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May 22, 2009 07:50 PM

Revised Itinerary for SF Chowhound's Visit 5/24-5/31

Hello Vancouver Chowhounds,

Thank you so much for all the help you've provided to date! It is greatly appreciated!!!

I present for your review and comment our revised itinerary below. While my original post held lots and lots of great, useful information, I thought a new post might be easier to read. However, I've included a link to my original request below, so that others my benefit from all the great advice I've received to date.

Day 1: Izakaya crawl starting at Kingyo to both Guu's and/or Gyoza King, as those appear to be the most walkable from our Coal Harbour condo at 1211 Melville. I considered starting at Guu's then proceeding to Hapa and Kingyo, but that looked like a longer walk after traveling by plane and car all day. Any ordering advice? Will we be okay without reservations on a Sunday night? Our flight lands in Seattle at 2pm, but I have no idea how long it will take to cross the border on a holiday weekend.

Day 2: Breakfast at Finch's, lunch at Yew, Zin's $2 lounge menu (available 4 to 7pm) for early dinner. Is Yew a good choice or is there a better option while exploring downtown?

Day 3: Depart for Whistler around 7am with brief stops at Shannon Falls, Lookout and Brandywine Falls. Take Whistler gondola to mountain top before 3-hour zipline outing (Ziptrek's Eagle tour). Unfortunately, P2P gondola is closed until 6/9.

May skip breakfast for brunch at Whistler village or eat at mountain top. Dinner at Whistler village or considering bar menu at Chambar (loved the interesting cocktails, especially their signature drink with roasted fig and blue cheese!).

Day 4: Breakfast of waffles and (hopefully) the merguez sandwich from their lunch menu at Cafe Medina, lunch at Lobster Man and whatever else looks yummy at Granville Island Market, 6pm Spanish winemaker's event at Salt, Irish Heather for night cap.

Day 5: Breakfast on way to Stanley Park to visit Aquarium, picnic lunch from items purchased at BC, Oyama, Terra, etc., rent bikes after Aquarium, dinner at Peaceful or Kirin. Peaceful, "must order" items - beef or potato roll, thousand chili chicken, shan xi noodles, XLB and pan fried pork dumplings. Live seafood items at Kirin.

Day 6: 6:50am sea plane to Victoria, return by ferry/helicopter/sea plane. Breakfast at Mo:le, 9:30 CVS bus tour to Butchart Garden, reserved noon seating for afternoon tea at Butchart Garden, dinner may be Blue in Victoria or another izakaya crawl if not too exhausted after return trip to Vancouver.

Day 7: Seabus to Lonsdale Quay for early lunch at Screaming Mimi's, bus to Lynn Canyon suspension bridge, return to downtown Vancouver. Dinner possibilities include Bluewater Cafe, C for spot prawn specials or tasting menu and Fuel's spot prawn boil at bar.

Day 8: Dim sum at Shanghai River on drive back to Seattle.

What say you Vancouver hounds? Thank you again for your generous help. I promise to return the favor when you travel down south!

Link to my original post:

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  1. Looks good overall.

    On izakaya crawling - here is my suggested strategy to avoid the lineups (it might be busy on a long weekend Sunday) - book a table at Kingyo for 8pm (Hapa and Kingyo take res'ns - I don't think the Guus do). Start at one of the Guus around 7 then head down to Kingyo for your 8pm res. Then at around 9 head off to Gyoza King (or whereever)...stay for a few more bites/drinks then to the other Guu (or Zakkushi). Check out Hapa if you can fit it in.

    1 Reply
    1. re: fmed

      I think Guu with Garlic (the one on Robson closer to Denman) does take reservations.

      I think walking to the other Guu might be a bit far (whereas Guu with Garlic, Kingyo and Hapa are fairly close together). I would recommend substituting the 2nd Guu with Zakkushi.

      Zakkushi Japanese Restaurant
      823 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L7, CA

    2. Looks good. My only suggestions would be...

      Day 2: Yew is very nice but a little over the top if you ask me. I'd go to a more casual spot for lunch like So.Cial or Salt (those are not right downtown though. They are in Gastown).

      Day 4: As far as I know, Lobster Man is not a restaurant of any kind. They will cook a lobster for you though. So you could take it and eat it somewhere...would be messy though! You could always hit Go Fish for some killer fish and chips on Granville Island.

      1 Reply
      1. re: waylman

        Great action-packed itinerary - I would be interested to hear what you thought of it all (if you'd have time to report). So my only 2 cents is that if you're set on lobster or crab from Lobster Man (where I don't think they'll do much more than boil it up), pick up some sides/condiments at Finest at Sea next door:
        or head over to Go Fish as suggested above.
        If you take a BC ferry back from Victoria pack a picnic.

      2. I think the food at Kingyo and Hapa are far superior to Guu or Gyoza King. The latter two are much more casual and inexpensive, but the cooking is more haphazard and the flavors klunky. I've been to many izakaya in the US as good or better than either of the latter two. The former two are among the best I've visited. Grab a cab if you're too tired.


        1 Reply
        1. re: extramsg

          I agree with your assessment extramasg. The Guu's do have a very interesting and frenetic atmosphere especially later in the evening when the Japanese ESL students come out to play. Hapa and Kingyo have a more laid-back scene. But if it the food you are after, Kingyo and Hapa are more refined choices.

          (I'm a big fan of your site, BTW...and the Portland food scene).

        2. While Yew is a 100% solid choice, it's by no means something to go out of your way for. I would go to Uva Wine Bar for lunch instead (it's really more of a Espresso Bar in the day). It's open until 2 PM in the day and has a very good lunch menu and great coffee (49th Parallel)

          Moda Hotel
          900 Seymour St, Vancouver, BC V6B, CA

          1 Reply
          1. re: Cancuk

            I'm sorry I don't have time to reread the orig thread but one thought, esp for your North Van day, is to take your car if you have it. I recall you want to avoid stress of driving and parking but honestly busing out to North Van can be a pain. If you're dead keen to do the Seabus thing, you can pay $2.50 to go there and back. Compared to driving and parking in SF, Vancouver and environs are a breeze. Just a thought to facilitate more Chowing possibilities eg Thomas Haas and Honey Doughnuts :-). The worst area for parking that you have on your whole itinerary is the izakaya area (Denman/Robson) and even that is not as bad as most SF food areas. We always manage to find street metered parking and you can pay by phone now.

          2. Thanks everyone for the additional input on our revised itinerary. If you can't tell, I am so excited about this trip!!! I'll do my best to report back throughout our trip, so I can share our daily experiences with you. Also, I'll be logging on during our drive from Seattle to Vancouver, so please continue to add your comments to this post.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cvhound

              Hi cvhound and SO....hopefully you are on the road and the Seattle traffic isn't too bad...I should have chimed in earlier as I make the trip from Seatac to Vancouver a lot and have some favorites stops along the way and lot's of experience with Seattle traffic and the Border crossing at Blaine. I'm hoping for you that because it is a US holiday weekend that the traffic through Seattle won't be too bad.....but if it is don't be tempted to try any shortcuts; there really aren't any, just stay in the commuter lane and enjoy the views.....If you have internet access while you are driving go to this border crossing site to monitor the projected wait times...they are generally pretty accurate.


              Since it is not a Canadian holiday the Sunday traffic back into Canada could be pretty bad especially if you are getting there around 5:00 pm. We usually opt to stop in Bellingham for tapas or an early dinner rather than wait in a long lineup ....but I know you are hoping to get into Vancouver in time for an izakaya crawl so you might just want to tuff it out and go straight through. The other option you might consider if you know the border crossing is really long is to either exit off of I-5 at Burlington onto route 9, OR off of I-5 from Bellingham onto rt 539 (Meridian rd) which will take you across the border at a the much less crowded crossings at Sumas or Lynden respectively, and put you onto the Trans Canada Hwy 1 which you would stay on until you exit on to East 1st avenue,(which I am pretty sure is exit #27) then over the Georgia viaduct on to Georgia street which will take you right to Coal Harbour.

              I think the more fun option tho would be to begin your foodie vacation in Fairhaven /Old Bellingham (which is a really great area on the South side of Bellingham ) and go to Flats Tapas Bar a wonderful little place that is open on Sunday. ... ...the other place not to be missed in Bellingham is Mallards for incredible homemade ice cream...(blackpepper vanilla and Lavender are two of my favorites...) this might actually be a good stop on your way back to Seattle after your Shanghai River Dim Sum,... you should be just about ready for a little sweet treat about then if there's time.


              Getting to the border between 8:00 and 9:00 should be much less of a wait...and still get you into Vancouver in time for one of the Izakayas .

              Some tips for the border .... the Douglas crossing has more lanes open than the Truck crossing and if you go that way stay to the left when the lanes start splitting. But the Truck crossing is often faster will see video signs that advise you about the wait times before you get to Blaine and again they are usually right on.

              There is one more option I would like to suggest tho especially if the day is clear and sunny. Get off I-5 just north of Mount Vernon and take Chuckanut Drive (Route 11) north to Bellingham. This is an incredibly beautiful scenic drive and there are three great restaurants along the way, it is a slower route, the road is curvy and you will want to stop and take in the views but it should get you to the border at a less busy time....

              Rhododendron Cafe: charming and delicious no ocean view tho, it will be first; not long after you exit I- 5

              Chuckanut Manor will be next, oceanside, classic place

              The Oyster Bar: Amazing view and excellent seafood.

              I hope this is more helpful than confusing I have thrown a lot of info at you..but I wanted you to have some options to a long boring wait at the border and Bellingham really is a great little city!

              I hope you have a delicious trip.

              1. re: balini

                Balini, Thank you again for posting all of your great insider trips! It's great to have all this helpful information handy, in case we hit major delays approaching the border.

                After some glitches with our rental car (we had to turn back a few miles from the airport to swap out our car!), we're just now getting started on our drive to Canada, about 45 minutes later than we'd planned. I have my laptop up and running. So far, the back up at Peace Arch is 10 minutes. I think our GPS is saying we'll hit the border crossing around 6pm. We'll continue to monitor the border corssing during our drive north.

                We just got a call while in the car regarding our condo. One of the bathrooms in the condo isn't working, so they're putting us up at the Westin Bayshore for the night and moving us into our condo tomorrow afternoon. First our car, then our condo. Hopefully, the rest of our vacation will be smoother from here on out!!!

                1. re: cvhound

                  I'm loving this play-by-play. It's almost like Twitter.

                  1. re: fmed

                    cvhound, if you have email access drop me a line at the email in my profile if you have time....