Vancouver trip was an unexpected one. Bryan didn’t find out that he had this business trip until 1 week before. I decided to tag along and we stayed behind an extra day. We scrambled to book plane tickets, reserve hotel rooms, and make a point-of-interest list. Luckily, we got plenty of suggestions from friends. We ended up having a fulfilling trip.
Vancouver is a beautiful city with plenty of busy night lives as well as quiet and relaxing parks. It is a very walkable city and the transport system is well-developed. Getting around is easy peasy. Buses and trains are everywhere. Just get yourself a Compass Day Pass and google map (with internet access), you are all set.
If you are a foodie like us, you will really enjoy Vancouver. Fresh seafood (pacific oyster, salmon), Chinese food, and Japanese food, they are all very well-known. We enjoyed every meal we had in Vancouver. And since Canadian dollar is about 15% cheaper than US dollar, it feel like we are getting a discount at any restaurants. Score!
The most exciting thing I did in Vancouver was a lunch date with Betty from Yummy Workshop. We know each other through blogging. This was the very first time we met in person. It is amazing that how 2 people from 2 different countries are tied together because of our passion for food. We are actually both from Hong Kong and once lived in New Territories. It’s a small world, isn’t it?
I am so happy that we got to sit down, enjoyed some good food, had a conversation and got to know each other better. Other than blogging, Betty is a baker at Beaucoup Bakery. We actually met up again the next day at her bakery. Betty loaded up 2 full plates of pastries for me to try. Wow, those pastries are no joke. They are absolutely heavenly! I dream of living next door and having a croissant every day. If you are going to Vancouver, visit the bakery. You won’t be disappointed. If you can’t be there, you can still go to Yummy Workshop and bake a few gorgeous pastries with Betty’s recipes. That will do it too! 🙂
Vancouver is excellent for a few-day getaway. The people are friendly and the city is vibrant. We had a really nice time and hope to go back some day. But I promise we definitely won’t be there during the rain season. Walking around with non waterproof shoes was definitely not ideal. Haha!
Where we stay:
It is located right in the middle of Yaletown. It is about 30 minutes car ride from the airport. There is a train station right across the street. Plenty of restaurants are in the area. The hotel is modern. Staffs are friendly. Everything is fairly new. The room is on the small side, but it is very comfortable. Every evening, they bring a new bottle of drinking water to the room. That attention of details make you feel right at home. We stayed here for 2 nights.
Century Plaza Hotel & Spa
We stayed at Century Plaza for 1 night. It is located near downtown. We stayed at 28th floor. We got an amazing view of the city and the ocean. The room is big and the price is very reasonable. The down sides are that the hotel is a bit dated and the train station is 10 minutes walk away.
What we see:
This park is HUGE! It’s about 1000-acre big. And yes, it’s bigger than New York Central Park. We didn’t plan on going to Stanley Park originally. But Bryan happened to finish work early and the rain has finally stopped, we decided to spend our afternoon in Stanley Park. We were there for about 2 hours, and barely touched about 5% of the park. We walked along the seawall and got a glimpse of the city skyline and the harbor. We also explored one of the paths in the forest to check out some old and big trees. It was nice to get to enjoy the outdoor. If only we had extra time and energy, we would have checked out the totem poles and Beaver Lake too.
While we were walking around, we heard calls of eagles. We then saw a pair of Bald Eagles sitting on the top of a tree very far away. If you know me, you know I love birds. So, I was very excited to be able to see them again (first time in Alaska).
If you are thinking to check out the park, I would recommend driving or renting a bike. It’s pretty impossible to be walking the whole park on foot. Also, you can take the horse-drawn 1-hour tour for about CAD$40 (USD$30). During summer, they have shuttles as well.
Capilano Suspension Bridge
This is the highlight of our trip. This park is much more than just a bridge. There are tree houses, cliff side trails and forest trails. For Bryan and I who grew up in cities, a park like this is refreshing and incredibly fun. On the day we were there, it was raining. We put on the free rain coats handled out by the park and walked around for 1½ hours. At that moment, we didn’t care that our shoes, socks and half of our pants were soaking wet, we just wanted to explore and enjoy the park. The bridge was little shaky, but we felt very safe. The view on the bridge was breathtaking, but it was hard to get some good shots in the rain. We loved the tree house and the little bridges in between the trees too! We felt like we were kids again. What a lovely experience!
There are free shuttles going back and forth between downtown and the park. Since we don’t have a car, we took the shuttle too. It is very convenient.
Granville Island and Public Market
It’s an island right under the Granville Bridge. There is a public market (think Seattle Pike Place Market) with produce, meat, seafood, cheese and candy shops. It is a great place to buy edible souvenirs, like salmon candies, smoked salmon and cheese. Salmon candies are thin strips of smoked salmon jerky glazed with maple syrup or honey. So addicting! We quickly ate a ¼-pound while walking around. We ended up buying 2 packages home (and 2 more at the airport).
What we eat:
Ask For Luigi
This small Italian restaurant serves house made pasta. Nothing too fancy, but the pasta was perfectly al dente and seasoned just right. I had the spaghetti with porcini and speck. Packed with flavors. I really enjoyed it! If you a fan of pasta, you should come here. They don’t take reservation, so go early or prepare to wait for a while.
We love this French restaurant. It’s one of my favorite restaurants ever. Very cute place with modern and clean decoration. The cocktails are amazing with reasonable price. It’s just the place you need for a romantic dinner. The dishes were perfectly balanced in texture and flavors. We enjoyed everything. The baked oysters and steak Diane were exceptional. Oysters were fresh and paired well with the buttery garlic and truffle. The steak was tender and juicy. The dessert honey cake was very unique with a burnt honey custard. If we are ever in Vancouver, no doubt we will be there again. Remember to call and make reservation ahead of time.
Award-winning gelato! They have plenty unique flavors, like pecan with maple syrup, earl grey with lavender and salted chocolate. It’s a little pricey, but if you love ice cream and gelato. It’s worth checking out.
Beaucoup Bakery & Café
The baked goods from this bakery is extraordinary. I’m not saying this because Betty works there. The pastries were really that good and I am saying this from my heart. The croissants are flakey and buttery. I have not had a croissant that flakey with that many layers. The almond croissant is crispy on the outside with a sweet and smooth almond paste filling. Almond pastries are usually not my first choice. I am not a fan of almond extract. But this almond croissant is different. It doesn’t have that artificial flavor. Insanely good! Bryan and I fought for the last bite. I also love the Pain aux Raisin (puff pastry with raisin) and buckwheat chocolate cookie. Just pick anything you want, I am sure they all taste good. I am missing this place dearly.
This is a nice surprise. We didn’t plan on coming here. It was a last-minute decision. I am glad we did. This is not the typical pork, shoyu or miso broth ramen. Their specialty is chicken broth. No, it’s not the clear chicken broth that you always see. The broth is rich and creamy. With the soft sea lettuce (aosa), thin bouncy noodles and tender cha siu slices, that was one bowl of heartwarming ramen. I like it because it is not as fatty as the pork broth, but it still remains creamy. I hope one day they will open a shop down here in Los Angeles!