Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vancouver 2011 Food Highlights

I have just spent 2½ weeks housesitting in North Vancouver (Thanks, Stephanie and Anne!). As always, this was an excellent opportunity to check out some Vancouver food and food places. Here are some of my new finds.

Chill Winston
Chill Winston occupies a sunny corner in Gastown. A friend and I enjoyed a meal on the patio. I sampled three of the beers they had on tap (there’s a huge beer selection). My vegetable sandwich was amazing – grilled asparagus, marinated artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, hummus, lettuce and tomato on walnut scallion bread.

Next time I visit the Pourhouse, I’ll be sure to sit at the bar so that I can watch the bartenders make their extensive line-up of cocktails.

There aren’t a great many food options for vegetarians, but the mushroom tart topped with arugula salad was very tasty, and my Old Cuban cocktail brought back happy memories of sipping mojitos in Nicaragua. And I loved the decor - bare brick and wooden beams.

There is a Saskatoon connection as Adam Johnson, who used to work at Sushiro, is now cooking all the wonderful food at the Pourhouse.

Other Gastown Options
It took me a while to locate Blood Alley, but it was worth the search. I hadn’t realized that amongst all its shiny glass towers, Vancouver still has at least one cobblestone mews. Next trip I will be sure to have a glass of wine at Salt Tasting Room (looks like a similar set-up to Flint in Saskatoon).

[According to local legend, Blood Alley was the "location for a number of butcher shops. At the end of each day they would be rinsed out, resulting in the inevitable blood in the street. As if that was not enough they used to hold public executions in Blood Alley Square."]

I’d also like to visit the brand-new Revolver coffee shop and Nicli Antica Pizzeria. And the list goes on and on. My thanks to Meghan, Mike, Sean and Todd for their restaurant recommendations – I’ll have to visit Vancouver frequently in order to check them all out.

Terra Breads
The Terra Breads outlet is a must every time I visit Granville Island Market. I love their crusty loaves (cranberry pistachio is yummy!) and their grape bread with pine nuts and walnuts.

They have just opened a new licensed café at 1605 Manitoba Street (just off the False Creek seawall in the former Olympic Village) serving soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries. (If you travel by bus or train, this is within easy walking distance of the station.)

Benton Brothers Fine Cheese
A new cheese store with an outlet in Granville Island Market! I’m ecstatic (you may have guessed that I love cheese), particularly when I discover that Benton Brothers Fine Cheese specializes in artisanal, small-production cheeses with a huge selection of Canadian cheeses. I'll be stopping in here every time I'm in Vancouver.

Vij’s Frozen Curries
Vikram Vij’s Indian restaurant is a Vancouver institution. I picked up a couple of Vij's frozen, ready-to-serve curries and highly recommend them. My favourite was the curried kale and potatoes. The paneer and red bell pepper curry was extremely well made but a little too sweet for my taste. Next time I’ll try one or two of the other vegetarian options.

I housesit in Lynn Valley, North Vancouver, so I was delighted to discover Nourish, a grocery store with a local, organic focus directly across from the Lynn Valley Library (food and books – twin passions!). This will be off the beaten track for most Vancouver visitors, but I shopped here on several occasions.

See also: British Columbia VQA Wines Fall 2011


Michelle Zimmer said...

Thanks for sharing, Penny :)

I miss Vancouver terribly - having moved back to Saskatoon in 2004, I have not heard of many of those places (and we didn't go to Gastown a whole lot). Terra Breads, however, we loved. They had an apple cardamom danish-type pastry that was really nice. And Vij's is still a wonderful memory - we never did take out, but ate in several times. Vij is an exceedingly charming host :)

Penny McKinlay said...

Michelle, Gastown is still a mixed bag - touristy stuff near Waterfront Station and a bit ragged on the fringes - but a number of new restaurants have moved in and done lovely renovation jobs on old buildings. Definitely worth a visit on your next trip to Vancouver.

Melissa@EyesBigger said...

Hi Penny, I'm Melissa from Food Blogger's of Canada and just wanted to pop by your blog and let you know we've added you to our Member Directory. Welcome aboard! We're so happy to pickup another Saskatchewan food blog!

And Terra breads is one of my favourite Vancouver eateries too :)

Penny McKinlay said...

Thanks, Melissa. Food Bloggers of Canada is a great site and a welcome addition to the food scene. I'm delighted to be a part of it. Cheers! Penny