Vancouver Trip Day 1

The lovely Miss Jackson and I had a whirlwind adventure to Vancouver last weekend. We managed to have an epic time, despite the diner we went to only accepting cash and us not having any; encountering crazy traffic in downtown Vancouver; and ending up on the other side of town because there were two streets named Main Street and our maps application took us to the other Main Street.

I met Keisha at her house and we took off for Canada, but not before making a pit stop at the Shoreline Starbucks, where we got our delicious caffeine beverages before getting on the interstate. Our first rest stop was to Little Cheerful Cafe in Bellingham for breakfast. I had the crab cake eggs benedict: homemade crabcakes made onsite twice a week; homemade hollandaise sauce; perfectly poached egg; English muffin toasted to a light crunch. On the side I had California browns, which had spinach, mushrooms, onion, tomato, sun-dried tomato and jack, topped witht avocado and sour cream. I was only able to recite all of the ingredients because the menu is available online. The browns were good but not anything spectacular. The benedict though was pretty thrilling, as I had never had crab cake eggs benedict before. The dish was a generous portion including two eggs benedict and the browns took up half the plate! The second benedict lacked sauce, but overall I was very satisfied with my meal.


Back on the road we were to head for Canada! The border wait time was minimal, less than 30 minutes long. We headed straight for Village Taphouse to meet up with Keisha's friend from college but to our graet disappointment the directions we had printed ahead of time took us, not to our desired destination, to another destination with the same address. Unfortunately traffic was a mess so to get to the other side of town to our intended destination took close to two hours!

Once we did find the Village Taphouse we were relieved and excited to rest and eat! I met Keisha's friend, who is a total sweetheart and natural mom, and got to hold her baby who is stinkin' adorable. And didn't fuss the entire time!

As for what I had to eat (this is, after all, a food blog) I got noodles sauteed with chicken, chilis and veggies. {I was counting on the restaurant to have an online menu so I can provide all of the dish specifics but the online menu seems to be outdated.} The noodles were excellent! The portion size was out of control and thankfully I put down my fork before I had a self-induced a food coma. The sauce was a pleasant mix of sweet and spicy and did not drown all of the ingredients but flavored everything well.

After our late lunch, Keisha and I headed back to the car and passed by Whole Foods (the restaurant was in a strip mall) so we knew we had to stop in to grab a dessert. We decided to share a cookie pie, made by local bakery Butter Baked Goods, and little did we know that this dessert will be life-changing!

That beer was awesome!
Drinking from the tap
This was on one of the restaurant walls
We got in the car and headed for the hotel, thinking we were giving ourselves plenty of time to make it in time for the wine reception. Little did we know that streets would be blocked off and we would be driving in squares throughout downtown! After being stuck in insane traffic, I decided that I didn't want to wait to have dessert with wine. I wanted to have it right there in the car. I took a bite and oh my goodness. The world was right again. All of my traffic worries floated out of the window. The intoxicating goodness of the dessert consumed every muscle in my body. At least for those few moments. 

Back to reality again, I eagerly kept an eye on the clock, counting down how many minutes we had left to arrive to the hotel to give us enough time to enjoy at least a couple glasses of wine at the reception. When we finally arrived, we had 10 minutes to check in, park the car and head to the reception. And we succeeded! The wine host was nice enough to continue refilling our glasses even though the wine hour had officially ended.

At the hotel restaurant bar
After wine and finishing off our life-changing dessert, we headed to the room to get ready to go out to dinner. Keisha had already picked out a restaurant for us, one which is on a Top 10 Vancouver Restaurants list and was frequented by Twilight movie star Robert Pattinson when he was on location for the movie a few years ago.

The restaurant? Glowbal Grill. Very hot, hip, happening. When we got there we were seated right away, and we ordered a satay platter to share and toasted with a signature drink called Sanifir Lights. The platter had all of the satays offered on the menu: lamb shish kabob, mushroom, albacore tuna tataki, tiger prawn, buttermilk chicken, kobe meatball, short rib, fried oyster and wild salmon. Served with Thai slaw, ginger white soya and hot Chinese mustard. My favorite satays were the fried oyster (with herb crust, garlic aioli) and the albacore tuna tataki (with soy glaze). I wasn't thrilled with the short rib, wild salmon or kobe meatball. The lamb shish kabob I made no attempt to eat. The mushroom was overly greasy and salty. And the tiger prawn was very average. From my recollection, the Sanafir Lights had vodka, champagne, cointreau, raspberry Red Bull and lots of maraschino cherries. It was a great night-on-the-town, sassy sort of drink that I could've had a pitcher of but not at the menu price.

Stay tuned for Part Deux of our trip!

Palace Kitchen: Home of the Best Burger Jenny Has Ever Had

Keisha and I were supposed to go to Cuoco but neither of us felt like going. For the third time we have skipped over this place. I think I've figured out why I don't want to eat at Cuoco. First of all, I don't even know how to pronounce the restaurant name. Second of all, the menu does not excite me. At all. Lastly, I've been dying to go back to Palace Kitchen, ever since I went there back in August and tried the Palace Kitchen burger.

After a Palace Kitchen burger, splitting an 8 oz. carafe of Pinot Noir, tax + tip I paid $23.

Keisha got to the restaurant early and decided to walk a block to Top Pot Donuts to get us donuts. By the time I scored a parking spot directly across the street, she was waiting for me with a maple donut and cinnamon sugar donut. My foodie evening was off to an awesome start! We checked in with my name, since earlier that day I had made a reservation using Urbanspoon. Well, actually, I made the reservation and received a confirmation but it didn't register on the restaurant's end. So Keisha and I waited in the bar for about 10 minutes until a table opened up for us.

I quickly made up my mind to get the Palace Kitchen burger. When I had it back in August it blew my mind because it was so delicious. DELICIOUS. Please note that this is the first blog entry where I've used capital letters to describe the food. I needed confirmation that my memory wasn't a hallucination so I had to order it again. It did not disappoint. In fact, it blew my mind once again. The heirloom tomato was thinner than I remembered - this was one of the things that really grabbed my attention last time: the incredible size of the tomato. Also, the aioli was more mustard-like. But those minor things didn't matter. What did matter? The hunk of meat. The thick slice of Beecher's flagship cheddar. The onion bun. And the thin cut salty, heavenly fries. A wonderful trifecta of scrumptiousness. Like last time, I just couldn't finish the burger. But I give myself kudos for cutting it in half before I bit into it so I was able to bring it home to the hubby.

The Pinot Noir, on the other hand, did disappoint. It was very strong and had a strong hint of rubbing alcohol. Bleh. I didn't even finish my 4 ounces of it. This says a lot. I usually don't leave the table before I can see the bottom of my wine glass.

I left feeling fully satisfied. And confirmed that the Palace Kitchen burger really is that great. You need to try one if you haven't yet. And don't make our mistake of ordering the house Pinot Noir. Might I suggest pairing it with a local ale?