Sunday, February 14, 2010


The 2010 Olympic Winter Games are now underway in Vancouver, so I thought I'd pay tribute to my beautiful hometown by sharing some of my favorite places, activities and things to eat...

FOODIE HEAVEN. Pick up a warm honey dip donut from
Lee's Donuts. Indulge in some chocolate walnut rugolach from Siegel's Bagels. Build-your-own picnic with charcuterie from artisanal sausage-maker Oyama Sausage. Grab a piece of blueberry white chocolate foccacia at Terra Breads. And lastly, stop in at Edible BC's retail store for locally made gourmet souvenirs to take home (super friendly staff too).

During our last trip to Whistler, I somehow managed to convince Kris to go ziplining with me on
Ziptrek's Bear Tour ("It's totally safe, honey!")

But I may have neglected to mention that the longest zipline we'd be doing was 1100 feet long. Or that the last zipline was done hanging upside down! And I might have forgotten to tell him that there was a tiny possibility that you could get stuck while ziplining. Sure enough, poor Kris actually got stuck on the zipline and had to hang suspended 100 feet in the air for several minutes while waiting for rescue! And yes, we got it all on video (Kris getting stuck at 1:10, Phyllis zipping upside down at 3:21):

Mixed in with the adventure is also a educational component - during the 3 hour tour, guides discuss sustainability and minimizing our environmental impact. We also got a exciting sneak peak of the Whistler Sliding Centre (bobsled/skeleton/luge) during the ride up to the old growth forest. If you haven't tried ziplining before, the Ziptrek Bear tour is a great beginner experience. And despite getting stuck, Kris has agreed to do the more exciting (and steeper) Eagle tour with me the next time around!

For a limited time (during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games)
zipline for FREE in Robson Square!

This popular Canadian no-bake dessert hails from Nanaimo, BC (approx 2 hr ferry ride from Vancouver). Basically layers of butter upon butter, what's not to like? I made these for Thanksgiving last year, recipe

Why is this flavor only available in Canada? Tangy, savory blend of spices, with a hint of sweetness, my favorite potato chip flavor of all time. I pack as many bags as I can fit in my carry-on whenever I visit Canada!

They're not kidding when they say these vanilla fudge graham wafer clusters are 'highly addictive'. Before I found out they carry them at
Dylan's Candy Bar in NYC, I actually thought about ordering a giant case from Canada.

How much do I love
poutine? Enough to eat 12 poutines in 12 days last year. And although the cheese curds aren't as squeaky and fresh as what you'd find in Quebec, you can still find some decent versions of poutine in Vancouver. My favorite last year was from Brado Pizza:

Amazing views, gorgeous 'sunken' Quarry Gardens, the
Bloedel Floral Conservatory, and years of family picnics and wonderful memories at Queen Elizabeth Park.

Can you believe it took me over 25 years to finally go inside the Bloedel Conservatory? But it's become one of my favorite places to visit when I'm in town. The conservatory is home to exotic plants and tropical flowers...

and a hundred species of colorful birds...

Worth the $5 admission just to see long-time resident Charlie the cockatoo ham it up for the camera:

Sadly, the Bloedel Conservatory is currently facing closure due to budget cuts. Visit while you still can. You can also help save the conservatory at

A weekly farmer's market located at pretty Trout Lake, where you'll find local organic produce (gorgeous heirloom tomatoes, chive flowers, stinging nettle, exotic mushrooms, fresh herbs etc), freshly baked goods, specialty foods, local honey and cheese, fresh seafood, seedlings/bulbs from herb farms and nurseries, local artisans, and a psychadelic purple crepe truck.

We loved the honey almond nougat from local candymaker
Kalley Kandy:

Kurobuta pork terimayo dog!

Late night nibbles at this Asian night market, running from May thru Oct annually. Read more

A big thanks to our friend Ly for introducing us to
Cascade and these fabulous polenta fries - crispy perfection on the outside, creamy deliciousness inside, served with an addictive curry mayo dip.

Best chocolates EVER. Read more about truffles, almond croissants and chocolate sparkle cookies

Vancouver’s first and most famous park, bordering downtown Vancouver, a thousand acres of evergreen parkland surrounded by a 5.5 mile circular
seawall where you can walk, bike, or rollerblade to your heart’s content.

I was lucky enough to live a block away from this lush urban oasis and would jog the seawall every Saturday morning. In 2006, my heart ached when I heard about the
devastating windstorm that knocked down thousands of trees, some of them hundreds of years old. A massive restoration effort (funded by donations) resulted in the planting of 16,000 trees in the damaged areas over the next 2 years. We visit Stanley Park every time we're in town. Don't miss it.

Adorable otters and smiley beluga whales :)

Sustainably harvested from BC waters,
spot prawns are the sweetest prawns you'll ever eat. We timed our visit last year to coincide with Vancouver's 3rd Annual Spot Prawn Festival, allowing us to indulge in spot prawns over a dozen times!

Freshly caught beauties from fisherman Steve Johansen (
Organic Ocean at False Creek Fisherman's Wharf):

A fish shack located in False Creek Fisherman's Wharf, only steps from Granville Island.

Selection changes daily based on what's fresh. Best fish 'n' chips in town (fish tacones aren't bad either). Expect a huge line-up!


I came here for pupusas after seeing them featured in Vancouver Magazine's
Best Things to Eat & Drink 2008 but ended up falling in love with the yucca fries (served with crispy pork bits):


When I first moved to New York, I assumed that
sausage rolls would be as ubiquitous as they were in Vancouver. Well I was wrong. Now I almost get heart palpitations whenever I spot one.

I grew up eating sandwiches from
Ba Le, but found a new favorite at Tung Hing during last year's banh mi roundup.

My thoughtful friend Liz always gives me a box of Chocolate Arts whenever we see each other. My favorite is the carmelita, soft buttery caramel oozing from a dark chocolate shell:

Hungry for more? Checkout Vancouver Magazine's annual feature,
Best Things to Eat & Drink in Vancouver.



Heavenly Housewife said...

OMG!!!! I was hoping the "zipping" pics were photoshopped and that you didn't actually do that, but then i saw the video. I would totally die! I am such a wuss.
Vancouver looks like a wonderful place to visit. Darling animals, yummy food and a super fab and furry mascot ;)
*kisses* HH

Jenn said...

I would to visit Vancouver one day. I have some relatives living there. The ziplining looks really fun!

KennyT said...

Oh my god!!! I have to move to Vancouver!

So are you ready to be my neighbour?

That ziplining is amazing, I wonder if I have the guts to even try it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking us on this fabulous tour of Vancouver! Such beautiful scenery and so many delicious eats! I would love to visit there one day!

Tangled Noodle said...

Vancouver Tourism owes you a huge 'thanks!' for this post - you will singlehandedly convince so many of us to rush over! So much to do, see, and eat, all in one of the most gorgeous cities on the planet!

Phyllis said...

Heavenly Housewife: the furry little mascot is "Quatchi", a 'shy young sasquatch from the mysterious forests of Canada' :)

Jenn: I hope you get to visit soon. Plus relatives = free lodging, a great excuse to go!

KennyT: Yes, when are we moving? ;)
And if Kris can zipline, anyone can!

5 Star Foodie: And I've only scratched the surface!

Tangled Noodle: Vancouver is where my heart (and stomach) is, and you can see why it's been voted the most beautiful city in the world many times over :)

Cookie said...

I've visited Vancouver twice and loved it both times! It's a beautiful city with lots of good food and nice people. I also really enjoyed jogging around Stanley Park. We also got the chance to take the ferry to Victoria, which was also amazing!

Phyllis said...

Cookie: Glad you enjoyed your visits :) And I hope you got to see the beautiful Butchart Gardens when you were in Victoria!

sewa mobil murah said...

wow great post
Keep posting stuff like this i really like it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the shot out on the polenta fries, Phyllis! I've gone viral. Sweet. I came to your site bc i am finally going back to Montreal for a culinary foodfest in May. I've got to take some notes off your experience.

Phyllis said...

Anonymous: At first I thought it was ginger leaving me a comment but then I figured out who you were. Have a awesome time in Montreal, eat lots! :)