Posts Tagged ‘food’

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20 things you must eat in Vancouver

November 18, 2013

(Originally posted February 2, 2012. Updated in November 2013.)

I like food.

Honourable mention to Milestone’s california salad that I always eat at YVR. But there’s no way I’m putting a chain restaurant on my list.

Other than some ethical concerns with veal, I’ll pretty much try everything. I don’t like sea urchin, I don’t drink coffee and can’t handle diet pop.

In February, a friend is coming to town and I happen to be out of town! But I wanted to leave him a list of must-try foods in Vancouver.

Something absent on this list: Pho. Frankly, I have no idea what makes good Pho. I’ll pretty much eat it at any sketchy hole-in-the-wall. And I seem to like it all.

Also, the best breakfast under $3: Yummy Sushi. Wait, what?! I’ve never had sushi there. In fact, I don’t think they even do raw fish. But the hole-in-the wall has all day breakfast and is across the street from my home.

I’m not a big fan of breakfast, thus its relative absence on this list.  Same with sweets.  I’m a savory girl for the most part.

So far I haven’t been truly wowed by any Thai, Malaysian, Cambodian, etc. restaurants in Vancouver. That’s not to say there aren’t any really good ones. There are. I eat at Pad Thai regularly, though it is more cheap eats than authentic meal.

If there’s one thing you’ll notice about the list is that nothing is over $16. I’m not one to go for those $30 per plate meals.  So, this isn’t fine dining. I’m sure there is lots of very fine dining in Vancouver, but that’s not me.

Anyways, enough rambling, if you’re like me, you just want the list. These are restaurants I really like… not just the menu items below.

Top 20 things you must eat in Vancouver:

(Updated in November 2013 to reflect restaurant closures)

Banh Mi at Big Lou’s

Carnitas Taco at La Taqueria

Chicken Wings at Phnom Penh

Chili-Garlic Eggplant and blade sheared noodles at Peaceful Restaurant

Choriqueso Sandwich at Las Tortas

Fish and Chips at Go Fish

Garlic stubs with pork at Zakkushi

Grilled Cheese at Burgoo

Ice cream sandwiches at Chocolate Arts

Kimbap at HMart (Korean Grocery Store)

Le Grand Feast at Nuba

Peruvian Seafood Chowder at Mochikas

Pasta at Lombardo’s Ristorante

Pizza at Zaccary’s

Polenta Fries and mixed drinks at Cascade Room

Rib ends at Memphis Blues

Salted Caramel Blondie at Beaucoup Bakery

Steak Frites at Les Faux Bourgeois

Sushi and Okonomiyaki at Zipang

Tonkatsu at Suika

Waffles at Patisserie Lebeau

Five best sushi restaurants in Vancouver:

Honourable mentions: Kishimoto, Temaki, Clubhouse, Mazuya, Ro Sushi

5. Samurai Sushi House – ENORMOUS. Seriously. The fish is decent and the cuts are massive.

4. Toshi – The fish is superb, the lineup is annoying, but the fish is superb. If you know anything about the sushi scene in Vancouver, you’ve heard of it. But honestly, I’m just as happy going to my top three. (All surprisingly nearby.)

3. Sushiyama – How dare I place something ahead of the renowned and line-up oriented Toshi? Sushiyama never disappoints.

2. Shiro – Get ready to sit uncomfortably close to someone else, with bustling servers running past you. They jam everyone in, which is a good thing because otherwise you’d be waiting a long time. A great mix of price, quality, speed, and homemade wasabi – and you get pocky at the end.

1. Zipang Sushi – After recently taking out of town guests here over any other place in Vancouver, I realized it is my number one. The quality is always amazing, the menu is extensive and the prices totally reasonable. Plus I like the random decor.

Five more restaurants you should try:

Cafe Salade de Fruits

Fable

Forage

Edible Canada at the Market

Pizzeria Farina

Three places I wish I had gone to before I left:

Bao Bei

Chuchillo

Vij’s
Best breakfast in Vancouver:
 
Yummy Restaurant – For $2.99 you can get two eggs, five pieces of bacon (or 4 sausages or ham), a plate of hashbrowns and toast.

Paul’s Omelettery – Repeat visits have proven no one makes a better omelet in town.

Dutch Wooden Shoe Cafe – random things in or on a pancake

Red Wagon – Busy hipster spot, but for good reason. Go on a weekday to avoid waiting in line. Known for their giant pulled pork pancakes.

Swiss Bakery – Just get a loaf of bread here and have toast. Known for frissants.

Best deals in Vancouver:

(Previously mentioned) Yummy Restaurant for $2.99 breakfast

(Previously mentioned) Samurai Sushi House for the biggest pieces of sushi I’ve ever seen

Bistro 101 – The local cooking school does a three course lunch for $20, dinner for $25. Half price wine Wednesday means the bottle is as cheap (or cheaper than buying at the liquor store).

Kitsilano Daily Kitchen – Chef’s tasting menu for $65 – which doesn’t seem like a deal but for 6 fantastic courses of food, it’s worth it

Pad Thai Restaurant – Definitely not the most authentic thai restaurant, but their lunch deal of $6 is a huge plate of food.

The Patty Shop – Jamaican patties. That’s it.

Great Han Mongolian Barbecue – Throw food in bowl, they cook. Good deal! (Not by weight!)

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Why you should take Via Rail between Vancouver and Edmonton

December 12, 2012

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1. You can often find deals. We rode for 50% off. Opt for berths. They are considerably cheaper than a cabin, feel more open and the cabins are almost claustrophobic. (Compared to economy, you end up with a bed, all the meals and snacks, etc.)

2. The food is good. For instance, my meals were: French Toast stuffed with cheesecake, grilled scallops and prawns on salad, and duck for dinner with raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. Yep, I said cheesecake twice.

3. Free champagne.

4. It feels both retro and romantic.

5. No Wifi and often no cell reception – wait, how is that a positive? It’s a chance to disconnect, to read, do crossword puzzles and chat with people.

6. Jasper is nice. What a nice place to take a little walk.

7. Don’t be afraid to go in the winter.  In addition to more sale fares, it is really beautiful.

Seriously, I loved it. I was on the train for over 24 hours and I didn’t want to get off.

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Five things I want to do in my life

November 29, 2012
Iceland House

Someone probably built this house by hand. (Skaftafell Park, Iceland)

I used to have a “30 things to do before I’m 30” list. While I didn’t accomplish everything on it, I gave it a try (25/30). I figure I got the big things done: Before 30 I managed to save up some money (which is allowing me to have an extended unemployment as I find something I really want to do, rather than just jumping back into an unfulfilling role), I established a career, I traveled a lot (celebrating the big 3-0 solo in Japan last year), I fell in love with a man with whom I’d like to explore the rest of my life, and I think I have a better grasp on who I am then I ever did in my 20s.

So instead of having a short-term deadline like last time, I’m looking big picture. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Iceland

November 9, 2012

Ten things about Iceland:

1. People in Iceland were really sweet. They speak English and it’s not your run-of-the-mill attempt. Full conversations were had with no one stumbling over their words – unless I was trying to say….

2. Icelandic place names are difficult. Remember the volcano that disrupted air travel in Europe? I saw it. I tried to say it. It is not alone in the long word category.

3. Icelandic air does a great deal where they allow a European layover of up to a week, free of charge. Side note: It was cheaper for us to fly to Iceland than to Newfoundland. The fact that I can’t find a flight to Edmonton for under $500 these days is indicative of air travel prices in Canada.

4. Vegetarians beware. Meat is everywhere on menus. Fish and lamb appear to be the most common – for good reasons (surrounded by water, covered in sheep).  We cooked for ourselves quite a lot and had to be careful not to come home with horse meat.  We did manage to try minke whale, dried fish, lagoustines, oversmoked lamb, and other more standard fare.  Orgle tried hakarl (fermented poisonous Greenland shark). It stunk of ammonia in a vile way.

5. It is a beautiful country.  It really is amazing to think of all that grows out of what is essentially lava rock.  And lava rock comes in different colours and formations.

6. I miss outdoor hot pools.  I wish they were here. Unfortunately, there is not a seemingly endless amount of hot water bubbling under the surface – making outdoor heated pools prohibitively expensive.

7. I pride myself in finding nice, affordable places to stay and in Reykjavik that was no different. We had a cute little studio apartment right in the heart of the city at Ranargata 23.

8. I’m not good with time changes. My sleep patterns there were not good and my lack of even dozing on the plane set me back as well.  Maybe between Newfoundland, Australia and Iceland, my body clock has been all over the place these last few months.

9. It’s true: Greenland is ice and Iceland is green. Yes, if you’ve gone through my Jokulsarlon pictures, you’ll see lots of ice, but that was just one place in over a week of visiting.  In fact, during the time we were there, the weather was colder in Alberta. It did snow, very lightly and very briefly, one day – but it wasn’t even a dusting.

10. There is a Big Lebowski-themed bar in Reykjavik.

More pictures:

 
Alas, the only disappointment may have been the cloud coverage nightly.  No northern lights were seen.

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Newfoundland: Where the water is ice cold but the people are warm

July 23, 2012
Cape Spear, Newfoundland

Cape Spear, Newfoundland

For 10 days we explored an amazing amount of Newfoundland, from St. John’s all the way up to L’Anse aux Meadows.  We went to the furthest East and North that it could offer. We could see Labrador. It was a beautiful, rugged province with more history than the West of Canada could hope to offer. The people were kind and, while sometimes hard to understand, were always wanting to help.

Instead of a long post, I give you lists outlining some of our trip to The Rock.

(Also: Photos below)

Five things I will never forget from Newfoundland:

1. Icebergs

2. The fjord of Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne Park

3. The tiny towns along every coast

4. Colourful row housing in St. John’s

5. Friendly Newfies

 

Five least memorable moments from the trip to Newfoundland:

1. Walking to the St. John’s airport

2. The steak and mushroom pie at Duke of Duckworth

3. Getting up to go to the Deer Lake airport at 4:30am (Midnight PT)

4. The water in the St. Anthony hotel

5. Starting to get seasick on the iceberg boat

 

Five things you must see in Newfoundland:

1. Icebergs

2. The UNESCO sites: Gros Morne Park and L’Anse aux Meadows

3. Tiny towns

4. St. John’s (with trips to Signal Hill and Cape Spear)

5. Wildlife (Moose, caribou, whales and one we never saw: Puffins)

 

Five things you must eat in Newfoundland:

1a. Icebergs (Seriously the water tasted amazing)

1. Cod tongues (We had them at The Daily Catch near L’Anse aux Meadows)

2. Scrunchions (Fried pieces of pork fat? Also at The Daily Catch)

3. Chowder (The best was at a grandparent-style restaurant in St. John’s)

4. Moose (we had sausages at a chip truck on the side of the road in Gros Morne)

5. Fish and Chips (we were tired of chips by day 10)

(Side note: Our best meal was probably at The Rooms in St. John’s.)

 

Five weird things they do in Newfoundland:

1. Personal gardens on the side of the road (this is because Newfoundland is a rock so there’s no soil in yards, but there is soil along highways)

2. Piles of wood and crab traps on the side of the road (crown land, go nuts!)

3. Have little bridges on the side of the road (they are for snowmobiles)

4. Serve fries with everything

5. Talk incomprehensibly.

 

Five things I won’t miss about Newfoundland:

1.  Fries (as mentioned above, they came with everything)

2. Wind

3. Foul-tasting tap water (boy are we spoiled in Vancouver)

4. Generic mass-produced beer

5. Our ridiculous rental cars (a Chrysler 200 and a Dodge mini-van/SUV)

 

Five things I already miss about Newfoundland:

1. How quiet it is

2. Being able to say hello to strangers and they don’t look at you like you’re crazy

3. Old buildings

4. Open countryside

5. Winners of “Tidy Towns

 

Five things that surprised me about Newfoundland:

1. Just how beautiful it was

2. How even at the northern tip (where we can see Labrador), it’s still further south than Calgary.

3. Lack of moose

4. Shorts-weather and icebergs co-exist

5. People are large

 

Five tiny towns with great names in Newfoundland:

1. Dildo

2. South Dildo

3. Heart’s Content

4. Heart’s Desire

5. Heart’s Delight

 

Five questions that I still have following Newfoundland:

1. How would North America have been different had the Vikings stayed in L’Anse aux Meadows and wherever Vinland was?

2. Where are all the moose?

3. Why are all the little houses in tidy towns white?

4. How come we saw so few drinking establishments?

5. If people in Newfoundland drink so much beer, how come there is no decent beer there?

 

St. John’s, Cape Spear and Signal Hill:

Tiny towns from the Avalon Peninsula:

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316: The joys of living near Granville Island

November 14, 2011

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A photo, every day, all year. We’re into final weeks here with Andrea Woo.

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312: Looks like barf but I assure you it is not.

November 14, 2011

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Mochikas Peruvian Cafe. Soooo good.

A photo, every day, all year. We’re into final weeks here with Andrea Woo.