Between running Vancouver’s beloved Beaucoup Bakery, guiding pastry-hungry travellers around the City of Lights and writing about food and travel, Vancouver baker Jackie Kai Ellis managed to squeeze in a quick chat with us about all things food. Find out where she likes to brunch, why she loves Granville Island, and where the best crêpes in the city can be found (with all the time Jackie’s spent in Paris, she would know best!)
Brunch haunt we’re most likely to find you at on the weekend?
I love Farmer’s Apprentice for brunch. They do really good, locally-focused and inventive dishes. Nothing feels heavy, and everything is flavourful. The menu changes all the time, yet every time I’ve gone, the brunch has been spectacular.
Favourite spot for cocktails?
I’m a big fan of West. All the people behind the bar there are stellar. I think they are hands down one of the best places in town. I always get the Old Fashioned because they do it SO well. I also like AnnaLena. I think Kevin does a great job too. Normally I just go and have whatever Kevin makes me. I can’t remember one of his drinks that I didn’t like!
Where do you satisfy your caffeine addiction on a regular basis?
I really enjoy Revolver. I think they do a really, really good coffee. I typically get a cortado every time I go.
Where do you stock up on produce / groceries?
I don’t cook a lot because of my schedule, but I’m always grabbing stuff on Granville Island. I can pick up the perfect loaf of bread, there are so many good butchers, Oyama Sausage Co. and Benton Brothers Cheeses. Plus Sole Food Farms has a stall where I like to go for produce. It’s endless!
Your favourite restaurant for a special occasion?
La Quercia. I love that Adam doesn’t overdo the dishes; they are deceptively simple. He puts a lot of passion, work and flavours into every dish but it seems just so pure, unassuming and not at all fussy. But it’s all so good, perfectly seasoned, and the flavours and textures are perfect. The dessert lemon cream is so light and so tart and creamy that thing is like a perfect dessert. For a person who eats desserts for a living, that’s the type of dessert I want to finish with. It’s light, refreshing and satisfies my sweet tooth.
Best Vancouver patio in your opinion?
I tend to not go to restaurants that don’t have food that I really love, which can limit my patio options. But Chewies has a patio that I like to visit for a dozen oysters with a glass of white wine on a hot day.
Favourite hidden gem / hole in the wall?
I have a few. There’s a place on Main Street called Long’s Noodle House. Their XLB soup dumplings are really good. And Mamalee Malaysian on Broadway has a roti bread that is like an Asian croissant. It is amazing…so flaky, so crispy and so good!
Preferred source for pastries?
There are tons of amazing pastry places in town. I will always love Thomas Haas. I have a soft spot in my heart for him. His patisserie is one of the places that inspired me to open Beaucoup. I think Chez Christophe is doing amazing stuff, as is Beta5 Chocolates and Temper Pastry. We’re lucky in this city to have this many pastry shops doing good things.
Go-to food truck?
Best sandwich in town?
Nelson the Seagull’s avocado on toast. I know it’s just avocado on a piece of toast, but it is incredibly tasty. They make a really good bread. It’s simple and it’s very tasty.