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San Diego 'Hound planning Vancouver trip

Hello all! I'm planning a trip to your fair city some time in August to celebrate my first wedding anniversary. I know absolutely nothing about Vancouver and I was there nearly 20 years ago with my folks. I only remember a wonderful Chinese outdoor market where we brought fresh lychees for our drive out to Banff.

I know the generic "Where do I go?! Plan my trip!" questions can be annoying, but I'm going to have to start with a fairly generic one:

Where would a 'Hound stay to be near good chow?

I'm looking at the Hampton Inn & Suites (111 Robson Street), which seems to have quite a bit near walking distance.

The other thing is I'm looking for is a variety of off-the-top-of-your-head recommendations. We'll have a car and are willing to travel for interesting chow. What is Vancouver known for? For instance, I'd tell anyone visiting San Diego that they should to try some non-Americanized Mexican food and sample awesome craft beers.

Things we might be interested in:
-Craft Beers (The Alibi Room looks awesome)/good beer or wine bars that are not complete meat markets
-Chinese food (especially Cantonese)
-Any other ethnic cuisine that Vancouver is known or not-so-well-known for (example: San Diego has a fairly large Ethiopian population and it's not obvious to a lot of casual tourist research)
-Street food (I will look at this thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/705131 more closely to see where the carts are located
)-Fine dining, Vancouver-style (probably at least one meal for the anniversary shindig)
-Farmers' Markets and any permanent markets that are great to wander through
-Restaurants and other food businesses focusing on locally sourced products
-Bakeries and/or dessert places
-Anything uniquely Vancouver (doesn't matter if it's street food, fast food, or expensive)

Things we're not likely to be interested in:
-Mexican food
-Vietnamese food

Thank you! I'll have more specific questions as my research progresses. And, of course, there will be a full post-trip report.

Edited to add: Found this thread... http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/693772 ... was already thinking of Vij's or Rangoli because of the No Reservations episode. Unless someone wants to tell me they're overrated, then we'll probably stop by.

-----
Alibi Room
157 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A1B8, CA

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  1. Alibi Room is good for beer, less good for grub, though not bad either. Try their "bats" for tasting brews.

    I like Sea Harbour (higher end) but there are so many Canto rooms to choose from, you'll need to do more research or at least give us a better idea of what kind of Canto you want.

    Nothing really hidden in Vancouver (unless it is hidden from me, which is always possible!). I think (apart from Chinese) one of our strengths is Vietnamese but you are not interested in that. Maybe consider an izakaya crawl as we have many of these restos in fairly close proximity.

    Street food will disappoint here -- limited to hot dogs pretty much at the moment, though that may be changing in the not so near future http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7051.... Japadog is fun but 'ware lineups.

    Edited to add: just came across this that indicates there may be some more options as of July: http://vancouver.ca/engsvcs/streets/r...

    I like Bishop's for fine dining but that is not a big interest of mine. There are a couple of recent threads on here you should be reading, so have another dig and ask about specific places.

    Not too big on Farmers' Markets here though there are a few local ones in the summer, with the Trout Lake one being the biggest (Saturdays 10-3 IIRC). Hard to park near there though. The permanent market that gets the most mention is Granville Island Public Market, which is worth a wander, especially if you want to find BC products all in one place. You will pay a premium on most, however.

    Vij's is likely worth the candle if only to say you've been. You'll be aware of the lineup situation which is a dealbreaker for some. I am very partial to his veggie preps, particularly anything that looks or acts like a dumpling. Not crazy about chicken or pork dishes. Many swear by the lamb popsicles but I don't like lamb much so...

    Do post again with more specific queries, gf.

    7 Replies
    1. re: grayelf

      Grayelf, I will certainly be back with more specificity, but let's start with your thread on the Richmond Public Market:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7152...

      This is the kind of Chinese food I love... food court, super cheap/casual, very tasty, and not necessarily Cantonese. San Diego has nothing like it. As for Cantonese food, I like the cheap stuff... wonton noodle soup, BBQ meats, etc. Dim sum is good, but I'm originally from LA and we can get dim sum whenever we visit the parental units.

      Would it be worth the drive from Robson Street to No. 3 Road? How's the parking? Would public transit be easier?

      My boss said to "park your ass in Richmond and eat your way down the main drag"

      "Which street is the main drag?"

      "I don't know! Just look for the HSBC bank."

      Any chance you know where he might be talking about?

      As for other types of Chinese food... Mr. Geeky loves dumplings and XLB. If there's any place that does those well, definitely let me know.

      And since their Robson Street storefront seems to be open, I'll have to visit Japadog.

      1. re: geekyfoodie

        Ah, I think I've got a better picture of what you're after already :-). You sound like Hounds after my own heart. If you like the looks of what you saw in the RPM thread, deffo worth checking out but also try Parker Place (where I got the first set of roast pork) and President's Plaza (my current fave food court because it is less crazy than the others I've been too). Also Google up Crystal Mall food court on CH and look for reports from fmed. You could feed your food court and XLB joneses here, and there is a pretty decent market area belowdecks (better I daresay than the one at RPM). Crystal Mall is in Burnaby, an okay trip via Skytrain from downtown.

        I am starting to have a decent handle on driving to Richmond, though I don't always have access to a car. It's definitely do-able, though many (including me) complain about the challenges of driving and parking out there. There is a lot of free parking if you know where to find it, it's more the volume of vehicles seeking it on most Saturdays that seems to be the issue. It seems to help a lot to go on Sunday if that's an option. Also be aware that the food courts don't really stay open late (6 or 7) and variety is better earlier. Public transit is deffo an option esp if your hotel is near a Skytrain station (ask the reso clerk when you make the booking) but it is $3.25 each way during the day ($2.50 after 6:30 pm) which can add up.

        The main drag to which your boss is referring is likely #3 Road, above which the Skytrain travels . I do believe there is an HSBC thereabouts. The other food "main drag" is a much smaller one called Alexandra or locally "Eat Street."

        XLB are a pretty hot topic of debate around here. Lin's, Long's, Wang's, Chen's -- they all do pretty decent ones but as for the best, that's kinda subjective. Look for fmed's posts to see some more detail.

        I haven't been to the bricks and mortar J-dog yet just the stands. I love their kurobota dogs, especially the okonomiyaki, but at the end of the day they are just dogs :-).

        Moyenchow's observations about where to stay seem sensible to me. I don't find any compelling reason to spend time in Yaletown eating (though to be fair, I don't like oysters, so can't comment on Rodney's; our dinner at Blue Water a week ago Friday was fine but not good value; stick with the raw bar and bring $$$ if you go ), so I'd go for something closer to downtown/West End. Moyen seconded the izakaya crawl -- do a search here and you will find several posts on same.

        I haven't had much luck with the food at the Richmond Night Market myself, but I gather there are some new stalls this year. It is in an industrial area by the river away from other Richmond destinations.

        I really enjoyed our recent Chowdown at Seri Malaysia that you referenced in that link. If you have no Malaysian in SD, may be worth a visit with the caveats about Jamal's unique approach and the seriously basic setting. I find it is a very quick trip from downtown to the area where Seri is (lots of parking too), and there are some decent food shops nearby for browsing if you go a bit early (Mocchia, Donald's Market). I think he is closed Tuesday, and deffo best to have an early reservation.

        -----
        Crystal Mall
        4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

        Seri Malaysia Restaurant
        2327E Hastings St E, Vancouver, BC V5L1V6, CA

      2. re: grayelf

        At the risk of sounding even more dorky... ACK!!! Malaysian food!!!

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7018...

        Seri's going on the must-eat list. Southern California has such a dearth of decent Malay restaurants that I ended up gorging in New Zealand, of all places.

        1. re: geekyfoodie

          Hi again geeky -- a new place opening up July 26 which should probably be on your radar is BO LAKSA KING's Second Location BUBBLES & BITS ---2546 E. Hastings St just east of Nanaimo 11-11 7 days (604) 568-4593

          I really like Bo's laksa, and his Burmese salads are, as they say, the bomb. The problem till now has been his first location is uber tiny (five seats in a convenience store) and his more extensive takeout menu was not available in my area of town. Both issues solved!

          Ben at Chowtimes just posted the menu which I have a feeling may appeal to you:

          APPETIZER & SNACK
          FISH CAKE — 香煎鱼饼 — $4.75
          Boneless cod fillet, coriander, green beans, red curry paste, served with sweet & spicy sauce.
          SHRIMP CAKE — 香煎虾饼 — $4.75
          Shrimp, coriander, green beans, yellow curry paste, served with sweet & spicy sauce.
          ROTI CANAI — 印度手抓饼 – $3.99(small)$5.99 (large)
          Authentic South-East Asian pastry pancake served with curry chicken dipping sauce or condensed milk and sugar for sweet Roti.
          SATAY CHICKEN — 沙爹鸡肉串 — $3.50
          Marinated chicken served with sticky rice, cucumber & spicy peanuts sauce. (3 skewers)
          SATAY BEEF — 沙爹牛肉串 — $3.50
          Marinated beef served with sticky rice, cucumber & spicy peanuts sauce. (3 skewers)
          SATAY LAMB — 沙爹羊肉串 — $3.95
          Marinated lamb served with sticky rice, cucumber & spicy peanuts sauce. (3 skewers)
          SUMMER ROLL — 夏日卷 — $4.50
          Rice noodle, carrot, black fungus, lentil pea, lettuce, rolls in rice paper wrap, served with Hoi Sin peanut sauce. (2 rolls)
          SPICY SQUID — 酸辣鱿鱼 — $5.75
          Blenched squid, onion, and garlic, cilantro, tossed in house made spicy lime vinaigrette.
          CHICKEN STRIP — 甜辣鸡柳 — $5.50
          Breaded baked chicken strip served with spicy sweat chilli sauce.
          NOODLE
          LAKSA – 椰香咖喱面/粉 — $7.50
          Your choice of vermicelli or yellow noodle served with tiger prawn, fish ball, tofu puff, hard boil egg, chicken and house make authentic flavour coconuts curry broth.
          MOHINGAR – 鱼汤米线 — $7.50 (THE NATIONAL DISH OF BURMA (MYANMAR))
          Fish broth, onions garlic, ginger, lemon grass and tender core of banana stem, served with thin rice noodle, hard boiled eggs, and split pea fritters.
          PAD THAI — 泰式炒粉 — $8.75
          Thai rice noodle, eggs, shrimps, extra firm tofu, Chinese chives, dried chilli peppers, banana flower, bean sprouts, preserved turnip, stir fry in house made traditional tamarind sauce.
          SINGAPORE NOODLE — 星洲炒米线 — $7.75
          Stir fry rice noodle with egg, shrimps, BBQ pork, celery, green onion, cilantro, bean sprouts and house made curry sauce.
          MEE GORENG — 印尼炒面 — $7.75
          Spicy stir fry noodle with seasonal vegetables, chicken, pork or beef with house made sweet & spicy sauce.
          RICE
          NASI GORENG — 印尼炒饭 — $7.50
          Wok fired rice with shrimp, rump steak, shrimp paste, chilli, shredded lettuce, cucumber and fried onion.
          PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE – 菠萝炒饭 — $8.75
          Wok fried rice with chicken, shrimp, mix vegetable, cashews, pineapple tidbits, and house made curry sauce
          THAI BASIL CHICKEN FRIED RICE – 泰式香叶鸡炒饭 — $6.75
          Wok fried rice with chicken, Thai chilli, Thai basil, julienne red bell pepper, garlic and cilantro.
          DRUNKEN BEEF — 酒醉牛肉饭 — $8.75
          Stir fry beef steak with lemon grass, ginger, garlic, hot pepper, basil, shitake mushrooms, and house made sweet soy sauce, served with rice.
          BASIL EGGPLANT — 香叶茄子饭 — $7.75
          Stir fried eggplant with basil, chilli peppers, and dried shrimps, served with rice.
          BEEF RENDANG — 马来咖喱牛肉饭 — $8.75
          Marinated beef slowly cooked with coconuts gravy and Bo’s special spice, served with rice.
          CURRY CHICKEN — 缅甸咖喱鸡饭 — $7.50
          Marinated bone in chicken slowly cooked with Bo’s special curry spice, served with coconut rice and spicy cucumber salad, served with rice.
          BUTTER CHICKEN — 印度牛油鸡饭 — $7.95
          Boneless chicken cooked in house made creamy butter chicken sauce, served with veggie, naan bread and rice.
          PORK CURRY — 缅甸咖喱猪肉饭 — $7.50
          Marinated pork belly slowly cooked in house made curry sauce, served with rice.
          LAMB CURRY — 缅甸咖喱羊肉饭 — $11.75
          Marinated tender lamb meat slowly cooked with Bo’s special curry spice, served with rice.
          SOUP
          TOM YAM — 泰式酸辣汤/汤粉 — $5.75
          Your choice of chicken or shrimp in clear soup make from lemon grass, kaffir lime, hot peppers, lime juice, and mushrooms. (Extra $1.00 for adding vermicelli)
          TOM KHA — 泰式椰香酸辣汤/汤粉 — $5.75
          Your choice of chicken or shrimp in straw mushrooms and coconut broth flavoured with galangal, kaffir lime, hot pepper, lemon grass, and lime juice. (Extra $1.00 for adding vermicelli)
          SALAD
          LAHPET THOKE — 茶叶沙拉 — $7.50 (FERMENTED TEA LEAF SALAD)
          Pickled tea leaf, tomato, cabbage, garlic chip, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, broad beans, mixed together with fresh lime juice seasoning.
          JIN THOKE — 姜丝沙拉 — $6.75 (BURMESE GINGER SALAD)
          Pickled Ginger with cabbage, tomatoes, roasted peanuts, broad beans, sesame seeds, garlic chip and chick pea powder.
          GREEN MANGO SALAD — 青芒果沙拉 — $6.75
          Shredded Mango, cabbage, fried onions, garlic, crushed peanuts, roasted chilli flakes, dried shrimps, and mix with cilantro, lime, and vinaigrette dressing.
          PAPAYA SALAD — 青木瓜沙拉 — $6.75
          Shredded green papaya, tomato, onions, cilantro, crushed peanuts, fresh red chilli, dried shrimps, green beans, mix with garlic, lime, vinaigrette dressing.
          PICKLE MANGO SALAD — 腌芒果沙拉 — $7.50
          Pickled green mango mix with red onion, crushed peanuts, dry shrimp, fried onions, sesame seeds, garlic chips and chick pea powder.

          1. re: grayelf

            Ben's post is what put Bo on the list. :) I love, love, love laksa. Tried making my own and wasn't incredibly successful. So, Bo's seems a little more accessible than Seri, which may make it a more likely destination for us. Between Granville Public Market, Rangoli's, and Bo's, Mr. Geeky and I are having a bit of a tug-of-war over what to eat and what to pack up for the drive to Whistler.

            1. re: geekyfoodie

              Gotcha, gf! Bo's will give you more options for sure. And it has very good air conditioning which may still be an issue when you arrive next week -- we are about to start another little heat wave here.

              Not that you asked but I'd say skip Rangoli and get the new butter chicken at Bo's to go if you require a hit of Indian -- cheaper and prolly better -- and you can still get your laksa, and maybe throw in an unmixed tea leaf salad for variety :-). But deffo hit GIsle and grab some charcuterie and stuff for Whistler.

        2. re: grayelf

          I've skimmed through the City of Vancouver docs regarding the pilot project. Apparently, first day of applications is today! The rest of it I'm a bit fuzzy still: guess I better read it more closely.

        3. Hey Geekyfoodie,

          I would reconsider the Hampton Inns on Robson, you are close to Yaletown & Gastown but you are very far away from the Westend where the best Izakayas and Ramen places are. Also they are replacing the roof on BC Place stadium (Hamptons Inn is right next to the stadium), so it's noisy sometimes.

          Not sure what your price range is for a hotel but something closer to Robson & Burrard would make you more central. Twenty minutes walking distance to everything dowtown (Yaletown, Gas town, Cole Harbour, West End) and you are close to the Canada line Sky train so you don't have to drive into Richmond.

          I really recommend walking if you are in the downtown core as parking can be expensive and problematic especially on the weekends.

          The Richmond Night market is great for all sorts of Aisan street food.

          My cousin from LA seems too really like the oysters & sushi here. We always end up at Rodney's in Yaletown.

          For fine dining, I always like Blue Water Cafe in Yaletown. Great raw bar and excellent cooked seafood.

          For unique Vancouver, there's a great Izakaya scene in the West End (Robson & Denman Area). Guu with Garlic and Kingyo are my Izakaya recommendations.

          Also Japadog is very Vancouver, and they have a store location at Robson and Richards.

          If you are interested in cheap Cantonese Fare, like wontons etc Richmond is the place. You can ride the Canada Line Skytrain and get off at any of the Richmond stops and you find awesome Chinese food. I recommend looking at the chowtimes.com & shermansfoodadventures.com for recommendations.

          -----
          Guu
          838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

          Kingyo
          871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G2L9, CA

          1. I'll preface my comments with the disclaimer that I'm not a Van local—yet—but go there every year and have spent entire weeks stuffing my face. Also, my dad, the O.C. (Original Chowhound) used to live in San Diego, so I'm familiar with the food scene there, mostly.

            Your instincts in avoiding Mexican food there are correct. Many locals praise the fish tacos at Go Fish; I was not so impressed and think for this purpose you'd be crossing the wrong border.

            The suggestions by Grayelf and the experts here are right on. I'd add Raincity Grill for a real localvore experience and stunning view of English Bay if you get the right table.

            The Izakaya scene is tasty and a lot of fun but don't forget Vancouver excels at sushi as well, traditional or fusion. Miko on Robson is my favorite, but limited experience.

            Coming from San Diego, I'd also be tempted to take in a first-class fish place like Bluewater, C or the Fish House as well. SD doesn't have the seafood scene it used to in its heydey (remember when Anthony's was good?) and even so, the available fish in Van are different: emphasis on halibut, salmon, black cod (sable), arctic char, oysters...

            Getting hungry and eagerly anticipating my trip up there in August!

            -----
            Raincity Grill
            1193 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC V6G 2N1, CA

            2 Replies
            1. re: BobtheBigPig

              Anthony's was good? For serious? ;)

              Very intrigued by Raincity Grill, but we might do more fine dining in Seattle, where our trip starts. Hopefully a midweek reservation won't be hard to get if we change our minds!

              1. re: geekyfoodie

                I tend to agree with BtheBP (hi Bob!) but I gotta say, Rain City Grill has let me down too many times to be able to recommend it with impunity. They seem to just be trying too hard. We still wind up going about once a year (visitors who insist) and I can't say I look forward to it. Maybe I'm just not ordering right...

            2. I held off replying to do more research and start hacking out a battle plan. Mr. Geeky sighs resignedly whenever we travel and I have my list of restaurants to visit. Sightseeing... bah! I'm there for the food. ;)

              Our trip dates are finalized and we'll be in your fair city during August 18-21. We'll be traveling to Whistler from the 21-24 and returning to Vancouver briefly before traveling back to Seattle. That's not a lot of meals, which makes me sad. We also won't have a car until we leave Vancouver for Whistler.

              Taking Moyenchow's advice, we booked the Loden Vancouver, which puts us right by the Burrard Station Skytrain and on the edge of the West End. Here's my list so far:

              Granville Public Market (probably for breakfast and coffee)
              Japadog (afternoon snack)
              Vij's (get there right at opening to line up for dinner... this one is negotiable)
              Refuel (dinner... also negotiable)
              Seri Malaysian (dinner)
              Bo Laksa King Bubble and Bits (for lunch when we're leaving Van for Whistler... esp. important if Seri doesn't work out)
              Alibi Room (beer)
              Caffe Artigiano (coffee)
              Guu with Garlic or another izakaya (likely for lunch... Guu serves lunch... might do an izakaya crawl in place of Vij's or Refuel)

              I'm not sure where to go in Richmond, but we might just spend an afternoon there and visit a food court or two. I think the food courts might be my best bet to cover as many types of food in one or two sittings. Might have to skip dim sum, but LA has it, so I'm ok with that. President's Plaza and Crystal Mall sound like better options than Richmond Public Market. Been following Chowtimes.com, which is awesome.

              The missing piece of the puzzle is a good dessert place or bakery. I'm a sucker for sweets and love to end the evening with dessert.

              Haven't figured out where to go in Whistler yet, but so far it looks like Bearfoot Bistro is a must. Any suggestions?

              -----
              Vij's Restaurant
              1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

              Crystal Mall
              4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

              Guu
              838 Thurlow St, Vancouver, BC V6E1W2, CA

              Alibi Room
              157 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC V6A1B8, CA

              Bo Laksa King
              4910 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R, CA

              6 Replies
              1. re: geekyfoodie

                Mr Grayelf refrains from sighing because he gets to reap the benefits of my obsessionality on the plate, but I bet there are a few eye rolls when I'm not looking.

                Nice list, geeky! Sounds like you've sussed out the strengths and occasional weaknesses of your proposed targets, which is half the battle :-). Uber excited about BLK's new place -- so much more convenient to get to for me (and you).

                On another thread, yuyu reports: "kingyo does a lunch menu now as well and it is just as impressive as their dinner. Go early though they have really limited quantities of their specials." I've never been to any of the izakaya in town that do lunch but I have heard their menus tend to be less extensive and not snacky so you might want to bear that in mind.

                If you do hit Richmond, several of the food courts are within easy walking distance of one another, so you could try a couple things here and a couple there. PP is very small (8 stands?) and I've only eaten at three of them, one of which has since closed. It's worth the trip just for O'tray though -- search on that name to get the star dishes on your list. I like two of the booths at RPM and pretty much stick to them. They are right next to each other and one is called Xian. Here's a link to a recent chowdown we had there that was lots of fun (and we went on to President's Plaza, so there's a bit on that as well): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7152...
                Crystal Mall has the most options of any of the food courts but it is in Burnaby and on its own (though there are other worthy restos nearby). I still find that most posts mention the same stands though, so it helps to have some of those to hand if you go. You can make your own dim summy experience by ordering lots of the small items like dumplings, and with most everything being under $5, you can probalby afford to kiss a few frogs!

                Have a fantastic time

                1. re: geekyfoodie

                  If you do go to the Crystal Mall Food Court (take the skytrain from Burrard Station and get off at Metrotown station, it's about 20 minutes), you must go to Wang's for the XLB's. Most of the items are very tasty, just don't get the wontons.

                  -----
                  Crystal Mall
                  4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                  1. re: moyenchow

                    I think that might be the mall we're headed to... Mr. Geeky LOVES XLB. We're right by the Burrard Station, so both Burnaby and Richmond seem to be within our reach. We can only eat so much, so maybe an early lunch at Crystal Mall, then head to Richmond to walk around and grab a snack.

                    -----
                    Crystal Mall
                    4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                    1. re: geekyfoodie

                      I applaud your intrepidness (intrepidity?), geekyf! Going from downtown to Crystal Mall and then to Richmond and back downtown by any means is impressive. It would be mucho fun to do the food stalls at Crystal Mall then Richmond Public Market or President's Plaza back to back though. Just bear in mind that walking around in Richmond is not hugely salutary. Even people that live there will likely agree that it is a good place to eat, not to be a tourist. It's mostly just one strip mall connected to another, attached to an actual mall. Though Daiso is kinda fun in Aberdeen.

                      -----
                      Crystal Mall
                      4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Hahaha... I kind of figured any Asian-centric neighborhood would be strip malls and fabulous food. I want to just walk around and peek into bakeries and stuff. We'll likely end our walking with a fistful of those small plastic bags filled with baked goodies and takeout snacks.

                        I am not leaving without wontons, though! Hopefully the trip report will be a great one. :)

                  2. re: geekyfoodie

                    Since you aren't gettting much data on Whistler, I was just reviewing my very long "places to try" list and came across this cut-and-pasted post -- When you are in Whistler, definitely hit up Elements for breakfast/brunch. It is one of the best breakfast places I have ever been to, and has the best eggs benedict (tomato,avocado, aged cheddar, with pesto hollandaise) I have ever had. goatwind May 18, 2010 02:19AM

                    On the way to/from Whistler (dinner only I think) another possibility, this time for sushi:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7107...

                  3. For the anniversary dinner, you cannot deny the 100 Mile Tasting Menu at Rain City Grill. 5 courses of local fare and BC wine pairing for each course. Staff are classy and tactful; knowledgeable about the food and dishes as they come to the table; food is fantastically well prepared down to each ingredient carefully prepared to be perfect on its own, and together, a masterpiece. If it's sunny, enjoy the patio/deck to watch the beach-goers and celebrate all that is fine about great food from BC.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: canchow

                      Definitely intriguing, but we might do more fine dining in Seattle, where our trip starts. Still not sure how/where we're ringing in the anniversary (it was on the 1st), so we'll keep Rain City Grill in mind!

                    2. Just came across your post. I used to live in SD long time ago, so I fully understand why you don't want Vietnamese or Mexican (which are abundant in SD, and good). I know SD has come a long way, but personally I think Vancouver has more diverse foods, and in many areas, better than SD (especially compared to SD 20 years ago when I lived there).

                      The Chinese foods are very good in Vancouver, in general, but of course they will never have the high end class as you would find in Hong Kong (where I grew up in, and so I know), but never the less still very good. For some reason, I do find the dim sum more exceptional than what I have had in LA or SF, although the dinners could be a fairly close match, (if you don't count the high end stuff like shark's fin soup, abalone, etc). So you might want to try at least one lunch at a good dim sum restaurant (which I'd recommend either Kirin in Richmond, or Fisherman's Wharf in Richmond).

                      If you are more keen on modern Asian fares, you might want to try the food court inside Aberdeen Centre in Richmond, a fairly new modern Chinese indoor mall (where Fisherman's Wharf is also located), plus a number of other restaruants.

                      If you are into street foods, then you might want to go to the Summer Night Market in Richmond, on Friday evening, or Sat, or Sun evenings (from 6pm to midnight Fri, Sat, 11pm Sun). However, the location is a bit obscured so you need some local direction to guide you there. There you will find street foods that you would find in Hong Kong, but also from many other international places. The quality is a hit and miss, but it is unique nonetheless. It would feel like you have gone to a local street in Hong Kong, almost.

                      The Izakaya scene is hip, but the locals miss the rationality behind its popularity among the Japanese natives: nostalgia, and a hang out / social environment. It should be more aligned with tapas places, rather than a dine out place! For value, they tend to be a bit pricey: you get very little food, for quite a bit of money, only for the novelty mainly. The quality is mainly good, but still have misses. And, many do not serve sushi (some do), as they are not that kind of place. I'm one of the odd foodies that do not agree with the value of izakaya places, but I think once is a good experience though. (But I do like Gyoza King, which started out as a ramen and gyoza place about 17 years ago).

                      The main difference between city of Vancouver and city of Richmond are in several areas: concentration of Chinese popular in Richmond is even more pronounced, so concentration of Chinese and other Asian (east) foods are as well (even compared to city of Vancouver); Richmond downtown is very concentrated and thus most of the places including restaurants and malls are very close by, and transportation is easier because of that. Vancouver is a bit more spread out, except the downtown core, but even that, places are separated into west end (great restaurants around Denman St area), Gas Town (popular tourist spot, also has some good restaurants), Yale Town (hip entertainment area w/ some good restaurants too), but it is no easy walking among these 3 areas.

                      I'd say coming from southern California, and if you would like to try something that you don't usually get back home, I'd say try at least these:

                      1. Pacific Northwest fine dining, which is characterized by fresh seafood, simple preparation, a little bit of fusion may be, and quite modern.

                      2. Asian fares: Malaysian / Indonesian / Singaporean (I like Banana King on W. Broadway, but it is not absolutely a clear winner, as a matter of fact, there are no perfect or high end Malaysian restaurants here), Cantonese, Shanghainese, Japanese (many great sushi restaurants here, but also many more bad ones). If you are of Cantonese heritage, you must try some of the local wonton noodles as these are hard to find with high quality from California. My Cantonese friends from S.Cal. must go to wonton noodles before even dim sum or other fares. If you are of Hong Kong heritage, then you must try the Hong Kong style cafes here, only to be nostalgic (not unlike izakaya for Japanese, but a lot cheaper), again, the quality much higher than in Cal. Similarly for HK style bakery too.

                      3. Other ethnic foods: e.g. like Vij's that so many has recommended, but IMHO, I'd not waste precious tourist time to wait in line though. May be you can buy a few Ready To Eat packs from Rangoli if you are taking anything on the road :-) (like to Whistler, which also has lots of great restaurants these days). You can find some other ethnic foods in downtown (Denman), and in various areas, such as Korean (which has become very popular among east Asians these days, more so than for other populations), etc.

                      4. Local freshness. If you are into oysters, then you might want to go to a local restaurant w/ a good oyster bar or at least good oyster choices, as the northwest oysters are quite famous (the smaller they are, the better they taste?), and you choose the names based on the places they come from (but all around here) (local oysters are actually from a Japanese gene, but localized, true local oysters are not usually served as human food). Similarly for salmon (many kinds), and other fishes. King crabs are very popular among east Asians.

                      I am sure I have missed a lot of stuff, and I am not going to explicitly recommend restaurants for all the categories I have mentioned, as I think fellow hounds are more qualified here. But if you want my opinion on a particular category, please ask and I'll try to answer next time I visit this board. (I'm using a new screen name now, as my old screen name reveals too much of my true identity, just need to be more careful these days).

                      -----
                      Aberdeen Centre
                      4151 Hazelbridge Way, Richmond, BC V6X4J7, CA

                      Vij's Restaurant
                      1480 11th Ave W, Vancouver, BC V6H1L1, CA

                      Gyoza King
                      1508 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G1C2, CA

                      Hong Kong Restaurant
                      113 MacKenzie, Revelstoke, BC V0E2S1, CA

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: jueyukyuk

                        I only have one question: Where can I find these wonton noodles that you speak of? American-raised, but with a palate of a true Cantonese. A fantastic wonton noodle soup would make my trip... or even the rest of my year. Whew!

                        T-minus one week! I will be in Vancouver next week and will work through as much of the list as possible!

                        1. re: geekyfoodie

                          There's some debate as to where the best wontons are in Vancouver, my favourite is Tsim Chai Noodles (8251 Westminster Highway, Richmond BC). The wontons are more of a pork-shrimp filling which I prefer and very little/no MSG.

                          To get there hope onto the Canada Line Skytrain heading for Brighouse, I think the closer skytrain for you is City Centre which is in the Pacific Centre Mall or can be picked up at Georgia & Granville street.

                          Get off at the Brighouse Station which is the last stop. Walk 2 Blocks North to Westminster Hwy and walk 1 block East. It's in a strip mall across from the Richmond Public Market (which is a bonus 'cause you can get all sorts of yummy ethnic chinese snacks there, the other chowhounders can help you out with recs at the Richmond Public market).

                          For a wonton that's100% shrimp, Congee Noodle House in Vancouver is good. Get on the Canada Line but get off at Broadway City Hall Station and walk 6 blocks east on Broadway. You can hop onto to a local bus along Broadway, just ask the driver if they stop at Main street, if the walk is too far.

                          Both places will satisfy your Cantonese Palate if you want other items on their menus.

                          -----
                          Tsim Chai Noodle Restaurant
                          8251 Westminster Hwy, Richmond, BC V6X, CA

                          1. re: moyenchow

                            I liked the wontons at Michigan recently too, moyen. What say you about that place?

                            1. re: grayelf

                              I haven't been yet, but I've read about it on Sherman's Food Adventures. It's on my list of places to try. Greyelf, Is it 100% shrimp or a mixture of pork & shrimp wontons at Michigan.

                              To be honest, up until the Canada Line went into service, I haven't really ventured into Richmond unless I heard something was really incredible and then I would bear it and drive there.

                              I've been searching for a go to wonton place ever since my favourite closed in Metrotown 10 years ago. I don't remember the name but for those old enough, it would be where the current food court is where the seats over look kingsway by the Burger King.

                              1. re: moyenchow

                                How embarassing, I can't remember! I usually prefer shrimp only so that may be what they were. Here's a copy of the bill in case anyone out there can decipher for me.

                                I just started venturing into Richmond myself since the Canada Line construction ended -- it was just too hairy before that.

                                 
                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Well obviously that was a pork chop not a bill. Let's try that again...

                                   
                              2. re: grayelf

                                Totally agreed. I would rate Michigan http://dinehere.ca/richmond/michigan-... the best wonton noodle in town today. The owner used to run the McKim on McKim Way, but likely sold it and it is no longer as good. The owner opened Michigan later on, and it has exactly the same menu as before. I'm a Hong Kong born Chinese (grew up eating wonton noodles as a little kid), so I'm of course picky about it. There are 3 things that are equally important to a good wonton noodle soup (but in Chinese, it's called a soup noodle). The broth, the wonton, and the noodle.

                                The noodle must be eaten first, as the bite (al dente), will go soft very very quickly. Leave the soup and the wonton later on. If it has a very al dente bite, and it's the best. But too much of a elasticity is over done. There is sometimes an alkaline taste to egg noodles (w/ lye), and hopefully it is not too overpowering. Some people can't stand it and must add vinegar to it. (I don't, and don't mind).

                                The wonton must have fresh shrimp, that tastes like fresh shrimp. The pork should be just a little, as it's marinated so it has some fragrance to it. Pure shrimp would not be real wonton, although some people like it that way. (at least not the pork fat like in the old days in HK). The wrap (ravioli) should be very thin and soft.

                                The soup must taste like a shrimp broth, with a tad of fragrance but not too much. Some are too salty, some have too much peppercorn, etc, that ruin or cover up the real taste (which must not be good that's why it needs cover up). It should not be too light, nor too rich. A good one should be able to be consumed like a real soup, and not having too much MSG in it (but it's going to be hard, 99% have lots of MSG in it).

                                The soup is the hardest to get perfect, out of everything.

                                The old place (McKim)'s menu used to have a reference that they are related to the famous wonton place in HK: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mak%27s_... .

                                The other good one in Richmond is McNoodle House (on the same street, the Food St / Alexander St), although I think the value is not as good, as their bowl is really super tiny (HK size!).

                                1. re: jueyukyuk

                                  thanks. will try michigan now after reading your post.

                                  both mckim and mcnoodles are good. been going to mcnoodles alot lately.

                                  my experience with Tsim Chai wasnt as good as moyenchow.

                              3. re: moyenchow

                                Thanks for everything, Moyenchow! I'm glad that you've provided so much helpful info on the transit vs. food. It'll make our trip a lot easier. Looking at maps/websites is one thing, but getting directions from someone who actually uses the system is much more helpful, methinks.

                                I love both kinds of wontons, but lean more to shrimp/pork. I feel like pork (or maybe just its fat) lends more depth to the overall flavor of the wonton. Plus, Mr. G. doesn't like shrimp, so he'd object to a dish that was shrimp-only.

                                So, if I can swing it, Crystal Mall for an early lunch. Richmond for a second lunch of wonton noodles. Then nap. Wake up and begin another round of eating. Try not to have coronary before returning to San Diego.

                                -----
                                Crystal Mall
                                4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                              4. re: geekyfoodie

                                Note re jueyukyuk's post: I think it is Fisherman's Terrace s/he is referring to for dim sum. I am heading there on Saturday after an absence of nearly a year (so much dim sum, so little time) so I hope it is still exemplary :-).

                                BTW, geekyf, is your avatar a plate of tasty Viet snacks, possibly home-made by your mum? Drool...

                                1. re: grayelf

                                  Banh beo, Greyelf! And no, not homemade by the maternal unit (although I have an awesome pic of her banh xeo)... it's from a place here in SD called Mien Trung. Place serves a mean bun bo hue.

                                  I can't believe y'all are having a heat wave. San Diego completely checked out of summer and it's been cool/occasionally overcast.

                                  I might cave for dim sum. It looks like we might do Bearfoot Bistro in Whistler for a huge splurge meal. Mr. Geeky's on a per diem in Seattle, so he wants to do some finer dining there. It's all good for me... less pressure to do fine-dining in Van, which frees up our schedule for things like wontons, XLB, and laksa!

                                  Thanks for the tip on Rangoli... think we'll hit Bo's and GIsle for sure.

                                  1. re: geekyfoodie

                                    Nice! I heart banh beo (okay, I heart nearly everything Vietnamese I've ever tasted).

                                    I am waiting to be picked up for dinner, natch, so I was rereading your thread and realized you haven't had any dessert suggestions. Now I know you won't have a car so this may not be doable but dang you should try to hit Sweet Obsessions for a dacquoise. I just had a lemon one on Sunday after a too-long hiatus. Heaven. There is a pic of it here (hover your mouse on number 7).

                                    If you want to go, drop me a line (email's in my profile) and maybe we could set something up. I'd hate to see you miss out :-).

                                    -----
                                    Sweet Obsession Cakes & Pastries Ltd
                                    2611 West 16th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6K3C2, CA

                                    1. re: grayelf

                                      Awww, Greyelf, that's very sweet of you! I looked up Sweet Obsessions and it might be too far out of the way, although our car is from Vancouver Int'l, so we do pass it on the way out of town. That is, if we don't go to Bo's first. Or GIsle... you can tell I suffer from the problem of "my eyes are bigger than my stomach".

                                      Downtown/Burnaby/Richmond trek does seem pretty insane, but I'm also hoping the travel time and walking will allow for some digestion. Oh, and thanks for the Whistler recs!

                                      In case I don't get a chance to tell you any time soon, thanks for all of the help! I really appreciate it and look forward to returning the favor if you have a chance to visit San Diego!

                                    2. re: geekyfoodie

                                      Weather is very nice here lately, warm but not too hot, with evening a bit cool. I think it's similar to SD weather last I check. However, it might rain at any time, you just never know b/c it's the northwest here.

                                      Seattle has lots of good fine dining restaurants. My friend there has taken me to many great restaurants, including some I can't even get in Vancouver. However, the sheer quantity of higher end restaurants are more concentrated in Vancouver than in Seattle though. I have my best Vietnamese and pizza in Seattle, for example.

                                      If you like street foods, you might either try them at food courts, or go to the Richmond Summer Market (but only Fri, Sat., Sun evenings). Because you might never find them in SD (or even LA, which has more Taiwanese stuff, but less so HK style stuff).

                                      If I were you, as a true chowhound, I'd get my hotel near the "Food St" (Alexander St) in Richmond, haha. However, being downtown also gets you great access to fine dining places there (but not exactly walking distance on many).

                                      If you need more detail and info, see if you can contact me via PM (is there such here?), and I can provide contact info for you. I'm likely to be in town during that time.

                                      I also like Sweet Obsession, however, more so for one of the few very late night access to dessert, and not exactly because they have the best dessert (but they are not bad though). But it's a very tiny place and often full. If I were you, and without a car, I'd not take my chance, as wait time is "forever", as it's a very hole in a wall place.

                                      1. re: jueyukyuk

                                        Sweet Obsession is small, but they have outside seating in the summer. I haven't had to wait yet.

                                        1. re: jueyukyuk

                                          Hahaha, if I booked a hotel in Richmond, I'd probably be served divorce papers. Mr. Geeky thinks my planning trips around food borders on the obsessive (duh!) and he does reap its benefits, but he has limits and it's probably healthier for my marriage if I don't push them all of the time.

                                          SD's weather has been very gloomy, interspersed with the occasional hot day. It's wreaked havoc on my tomatoes, but that's another story.

                                          No PM on Chowhound, but your posts are much appreciated! I should have some internet access in Van, although my iPhone will be shuttered (and I will be going through withdrawal) due to costs. Didn't want to get a data plan for just a week's trip.

                                          Thanks to you, Moyenchow, and Greyelf for the wonton recs! Good to know that I have plenty of options. If I don't do it on this trip, I'll have to do a Vancouver wonton tour at some point in my life.

                                          You have a point about izakayas and, while I love the small plates, an izakaya crawl might not happen. Cost is one thing, but Mr. Geeky had a bad experience at a San Diego izakaya and has been leery of them since. We're close to the West End, so they're not off the list entirely.

                                          1. re: geekyfoodie

                                            You can bring your iPhone. It will (or should) automatically turn off data roaming. When here, just go to a wifi cafe eg a Starbucks and connect. Useful for things like maps/gps. (It has been invaluable on my last couple of trips).

                                            1. re: fmed

                                              Yup... did just that... never thought I'd be so glad that Starbucks is literally everywhere!

                                      2. re: grayelf

                                        Weekend going to Fisherman's Terrace is like fighting for an iPhone 4 at Apple Store! It's crazy and if you have a reservation you still have to wait, unless you are a frequent customer that they recognize, and they of course will perform favoritism to you (HK style, face is most important). Try to go on a weekday if you can, or go very early or very late. it's nuts there!

                                        The quality of the dim sum is good. The quality of the service depends if you are a frequent customer or not. If not, prepare to be treated with aloofness and attitude from some (if not all) the servers!

                                        1. re: jueyukyuk

                                          Heading to FT in a short while -- will see if the attitude appears. Didn't have a problem last time but that was on a Wednesday.

                                          1. re: grayelf

                                            Sat at Fisherman's Terrace was definitely busy but we were seated for our 11 am reservation for six within 5 minutes of arriving. It was deffo a zoo by the time we left though, and it is very loud.

                                            They continue to excel at deep fried things which makes me very happy. The shrimp spring roll with cilantro (not currently on the English menu but ask for it) was worth the trip alone. The only thing I didn't love was the peatips with gingko nuts that came in a small wok -- a little bland.

                                  2. Thanks to everyone for their advice! T-minus two days to eating nirvana... er, Vancouver!

                                    There's plenty of depth for Asian, so if anyone has any thoughts on the non-Asian offerings in Vancouver/Whistler, I'd love to hear about it.

                                    Anyone been to Refuel lately? It seems pretty cool.

                                    Any specific recs for Granville Island Market?

                                    Trip reports will be forthcoming!

                                    8 Replies
                                    1. re: geekyfoodie

                                      Go Fish is one the seawall just to the west of Granville island. For non-Asian....perhaps Thomas Haas (pastry and chocolates). Not sure if it has been mentioned upthread.

                                      1. re: geekyfoodie

                                        Hey Geekyfoodie,

                                        Been busy showing LA relatives around. Noticed you plan to go to Crystal Mall and then to Richmond. Just a heads up about that plan 'cause it's a little time consuming on public transit.

                                        Unfortunately, the EXPO/Millenium Sky Train & Canada Line Sky train only intersect downtown. So the fastest & most comfortable way to get from Metrotown Station to Richmond is to ride the sky train back into Downtown and tranfser onto Canada Line Sky train. So that's 20 minutes into downtown and then 20 minutes into richmond.

                                        As for the Izakaya scene, my cousin + bf from LA were iffy about the Izakayas too. But I insisted and took them to GUU Garden and they loved it. They ended up going Zakkushi the next night and didn't leave until the 2am closing. They like Izakaya now, at least in Vancouver.

                                        My recs for NON Asian Food are:

                                        - Blue Water Cafe (Yaletown and a bit of splurge)
                                        - Tapastree (Robson & Denman) (Small plates, although I'm not sure if they've closed for Renos yet)
                                        - Chambar (Beatty & Dunsmuir) (Belgian Food)
                                        - La Brasserie (Davie & Burrard) (French/German Food)

                                        All those restaurants are walkable from your hotel.

                                        Also for Granville Island, why not a picnic? Just buy fresh fruit, bread/pasteries and cheese & ham (Oyama's) from the market and enjoy!

                                        As side note: Is the McKim's in Richmond mentioned by jueyukyuk related to McKim Wonton Mein Saga on Kingsway?

                                        -----
                                        Crystal Mall
                                        4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                                        Tapastree Restaurant
                                        1829 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1E4, CA

                                        La Brasserie
                                        1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA

                                        1. re: moyenchow

                                          Yup, I noticed (the SkyTrain website does not have a current map... had to find it on Wikipedia) that the lines split off downtown. It's either going to be that way, with a stop at our hotel or something, or we'll do it on separate days. Of the two, it looks like Crystal Mall is the more expendable one, as Mr. Geeky says we don't have to go out of our way for XLB. He wants to do that thing called sightseeing. ;)

                                          -----
                                          Crystal Mall
                                          4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                                          1. re: geekyfoodie

                                            Mr. Geeky can sightsee while you're traveling to food.

                                            The Aquabus ride from the north side of False creek (which is the downtown side) to Granville Island is very pretty. It beats taking the bus.

                                            There's a reason we call our rapid transit "Sky Train", most of the Expo/Millenium Line and the Richmond portion of Canada Line is above ground.

                                            Mr Geeky can look out the window when you traveling the Expo/Millenium Line to Crystal Mall or the Canada Line to Richmond.

                                            -----
                                            Crystal Mall
                                            4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                                          2. re: moyenchow

                                            i believe it is related but not sure if they are the same owner/operator

                                            1. re: betterthanbourdain

                                              Thanks betterthanbourdain, good to know. Had an awful experience at the McKim on Kingsway, they use way too much msg for my liking.

                                          3. re: geekyfoodie

                                            Hehe... anyone been to Refuel? Yes... I eat there weekly (much to my future cardiologist's horror). It is a great restaurant for personable service, local and seasonal food prepared simply. Their burger is fantastic, and I have had excellent fish dishes as well. You need to be fairly comfortable with lots of animal fat and salt though, otherwise you might find it a bit excessive.

                                            1. re: peter.v

                                              Would it sound vaguely horrific to know that I am hoping to be a cardiologist (maybe) myself someday? And that you and I are likely to go to the same one... one who specializes in the incorrigibly in-love-with-animal-fat type of patient. It was great! Mmmm... marrow.

                                          4. Let the trip reports begin...

                                            Arrived in Vancouver this afternoon and went to Japadog for a late lunch. Ate at the Robson/Richards storefront and I had the Okonomi (kurobuta pork sausage with bonito flakes). Really great, esp. since I'm a sucker for bonito flakes.

                                            Took the Canada Line to the Landsdowne stop and went to Alexandra St. to Michigan Noodle House. No kidding when Greyelf mentioned that Alexandra is also known as "Eat Street". All restaurants and, what do you know, there's a Four Points Sheraton on it, too! As for Michigan, wow... one of the best wonton noodle soups I've had in a long time. The wontons in their traditional wonton soup is all shrimp, but they do have a "shrimp and pork dumpling" that looked like a larger wonton. The broth was perfect, pungent and garnished with a small pinch of garlic chives. Noodles were toothsome and plentiful.

                                            Mr. Geeky had the pepper/black bean stirfry beef with chow fun. Lots of freshly grated peppercorn and delicious sauce. We also ordered the fried fish with sweet and sour sauce, a favorite HK cafe dish of ours. Fish was perfectly fried and the sauce tangy.

                                            The downside is that their menu only has the noodles (soup and fried), congee, and fried rice in English. None of the entrees were in English, so I pointed out the fried fish dish at the next table and said, "We'd like that." My Cantonese is pretty decent, but it we thought we caught a curious look or two at Mr. Geeky, who isn't Asian. Hilariously, they put the obligatory (but unnecessary) fork in his noodles.

                                            Fabulous meal and I certainly wish I had more stomach space (and for those years of Chinese school to have stuck) to try more dishes.

                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: geekyfoodie

                                              Can't wait to hear about the rest of your trip. I'm an SD local looking to head up there later this year. I'm glad meal one was a success!

                                              Thanks in advance for your reviews.

                                              1. re: daimyo

                                                I'm always impressed when visitors "post as they go" and also glad that your first couple of forays were successful. Thanks for confirming the traditional wonton soup at Michigan is all shrimp. It was our own fmed from whom I stole the name Eat Street, BTW :-).

                                                1. re: daimyo

                                                  Hey Daimyo! Yeah, Vancouver's a different breed from SD when it comes to food. Go to Bo's. Go to a food court. Go get some wonton noodle soup. Oh, and bring Lipitor. Go to the gym A LOT before you leave. Plan to stay longer than three days. :) And listen to the Van 'Hounds... they won't lead you astray.

                                                2. re: geekyfoodie

                                                  Thanks for the report geekyfoodie!

                                                  Good to know that Michigan is 100% Shrimp Wonton, will have to move Michigan up on my list of places to go.

                                                  A place to consider for non-Asian snack/lunch is Re-Up the food cart located near the Olympic countdown clocks on the Georgia side of the Art Gallery. I tried it yesterday and they serve a very tasty Pull Pork sandwich. Just get there early as I think they are going to be very popular.

                                                3. Wow... you guys have something special in Bo King Laksa. Mr. Geeky and I had a great dinner there tonight (much needed after hours of walking around Van) and the food was pretty awesome. Spectacular, really. Plus, we had a chance to chat with Bo and he's really great. I can only say that I hope he continues doing what he's doing for a very long time.

                                                  The tea leaf salad was delicious, with crisp cabbage and fresh tomato. Bo was telling us the tea leaves have been fermenting for 6 years, served along beans that were crisped (I thought it was puffed rice) to an airy crunchiness, and peanuts. The laksa was fabulous... everything from the noodles to the fish balls to the shrimp and bean curd were perfectly cooked. The soup was extremely flavorful with a little kick (I pulled out the sliced chiles that were on top... yeah, I wimped out). The satay was delightful, served with raw cucumber slices and sticky rice. Perfect for piling everything on a cuke slice and dunking it in the wonderful peanut sauce. Roti canai was perfect... wish I had room to try the condensed-milk-for-dunking version, too. Mr. Geeky really enjoyed his Thai basil chicken fried rice, but what we both enjoyed was meeting Bo and his staff. They were really nice and accomodating and they seemed to really enthusiastically connect with their customers. Bo mentioned a Chowdown on the 28th (so jealous!) and he was delighted that I'd heard about him from y'all on the web.

                                                  Random note: they're using non-disposable flatware/dishes now. Thought I'd mention since I'd read on a previous thread that they're using plasticware.

                                                  His laksa capped a few days of noodle perfection. In Seattle, I had an amazing bun mang vit (duck noodle soup). Wonton noodle soup at Michigan. And, of course, the jajeungmien at Crystal Mall's Northern Meixi stand. I had a wireless signal in the food court and found one of Fmed's threads on it and I had to have the jajeungmien, because it's a favorite that I don't find in So Cal. The woman who run the stand is really sweet and I watched her stretch the noodles to order. Mr. Geeky and I split an order of XLB from Wang's. Good stuff... super soupy, very tasty. I definitely with I had more time to sample all of the XLB from all of the purveyors in Van, but that's another trip. Pudding milk tea from Tea Plus capped off the visit.

                                                  Went to Refuel last night and another great noodle dish: their handmade gnocchi, drenched (and I mean DRENCHED) in butter, fava beans, Pecorino, and scallions. I also ordered the roasted marrow, rich and served with toasted bread. The fresh tomatoes, lightly brined cucumbers, and pickled onions were great accompaniments, along with a little dish of sea salt to bring out the flavors in the marrow. Mr. Geeky wants to make sure that I note that their burger's probably one of the best he's ever had. Dry-aged ground beef, cheese, bacon, and mayo on a super-fresh bun.

                                                  Mr. Geeky: I'm glad they don't bother putting crap like lettuce and tomatoes on a perfectly good burger. Hey, did you notice the only condiment on this is mayonnaise?

                                                  Great neighborhood joint... one we'd visit often if we lived in the area.

                                                  Caffe Artigiano serves a great cup. My one quibble is no wireless. Normally, I wouldn't care, but coffee shops have been invaluable sources of wireless. Oh, and there's free wireless at Bo's, too.

                                                  Granville Island was a lot of fun to walk around in. Breakfast was donuts at Lee's Donuts and coffee from Blue Parrot. Raspberries from one of the stands. GIsle Brewery was also pretty decent... we had a taster of three beers. Very decent, albeit not as big as the SD beers I'm used to.

                                                  Well, I actually made it through most of my list. We're headed to Whistler tomorrow and might try to do dimsum at Kirin and hit up Sweet Obsession on our way out. I'll let y'all know how it goes. Thanks again for everything!

                                                  -----
                                                  Crystal Mall
                                                  4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                                                  Tea Plus
                                                  4500 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H2A9, CA

                                                  3 Replies
                                                  1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                    So glad you are doing so well and hitting many high spots! Don't laugh, but I actually feel bad when nice posters like you come along, we give advice and then the restos don't pan out for whatever reason.

                                                    Just a note that Sweet Obsession will package your dacquoise of choice to go :-). Get the lemon if you make it by there -- they trim it with candied lemon peel that is to die for.

                                                    1. re: grayelf

                                                      I totally know what you mean about recs not working out, but no worries in my case... I have not been led astray!

                                                      I saw your post just as I consumed a mouthful of dacquoise. I brought it up to Whistler with me, but the poor cake suffered from me tipping the box. Eep! Even on its side, it's awesome. Truly lovely meringue made with almond meal... very light and airy, yet rich with almond. The candied lemon peel is perfect. Their peanut butter mousse cake is also pretty fabulous. I love peanut butter and you really can't go wrong when it's made into a mousse. I was thinking that Sweet Obsession might be out of the way (and I didn't want to trouble you with a trip out there!), but we ended up needing a lunch stop on the way out of the city and having a car made the detour much easier.

                                                      Went to Kirin Seafood Restaurant for lunch. Great dimsum... that kind of quality's hard to find in LA (which has lots of good, not great, dimsum) and unheard of in SD. Two people won't order enough to do their menu justice, but Mr. Geeky and I are especially fixed in our routine when it comes to dimsum. Rice noodle rolls (cherng fun), BBQ pork buns, shrimp dumplings (har gow), shrimp/pork dumplings (siu mai), egg tarts. The man who took our order was shocked to hear that we wanted the basics, including three types of cherng fun (beef for Mr. Geeky, shrimp for me, and ja kwai... the Chinese cruller wrapped in rice noodle roll... they do it well, topped with bonito flakes). Sorry, buddy... we have our favorites. :)

                                                      Two complaints: Egg tarts weren't ready until 12:30, just when we paid our bill (got there at 11:15 b/c we were worried about crowds). One very helpful server remembered my request for them, but he was shot down by another one who pointed out that we just paid. Mr. Geeky said my look of dismay was priceless. If the egg tarts were on par with the rest of the dishes, I'm sure they are pretty fantastic. The other complaint was that we were offered just jasmine tea when it was clear there were other types present.

                                                      Here in Whistler, we went to the Whistler Brewhouse for dinner. I'd read on another BC thread that it had really good spaghetti bolognese. It didn't disappoint, making this one of the best noodle runs (6 dishes so far!) I've had in a long time. Beers were drinkable... my Red Truck Ale was fine and Mr. Geeky's Lifty Lager was kind of bland. Our server was a perfectly pleasant guy, but kept us waiting for a while b/c of flirting with a loud and very drunk bachelorette party. I don't like to wait, but maybe I wanted him to tell me, like those other girls, that I couldn't possibly be in my late 20s. Hehe.

                                                      1. re: geekyfoodie

                                                        Glad to hear you enjoyed the offerings from SO so much. My problem is that whenever I go I end up getting the dacquoise because I know it is so good (speaking of ordering routines). I have tried quite a few other things though via stealing bites off DCs' plates :-). Haven't tried the PB mousse cake yet though. Their toffee pudding is pretty great too.