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Saturday, April 25, 2009

West Vancouver's hidden treasures

It was a bright and sunny day, and the ski hills of Whistler were calling. But not without a short stop for a short coffee along the way. Traveling from home, along the Upper Levels #1 Highway, requires a stop just before Horshoe Bay. This small shop is always packed with customers - a tribute to it's staff and location. Look for Exit #4, Caulfeild (yes, it's spelled correctly), on the South side of the Highway.

If you're down near the renovated Park Royal Shopping Centre, you've no doubt seen the creative boutique shops in the mall area. Right at the East side of the Home Depot is this relaxing new location. Unusually large amounts of seating, and the inspiration of retro styling in a new building; the coffee was great too. They were pouring Sumatra, and who can resist those dark roasts!

Friday, April 10, 2009

From West Van to Ladner

This wonderful location in the heart of West Vancouver off Marine Drive, has the feel of an alpine setting. Climb up from the back alley parking (and underground parkade), and you'll think you're in Whister. Wood arches, benches & chairs. Unique!

Inside it's a big layout - spacious. Lots of reading room. It's also right across the aisle from Delaneys. I had to compare: Starbucks had about 16 people there, with mostly business people, and a small group (couples). Specialty coffees & drinks were the orders placed. Across at Delaneys, it was a broader mix of ages, with less business folk, and a few more neighbours it appeared. Sandwiches and desserts were also in greater evidence.

If the thought of gelato makes you smile, there's a neat location in Kitsilano on West 4th. The coffee was good, but the walk across the street for a gelato was even better! A two-for-one stop, I'd say.

New Westminster's downtown has undergone quite a revitalization in past years, but one consistent business has been the Starbucks at 6th and Columbia. I can remember walking from our home in New West on a sunny weekend, when our now 12 year old was just a baby! It's been renovated to keep up with the "look" of corporate Starbucks, and has attractive wood & rattan chairs. They store has always had a community feel, and it retains that with locally produced artist's work (carvings, paintings), and occasional floral arrangements. It's close to the police station and a local college, so watch out for the busy lunch and break-times.

And on to sunny Ladner. The mall in the heart of town has a busy location, sandwiched (pardon the pun) between Subway and Blockbuster Video. Not spacious at all, so plan to take it to go. The staff are friendly and efficient, and got my Americano ready in no time. Next door for a sub... Can you say lunch?