Simply French Café

Simply French Café was started three years ago by Isobel and her husband, Hasmet, after a long sojourn in France with their two teenage daughters. It was there that Isobel learned how to make macarons in Paris at Lenotre, a restaurant, cafe, and cooking school founded by Gaston Lenôtre.

Simply French Café is home to the BEST macarons (naturally gluten-free) my family has ever tasted – they are perfect, from the way the fragile shell cracks upon first bite to their delicate, melt-in-your-mouth taste. Our favourite is the lemon macaron; it has a delicate, almost floral quality that we’ve not found before in other lemon-flavoured desserts and we’re always recommending it because its flavours are so pleasing to the senses, it is just sublime. Other favourite flavours are chocolate, orange, chocolate mint, coconut, and strawberry.  (Ok.  Really, we like every flavour they make and we’ve tried them all, so far. If I have missed any, I will update you accordingly;)  Another bonus – ! – macaron classes have recently become available so that everyone is welcome to the pleasure of making and enjoying their own macarons both at any time and to impress their friends and family with – and they WILL be impressed with the Simply French Macarons!

Many of the desserts offered at Simply French are also gluten-free, including a flourless chocolate mousse cake that’s also made without butter, making it also dairy-free.  (I would also heartily recommend their chai latte, which I tried the last time I visited Simply French to meet a friend, it really hit the spot and was perfect on a cold, rainy day.)  Paninis are also available to be made with gluten-free rice bread upon request. There are desserts and other baked goods as well as some meal items made with wheat as well, so do ask when you place your order rather than assume.

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Dairy-Free Green Tea Ice Cream with Blueberry Sauce + Vancouver Favourites

I know green and blue aren’t the traditional colours to celebrate Canada Day but they are Canucks colours. I should say first that I’m not exactly a hockey fan – I don’t know any of the rules or how the game works, but it’s the togetherness, fans united, that counts I think.

The Canucks-Bruins playoff was a big thing – I didn’t realize how big until I saw it even in British online publications (with headlines like, “If you thought football fans were mad, think again”)! What made more headlines, though, were the Vancouver, B.C. riots. A lot has already been said about the riots and a lot of people have already covered it and spoken their opinions. Myself, I’m not happy that the riots happened and that people behaved in that manner; what disappointed me more, though, were the people who badmouthed Vancouver – not just because I was born and raised in this city (don’t get me wrong, I love my city) but that most of those comments weren’t even from people who had visited or at some point lived in Vancouver. To me, it is akin to a tourist saying that somewhere – a city, country, etc. – is a bad place or attributing its people to something undesirable, especially if it’s for television, when it is really just an opinion and one’s own perspective. (I’m not saying you have to like a city – if you don’t, that’s fine, but don’t badmouth it. For example, what I saw of San Francisco last year I liked and someday I’d like to explore more, whereas there are people I know who have been to San Fran and did not like it the least bit. To each his own.)

The riots, and the behaviour exhibited, were not truly representative of Vancouver and its people. What happened before the playoffs, the togetherness of the Canucks fans, though, is memorable and should be remembered: fans whooping and cheering, as cars drove by horns were honked and hands sticking out of car windows giving high fives to strangers on the streets. The hope of winning. It was an incredible thing to witness. It was a tough game and, yes, the Canucks lost this time – but it should be that joy that is remembered most of all.

That being said, before I share today’s recipe I’d like to share some of my favourite things about Vancouver and in no particular order.

(Click after the jump for my Vancouver favourites and for the recipe!)

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