pacific northwest :: pt. 2 :: vancouver
So about three days before the trip, Whitney asked me how we were getting from Seattle to Vancouver. Whoops! With all of the restaurant research, I’d completely forgotten to make plans for that part of the trip. I called Hertz but found out you can’t pick up a car in one country and leave it in another…. Also didn’t have much luck with planes (all flights that day were already sold out), trains (which only left Seattle at 6 am or 6 pm), or ferries (would have been an 8 hour trip). Just when he was about to panic, I surprised Whit with a pair of tickets on the oh-so-romantic Greyhound Line!
My favorite part of the bus trip was when we were waiting in line to board. The security guard (he was definitely not a member of TSA) walked up and down the line asking the men if they were carrying hunting knives then turned to the women to ask if they were carrying hair cutting scissors.
We were pleasantly surprised when we got on the bus to find that it was new and clean. However, about halfway through our trip I started smelling something funny. Not necessarily a bad smell, but definitely not one that belonged on the bus. It wasn’t until I picked up my purse from under the seat in front of me to get my phone that I realized what I was smelling was actually the salami I’d stashed in my bag that morning to bring to Daddy! So yeah, it was me.
So when we pulled into Vancouver, we’d been sitting for so long that we wanted to walk around for a little while. We dropped our bags at our hotel (which had the AWESOME view below) and took off for the Vancouver Art Gallery.
After spending an afternoon checking out Canadian pop art from the 1960’s (wow, Greg Curnoe!) as well as an exhibit on Aboriginal artwork influenced by hip-hop (either this was just really weird or I don’t think I fully appreciated it…), we went to Coast for dinner. This was another great recommendation from Mom and Dad from their recent trip.
Our waiter could not have been nicer and we loved all of his recommendations. Whitney had fish (cod) and chips – the coating was really flavorful and the fish was moist. Our waiter said the dungeness crabs were really plump and not to be missed. I am glad I ordered it – it was just full of meat, which was all so sweet. We split brussels sprouts that had been flash fried then covered with red pepper, lemon and parmesan. They defeated the purpose of having a vegetable but were oh so good. Whitney’s black forest cake in a jar was good but the banana and coconut cake really stole the show! I wish it had been two times bigger!
We spent the next day on Granville Island, which is located just across False Creek Inlet from Vancouver. We had fun exploring the public market and ate a lot of crepes!
The next morning we had a late brunch at Cafe Medina. When we got there, we were told it would be an hour wait but we’d read so many good things about it that we decided to stick it out. We hung out at a coffee shop down the street until our table was ready. This meal was definitely worth the wait!
We started with cafe mochas – Whitney’s was dark chocolate and mine was milk chocolate and lavender. It was so unusual and so good. We also split house-made hummus and pita chips because we were about to eat our arms and they said they could get it out to us ASAP.
We’d read about the salted caramel and waffles, which was right up Whit’s alley! I had the fricassee skillet with beef short ribs, two eggs over easy, diced Granny Smith apples, farm cheddar, arugula, roasted potatoes and pickled pearl onions. I am still in awe of this dish. It sounded like it had too many ingredients and it wouldn’t all go together, but it was perfect. Each bite was perfect.
Our last dinner of the trip was at Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar. This is the home of the best fish I have ever tasted!
They sent an amuse bouche of scallops gratin in clam shells with our drinks. It was really rich and I am glad it was just one bite because we had so many other good things coming! To start, we split hamachi with jalapeños, shredded ginger, and yuzu. I had dungeness crab again. They were just so good and fresh that I couldn’t help ordering it for the second night in a row.
Whitney’s entree, aka the best fish I have ever had, was sablefish with baby bok choy, miso sake glaze, edamame quinoa, shiitake mushrooms, soy and yuzu. I didn’t think I’d ever had sablefish before until the waiter told us it is known in the US as black cod. It was both rich and light at the same time. It tasted like yuzu and soy butter. It was so smooth and just when I thought it couldn’t get better, I had a bite with the shiitake mushrooms and baby bok choy. I absolutely cannot describe it other than to say it was like putting heaven into my mouth.
We had so much fun in the Pacific Northwest and have a few dishes in mind that we want to recreate here in Houston!