The next day we started with a trip on the bus to Granville Island, though we got there a little later than we had originally planned. The market at Granville Island was a bit smaller than I had envisioned, but we planned our visit the same day as the Farmer’s market, which we stopped by first. There was a stand called Kawaii Eats that had interesting Japanese-character themed cookies and macarons, but I zoomed in on a ganache stand called La Chocolaterie (coconama). After tasting a few samples we bought a cup of yuzu ganache cubes which had real chunks of yuzu in the firm yet creamy chocolate.
After peruzing the Farmer’s market, we headed to the inside shops, stopping at Lee’s Donuts first. They were in-between batches of the flavor I wanted so we got one and came back later after wandering around inside a little bit. The donuts here were pretty cheap and tasty. These were mostly baked donuts and we got cinnamon sugar, dutch chocolate, and a dipped donut hole (glazed). The dutch chocolate was the best because it was a chocolate cake donut rolled in all the crumbs left over from other donuts. What could be better? While waiting for the dutch chocolate donut, we had hopped around the corner to JJ Bean; coffee here was nothing special, though it was one of only two coffee shops in the whole market. Next came my favorite stop of the Island, Granville Island Tea Co. While researching Vancouver, everyone seemed to rave about their house masala chai, and with good reason. They make their own mix, let you choose your milk (almond please!), and then add in fresh ground ginger and cayenne. This is the best chai latte I’ve ever had. Outside of these vendors, we walked around and explored all the interesting places including: spice and grain shops; chocolate kiosks; bakeries; a place specializing in pies (savory and sweet); meats; fruit stands; and even olive oils/vinegars.
We then walked across the street to Paper-ya where we saw some beautiful letterpressed cards, party planning supplies, and a cool little Buddha Board that’s supposed to help you “let go”. After Paper-ya we walked towards the bridge where we entered and stopped at Granville Island Brewing Co. to have 3 small tastes of the Hefeweizen, Maple Ale, and False Creek Raspberry Ale.
Afterwards we continued across the bridge and walked through Kitsilano until we reached DavidsTea. We spent a long time here tasting teas and picking out teas to buy while resting after our long walk. They have any tea you want available iced or hot and were very patient while I decided between the fifty-million teas I wanted to buy and sipped my iced mango diablo. They can weigh the tea to any weight you want and there is no minimum weight purchase. On the way to dinner we spotted Purdy’s Chocolates and Dan reminded me that their pink himalayan sea salt caramel was listed as one of “the best things to eat in Vancouver” by Vancouver Magazine. It was very good, but a bit too runny for my taste. This was a great spot to stock up on souvenirs, though chocolates in summertime didn’t work too well in transport…
The second best meal we had in Vancouver was at Vij’s. We arrived about 20 minutes before they opened and waited in line. Unfortunately, the people right in front of us were the end of the first shift so we put our names down and walked and shopped through South Granville while we waited for our table to be ready. The food was amazing and the owner came over to talk to us. We told him we were comparing it to Rasika and he actually knew Bajaj because his wife is from DC! We got: the very meaty and tender jackfruit in black cardamom and cumin curry; the complex, spiced, and fall apart beef shortribs braised in yogurt, tomato, and cumin curry; naan; homey wine marinated lamb popsicles with fenugreek cream curry marinade. The food was definitely Indian, but reminded me of comfort foods – potroast, easter dinner with scalloped potatoes–in a good way.