Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Best of Vancouver!

In 24 hours from now, I will be leaving Vancouver for good. It is very bittersweet since I have fallen in love with this city and I'm very sad to leave. But.. I'm also excited to start a new chapter in Australia in the new year.

I have been lucky to have been able to experience many of the great restaurants during my 2.5 years in this city. I also have people asking where to go and what to do when they visit here. So this is going to be a recap of my favourite things to eat and do in Vancouver. It is NOT a complete list, it is purely the places I have tried and loved. Most of the restaurants are in Kitsilano since that is where we have been living for 2 years!

Let me know what you think in the comments or if I have missed any of your favs. Hope you enjoy!

Top 10 Restaurants for a Nice Night Out:
  1. Maenam - Absolutely delicious Thai food (Try the Chef's menu to get a taste of everything or my favs are the Grilled Thai Sausage & Crispy Rice Salad, 8 spice ling cod & free range chicken curry)
  2. Fable - "Farm to Table" Top Chef Trevor Bird owns the place & is usually there working (try the squash gnocchi and steak frites)
  3. Union - Thai/Vietnamese (try the Nasi Goreng, Cha Ca Fish, Red Curry Tofu & Green Beans)
  4. Vij's - Best Indian in Canada. There will be a 1-2 hour wait, go early and have a cocktail while waiting. It's worth it. (try the lamb popsicles, and everything else, its all friging amazing)
  5. Cafe Reglanade - French Bistro (try marinated salmon app, braised short ribs and 7 hour marinated lamb)
  6. Flying Pig - trendy, comfort food (try the crispy brussels sprouts & short rib macaroni) 
  7. Oakwood - our local spot (try the warm kale salad, beef brisket poutine, tomato-coconut mussels) 
  8. Blue Water Cafe - Really high end seafood in Yaletown (try everything, bring tons of mula)
  9. Nuba - healthy, fresh, lebanese (try the cauliflower, it is AMAZING)
  10. Chewies - Seafood/Oyster Bar (try the seafood pot, oysters & grilled calamari)
Vij's Lamb Popsicles
Top Places for Quick/Cheaper Eats:
  1. The Eatery - Crazy sushi rolls, great atmosphere, live DJ, tons of fun (try the Bob Marley Roll, Paper Crane and Japanese Fortress)
  2. Peaceful Restaurant - As seen on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (try the Beef Roll and Dan Dan Noodles)
  3. East is East - Indian. Awesome Chai tea samples and appies while you wait (try the Chai Feast, a little bit of everything, the lamb is divine.)
Top Places for a Quick Lunch:
  1. La Taqueria - Authentic Mexican Tacos, 4 for $9 
  2. Smak - Healthy fast food (try the mango salad, butterless chicken and veg green curry)
  3. Go Fish - Fish shop on water by Granville Island (try to Fish & Chips and Salmon Sandwich)
  4. Vij's Railway Express - Indian lunch on the go (check out this clip of me eating the lamb wrap on TV here) 
  5. Aussie Pie Guy - Aussie Meat Pies with a trendy twist (try the pulled pork with coleslaw)
  6. Noodle Box - Southeast Asian Noodles, huge portions (try the Naam with curry/lime/cilantro sauce and spicy peanut noodle box)
  7. Shizenya - Yummy spot with healthy sushi options. All brown rice for the rolls (try the mango california roll)
  8. Hubbub - Delicious sandwiches, you only get to choice the meat, they all come the same. (try the butternut squash/coconut vegan soup and the unreal mint coleslaw) 
  9. Finch's - Unreal sandwiches, see pic
Finch's sandwich
Top Places for Brunch in Kitsilano:
  1. Aphrodites - organic, local, delicious (save room for pie)
  2. Oakwood - Trendy comfort food (try the tuna eggs benny)
  3. Fable - I haven't been here for brunch yet, but heard its great
Top Spots for Dessert:
  1. Rain or Shine Ice Cream - New homemade ice cream with local ingredients (try the Coffee Toffee, but all flavors are amazing)
  2. Bella Gelato - High-end delicious gelato, expect a line
  3. Earnest Ice Cream - Usually spotted at Farmer's Markets... now they have a store
  4. La Casa Gelato - a MUST do, over 518 flavours, always changing too
  5. Lucky's Doughnuts - located in 49th Parallel Coffee, in Kits now too
  6. Cartem's Doughnuts - new spot in Gastown
  7. Aphrodites Pie - they also have gluten free and vegan options
  8. Honey's Doughnuts - adorable spot in Deep Cove, they their signature honey doughnut
Rain or Shine Ice Cream
Top Pick for Vegetarian:
  1. Acorn - Great spot, nice decor (try the cauliflower truffle mac & cheese)
  2. Heirloom - (try the Gnocchi Beets)
  3. Naam - hippy dippy, open 24 hours, veggie comfort food, always have a veg curry special, expect a line (try the Thai Dragon Bowl)

Top Coffee Shops:
  1. Arbutus Coffee - local spot that could not be more cute, they use spaghetti as stir sticks to be environmentally friendly
  2. Wired Monk - great spot filled with glowing screen due to free wifi and lots of outlets
  3. Nelson the Seagull - the most hipster of all hipster coffee shops, bring a scarf and glasses. They even do yoga classes in here during off hours.
  4. 49th Parallel - On Main st and new location in Kits. (try Lucky's doughnuts)
  5. Blaq Sheep - Cute local shop, amazing baked goods

49th Parallel Coffee

Summer Stuff To Do:
  1. Secret Beach Sunset Picnic- not a secret anymore, great quiet spot to read during the day or have a picnic at sunset. End of Trafalgar Street by Point Grey Road in Kits.
  2. Grouse Grind - Awesome hike 2.9 km up a mountain. They call it 'nature's stairmaster' Usually takes people 45mins - 1.5 hrs to complete. Have a beer at the top if you think you have earned it.
  3. Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge - much like the Capilano Suspension Bridge but way less tourists and free! Lots of easy trails to explore too.
  4. Bike around Stanley Park - rent a cruiser or bring your own. 10km of flat pathway around entire park. gorgeous views all the way around.  (try the tandem bike for some extra fun)
  5. Lighthouse Park Walk - cool place to walk around and explore in West Vancouver 
  6. SUP in Deep Cove - Wait for a sunny day with calm water and head down to Deep Cove. You can rent the Stand Up Paddleboard's for 1-4 hours. It is easy to learn and super fun!
  7. Kits Pool - Biggest outdoor salt water pool in Canada, and you can't beat the view.
Stanley Park

Secret Beach

Winter Stuff To Do:
  1. Whistler
    1. Sushi Village - try the SASS roll, spicy agadeshi tofu, box roll, and of course saki margaritas
    2. Satchi Sushi - try the 'cupcakes'
    3. Ingrids Cafe - great lunch spot, homemade turkey or veggie burgers, broccoli salad
    4. GLC - best apres patio spot, try the Chicken T & A w mango pineapple sauce and the waffle fries
    5. Longhorn - awesome apres patio
    6. Dublin Gate - great afternoon live music and fun pub
    7. Cittas - fun pub, say Hi to Jodi 
    8. Amsterdam Pub - another fun little pub, nights here sometimes end with motorboats... 
  1. Tofino
    1. Drive to or from Tofino: Goats on the Roof Market
    2. Coffee: Tuff Beans
    3. Lunch: Tacofino
    4. Dinner: Shelter
Best post surf lunch you will find...
  1. Bellingham
    1. Mount Bakery Cafe
    2. Trader Joes for groceries

Sign that really sums it all up...

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Bucket List

The Wave - Utah - Arizona Border, USA

Andalucia, Spain

Island of Brac, Croatia

Lake Hillier, Western Australia

Rent an Igloo in Finland