British Columbia

A latte great options when it comes to coffee shop food, columnist says

Nothing's worse than getting a lousy snack with your coffee, so On The Coast food columnist Gail Johnson is highlighting some coffee shops that get food right.

Some places make great food in-house, others rely on local artisans

Fresh croissants at Matchstick Café. Matchstick is one of Gail Johnson's picks for a coffee shop that does food right. (@matchstickyvr/Instagram)

Vancouver is home to countless coffee shops, but they're not all created equal — especially when it comes to their food offerings.

However, On the Coast food columnist Gail Johnson has your back when it comes to biscotti and told On The Coast host Stephen Quinn about some of her favourites.

"Food at the coffee shop is the kind of thing you might not pay much attention to until you end up with something really lousy to go with your Americano," she said. "The worst example has got to be Starbucks … It's awful! The stuff is either sickly sweet or grossly dry. It actually makes me angry. And I also get angry when I go to other places and order a muffin and it has a single blueberry or cranberry in it or when it's completely flavourless."

But thankfully, there are more choices than Starbucks in the city.

"One that really stands out is Bows and Arrows Coffee Roasters, a new spot on Fraser Street at 26th Avenue. It's the company's second location. It started in Victoria," she said. "Their pastry chef, Trevor Pruegger, used to work at Thomas Haas. He makes really lovely items like citrus morning buns, flaky galettes and big buttermilk biscuits. He also makes all of the bread in-house."

Matchstick is another place that bakes its own bread at its Chinatown location: "Their bread is really the linchpin of the café's entire menu, which includes things like eggs on toast with ratatouille and salsa verde," Johnson said.

Finally, Milano Coffee Roasters has good food offerings too, she says, but it turns to local artisans to do its baking.

Vendors like Livia Sweets and Eightfold Eats provide rose petal shortbread, salty caramel brownies, lemon squares and quinoa-almond butter cookies.

With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast