Sunday 17 March 2013

"A Latte for Here Please"- Part 1: Nelson at Seagull

 The North American culture is always go-go-go.  Take-out food, 30-minute mani/pedis, express check-outs and, of course, coffee to go.  In the morning rush-hour here in Vancouver, there is the common trend of the umbrella in one hand and the Starbucks coffee in the other.  Gone are the days when people actually sit down and drink their coffee in a civil fashion. 

Although I have never been to France, I understand that in many parts of the country, you cannot even get your coffee in a to-go mug.  While the idea of savouring my morning coffee is full of appeal and romanticism, I just cannot imagine fitting that into my usual work day.  It is a treat that is reserved for the rare Saturday morning when I am not rushing off to work or the gym. 

While I am usually busy racing up and down the stairs at VGH, I am currently enjoying a nice change of pace doing a month of research.  Although there is a lot of work to be done, this month is allowing me the opportunity to fulfill my dream of actually sitting down with my morning (and afternoon!) coffee as I read papers and type up a storm.  I am also discovering new places around the city (as well as some old favourites!) that provide a great environment for productivity while serving up a mean java. 

Over the next month, I will be profiling some of my favourite places around Vancouver to cozy up with quality caffeinated beverages and my laptop to hunker down for a few hours.  I will of course be rating their beverages (I am really into lattes these days!) as well as their suitability for productivity (noise level, space, table availability, laptop plugins, and overall attitude of staff towards "perchers"). 

I will be giving each category a qualitative rating between poor and excellent (poor, fair, good, very good, excellent).  Noise will be rated on a three point scale (quiet, moderate, loud).

Lets start with a newly discovered favourite of mine:

Nelson at Seagull

315 Carrall St  Vancovuer, BC V6A 0A7
(604) 681-5776

Overall ratings:

Caffeinated beverages- Excellent+++ 
(see below)

Space- Excellent
(huge space, lots of big tables)

Table availability- Excellent
(went around 10 and had the choice of several tables)

Comfort of seats- Fair 
(all mismatched, mostly metal, some are broken so watch your back!) 

Internet availability- Excellent 
(password protected, fast) 

Laptop plug-ins- Very good 
(I was lucky and found one right next to my table.  There are a few others scattered around the large room)

Noise level- moderate

Attitude towards "perchers"- Excellent 
(the servers were all super friendly and smiled at me every time they came by my table over the several hours I was there)

This tucked away spot in Gastown is a real gem.  The storefront is quite small so you may walk right past it if you are not careful, but this would be a huge mistake! Nelson is serious about their coffee, so much so that they do not make decaffeinated beverages and only use whole organic milk in their milk-based drinks.  They really want you to experience the way coffee and espresso beverages are actually meant to taste in their purest form.  I respect this stance, and I promise that you will too when you take their drinks.

After reading a fellow bloggers review of the Nelson (thanks Greedy Guts!), I had to get the Flat White.  I have not seen this drink offered anywhere else in the city so I had to find out what it was all about.  A Flat White, developed in Australia, is kind of like a latte, except it is made with microfoam (found beneath the milk) and is served in a smaller vessel such that there is a higher espresso:milk ratio.  The result is stronger espresso flavour and a more velvety, smooth texture.  

Trust me, if you are a latte lover you need to go to Nelson asap to get the Flat White.  It is incredible.  I savoured every last drop and almost had an out of body experience. Wow.

Nelson is also impressive in the quality if its food.  I was yearning for a nice breakfast and ordered the homemade muesli with yogurt and honey (also available with almond milk and agave).  It was brought to my table beautifully presented with the muesli in a bowl and the honey and yogurt in separate mason jars so that you could assemble the dish to your liking.  The muesli was perfectly toasted with plump raisins or sweetness and the yogurt was nice and creamy.  Others sitting near me ordered sandwiches and poached eggs on toast (they make the bread in-house!) which also looked delicious.  I bought my husband a gingerbread man and, after taking a little bite of his chocolately foot, I was in ginger heaven. 

Cannot wait to head back for more Nelson awesomeness this week:)

Nelson the Seagull on Urbanspoon

<a href=""><img alt="Nelson the Seagull on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;padding:0px;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>

1 comment:

  1. Great , comprehensive review! I fully agree- the atmosphere is friendly, service is attentive and caring, fare is delicious and lovingly served and prepared! Thanks.