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May 27, 2009 11:31 PM

Day 3: Medina, Screaming Mimi’s, Salmon Shop, Peaceful, Teahouse in Stanley Park

Got a late start again and arrived at Medina around 11:15am where Grayelf had been waiting on us for a while. We would have been on time, but we had difficulty spotting Medina and drove right past it. The signage for both Medina and Chambar are almost nonexistent, so for those who have never been, both restaurants are across the street from a brick multi-floor parking structure.

We parked our car at a meter down the street, but I think parking is available in the garage across the street for $1 per half hour or down the street at Costco’s parking garage (entrance on Beatty) for $2 for 2 hours.

We were surprised to find Medina totally packed that late on a Tuesday morning. Thankfully, we had much to discuss with Grayelf because we didn’t get seated until almost 11:45am. Medina serves breakfast until noon and switches to their lunch menu precisely at noon.

Hubby and Grayelf ordered the tagine (2 poached eggs in a spicy tomato stew with roasted red pepper, merguez sausage, Moroccan olives and cilantro served with fried pita bread) and cassoulet (2 fried eggs with baked beans, duck sausage, bacon and andouille sausage served with grilled foccacia) from Medina’s breakfast menu.

I ordered a waffle with two toppings - lavender milk chocolate and fig orange marmalade. I also ordered the les merguez (flat bread wrapped roasted merguez sausage, baba ganoush, haloumi cheese and grilled eggplant served with tabbouleh and tomato cucumber salad) from their lunch menu.

Our kind waiter warned me the kitchen wouldn’t start my dish until noon. That allowed me time to enjoy my half of the waffle while hubby and Grayelf enjoyed their breakfast dishes. Total after tax and tip for two Americanos, one small lavender mocha and one large lavender mocha plus our breakfast dishes was $75.

Suffice to say, hubby and I contemplated returning to Medina for breakfast the very next day! Hubby’s tagine wasn’t the most attractive dish, but he wolfed it down. His only quibble was that his dish included exactly two extremely delicious olives. I ate one of those two olives and totally agree! I tasted a small bite of Grayelf’s cassoulet and thought it tasted too strongly of vinegar. I also thought hubby’s fried pita bread looked identical to the grilled foccacia that came with Grayelf’s cassoulet.

I loved the tabbouleh and tomato cucumber salad that came with my wrap and thought they totally made the dish. However, I wish my haloumi had been cooked longer, so it was crispier on the outside and more “melty” inside. Also, the baba ganoush inside my wrap was almost nonexistent. The merguez was also fattier than what I’ve had in the past.

However, I was literally rolling my eyes with delight over the fig orange marmalade and lavender milk chocolate toppings that I ordered for my waffle. I was tempted to order another waffle, but hubby knew better and said we should stop at one. We agreed Medina was the best food we’d had to date in Vancouver. For those familiar with San Francisco, Medina is similar to Aziza, but with even better presentation and probably an edge on taste. Hubby and I preferred Medina to Aziza.

After we dropped Grayelf off at her next stop, hubby and I made a quick Costco run to purchase a few items and then headed to Canada Place. Parking under Canada Place was a steep $20 for about 3 hours. We took a quick walk around the Pan Pacific’s outdoor bar area and then headed downstairs for more photo ops. Next stop, seabus to Lonsdale Quay to check out Screaming Mimi’s.

I should have known when the Vancouver Chowhounds tried to gently steer me away from Screaming Mimi’s. Hubby had a small bowl of Manhattan clam chowder with a roll. He normally orders regular clam chowder, but they don’t serve any chowders without tomato. The live crabs in their tank looked anything but lively. Definitely not worth the trek. What was worth the trek, however, was the neat Irish store inside the marketplace and the Salmon Shop which I think I also saw at the Granville Island Public Market.

We purchased a small bag of spicy smoked salmon jerky and a small bag of sweet salmon candy for a fraction of what we usually pay at Capt’n Mike’s at the Ferry Building Saturday market in San Francisco. I wish we had purchased more of the spicy salmon jerky which was a new taste for me. Totally recommend. It tastes a bit sweet at first, but then it surprises you with a subtle kick at the end. Saw a Salmon Shop at GI Market, but didn’t see any spicy jerky there. :-(

Dinner was at Peaceful with Grayelf. We had the potato roll, XLB, thousand chili chicken and sizzling noodles with chili oil. Loved loved loved the potato roll, but the skin on the XLB was way too thick and the noodle dish definitely didn’t sizzle. The noodles were hand cut, but were gummy and soft, not the chewy al dente texture that I crave. The famous chicken dish didn’t rock my world, but I’m generally not a fan of dark meat. Total after tax and tip was $40.

After dropping Grayelf, hubby and I headed to Stanley Park to enjoy a beautiful sunset. We then headed to the Teahouse in the park where we enjoyed a refreshing sorbet trio (kiwi, mango and lemon) while sitting on a very comfy sofa in the bar area. I had a lovely glass of BC ice wine (Mason Hill?) which tasted of honey while hubby had a Baileys with vanilla ice cream. Total after tax and tip was $40. Hubby liked the place a lot and would like to return for a real meal. Sigh... so many restaurants, so little time!

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  1. Another great report, cv. It was mucho fun to hang out with you two. I'm glad you liked Medina -- I'm really getting quite addicted to it and have now set the goal of trying all the breakfast dishes :-). It is not an inexpensive resto but I feel it is good value. Just be warned about the micro-waffles (though the toppings really are quite something).

    Peaceful was not so successful, and we were lamenting not having an expert to help us order (paging fmed...). The potato roll was outstanding -- as the regulars know, both it and the beef roll can be a bit unreliable, and I agree with cv's assessment of the other dishes. I wasn't as enamoured as I usually am of the 1000 chili -- something was missing. I think I liked the noodles more, though I could have done with them being cooked for 30 seconds less. Funny how noodles and salmon are like that, just a few seconds can make a huge difference. I did warn the SF visitors that the XLB skin here is not as delicate as other places around town but the soupiness was spot on -- apparently the soup factor is much lower at typical SF XLB establishments. I am hoping cv and SO will make it to Shanghai River to try another rendition -- we sure enjoyed ours at Chen's last week.

    If you guys make it to the Tea House to dine, I will be intrigued to hear about it. I've restricted visits there to brunch for years, particularly when it was bought out by that resto group (name blanking now) but it is a delightful setting. And you got your sunset, woohoo!

    4 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      1000 chili chicken (also called Chongqing Chicken in some places - probably a common name in SF as well)...I'm guessing that they overcooked the dried chilies so the floral-citrus notes of the chilies were obliterated (it starts to taste a bit like charcoal and the chilies go from a bright orange-red to a dark brown-red). If the chilies were overcooked...chances are the sichuan peppercorns were also overcooked. So you end up with a dish that has lost all that great aroma and flavour.

      Don't give up on Peaceful yet...when they are good....they are great.

      1. re: fmed

        I think you got it fmed -- the chilis were definitely darker than I remember! And I will not be giving up on Peaceful for sure -- I just wished we had ordered better for the SF Hounds :-( .

      2. re: grayelf

        Hi Grayelf. Stay tuned for my next report which will include a write-up on Tea House. :-)

        1. re: grayelf

          Thought I'd post a few pix of our Peaceful repast... spud roll, not-so-sizzling noodles and 1000 chili chicken. I went again a few nights ago with the SO and it was much more successful, due in large part to the owner's daughter being there. I'll post later...

        2. Wow you are doing the town right...hope the weather holds for you. Longliner Seafoods in the Market Place at GI has a great variety of salmon jerky and Indian candy including a spicy one that I highly recommend. IMO both the Tea House and the Fish House in Stanley Park are lovely places to take first time visitors to Vancouver...the food is good but nothing special's really the atmosphere and location that are the big draws there.

          2 Replies
          1. re: balini

            Hi Balini. Thanks for the tip about Longliner's salmon jerky! Just finished the last of our salmon jerky from the Salmon Shop tonight. Unfortunately, I don't think we'll have time to hit GI Market again before we leave. You folks are so lucky to have such great salmon jerky available at such a great price!

            1. re: cvhound

              Sakanaya is a good place to hit up for salmony goodness on your way out of town. Not sure if they have the spicy version but you could call...

              Sakanaya Seafood
              8435 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6P, CA

          2. And here's a few shots from the Medina brunch... in the past I've not had the chocolate (?) powder on the edge of this coffee, and I think I prefer it without (see second coffee shot from a week earlier). The other dishes are the cassoulet and the wrap -- no picture of the tagine -- maybe cv SO woofed it too quickly :-).

            1 Reply
            1. re: grayelf

              Oops, forgot to add the pix...