I know it’s been ages since my last blog post, but you’re in for a treat today (and likely later this week)! I’ve been on a Facebook hiatus for the last 3 months or so and as a result, I’ve opted to tell YOU all about my trip to Vancouver and share some of the photos that I took. Fuck Facebook y’all! Oh… you should know that I took over 1200 photos… but have no fear – I don’t think I have the patience to upload them all 🙂 .
This was my first trip to Vancouver and I can tell you without a doubt that I loved it. L-O-V-E. While Vancouver City is like most cities (though on a smaller scale), there were some notable differences that may prompt this writer to consider a move to the West. First off, if Vancouver isn’t the coffee capital of Canada, I don’t know what is. I don’t consider myself a coffee snob, but I do enjoy a good cup of java in the morning. My brother, the coffee connoisseur of the family, presented me with some fabulous options and I happily explored these during my stay: Revolver (for their regular latte), Café Medina (for their lavender latte), The Buzz (for their Matcha, Chai and Red Almond lattes + their vegan blueberry/lemon smoothie) and Café Artigiano (for their Spanish latte). If I had to pick one, I think I’d have to go for Artigiano’s Spanish latte. Dee-lish! Oh, and I particularly enjoyed the baristas’ lovely artwork:
Since we’re on the topic of beverages, I may as well talk about the fabulous restaurants that I frequented during my visit. The one thing I noticed was that regardless of where we went (or the day), we always had to wait for a table. In my opinion, this is a testament to the awesomeness of Vancouver’s cuisine. Other than one breakfast place we went to that was ‘Meh,’ I have zero complaints. If you’re in Vancouver, I recommend the following eateries:
Cactus Club: There are several locations throughout the city and the menu is pretty standard, with the exception of English Bay (apparently there are a few dishes that are unique to this location). My favorite dish was the butternut squash ravioli (truffle beurre blanc, amaretti, pine nuts and crispy sage with white wine sautéed jumbo prawns). Holy deliciousness Batman! A culinary orgasm in my mouth – I tell you no lies. Marty had the peppercorn steak, while Elly had the prawn and scallop spaghettini. For dessert, I had the chocolate peanut bar (which Marty drooled over), while Marty had the strawberry shortcake and Elly had the chocolate lava cake. We left the restaurant feeling somewhat rotund, but quite satisfied with our selections.
Joey Burrard: I had the best salad EVER at this restaurant! Check out the Market Chicken Salad (shaved vegetables, feta, whole almonds, wild rice, avocado, green goddess herb dressing). It was an explosion of flavor all around.
Vij’s: We waited almost two hours to eat at this contemporary Indian restaurant and it was well worth the wait (while we waited, waiters frequently made the rounds with fresh appetizers, and took drink orders to curb our appetite). We ordered three dishes that were equally mouth watering – BC spot prawns in coconut and fenugreek with wheat berry pilaf, lemon ghee marinated chicken in tomato curry with roasted garlic and cashews, and lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry on turmeric and spinach potatoes. Dishes were accompanied by fresh naan and rice. Somehow, I forgot to take a pic of the lamb. Probably because I don’t eat lamb 😀
Akira: If you like sushi, check this place out. While it’s a hole in the wall, the sushi is amazing and made with black rice (a first for me). I had three different rolls, expecting a max of 15 pieces but I ended up with something like 25 pieces (two of my rolls = 10 pieces each)! I definitely got my money’s worth – in Montreal I would’ve gotten less for the money. Check it out!
Minami: Great Japanese restaurant with fantastic service. I had an entrée of gyoza, and a cold noodle dish (king crab, shrimp, heirloom tomato, celery, fennerl, micro shiso, dashi, garlic, olive oil, green tea soba). It was full of flavour and very refreshing. I suppose the drinks helped too.
Beard Papa’s: This is the best place to get a cream puff! They’re made fresh daily and offered in a variety of flavors (flavor depends on the day). My favorite is the éclair version. So tasty.
Café Medina: This is a great place for breakfast or brunch and offers a variety of different options, like this big-ass skillet:
OK, enough about coffee and food! (Though I’ve got more pics – wanna see them?).
Despite the seemingly high number of weirdos in Vancouver, I found people to be generally pretty nice. My favorites were the store clerks and wait staff; I was constantly amazed at how nice the wait staff was – I don’t usually tip 20% but found myself doing just that with most of my restaurant visits because the service was outstanding (not everywhere, but in most places). Store clerks were also eager to offer suggestions on restos and things to do. I also found the city to be clean and well laid out – you can walk pretty much anywhere. If you enjoy walking like I do and you’re situated downtown, then you can walk to Gastown, Coal Harbor, Stanley Park, the aquarium, Granville Island (via a water taxi) and the seawall. Kitsilano and South Granville are only a 10-minute drive away. Aside from the coffee and food, the seawall and Vancouver’s overall connection to nature were huge draws for me. As well, Whistler is just 1 hour 40 minutes away via the 99N/Sea to Sky highway – the highway view alone is worth the drive! More on that later – Whistler deserves its own post.
To finish up this first post, here are some pics of Gastown and Coal Harbor (and a few randoms thrown in for good measure):
Stay tuned for Part 2, coming later this week.
And on that note, stay tuned for Vacating in VAnnCouver – Part 2! See you on the other side, yo.
Now, go like me on Facebook damn it!