Eating Vancouver: Monday & Tuesday

12 Jan

This week, I’m out on the beautiful west coast. I haven’t been out here since I was 15 and while I have fond memories of my first trip, I definitely didn’t appreciate it the way I do now. This applies to the stunning mountains, the rolling waves of the Pacific and the friendly, relaxed vibe of Vancouverites; however, this is exponentially true of the food. As soon as I found out that I’d be coming out here, I started making dinner plans. I want to eat and I want to eat well, dammit.

First stop: a night out with my cousin on Monday. We met at the downtown hotel where I’m staying and wandered around til we found somewhere that struck our fancy. And where was this place? A little Japanese spot that look enticing. First up? Bring us a Sapporo and some warm sake, my good man!

Once that important decision had been made, it was on to the food. You just know the seafood is going to be incredibly fresh which automatically gives it a leg up. We order a variety of yummy things: salmon, tuna, shrimp, crab, California rolls….and they quickly disappear. Friendly atmosphere, great sushi, even better company: the makings of a great night.

Next, on to lunch at our hotel. Generally, I’m kinda “meh” about hotel food; however, this place does it up really, really well.  Lunch is done tapas-style, but we were absolutely ravenous by time we ate so no sharing for us.  Instead, we ordered sides and a “main.” Asparagus with melted parmiggiano reggiano was ordered by everyone at the table and my companions opted for the flatiron steak with sauteed wild mushrooms and caramelized onion aioli while I opted for the caramelized black cod in a ginger-carrot broth with bok choy and taro chips. De-freaking-lish. The fish was cooked beautifully, flaky and tender, and the broth was bright and warming. A great lunch option as it was filling without making me pine for my comfy hotel bed just a few floors away.

Finally, on to dinner this evening at Lift, a cozy restaurant overlooking the water that was recommend to me by a friend who was on the west coast late last year. Greeted warmly at the door by yet another unfailingly friendly Vancouverite, we were ushered to a great corner table. After ordering a glass of Malbec, I spent a long, long time perusing the menu. I. Wanted. Everything. I finally settled on the duck confit salad with
mango, pine nuts, wild greens and a raspberry dressing as my app…and probably could’ve stopped there. My dinner companions ordered the sea scallops with truffle mashed potatoes and lobster sauce and baked wild mushrooms on polenta, respectively, and we all had a little of each other’s dishes. Wow. Big flavours, each dish cooked exactly as it should be and interesting combinations to boot.

For a main, I had the braised veal cheeks (I swear they’re great, despite the fact they’re, well, face) with side stripe shrimp ravioli, shiitake tempura and spinach. Whoa. Three surprisingly massive pieces of veal arrived in front me and I gasped a little. Wasn’t quite expecting that! But the meat was incredibly tender, falling apart with each forkful. When asked by the server if we’d like to see a dessert menu, a great groan arose from the table, “Uhhhhhh…..noooooooooooo. Fulllllllll.”

Two days in, two days to go. Wednesday night holds dinner out with some friends I haven’t seen in quite a while at what looks like a great Japanese place called Miku and Thursday night is to be dinner with my boss and coworker at a place just outside of Vancouver proper. Can’t wait, but am so very glad that I have access to a treadmill this week. More to come soon!


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