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The Vancouver Stop-Over

By The Gremotraveler

For the foodie-traveller who simply love to spoil themselves, a stop-over in Vancouver is like manna from heaven. The city is bursting at the seams these days in anticipation of the 2018 Winter Olympics and the restaurant scene is booming. Everywhere you look, a new restaurant is opening with no expense spared. However, the classics are still a good bet for Vancouver virgins. After a night flight, wake up early and hit the pavement or sea wall to build up an appetite. If you are stopping over on a weekend, be sure to catch the brunch menu at Glowbal (1079 Mainland Street) over in Yaletown. When it comes to brunch, they have mastered the art hands-down. Everything has a unique West Coast spin, from the fried potatoes with peppers to the waiters circling with constantly flowing Mimosas. After a long flight, this is exactly what your body needs. After a leisurely brunch, hit the streets of Yaletown to check out the unique shops and nearby celebrity hang-outs like Sanafir (1026 Granville Street).

If you are coming from the East Coast, be sure to make lunch your big meal focus - your stomach will appreciate it. No trip to Vancouver is complete without lunch at Raincity Grill (1193 Denman Street). Open since 1992, Raincity Grill has become a fixture in the West End, capturing the essence of Vancouver in food, wine and atmosphere. They focus on BC-grown ingredients and their wine list is pure Northwest. You won't find any French, Italians or Australian vintages here, with the exception of Chef Peter Roberston, a native of Down Under.

By focusing solely on wines from British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and California, Raincity can offer a wider variety of styles, producers and vintages from within each region - wines an international wine list might miss. This philosophy gives patrons the chance to taste, together, the wines and food of a great gastronomic region. The selection of wines is pleasantly surprising and a true eye-opener to those who are new to wines from the Pacific Northwest. One gem is the Mystic Wines Columbia Valley 2001 Merlot, a classic with wild blackberry and vanilla oak spice lending mature fruit flavours to the soft yet solid balance and lingering finish. Mystic Wines was started in Oregon by Rick Mafit in 1992. Rick spent the 80's making wine in California's Sonoma and Mendocino counties and came north eager to find sites where big flavor reds would thrive. After scouring the state he found The Dalles region (Columbia Valley) in the Columbia Gorge near the Washington Border. This area has a longer growing season and the heat necessary to fully ripen Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Barbera, and Zinfandel varieties.

After lunch, head over to Granville Island and check out the public market, the walk will do you good after lunch. The true-feel of the Northwest is present here, especially on a day with a cool crisp Pacific breeze. Check out the Artisan Sake Maker, the first boutique premium sake winery in Canada. Producing his wines in small lots several times a year, proprietor Masa Shiroki aspires to create new styles of sake that are in concert with the seasons and complement the seasonal flavours of local west coast foods.

On the way back to downtown, be sure to stop by C Restaurant (1600 Howe Street), one of Vancouver's top seafood institutions. While you may not be ready for dinner after to food experiences in less than 12 hours (make reservations for your next visit instead), be sure to check out their specialty products including sea salts, crackers, and BC Smoked Salmon. If you can only choose one item, then I recommend the C Smoked Sea Salt ($7.99-12.99). This distinctively flaky English sea salt is cold smoked over Beachwood resulting in an aromatic, flavourful seasoning. The delicate flakes dissolve faster and are superb for finishing grilled meats and seafood, or a delectable smoked flavour to potatoes and eggs.

It seems like Vancouver does everything just one step better, including the airport. You have to admit that an hour unwinding in a sophisticated cocktail lounge like the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel's Jetside Bar is certainly top-notch compared to a quick burger and a soda at most airports. Even if you are flying coach, you can still enjoy the soothing comfort of a "Private Jet", a cocktail made with Deluxe Grey Goose vodka with Remy Martin, a house specialty. After unwinding, simply glide to the gate, grab your face mask, and settle in for the flight home, or wherever else life takes you.


I love C, but what about Salt? It's awesome for a glass of wine and cured meat.
Post Reply By Nathan on 9/24/2008 8:36:39 PM

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