We have returned from our amazing trip to British Columbia! Though it was only five days long, we packed a ton of adventure into those few days! Everyone was so nice, the weather was incredible, and Marshall got to check a lot of “firsts” of his list (his first taxi ride ever, his first time in Canada, his first time on ice skates…). Sidenote: it was also our first time using the same public restroom at the same time. Imagine?! We both survived to tell about it. Take note, USA.
ANYWAY, We spent 2.5 days in Vancouver & North Vancouver, and 2.5 days in Victoria & Oak Bay, on Vancouver Island. We hiked (a ton), saw awesome stuff, relaxed plenty (while also applying for all of the jobs, and I also presented at a conference…naturally), and we. freakin’. ate. Of course, we snacked plenty on the easy & delicious powerballs that I wrote about before we left to keep our energy up and save a few bucks (& I did myself a HUGE SOLID by leaving a bag full in the freezer for our empty wallet & grocery-less return home), but we still ate PLENTY.
Below are just a select few of the amazing things we ate in Downtown Vancouver, Granville Island & North Vancouver (a Vancouver Island post will follow!), because, if I don’t photograph it a million times and write about it, did I even eat it?! I also resisted posting 8000 pictures on the internet (truly!) of every single thing I ate by telling myself I’d write about it later. You’re welcome. Okay, here it goes. Just a few of my very favorite Vancouver food&beverage spots:
A much needed caffeine hit (okay, several caffeine hits):
I’m not gonna lie to you, much of the coffee we had in Vancouver was sort of terrible. BUT, there were a couple spots definitely worth mentioning.
Take Five Cafe: there are several of these throughout Vancouver, and I can see why they’ve gotten pretty popular. The coffee was delicious and the vibe was great, too. Marshall went back for a cup while I was presenting at an anthropology conference and also got me one of their chocolate croissants to sample (you know, for blog research). It. was. awesome.
JJ Bean: the first spot for JJ Bean’s first location was on Granville Island (which is why they’re allowed to have a spot in the very cool Public Market – more on that magical oasis of eating later). They do all french press style coffee, and are very serious about their beans. The result is pretty darn good coffee.
Pre-hockey apps and cocktails:
Chambar: Okay, so the first very cool thing about this place was that Julia Stiles was there (true story), but the food and amazing cocktails only made it better from there! We stopped here before a Vancouver Canucks game because it looked coooool and was pretty close to the arena. I’m so glad we stopped! The cocktails were all freshly made and really interesting, and they had a variety of moules frites (mussles and, yes, french fries) on their menu – several creative flavor combos and different ways of preparing the mussles. We opted for a butter & white wine base with some bacon thrown in there for good measure. Marshall got a very trendy sparkling bourbon cocktail, and I got a gin martini infused with fig and served with blue cheese (which my husband asserted made me very, very fancy). Everything was delicious, the space was gorgeous, and we had a wonderful time! We sat right at the bar and had great conversation with the bartenders, too. Definitely recommend this spot for some “civilized debauchery” (a tagline that doubles for a life motto, am I right?)
Fuel for the mountains:
Browns Socialhouse: Before we headed out to one of our hiking excursions, we stopped off at Browns Socialhouse for some snacks. This place had a great vibe, really fresh food (especially because it’s a local franchise), and a super interesting menu. Naturally, we started with some poutine, because, duh. Marshall had some prawn street tacos, and I had a soup/salad combo featuring wonton soup (with corn in it!) and a “cowboy salad” with feta, edamame, black beans, walnuts, figs, and a honey lime dressing. It was a very weird salad combo, I won’t lie to you, but it worked! This menu had all kinds of asian/tex mex vibes going on, and it was worrrrrking. They also had a great selection of local beers, which, naturally, we checked out.
Mountaintop hot cocoa (because, obviously):
Grouse Grind Coffee Bar: We had an incredible day up on Grouse Mountain. All the hipster travel blogs told us to skip it, but I am so glad we didn’t. The whole day was filled with adventure after adventure, the weather was incredibly gorgeous, and we certainly worked up an appetite. We stopped off at the Grouse Grind Coffee Bar for some hot chocolate and pastries, and it did not disappoint one bit. The views were spectacular, and the hot chocolate was the best I’ve ever had. Super chocolaty but deep and dark and not too sweet, and topped with just the right amount of fresh cream. Sorry, I’m drooling a little. Anyway, I highly recommend the adventure AND the hot chocolate.
Drinking like a local:
Granville Island Brewing Co.: The beer! The. Beer. We had some truly delicious beer in BC. Granville Island Brewing was a fun spot and had a great selection of light beers, pale ales, and a few fun surprises! There wasn’t a whole lot of interesting variety in the beer options we had, I’ll admit (I love a good, fancy sour or porter), but the beers we did have were delicious!
*Literally* everything else:
Granville Island Public Market: This. Place. Was. The. Coolest. Granville Island in itself is a must see. You can’t visit Vancouver without checking this place out (in fact, it’s a major tourist hotspot in Canada, second only to Niagra Falls!). The Public Market is no exception. It’s full of amazing vendors selling food, fresh produce, handmade items, and everything from charcuterie to chocolate to coffee. It was a foodie’s dream. All of the vendors have to have had their original location on Granville Island, so even the “chains” (like JJ Bean) originated right here. We got to sample local coffee, a HUGE variety of cured meats (elk salami, y’all. It’s a thing), locally made cheese, bread, locally sourced produce, the most amazing chai I’ve ever tasted, and DONUTS. Super hot, super fresh donuts. The chai was a surprising highlight – it was the best I’ve ever had. Super flavorful black tea combined with a mix made of dried milk powder, sugar, and allll of the spices. PLUS, they put a little butter in there for good measure. DELIGHTFUL.
We ate so many delicious bites, and then walked all around the market and bought cheese (goat cheese aged in ash. What?), local preserves, freshly baked bread, some amazing chocolates and some local Canadian ice wine to bring to our hotel in Victora. Well, actually, I started taking that french baguette straight to the face while we sat on the ferry to Vancouver Island. Some of it made it, though! We also came back to the U.S. with Granville Island Tea Co.’s homemade chai mix. Such a good choice.
Bonus: see the market with Vancouver Foodie Tours! We got a gift certificate for the tour as a wedding gift (from my super awesome friend, former professor, all around definition of #lifegoals), and it couldn’t have been more perfect. We had a great experience with our tour guide and the lovely folks on our tour. They even gave us a few extra goodies since it was our honeymoon! You should do allll of the food tours in allll of the cities, always.
So, that was Vancouver! We had an amazing time, and I didn’t think I could love a single place more…until, of course, we made it to Victoria. I can’t wait to share all our Victoria eats with you next!
Keep traveling & eating,