Saturday, 16 August 2014

Crackle Crème, Vancouver

Duelling my 7 year old for the crackle!
After our garlic chicken wing fix at Phnom Pehn, I was feeling kind of sorry for my 7 yr old Bib, who really was miserable at lunch.  She has a wiggly loose front tooth and didn't really feel like eating much.

Since we parked on Union street anyway, we sought out Crackle Creme, a new specialty brulee-cafe that I heard about nearby so I could get a coffee and we could all share a sweet treat that didn't require chewing. We were tempted to help that loose tooth come out by pulling it out for her.  She wasn't exactly wanting help.  However, all the childhood horror stories my mother told me in my youth bubbled up in my mind.  I recall several gruesome techniques my mom would relay to me when she knew I had a wiggly tooth:  tying a string around the tooth and a door handle...and slamming the door shut; eating an apple or corn on the cob; pliers wielded by a loving parent. Really, mom?  These vivid images were seared into my psyche.  I had bad dreams about teeth all throughout my childhood.  She thought it was amusing.  yeesh. but I obviously still seem to have unresolved issues about teeth.  Rather than traumatize Bib, I chose another path.  Let's rot that sucker out. haha. no. just kidding.  really. bad mommy.

Daniel, the owner of Crackle Creme, torching my Madagascar Vanilla Creme Brulee.
Over on Union Street at the edge of Chinatown, my old hood (and my mom's), Strathcona seems to be gentrifying.  I spoke with Daniel, the owner of Crackle Creme who had moved in just 2 months ago.  I asked him how business was and he said it's picked up in the last month and a half.  I'm so glad to see this because boy is his concept cool.  Daniel has a year of culinary school under his belt and found a niche. He specializes in Creme Brulee (several artisinal flavours that continually change), Liege Waffles and Specialty Coffee.  

In my little chat with Daniel he said there are mixed feelings in the community about all the changes.  I agree.  I miss the old places from the 70's that used to be there and the vibrancy and bustle of the past.  However, I sure must admit I didn't like the smelly alleys of the past, the panhandling crack addicts in the alleys who moved in as Chinatown started to lose old tenants and I felt a general discomfort walking on the old streets in the 90's and recent decade.  I used to feel relatively safe with my parents shopping in Chinatown when I was growing up in East Vancouver.  I remember eating dinner out in Chinatown at On-On's in the 70's.  My parents had a group of high school friends that they would meet to socialize over dinner and all us kids, ranging from ages 8-16 would saunter around the Chinatown blocks unaccompanied by our parents after dinner.  This was a different sort of Vancouver back in the 70's I suppose.  

Nice colour. Good crackle. Must come again. 
Personally, I like the revitalization efforts and hope that the old shops can stick it out too.  I'd like to see some really good authentic Cantonese eats come back too.  Am I the only person around who thinks that there are way too many stinky herbal shops per square block in this area?  It seems today Asian-fusion, late night pricey alcoholic drinks and loud music is the draw for a different sort of crowd that certainly is willing to spend more $$ than little old Chinese ladies that tend to well, not go to these places.  Perhaps the increased foot traffic and generally more people around will encourage more innovative businesses to move in.  I'd like to think there's room for everybody.   
Lavender Latte.  Though I was hoping for latte art, I wasn't disappointed by the lovely lavender scented creamy latte. yum.

Crackle Crème on Urbanspoon

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