Saturday, November 3, 2018

Pardon the Interruption

OK, this is not Japan.  It's Canada.  Actually, this is Canada Place, built for Expo 86.  Five Sails, in Vancouver.

We decided, kind of at the last minute, to go to Vancouver, in mid September.  I haven't forgotten to finish my narrative about our summer trip to Japan, which I'll finish...  We arrived on a rainy Friday night at YVR, took the "train" to our hotel at the waterfront.  Decided to eat at Miku, a really nice Japanese restaurant, spitting distance from the Pan Pacific Hotel.  We get there about 9 PM and it is really crowded, and we sit outside, a bit chilly, but with blankets and heaters, and it is cozy.

Not traditional Japanese faire.  Their specialty is their pressed nigiri, just like Mackerel in Kyoto.  This nigiri is seared a bit with a flame to add some flavor, again, obviously, non traditional.

We left stuffed.  I had their Sake sampler, and a couple were misses, but a couple were nice!

The next AM, we went to Heirloom, a Vegan cafe in the South Granville area.  We have our Compass cards, and this makes transit pretty easy, from our hotel.

This looks like slices of prime rib, huh?  Actually french toast.

My virgin Bloody Mary.  Too early in the day for booze.

We travel around Vancouver on a rainy Saturday, and end up in Gastown.

 and Chinatown.  The old Chinatown.

Not a huge deal!

In Chinatown, there is a vegan pizza joint called Virtuous Pies.  Actually, not too bad.  The mushroom and arugula pizza was very aromatic.  My favorite.  The cheeses were all vegan.  "ok."

We roam around Canada Place on our walk back from Chinatown and Gastown.

The waterfront is very picturesque.

Sunday AM means breakfast. Below are two pics of our complimentary breakfasts in our hotel.  We're high up, about the 21st floor, with nice views of the harbor, Stanley Park, and North Vancouver.

These are not the same day, by the way.  The breakfast's were the same each day, but the seating was different...

Sunday AM also means yum cha.  Especially in places with a Cantonese presence.  Like San Francisco.  Like Hong Kong.  Like Vancouver.  Chinatown in Vancouver is kind of an armpit.  Sorry, no offense. Richmond, south of Vancouver is where the action is.  It is kind of spread out, though, and not really compact like Chinatown in SF.

Anyway, there are several really nice Dim Sum places in Richmond.  With some research, I decide on Fisherman's Terrace in Aberdeen.  Really close to the Canada Line Aberdeen station, in a large Asian mall.  We get there just after opening.  We actually already ate breakfast, so we weren't hungry.  But that doesn't matter, does it?  It's about a half hour wait.

This place is crowded, but really good!  Shrimp dumpling in Shark Fin soup.  Not really PC, but very very tasty.

This was a highlight.  At the end of the meal, we had porridge and these sweet sesame Jin Doi.  Maybe a bit sweeter than ideal, but soooo good.

This yum cha was way better than any we've had in the Bay Area in recent past.

That night, even though we're still full, we decide to go to Sura.  One of my patients, a Korean-American foodie, told me we should go here.  They have two branches, one in the same mall as Fisherman's Terrace, and the other on Robson Street, a few blocks from downtown.  He did not steer us wrong.  Hands down, the best Korean restaurant I've been to.

They're famous for their lunch, but we went for dinner.  Sorry, I was so taken aback by my Galbi, that I didn't take many pics.

My Galbi was separated from the rib bone, which was plated for presentation.  It lacked the typical gristle of Galbi that we're all used to.  This meat was melt in the mouth, like A5 in Japan.  I'll be back

Monday AM.  Sammie flew back to SF very early this AM by herself, since she had to work (hers was a Friday afternoon to Monday morning vacation). After our nice breakfast, we bus to Granville Island to visit the Public Market.  It is an indoor mall with numerous high end foods.  Because we have lunch resy's, we have to avoid eating.  The public market is crowded on weekends, but this Monday AM isn't too bad.  This place is definitely recommended for tourists.

OK, we catch the bus to Dynasty, a "fancy" Cantonese restaurant on Broadway, a trendy area of Vancouver.  Not an Asian food area.  We were "treated" by relatives of in-laws, who were out of town, so it was just Em, Connie and me.  This was "fancy" yum cha.  Here's our order:

The food was really, really good!  We had to go vegan for our group, except for me...

We would be "treated" again the next day, but for dinner.  

That night, we eat at Fable.  It was recommended by Connie's acupuncturist.  It is one of the most recommended places to eat in Vancouver. I think it was very good, but not quite as good as the Asian cuisine we had in Vancouver.  Warm bread.


I had pasta and Connie had Salmon, while Em had a salad.

Next AM, here's a view of Gastown, the Heliport, and the Seabus terminal, from our hotel room.

This AM, our last full day in Vancouver, we go to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.  A free shuttle bus from Canada place.  Expensive entrance fee though.  About $45 Canadian bucks each.  But Connie gets us AAA discounts (Em carries her AAA card!  Why?), and a College discount ticket (she looks like an Elementary student!!!) for a few bucks off.

But, I say it's worth it.  They spend bucks to keep the area clean and safe, and it is beautiful.  The structures really do fit in to the forest, and it is really fun.

It's like you are in Endor, during a peaceful time, with treehouses and cliffwalks.  HIGHLY recommended.

We rush back to Downtown Vancouver, because, though not hungry, we have to eat.  Right?

We have to go to get Sura's bargain lunch, right?

So, Sura is the place we ate dinner two nights ago.  But the lunch is the bargain. They have a $15 and a $20 lunch special.  We have a nice dinner planned, so we go for the $15.  We go back to the Robson Street location.  The Capilano shuttle drops us off just a couple of blocks from the restaurant, just in time to be there at opening.  We have to eat early to have room for dinner, you know!

We get all this food.  We eat it all, and wonder, how we're going to eat dinner.

After dinner, we roam around the Kitsilano district, a trendy area which houses many little boutique shops.  Note that we visit a number of stores that originated in Vancouver.  Like Lululemon, Fluevog and Arc'Teryx.   It's actually amazing that we're in a foreign country, but it feels like the US, with several Whole Foods on street corners.  Canada also doesn't have a chump as chief exec.

We walk to Kitsilano beach and park.  Very peaceful.

We then take a short bus trip back to Dynasty for our last dinner in Vancouver.  I have to say that this was the most expensive meal I have ever had.  Again, treated by our very very generous relatives of in-laws, who live in Vancouver.  They have a relationship with Dynasty, no doubt.  This place was really fantastic, but this meal was really over the top.

We only order four dishes, really.


King Crab.

Vegetable dish (pea sprouts).

A Yuba doufu dish.

Sorry, not too much of the vegetable tofu dish is visible.  I was in too much awe of the other two dishes.

The geoduck was served three ways (actually, maybe four).

Geoduck Sashimi.

Sauteed gently.

Geoduck soup.

This is the "fourth" way.  The stuff that the Geoduck was cooked with to make the soup.  I really like to eat this, though it is said that it has all the flavor cooked out.

King Crab, live.

Here, you can see the veggie dishes, with the tofu.

Steamed King Crab legs.

Deep fried King Crab knuckle fried rice.

The deep fried King Crab knuckles.

Tapioca dessert.

A great trip!!!

Thank you to the relatives of our in-laws.  Thank you very much!

I'll get back to Japan really soon!

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