I have left out of the previous posts some of our best meals in Vancouver, just so I can torment you, er, share them with you all at once. We arrived in Vancouver about 7PM on a Sunday night after three flights: Key West to Atlanta, to Salt Lake City, and finally to Vancouver. All the while we were in first class sipping bourbon (for FKGuy) and wine for me.
Combining the drinking with a three hour time change and traveling all day, equals two exhausted people. We
checked into L’Hermitage, dropped our bags and went to get a quick dinner. A short walk away from the hotel is
Yaletown, where there are oodles of great restaurants (like Hapa Izakaya, which we visited a couple of nights later), and The Flying Pig. I had looked at the menu online and despite the name, there was not an overwhelming amount of pig on the menu. At 8PM on a Sunday, it was jam packed, and we are lucky to have achieved a table without a reservation.
I knew we would be eating a lot of salmon and halibut, because, well, when in Rome… but I didn’t realized we would start with a trio of deliciousness. I think on the menu it is actually called a house salmon sampler. Same thing. This plate had a divine salmon cake, lox-style smoked salmon and maple candied salmon. Take it from me, you should try to eat as much maple candied salmon as you possibly can. We also enjoyed the steelhead trout, another local favorite, and veal piccata, both of which were perfectly prepared and outrageously good. Washing it all down was the first of many BC wines, a Calona Vineyard Pinot Gris, which was crisp and tasty, but not one of the standouts of the week.
There was no stopping our good food fortune on this trip. Days later, after my parents arrived into town, we had lunch at Wild Tale Coastal Grill. FKGuy and I had passed it a few times and it looked lovely, so we decided to stop in for lunch. Little did we know they had only been open six days. But that did not deter us and we forged ahead with our exploration of the menu. It is a large menu, and each dish sounds better than the next. FKGuy started with a couple of oysters (Kusshi, which he proclaimed to be incredible), while the rest of us just started with wine (Averill Creek Pinot Grigio).
I was a bit overwhelmed by the choices, but we had fortified ourselves
with a pre-lunch snack of chocolate dipped fruits from Xoxolat, another must-stop on the foodie Vancouver itinerary. When I made sense of the menu (or the fourteenth time our server came by to see if we were ready to order food), I chose the pan roasted halibut with burre blanc over a penne puttanesca. It was vacation and I was all in for the pasta. FKGuy chose the grilled salmon, which came with a choice of vegetable and starch. He opted for the green beans and the lobster poutine. Sure, he could have gotten plain fries, but why? Especially when the other choice is slathered a lobster gravy. Truly, I can’t even explain to you how good it was. I had never had poutine before, even though opportunities are ample in French Canadian South, I mean Hollywood, FL. I just didn’t get why you would ruin a perfectly good order or fries with gravy and cheese curds. Suffice it to say I now get it (but am still not certain I would bother unless there was lobster involved.)
My parents each had a simply grilled fish with vegetables and fries. The food was outstanding, the fish was incredibly fresh, and the service was fantastic. You really can’t want any more than that out of a lunch. Well, except wine, and we had two bottles. I should also mention that this whole event was incredibly inexpensive. Lunch entrees were $16 -18 on average. Dinner is a bit more, I believe.
After our amazing Japanese feast at Hapa Izakaya, I still had a hankering for sushi. We did have a few rolls and that nearly-still-swimming sockeye sashimi, but it didn’t really satisfy the sushi craving. Plus, I never got my second/sushi lunch on Banana Leaf day. I needed to take things a step further. After the EAT! Vancouver gala on Thursday night, we went over to Miku on the waterfront at Canada Place. We were going to try it on Tableau day, but it was raining and French Onion Soup goes better with rain. As it turns out, sushi goes just fine with just-coming-from-an-event-and-not-super-hungry.
Miku is probably the “fanciest” restaurant we tried in Vancouver. It is large, a bit on the loud side and trendy. It
reminded me of a Miami restaurant, except everyone was nice. We each had a cocktail, French 75 for me, and a Manhattan for FKGuy. All the sushi here is prepared Aburi style, slightly flame seared, and each fish has a different accompanying sauce. We started with the salmon oshi sushi, a pressed BC wild salmon, jalapeno and a flavorful sauce. Next up, the Premium Aburi Nigiri, seven pieces of fish, each with a different accompaniment, and one was better than the next. That satisfied the sushi craving (at least until we were onboard the ship. More on that next week.)
My original plan for cruise embarkation day was that we would go to the pier around 11:30, check in and have lunch. Alas, my plan was foiled when Celebrity informed us that there were three ships in port that day and check in and customs would be a mess. As we were traveling with my friends and my parents, and I know that in each couple there is at least one person that gets extremely cranky when they are hungry (I get cranky, too, but not nearly as bad as FKGuy), I made the sane decision to eat beforehand. We would have plenty of time over the course of a week to explore all of the ship’s offerings.
We took the group back to The Flying Pig. Yes, it was so good we ate there twice in five days. Alas, when we got there, I noticed that the salmon sampler was not only the menu, as the lunch menu was very different from dinner. “Not to worry“, the gentleman that seated us said, “I will see what we can do“. And then two house salmon sampler platters appeared. They were every bit as outstanding as the first ones. There was a broad assortment of dishes at the table, but I opted for what was promised to be small portion (“It’s a side dish, it is pretty small!“) of the four cheese gnocchi. It was huge. There was a lot of food at this meal, including more poutine, this time topped with pulled pork, and I was eagerly anticipating the food coma about to set in before waiting in line to board the ship. I, for one, was in a delicious pasta induced food coma midway through the meal.
Bottom line? If how we ate is any indication, it is pretty difficult to eat badly in Vancouver.