during his 12 year tenure at Starbucks, he was the first and only roaster to earn the title of Master Roaster) is committed to exceptional cup quality. He sources the best handpicked beans, blends compatible aromas and flavors with artisan quality, and roasts by hand with masterful expertise. Smith manages a rigorous roast to order production process that involves shipping on the same day of roasting, ensuring to-the-minute freshness. For more information about Fonté’s finely crafted coffees, please visit