Vancouver Diaries: Epicurean Escapades

One of the best thing about traveling is that one can eat out without feeling guilty.

To many cultures the above statement would make no sense. But any middle-class Indian would understand. As a nation, we are opposed to eating out. Frequenting restaurants is seen as an evil activity that leads to poor health of both you and your bank account. Unfortunately, I not only enjoy different cuisines, but also enjoy fine dining. Nevertheless, if I eat out more than two-three times in a week, I go guilt-tripping; as it is I am the only Indian in my workplace who does not get packed lunch.

When I go traveling, I enjoy guilt-free binges and I OD-ed in Vancouver. It becomes crucial that I chronicle my epicurean escapades. Here goes:

The Bellaggio Cafe: Arguably the best meal we had together during my stay in Vancouver. It was a Sunday morning and we walked around the downtown, stopping to look at anything remotely interesting. When the stomachs started grumbling, we found ourselves on the Hornby Street, which is lined with all kinds of restaurants. What caught our attention was a special breakfast hoarding outside. And God, did we make the right choice! I ordered a Latino Fritata and some freshly brewed coffee. My omelette came sprinkled with herbs and accompanied by spicy salsa. The husband ordered the Bellaggio breakfast, complete with bacon, ham, and eggs. The place offered great value for money and the breakfast kept us going until early evening without another bite.

Don Francesco: It was late in the evening; I was tired of all the site seeing I had perused all day and the husband was exhausted after work. We decided to eat just across the street, at a very fancy-looking Italian restaurant. Stepping in, we handed over our coats to the host and I was immediately bewitched by their monumental wine collection and its impressive display. We dined on spaghetti carbonara a la roman and penne al pomodoro e basilico, with some cabernet sauvignon to go with it. The food was brilliant and the experience worth the steep bill that followed. Not a place I could visit regularly, but definitely some place I would recommend for a cozy romantic dinner.

Cactus Club Cafe: A local British Columbian café that was recommended by the tourist guide, hotel brochure, and the local TV channel as an affordable luxury. We walked into the nearest one on the Burrard Street one evening, and were greeted by a strikingly sexy hostess. One quick look around made us realize that she was not an exception but the rule of the café. A few quick google searches on our return to the hotel room told me that the USP of this café is hot hostesses. But do not let this little thing take anything away from the fact that place serves delish grub. I ordered a portabello mushroom fajita, while the husband gorged on rob’s hunter chicken that came with loads of potatoes. I also sipped some of their signature cocktail – the brazilian. An exotic mix of kiwi, lime, sugarcane, and rum with some soda. The place kept its promise of being affordable, and left us completely confused regarding how to judge the price by the looks of a restaurant.

Cincin: We had believed that we splurged at Don Francesco until we stepped in Cincin. Hugely recommended by every article on eating out in Vancouver, we found ourselves without choice when it came to dining here. We were greeted by an amazingly charming hostess, whose curly mop of hair and bright smile is still stamped in my head. It did not take us long to realize that one visits such a place only to celebrate an occasion and we quickly decided to call our dinner an early Valentine’s Day celebration, as we would not be together on the 14th anyway. After much deliberation, I chose their wild + cultivated bc mushroom risotto, and the husband ordered their arctic char filet along with some of their award winning red (yeah, they apparently win something called Gold Glass Award every alternate year). Since we had decided this was a special dinner, we followed it up with dessert that they stylishly call dolci – amarena cherry creme burlee for me and caramelized apple tart for the husband. The bill that followed put all our previous bills combined to shame, but that is another story. The hostess with charming smile also managed to get a good tip, of course. What to do, she was great at her job!

The Sandbar: Situated on the enchanting Granville island, it caught my eye the first time I went there. Later, on a Vancouverite’s recommendation we decided to lunch there on my last day of the trip. Popular for its seafood, the place is offers a great selection of tapas, woks, soups and salads and more. All this in the great ambiance and overlooking the ocean. We got a wonderful view from our corner, and luckily the February sun obliged us that day, making it a happier lunch. I lunched lightly on the sandbar big salad, while the husband tried the Asian lettuce wraps. But the highlight of our meal were the drinks – mimosa to die for. Such was the lingering taste of the drink that I can close my eyes right now and distinctly recollect it. A place I would definitely revisit if I had a chance.

Do not let this list fool you into thinking that I have changed overnight into a gourmet. Regardless of utterly enjoying each of these experiences, the happiest foodie memory I have brought back is that of the taco at different Taco Time outlets and caramel latte at Tim Hortons. Ah, that coffee and wow those $3.50 tacos!


2 Responses to “Vancouver Diaries: Epicurean Escapades”

  1. U had a lovely time dining out 🙂 I am waiting to begin my food fiesta very soon!

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