The phrase "cold comfort" has always puzzled me. Does comfort have to be warm? Which would you rather have on a hot day, a cup of lemon tea or a glass of lemonade?
During our last trip to Steveston, Cat and I spent a highly enjoyable afternoon wandering sun-dappled streets and ducking into the small, dusty shops tucked away from the main roads. As our visit to Steveston neared its conclusion, I found myself with a strong craving for a spot of Low Tea. Unlike the United States, it's a lot easier to find places that serve a good Tea in Canada. The more I thought about having Tea, the more excited I became. Opportunities to have Tea in the States are few, and usually disappointing. The thought of having Tea in a country where it was an entrenched part of the culture had me salivating with glee.
Alas, this simple dream was not to be. When I broached the subject with my lovely fiancée, she asked for the opportunity to visit an old family stomping ground instead. Given the bittersweet purpose of our visit to British Columbia, I shelved my Tea fantasies for another day and acquiesced to her request.
The Cannery Cafe is a cozy little bakery and sandwich shop near the edge of the historic Steveston Fishing Village. Like many of the shops in the area, it's owned and operated by a very friendly family of Greek-Canadians. The cafe is small and cozy, with sturdy wooden furniture inside and an enchanting, flower-lined patio facing onto the street. From the looks of the structure, I half suspect that some or all of the family live above the shop, since it appears to be a converted house.
Service was friendly but brusque, since the middle-aged mother and her mid-twenties daughter staffing the restaurant seemed to be doing a lot of bickering that day. The mother was the one who both took my order and went into the kitchen to prepare my food. Although she spent the entire time snapping at her daughter, who gave as good as she got, she managed through facial expressions and gestures to make me feel at home. The bickering seemed habitual.
Imagine my surprise when, despite having asked to eat at the Cannery Cafe, Cat only asked for a bottle of juice once it was time to order. Apparently she'd only wanted to sit out on the patio the way her family used to. Being somewhat hungrier than she was, and still grieving for my missed Low Tea opportunity, I decided to comfort myself with a heaping helping of homemade apple pie, ice cream, and a frost glass of iced almond milk.
Delivery of my order was prompt. In fact, I watched with great pleasure as the mother cut and served me a huge wedge of the rustic apple pie she'd baked earlier that day. The crust was strong enough to contain the pie filling, but tender and flaky, falling apart easily in my mouth. The warm, spiced apple filling combined with the cold vanilla ice cream to produce that special hot, cold, and sweet sensation only apple pie a la mode can provide. The iced almond milk was crisp and not overly sweet, a good pairing for the rich pie. While the almond flavor was milder than I was expecting, it went very nicely with the apple filling and vanilla ice cream, and was just what I needed on a hot summer afternoon. Cold comfort indeed.
Cannery Cafe - A cozy place with good pie. Ignore the bickering. Or, if your family is anything like mine, enjoy the homey feeling.
Sadly enough, I managed to lose the receipt for the cafe, but I believe the total with Cat's juice came out to about $7 CAD. My last trip to Canada occurred shortly after I started food blogging, so it wasn't terribly well organized from that standpoint. As such, I had to give up on a number of the restaurant reviews that I'd planned to write. I just didn't have enough background material, and many of the pictures didn't turn out well. Hopefully I've improved a bit since then.
3711 Moncton St.
Richmond, BC V7E 3A5