Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Food Adventure, Vancouver Style

Journey through fascinating West End Neighbourhoods

“...I did ask them to please open a location in the Nicola Valley!”

Mid-summer, I enjoyed a trip to the Coast to take in “Bard on the Beach” with good friends. I also participated in a most fabulous Food Adventure, Vancouver Style, with one of my besties.

Maureen, an old pal from high school on Saltspring Island, joined me for a whirlwind 24 hours. We spent the first afternoon/evening enjoying my favourite Vancouver walkabout. Starting at the Rosedale on Robson Hotel, we ambled up Robson to Denman, across Denman to Davie, up Davie to Granville, and across Granville back to Robson.
This is a great way to journey through fascinating West End neighbourhoods, each with its own special vibe. It is also a grand way to experience an abundance of fine food and bevies, if you go about it in the way we did.
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Up to the Garden Patio of the Gallery Cafe

We started our personal Food-Fest at the Vancouver Art Gallery’s Gallery Cafe. One of my best-loved Vancouver eateries, this cafeteria offers local, organic choices.
Their website states it well: “An established tradition in the heart of downtown Vancouver, the Gallery Café…offers a classic, yet casual dining experience. Enjoy a wide range of delicacies from elegant entrees and tasty soups and salads to sinfully decadent desserts. Classical music, breathtaking floral arrangements and one of the best outdoor patios in the city complete the experience.”

Sit outside on the garden patio in the sunshine

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

A fruitful salad

It is a treat to sit outside on the garden patio in the sunshine, enjoying strains of classical music. It is also fun to watch people in the courtyard below and on Robson Street.
I ordered my favourite rare ahi tuna salad with its delightful sesame dressing. Maureen chose a gorgeous salad of greens, strawberries, peaches & nasturtium flowers with a tangy citrus dressing.
We then shared an order of tiramisu, a rare treat for me, as I can’t handle the espresso content after noon. Both salads were delightful, and the tiramisu exquisite.  If you
Definitely try the Gallery Cafe!

Everything on the Forage menu looked amazing

Next stop was the farm-to-table Forage in the Listel Hotel, further up Robson Street. We bellied up to their glitzy bar and chose from a great selection of BC Craft beers & ciders. Maureen went for Yellow Dog ‘Go Fetch’ Lime Ginger Sour from Port Moody. I decided on a Dry Pear Cider from the Naramata
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Naramata Dry Pear Cider

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Dry Pear Cider

Cider Company. Both were refreshing, dry and pleasing.
Everything on the Forage food menu looked amazing, but we chose to share “the Vietnamese style bison carpaccio, sweet soy, crispy shallot, hazelnut” from the SNACK section. Now, perhaps raw buffalo meat doesn’t appeal, but this was a perfect share plate with a tantalizing combination of textures and flavours. YUMMY!
Forage offers a number of intriguing-looking food events, so I will return for the full meal deal, next time I am looking for a Food Adventure, Vancouver Style.
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Bison Carpaccio, Vietnamese Style

This appetizer was a true winner

From Robson, we turned onto Denman Street, where I somehow managed to miss the original Banana Leaf Restaurant, one of my all-time faves. We found ourselves at The Cactus Club, English Bay, chosen primarily for its location on the beach. But we were dazzled by their ceviche.  Made with “Ocean Wise™ Lois Lake Steelhead, sustainably harvested prawns, red onions, thai basil, mint, cilantro, & nuoc cham”, this appetizer was a true winner. It was the first time either of us had enjoyed trout/salmon in ceviche, usually prepared with white fish. Yum Yum!
Wanting to stick with bubbly, I opted for the 200 ml bottle of Codorniu Brut Clasico Cava.  I have been absolutely mad for Cava since I visited Spain, where it is inexpensive and plentiful. Maureen tried a Flat Rock Cellars’ Limestone Ridge Riesling, light, a little fruity and a happy choice from nearby her current home in Ontario.
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Ol’ buddies, ol’ pals

Next was a small detour to sit upon a log in English Bay to watch the sun sink into the sea.  Then a wee side trip down memory lane to our old ‘hood of Harwood near Beach, where we were roommates in the mid-’70’s.

A remarkable Appetizer Sampler for Two comprised of many Malaysian favourites

Walking up Davie Street, I was tickled pink to find another Banana Leaf Restaurant. It was after 8 pm on a Monday, and there was a special offering of bottles of wine half price, so we ordered a smooth Jackson Triggs Merlot, knowing we would have enough left over to take back to our room.
We discovered a remarkable Appetizer Sampler for Two comprised of many Malaysian favourites: papaya and pineapple green asian salad, chicken satay skewers, spring rolls, calamari and roti canai. Oh, roti canai, I love you so! The sauces and dips that accompanied this selection were stellar.
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Roti Canai

Buddha Bar music, playing in the background, so very cool

The Banana Leaf  truly serves “Mouth-watering dishes with authentic flavor which will transport you to the heart of Malaysia.” I adore the varied and delightful flavours of their Malaysian Cuisine. As well, lovely ambiance is created by “Buddha Bar” music playing in the background, so very cool. 
The Banana Leaf was the perfect end to our Food Adventure, Vancouver Style.  We were satiated and perfectly happy to pass by other tempting treats on our walk back to the hotel.
Of all the foods we savoured on our personal Food-Fest, Maureen and I both found Banana Leaf THE BEST. I know from experience that they consistently serve affordable, fabulous, fresh food. In fact, before I left Vancouver, I stopped at their Broadway location to order my faves to bring back to the Nicola Valley. 
And, yes, I did ask them to please open a location in the Nicola Valley!
Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Malaysian seafood

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Jasmine Rice

Food Adventures, Vancouver Style

Sambal green beans with shrimp and tomato

One could plan an entire Food Adventure, Vancouver Style by visiting all five locations of the Banana Leaf. It would be fun to eat a different course at each one. Walking from one to the next would be a great way to make room in the belly for more things on the menu!

Yes! Next time!

And read more here for a taste of our own Nicola Food Adventures!

Cheers!

JGS

Location Map

Places To Stay in Merritt

Best Western Plus
Comfort Inn Merritt
Merritt Desert Inn
Quality Inn - Merritt
Ramada Merritt
Super8 - Wyndham - Merritt
Knights Inn - Merritt
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