My partner and I took a road trip across the border into Canada this weekend, for an early anniversary getaway to Vancouver. Next to Paris, it’s one of my favorite cities in the world, and I was thrilled to experience it together.
We stayed at the Worldmark, The Club resort, the Canadian, on Hornby Street, which was the perfect location for exploring downtown on foot. These condos are beautifully appointed, and the view of the city from the 19th floor is dazzling. We were lucky enough to have sunny, blue skies while we were in Vancouver, and enjoyed the views of the nearby mountains over breakfast.
The weather was cold, but crisp and beautiful. Our first evening we visited the Orpheum Theater to see Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Matt Dilahunty. The event was great, and went by all too quickly. All three men are amazingly intelligent and well-spoken, and I love the familiar camaraderie between them.
The Orpheum is an absolutely gorgeous setting for any show, and I had no idea such a gem existed in Vancouver. My pictures really don’t do it justice, so if you get the chance to visit, I highly recommend it. We spent Friday and Saturday exploring Vancouver on foot. We had no particular destinations in mind, other than finding the steam-powered clock. I find steam-powered machinery to be fascinating, and this piece was both beautiful and functional.Afterwards, we took a friend’s recommendation and headed to Elephant and Castle for a hearty lunch. We shared poutine with the works, the stuffed Yorkshire pudding, and the London cheesesteak – with a Guinness, of course. It was all good, but I’m still daydreaming over the Yorkshire pudding and roast beef. On Saturday we made a visit to the Vanouver Art Gallery to see Portrait of the Artist: An Exhibition from the Royal Collection. There were some standout pieces in the exhibit, including astonishingly detailed miniatures and a sketch of Leonardo da Vinci. They did a wonderful job of placing related images next to each other so you could see how different artists had handled the same subjects, sometimes in amusing ways. I especially loved the grouping of sketches of Maria Cosway. One grouping showed three sketches by her husband, Richard, along with a caricature by Bartolozzi. A separate sketch was a self-portrait, and shows strength, determination, and self-confidence that are lacking in the men’s sketches.
Both the museum and the Harris/Dawkins talk gave us much to discuss on our trip, which is one of my favorite ways of spending time together. I love being able to share our ideas and gain new perspectives from each other. Being inspired, uplifted, and challenged by a deep conversation is such a great way to connect with someone, so I can’t think of a better way to celebrate our anniversary. Of course, we also made time for our yearly tradition – plenty of good Scotch and bacon!
During one of our afternoon rambles, I was delighted to find that there was a Ladurée in Vancouver – actually, Wade saw it first! He didn’t recognize the name, but knew it was a window I would like – though I think I surprised him by how excited I got.
I don’t know how I managed to miss the news that a location had opened in Vancouver, but I’m glad to know I don’t need to go as far as Paris to get my fix. I immediately rushed in and bought macarons for dessert. We sampled Dark Cherry, Lemon, Chocolate-Cassis, and Cognac. The chocolate-cassis breaks my “rule” about fruit and chocolate together, but it was wonderful.
We also wandered into the Second Floor Eatery and Bar for happy hour. I loved their Vancouver Gin & Tonic, with thyme, tarragon, mint, and artisnal tonic. They also had a pretty amazing gourmet hot dog loaded with caramelized onions, dijon, and beer cheese. So, so good.
We sampled quite the range of foods on this trip – British, French, Indian, Greek, Turkish/German (a combination which cracks me up), and Portuguese. We had great meals at each place, but there are two I really wish I could bring home with me.
Döner Stop was fresh, flavorful, and someplace I would happily pick up take out on a regular basis. I had no idea there was such a thing as Berlin-style Turkish street food, but I like it. The other new favorite was, surprisingly, Nando’s. We went in mostly as a joke, since it gets mentioned so frequently. We had no idea it was actually as good as it is. The peri-peri spinach, with perfectly sautéed spinach, onions, and fresh tomato in their magical sauce was delicious. I’ll definitely be trying to recreate that one at home.
We headed home Sunday, happy and full after a weekend of sampling all this food and plenty of interesting conversations. It was a good thing we also walked miles each day! It was the perfect romantic getaway, and we’re already looking forward to our next trip. We even started a list of foods we didn’t get to try – like the intriguing Japadog.
Do you have any favorite places to recommend for our next trip to Vancouver? I’d love to see them in the comments!