Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Fall Trip | Vancouver Day 5 Granville Island & Queen Elizabeth Park

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On Monday 10/7, we decided to check out Granville Island, which is located southwest of downtown Vancouver, across a bridge.  It was raining, so we decided to drive. 

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We were hungry and cold when we arrived, so we went into the first coffee shop we saw, GI Gelato & Coffee House, and got a latte and banana bread to share. 


It really was underwhelming, to be quite honest.  But we got warmed up and were ready to check out Granville Island Public Market

I had heard about Lee’s Donuts already, so of course we had to check it out!  They don’t take cash at all, so we used our credit card for a pumpkin spiced donut, LOL.  (An int’l travel tip:  see if you have a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, use that card on your foreign trip.  We have one and we used that card throughout our trip to Vancouver.)

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Right outside the public market, you can see downtown Vancouver across the water.  It was quite picturesque!  20191007-2019-10-07 11.55.08_blog

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And because of the rain, we got to wear our ponchos and rainboots we bought for this trip.  (See poncho above in photo at Lee’s Donuts.) 

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Two days before the trip, this was what the forecast looked like.  So I got on Amazon and ordered rainboots and rain ponchos, LOL.  They arrived in time for our trip!

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Thank goodness it did not end up raining every single day of our trip!

After the donut, we checked out many more vendors at the Granville Island Public Market.  We had soups at The Stock Market.

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We bought some nuts and handmade treats at Bon Mano Bon to take home to gift to Fred, our neighbor and catsitter.  We got a huge “cinnamon record” pastry at Stuart’s Bakery.

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They also have a HUGE selection of other baked goods.  Look at that macaron display!

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We also got a proper latte at JJ Bean.

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We checked out a few more artisan stores at the market, including a bead store called Beadworks.

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And a paper/notebook/pen store called “Paper-Ya”. 

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Granville Island was awesome and fun, and perfect for a rainy day versus all the other outdoor activities we had gone on, such as the Capilano Suspension Bridge and Stanley Park

Since we were on the south side of Vancouver already, we went to see Queen Elizabeth Park.  It was free!  The park was on a hill, so you could see pretty far from it.  You could see farther if it weren’t cloudy and raining, LOL.

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We walked up and down the hilly trails for some awesome plants and botanical views.  It really was quite spectacular.  We can’t imagine the upkeep of this place.  We saw constant gardening workers coming and going.  And we were quite surprised that even in the fall, there was so much plants and flowers to see!

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I think the park is a popular location for wedding photos.

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I love this photo with all the colors of the plants, and the foggy background!

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We got back to the hotel and took a little break in the afternoon.  Then we walked a few blocks to dinner at Banana Leaf, a Malaysian restaurant.  My friend Jennifer had recommended this place to me when I asked on Facebook about visiting Vancouver.  They have several locations in Vancouver.  We went to the one on Davie Street.


They had a Pride special of two special large plates for $17 CAD each.  One was the Vegetarian Mee Goreng with lettuce, cucumber, tofu goreng, pickled red cabbage, mee goreng, crush peanuts, vegetables, and egg.  We added chicken to the noodles for $3 CAD.

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The other Pride special plate was Rendang Beef plate with roti canai, eggplant fries, krupuk, rendang beef, mixed vegetable curry, and a fried egg. 

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Both plates were mega-delicious and we couldn’t have been happier with our dinner choice!


Thus ended our last full day in Vancouver BC!  The trip was so much fun and I really enjoyed the city.  It was very metropolitan, yet clean!  And they have a diverse multi-culture, multi-ethnic city, with a lot of nature, culture, and food to offer.  Visiting Vancouver has been on our to-do list for a long time.  We’re glad to finally do it on our year of anniversary celebrations.  Some places we want to see next time in Vancouver:  the Richmond area’s Asian malls & markets, and the Richmond Night Market.  And taking the ferry ride to Vancouver Island in Victoria to see Butchart Gardens. 

The next day, Tuesday 10/8, we drove south from Vancouver back to Seattle, WA to fly home.  Because we both have Global Entry, we were able to use the NEXUS lanes to get through the US customs at the border really fast.  There was one car in front of us, and it took us two minutes to cross the border into the US again.  We showed our Global Entry cards to the US customs agent at the booth, and it was fast sailing from there.  If you travel to other countries, or even just Canada and Mexico a lot, I would highly recommend getting Global Entry for fast entry back into the United States through customs.  It’s only $100 for 5 years and it includes TSA Precheck!

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Fall Trip | Vancouver Day 4 Gastronomic Gastown Tour

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Continuing on our trip report to Vancouver… On Sunday 10/6 after we went to Stanley Park in the morning, we went on the Gastronomic Gastown Tour from 3-6 PM.  We booked the tour ahead of time, because we wanted to experience a foodie tour while in Vancouver, and this one is an official Canadian Signature Experience

We took the bus from near our hotel into Gastown to meet up at the Gassy Jack Statue on Carrall Street.  It was raining slightly but our spirits weren’t dampened by a little rain!  There were four other people in our tour group for a total of six.

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We walked around the Gastown neighborhood and checked out the Woodward’s Building.

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Our first stop was at Meat & Bread, Vancouver’s top sandwich place. 

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Our tour guide Jesse led us into the restaurant.  They had a table prepared for us and we sat down. 

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For this tour, there was the non-alcohol version and alcohol pairing version.  We thought that meant we didn’t get any drinks, but that wasn’t the case!  Each restaurant actually prepared non-alcoholic mocktails for us!  At Meat & Bread, we got a lemon inspired mocktail and a crispy porchetta sandwich. 


And boy was it good!  I could have eaten more of it if it weren’t for three more stops at other restaurants!  The pork was tender and crispy and the salsa verde and bread were top-notch.

We walked around and checked out more buildings in Gastown.

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We walked to our next stop, La Mezcaleria, a Mexican restaurant.  Being from San Diego, we came to this experience skeptical of having good Mexican food in Vancouver.  But they proved us wrong!

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At La Mezcaleria, they had a table ready for us.  We had a choice of three types of tacos:  beef, fish, and pork.  I chose the beef taco and it was actually really good.  Todd had the fish taco but I didn’t get a good photo of it.  Our non-alcohol drink pairing was Horchata de Coco, which was an iced cinnamon and coconut milk horchata.  It was the most delicious horchata I’ve ever had!  They also served us house-made chips and salsa.


Our next stop was Tuc Craft Kitchen, a Canadian comfort food farm-to-table restaurant.

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The interiors were nicely designed and decorated.

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We had tempura bacon scotch egg, pork belly crackling, and crispy parsnip fries (not pictured).  Everything was quite good, but I got to eat Todd’s egg because he doesn’t like eggs.


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Our last stop was Wildebeest for dessert. 

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I can’t recall what our non-alcohol drink pairing was.  It was sour & bitter with lemon taste in it.  For dessert, we had the Silky Creme Brulee with Currant Flower Gel, containing locally harvested honey and currants.  It was delicious!


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The three hour progressive dining tour was very fun and one of the highlights of our trip to Vancouver.  Our tour ended at the Gastown Steam Clock, where we watched with the crowd as it turned 6pm and steam and music emitted from the clock.

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There was a David’s Tea right there on the corner of the street, so we stopped in to buy some tea.  We had ordered David’s Tea in the US a few years back and enjoyed the teas a lot.  They have stores in California but none are near San Diego.  We bought two types of tea to take home.

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