fooding our way around Vancouver

So we were able to squeeze in a few days up in Vancouver, B.C. last weekend, mostly spent walking and eating. There were many highlights, but one of our favorite moments came at Chow, a restaurant on South Granville. We had ordered cocktails some time previously, and were beginning to get slightly annoyed at their absence. Suddenly the waiter appeared, took on a shamefaced aspect, and announced, “Your cocktail has gone horribly, horribly awry.” We tried to get more detail out of him, but he would only say that many things can happen in restaurants, and they would make a new drink immediately. My, how that fires the imagination!

My sazerac, when it came, was delicious.

Here are a few other highlights:

49th Parallel coffeehouse

49th Parallel Coffehouse in Kitsilano. This place sells, bar none, the best croissants we’ve ever eaten. I got the chocolate: it was ethereal and buttery with just a slick of dark melted chocolate inside. Jon had the ham and cheese, which disappeared so fast I barely had a taste of it. And the coffee was rich and dark and wonderful. Sigh…

the Cascade Room

We went to The Cascade Room on Main Street for Sunday lunch, which we’re American enough to find exotic. There was a highly uncomplimentary (but true) comment about American beer on the bar chalkboard; the beer list consisted of British imports and local product. We each had a half pint of Strongbow cider, which was delightful – very dry and fresh, served with a lime wedge. I followed it up with a bit of Phillips IPA, which was very decent.

Strongbow cider

For lunch we split a mixed greens salad with smoked tomatoes and toasted almonds, which was delicious and provided some much-needed vegetable matter. Then we had the roast of the day, which was a nicely tender leg of lamb, served with carrots, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, frenched green beans, horseradish and some of the best mustard I’ve ever eaten.

Sunday lunch

We also checked out Salt Tasting Room at last. We had tried to find it last time we were in Gastown, but failed miserably because it was dark and the restaurant happens to be halfway down Blood Alley, which looks like this:

Blood Alley

Fortunately it’s much nicer inside. Still, I wouldn’t go here by myself, even in daylight.


Salt offers a selection of wines, cured meats and cheeses. It also holds the distinction of having the most people taking pictures of the menu of any place I’ve ever been. Honestly, I don’t know how you’d find this place if you weren’t a food tourist like us, and that seemed to describe the bulk of the clientele.


The food was good, the wine was extraordinary. We let the waitress put together a tasting plate for us, based on which condiments we wanted, ending up with a semisoft Quebecois cheese with cornichons, corned beef with Guinness mustard, and truffled salami with olives. I had a BC pinot gris blend that was bright and complex, and Jon went for the Sean Thackrey Pleiades VII, which was incredible.

chile garlic eggplant

We also made it back to Peaceful, where we consumed a large plate of chile garlic eggplant and another of Szechuan noodles with pork and at least three kinds of peppers. Mmmm. Good thing we were walking a lot.

that was a good lunch

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