Last week, Tim and I got out of dodge for a couple of days. We drove ourselves up to Vancouver for some exploring, eating, and according to my husband, marathon walking. Tim says that my family has a special talent for turning every trip into the longest walking events. My defense is that there is nothing like exploring on foot to give you the lay of the land.
We got an early start and arrived before 10am. Plenty of time for walking, coffee, and some strolling around Robson Street, the waterfront, and downtown – a.k.a. more walking. We passed some amazing looking middle eastern food places and decided to give one a try for lunch. Babylon Cafe, ya’ll. Try the Chicken Shwarma plate and Falafel. You won’t be disappointed.
Now it was time to check into our hotel or maybe I should say, the cutest B&B ever. This adorable tudor-style home in the West End – bonus for being blocks from the beach and Stanley Park – is beautifully decorated with antique furniture and a gorgeous dining room where breakfast is served (more on that amazingness later!). Every bedroom is uniquely decorated, clean as a whistle, and lovely. If you get the chance, stay at the English Bay Inn! I will be leaving them 5 star reviews everywhere I can! Tim seriously rocked the hotel choice with this spot. Alberto who runs the hotel (and makes the best breakfasts) is wonderful as well!
One of our reasons for choosing to head up to Vancouver is the amazing asian food available in this city. So we were determined to find authentic Chinese for dinner that night. We had read reviews, and heard amazing things about a number of places, but ultimately chose the Peaceful Restaurant. Alberto from the inn gave it rave reviews as well which helped seal the deal! If you hate delicious homemade noodles and flavorful, perfectly executed dishes then you will hate this place. We had the Dan Dan Noodles and it was our favorite dish of the entire trip! The noodles. Oh, the noodles. These were by far the best hand-pulled noodles we have ever eaten. Sorry, Snappy Dragon in Seattle. We still love you.
Alberto at the English Bay Inn’s take on poached eggs Benedict will forever be a dish that I unsuccessfully attempt to replicate. Breakfast each day starts with fresh fruit, coffee or tea, and orange juice. Plus, we got to chat with folks from all over the world each morning. And, who wouldn’t want to eat at this dining table!? I had never been up to Whistler so Tim took me on the gorgeous almost 2 hour drive from Vancouver. This winter the Pacific Northwest has hardly gotten any snow, but the drive is worth it!
When we got back, because we hit the February winter weather lottery, we took a stroll through Stanley Park with coffee – we are Seattle-ites after all.
For us, no trip to Vancouver would be complete without some sushi. I don’t know how or why, but sushi is way cheaper, fresher, and better north of the US border. We walked over to Sushi Mart on Robson Street. This place has a horrible name, but don’t be fooled. If you love Sashimi and Ngiri, this place has an awesome selection of fresh sustainably harvested options. If you are more interested in sushi rolls, then there may be other places you would prefer, but Sushi Mart’s are still delicious!
For a nightcap, we hit up Central Bistro, and weren’t disappointed. It was packed full of locals and regulars on a Tuesday! The Banana Hammock and some drink with a title about refreshing cucumbers were awesome.
When you get your day started with delicious french toast made with sourdough bread and topped with real maple syrup and fresh fruit without having to change our of your slippers, it is going to be a good day. Wishing I could wake up to that every day!
We were on our way to Granville Island and the public market there – Vancouver’s version of Pike Place Market – so even though we were stuffed and had no need for anything further, I had read about that neighborhood’s Beaucoup Bakery for far too long to leave without a taste. The kouign amann was our favorite one ever. Sprinkling a little maldon on top is a stroke of bakery brilliance.
And thanks to all of the foodies staying at our hotel, we learned about Legendary Noodle House. Although, we were skeptical after our amazing noodles a few meals prior, we weren’t disappointed. We still will give the noodle crown to the Peaceful Restaurant’s Dan Dan Noodles, but at Legendary, be sure to eat the Garlic Lemon noodles. They were delicious and full of fresh bright flavors. Plus, we watched the noodles being pulled right in front of us. And, if you are sensitive to spice, Legendary is the better bet.
And just in case we hadn’t eaten enough – which we had – we stopped by La Casa Gelato factory on our way out of town. They have 218 flavors of gelato including mushroom, kimchi, wasabi, balsamic vinegar, and seaweed to name a few. They also had some more typical favorites like mint brownie, Baileys cheesecake, peaches ‘n cream, and just about anything else you can imagine. Of course we had fun sampling the strange ones before settling down to a cone filled with one of our trusty old faithfuls.
Bye-bye, Vancouver. We are already planning our next trip back!!