Great food and coffee weekend in Vancouver--report.
Hello fellow hounds.
As the regulars around here know, I often make recommendations about Victoria dining but seldom wade into the commentary on Vancouver. This is because I get to Vancouver only twice a year and usually have social obligations there that interfere with my culinary wish-list.
This weekend my sweetie and I spent a full weekend in the city and thankfully had lots of opportunity to try places about which we have been reading for years but have never had the chance to visit.
We arrived on Friday mid-afternoon, checked into our hotel, and immediately hoofed it up Davie to La Brasserie. While not the most adventurous choice, we were famished, not really having eaten yet on this day, and La Brasserie seemed like the place where we could fill the caloric void quickly.
I ordered the steak sandwich with the delicious fried egg on top. L ordered the burger. Both were great. I loved runny egg yolk in my steak sandwich. The steak itself was tender and had great deep flavour. The fries were good and the house ketchup with anise and garlic aioli were good too. L enjoyed her burger but she liked mine better. I appreciated the solid import beer selection, too. Only glitch was in service when my wife's second glass of wine was forgotten until her meal was almost finished. This sort of thing happens.
The price was fair--$14 for my steak sandwich and $15 for my wife's burger meal. Not really that much different than typical gastropub prices. Also, must say the bun they use for their sandwiches is one of the best I have ever tasted.
Friday evening we met friends in Burnaby at Alvin Garden. Fantastic meal, probably the best Chinese cuisine I have ever tasted (not saying much given the limited choices here on the Island). I wrote down all of your favourites from previous chowdowns. Dongping fish soup, hunan pickles, beef with 5 spice, garlic bolts with smoked Hunan pork, smoked Hunan duck, and green beans with minced pork were all great. I especially loved the duck and the garlic bolt/pork dishes. Service was friendly and assertive (the server instructed us that we must order either the beef or chicken with 5 spice to go with the pickles). If I lived in the city I would be a regular at this spot.
Saturday morning we had breakfast at Habit on Main. Not really my favourite spot. Okay breakfasts, but my huevos were fairly bland. My wife's perogies were better. The place was dead at 9 am when we arrived, and never really got going. Strange. Vancouver does not seem like much of a breakfast town. Best I have had by a country mile was Medina's about a year ago.
Had coffees at JJ Bean and Kafka's. Kafka was great. My wife had a drip coffee and I had an Americano. Wonderful flavours. This place should be a hit. Afterward, at the direction of the barista, we went into the back behind Kafka and sampled some sausages at D-Sausage company. Fantastic charcuterie. I think the tastings at D-Sausage are on Saturdays only and are somewhat "under the radar."
We were helping set up for our friend's 50th in the afternoon so did not grab lunch. For dinner we snagged a table at Blue Water right at 5 (we did not have a reso and had to be back to the B-Day at 7). I really enjoyed my meal here. The ambience seemed a bit impersonal, and I hated the generic electronic muzac the restaurant was playing, but the food was great. Started with the pink swimming scallops and moved onto the spinach with lemon and pinenuts (my favourite spinach preparation ever) and the green beans. We went strictly raw bar for our mains. We shared an assorted nigiri platter and a few rolls (the dungeness crab role and the dynamite role). The presentation was minimalist but effective and the food was fresh and delicious. The wine selection was great--ordered some cocktails and a half-bottle of Zind-Humbrecht Herr de Turkheim riesling 2005. Finished our meals with a pear tatin. Service was graceful, efficient and genuine. I think it was just too big a room for my taste and in too trendy a neighbourhood.
This morning we went to Elysian room AND 49th parallel roasters for coffees. I did the americano taste-test comparison. Preferred Elysian room, but part of that response may have been influenced by factors such as decor and ambience. I found 49th Parallel to be too small, too loud, and far too brightly lit. Can't knock the coffee, though.
Back on the Island now. Can't wait to get back to your gastronomically blessed city and visit Saravana Bhavan, Bo Laksa King, Judas Goat, La Buca, and a whole host of other lauded eateries.
La Buca Restaurant
4025 MacDonald St, Vancouver, BC V6L2N8, CA
1091 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E1M5, CA
4850 Imperial St, Burnaby, BC V5J, CA
Bo Laksa King
4910 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R, CA
never tried La Braserrie's lunch or brunch menu. but will now that you mention it. my meals have here have been pretty good overall. never had a problem with the service. i'd enjoyed most of my meals here.
the garlicbolt/bacon dish is delish for sure.
next time on main st. for brunch try Crave.
my last breakfast at cafe medina was just allright it wasnt as good as the first few time. though the belgian waffles was still as good. though i do love the uniqueness of the items they have for brunch/lunch.
Drip coffee seems to be popular. I dont get it. Maybe Fmed or Tangent can explain the popularity. But I do like Elysian.
thanks again for the post...