Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vancouver. by violet

The question often comes up in random conversations, what are your favorite cities? I find it challenging to pick m y favorite anything, mostly because my choices inevitably vary by my mood, time of day, day of the week and how my memory is currently operating. However, I think it’s pretty safe to say that Vancouver B.C. would be in the discussion no matter which of the many variations of the aforementioned list I am currently experiencing.

First off, it’s incredible beautiful. You think Seattle has an amazing mixture of mountains, water and high rises? Vancouver scoffs at this. The mountains are bigger and closer; the water is more expansive and even more engulfing of the city; downtown is even more compact with offices and high rise condos. On top of that it is incredibly clean and easy to navigate. It's a great melting pot of cultures - you are sure to find most any kind ethnic food of the utmost authenticity (and we did). The people are friendly and don’t seem to mind Americans. And there is a TON to do both indoors and out. So basically, what’s not to love about this place?

Our soon-to-be-wed friends Lindsay and Neil suggested to J.P. and I we spend a weekend in this lovely town. Since Lindsay used to live in Vancouver and I’ve been itching to get back since the Olympics, we jumped at the chance.

A few weeks ago the four of use managed to get a half day off from our respective jobs and managed to be on the road not too much at 1:00. The best news was our wait at the border was literally 10 minutes which was record time for me.

We checked in to our hotel to find that a free wine tasting had just begun on the patio.
Free? Wine tasting? Why, yes, please.

Lindsay and Neil suggested a local tapas place for dinner. It was a tiny place within a block of the hotel, the kind of place I normally would have walked right by. But instead we feasted.

We then wandered around Gastown to find a proper watering hole. We found a football bar the Black Fog instead, hoping it would send the US good vibes for the match the next day (it didn't work). After that we stopped in for tipsy pizza at Megabite. It seemed like everyone was out in Vancouver that night. We should have been playing count the bachelorette parties all weekend.

The next morning we hit up Sophie’s in the Kitsilano neighborhood which is supposed to be good for celebrity sightings though we didn’t spy any during our trip. Breakfast more than made up for that. Some people I know (cough, J.P., cough, Orange, cough) don’t like pancakes all that well. I think that’s crazy talk. Sure the waffle gets all the glory but to me, good pancakes are a little bit of breakfast heaven. And Sophie’s knows what’s up.

Yum...real butter...

After that we strolled around the neighborhood before heading over to Stanley Park to rent bikes. Even though our ride started off a little overcast, by the half way point the clouds has burned off and it was a stunning day in the city.

The park was busy with bikers, walkers, runners and roller bladders. We even spied a game of cricket being plays (Oh, Canada, so sophisticated and international).

And then there was this double-denim awesomeness

After a well-earned Blizzard, we did a little shopping on Robson Street. Lindsay had better luck than me, picking up a jacket at Zara. We were headed to Vij’s for dinner, Lindsay and Neil recommended that we get there early – we were there by 5:45 and still waited and hour and half. The great part was that since the sun was out, we sat outside and sipped drinks. Vij’s is also super smart in that they pass free appetizers to people who are waiting. They were all delicious little bites that got me even more excited about what dinner had in store.
However, I would have happily waited that long without the free apps. While I would describe myself as a big fan of Indian food, I’m mostly used to the cheap to moderate joints that pretty much offer the same thing. While it’s delicious it can start to feel a little bit generic. Vij’s is not that. While you recognize the components and the flavors this is not the stuff you are going to get from the take out place down the street. It takes the food was more seriously than that. But not so seriously that it’s inaccessible. And that fact that Vij is walking around, talking to people, serving apps makes it feel all the more personal.

We had: Yam, paneer and cabbage kofta in pureed lentil curry; samosas filled with lamb, beef and paneer; beef short ribs in yogurt, fenugreek and cumin curry; wine marinated lamb popsicles in fenugreek cream curry on turmeric and spinach potatoes; organic chicken with crimini mushrooms in creamy saffron curry

The beef short ribs rocked my world and I could have licked the bowl with fenugreek cream curry – I used the naan to scrape off every last bit instead. Sorry, no photos. I decide to just have the experience of eating without taking pictures all along the way.

The next morning we took the ferry over the Granville Island for a little breakfast before we hit the road back to Seattle. Granville is a lot like Pike’s Place Market, only it has its own little island.

I was amazed by these stacks of cherries.

All and all a wonderful weekend. I would tell you to go to Vij's but I'm pretty sure you will be heading there already. 

Violet in red Saucony Jazz

No comments:

Post a Comment