We arrived in Vancouver late on Saturday night, more than 30 hours later than planned but pretty happy to see some familiar faces as we came out of the skytrain station. My first impression of the city did not really change throughout the 2 days we spent there- it is really nice (and only consisting of apartments and people with dogs… we had to leave through the burbs before we saw a house and a child over 5). But I digress, back to ‘nice’, that dreaded adjective my form two english teacher rebuked us for using because, what does it really tell you…? The city seems laid back, clean, and organised but it was missing something. Our friends who have been living there for just under a year confirmed these sentiments… the city is a good place to live and work but seems to lack its own culture or even a vibe.
The next day we strolled through the lofty apartment lined streets and headed towards the waterfront to take in the view, watch a few seaplanes take off, and listen to some fun facts from our impromtu tour guides. We stopped for lunch at one of the many Cactus Clubs– a fancy chain riding on the name of some iron chef and then worked it off on a walk through Stanley Park. One thing Vancouver does have going for it is all the greenery… everywhere.
Dinner that night was quite the feast at a local favourite- Kirin– apparently Vancouver’s best Chinese restaurant 5 years running! We started with the classic tacky chinese takeaway classic- chicken and corn soup- probably better than your local joint but definitely not the best. But that’s not we were here for… first of the main events was the peking duck- crispy skin in pancakes and stir fried meat in lettuce cups, both of course with hoisin sauce. Next was the beggar’s chicken which needs to be pre-ordered so they can get that bird ready- stuffed with spices, herbs, and pork then encased in a clay (?) shell so the chicken comes out incredibly moist and flavoursome- it was worth the effort!
Monday morning, Remembrance Day, was spent strolling around the market on Granville Island- I’m sure there were lots of great craft stalls but as you may have guessed, my love is for the farmers market… the fresh produce, the meats, fish, cheeses, teas even… mmm heaven. I got a well stuffed hot meat bagel for lunch- I never thought I’d say this but the meat to bagel ratio was all wrong- totally lost the bagel! We sat outside, fending off the vicious seagulls which were swooping on those oblivious to the need to protect their food from the flying predators.
Naturally the next stop was the pub… and after the 30min or so walk along false creek to get there… we deserved a beer! Unfortunately in Canada, it seems most bars also serve meals and therefore you actually have to wait to be seated… you can’t just rock up to the bar and hang around until there’s a table free. We waited around 30mins to get into Craft, a brand spanking new beer bar serving over 100 beers on tap- worth it though because the afternoon disappeared into a blur of beers; we perused the menu intently, sipped, compared, reviewed- basically an afternoon well spent. Then we wandered back for a hearty home cooked meal, probably the last we will have for a while so it was much appreciated.