My little family spent March in Vancouver, where we played with friends, enjoyed an early spring and ate and drank so many amazing things. I’ve been asked by quite a few people where they should go to eat now. And while the scene is far too expansive and diverse for me to give you a comprehensive sense of the whole industry right now, there were some mega highlights and places of note, and I want to share the love, in no particular order:
- Had an outrageously decadent ham and cheese croissant here, along with a colourful (if slightly under-dressed) quinoa salad. The team behind the counter looks hard-working and organized, and a late-in-my-visit experience here made me sad we were heading home. I could see myself becoming a regular, in a good (delicious) and bad (take all my money) kind of way.
- Yeah, yeah, you read about this place in Bon Appetit, but we stumbled upon it after beer and low-tide oysters (another fave) at the new(er?) Gastown location of Rodney’s Oyster House. I was initially surprised by how charming and breezy it was. That last adjective is literal, because it opens onto the street on both ends, and there was a lovely breeze heading through the cafe when we were there. They also tolerated our yelling, nap-less toddler as he waddled from end to end of the store, so bonus points for grace and the charred veg.
- This was another late but magical addition to the trip. It’s family-style Italian, and very different from Campagnolo, another special Vancouver institution (get the ceci!). With one of the most focused fire-tending cooks I’ve ever seen (didn’t catch his name) and Mark Perrier, a chef with fabulous facial hair and an I’ve-got-this air of nonchalance and focus — one friend remarked at how slowly the cooks were moving, which is generally a good indication their mise is on point — it’s a comely addition to the city’s scene. I’m excited to see what comes out of this restaurant as it becomes more established.
- Oysters from across the Pacific coast (and also the Maritimes, at way less than we pay out here, which makes my heart ache) in giant plastic bins. BYO lemon, hot sauce, shucker. Also a cooler if you’re going to be out for awhile. They’ll give you ice to keep ’em cold.
- Believe it or not, this was my first visit to The Acorn, which opened while we were still in the city and was much-hyped at the time. The line hasn’t lost its edge, because every dish that came out was meticulous and full of flavour, clearly why this place is on the vanguard of vegetarian cooking in the city. The halloumi dish is rich and multifaceted and splendid, and the cocktails were a couple of the best I’ve had recently. Get the Il Volando (Smoked Cinnamon Gin, Mezcal Infused Lava Rock, Earl Grey Oleo, Violet Gentian Bitters, Soda, Dehydrated Fennel Frond for $12. DONE DEAL.)
- Their Italian loaf (made with olive oil and a saline top crust) is so GD good I went back to NORTH VANCOUVER for another loaf. The lemon buttermilk pie is tart and addictive, as was an actual tart (butter) that, one day, was my entire lunch. (Non, je ne regrette rien.) The veggie sandwiches with ham were perfect pre-hike (Lynn Canyon), and seriously just writing about it makes me want to go back to North Vancouver again. That good.
- Here I had a yummy bowl of porky goodness for Kobachi Sunday, a Here/There popup meal featuring Chef Alex Hon (West) and ceramicist Maggie Boyd. The Scandi-bare cafe was adorned with flowers and generally pretty magical. I gave up coffee awhile ago, but used to have a habit, and the folks at Revolver really know what they’re doing. Their new additional space is lovely and it’s a good spot to buy trendy coffee supplies.
- This was the perfect locale for a late lunch meeting with two splendid boss ladies. We got the last three BLTs out of the kitchen and a slice of epic pie of the small daily fixed-item menu. The space is simple and charming and exactly the type of restaurant we need more of in the world. Low overhead, simple, well-loved ingredients and laid-back service, makes this place winner winner.
We ran out of time to eat and drink all the things, so I also want to tip my hat to places I used to love dearly that are still going strong and a couple other places I loved but on which I don’t have anything particularly original to add to the conversation:
- Maenam (if you don’t trust me, trust the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards) (time to pay $$$ for Thai food and love it, bra)
- Beaucoup Bakery (pastry yum)
- Six Acres (beer & popcorn)
- Alibi Room (much beer)
- Stormcrow Tavern (beer & boardgames, 20-sided randomized shot dice)
I’m back on the radio regularly starting May 4, where give the skinny on Milda’s Pizza & More, Fredericton’s new mysterious wood-fired pizza place in the bottom of the Charlotte Street Arts Centre. Spoiler: I ate, and will eat, lots of pizza. Preview:
Warning: include(http://www.goodapple.ca/wp-content/plugins/tab-slide/templates/Subscribe.php): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/gdapple/public_html/wp-content/plugins/tab-slide/tab-slide.php on line 543
Warning: include(): Failed opening ‘http://www.goodapple.ca/wp-content/plugins/tab-slide/templates/Subscribe.php’ for inclusion (include_path=’.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php’) in /home/gdapple/public_html/wp-content/plugins/tab-slide/tab-slide.php on line 543