One thing Vancouver is not lacking is places to go to for a coffee. However, getting a good coffee with a great atmosphere is a whole different story. Last week I met a friend for coffee and thought to try something new and not at one of our many chain coffee houses in Vancouver. Uptown Main street has many funky joints but wanted to try something off the beaten track. I had heard great things about this new roastery Matchstick, especially how great their coffees were and that 2 doors down was a gluten free bakery that people have been raving about.
Tucked away on the 600 block of East 15th Matchstick coffee Roasters and The Gluten Free Epicurean are nestled between Le Faux Bourgeois and Chez Baba Yoga and Cantina. This little block is becoming quite hip.
I decided to check out The Gluten Free Epicurean first to see what sort of goodies they offered, as my wife is a celiac and we are always on the hunt for decent baked goods she can eat. The first thing out of my mouth was "are these all gluten free?" Delainy, the owner responded with "yes, everything is gluten free and lots of Vegan free too (for those that have other intolerances along with wheat). So much to select from and even things you can take home and bake yourself. They have pizza dough, cookie mix, pancake mix and more.
My wife was at work so I decided to surprise her after my coffee with a few treats. I got her a cinnamon bun and a pizza bun, 2 things she hadn't eaten in years. For myself I picked up a gluten free apple fritter (couldn't tell the difference and in fact these may be better than the original glutenous kind) and headed 2 doors down to Matchstick for a tasty coffee.
Matchstick is minimalistic with its blond wood features, subway tiles, wood beams and a long communal table reminding me of Europe. They even have a little kids area. Through the back they have a coffee roaster free standing in an open room ready for roasting coffee (which they plan to start roasting in a few weeks). My friend and I ordered a couple of americanos and chocolate croissants and sat down by the window to catch up. I would have to say that that was one of the best coffees I have had in Vancouver and rivals Italy. I have always wondered why I haven't been able to get an "Italian" tasting coffee outside of Italy and I think the reason is we all drink too much brewed drip coffee. At Matchstick they make each cup of coffee individually. Smooth, tasty, and no sugar needed. My friend commented on the croissants as being so good the French couldn't make them better.
All in all a great block to grab some treats (gluten free or not) and have a coffee, bridging Commercial street and Main street, giving the Cedar Cottage and Fraser Kingsway neighbourhoods a cool hip place to relax, work or meet up with a few friends for a great coffee.
Oh and as for what my wife thought of the baked goods I picked up... absolutely loved them. We went back on the weekend.
Picture courtesy of Matchstick Coffee Roasters and The Gluten Free Epicurean's Websites.