Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Vancouver Style

This year we missed Thanksgiving at home because 2hung and I took a weekend trip to Vancouver.  The main objective of the trip was to get our engagement photos taken by our wedding photographer Sandy Tam because she happened to be in Vancouver that weekend.  We had the perfect weather those four days and besides the photo shoot, we were able to fit in lots of outdoor activities and of course, lots of food!

We arrived late Thursday night, so we just stayed by the airport and then the next morning, we took the opportunity to explore Richmond a bit.  It turned out that we were within walking distance to the Aberdeen Centre so we went to have some dim sum at Fisherman's Terrace Seafood Restaurant.  Their dim sum was just average.  I've had better in Toronto.

We then headed downtown to our hotel the Fairmont Pacific Rim.  2hung thinks this is one of the best hotels we've stayed at to date because they gave us an awesome suite and provided very good customer service and I could not agree more.

The Fairmont also lent us two bikes free of charge (because I'm a platinum member), so we took them out for a ride along the water and into Stanley Park.

We rode our bikes deep into the centre of Stanley Park and we were having such a good time until all of a sudden the bike chain on 2hung's bike snaps right in half!  He tried to fix it a few times but couldn't do it and got his hands all black from the oil on the chain.  We ended up pushing the bikes and walking back towards the hotel.  I was worried that 2hung's hands would be all black for the photo shoot the next day but good thing he was able to wash most of it off.  A little bit relieved, I decided that we should stop at Santouka for some ramen!  It was yum!
So, that was the first dinner...the second dinner that night was at La Pentola della Quercia.  This is a new restaurant at the Opus Hotel.  We had reservations for 8:30pm but the restaurant was very busy that night and we ended up only getting a table at around 9:30pm.  Good thing the owner gave us some snacks while we waited.  We ordered the prosciutto, calamari with arugula, fresh heirloom tomato salad and a kale & ricotta pansotti with walnut sauce.  Everything tasted great!

Our photo shoot on Saturday was not until 4pm, so we went out for a brunch at Medina Cafe.  The flavours are still great at Medina and I really liked the paella made with orzo pasta instead of rice.

My great makeup artist Jayna Marie came to our hotel that afternoon to do my hair and makeup.  She did such a great job to prep me for our photo shoot.  I'm so glad that I found her online!
Sandy and her husband Albert came to pick us up at our hotel and they drove us all around town to take pictures.  We stopped by the Vancouver Museum of Art, Yaletown and then to Steveston.  From the sneak peek, the pictures looked great!  I can't wait to see the rest.

Albert also introduced us to a fantastic fish and chips place in Steveston called Pajo's.  That was dinner #1.

We decided to give Gyoza King a try for dinner #2.  We ordered a whole whack of food, including their gyoza.  Overall, I thought the food was average and I'm not sure why they named their izakaya Gyoza King because the gyozas weren't very impressive.  I think I prefer Guu over Gyoza King.

I preferred Gyo King Group's Japanese dessert place Chicco much better.  Their cakes were so pretty and yummy!  Check out the Mont Blanc cake we had.

We were determined to conquer the Grouse Grind once again on this visit, but I don't think it was such a good idea to have a full brunch prior to the climb.  I thoroughly enjoyed the food at Tableau Bar Bistro.  I had the mushrooms on brioche toast and 2hung had the rainbow trout.  Of course, I couldn't walk away without getting a croissant as well.

It's only been two years since our last climb up the Grouse Mountain, but this time it was so much tougher!  We still made it to the top and we were glad that they put in some brand new benches for us to rest along the way.

On our way back, we decided to treat ourselves to a Japadog for all the hard work that we put into our climb and of course, I ordered the most expensive kurobuta dog.

Dinner was quite a pleasant surprise for us.  I used my handy googling skills and found a small Japanese restaurant in Kitsilano called Octopus' Garden.  The food was amazing and the chef Sada san was so friendly.  He offered us some free sake and shochu.  His dishes are very creative.  I loved the uni shooter.

We only found out about the ramen made with blue fin tuna broth at the end of our meal or else we would've tried it for sure.  I never expected that tuna bones were so huge!

On Thanksgiving Day, we went down to Granville Island.  The great thing about Vancouver is that most places are open on Thanksgiving Day, so our day was definitely not wasted.  We enjoyed some clam chowder in puff pastry and some poutine inside the main building.

Having only had one bowl of ramen each in a place like Vancouver wasn't quite enough for us, so we went for another ramen run prior to heading to the airport.  There was a huge line in front of Santouka, so we opted to try out Motomachi Shokudo.  There was a smaller line in front of this ramen place.  They also offered something called the charcoal miso ramen.  The soup was pitch black, but personally I didn't taste much of a difference with the soup being black.  I also didn't really like how the chashu had a lot of tendon in it, so this was not my favourite ramen place.

All in all, what a great trip to Vancouver!  Can't wait to go again in the near future.  Vancouver is definitely a place we would consider living in. La Pentola della Quercia on Urbanspoon Pajo's Fish & Chips (The Steveston Wharf) on Urbanspoon Tableau Bar Bistro on Urbanspoon Octopus' Garden on Urbanspoon

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