The best $13 I spent in Vancouver

I’ve been to Vancouver many times. In fact, I used to live there. I’ve done allllll the tourist (and local) activities. My favourite way to spend an afternoon still, after all these trips?  Ride a bike around the Seawall.

I headed to Spokes in West End, on the corner of Georgia and Denman to hire a cruiser to take me around Stanley Park. I was on limited time otherwise I would have done the entire Seawall and escaped over to Granville Island for lunch too!

I love the freedom of flying around Stanley Park on a cruiser. Crisp wind in your hair, sea air in your face. There’s a bunch of places to stop and admire (or if you’re like me, take a gazillion pics) and you’re getting in exercise at the same time!

I stopped for the totem poles (typical Canadian tourist), Third Beach,  under the Lions Gate Bridge and by the lagoon, which is one of my favorite views of Vancouver. If it’s your first time, try get around the entire seawall and also check out the Aquarium, Granville Island, Yaletown waterfront, Gastown (infamous clock), Canada Place (hello gelato) and Coal Harbour waterfront.

Did I mention it was only about $13? That was for approx 1.5hours.

I’ll be back again to visit next time!

 

 

Dumpling Trail Richmond – A Vacation For Your Mouth

A vacation for your mouth… I love that! Smart marketing campaign, Richmond BC!

A Dumpling Trail. Can you imagine my excitement when I came across it on Twitter? I still didn’t realise it was an actual campaign, I thought it was just some bloggers in Vancouver going to town with the dumplings and making up hashtags.

Then I found the website… I may have squealed with excitement. And just like that, I knew what I was doing the next day!

The website is a fantastic resource – there’s itineraries, maps, fast facts. It’s a hive of information and I wanted to devour it all! It was like they had created a marketing campaign just for me and luckily other people would enjoy it too.

I checked out the dumpling itineraries on the site and came up with my own. I’m a huge fan of Xiao Long Bao (XLB soup dumplings) which automatically added R&H Chinese to my list. I also can’t go past a spicy wonton option – those bad boys make my mouth water when they’re done right! Xi’an Cuisine was rumoured to have the best ones around so they went on the list. I had a third option too, Golden Sichuan for more spicy dumplings, water boiled ones. I never made it there though as I was so full! I recommend taking a friend so you can get through more dishes.

R&H Chinese is at Lansdowne Centre Food Court. you get off the skytrain and turn right (I turned left, oops – lucky I enjoy walking and the sun was shining) to head into the small foodcourt. You go around and around and end up in the food court. There there was a large line up for the outlet already, turns out there’s no secret that these are fab dumplings. It took all my willpower not to order a bunch of plates and just the XLB. You can watch the staff make the dumplings right in front of you by hand while you wait. The wait was worth it, the XLB was delicious and full of soup! The wrappers weren’t too thick or thin, the broth was flavorsome and steaming hot. Perfect!

I walked to my next spot, Xi’an Cuisine at Richmond Public Markets.  It’s a very unassuming place. You have no idea about the buzz on the inside from the outside. It’s a plain building, I thought I was in the wrong place! You enter, go up some stairs and come out in an open spaced hawker-style market, bustling with people and stalls and eateries. I ordered my spicy wontons (again, so many things I wanted to try) and waited, people watching. These are hands down the best spicy wontons I have eaten. And believe me, I have eaten soooo many spicy wontons! They were soft and silky with a delicious filling and the sauce, oh the sauce!!! I actually drank it from my spoon when I was finished. It was both spicy and sweet, not too hot though. I was in a very happy place right there.

A very happy place and a very full place. I couldn’t eat any more if I tried. That was the end of the dumpling trail for me unfortunately, although fortunately for my waistline.

Awesome tourism idea – I loved it and wish I had more time to sample the entire list of twenty!

Check out their website here and create your own dumpling trail – awesome day out for a group of friends who love those little parcels of goodness that we call dumplings.

Up & Away: Vancity, Caribbean, NYC & Hawaii

Well that snuck up quickly! I’m 40 minutes away from landing in Hawaii before I transit to Vancouver! I slept the entire flight (no surprises) and now I’m hoping to see whales out of my plane window – it never happens but I’m always hopeful.

I only booked this trip about three weeks ago, I knew I was going but took my sweet time booking it in.

I arrive in Vancouver on the 21st and I’m staying with my friends and working remotely until the 28th. Fortunately I don’t work Friday’s at Wiley anymore (I’m concentrating on my consulting that day) and there’s a public holiday thrown in the mix so it doesn’t make for too much work. My friends have a studio they work out of in Gastown so I spend my days working from there with them and working out where I should go for lunch and dinner. Spoiled for choice and I want to get to all my fave restaurants as well as try all the new ones!

This trip I don’t have many activities planned (other than eating) it’s all about spending time with my friends. We have plans to hike Joffre Lakes and I’m sure we will do some more hikes etc.

Next up, Caribbean! I’m spending six nights at a nice resort on the ridiculously good looking island of St Martin. I intend to sunbathe, chill and drink allllll the cocktails! Again not much planned (I’m working on relaxing here) but we will hire a car for a few days and explore the island. Hopefully get in lots of snorkeling. I can’t wait! Oh and St Barths is only a day trip away too.

Back to an old favourite after the Caribbean for three days, New York City, baby! My only plans here revolve around rooftop bars and food. There’s a Dumpling restaurant I want to visit (also the cheapest Michelin starred restaurant in the world) and a ramen place…

Then I fly to Hawaii. I booked flights to Maui however it’s 98% full and stupid exxy, plus I found out my good friend is in Waikiki so I thought I’d cancel my flights. Unfortunately I booked through a travel agent (I don’t usually) and to change that flight it would cost me $350 as they would have to reissue all my other flights. Ridiculous. With that in mind, my plan now is to head there for one night, do a day tour (road to Hana?) and fly back that night. I’d spend the next two nights in Waikiki with Nikita & Jake and fly back on the fourth to Brisbane.

Any hints, tips, places to eat, drink, shop or party on my travels?! I particularly would love some ideas for St Martin and Maui.

Peace from the sky!

Dinesty Dumpling House, Vancouver

Dinesty Dumpling House had been recommended to me by friends who used to live in Vancouver. I’m a big xiao long bao fan and apparently they have the best around.

Our table of two extended to become a table of five, I don’t think the wait staff were too pleased but it was great for me as there were more dishes I could try!
To start, pork xiao long bao & pork buns. Xiao long bao was on point. And super cheap, I could go there and just eat plates of them! The pork buns were quite oily and I wasn’t as sold on them. Much prefer to stick to the steam dumplings but you never know until you try!
Next round, scallop, prawn and squid stir fry with vegetables. I’ve been craving vegetables and this did the trick. Beautiful and fresh seafood and Veges with a simple white garlic sauce.

I sampled the basa sweet and sour which was full of flavour and beautifully cooked and also the homemade noodles which were silky and flavoursome.
When I left I was so full as I wanted to try everything! Definitely worth checking out. Great Chinese food at a reasonable price point.

Hot tip: arrive before 9.30pm even though they close at ten. Last orders are at about 9.25pm – I learnt the hard way.


Dinesty Dumpling House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vancouver Day 6

i was up early and in Kits for some business meetings. I met with my good friend Sunny and Tim for breakfast where we had awesome discussions about the future of food. 

Tim drove me to EA Games where my friend’s brother gave me an awesome tour. I was really lucky to get in and saw so many cool initiatives! I totally geeked out. They have a football field, basketball court, yoga studio, volley ball court, gym, gaming rooms and chill rooms and all over the show, they hold their meetings in cinemas and there’s dogs everywhere. It’s a very inspiring place and I loved how their branding and culture came to life around the facility. 

I met Amanda at a waterside cafe and we sipped mimosas, tapping away at our laptops for the rest of the arvo. 

We met some friends for dinner – Wednesday wings and took turns trying the hottest variety while Keanu the puppy wwat he’s on contentedlyon the path. 

   
    
    
    
    
    
   

Vancouver Day 5 

Soo I’m about two weeks behind here but I’ll try remember! 

We worked until check out then drove back from Harison Hot Springs to White Rock where we were hoping for some oysters. No luck – there was a red tide which had wiped them all out! Had some awesome mussels and tuna though. 

Back in Van I smashed out some more work then got ready for Diner en Blanc. Three years ago I did the PR for the event and Amanda and I had been invited to do it again. We were both keen to see where it would be and I just wanted to get dressed up and enjoy the atmosphere for a while. Lucky I ached a white dress – just in case.  

We helped with setup & soon enough the guests started flowing in. The event was held in Canada Place in downtown Vancouver and although it’s a pretty venue, I don’t think it flowed very well. Nonetheless it was a beautiful sight to see, as always. 

We drank a fair amount of red wine in the media tent (until they ran out) then cabbed to meet Bahram for dinner. I had the most incredible pasta at Yaletown Cactus Club. Butternut tortellini in burnt butter with poached prawns. OMG.