A Bee-View of the Drive – Via Tevere Pizzeria Napolitana

by admin - February 8th, 2013

via tevere exterior One of the great things about operating a Vancouver B&B in the Commercial Drive neighborhood is that we have such a wonderful array of restaurants to choose from and new ones pop up almost every week.  Via Tevere Pizzeria has been getting such rave reviews ever since it opened that it seemed imperative that we include it in our restaurant reviews as soon as possible, even though it’s not exactly on Commercial Drive. It is, however, very conveniently located at 1190 Victoria Drive, only two blocks from the Bee & Thistle.  This wonderful little pizza restaurant has actually been open since March, 2012, but it’s been so popular and there have always been such big lineups that we have simply not had the time to give it a try. Many of our guests have brought us back rave reviews, though, sometimes going back several times during a short 3 or 4 day stay with us. We did have one guest recently who wasn’t a fan, but food is such a personal choice that there will never be one restaurant that is right for everyone. That’s ultimately a good thing, of course, or the vibrant and always changing restaurant scene in Vancouver would not exist!  Fortunately for us, our pace at the Bee & Thistle is a little slower in the winter months so we finally found an evening to stop in and find out what everyone is raving about!

We popped into the pizzeria on a Thursday evening, right after they opened at 5:00, and were fortunate to get there before the lineup had started, so that would be our first recommendation – go early and preferably on a week night.  The restaurant was almost full but we managed to find a table and were happy to be inside via tevere oventhe warm and welcoming little restaurant with the wonderful smells of pizza cooking and the sounds of happy chatter. We are still trying to get back into our pre-Christmas jeans, so we were not very extravagant in our food choices, finally settling for one Capricciosa pizza between us – the most expensive pizza on the menu at $19.00. While waiting for our food and drinks, we chatted with our neighbors at nearby tables and ogled their food. The appetizer call “frittura napolitana” looked particularly appealing – we will definitely have to try those yummy looking fritters next time! One couple with a small child told us that they frequently find themselves dropping by at Via Tevere, as it’s become their “go to” eatery in the neighborhood.

Via Tevere’s website tells the charming story of how this little pizzeria came to be.  Apparently, the family originated in a small palazzo on a street in the heart of Naples called Via Tevere. Lucky them, they spent many summers on Via Tevere and learned the secrets of the traditional wood-fire cooking method and Neopolitan ingredients. Lucky us, we get to experience a little bit of their summers in Italy by popping into our neighborhood pizzeria!

via tevere pizzaOur pizza arrived and was definitely not a disappointment. Very thin with crispy crust and loaded with generous amounts of proscutto, salami, artichokes, mushrooms and olives – delicious!  Our only regret was that we didn’t toss those pre-Christmas jeans in the trash and order two pizzas!  However, in the end we agreed that we were really quite satisfied with half a pizza each and any more would only have been because we didn’t want to stop eating!

One of the marvelous things about a neighborhood like Commercial Drive is that your neighbors at the next table are also your neighbors who live only a few streets away from your house, so each dining experience where you are able to chat with the family at the next table is also an experience in building community.  We feel so blessed to living in the small community called “the Drive”, even as we live in a relatively big, worldly city. We can choose to remain near our neighborhood and feel like we live in a small town, or we can be downtown in 5 or 10 minutes and at the heart of the hussle and bustle of the shopping and business community!  The second benefit of owning a B&B in a small neighborhood like the Drive is that many of our guests are here to visit their children and/or grand children in the neighborhood so we get to know more and more of our neighbors as we are host and hostess to their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters.

But, back to our comments regarding Via Tevere Pizzeria.  One of the things we particularly appreciated about Via Tevere, besides the food and the very pleasantVia Tevere Old Sign wait staff, is their efforts to retain the heritage character of their building.  If you approach the restaurant from the south, you will be delighted by the wonderful, faded mural on the exterior wall that is a legacy of an earlier era.  Since we chose to open our B&B in a heritage house, it’s pretty easy to guess that we like historic buildings, and this one tells a wonderful little story of Commercial Drive history.

As usual, we couldn’t finish a review without checking out the standard review sites, 83% of Urban Spoon reviewers like Via Tevere, and Yelpers rate it four stars. As for us, we definitely liked it a lot – the food was delicious and the lively, friendly atmosphere was fun. We will be going back at our very first opportunity, as well as recommending it to our guests.   We also notice on their website that there are some intriguing little tweets about the t.v. show “You Gotta Eat Here”.  Could it be that we will see some of Via Tevere’s inside secrets on an upcoming show of this Canadian t.v. series?

 

Vegan Lemon Scones with Raspberry “Butter” – Delicious!

by admin - January 16th, 2013
A Vegan Valentine Treat!

A Vegan Valentine Treat!

 

With so many people looking for healthy, wholesome food these days, we are finding more and more guests are asking for vegan options. But that’s not to say that they don’t still love wonderful flavors and home baked pastries, fresh out of the oven! In fact, we find that they are often extremely appreciative of the effort we go to in finding vegan options that work really well and produce excellent baked goods.  Of course, this is a good excuse for one of my favorite activities – pouring over recipe books & blogs, and testing out our own creations on willing guests or my family!

This recipe is one that we adapted from a conventional lemon scone recipe that didn’t require any eggs. We found the vegan version to be absolutely delicious! In fact, you could easily serve these scones to your non-vegan friends – I promise you, they won’t even notice any difference!

Fun Heart Cookie Cutters

Fun Heart Cookie Cutters

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we thought it would be would be  fun to prepare them in heart shapes and serve them with pink raspberry butter and a lovely pink rose!

One of our favorite kitchen shops is the Gourmet Warehouse, located very near us on Hastings Street, and they have a wonderful selection of cookie cutters (among other things!). You can find them on line at http://www.gourmetwarehouse.ca/.  Even if you don’t need cookie cutters but are a foodie at all, you will love this shop!

So back to the recipe, here goes:

 

Vegan Lemon Scones

3 cups flour, unbleached

1/3 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter substitute (I used Earth Balance)

Zest of 2 lemons

1 cup soy milk with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice stirred into it

              1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
              2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. Rub in the lemon zest with your fingers (even better flavor if you first rub it into the sugar).
              3. Cut butter substitute into chunks then cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter until it is approximately the size of peas.
              4. Stir the lemon juice into the soy milk to “clabber” it, toss with the flour mixture, then turn out onto a floured board and knead just until the dough comes together (4 or 5 times). Pat or roll into a 6″ diameter, approximately 1″ thick. Cut into 6 wedges or whatever shape you wish with a biscuit or cookie cutter.

Vegan Lemon Scones Raw Edited

 

              • Bake at 400 F. for approximately 20 minutes or until lightly golden brown.
              • Allow to cool the drizzle with lemon glaze. Serve with raspberry butter or home made jam.

 

Glaze

1 cup icing sugar

1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice

              1. Measure icing sugar into a small bowl. Stir in lemon juice until smooth. It should be thick but soft enough to drizzle. I like to pop it into a baggie, cut the corner off the baggie and use it like a piping bag to squeeze the glaze onto the scones in a pretty cross hatch pattern or whatever pattern you like.

Vegan Lemon Scones Close Edited

Raspberry Butter

1/3 cup fresh raspberries

1/3 cup butter substitute at room temperature (eg. Earth Balance)

1 1/2 tablespoons of icing sugar

Pinch of salt

              1. Place the butter substitute in a bowl & whip with hand mixer. Add raspberries, icing sugar and salt. Continue to beat until smooth. Serve with warm scones.