September 30, 2007

Vancouver is awesome: a 12-hour trip

One of the best things about living in Seattle is the abundance of amazing day trips you can take with relative ease. Last Saturday morning, Lav had an appetite for dim sum, so we decided to head up to Vancouver, B.C. Vancouver is easy to love: great food, beautiful scenery, friendly people, and a diverse, cosmopolitan vibe. Here's a suggested itinerary:

First Stop: Eat dim sum!

The U.S.-Canadian border is only about 90-100 minutes from downtown Seattle. Once you get through the checkpoint, the city of Richmond is only another 20 minutes away. Once you get there, you're entering a mecca of dim sum gloriousness. Seattle is notoriously devoid of good dim sum (I really can't figure out why), so we'd been craving some of our favorite dim sum back in the Bay Area. But after my first Richmond dim sum experience, I honestly don't even see the point of eating dim sum in the U.S. Period. Yeah, it's really that much better.

A couple of good options are Sun Sui Wah and Kirin Seafood. Lav has been to both, and prefers Sun Sui Wah overall. On this trip, we tried Kirin, whose only weakness was with a couple of the fried dim sum items. Everything else, however, was spectacular. The lo mai gai had an unctuously velvety texture that I've never experience before, the har gow wrapper was perfect in its pristine elasticity, and the pork dumpling in shark fin soup was phenomenal in the purity of the broth. There are a lot of dim sum options up here, and we're determined to try as many as possible.

Next Stop: Hit Granville Island

A 20 minute drive takes you from Richmond into Vancouver. Once you get there, head to Granville Island, another one of those examples of successful adaptive reuse of a former industrial manufacturing zone. Walk off the dim sum gluttony as you explore the public market, check out the different artisan shops, and maybe even catch one of the community theater performances.

Last Stop: Have dinner in Vancouver

Vancouver has a vibrant culinary scene, and the local chefs have a reputation of being fiercely (but cordially) competitive. That can only mean great things for the dining public. On this outing, we made it out to Gastropod, a stylishly modern restaurant serving sophisticated, flavorfully rich food. Lav's butternut squash risotto, served with roasted beets, wild mushrooms and baby shiso might be my favorite plating design of the year.

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1 comment:

  1. Which Kirin did you visit? We greatly prefer the one near city hall to the one near Robson Street... you have to drive or take a bus if you're staying overnight, but it's worth it.