Thursday, November 21, 2013

Parents Visit + Touring Vancouver

This past weekend, David's parents came all the way from Massachusetts to visit us here in Vancouver! We had a packed weekend full of tourist-type activities and LOTS of amazzzzzzzzzing food. No, seriously. Did you see how many z's I put into the word "amazing"? The food was all really that good. So here's a little breakdown of our time very well-spent last weekend:


Tony and Pauline arrived in Vancouver mid-afternoon and settled into their room at the downtown Marriott hotel, where they stayed on the 28th floor and had an impressive view of downtown and the Coal Harbour/Gastown area. David and I met them at their hotel and the four of us walked a few blocks north to the waterfront and ate dinner at The Cactus Club Cafe. I've eaten at 3 different CCC's around the city and they're all completely lovely as far as I'm concerned. This time I ordered a roasted butternut squash soup that came with seared scallops, apple curry foam, and basil oil. (I just realized this is what I ordered the first time I went to CCC, way back in October 2012.) I also had a salad of seasonal greens with almonds, feta and a lemon-thyme vinaigrette. All yummy!

After dinner we walked around by the water, but it was quite cold and rainy and the view of North Vancouver wasn't too great, so we walked back to the Marriott to have a nightcap for an hour or so before Dave and I grabbed a cab back to our apartment. We don't "grab cabs" often at all - we usually walk or bus it everywhere - so this was a treat that we kind of indulged ourselves in all weekend long!


On Saturday we picked up T &P at their hotel in the morning and we drove north of the city to Squamish to show them some of the views along the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Again, it wasn't as clear as we were hoping, but we did get some patches where the clouds would part and show us a towering mountain peak or two:

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC
.  david admiring the mountains  .

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

From there we continued just north of Squamish to the town of Brackendale, where we stopped at a tourist viewing area for nesting bald eagles. It's apparently the home of one of the largest congregations of bald eagles in North America. We got to see an eagle up close right away - in a tree above us right as we were getting out of our car in the parking lot!

Bald eagle in a tree, Brackendale, BC

The eagle viewing area, known as Eagle Run, is atop a long dike with a stretch of the Squamish River between us and the eagles in the trees.

Eagle Run, Hatchery, Brackendale, BC

We probably ended up seeing around 15-20 eagles (and also a couple of seals!) that day. Apparently there'll be waaaay more eagles in December and January, so I hope to go back then and hopefully take some better photos. For now, you can sorrrrrta see the eagles in the pictures below - just look for the bright white spots in the trees!

Bald eagles at Eagle Run, Brackendale, BC

Bald eagle in water at Eagle Run, Brackendale, BC

Bald Eagles in a tree, Brackendale, BC

On the way home from Brackendale, we stopped in Horseshoe Bay, a small community in West Vancouver. There, we took a few pictures...

Horseshoe Bay, BC, propeller
.  tony took this picture with his ipad. ayo technology!  .
... and then grabbed some lunch at Troller Ale House, where I ordered a quinoa/black bean veggie burger with a side salad. The burger was ENORMOUS. Like the size of my face.

We began making our way back to Vancouver (via a detour around Stanley Park to show Tony and Pauline some big trees), and went back to our Kitsilano neighborhood to give an extremely brief tour of our apartment before heading back out for a nice afternoon walk in the lingering daylight.

We're in love with our Seaside Bike Path, so we knew we wanted to take Dave's parents along it so they could see the beautiful views it affords of the city. We walked along the path from our apartment for a half hour or so before eventually turning around and heading back towards Granville Island...

On the island, we got some tea, showed Dave's parents around the bustling Public Market...

Granville Island Public Market, colorful produce

... and then we all split up for a couple of hours to refresh and regroup before our 6:45 dinner reservations at The Sandbar (just recently voted the Best Restaurant on Granville Island).

Dave and I had been to the Sandbar twice before, but this was the first time we were eating inside on their second floor, rather than out on their third floor's heated and covered patio. Totally different vibe than being on the patio, but - good news! - being surrounded by four solid walls inside the building does not detract from the incredible food. I ordered pan roasted prawns with citrus cream and a chile-rice that were just as good as you'd imagine them to be. I really love this restaurant, and I'd recommend that anyone who likes seafood head there if they're in Vancouver.


For their final day in the city, we took Dave's parents around the UBC campus, where Dave gave us all a tour of the lab building where he does all of his research everyday (I know I don't talk about it much here on the blog, but Dave is in a graduate program in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Department at UBC - that's why we're living here in Vancouver!).

For lunch we did a quick walk up and down 4th Ave in Kitsilano before deciding to stop in at Burgoo. I'd been to Burgoo just the week prior for a solo lunch, and it was yummy food with a nice atmosphere. This time I ordered their Gooey Grilled Cheese Grillers - a generous portion of grilled cheese made on angle-sliced baguette with mozzarella, gruyere, Swiss and white cheddar cheeses. It's a yummy sambo, but a LOT of fried cheese!! Burgoo has a great soup-and-sandwich combo option so I added a cup of butternut squash soup to my order. (Are you picking up on the fact that I love butternut squash soup?) The soup is filled with warm spices and maple syrup and garnished with toasted hazelnuts. I actually hate hazelnuts, but that wasn't Burgoo's fault. I should have asked for the soup without them! #Oops

On Sunday night we made sure to bring Tony and Pauline to Kibune - arguably our very favorite restaurant here in Vancouver. It's a deliiiicious Japanese restaurant that's right around the corner from our apartment, and I'm actually perpetually appalled at myself for not having written a blog all about it yet. Someday, I swear! I've entirely lost count of the number of times that we've been to Kibune at this point.

We ordered an amazing spread of different Japanese dishes - sushi, sashimi, gyoza, vegetable and prawn tempura, spicy beef and lots more! Really, the food is worth an entire blog post so I won't go into it too much right now. Suffice to say - if you're in Vancouver and looking for some Japanese food that will knock ya socks off, head to Kibune!

After we'd stuffed ourselves with Japanese food, we took a quick walk up the hill to 4th Ave so that we could then walk back down the hill and check out the view of the city. I didn't snap any pictures of the view that night, but this is basically what you can see walking down the hill from 4th Ave to my apartment:

And that was the end of our evening and our eventful and food-filled weekend with Tony and Pauline! It was so much fun to show them all of our favorite spots and be a tourist in my own city. Having visitors is a great excuse to really take advantage of all of the awesome things that Vancouver and BC have to offer.

I can't wait to go back to Brackendale in a month or so to see some more eagles, and I've been re-inspired to spend more time in the Granville Island Public Market because there are so many talented vendors there.

Have you had any visitors lately? Anyone else want to come visit us? :)

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  1. What a fun weekend! Makes me want to visit Vancouver again. Also, I'm super jealous of your eagle and seal watching! :)


    1. Sounds like January might be a good time for a visit to Vancouver for eagle spotting! If you're a skier, you could also turn it into a trip to Whistler :)


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