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SF Chowhoud Visiting Vancouver

Vancouver Hounds,

Would appreciate your critiquing our preliminary agenda and thank you profusely in advance for reading my very long post below. We are a couple in our early and late 40s visiting Vancouver 5/24/09 to 5/31/09. This will be my husband's first trip to Canada. I did a 5-day Victoria Clipper tour package in March 2002 (Seattle-Victoria-Vancouver).

We're flying from San Francisco to Seattle, picking up our rental car at the airport, and driving straight to Vancouver. Our tentative itinerary is as follows:

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrive in Seattle 2pm, depart from airport 3pm, drive to Vancouver. Check into condo in Coal Harbor then later head out to Richmond Summer Night Market or Izakaya crawl (thanks for the great map, FMEID!) from Hapa, Kingyo, Gyoza King, and/or Guu's. Any thoughts about Night Market versus Izakaya? Izakaya looks nice since we can walk to dinner.

Day 2 (Monday): Explore downtown via foot and ferry (i.e, Aquabus/Granville Island ferries). Start with dimsum at Sun Sui Wah (recommended by Yimster who is a personal friend), Kirin or Floata, snacks throughout the day at Japadog, crepes, Irish Heather (husband is or Irish descent and loves his Guinness) and/or Salt House. What's the best place for sweet crepes? Bretagne?

Day 3 (Tuesday): Rent bikes and tour Stanley Park, explore Granville Island and continue exploring downtown. Food that day might include Go Fish (have read mixed reports about this place), Lobster Man (we're huge fans of shellfish of any kind) and anything else we see at Granville Island. We're huge salt fiends, so excited about shopping at BC. Thinking about special spot prawn dishes at C or Fuel for dinner that evening. What are your thoughts?

Day 4 (Wednesday): Day trip to Whistler or drive rental car to Richmond for dimsum outing, Grouse Mountain and a suspension bridge TBD. Both my husband and I are very familiar with the Lake Tahoe area in California. We've also traveled extensively up and down the California coast. Given these facts, do you think it's worth traveling to Whistler for a day trip even with the possible construction delays along the way? Is the area around Grouse Mountain too much like Tahoe? Dinner that evening will be a spot prawn crawl or maybe an omakase at Octopus' Garden. Is an omakase worth the splurge???

Day 5 (Thursday): Continue exploring downtown and take ferry to Lonsdale Quay to eat at Screaming Mimi's. Is King crab still in season? Dinner TBD. This may be our "splurge" dinner night.

Day 6 (Friday): Travel to Victoria via Seaplane, arrive Victoria Harbor 7:30am, eat breakfast in Victoria (have any recs?), travel via CVS Cruise Victoria to Butchart Garden, afternoon tea at garden, depart Butchart around 1:30 or 3pm for Victoria, rent mopeds and tour island or tour Victoria by foot, return to Vancouver by seaplane, helicopter or PCL ferry (will decide that afternoon). Other than Blue, what else should we try to hit in Victoria? Since we'll probably return to Vancouver fairly late on Friday, dinner may be another izakaya crawl.

Day 7 (Saturday): Local Zipline, kayak or whale-watching outing. Dinner TBD.

Day 8 (Sunday): Depart for Seattle at time TBD. Returning flight to San Francisco departs 8:35pm.

We love any kind of seafood (especially shell fish), XLBs and open to almost any kind of food but would prefer to eat what we can't get easily at home. Husband detests Indian or anything resembling that flavor profile and isn't a huge fan of Thai/Vietnamese, although he'll tolerate them (we both like Champa Garden in Oakland).

We'd like to do one or two big "blow-out" meals, but we generally prefer good food/atmosphere to loud trendy "scenes." We appreciate good value which doesn't necessarily equate to "cheap eats," but if it's cheap and good eats, all the better! Since we're not familiar with the area and have heard horror stories about local traffic, we'd prefer to walk or take public transit unless it's really worth the drive.

Yimster suggested the King Crab at Empire Seafood, xlb's and hand pulled noodles at Shaghai River dimsum at Fisherman's Terrace in Richmond, hand pulled noodles at Peaceful Restaurant and crab at Sun Sui Wah (husband and I love the S&P crab at R&G Lounge in S/F).

I'm trying to balance my desire for a totally "foodie" vacation with my husband's desire for a nice, relaxing vacation. Much like Greywolf's recent vacation to the SF Bay Area which I followed with great interest, I have a huge list of food items/restaurants I'd like to try and feel quite overwhelmed with the available choices. Any tips/suggestions/comments regarding our proposed itinerary would be greatly appreciated as we literally booked our trip less than 4 days ago.

Thanks so much for your help!

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  1. That is quite an itinerary! I'm on the Victoria side, so I'll just speak to Friday. You're set for breaky arriving that early in Victoria - Mo:Le, Willie's Bakery are all walking distance from the dock the plane pulls into (you're also about 100ft from Red Fish Blue Fish, which is Victoria's version of Go Fish - they close around 7pm tho - so timing may not work before you head back to Vancouver). Travel note - seaplane/helicopter are harbour to harbour - PCL is via the ferry - 45min drive to ferry, 1.5hr crossing and hour drive into Vancouver.

    2 Replies
    1. re: cassie

      Thanks for the Victoria suggestions, Cassie! We wanted as much time as possible to explore Victoria which is why we're traveling via sea plane. On our return, we decided to play it by ear. If we feel up to a 3-4 hour trip by ferry and bus, we'll take the cheaper option home. Otherwise, we'll try to fly stand-by if we can get a good deal on our return flight to Vancouver.

      1. re: cassie

        Cassie, I loved the menu at Mole. Thanks so much for the rec!

      2. Some quickies:
        Day 1 - Do the izakaya crawl instead of the Night Market. Include Zakkushi in that list.
        Day 2 - Looks good (though I would pass on Floata, personally).
        Day 3 - Make sure to checkout Oyama's stall as well for some very good local salumi.
        Day 4 - I really like the drive to Whistler despite construction. I haven't been up in ages (last summer was the last time). Why not stay and have an early dinner there?
        Day 5 - King Crab is not in season anymore. Splurge night - what cuisine are you thinking?
        Day 6 - The Victoria hounds will have you covered. I'll leave it to their capable hands to provide you with recs.
        Day 7 - Kayaking from Granville Island is quite nice. As is renting a boat out in West Van (by the ferries).

        Phew!

        32 Replies
        1. re: fmed

          Fmed, thanks so plodding through my very lengthy post. Your advice is much appreciated! Still not sure if and when we'll do our splurge night as our schedule looks fairly packed at this point . What are you thoughts on my revised itinerary below?

          Day 1 - Izakya crawl through Kingyo, both Guu's and Gyoza King. Hapa, Kingyo and Zakkushi don't appear to be walking distance from our condo in Coal Harbour. I don't think my husband will have the energy nor desire to drive to dinner after traveling all day (we're leaving our house at 8am). Especially since he isn't a die hard foodie like moi!

          Day 2 - Breakfast at La Bretagne or dimsum at Kirin Mandarin (will let hubby choose) and lunch at Yew. But will we be okay at Yew in jeans? We'll be in very casual clothes and shoes since we plan to spend the day exploring the city. Hit lounge menu at Zin between 4 to 6pm. Snacks, if needed, to include Japadog and/or crepes.

          Day 3 - Could use breafast rec near Stanley Park where we'll probably rent bikes. Lunch at Go Fish or Lobster Man. Maybe hit Finch's if we head back downtown. Will be on lookout to get coffee at 49th Parallel, although I can't see us walking all the way down 4th. C appears to be walkable, but Fuel would require a car or a 30 minute transit ride. How's the parking around Fuel? Benefit of Fuel is that it would allow me to try the coffee at 49th.

          Day 4 - Pack picnic from items purchased on Day 3 on GI (i.e., Oyama, Terra, BC, etc). Peaceful for dinner on way home from Whistler or Grouse Mountain and suspension bridge. FMED, thanks for posting the great photos of Peaceful. Your album totally sold me on the restaurant and I saw a ton of dishes I'd like to try including XLB, pan fried pork dumplings, beef or potato roll, shan xi noodle and thousand chili chicken. Good thing our condo has a fridge for our leftovers!

          Day 5 - Breakfast at Cafe Medina (I know I want waffles with multiple toppings, but can I get the merguez sandwich at breakfast?), lunch at Scraming Mimi's (is it worth the haul to Lonsdale Quay or is SM too similar to Lobster Man which is a lot closer to our condo?), 6pm cellar event at Tasting Room, hit Irish Heather before heading home. Any thoughts on the cellar event at Salt on 5/28? Is it worth the cost or should we just drop by for a meal/snacks one day during the week?

          Day 6 - Breakfast at Mo:le or Willie's (haven't had time to research Victoria yet), afternoon tea @ Butchart garden, dinner may be leftovers that we're bound to have by then or something along the way home. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll be back in time to hit Fuel's fried chicken Friday and we've had Thomas Keller's fried chicken at Ad Hoc in Yountville.

          Day 7 - Husband would love to see whales, kayak far enough to see lots of wildlife (he's an amateur photographer), or try a zipline since he's never been (I've been once in Costa Rica). Thought about the spot prawn boil at Fuel for dinner that night if our schedule allows (thanks for the Metro article link, Greyelf) or maybe Blue Water Cafe?

          Day 8 - Dim sum at Sun Sui Wah or Chen's on drive back to Seattle. Which would you recommend? We're not into ofal or the really exotic stuff, just want tasty basics like har gow, dumplings, XLB, S&P squid, sticky rice, fried tarro, warm dofu, etc.

          Thanks so much for your help! Would also love to hear from other CHs if you have any advice/comments you care to share.

          1. re: cvhound

            Hmmm, just read on Yelp that La Bretagne is closed on Mondays? Is that correct? Would Finch's be a good alternative? What's a good place to hit for crepes later that day?

            1. re: cvhound

              Day 1 - Coal Harbour and the izakaya zone are not that far from each other. I can see how it might look like a distance if you are looking at a map of the city though. It's walkable...do wear appropriate footwear though.

              Day 2 - you'll be fine in jeans at the Yew (and pretty much anywhere in this town.)

              Day 3 - The parking around Fuel can be problematic - you can find parking in the neighbourhood, but you may need to circle around.

              Day 4 - Sad to say I haven't to Peaceful in months now. I'm not in that area that often anymore.

              Day 5 - "The Wines Of Parés Baltà" at Salt for $36 you get flights and some artisanal cheese and charcuterie...and 2 reds and a white - what you you waiting for?! :-)

              Day 7 - Personally, I'd be more interested in the Spot Prawn Boil at Fuel if my family didn't already do a twice weekly spot prawn meal here at home while it is in season. Fuel is a good destination to experience Vancouver style casual fine dining.

              Day 8 - Dim Sum at Sun Sui Wah....or maybe Shanghai River. Shanghai River will have great XLB. (It also looks nicer inside that SSW)

              1. re: fmed

                I read about Shanghai River in your comprehensive XLB post, so thanks for the suggestion. I struggled between SSW and Chen's since it rated highly in your survey. What do you think about SR versus Chen's?

                You sold me on the event at Salt. Hopefully, we'll be able to secure tickets!

                What are your thougths on Chambar, C, Fuel and the various tasting menus? We've done the tasting menu at Manresa in Los Gatos (1 star Michelin) as well as a couple of other restaurants in the Bay Area, so not sure it's worth the added expense since this vacation will definitely be pricey. Plus, as you can see, we'll already be doing tons of eating!!!

                BTW, in case you think this schedule is too frenetic, it's b/c I'm trying to squeeze a ton in before my surgery which is scheduled 6/3. I'm having major abdominal surgery and my expected recovery time is 6-8 weeks.

                1. re: cvhound

                  Chen's is a hole in the wall - and I personally gravitate to that kind of a place. That said....SR's food is often very well exectuted.

                  Fuel is a personal favourite of mine. Chambar is great if I plan to make a whole evening out of it (eg...drinking Belgian Beer and cocktails). On Tasting Menus...I'm not a big fan of them generally....but I think they provide a great survey for someone who isn't a local and may not get the chance to eat here in a long while.

                  Abdominal surgery! Eat well! It will help with your recovery.

                  1. re: fmed

                    Yimster recommended the handpulled noodles and XLB at SR, so will add that as a possible stop on our way back to the border. I'm not a huge fan of tasting menus either, unless they're done particularly well with equally good wine pairings. My fear is that after so much eating in a relatively short period of time, I won't be able to really enjoy a full-blown tasting menu so why bother?

                    Regarding your last comment, we visited my parents in Southern California last weekend (3 straight days of non-stop eating) and my mother pretty much said the same thing the entire time!

                    1. re: fmed

                      Between Chen's and SR, I would personally pick SR. Chen's has been a bit hit and miss the last few times we went.

                      1. re: twinkienic

                        I hadn't been to either SR or Chen's until tonight -- we had to pick up our new car (!) which gave me an excuse to drag the SO to another new resto. We picked Chen's in a coin toss and it was a hit this evening. I will post on it separately but suffice to say that deep fried tofu with peppercorn and rock salt is a very good thing. So is snow cabbage, which our excellent server was most concerned about us ordering. She also steered us toward the XLB which have yet another name here. If SR is better, then I must hie me there!

                  2. re: fmed

                    Fmed, I spoke to Brooke at Salt this morning about the wine maker's event at Salt on 5/28. As of this morning, she said she only had a few seats left after we purchased our tickets.

                    They're expecting 40-50 people and each attendee will receive his/her own plate of cheese and own plate of charcuterie. She said they'll also have some other items they'll pass along the table and there will be plenty of great bread.

                    It sounds like a great way to spend some time talking with locals and my extroverted hubby has never met a stranger, so I think this will be perfect for us! Plus, we can hit Irish Heather afterwards, so he can get his favorite Guiness.

                    1. re: fmed

                      In case you haven't already heard, I noticed Peaceful is offering 10 to 15% off coupons with a minimum purchase requirement on their website.

                    2. re: cvhound

                      Grayelf (or Greywolf as you've dubbed me!) here, with a quick note to check closing times for 49th Parallel if you are trying to line up a visit there with dinner at Fuel -- methinks 'twill not be open late enough for you. Luckily there are other places to sample this bewitching brew (see this thread for some leads and info on 49thP: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/534985 and FYI Elysian Room has opened another outpost on Broadway very near Peaceful Noodles if you make it there for lunch which I hope you will find room on your itinerary to consider doing)

                      1. re: cvhound

                        fmed suggested eating in Whistler which seems like a good plan if you go. If you opt for the suspension bridge, check out the one in Lynn Canyon -- free and way more natural and appealing for your SO based on your comments. And it occurs to me that if you're already on the North Shore it's a nice drive to Deep Cove for more west coast scenery, hiking, kayaking and warm Honey doughnuts :-).

                        -----
                        Honey Doughnuts & Goodies
                        4373 Gallant Ave, North Vancouver, BC V7G1L1, CA

                        1. re: grayelf

                          Grayelf, so sorry about the mistake! This is what happens when one multi-tasks while working a full-time job and managing on less than six hours of sleep per day for the past week! Tomorrow is my last day in the office and I'm not scheduled to return until late July/early August. Meanwhile, we planned this trip at the very last minute and hubby isn't much of a planner which leaves me with all the "heavy lifting" for our trip.

                          Thank you very much for your suggestions. Hopefully, I'll have some time tomorrow to do more research. We enjoy Four Barrels coffee and unlike most people in the Bay Area, we're not Blue Bottle devotees. I've already printed Peter L's coffee shop list on Chow (if I've given the incorrect attribution for this list, please accept my apologies!).

                          Still not sure about a Whistler outing. Hubby would prefer we build in plenty of unplanned "free time," so we can go with the flow and just take things by ear. Anal-retentive me, however, hates going anywhere without reading tons of reviews and researching the menu well in advance, lol. Hate to waste valuable "stomach space" on non chow-worthy food, especially when traveling!

                          I posted on Tripadvisor and several people there mentioned Lynn Canyon as an alterative to Capilano, so may have to check that out, maybe after a visit to Grouse mountain. Thanks again!

                          1. re: cvhound

                            You're welcome, and I think we are twins separated at birth. You just described my approach precisely (and my SO's for that matter). No worries about the name -- I kinda like it :-). If you are taking peter_v's advice on coffee you are in good hands. As you know from reading my posts as you mentioned you did on your home board, I loves me some Hayes Valley Blue Bottle, and I found Four Barrel a bit citrusy for my taste, so you may not love 49thP as much as I do but I'd say it's worth a try if you can. I also like Intelligentsia and recently discovered that Coco et Olive way out on West Broadway by Transylvania Breads pours a good one, as I believe does Wicked (someone will correct me I hope -- even if I'm wrong either Wicked would be worth a look if you happen by). C et O also have ridiculously tasty grilled baguette sarnies and a killer croissant and chocolate bread pudding if you find yourself heading way out west around lunchtime...

                            -----
                            Wicked Cafe
                            1399 W 7th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6H, CA

                            Wicked Cafe
                            861 Hornby St, Vancouver, BC V6Z, CA

                            Coco ET Olive Fine Foods
                            3476W Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6R2B3, CA

                            1. re: grayelf

                              I completely agree that Lynn Valley is far better than Capilano... and free!

                              If venturing up to North Van for the bridges, make a stop at Thomas Haas for pastries and chocolates. My favourite is the stilton cheesecake.

                              ---
                              Oops! Just noticed TH has already been rec'd further down. Just consider this added support :)

                              Re: Kayaking... you might consider seeing if you have time for kayaking from Bowen Island. It's a short ferry trip from West Vancouver. Last time I went we saw a bunch of sea lions up close.

                              -----
                              Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie
                              998 Harbourside Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7P, CA

                      2. re: fmed

                        Sounds like a fantastic trip!

                        I second many of <b>fmed</b>'s suggestions, especially on passing over Night Market for Izakaya. Night Market is only worth going for the food, and the last few years the area has become uncomfortably crowded and dirty (this is coming from someone who grew up in Asia). The local izakaya scene is a must! Maybe not on your first day if you're tired, but I guarantee no more than a 15 minute walk if you're coming from Coal Harbor.

                        49th Parallel is overrated, IMHO. Not worth it unless you're doing the Kits area. You can find much better coffee (and food) over on Main St. If you do get near the area, Patisserie Lebeau makes fabulous waffles if you don't manage to get your fill at cafe Medina.

                        Kirin over Floata. Always. Thumbs up on Irish Heather. The kayaking will be excellent, though I don't think you'll be able to see any whales around Vancouver. You'd have to go over to the island or up near Sechelt, Powell River.

                        1. re: kidpresentable

                          <<Day 7 - Husband would love to see whales, kayak far enough to see lots of wildlife (he's an amateur photographer), or try a zipline since he's never been>>

                          It's a little naive to think a person can paddle that far in a half day-you'll be in a city of a million people and most wildlife has long been scared off or eaten.

                          Take a WW tour from Vancouver or Steveston Village, rent kayak from ecomarine for an evening paddle and come back some time in the future and see the real wilderness.

                          1. re: Sam Salmon

                            Sam, your post about wildlife scared off or eaten made me totally LOL and I nearly spit out my drink...!

                            In case it makes a difference, we would travel via ferry to Vancouver Island and go on a day trip kayak or whale watching outing. I know we couldn't paddle far enough in one day to see whales, but I'm assuming the wildlife watching would be better if we joined a kayak outfitter there versus renting kayaks near Granville Island, no?

                            1. re: cvhound

                              Orcas notwithstanding there's no more 'wildlife' near Victoria than Vancouver or Nanaimo (same as the bars) you need to travel to the Outside-WCVI or North of Campbell River to see what you're after and neither place is a day trip.

                              Go to the Trip Advisor BC Forum and do a search you'll find all kinds of info on options, remember the Ferry trip is 90+ minutes each way on a good day plus lining up in advance plus avoiding the toxic slop served to the masses onboard-it's a trying journey.

                              FWIW-I see Seals, Great Blue Herons and Eagles around English Bay daily-in the Gulf Islands you might see Sea Lion or Porpoise.

                              None of the above are edible BTW.

                              1. re: Sam Salmon

                                Okay, Sam, you've convinced me! I think we'll save the trek to Vancouver Island for another trek as there's no way we want to waste that much time traveling on our last day in Vancouver. Especially since we may have a long day with the border crossing the very next day. Guess we'll just play it by ear and maybe do a kayak outing closer to home. Thanks so much for the great advice. I just love the community that is CH!!!

                          2. re: kidpresentable

                            Good call on Medina, where you can have some superb 49th Parallel coffee too (all their menus are online if you want to check on the merguez). Their tortilla is almost as good as the fried eggs with short ribs. And if you can go during the week, no wait for a table for breaky! One thing to keep in mind: their waffles are micro-sized, so you could maybe treat them like dessert after one of their brilliant savoury dishes.

                            1. re: grayelf

                              Grayelf, I reviewed the menu for Medina earlier today and saw the merguez sandwich on the lunch menu only and wondered if they'd allow you to order it at breakfast. At Maverick, one of our favorite brunch spots in S/F, they'll let you order non-breakfast items including fried chicken if they have it in the kitchen.

                            2. re: kidpresentable

                              Will remove Floata from our list. Thanks for the reminder about Patisserie Lebeau. I checked the location on Google and it didn't look like a walkable distance (we're fine with 15-20 minute walks) from Coal Harbour. :(

                              1. re: cvhound

                                I go to Patisserie Lebeau pretty much every Saturday and it is definitely not walkable from Coal Harbour in a reasonable amount of time. It would be like walking from the Ferry Plaza to the Marina minus the hills :-). There is a great cheese store next to PLB that you might have read about -- Les Amis du Fromage, and also a pretty nifty cookbook store called Barbara Jo's that makes it a bit of a destination for food weasels but unless you fold it in pre-Fuel if you go it might be a bit out of the way. It is not too far from the original Elysian, and very close to Granville Island and even closer to Go Fish, however, which might factor in -- tacones for early lunch (phone your order in to avoid the egregious lineups) followed by waffles for dessert?? Do be aware that like most good bakeries PLB runs out of things and closes by 4. I'd try to go before lunch for best selection if you do. And it is really more of a takeout place with only 1 table and a counter in the window with 6 or so stools.

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Grayelf, did you make your way to Sausalito to eat at Fish? Go Fish sounds a lot like Fish, so I'm thinking Lobster Man or grazing at the GI Market might be a better choice. Love love love cheese (Cowgirl Creamery in the SF Ferry Bldg and Andante cheese at the Saturday market are two favorites) so thanks for the tip about les Amis. How does PLB compare to Terra? Our favorite bread in the entire S/F area is Tartine's country bread (we travel an hour each way for that bread!), with Acme's pain epi a distant second.

                                  1. re: cvhound

                                    Sadly, I have never been to Sausalito so no Fish for me (yet!). I do like Go Fish very much because of its setting and super fresh ingredients but I'd say check out GIsle first and then decide -- if you've already found enough to make you happy there so be it :-). I've never eaten anything at Lobster Man -- it is a neat place but it is really just a fish/seafood store (see pic here http://www.lobsterman.com/about-us) so once they've boiled up your sea creature you will have to take it to a bench elsewhere to consume along with whatever else you might purchase to go with in the market proper. Also there don't tend to be as many (any?) freebies at GIsle as there are at say Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, so if by grazing you mean sampling you may be disappointed. There is of course masses of stuff for sale which I'm sure you've read about in other threads.

                                    Les Amis will make you happy if you like CG and Andante. If you happen to get up to Cambie and 16th-ish, check out Mount Pleasant Cheese www.mountpleasantcheese.com for an all-Canadian cheese experience.

                                    I love Terra's baguettes partly because they freeze so well (mmm, emergency baguette) but I am not a big fan of their sweet stuff. PLB has a lovely craquelin (round sweet bread with those crazy sugar crystals on top) and raisin brioche, as well as really outstanding sweet pastries such as fruit danishes, and what has been noted variously as one of the best plain croissants in town (which maybe isn't saying much as we're not a town known for croissants). And of course PLB has all the waffles (so many flavours including my favourites which are actually savoury). But now that has reminded me of another thing that is worth driving very far for IMO: Thomas Haas' twice-baked almond croissant. They often have them at 49thP on 4th and of course at his bakery/cafe in North Van but they sell out at both places. The latter is a bit of a schlep to otherwise nowheresville (next to an auto mall of all things) but if you make it there it's like an oasis of foodie pleasure. Their grilled sarnies are top notch, you can take some sparkle cookies and hand-made chocolates away (T Haas chocs for gifting, oh yeah) and of course you will want to sample a few of the baked goodies for yourself. You would need to take your car there but maybe you could add this to your potential North Van day before the canyon and Deep Cove :-) :-) :-). I hear he is opening a new place on Broadway within walking distance of my house which is going to be disastrous calorie-wise...

                                    -----
                                    Thomas Haas Fine Chocolates & Patisserie
                                    998 Harbourside Dr, North Vancouver, BC V7P, CA

                                    Mount Pleasant Cheese
                                    3432 Cambie St, Vancouver, BC V5Z, CA

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      I second the visit to Thomas Haas - if you're going to drive up to Grouse & the bridge - make your route pass his shop. Chances are you'll see Thomas there. He was handing out warm sparkle cookies when I was there last. You can stock up on flaky baked goods for noshing on the bridge (I'm suddenly craving a croissant).
                                      Back on the Victoria breakfast - go for Mo:Le. Willie's is great too-but Mo:Le stretches it a little bit more. No specials on the weekdays, but the banana pancakes are fab as is the benny and the chinese sausage scramble.

                                      1. re: cassie

                                        Cassie, thanks so much for the specific recs at Mo:Le. Everything sounded yummy on their menu so it's good to know which items they do particularly well. Thanks again!

                                      2. re: grayelf

                                        Grayelf, thanks so much for all the additional recommendations! I only wish we were staying longer, so I can try everything! I definitely see another trip in the not too distant future, lol.

                                        Any thoughts on a good breakfast stop between Coal Harbor and Stanley Park? We're planning to rent bikes to tour the park. Otherwise, we may head to GI first and eat breakfast there before heading to the park.

                                        1. re: cvhound

                                          I've been wracking my tiny elf brain to think of somewhere for breaky nearish your hotel and I'm not coming up with anything close. I read that Acacia has good breakfasts (Sam?) but it's up Denman, albeit near a different part of Stanley Park. Here's a rave from last year (this is kind of a neat blog too if you're into breakfasts -- she covers a few in SF as well)http://breakfastinvancouver.blogspot....

                                          I don't know where you were planning on renting your bikes but there's a few places near Denman and Georgia -- maybe you could ride up to Acacia and into the park from the English Bay side?

                                          -----
                                          Acacia Bistro & Import Ltd
                                          1103 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G, CA

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            Greyelf, thanks for all the great suggestions, as well as the feedback on Chen's. My head is about to explode from all the info I'm trying to review, process and store!!!

                                            I hope to post my revised schedule for one final review by the Vancouver chowhounds on Friday/Saturday. We may try to fit in a trip to Whistler after all, to ride the peak to peak gondola and try the ziplines since hubby has never been.

                                            We leave for Seattle Sunday morning, but we'll have our laptops with us and I'll probably surf during our drive from Seattle to Vancouver. We also have internet at our condo.

                                            1. re: cvhound

                                              One more tidbit to add to your brain explosion: Chen's is cash only...

                            3. Just so you know cvhound, Abbotsford is not really on the way from Seattle to Vancouver unless you take the Sumas Border Crossing- it's about an hour from the regular crossing in Blaine. You might save some time driving all the way out there and going through a quieter border but then you'll have to be driving in heavy Sunday traffic to get back to Vancouver - you're probably better off to do Richmond.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: anewton

                                Very good practical info, especially for visitors not familiar with your area. Thank you so much for sharing that tidbit!

                                1. re: anewton

                                  Actually the wait at the Sumas crossing is often as much as 2 hours less and Abbotsford is about a 40 minute drive from Vancouver.

                                  1. re: foodiegirl41

                                    Okay, will try to get hubby started on reviewing maps in preparation for our drive this weekend. He's much better at reading maps than I am, but neither of us were born with a very good sense of direction, lol. In any case, thank you for this info!

                                2. Chen's is on my list for my next visit. Sorry I did not get back to you on a few places but only got my laptop this afternoon.

                                  So did not have more eatery for you.