East Village Bakery
26 July 2014 note: Like I say below, there are many changes in this neighbourhood. Moccia’s has moved out & Windsor Meats has moved in. The bakery of the story has been sold to a gluten-free bunch. So this story becomes a bit of Vancouver food history; a good thing to chronicle.
Is there a Vancouver neighbourhood changing faster or better than Hastings & Nanaimo? Two neighbourhoods technically: East of Nanaimo is Hastings Sunrise, west is Grandview-Woodland. It’s all the same to me – a good strip for groceries.
Start at the great Donald’s Market, with cashier queen of the world Carmen – who knows over 3000 customers by name.
Keep going west to Moccia’s. This is a family that makes fresh and cured Italian sausages. The Kind Family, as I’ve come to think of them. Because they are and because they put some in everything they make.
One more block west is the East Village Bakery. By now you’d figure the odds are high for a grumpy baker. Ha. More passion awaits.
Lucia Tam and Bobby Chick are working their dream – running their own bakery in the neighbourhood where they live. Lucia does the front end and Bobby bakes. Before their own place, Bobby was with Terra Breads, Capers and Fratelli’s. Before that he was a downtown corporate guy but a Terra Breads treat from Lucia rerouted him.
They use butter, olive oil, or cold pressed canola oil, quality flours, and Callebaut chocolate for their cookies. They bake everything the old fashioned way, several batches a day, so always fresh. Simple is Lucia’s word. Labour intensive comes to my mind. But I am so glad they see things this way. Passion makes a cake.
My favourites: the savory galette (the one I had was butternut squash), the ginger cookies, and their croissants. They also make lovely breads.
You should also know that East Village makes a Galette des Rois, a French pie of puff pastry filled with marzipan, traditional during Epiphany.
While I was in the shop one day, Marie, a regular customer, came in with her daughter. They were buying brioche – zee best I’ve ever had outside of Fronce, Marie zaid.
The girl waited patiently while mum and Lucia talked about a book they were reading. Then she was given the chance to choose a treat. She went for a butter-laden sugar cookie. And off they went, one of them skipping down Hastings.
Later, Lucia told me her love of European pastries was passed to her from her mother. While growing up, the two of them explored the European-style bakeries of Hong Kong. A lovely image this is. A lot like that other one I saw.
And you were wondering where to shop on Saturday morning?
May 2013 note: Lucia and Bobby have sold their bakery. While it still has the same name, it’s now exclusively gluten-free. Alas, no more brioche.East Village Bakery 2166 E. Hastings Vancouver, BC 604-568-5600