Food Adventures in Vancouver, Part 1

Vancouver Skyline |

Surprise! I vacationed in the Pacific Northwest last month! I bet you thought I was still here, blogging my little heart out. I’m sneaky like that. Really, I was in the glorious, freakishly rain-free cities of Vancouver and Seattle for a week with my husband and two friends. We flew from Detroit to Vancouver, spent 3 days in Vancouver, then took the train down the coast to Seattle, and spent 4 days there.

We planned this trip in celebration of us all turning thirty this year. Before I begin with a week’s worth of recaps full of delicious food and lots of other fun, let’s meet the cast of characters, shall we?

Stanley Park Vancouver |

Left to right, that’s Eric, Katy, me and Jeff. Jeff is my husband (you may know him from his monthly gourmet pizza blog posts). Eric and Jeff have been friends since childhood, and Katy is Eric’s wife and our friend on her own accord now. OK, so that’s settled. We’re all thirty. I think we’re getting better with age. Except when we’re staring directly into the sun, as was the case here.

Sushi Bella Vancouver |

Our first order of business when we got to Vancouver? FOOD. We’d been on a plane and standing in customs all day! We threw our bags down at the hotel and walked over to Sushi Bella on Davie Street. Davie Street is definitely the LGBT-friendly portion of Vancouver. Since Jeff and I live in the most LGBT-friendly city in Michigan, we felt right at home. After two huge platters of sushi, edamame, and a pitcher of Sapporo, we were all feeling in brighter spirits.

Pourhouse Gastown Vancouver |

We spent the rest of the first day wandering around Vancouver and stopping for drinks and snacks as we pleased. The only item on our agenda? Head to Gastown so I could meet up with a fellow food blogger.

We walked on over to Pourhouse and took some seats at the bar. Having been to quite a few artisanal cocktail bars in the last few years, I knew what to expect. Hipster bartender wearing flannel? Check. Wooden crate full of craft bitters? Check. Expensive but awesome drinks slowwwwwwlllllly prepared? Check.

Pourhouse Gastown Vancouver |

We ordered our drinks and settled in to wait. I’ve prepared full meals faster than our drinks were made, but hey, it was a busy night and the guys in flannel had to shake. And stir. And flame. And swirl. And shake in one hand and swirl with the other hand. You know. The usual. I didn’t mind the wait, because the lovely Nancy from Gotta Get Baked walked in!

Pourhouse Vancouver |

It’s always nice to meet a blogging friend in person, especially when they turn out to be as cool as Nancy. She was even understanding as we all almost fell asleep at our table after having been awake for 20 hours at that point. She told us lots about life in Vancouver and the sites that we should see. We enjoyed a meal of some of the apps and entrees at Pourhouse. Jeff deemed the brussels sprouts “the best he had ever had.” They were good, but I also think he may have been delirious from lack of sleep at that point.

 Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Vancouver |

We went back to our hotel (Sutton Place) for a good snooze. Our plan was to spend the next day at the beautiful Stanley Park. For the first few days, we were definitely still adjusting to the time change, so we were hungry at inconvenient-for-Vancouver times. Like, the next morning when we were ready for a quick lunch before Stanley Park, and literally no place in the city was serving lunch yet. And they weren’t serving breakfast either. So, we awkwardly lurked at tables outside Nero Belgian Waffles until they opened.

 Nero Belgian Waffle Bar Vancouver |

I’m happy to report that they were totally worth the wait! Would it be weird if this was one of my favorite meals from the trip? I really, really love savory waffles, and my waffle with havarti, arugula, tomatoes and whole-grain mustard was amazing. Sure, I was super hungry, since this meal was serving as both breakfast and lunch. But really, it was everything I wanted to eat right before a day of bike riding through Stanley Park.

Stanley Park Vancouver |

For me, Stanley Park was the highlight of Vancouver, if not the whole trip! I love riding bikes, and I love beautiful parks. Plus, we were there on the PERFECT day. It was 65 degrees, sunny and clear. Even my bum rental bike (seriously, that thing was dying) couldn’t put a damper on the experience. We rode our bikes along the 9 kilometer seawall, stopping many, many times for photos of things like the Vancouver skyline (photo at the top of this post), random totem poles, dragons, and mermaid sculptures.

Totem Pole Stanley Park Vancouver |

Totem Pole Stanley Park Vancouver |

This trip was pretty epic. Everything I just listed, we did in a day and a half! So, I’ll be back most days this week with more trip recaps.

Restaurants + Bars We Visited & What We Ordered:

  • Sushi Bella – Edamame. Gyoza. Shitake Roll. Ugly Truth Roll. Dancing Queen Roll. Wild Salmon Roll. Sapporo.
  • Winking Judge Pub – Magner’s Irish Cider
  • Pourhouse – Old Fashioned. Smoked Salmon Starter. Brussels Sprouts & Pork Belly. Pourhouse Burger. Pomme Frites.
  • Nero Belgian Waffle Bar – Banella. Parisienne. Rocket. Tonyn.
Other Installments of the Pacific Northwest Vacay Series:
  • Vancouver, Part 1: Sushi Bella. Winking Judge Pub. Gastown. Pourhouse. Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. Stanley Park.
  • Vancouver, Part 2: Cactus Club Cafe. Japadog. G Sports Bar & Grill. Hubbub Sandwich Bliss. Capilano Suspension Bridge. Yaletown. Blue Water Cafe.
  • Seattle, Part 1: Serious Pie. The Whisky Bar. Seattle Coffee Works. Moore Coffee Shop. Storyville Coffee Company. Caffe D’Arte. Original Starbucks. Chihuly Garden & Glass. Space Needle. Lola. Seattle Waterfront. Elliott’s Oyster House.
  • Seattle, Part 2: Pike Place Market. Market Grill. Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Post Alley. Gum Wall. Pike Brewing Company. Cutter’s Crabhouse. Seatown.

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  1. I love how you mentioned the bartenders at Pourhouse performing the difficult shake and swirl at the same time – without even messing up their vest / tie combos.

  2. Also, for my pizza fans out there who now know where I am coming from . . . The brussels sprouts had thick chunks of pork belly, balsamic sweet-n-sour glaze, and crunchy friend onions.

  3. I keep craving my waffle (Brie, honey, and almonds). Soooo delicious!

  4. I LOVE Vancouver. I am really hoping you found your way to Thomas Haas Patisserie…TO-DIE-FOR!! 🙂

    • Oh shoot, I didn’t make it there, Betsy! I’m not really THAT into pastries, so I probably wasn’t looking for it. However, I would love to go back to Vancouver as soon as I can, so I’ll make a mental note for next time 🙂

  5. I KNOW. I’ve been craving the waffle I had too! We should have a waffle party soon. I’m sure we could re-create these things!

  6. Lori, it was awesome meeting you, Jeff ‘n your friends. You’re exactly how I imagined you to be from reading this blog: real, hilarious and kick ass. I’m so glad you guys had a good time, despite some weird stuff (like the oddball at Moxies) and disappointments (I hate to remind you of the Cap Suspension Bridge but I’ll do it anyways). And damn, your photos do my city proud – these are gorgeous pix. Like I said, we usually have monsoon rains this time of year. I’m so glad you lucked out with the sunshine! I need to get my butt to the Nero Belgian Waffle Bar. I live here and I’ve never been. Thanks for showing me something new!

    • Thanks so much, Nancy 🙂 As much as it was kind of a pain in the ass to ride my bike around Stanley Park with a huge camera bag, I’m so glad I did! I still can’t believe how much we lucked out on weather for the entire trip, but ESPECIALLY that day at the park. It seriously could not have been more perfect weather!

      Yes! Nero! You’d love it. If you like waffles, that is. As much as I loved it, it just made me sad that there isn’t a place like that here in Detroit, and my home waffle maker doesn’t make them that crispy and awesome. Oh well, yet another reason to get back to Vancouver sooner rather than later!

  7. Hey,

    Just a FYI, the ‘Mermaid’ sculpture in Stanley Park is in fact a scuba diver.

    If you’re even in Vancouver again you’ve got to go to Jethro’s for breakfast. If you go on a weekend though make sure you get there early otherwise you’re in for a 1-2 hour wait if you go after 10am. And you want to go to the Dunbar location.

    Thomas Haas Patisserie, is in fact know for the chocolate which is in fact TO-DIE-FOR, and I don’t even care that much about chocolate. And the Aztec Hot Chocolate is amazing.

    • Thanks so much for all of this great info, Alexandra! I love that Wiki article about the scuba diver. After seeing some more pictures of her, I can tell she definitely isn’t a mermaid.

      I can’t wait to come back to Vancouver when I get the chance. I’ll make sure to check out Jethro’s and Thomas Haas. Thanks again!

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