Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

vancouver: medina & blue water

Feb 24, 2010


Café Medina

As I scrolled through the last set of photos for my final Vancouver post, I couldn’t help but smile as I reminisced about the wonderful experience we had at Café Medina. Stacks upon stacks of craggy Belgian waffles, gooey drippy sauces of raspberry caramel and rosewater pistachio, perfectly poured lattes laced with lavender syrup, a cozy light-filled window seat as we passed the morning away indulging on hearty fare like the popular tagine, a earthenware dish filled with spicy Merguez sausage and Moroccan olives in a tomato stew, gilded with oozy poached eggs. I know I say this quite often, but what I wouldn’t give to have a place like this close to home.

Did I mention the lavender latte? A creation so amazingly good I’m surprised others haven’t caught on… yet. I’m definitely stealing this idea!

tagine - poached eggs in a spicy tomato stew with Merguez sausage, Moroccan olives, red bell peppers, chickpeas, cilantro


waffles with chocolate lavender & raspberry caramel; green tea latte; oeufs cocottes; fricassé

Let’s not forget the fricassé, two sunny eggs with braised short ribs, roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, arugula, and applewood cheddar, or the oeufs cocottes, eggs baked with cream cheese, smoked sockeye salmon, artichokes, topped with a salad of arugula and cherry tomatoes. Until next time (or if they decide to miraculously open an outpost in Los Angeles), I’ll have to resort to ogling over photos.

Café Medina
556 Beatty Street
Vancouver, BC V6B2L3, Canada
(604) 879-3114

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar

On our last night, we decided to keep it close to home in Yaletown and dine right down the street from the Opus Hotel. The sister restaurant to the excellent Araxi in Whistler, Blue Water Cafe features a similar dueling restaurant concept: British Columbia inspired seafood + expertly prepared sushi/sashimi.

The restaurant’s converted warehouse space is rustic, elegant, and uniquely Vancouver.

We had a sampling of nigiri sushi (and beef sashimi) from chef Yoshi Tabo’s raw bar. While somewhat limited in selection, the fish ranked as some of the freshest I’ve had. From chef Frank Pabst’s open kitchen, we ordered a handful of dishes: mackerel with grilled scallions, toasted almonds, wild arugula, crostini with romesco sauce; mixed ceviche with cucumber, grapefruit, ginger, fresh coriander; white sturgeon with wheat berries, capers, celery hearts, and peppery greens, smoked onion aioli; dungeness crab & flying squid with couscous, chickpeas, green onions, parsley, harissa vinaigrette.

Everything was inventive and delicious, but if pressed to choose between kitchens, I would give the nod to the raw bar.

beef sashimi, garlic chips, green onions, yu'kke sauce

the beautiful dining room

Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street
Vancouver, BC V6B5T4, Canada
(604) 688-8078

So long, Vancouver!

vancouver: yaletown & the waterfront

  • Filed under: travel
Feb 19, 2010

We had one more night and day in Vancouver after returning from Whistler, and though returning to the Loden would have been just fine, a change of venue and scenery is always welcomed. So in our planning we decided to switch up hotels and spend a little time across the way in Yaletown.

Opus Hotel

Billed as one of Vancouver’s most stylish boutique hotels, the Opus is situated among trendy boutiques, restaurants, and hotspots in the revitalized industrial warehouse district of Yaletown. Though not as posh and polished as the Loden, the Opus still holds its own with friendly and impeccable service, a great location, and proximity to nearby amenities.

Our room was clean, comfortable, and quiet (don’t count on this, as the hotel was uncannily empty during the pre-olympic lull). However, the decor was a bit pedestrian and dated, seemingly in need of a refresher since its launch in 2002. A small nitpick, yes, though warranted since competition in Vancouver is fierce and the prices weren’t exactly cheap.

reading material; bubbly; L'Occitane; bedside


ever so common bath with a view, question is view for who?

view of Yaletown-Roundhouse station from the room

Opus Hotel
322 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 5Z6, Canada
(604) 642-6787

Unfortunately by the time we arrived from Whistler and finished settling in, it was late afternoon on Sunday, and all the shops were already closed. The concierge suggested that we take a walk to the waterfront, only a few blocks away. One of the best recommendations, ever.

We passed by Urban Fare, Vancouver’s answer to Whole Foods. A total citydweller’s food paradise.

the beginning of a beautiful evening... no rain!

We got down to the marina only to realized it was way too beautiful without my wide angle lens! After a brisk walk to and from the hotel, we were treated with these breathtaking waterfront views.


Quayside Marina


imagine the views from these units!

The seeds are being planted… I could totally imagine living here. We continued walking along the water, towards BC Place and the Plaza of Nations.

capturing a shot of Science World and the Strathcona neighborhood

crew under Cambie Street Bridge

Plaza of Nations

And back to the hotel to freshen up before dinner.