WHOA lansi

francophile, oenophile, logophile, turophile

Tag: Vancouver

VanCity in the Summer


After using last year’s vacation for a pretty big trip to Europe, we knew we’d have to stick a little closer to home this year. So when my childhood friend chose to have her wedding at home in Vancouver, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to spend a little more time in one of my favourite cities. Although I’m technically from the lower mainland, I haven’t spent a lot of time in the actual city of Vancouver. It’s always been a pretty quick overnight, giving us the opportunity to grab dinner, drinks, & maybe some brunch the next morning.

In order to have a full, uninterrupted day of exploring downtown, we decided to leave a day earlier than usual. We bunked in a friend, like we have in the past. I briefly considered a few hotels, but there’s nothing better than staying with someone you know. She also happens to live in an incredible location & is an awesome hostess – making us feel totally welcome from the minute we arrived. I’m hoping we can return the favour sometime soon (Stampede, Sash?! Do it!).


Morning at 49th Parallel on Main



Perfect patio weather for coffee & a donut

We started the day at a nearby local coffee shop, 49th Parallel. Not only is their coffee fantastic, but they also serve amazing Lucky’s Doughnuts in a fantastic little shop. We split an apple bacon fritter on the patio before heading back to the house to get ready for the day.

As it was a gorgeous summer day, we opted to walk to Granville Island for lunch (or pre-lunch? We had sushi plans for later too). The walk from Mount Pleasant to Granville Island was a nice half hour stroll. We arrived ready to sample some of the delicious food at the market, having worked up a bit of an appetite during our walk.



SInce we had plans to get sushi later, so we opted to split a smoked salmon bagel to tide us over until then. I love Montreal style bagels & was pleasantly surprised to find these were pretty close to the real thing – something I rarely notice this far West. We ate them outside on a bench, overlooking the harbour, & fighting off the feisty pigeons. Those little buggers will fight you to get their hands on any little scrap. Guard your precious food closely!



Notice the seagull patiently waiting for some scraps



It turned out to be a pretty eventful morning for us – we officially closed on our house as we munched on our bagel. Luckily, Granville Island Brewing was a few steps away, so we made our way over for a few celebratory beers.


Officially homeowners!

From there, we hopped on a water taxi downtown. For a few bucks, we were ferried across False Creek to the Aquatic Center on a cute little passenger boat. I really enjoyed the ride over, & the beautiful views. We were also getting pretty hungry so cutting off some time in favour of getting to sushi seemed like a good plan.

Our friends first introduced us to Kadoya Sushi a few years ago & it’s become a must-visit every time we’re in Vancouver. We’ve fought rush hour to eat there. It’s seriously that good. (Most sushi in Vancouver would give Calgary’s selection a run for its money, but this one is our fav!)


We ordered our usual favourites: an avocado roll, a dynamite roll, a spicy salmon roll, a specialty roll, & of course, the star of the whole show – salmon sashimi. I think I could eat salmon sashimi every day & not get sick of it. (We both included it in our vows without consulting one another. The obsession is strong…)



Imitating their little sign mascot!


Davie Street Crosswalks

Next on the list was a bike ride around Stanley Park. We rented bikes from one of the many shops near the park’s entrance. Our bikes were nothing special (when was the last time you used rear brakes?!), but the path is flat & easy. I’d recommend it to anyone – you’re rewarded with breathtaking views & there’s plenty of spots to stop along the way. It also helps work off all the sushi & beer (so you can make room for more!).




It turned out to be much warmer than forecasted that day & I kept wishing we’d packed bathing suits as we biked passed the many beaches along our route. Instead we stopped for beers at a pub under the Burrard St Bridge – not a bad compromise if you ask me.


We returned our bikes before dinner & started the trek towards China town. I’m never in a huge rush on vacation so although it was a bit of a longer walk across town, we were ok with it. & there were German sausages at the end of road!


Entering Chinatown


We’d settled on a little german spot in Chinatown (yes, you read that correctly) called Bestie. Serving up a delicious selection of sausages, fries, salads, pretzels, currywurst, & beer, this place is wicked! The food is cheap, the beer is good, & the servers are fun & friendly. I highly recommend checking it out if you like German fare even a little bit.




N went with the popular currywurst – sausage served with curried ketchup over crispy fries – & I went with sausage & sauerkraut. Both were excellent, but the currywurst was the show stopper, & at $9 you really can’t go wrong! We also shared the daily salad: a spicy peanut slaw. I’m a sucker for a good coleslaw & this one was especially delicious. I would love to get my hands on that recipe!

We enjoyed our first steins so much that we wound up sticking around for a second one. They had a great atmosphere going, & sitting at the bar, we found ourselves chatting with the bartenders, all of whom seemed to be enjoying their evening at work too.



Look for the neon sausage above the window!

We capped off the night with a drink in Gastown. I doubt I’m alone in loving this neighbourhood, & it seems impossible to take a bad photo of its cobblestone streets. They’re just so pretty! We got a couple drinks at The Flying Pig before packing it in. We figured we should call it a night relatively early, in preparation for what would probably be a late night at the wedding.


The following day, we headed back downtown with Sasha to meet another friend for some tacos. I’d heard so many rave reviews about Tacofino & was pretty excited to finally check out their Gastown location. We grabbed a spot on the patio & dug into some of the best tacos this side of the border. They were seriously delicious! N & split a few different kinds, but I think my favourite was the Pork al Pastor. The simplicity of pork, pineapple, & pickle onion on a corn tortilla was exactly what I’d been craving (& has got me seriously stoked for our trip down to Mexico in the new year!).

After lunch, we had to head out to Langley pretty quick. I could have easily spent another couple days exploring, & eating, more in Vancouver. Our visits always seem to go by so quickly (probably cuz they are quite short.) Lucky for us, it’s not too far away so I’m sure we’ll make another trip out soon!

Road Tripping: Vancouver

N and I had a great vacation. We wasted no time and left for the lake right after work on Thursday. I wanted to start our vacation right away so we got out of town as soon as we could. We were going to Vancouver the next day and although heading to the lake only saved us an hour on the road the next day, I was happy to have that little head start.
Leaving that evening also meant we got to stop in Canmore for dinner. Poutine at La Belle Patate has become a bit of a tradition for us whenever we head west on the Trans Canada. I know it sounds odd, but it’s some of the best poutine I’ve ever had. Dare I say better than in Quebec? (Mmm yes, I do. Someone come and challenge me on this one!)
The next morning we were on the road bright and early. We wanted as much time in Vancouver (for eating, of course) as possible so we’d packed food for the road so we wouldn’t have to stop. Sometimes I mean business on road trips. None of this fast food for us. Nope, we had Crave Jerky (if you haven’t tried it, get the chili lime. Epic), cheese and summer sausage, blueberries, apples, and skittles. I’ve yet to go on road trip with N without him sneaking some candy into the mix at some point. I crave savoury, he craves sweet.
We got into Vancouver around 4, dropped our stuff at my friends house, and headed out exploring. I’d been hearing amazing things about Earnest Ice Cream and I just had to try it. It turned out their new shop wasn’t far from where we were staying, so off we went.

They weren’t lying. It is seriously good.

I tried the whiskey hazelnut and the lavender before settling on the salted caramel. I know I should try other flavours, but I just can’t resist salted caramel ice cream. I told myself I had to compare to my favourite Village Ice Cream. The verdict? I still love Village for my salted caramel fix, if I lived in Vancouver, I’d definitely be hitting up Earnest as often.

I think N had the Milk Chocolate. I remember having a sample of that one later and it was like pure chocolate. It’s a bit odd that I don’t actually remember what he had. Apparently, I was too absorbed with my own ice cream and with taking photos of the adorable shop. I’m sure this comes as a surprise to everyone.

It was almost dinner time by the time we finished so we hoped on the sky train to head downtown for sushi. I don’t think I can go to Vancouver and not have sushi. Maybe if I lived there, I’d get over it. I doubt it, but maybe.

Just looking at those photos from Kadoya Sushi is making me incredibly hungry. That sashimi was so perfect and buttery. I’m sitting in front of my computer drooling a bit. At least I’m home alone so no one can judge me.
After dinner we headed over to gas town. I hadn’t been to gas town in recent memory so I was in awe of how awesome it was. There were people out everywhere: enjoying drinks on patios, riding bikes, eating delicious-looking food. It’s become such a fun neighbourhood.
We’d planned to meet up with some friends of mine that I hadn’t seen in almost 10 years, so we put our names on a list at Alibi Room and then headed elsewhere for a drink while we waited. I wanted to snap pictures of everything, but N tried to reign me in a bit. We’d been in the car all day and he was definitely ready to enjoy some beers.

Alibi Room was great. It was fun catching up with old friends and their beer selection is amazing! They have mostly local beers but there’s also a good selection from the rest of the West Coast. There were lots from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland and from from further down the coast in Washington and Oregon to get us excited about the rest of our trip. It was exactly the kind of place I could see us going if we lived in Vancouver. I love different bars (N will probably tell you that I loved it because it was trendy, but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t enjoy the beer selection and atmosphere too!)

The next morning we headed to 49th Parallel for coffee. I’d heard good things about it and wanted to try it out. I love coffee but N could really take it or leave it. Turns out we hit the jackpot cuz they also have unreal donuts. Like seriously unreal. It was only a few blocks from my friends house so I wish her the best of luck at resisting those donuts. We shared a maple bacon crueller (will I ever tire of this flavour combination?)

N and I are both incredibly predictable at coffee shops. Hers? A latte. Always. I can’t resist the beautiful latte art and the subtle sweetness of steamed milk.

His? An americano or a drip coffee. Black. Always black.

The coffee and their café were both amazing. I’m pretty sure I planned this entire trip with coffee, food, and beer in mind. That is literally all we did. Don’t expect to see photos of much of anything else besides the amazing restaurants we ate at or the beer and coffee we drank. Would you really expect anything else though?
Later that afternoon we headed to a family friend’s wedding. It was on their beautiful property and the weather was gorgeous. We all got a little warm during the ceremony, but it’s hard to complain about such a perfect day. My whole family was there and we had a lot of fun dancing, chatting, eating, and taking a million photo booth photos.
We did somehow manage to get a nice one before all of that though. I don’t think I’ve ever had a photo with both of these very special guys in my life. They clean up pretty well. (and every once in a while, my brother is capable of refraining from making a ridiculous face. Who knew this was possible!)
That is basically it for our whirlwind Vancouver trip. One day I’ll go to Vancouver and actually have enough time to see and do all the things I want to (I hope). This trip, despite being short, was really great though. We fit in a lot of things I wanted to do and had so much fun at the wedding. I’m so happy we were able to celebrate with them!
The next day we headed down the Pacific Coast Highway for Portland. That’s another post though. N is out playing hockey and, as usual, I’ve lost track of the entire evening. I’m not sure how I always manage to do that. Sometimes (always) I still need him to tell me it’s time to go to bed. Ah being an adult!

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