Good to go: A simple way to eat fresh at Peqish

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When it comes to breakfast or lunch on the go, fast food can also be fresh. Peqish, a new downtown food business is helping innovate your meals with their unique approach to grab-and-go eating in Vancouver.

You may have seen the Peqish name before; that’s because the eatery does the premium breakfast buffet and catering at Vancouver’s Hotel Blu. At their first independent storefront at 552 Seymour Street, Peqish is offering up handmade, pre-packaged mix-n-match eats showcasing fresh ingredients, creative recipes, and minimal packaging.

Three years in development, the Peqish menu reflects the practical, honest, and straightforward philosophy of the company. “We want to deliver a yummy delicious product for everyone,” Peqish’s chef Lisa Thomson tells us as she gives us a tour of their brand new downtown digs.

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By everyone, Peqish means not only hungry area students and office workers, but those who follow vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free diets, too. About 25 per cent of their selection is suitable for specialty diets, and their hot and cold cases include clear labeling with icons for animal- or gluten-free products.

Almost everything they serve is made from scratch, including their ketchup, sauces, and compotes, and they use cooking techniques like rotisserie and braising to make the most out of their meats. You won’t find refined white sugar in their food, either, since Peqish uses only agave syrup or evaporated organic cane sugar.

“Our food is healthy because we know what’s in it,” explains Thomson, adding, “nothing comes in in buckets in the back.”

Thomson says Peqish wants to give their customers the opportunity to try new flavours and ingredients without presenting them in a way that’s too complex or foreign. Their team achieves this by creating menu items that represent a twist on something their customers are probably already familiar with.

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Their Fi Faux Pho Salad, for example, plays on the flavours of Vietnamese noodle soup, pho, but is chock full of familiar fresh, colourful veggies and herbs. You can get to know the nutritionally beneficial chia seed through Peqish’s puddings and beverages, especially their delectable ice tea made with lemon and Earl Grey.

Over in the warm section, customers can get their hands on in-house baked goodies, and enjoy a variety of cookies, muffins, and scones, as well as sweet treats like their Almond Chai Swirl pastry, which offers your tastebuds a riff on the regular ol’ cinnamon bun.

In the spirit of keeping your eating routine fresh, thanks to Peqish’s mix-and-match selections of sandwiches, salads, and flavour-packed small portioned “Protein Boosts,” the combinations customers can create are nearly endless. Plus, they’ll be adapting their menu to the seasons and for holidays, and making up some festive occasions of their own; Thomson hints that “Bacon Week” is going on the Peqish calendar.

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Peqish also keeps things fresh by updating their cases during the day and use placards to let the customers know if that’s it for an item for the day or if more is on the way. And don’t worry, you’ll never get yesterday’s stuff; once they’re closed for the day, they clear the shelves and start–you guessed it–fresh in the morning.

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To keep costs low for their guests, Peqish not only gets the most out of good ingredients, but they also keep their packaging to a minimum. While they’re saving you money, Peqish also wants to save you time.

The shop is home to a one-of-a-kind coffee ordering service, which connects you to your caffeine more efficiently. A self-serve iPad terminal that uses restaurant POS software lets customers quickly key in their order, triggering the drink order in the back and a scannable ticket you take to the register. Just grab your food, and you’re good to go.

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Good to go is really what Peqish is all about. “Simplicity is key,” affirms Thomson. Peqish’s new spin on fast food is simply terrific.

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All photographs by Lindsay William-Ross/Vancity Buzz

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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