Friday, May 29, 2009

B.C.ing You, Part 4

We started off day 2 with a picnic in the room. Fresh coffee, cheese, bread and fruit. Then we headed out for our day of adventure! But first let me introduce you to these little guys:


If you're living under a rock, I should let you know, the 2010 Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver and there are signs of the excitement everywhere! Including these adorable little mascots. Of course Thatniece and Thatnephew got a little something brought home for them. My favorite is that little black and white guy - Miga, the seabear. I don't know what a sea bear is, but SO CUTE!

Our first stop of the day was Grouse Mountain. I think I might have mentioned this before, but I am NOT NOT NOT a fan of heights or high places or swinging from a wire. So this next picture of how we got up the mountain is not mine. I was gripping Thatboy FAR too tightly to take a picture. Because I knew if I let go of him we would all go tumbling to our death. And Thatmom? She has similar feelings to me, so she kept her eyes closed the whole time.



Scary, right? But a necessary evil - because the only other way up the mountain was the "Grouse Grind" a near vertical 2 mile hike that is so strenuous that you get a t-shirt if you finish it. And so challenging that they actually have a television screen up at the top which gives you the times of people as they finish.

The mountain was still covered in snow, but was warm, sunny and gorgeous. We walked around enjoying the phenomenal view of Vancouver as we kept stripping off the layer after layer I had made us put on. I mean, I THOUGHT we were going to the top of a snow covered mountain. No one told me it was going to be warm up there!



Meet Grinder and Coola. They live on Grouse Mountain. As you can tell, they are bestest friends. Thatboy believes they may be something more - he informed me Grinder was a boy bear and Coola was a girl bear.
TG: How can you tell?
TB: The names, obviously.
TG: Grinder is a boy's name?
TB: Of course! You would never name a girl "Grinder." And Coola is obviously feminine.

Sometimes I find it easier not to argue with him.



Right around this time, Thatboy began explaining to me how difficult it is to take pictures in the snow blah blah blah reflection blah blah refraction blah.....I kinda tuned him out - you would too if you were surrounded by tree covered mountains.





We had to take the gondola back down - although I seriously considered rolling. Once we were on solid ground again we headed to our next destination. I planned this with Thatboy in mind exclusively, and I am SUCH a smart wife. He said it was the highlight of his entire trip. There are two suspension bridges in Vancouver. Capilano is higher and longer, but Lynn Canyon is over a raging river complete with waterfalls. AND it was free, unlike the big touristy one. So we were off to Lynn Canyon Park.



I planted myself squarely on one side of the bridge and waved my honey on. I'm no fool - that thing is held up with ROPES. Okay, fine, they're steel BUT STILL! And there were a lot of people crossing which made that thing suh-wing! If you squint real good you can see my brave warrior husband standing there in the middle. He was there for so long taking pictures, other people started asking to see the results - so in this shot he's showing some other tourists what he had just taken a picture of.



We stood for so long waiting for him, that Thatmom got brave. FAR braver than me. She got this determined look in her eyes and kinda marched right onto that bridge.



She didn't get too much farther than this though, because, as I noted - SUH-WING! After the bridge we headed to the outskirts of Vancouver so we could hit up some yarn shops for Thatmom. As long as we were out there, we thought we should grab some lunch - dim sum anyone?

Vancouver has the second largest Chinatown in North America and they are oh so proud of their Asian food. For us, we're lucky enough to be able to enjoy Vietnamese, Thai, Korean, Japanese, Cambodian, and other diverse Asian foods, but others are not so lucky. The best Chinese food is said to have migrated south to Richmond, but we didn't feel like making the drive, so we went with the best Vancouver has to offer, Sun Sui Wah.







There isn't any cart dim sum left in Vancouver according to Chowhound boards, so we were left just picking Thatboy and my favorites. We got the "whitest" dim sum you could possibly order, but we're okay with that because every dish was a winner. Thatmom had only been to dim sum once before and she's not as adventurous as the two of us, so we wanted tame. The food was excellent, and everyone had a different favorite.














After lunch we headed into Gastown, which is considered historic Vancouver. It is here the city began and the area is named after a fellow known as "Gassy Jack." If I were him I would have tried really hard to be known as "Just Jack."




The famous Gastown steam clock. It actually runs on steam and every 15 minutes "sings" for you! Thatboy got REALLY excited this week during the finale of Reaper because Sam and the Devil were standing right in front of this clock. I was in the kitchen fixing dinner when he started screaming "THEY'RE IN GASTOWN! THEY'RE IN GASTOWN! WE WERE JUST THERE." He's a very excitable boy.

We didn't stay in Gastown long, because we had a VERY important place to be.



See, my pre-trip research revealed that we were going to be in Vancouver during EAT Vancouver - a food and cooking festival held 2 blocks from our hotel in the BC Stadium! So of course we HAD to go!



We were greeted right off the bat with a goodie bag filled with chips, licorice, and clamato. Who knew how much Canadians liked clam in their tomato juice! We wandered up and down the aisles, tasting, drinking, and checking out local products. There were seminars on wines, cheeses, chocolates, demonstrations by Canadian celebrity chefs, and even this "iron chef type" competition.



After we'd eaten everything they had to offer, we headed over to Kitsilano for a little walking around before dinner. Kitsilano is akin to the villages in New York, or Hillcrest in San Diego. It has fun eclectic stores and great restaurants. Including Bishops.




Bishops is one of those fantastic restaurants that presents all local foods with gorgeous presentation and even better taste. John Bishop has several cookbooks emphasising fresh, seasonal foods and his dedication to this concept is clear from every aspect of the dining experience. This was everyone's favorite meal in Vancouver.



The restaurant is small, giving it an intimate feel. It was quite obvious that the primary clientele was locals as the owners popped from table to table catching up with them and sharing stories of vacations and travels.



Shortly after being sat we were brought out a beautiful amuse bouche of white bean and sausage cassoulet. This was so good, we were sold on the restaurant instantly. But more treats from the kitchen kept arriving.



Next up came the fresh cranberry cornbread and olive bread, served with fresh, local butter. Thatboy announced the butter was creamy and fantastic because of the salt crystals sprinkled atop. He devoured almost all of the olive bread, declaring it his favorite, while Thatmom and I were smitten by the cornbread.



Thatmom and I both ordered the grilled spotted shrimp which were easily each as big as a small lobster. The shrimp came with a sunroot hummus and fennel couscous. The hummus was the best I'd ever had and I guilty admit to eating it with a spoon. The shrimp were sweet and buttery and perfectly complimented by the sweet Ehrenfelser I had with it. I am beyond annoyed we don't seem to be able to get Ehrenfelser here in the states as Thatmom decided she liked it better than Reisling!



Thatboy ordered the venison which came with both a chop and a steak. I don't usually love venison because I find it a little tough and gamey, but this was perfectly tender and not a bit of game on it. The mashed potatoes that accompanied were more like a gorgeous potato foam that the meat floated upon.



And because it stays light in Vancouver till close to 9:30/10pm, we figured the best way to see Chinatown would be to attend the Night Market! One street in Chinatown is closed off and it becomes a night bazzar filled with all sorts of "crap!" If you've never been to a Chinatown before you'll be fascinated by the booths and booths selling t shirts, cell phone charms, toys, and knick knacks. It was hard to drag Thatboy away from the sparkles and shine. The food stalls were far more interesting looking, but we were just too full to sample anything.



And so the sun set on our second day in Vancouver. Stay tuned for our last morning!

8 comments:

  1. The Vancouver Olympic mascots are so adorable. I love them!

    I can't wait to go to night market!

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  2. Nice travelogue, and the pictures are great, especially the food pix!

    Aw, you saw the corner where Sam did the Monkey Dance! If you like Reaper, won't you help us save this show?

    Right now we're hearing the syndi talks continue AND according to TV expert Nick C. (http://nickctv.wordpress.com/) ABC Studios is talking with Spike TV and SciFi too! We're asking Reaper fans to write to both today and ask them to pick up Reaper! More details at http://reaperdmv.com

    spiketv@spiketv.com
    feedback@scifi.com

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  3. I miss dim sum. Wah wah wah. Seriously Asian food is mostly not good here that it is down right tragic.

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  4. Sounds like a great time! You would never get me on the bridge either!!!
    And now I am craving dim sum.
    LL

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  5. BBQ Pork Bao (the steamed buns) are my all-time favorite dim sum food. I just had a giant one for lunch today.
    And I have had a serious craving for massive, buttery shrimp lately. Those look like they would have hit the spot!

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  6. This trip is so dang fabulous!

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  7. I am loving this trip. I will have to go there someday. Himself is from Seattle so when the kids are older maybe we can venture over there!

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  8. Ignore my earlier question about going to Canada. I shouldn't read posts in from newest to oldest. Actually, I shouldn't read blogs at 12:40 am...

    Good to see you had a good time in BC!

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