27 September 2013

Canada has good food, eh.

First and foremost, the food, right? Oh the food. So much food. To be specific, so much seafood. Enough to just make your heart burst (with love, of course!). For the sake of brevity, I give you our British Columbia Tour of Food in one line reviews. Important to note that we started each dinner with oysters. And they were amazing.

Ferris Oyster Bar, Victoria, dinner
Tired, very tired, but yummy Lavender sidecar and yummy steamed mussels and clams.... from what I remember.

Point No Point, Shirley, lunch
And don't call me Shirley! (Ok, a two-line review.) Quaint, amazing views, the best shrimp salad sandwich I've ever had, washed down with deliciously fizzy lime Perrier.

Pescatores, Victoria
Brad had an amazing halibut I think he's still drooling over, and I sampled some local lobster in orzo, and beer.

2 Chefs Affair, Nanaimo, lunch
Unplanned but irresistible super cute cafe, risotto balls (Brad), fish three ways, including the most delicious shrimp cake I've ever had.

Hawksworth, Vancouver, dinner
"Best new restaurant in Vancouver," also in our hotel, did not disappoint with octopus ceviche, crab custard, and some of the most beautiful fish we've ever seen.... including crispy skin (YUM). *sidenote, when places are extra hip or fancy, I try to reign in the nerdy photo taking!

Random pub in Whistler, lunch
Kind of like being at Cedar Point, you're there for the entertainment and, in this case, the view, which, for us, was (outside) looking up both Whistler and Blackcomb from the base of the ski hills, where daredevil bikers were biking down the mountain.

Yaletown Brewery, Yaletown, Vancouver, dinner
Our casual night, decent beer...

...decent pub food, prompted a trip to a better brewery after and then back to....

Hawksworth, for snacks

Go Fish, Granville Island, Vancouver, lunch
On the docks, straight from the fishermen, popular fish shack for fish (Brad) and oyster tacos that were mostly worth the 45-minute wait when they lost our order ticket.

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar, Yaletown, Vancouver, dinner
Repeat visit for us, as amazing as we remembered, wishing I could eat a million more sockeye salmon nigiri pieces RIGHT NOW because they might be the most amazing bites of anything, anywhere.

Not pictured, the second round of salmon nigiri.

Fish House, Vancouver, brunch
In Stanley Park, in the rain, learned Ceasars are bloody Mary's w/ clamato instead of V8 and insanely delicious, Brad discovered the glory of eggs benedict, with crab, and I stuffed my face with a seafood hash.

Light on the hollandaise, please and thank you.

Steamworks Brewery, Gastown, Vancouver, beer
Breaking my own rule here for a word on Steamworks because it was fun, friendly and had delicious beer. We went twice.


And finally, a few extra words for our FINAL meal of vacation. We'd popped by a waterfront bar Saturday afternoon (revisiting from our last trip) for a few drinks, where we were chatted up by a middle-aged gentleman with a slightly younger (ok, much younger) girlfriend, and I believe he was showing off a bit for her (her first trip there). We exchanged a few restaurant recommendations, when he "warned" us about our choice for the next night - Rodney's Oyster Bar. He said with somewhat of a sneer, "...well, the oysters are good.... but's it's like pub food! Have a plan B." We felt pretty secure in our choice still but were still like, hmm, wonder why he said that.... BUT on our last afternoon, leading up to our dinner, two locals seemed incredibly excited that we planned to go there and had nothing but rave reviews. So glad we listened to them and didn't waver because it was... perfect. Travel tip... don't ever listen to the snooty tourist but always to the locals.

Rodney's Oyster Bar, Yaletown, Vancouver, dinner
Loud, casual, simple seafood menu of oysters and other shellfish, with salads (which we were mad craving) and soups (Slapjack = my new favorite soup, cream, butter, leeks, oysters), and, of course oysters.... and more oysters for dessert.

I'm OBSESSED with this in-house sauce that made my mouth burn.

The world IS our oyster!

26 September 2013

Canada, eh.

Lots to share but I'm pooped! A quick sneak peak to whet your appetite....



Spicy Ceasar (Canadian bloody Mary)...

The three food groups of vacation!

Yeah for vacation! Canada makes us happy.

More soon, friends.

16 September 2013

Making a list, checking it twice.

In honor of our impending vacation (tomorrow morning!!!!), I decided it was high time to update the packing list I created years ago - which, honestly, I use for every single trip I take. I would love to attach the PDF for your downloading pleasure. Alas, it won't let me, but, be assured, I'm happy to email it directly should you ever want it. (And blame any wonkiness on the Word to blog transfer! The weird white boxes are checkboxes on my end.)

I feel I should point out a new addition to the ole packing list - running gear! I used to poo-poo the idea of exercise on vacation, but now that it's (finally) part of my regular routine, I can't see completely eliminating running all together on vacation (besides, then I can pig out guilt free!). I also updated the electronics (iPad for plane movie viewing!) and pulled some items from the list into the notes section (i.e., traveling amusement).

And yes, I said undies.

When I finalize my packing tonight, I suspect this list will be much more effective than the old.

What are YOUR packing habits? Do you see any room for improvement with my new list?

Oh, and see ya next week! Look out Canada, here we come!

A Very Churchy Packing List

Travel Essentials
license, credit cards, cash
Passport (EUR, CAN)

Boarding pass

Flight, hotel, trans., misc info

Travel books, maps
trip journal
Traveling amusement
magazines, books, knitting

spares, solution, case

scripts (imuran, bc)

mira powder
advil, tums, pepto
Face cream

Face wash


brush, comb, iron
ponies, headband (running), bobbies, hat



Shaving cream




Bathing suit

Running clothes
shorts/pants, sports bra, top, socks, extra undies

Yoga/comfy pants

Running shoes

Comfy shoes

Nice shoes


fall or rain coat

Casual purse/bag

Evening purse
Winter attire
hat, gloves, scarf
Beach bag

brown, black


charger, cords
usb cord, charger
cords, dock
Converter plugs (EUR)