Archive for July, 2014

Living Cafe

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Amanda Kroetsch - Living Cafe - Steveston InsiderMy interview with Amanda Kroetsch (owner of Living Cafe) began with me seeking advice. Two of my family members have recently been experimenting with new ways of eating; one is now a vegetarian and the other is exploring a gluten-free diet, which has forced me to look at cooking in an entirely different way. She assured me that it is a workable situation and calmed down this grain-eating carnivore!

Kroetsch is highly familiar with a variety of diets, which people choose either as a lifestyle preference, or elect to follow due to a health issue.

For fourteen years Kroetsch battled a long list of unexplained symptoms, which was diagnosed 5 years ago as Celiac disease. She found immediate relief when she adopted a gluten-free diet.

The organically inspired eatery opened last August. Aware that there was nothing like her restaurant in the village Kroetsch wanted to offer the community delicious, wholesome and nutrient dense foods. While she did not train as a chef she brings to the business her vast personal experience.

She admits that a strong desire to create the Living Cafe came from longing to have a place to dine with family and friends without the fear of getting sick and the embarrassment of being the odd one out.

While Kroetsch would ideally like to be a raw vegan she has discovered that a paleo diet (meat, vegetables and fruit) works best for her physiology. Whether you have no dietary restrictions, or you are a vegetarian, vegan, paleo-friendly, gluten-free or have food allergies, Living Cafe offers menu items to satisfy ever diner.

Living Cafe - sandwich - Steveston InsiderLiving Cafe - veg pasta - Steveston InsiderLiving Cafe - breakfast - Steveston InsiderLiving Cafe - baked goods - Steveston InsiderLiving Cafe - dining room - Steveston InsiderShe dispels two myths about her business; it is neither exclusively vegetarian nor is it just a juice bar. So what will you find Living Cafe - exterior - Steveston Insiderinside the busy cafe? The space is divided into two rooms with an archway separating the dining room from the kitchen and retail area. The light green walls of the eating space house a number of tables. Soft music was playing the day my taste testers and I enjoyed lunch. While we waited for our meal we sipped orange and mint infused alkaline water and perused cookbooks found on the bookshelf in the dining room.

Two of us enjoyed the BLT sandwich on gluten-free bread, which tricked us both. It did not taste like any gluten-free bread that I have eaten; it was like the real McCoy. Our other companion dined on the “Tuna” salad sandwich. The tuna is actually made from a raw nut pate (sunflower seeds and almonds) and was given a big two thumbs up, as were the house-made flax veggie crackers.

Only the freshest ingredients are used with a focus on Ocean Wise sustainable seafood sourced from local fishermen, ethical and organic meat and chicken from B.C. farms, free eggs from Rabbit River Farms located in Richmond, and organic produce from local farmers.

Comfort food is a large part of the Living Cafe experience. You will find revamped takes on many favourites that are flavourfully adapted to keep the yum-o-meter registering high. Some of the popular menu items include the vegan Caesar salad made with an in-house dressing and herb focaccia croutons. Smoothies are not made with ice or fillers but rather with organic frozen fruit and almond milk made in-house – Kroetsch describes it as a meal in a glass. The hearty vegan Moroccan stew, Chicken Salad sandwich, Herbivore Hash and Eggs Benny (made with vegan butternut squash hollandaise sauce) are all crowd pleasers.

Speaking of crowds, the cafe has been doing very well since it opened. Kroetsch is pleased to report that every month business has grown. She and her staff of 8 are thrilled by the amazing support of loyal locals and there is a fair amount of drop in traffic too. There is certainly spin off business from hungry whale watchers at neighbouring business Vancouver Whale Watch.

Young families have been great supporters of the restaurant. Steveston resident Tracy Johnstone says she does not know what she or family would do without Living Cafe. Their dietary needs hinge on the gluten-free baked goods that they can find nowhere else in Steveston. She has become one of the restaurants biggest fans.

The Living Cafe’s retail section offers a display case is packed with baked goods. To name just a few, you will find gingersnap cookies,
dairy free double chocolate cake, paleo mudpies, quinoa carrot cake, lemon blueberry muffins, chocolate zucchini loaf, banana bread, vegan cupcakes and scones.

The freezer case contains an array of gluten-free baked goods including baguettes, hamburger buns, quinoa bread, cinnamon raisin bread, pumpkin cranberry rosemary bread, chia flax bread and vegan pizza shells.

In the future Kroetsch would love to see everything that they use in the kitchen available in their retail section. Soon she will be introducing celiac safe bulk bins.

Living Cafe is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. With a goal to expand the dinner menu and an application for a liquor license in the works, it goes without saying that business is going to continue to climb. Whether you have special dietary needs or not, this is a wonderful place to dine and feel good about what you eat.

Living Cafe
240-12240 Second Avenue
Richmond BC V7E 3L8
Telephone 604-370-5483

Top 10 Great Things to do in Steveston

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

With its fairytale charm, it’s no wonder visitors flock to the picturesque seaside village of Steveston. Pretty historic homes and tempting eateries line the streets. Orcas and bald eagles frolic just off shore. And there’s always something fun to do, even if it’s just watching the fishing boats dock in the busy marina.

Embark on a Whale Watching Excursion
Hop on board an eco-tour or whale watching expedition that leaves right from Steveston’s shores. You might spot heron, eagles, a pod of black-and-white orcas or even majestic humpback whales. Steveston Seabreeze Adventures Inc, Vancouver Whale Watch and Steveston Eco tours Ltd, all offer tours to see one of the top attractions on the Canadian West Coast.

Discover two National Historic Sites
At the Gulf of Georgia Cannery, discover how things worked at the largest of the salmon canneries that once lined the coast. Then head over to Britannia Shipyards National Historic Site and experience what life was like for workers in Steveston’s fishing industries a century ago.

Explore Once Upon a Time’s Storybrooke
Come share the magic. Explore the enchanting historic buildings and scenic settings that play a starring role as the village of Storybrooke in the fairytale ABC TV series Once Upon A Time. Who knows – you might even see Snow White or Prince Charming!

Snack on Seafood by the Seaside
When the sun comes out, so do the happy crowds heading to the patios along the Steveston wharf. Pull up a seat at one of the lively eateries and enjoy some fresh fish and chips while you watch the fishing boats in the marina.

Hike or Bike Along the Dykes
Steveston is surrounded by a system of dykes that provide perfect pathways for hiking, biking or just taking in the view of ocean and mountains. Pick up your rental bike at Village Bike Rentals in Steveston, and start exploring. You never know what you’ll see next.

Feast on Culinary Delights
Bring your appetite, because Steveston has something cooking just for you. Choose from pizza, pasta, souvlaki, sushi, tapas, gourmet sausages, charcuterie, burgers, Kansas City-style BBQ, steak and seafood galore. Then, for a sweet finish, try the doughnuts, cupcakes, chocolates and ice cream!

Visit Fisherman’s Wharf
Stop by to watch the fishermen unload their catch before heading back out to sea, and pick up some fresh salmon and spot prawns at the dock. Or why not cast a line yourself from a fishing charter with STS Fishing Adventures.

Join the Festival Fun
There are many great events happening in August and September including the Maritime Festival, Rotary Duck Race, London Family Farm Day, Steveston Dragon Boat Festival, Garlic Festival, Beer Fest and Grand Prix of Art.

Shop for Unique Gifts
Check out the tempting goodies at the village boutiques, such as charming home accessories, crafty toys, handy garden tools, quirky t-shirts and trendy fashion. Or, if you’re looking for a truly one-of-a-kind idea, head to Steveston Farmers and Artisans Market for gorgeous handcrafted gifts.

Experience a Historical Farm
Venture out to the countryside for a taste of century-old farming life at London Heritage Farm. Wander through the heritage gardens, explore the museum and stop for the afternoon tea. And don’t forget to pick up some homemade jam and teas in the gift shop.

Tourism RichmondFor more information stop by Steveston Visitor Centre located at 3811 Moncton Street, Richmond (Steveston Village) or telephone 604-271-8280.