Vancouver Eats 1

Son Brian traveled from France to present a paper in Vancouver, June 21 to 27, Saturday to Friday. Carol and I had often talked about seeing Vancouver sometime. What a perfect opportunity. We went. We ate.

Orientation: Downtown Vancouver is a peninsula between Vancouver Harbour to the north and False Creek to the south. Stanley Park occupies the west end. Brian stayed in his convention hotel, the Westin Bayshore at the west end of Georgia Street — Vancouver’s main drag — Carol and I stayed in the Sandman Hotel at the east end of Georgia. Westin = resort hotel, Sandman = Canadian chain hotel, catering to European tour groups. We hung at the Weston and slept at Sandman.


Welcome to Vancouver

Here, I recount our dining scene in Vancouver. As with most of our unfamiliar big city experiences, there were highs, there were lows; the highs were very high, the lows were merely ordinary. This installment takes us through Monday.

Saturday Dinner


Cardero’s, the low building on the left on the water.

We hung in the Westin bar while Brian got his act together. Our waiter, Jason, * recommended Cardero’s for dinner — a fish place on the water. Good place, good fish, crowded, 45 minute wait. Instead, we sat at the bar overlooking the open kitchen and watched the cooks put together dish after dish. Our waitress — sweet young blonde — took good care of us and earned a sweet tip.

* It seems like all waiters are named Jason, and I can’t help but flash on the grade school ditty;

“Hasten Jason get the basin
Oops, plop, get the mop.”


I had WOK Seafood Stir Fry, really good and beautifully presented — lobster tail, scallops, shrimps, excellent halibut and salmon and what they called fried rice but I would call dirty rice. All the stuff was perfectly cooked, moist and perfectly portioned. YUM.
C had the Mussels, as usual, and Brian the sliced, seared tuna.We left Brian to crash after his ten-hour flight and nine-hour time change. It seemed odd that we flew for two hours with no time change. We walked up to Robsen (Vancouver’s shopping street), walked a few blocks to check it out, and grabbed a cab for Sandmanville. Vancouver is very walkable, buses are expensive ($2.50, no transfer), taxis are relatively cheap ($8 our hotel to Brian’s).

We stopped in the bar at Sandman; a very short and perfectly proportioned waitress announced that doubles were featured: $1.50 extra for a double.

“Great. I’ll have a double Macallan 12.”
“Oh, that’s not for Macallan,”
she said.
“OK, how about Basil Haden?” I asked.
“No, no no no, NOT for premium,” said her colleague, a very tall and perfectly proportioned waitress, dressed in an identical black mini-ensemble.

I settled for Johnny Walker Red. I also learned that a single is ONE ounce in Canada, not one-and-one-half ounces. Such a deal. NOT.

Sunday Breakfast
Moxie’s Classic Grill
Sandman Hotel

After my morning walk, I collected Carol for breakfast at Moxie’s. I’m not a fan of hotel breakfasts, but on my walk I saw no breakfast opportunities nearby. C had an omelet and I had a Breakfast Enchilada with salsa, sausage, egg, sour cream and guacamole. Both were served with a generous side of some of the best hash browns ever. Shockingly good and inexpensive, all in all it was WAY too much food. We decided that in the future we would split a breakfast.

Brian’s Rules
B sez he can’t get good Asian food in France, so he pumped the Westin Concierge for go-tos, best of Vancouver Asian. “If you haven’t been to Vancouver, it helps to know that there are at least five Asian restaurants on every block,” he said.


Robsen Street

Sunday Lunch
Dae Bak Bon Ga
Robsen Street

We walked from the Westin to the recommended Korean BBQ place on Robsen. It was on the second floor, as are many restaurants on Robsen, leaving the first floor for shops — mainly women’s boutiques. Brian said his BBQ was good. I ordered Beef Hot Pot, expecting sliced beef with vegetables; instead, it was 95% vegetables with a small patch of ground beef, and little flavor. Brian chided, “You go to a BBQ place, order the BBQ!” The condiments were good; kimchee, seaweed, sprouts.


Korean Hot Pot

Sunday Dinner
Yaletown Brewing Company

Brian joined his colleagues for dinner, so we were left to our own devices. The nice Sandman woman at the desk suggested we go to Yaletown Brewery for dinner, Sunday special, $8 pizza.


One block of Yaletown

It was an easy walk downhill to Yaletown. The Yaletown Brewing Company is a regular, big ol’ loft, chain restaurant, but it had a nice buzz going on, with many large tables fully occupied. Must I say that we were easily double the demographic, maybe triple?
Yaletown is pretty cool. Three parallel streets of old lofts with steps up at each block, restaurants and retail on the ground and residential above. The streets are wide, and restaurants on one side have large, elevated brick paved terraces, once loading docks, covered with cantilevered open canopies with heat lamps. The nine o’clock sunset casts an amazing light across the whole scene.

And the food was pretty good. C had the BBQ Chicken Pizza and I had Singapore Noodles — cabbage and noodle stir-fry with yellow curry, chicken and shrimp. I can do that, just remember, angel hair pasta, THIN shredded cabbage and plenty of oil.


After our split breakfast at Moxie’s Classic Grill (with a side of fruit) we hopped on Big Bus (Big Bus City Tour, hop on, hop off) and hopped off at Gas Town. Gas Town has lore and stories, but basically Gas Town = Olde Towne, gussied up for us tourists with Shoppes selling what tourists must have.

gastown30.jpg totum27.jpg

Totems, $1500 to $9500

Monday Lunch
Grandville Market
Granville Island

Soon we hopped on Big Bus for Granville Island, which supports the Granville Bridge over False Creek. It is home to a small community, some swell shops and restaurants and the Grandville Island Public Market.


Now here’s a place worth the visit, a little rough around the edges, under bridges over False Creek, not PRETTY like Gas Town — angular, corrugated metal, bright colored paint, real shops selling cool stuff: Justin Stitches — all organic fabrics of inventive design, and The Granville Market — it’s a good one. Not Barcelona, but close to the Saturday Market at the Ferry Building. The food is not all local, but the meat, fish and produce is labeled with its place of origin. And this market is open every day. If I lived in Vancouver,


Oyama Sausage Company


After wandering around a bit, we found the Oyama Sausage Company and settled on lunch, 3 kinds of pate for lunch.


Monday Lunch

Our spread from the left) Pate Normaund with apples marinated in Calvados — pork, very smooth, almost spreadable, (my fave), center) The Special of the Day, Basque Country with piment d’ espelette, spicy, dense and deep red, and right) Duck Pistachio Terrine — brown/red duck meat with bright green pistachios. At another shop we got some olives and cornichones, and at another, some bread, and we were good to go. The only pity, the Market has no wine (I’m sure regulars come prepared). YUM

Monday Dinner
Phnom Penh
East Georgia Street Chinatown

Back to Asian. Brian bused to our Sandman and we took a taxi to Phnom Penh — another of Brian’s Recommended Asian Restaurants. This one — guess what — Cambodian/Vietnamese, and this one was good. We learned that Cambodian food is basically Vietnamese with tomato. We all ordered from the Vietnamese side of the menu. I had the Sliced Beef dish with Noodles and Vegetables that I thought I had ordered at that Korean place. Brian had Pepper Squid — sautéed, not deep fried, and plenty peppery. C had the Salt & Pepper Prawns. We were one of two Caucasian parties among maybe 30 tables occupied, a good sign. One observation: The Cambodian race is not a handsome race.


See you on Tuesday.

3 thoughts on “Vancouver Eats 1

  1. Good photos, good food, goow weather- and good writing!
    Thanks Marc!


  2. Very nice stuff, Marcus! I am jealous!


  3. Brings back fond memories of our 3-day stay in Vancouver before our Alaskan cruise a few years ago. Isn’t Vancouver great?


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