- Vancouver is a city that truly understands and respects sustainability for the sake of itself, and not because it's chic. I fell in love with the place when we went to Granville Island, potentially the most touristy spot in the city, and found the following dumpster:
Silly? I don't think so. Truth is, I wish there was a composting bin at the Ferry Building. Hell, maybe there is, but they aren't all over the place like they are here, making it easy for the farmers to pitch in at their convenience. Oh, and also? There's a stall at the Granville Island Public Market which serves up the tastiest Cornish Pasties this side of the Atlantic.
- Lumiere, Rob Feenie's restaurant in Vancouver, has not been getting amazing reviews for naught. So far this year, it is the best meal we've had, including phenomenal wine pairings. Standout dishes?
- White & Green Asparagus with morel blanquette and a poached organic free range egg
- Kaffir Lime-poached Halibut with Local Spot Prawn and Coconut Curry Broth
- Le Plateau de Fromages. - Know why? Because the Canadians aren't neurotic about unpasteurized soft cheeses. Which means that we ate REAL EPOISSES. Which stank so good, you don't even know.
- Omakase at Tojo's... C's been here a number of times, but since his last visit, Tojo's has moved to a much larger space with some 12 or so seats at the Omakase Bar. This was an AWESOME meal, with a ridiculously entertaining chef, but with ultimately less raw fish than you might expect if you read the online reviews.
- This is a great place for uni (sea urchin). It was fresh, flavorful, and of perfect texture
- Make friends with Tojo-san, pour him (and his sous-chef, to whom he refers as the "second best sushi chef in the world") a couple glasses of sake, and you'll be treated like royalty.
- See number 2, and hope that he pulls out the big tub of home-marinated seaweed in dashi. If you're lucky, he might scoop some into a shot glass, then top that with an oyster and mountain potato puree. When you do it as a shot, you'll understand the very meaning of umami. You'll bow to the brilliance of the whole damn thing.
- When Tojo realizes that you have a hollow leg (and that you might eat him out of house and home), he'll mention that a particular dish is "a great way to end your meal". You might think this rude, until you realize just how much you've eaten for your fixed price meal. But, he won't leave you hanging. That last dish might be an unbelievable big-eye tuna loin, wrapped in seaweed with a light dusting of panko flour, and deep-friend until the center is still perfectly rare but warm. You might not think this is possible until you've eaten it. It is, and it's maybe the second-best use of a deep fryer in the world. (For the record, the first would be fried chicken. Which I did NOT eat in Vancouver. Duh).
- As you're walking covetously towards Cartier on Howe Street, you might realize that you're really hungry. And that they don't open until 10am (hopefully, you won't wonder why you're thinking about bling this early in the day).
So you might ask around, and be directed towards Scoozi's, an itsy-bitsy joint for the office crowd downtown. Grab a seat at an outside table and enjoy a cup of coffee with steamed milk (served tableside to your taste) while you wait for your breakfast.
When Michael tells you they're well-known for their yogurt, you'll believe him and tuck into a bowl of the best -- and I mean better than fresh Persian -- yogurt with fresh seasonal fruit drizzled with local British Columbian honey.
husfriend as he grabs for a nibble beyond his sanctioned slice.
The other thing that I realize as I go through the pictures of our Vancouver trip is that the skyline somehow reminds me of Tehran's. I wonder if that isn't part of the reason it feels so close to home for me. I'm really not exaggerating, you see, when I say that I would move here in a heartbeat, given the chance.
And also? If I could take a moment to get all schmoopy-poopy-sappy on you?
I have this uncle. He's maybe my favorite person in the whole world. I adore him in ways that make me cry when I think of him, because I didn't see him for 20 years before this weekend. I hadn't ever met his wife or his son -- people who, sight unseen, were were as dear as life to me. Jamshid taught me how to ride a bike, he taught me about music, he taught me that sometimes life hands you lemons, and you learn to make lemonade. Now he lives just two hours from me after two decades where he lived in Iran and I lived here. When we saw each other, we literally RAN the length of the street that separated us. It was like something in a slow-motion movie.
Daiee Joon, I've missed you painfully. I'm so sorry we didn't see more of each other this weekend. I can't wait to see you and N and M again next month. I can't wait to spend time with this beautiful family you've made, and my little cousin who is the smartest kid I've ever met. I love you!!!