Eating My Way Through Vancouver, Canada

Kitsilano Beach | Vancouver

Kitsilano Beach

I can’t even begin to extol the virtues of visiting the Pacific Northwest when it is not raining. With all the rain throughout the year, cities like Vancouver really blossom when the sun shines and all the plants are green and lush. If it was like that all year, I think everyone would want to live there!

Coconut Ash and S'Mores Ice Cream at Mister | Vancouver

Coconut Ash and S’Mores Ice Cream at Mister

Besides the proximity to nature (the beach is in the center of town and the mountains are 30 minutes away), Vancouver is bustling with an amazing food scene. I could live there for a month and I wouldn’t make the slightest dent on my things-to-eat list. I did my best in a short amount of time. For novelty ice cream, look no further than the liquid nitrogen treats at Mister (1141 Mainland St.). Their most famous flavor is the coconut ash, which complements the black ice cream cones, but I actually like and recommend the crème brûlée (complete with a crackable sugar top) or s’mores (toasted marshmallow!) more. If you get your ice cream in their signature black cone, expect a massive amount of ice cream. It’s enough to share among 3 people (seriously). Flavors change daily so there’s always a surprise in store.

Lunch at Fable (left) and Ice Cream at Rain or Shine (right) | Vancouver

Lunch at Fable (left) and Ice Cream at Rain or Shine (right)

If you’re looking for a more traditional ice cream experience, head over to Rain or Shine (1926 W 4th Ave #102), close by Kitsilano beach. You can indulge in flavors like coffee toffee and salted caramel. Right next to Rain or Shine, you can grab a bite to eat at Fable (1944 W 4th Ave.). They have one of the best hamburgers I’ve ever tasted (thick-cut bacon and cheese are extra) or you can eat more healthy with local British Columbia salmon and kale.

Granville Public Market | Vancouver

Granville Public Market

Speaking of local salmon, BC salmon is absolutely incredible. Darker and redder in color, the flesh is flaky and ever so creamy with all the rich fish oil. My first stop in Vancouver was the Granville Island Public Market (1669 Johnston St.). The whole island is full of cute boutiques and small art galleries. The highlight is definitely the public market where there is a plethora of lunch choices at different stalls. I had to order the deep-fried salmon and calamari at Celine’s Fish & Chips. It was the first time in my life I’ve ever seen fish and chips with salmon and now that’s all I ever want to eat.

Aburi Sushi at Minami | Vancouver

Aburi Sushi at Minami

When in Vancouver, you have to eat sushi. With fish that fresh, it’d be a travesty if you didn’t. At Minami (1118 Mainland St.), you can try the famed aburi sushi. This flame-seared sushi has an extra touch of magic because the chefs sear the fish with binchotan (Japanese bamboo charcoal). I’d never seen anything like it before in my life! That extra bit of charcoal adds a whole new level of smokiness and complexity to your palate. The salmon oshi sushi (pressed BC wild salmon, jalapeno, Miku sauce) is hands down probably one of my favorite bites of food. Don’t miss out though on the tuna tartare, ebi fritters or Champagne roll (scallop, salmon, cucumber, uni, rolled in golden tobiko, Miku sauce).

Loco-Lomi Poke Salad at the Poke Guy | Vancouver

Loco-Lomi Poke Salad at the Poke Guy

I seriously cannot think of a better place to sell poke than Vancouver. At The Poke Guy (420 Richards St.), you’ll find local Hawaiians (shout-out to Reno!) serving poke with a twist, including toppings like mango and corn. One of their star dishes is the Loco-Lomi salad. Reno was great at explaining that lomi-lomi is a salmon salad with tomatoes and Maui onions. Their salad has smoked lomi-lomi, albacore poke, avocado, house yuzu slaw, kani, mango, peashoots, masago, crispy onion and furikake on a bed of lettuce. While I also loved the Poke Guy’s traditional poke, the loco-lomi salad is definitely unique and worth trying.

Cartems Donuterie | Vancouver

Cartems Donuterie

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I Left my Stomach in NYC

MMM... Doughnuts

I went to New York over President’s Day weekend and it was another glorious weekend of eating and shopping. It would probably take me close to a decade to detail all of my meals so I’ll just pick the best of the best.

I’ve already professed my love for Doughnut Plant’s crème brûlée doughnut, but I think I have a new favorite–tres leches cake doughnut.  Doughnut Plant’s cake doughnuts aren’t too heavy and their frosting isn’t very sweet. I also really liked how the cake doughnuts are moist too. The tres leches doughnut even had that same “soaked cake” as a normal tres leches cake. I would definitely recommend any of their cake doughnuts and I also tried their blueberry one, which was also delicious.

Friedmans

Friedman's Lunch in Chelsea Market

Short Rib Hash

Short Rib Sweet Potato Hash

By far, the best thing I ate all weekend was the short rib sweet potato hash at Freidman’s Lunch inside Chelsea Market. I’ve never seen sweet potato in a hash before but I think it’s the best idea ever. The short ribs were so tender and slightly sweet. I talked to the waiter and the cook spends the entire night before cooking the short rib. The combination of short rib and sweet potatoes went really well together and they were topped with two poached eggs with a little bit of hollandaise sauce. You have to order this dish if you go to Friedman’s Lunch.

Cheese  Crème Brûlée

Cheese Crème Brûlée at White and Church

Crepe Cake at Lady M

Crepe Cake at Lady M

I had dinner at White and Church, which was a cozy modern European restaurant in TriBeCa. The real star of the night was the cheese crème brûlée and it’s served with crostini bread slices. I’m sure it sounds weird, but the sweet and savory combination went together perfectly. It didn’t have the same smooth consistency as normal crème brûlée. I could ignore the more gritty texture because the pecorino cheese paired perfectly with burnt sugar topping. I’ve never had anything like it before, but I would gladly eat it again!

I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about the crepe cake at Lady M in the Upper East Side. My sister had recommended it (the woman may possibly be a bigger foodie than me) and a co-worker also separately recommended it. After an exhausting visit to the MoMA, I walked the 1.5 miles over to Lady M. I’m not going to lie. I almost gave up and turned around to go home, but I powered through for the sake of cake. I’m SO glad that I did. The crepe cake is layers of crepe with a thin layer of whipped cream in between each crepe. I liked how the “cake” was actually really light and who doesn’t love the buttery taste of a nice, well-made crepe?

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Jackie, stop eating

ATTACK!

That pretty much sums up my entire New York trip. My only plans were to eat, shop, see some friends and eat some more. I’m the type of person who plans her trips around food rather than monuments. I had a huge running list of places I wanted to eat at and made all my reservations ahead of time. This will have to be a multi-blog post series because there is no way I can fit my entire trip in one blog post.

It was a great 4th of July trip to New York and everything would have been perfect if I hadn’t lost my voice. The sad thing is that I didn’t even lose it because I partied too hard or because I drank or screamed too much. Nope, I arrived in NY on Saturday morning at 7am and my throat felt a little scratchy. As the day progressed, it started to feel swollen so I took some Tylenol. It bothered me all day and I woke up on Sunday and my voice was gone. My voice is still gone and it’s been a continuous cycle of Tylenol every 4 hours and staying hydrated. I’d like to stop sounding like a chain smoker now.

Within my first 3 hours of NY, my friend Emily and I hit Murray’s Bagels, Doughnut Plant and La Maison du Macaron, which were all in Chelsea. I had heard SO much about New York bagels and never had one before and didn’t know what the hype was. I understand now. My first New York bagel was an onion bagel with scallion cream cheese. It was untoasted (because I would have been blacklisted if I asked for it toasted) and it was delicious.

First NY Bagel!

Agnes feels me. She understands the importance of “fluffiness.”

What I appreciate the most was having my bagel seasoned on both sides. I think that’s what surprised me the most. Having that onion-y goodness of both sides of my plumped up bagel. At first, I was only going to eat the 1 side with the onions on top and throw away the other half (keep in mind that I knew I was getting a doughnut too). But SURPRISE, there were toppings on the other side too. I wish all bagels were like that. Nothing is more sad than when you eat the top half of a bagel with all its delicious toppings and then are left with the ugly, plain side of the bagel. The bagel was so fluffy and I just could not get over it. I had never seen such a fluffy bagel before and the outside still had a nice hardness to it too. Continue reading