When Mack and Dickson booked their flight for this trip using Air Miles, their choice of return flights were slim. So between late Saturday and early Monday departures, they selected the latter. So I may ultimately have to thank Air Miles for their indirect provision of Sunday as my day to play tourist.
I had in mind weeks earlier that the only thing I wanted to do in Vancouver was to dine at Feenie’s (2563 West Broadway). As I could not possibly afford the expense of Rob Feenie’s other restaurant, Lumiere, it seemed its more casual neighbour was the economical compromise.
I made brunch reservations for us a week earlier (keeping in mind that by the day of the conference on Friday, we had a place to eat on Sunday but no place to sleep). If you know me well, you’ll know that I managed to build up a set of monumental expectations in the time in between. Well, in all honesty, I wasn’t shattered by disappointment, but I wasn’t floored either.
Feenie’s is separated into three dining spaces: a bar area; a sequestered, almost private dining room in the back; and a windowed main room where we were seated. I felt a bit claustrophobic actually, as we were mere inches from the next table. Secondly, this is my personal bias and connotation of the meaning of brunch, but sunshine is part and parcel of my favorite meal. This day offered quintessential Vancouver grey, and is one of the reasons Feenie’s didn’t shine for me.
Dickson and I both opted for the Omelete (which for that day included red – not green – onion and mozzarella), while Mack and Megan selected the Croque Madame, and Megan’s friend Kelsey ordered the Granola.
While the presentation of all three dishes was clean and with good color, the quality of the food left something to be desired. Dickson disputes this, but I found the egg far too runny, though we both agreed the portion size was much too small. Mack surprised me, and out of all of us, seemed to enjoy the restaurant the most, even offering his opinion that the accompanying salad was meant to be a “palette cleanser” of sorts (we will make an epicurean of him yet, methinks). He was, however, quite upset with the fact that coffee cost $4, the price of which we weren’t aware of beforehand.
Megan, Kelsey and I were pretty excited about Cupcakes (2887 West Broadway), located just a few blocks down from Feenie’s. So after brunch, despite the rain, we trekked onward. Surrounded by pink, the shop was everything you’d expect from a cupcake bakery. I found they had an even better selection than Buttercream Bakeshoppe in Calgary or the Cupcake Bakeshoppe in Edmonton, with the option for mini ‘cakes, which were great for sampling.
Having tried cupcakes from the three major western cities in Canada, I have to say Cupcakes takes the cake – I didn’t even mind the buttercream frosting. So if you’re in the area, it’s definitely worth a visit!
In my continuous quest to see and do as the locals do, I had picked up one of the Vancouver equivalents to Edmonton’s See and Vue Magazines, The Georgia Straight. In it I saw an ad for an annual festival called Winterruption on Granville Island. The program brochure online listed numerous free events, so I thought it would be the perfect outlet to play tourist.
This was my first time on Granville “Island,” surprising especially because the area is extremely tourist-oriented, with gift shops and information booths at every turn. The mini-harbor was beautiful at dusk, with docked boats and glassy condos completing the picturesque feeling.
Not minding the paparazzi
The Public Market was amazing – had we stayed in Vancouver longer, I would have definitely purchased a few bags of groceries to cook with.
Thumbing through the Winterruption brochure, I came across a free jazz concert featuring the Amina Figarova Sextet. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have sat so close to stage (second row), as the trumpet especially was awfully loud. But other than that, it was quite enjoyable. Though yes, there was a movement during the September Suite where I realized a caffeinated drink at Blenz would have been a good idea.
After the concert, we were right on time to watch the Fire Show performance outside. It was brief but entertaining (though that could be the kerosene fumes talking). Under the twinkly lights of the decorated crane, breathing in the crisp-not-cold air, I couldn’t have been a happier tourist.
For dinner, we selected the waterfront restaurant Bridges (1696 Duranleau Street). Though our dining companion Robert claimed that Bridges was at its best in patio weather, I thought the glass enclosed bistro was a wonderful bookend to a fabulous day. Classy, chic, and boasting a menu with many excellent non-seafood choices, it was my favorite Vancouver dining experience thus far. I ordered the Asiago, Mozzarella & Parmesan Pizza, served with Tomato and Basil. Delightfully thin and crispy (the product of a pizza stone), it was the best pizza I’ve had in recent memory.
With that, and an 8am flight the next morning, my abbreviated vacation came to a close. While I will long for Vancouver’s trenchcoat weather, I will always be thankful for friends who are there to remind me to get off the bus. It was a blast guys! Thanks!