Hi everyone! Last month my boyfriend, Dan, and I took a trip to Vancouver and Seattle. It was both our first time to Canada and it was Dan’s first time using his passport and travelling outside of the country. Unfortunately, Canada doesn’t actually give you stamps in your passport so there’s no physical record in our passports we went, though I’m sure the little chip inside recorded it.
We spent a lot of time planning this trip, but still didn’t get to do all of the things we wanted to. No matter how much you plan, you’ll always stay a little longer at one place or take a little longer getting somewhere else. Though we plan a stiff itinerary, sometimes we like to throw the plan out the window and be spontaneous.
We didn’t have a car, so we were limited in where we could go, but all in all Vancouver was great and we loved the city. We were staying in Gastown, which was a cool area, but in-between Gastown and Chinatown is the infamous Main/Hastings intersection. Our trip lasted 4 days and we used AirBNB for the first time instead of a traditional hotel service. It was a great experience and I would recommended to anyone who it open-minded and doesn’t like dealing with hotels or is looking for something a bit cheaper. We also used it in Seattle and are using it for a NYC trip we have planned in October.
The only confusing thing about Canada was our cell phone! I got a google voice number because it is free calls to Canada, but when you’re in Canada, it counts as international roaming in Canada to call anywhere. The only time I had to call was to schedule a taxi to the Amtrak station so the cell phone bill was pretty small, though I’ve heard horror stories. Another thing about not having cell service is not having the internet on your phone! It was hard to have to plan out all the directions and routes for all our places beforehand instead of being able to do it on the fly like in the US, but it also helped us be less “connected” and focus more on being in the moment.
Here’s a few hilights of our trip, separated by day.
Day 1 started with a long journey via airplane to Vancouver. Right when our feet hit Canadian soil, we spotted a JapaDog cart and stopped for an improptu snack. We got the Kurobuta Terimayo which was listed as “must eat” and comes with a kurobuta pork sausage, teriyaki sauce, fried onions, japanese mayo, and seaweed. We also added peppers on one half. The people were super nice and all the dogs had interesting toppings, though a bit rich and salty for my taste. Too much japamayo? They took US & CAD.
While we were waiting to check-in to our condo, we stopped at Après-midi Premium Teahouse, which was tucked away into a small alley in Gastown. They had a great selection of loose leaf teas and made a nice, thick house chai with almond milk and agave. After check-in, we headed to Chinatown but stopped by Cartems Donuterie on the way. It was in a sketchy neighborhood, but the donuts (earl grey and cinnamon sugar) were the perfect combination of firmess and softness. The earl grey donut turned Dan into an earl grey fan (Seriously, he was on an earl grey kick the rest of the trip) and it wasn’t too sweet. After walking around Chinatown and stopping by some groceries and bakeries as well as the Sun Yat-Sen garden, we headed back to our condo to rest before heading out to Alibi Room. The drink menu was interesting menu and had a scale of “hoppiness” for each item. The scene was a bit too hipster, but we just went for drinks which were very strong but well balanced.
We then walked over to L’abbatoir for a delicious experience. We had accidentally made the reservation for the week later, but we just sat and ate at the bar. We asked for recommendations and received the poached egg and mushrooms with pecorino cheese sabayon and summer truffle, pan fried veal sweetbreads on toast with sauce gribiche with veal tongues, and an assorted bread basket. We ordered the banana daiquiri (Jamaican rum, Bananne de Brasil, fresh lime, Ardbeg 10 yr) and clover club refashioned (Gin, fresh raspberries, sweet vermouth, mint, fresh lemon) which were strong but easy to drink. The bartender was also nice enough to right down some Seattle recommendations for us since we were going to Seattle after our stay in Vancouver. We ended the night by stopping by Boneta and getting a Southpaw.