3 days in Vancouver with the Kitchen Bachelor

For those of you who’ve been fortunate or unfortunate enough to be on an Air Canada flight, you may have come across their “enRoute” in-flight magazine.  I’ve always enjoyed reading the feature called “3-days in [fill in exotic city here]”.  If you’re a jet-setter and have experienced a layover in Barcelona, Sao Paolo or Paris, you may have taken advantage of enRoute’s recommendations.  However, if you’re the average commuter on United, your story is probably about being stuck in a snow-storm in Fargo, North Dakota.

Vancouver is no Fargo.  In fact, being my home-town and being a foodie – I’ve been tasked many a time to provide an itinerary for out-of-town guests, co-workers and even strangers.  Since my specialty is food, I thought I’d write my own little enRoute blog post about “3 days in Vancouver with the Kitchen Bachelor”.


Day 1

4pm - Friday - YVR Airport

Take note of Vancouver tax-dollars at work as you come through the international gates and witness the soothing sounds of first-nations music, first-nations scultures, chirping birds and some sort of water dripping.  Find a washroom – quick.

5pm - Downtown Vancouver

Hopefully you didn’t smuggle anything into customs and weren’t given the glove welcome to Canada, eh?  You jumped on the Canada Line train and made it to downtown Vancouver in 25 minutes – amazing, right?  Check into hotel of choice.  Celebrity spotting at Sutton Place Hotel is common.  Westin Bayshore or Fairmont Waterfront for views. Opus Hotel in Yaletown district for funky and beautiful people.

7pm - Cocktails

Uva wine bar (900 Seymour), Earl’s Restaurants (905 Hornby) or Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel Lobby (1038 Canada Place).

9pm - Dinner Options
  1. Chambar: Belgian cuisine with Moroccan influence; the chef  traveled through Morocco.  Try the lamb tagine – it’ll make you squeal – ok maybe not.  Great belgian beer list and great mussels as well. They have a great bottle of red called Pirramimma Petit Verdot from McLaren Vale – 70 big ones but damn! Resos at least a week in advance to be safe.
  2. Adesso bistro: Northern Italian cuisine – tucked in a cosy tree-lined residential street in the West-End of downtown. Great seafood appes; delicious pastas; fresh ingredients.
  3. La faux bourgeois: Cool French bistro with dark wooden bar; authentic and warm; servers are French-ish.  Make resos in advance.
1130pm - You're still up?

Call it a night – you know you’re not exactly looking that chipper after a day of travel and all that great food in your belly.  But if you’re loco, head out to Granville Street for some revelry with 20 year olds.

Day 2

9am - Rise and shine breakie.
  1. Café Medina: Sister restaurant to Chambar.  If you went there for dinner last night and don’t mind heading back to the same area.  Belgian waffles, I hear, are amazing.  I can’t believe I haven’t been there.
  2. Café Barney – 2 locations – Main street and Granville street.  Great egg-benes, breakfast burrito and non-stop strong coffee.
  3. Urban Fare – pricey grocer but good people-gazing.  A few different locations around town.
1030am - Sights and Sounds

Walk Commercial Drive – ethnic district. Rent bikes and bike around Stanley Park seawall – 10 km. Shopping on 4th avenue in Kitsilano.  Sun at Kitsilano Beach.  Take water-taxi to Granville Island.

1pm - Hunger strikes
  1. Go-Fish!: if you made it to Granville Island, check out the fish and chip shack on the south-west side of the entrance to Granville Island along the seawall.  Ask around if you can’t find it.  Fish tacos, fish & chips wrapped in newspaper, seafood chowder – all good.
  2. Japadog – famous Japanese hot dog stand endorsed by Anthony Bourdain.  A few stands around town, but a bricks-and-mortar restaurant has opened up on Robson street as well.
  3. Sushi – Vancouver probably has as many Sushi restaurants as Starbucks.  How can you go wrong with fresh Pacific seafood?  It’s hard to go wrong but some places I visit are Honjin and Shizenya.  Stay away from all-you-can-eat sushi – come on, man!
3pm - Repeat 1030am options or nap

Yeah, that’s right.  You’re on vacation.  Have a nap. You don’t have to be 2 or 70.

455pm - "...we interrupt your regularly scheduled programming for"

If you’re interested in an early dinner, scroll down to tonight’s dinner options and go to Vij’s.  As my mum would say – there’s no time for dilly-dally here – after 5pm you’re waiting in a 2 hour queue.

6pm - Cocktail time again

Repeat from last night or try a different location.

730pm - Dinner options
  1. Wild Rice – for a little off-the-beaten track venture on the edge of Chinatown and Gastown, check out Wild Rice. Owner Andrew Wong does my people right – yes I said it, my people.  Modern Asian food with creative cocktails at a fair price – what’s not to like.
  2. Vij’s: Indian fusion. One of Vancouver’s best known chefs. No resos allowed.
  3. Mis Trucos: Mediterranean tapas in what looks like someone’s living room.  Great wine list and date spot.
930pm - Live music, anyone?
  1. Libre Room – Commerical Drive, funky ethnic district with live music sets every night.  Check out your featured cocktail based on your horoscope.
  2. Fairmont Pacific Rim – see cocktail options from Day 1.

Day 3

10am - Advil for the headache

If you partied it up the night before, you may need an Advil before breakfast.  But if you’re good to go, perhaps lace up your sneakers and go for a run on the Vancouver seawall.  Options include Yaletown, Coal-Harbour, or Kitsilano.

12pm - Lunch or see ya later

Make it out to one of the myriad restaurants you may have missed or catch the Canada-Line out of town.

We hope you enjoyed your 3 days in Vancouver with the Kitchen Bachelor.  Fresh seafood, international cuisine and a picturesque city with mountains in the backdrop.  Not bad for a layover?


Big City Clubs versus Vancouver

Per my last post, I spent this past weekend in Toronto for a friend’s wedding.  On Thursday night which coincided with the Toronto International Film Festival, we were able to get into the Brant House by forking over $80 (for the guys) each for bottle service.  A little steep – but well worth it to get in without hassle.  Elegant ambiance and super hot staff combined with communal-style dinner tables which are then cleared out for the dance floor when the night goes off.


Brant House Toronto

What I found was that ladies were generally more friendly and open to banter at this club.  We chatted with a couple of lawyers, danced with some random Portuguese ladies to some Calle Ocho (such a catchy tune), and just really had a dope time overall.  I reasoned that being in a large city like Toronto or New York City, there are a lot more single folks and everyone needs to step up their social skills with good manners when it comes to random conversations.

This is in stark contrast to the attitude that you tend to get in Vancouver clubs.  What is it with this city?  Is it a case of small-city inferiority complex?  Ladies trying to be “all-that and a bucket of chicken wings” when they’re not?  There are definitely places in Vancouver that have a laid back, chill vibe – the old Bimini’s on 4th avenue comes to mind.  Ahh, we had some great times there.  It may have been the $6.50 double high-balls on Saturdays that helped as well:)

Anyone been to other major metropolitan cities in North America and can relate to this experience?  Would love to hear your experiences.