So long, vacation.

vancouver 002

Well Mr. Pea and I just returned (at 2:30 this morning) to our humble abode after several days in Vancouver, Canada. This here is the view from our hotel window. Vancouver, as promised by pretty much everyone I mentioned our trip to, was a beautiful city. It’s really different from the city I live in–it’s well-planned, with a nice grid system (Boston is based on cowpaths and nothing goes where you think it well), a really useful bus system, and lots of really friendly people.

We stayed in Davie Village, in Vancouver’s West End. This is pretty much a residential area, but because Vancouver’s square mileage (the small city center, not the whole shebang) is relatively small, we could walk to most sites. The real perk of staying in a residential neighborhood is seeing where the locals eat. These places, those with regular followings, that is, tend to be much better than places that cater to tourists. We ate most nights within a mile or so of our hotel.

Early in our stay we went to Bin 941, a tapas bar unlike any I’ve ever been to. The food clearly reflects the area–we had some cremini risotto (to die for), some grilled asparagus (being, relatively speaking, close to California, this was really fresh and yummy), and the main dish–flank steak with a chipotle and maple syrup glaze. It was insanely delicious.

The last night of our stay we went to one of Vancouver’s reported finest establishments, the Raincity Grill. This place features a sustainable menu–everything you eat is grown within a hundred or so miles, and all the wine is from British Columbia, California, Washington or Oregon. The menu rotates frequently, and you sit with a view of English Bay. I had some of the lightest, fluffiest gnocchi I’ve ever had, sauteed in a brown butter sauce with fresh sage, butternut squash, and chives. Yum.

Now we’re back, and I’m planning on cooking all weekend to make up for all of our spendy days abroad. The best deal we got, incidentally, was at a hole in the wall Japanese restaurant on Davie Street called Samurai–for $7.50, I got what had to be at least two chicken thighs cooked teriyaki-style, rice, a mountain of bean sprouts and cabbage, and sauteed veg. Crikey.

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