passion for food: Owners of Amour et Café Candice Ramsubag, left, and Vanessa Litren. —Photos: Roberto Codallo

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A little love, a little coffee

By Kimoy Leon Sing

A hearty breakfast is a great way to start the day and no one knows this better than Candice Ramsubag and Vanessa Litren, owners of the recently opened coffee shop Amour et Café.

Located at 4 Phillip Street, Woodbrook, they serve breakfast all day from Monday to Friday. No lunch; no dinner, just breakfast you can sink your teeth into anytime you want. Their watchwords—strength, love, hope and passion—are emblazoned on the wall. Ramsubag and Litren say this is the message they want customers to feel through their food.

But they serve up more than just breakfast. Amour et Café highlights a new local artist each month. This month they have showcased work by painter and photographer Annelie Solis. There is also an open-mic night every other Thursday at the cafe to inspire and encourage young people to display their talents.

Upon entering the tiny establishment, your eyes are immediately drawn to the colourful decor and cozy seating which beg your tired feet to come in and rest.

Washed in vivid colours of orange, yellow and lime green, the coffee shop's interior reflects quite the opposite of the building's cool exterior. Though just eight months in existence, Ramsubag hopes the coffee shop will serve as a haven for people to come in and relax, listen to great music and enjoy local art.

From hot scrambled eggs, to fluffy homemade pancakes drizzled with sticky syrup and topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream, customers can create a meal to suit their own palate.

Apart from their signature breakfast specials, customers may also delve into the wide array of sandwiches and wraps. And if you have a sweet tooth, you can also try their Amour Waffles which come either with strawberries, bananas, peaches or blueberries.

For Ramsubag and Litren, there is nothing more important than breakfast. Though neither attended any professional cooking school, they believe the heart and sou l they put into each dish more than makes up for any professional training.

Ramsubag said, "My mom does catering and I would watch her cook and prepare food and I think that is where my passion for cooking came from.

"Growing up just being able to watch and learn from my mom inspired me to create food people would enjoy. One of my favourite things I love to bake is cupcakes. It is just something I am able to do really well, so I always try to come up with various combinations.

"I have quite a few selections, such as cookies 'n' cream, red velvet, coconut and lime and peanut butter chocolate chip."

Litren said, "My passion is food. I love to eat and anytime I could get a chance to create

something I would go for it.

"I make everything from scratch. I always use fresh ingredients and serve food to customers while it's hot. What I think makes us stand out from other establishments is our customer service. When customers come in, after a while they become our friends. Whether they want food or a listening ear, we are there."

People sometimes just want to come in and read a book or catch up with some work, and they are free to stay as long as they like, Ramsubag said.

"In the past I have gone into other eating establishments and after you have finished your meal they want to quickly chase you out of the restaurant," she added. "I love breakfast. It is one of the most important meals of the day, but I want to be able to eat it at anytime. Amour et Café, when translated from French, means 'Love and Coffee'. I came up with the idea to open up my very own coffee house so people who don't have time to make breakfast on mornings can come in at anytime and just sit, relax and have breakfast."

Ramsubag and Litren say it is their love of food and people which brought them together and helps them to keep giving customers what they want—hot, tasty meals of their choice.

Amour et Café is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. For more information, call 763-7379.

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