Thanks to a tip-off from our dear friends Gerry and Audrey Pereira-Loong, we set off for the village of Steveston (now part of Richmond B.C.), about a half-hour’s drive from English Bay. We are in search of some seriously good fish and chips.
Some trivia – Steveston is a popular spot for film crews – Wikipedia tells me a series of the X-Files and part of the movie Godzilla were shot there – and my friends tell me Once Upon A Time’s fictional seaside town is, yes you guessed it – Steveston. Well, it IS photogenic.
We drove to the southermost point of this little village, overlooking the Fraser River, to Garry Point Park. It was quiet – and yes, very serene – when we arrived, with just a couple of picnic tables, a bunch of seagulls and a gorgeous sky and river view, all silky blues and peaceful.
The children enjoyed chasing the gulls and playing in the, um, gravel.
Pajo’s – THE place for fish and chips was open and ’tis true. It was the best fish and chips we had in B.C. (and we had plenty) – so thanks for the heads up guys!
So the day dawns as per normal, with two sleepyheads and one very awake 2-year old, made happy by the folks at Ruffles. We decide to take it easy and meander about the streets of Vancouver today.
Random observation: The hydrangeas here are on steroids. They’re bigger than our heads.
I believe we walk through Gastown, along Hastings St, Boundary Road, and back up Kingsway, but we were all hungry and not paying too much attention, and the city did not seem as attractive as the ridiculously perfect spot we were already at, right on Stanley Park…I will say I noticed many restaurants cheek by jowl with adult shops and beggars on the street, something I must have forgotten about? Or does having children in tow make you extra sensitive? Anyway, we ended up at some Italian restaurant catering to the business crowd which was going to turn us away as it was past 2 but the look on my face must have been bordering on the potentially-murderous so they let us in, and the food and music were surprisingly good.
Thus replenished and once more in good spirits we walk jauntily back to the Sylvia and at 986 Denman St I say, “I am just popping into this interesting shop I saw on the way in…” and this is it:
Boy, was I ever pleased when I went in. Check this out.
Being suggestible, I thought the cashier was Persian – she looked it! – but alas she was not. But she was very kind about it so I only felt slightly stupid. Also! There are 2 more Ayoub’s in Vancouver. You can check out Ayoub’s story online (is there really nothing of mystery left?)- apparently master chef, Ayoub Hosseini, hand-roasts everything on-site, though sadly I caught no glimpse of the, I quote, “master working at his art.”
I bought all these cranberries and cashews for about CA$7. And yes, they were amazingly fresh. Amazing Ayoub’s. Go! Get yourself a snack sensation!
So who hasn’t heard of the famed ski resort Whistler? Yes, thought so. A summer visit isn’t the way to see it at its best, unless you’re into mountain biking; nevertheless it was a beautiful drive there, a mere 125 km from Vancouver. All the way, in the tantalising distance, are the still snow-capped mountains, a promise of what will be, in a few short months. What is it about snow-capped peaks? I must’ve taken a thousand photos but none capture their majesty.
A nice little detour for Jude and me enroute, was a quick visit to Shannon Falls, one of several waterfalls on the way. Baby asleep with father guarding her, we set off on a little walk in the already chilly air.
Reaching an overcast Whistler Village famished, with Juno insisting on rice and soup, we go to the first Chinese restaurant we see. Bad Idea. Very Bad.
We are late to the Children’s Festival as a result of this and wander around (what looked to be) excellent stalls, forlonly in the drizzle, feeling sorry for ourselves. The children are placated somewhat with lollipops from one of those candy-only shops I only see in North America, and we walk back to our car, to find a big parking ticket – we aren’t the only ones who didn’t know, and a local tries to be helpful…but…the only thing that REALLY helps is this, after a long tiresome traffic-laden drive back to Vancouver:
Take-out from Pho Number One, 1120 Denman Street. The beautiful ladies who run it ROCK. We ate there three times in under a week and if you’re in the neighbourhood, I would urge you to do the same.
We made a little trip to Granville Island, while in Vancouver. It’s a little peninsula just across from Downtown Vancouver, and you can either drive or take a little ferry – we did both, and unless you plan to do loads of shopping, take the ferry. We took the one from False Creek, it leaves every ten minutes or so, and is tiny, like a toy ferry, seating only about ten people.
It only takes a few minutes to get to Granville Island, which is a nice little spot, with an impressive Farmers’ Market from which I got some local Buckwheat Honey, said to out-do Manuka in its salubrious properties. I must report that it got rid of my itchy throat very efficiently.
There is also a Kids’ Market with loads of children’s toys and books.
There were also some really cool art supply shops and Granville Island is known for its local crafty things – its “boutiques et galleries” – but we didn’t have time to shop or browse, being waylaid at the aforementioned toy/book trap by the kids.
The fish and chips shop run by some Chinese folks at one end of the Public Market is good and cheap. Just watch out for those seagulls when you venture out onto the marina to eat. We saw a big one swoop down and try to unload the lunch off a terrified child. Nice.
What happens when one family takes a whole year off