Many people are addicted to their cup o' joe. I, however, can actually get through the day without one. This said, I am gaga over a good cup. One that is so good that when you take your first sip, you just go... ahhh. And... if they happen to have a good fresh and authentic croissant -- even better.
Here are my favourite places:
Artigiano - there are now many locations of this coffee shop (and I have probably been to all of them, except for the one in Kelowna, but that's only because I couldn't find it and ended up on a wine tour instead), but I still like the one across from the Art Gallery. Order their cappuccino (they have special Artigiano way of making it). And please, do not order "no fat" or "skim milk" for heaven's sake. If you are going to have a decent cup of cappuccino, I say go big or go home. Make sure to say, "for here" and I also like it "extra hot" so I can savour, sip and contemplate. I have a rule that I only order good specialty coffee when I have the time to sit and enjoy it (as opposed to grabbing a cup to go and drinking it in my car) FYI: You may have seen Bob Blumer's show if you watch the Food Network
Their pastries are only Ok. I do like their almond croissant.
Bakery 101 - is the culinary school bakery in Granville Island. You may remember me raving about their macarons on a previous blog. I'm not sure if they are still under construction, but when they are done, it is a good place to find good coffee and pastry. Ambiance (pre-construction) is not really great. It's not very relaxing, but with good coffee and pastry, you can over look this. (Much better than the over-priced La Baguette et l'Echalote Bakery.)
Re-Entry - I am sad to find out that this place closed down in February. But, the site says stay tuned so I am hoping that they will come back. It is my top pick! It is unpretentious -- they have a spaceship look/theme with art works on the wall of local artist. It's a bit out of the way for me (Main & 26th area), so I don't get to go there as much as I would have liked. Their baked good are so flaky and so fresh. Their pain au chocolate is divine. I hope they will re-open.
Le Panier (Pike Market in Seattle) - if I am going to Seattle, it's a sure thing that I will be having my coffee here (despite the fact, that the first and original Starbucks is only steps away). The line at Le Panier is always so annoyingly long, but when the food is good, it's usually the case. The bakery is quite authentic French, with ready made baguette sandwiches to go. Needless, to say, coffee is rich and very well made.
Faubourg (Arbutus) - I didn't have their coffee, but I would imagine that if they cared enough to make good bread and pastries, then they would care enough to make quality everything. Their croissant is as good as any boulangerie in France.