Fed & Fit Travel: Vancouver, BC
Oh Vancouver, BC, how you won my little Texas heart. This is a place that makes eating *true* farm-to-table easy (mind-blowing, even), makes you want to skip the cab so you can opt for a stroll through the lovely neighborhoods, and makes you feel right at home with the most friendly people. On today's blog post, I'm sharing a recap of my recent trip up to Vancouver with my dear friend Diane Sanfilippo!
Our trip started off because Diane and I were wanting to schedule a little QT via a girls' weekend. We looked at the map, and BOTH threw out Vancouver, BC as a place that neither of us had visited, but would love. We were only in town for 3 nights, but packed in a wonderful schedule of events. The highlight of our trip was a book signing at a local Indigo/Chapters on Saturday! It was SO wonderful being able to meet the locals, and even those who weren't local, but hopped on a plane or train just for a quick visit.
When Diane and I were on our 3-week long book tour late last Summer, we made it a point to stay in a hotel WITH a kitchen as often as possible. Our logic was simple: if we stay in a room with a kitchen, we'll have the ability to enjoy a home-cooked meal. Enjoying a home-cooked meal EACH DAY will help keep us healthy, energized, and as stress-free as possible while out on our almost month-long trek across the country. I have to tell you, IT WORKED! As soon as we landed in a new city, we'd drop our bags at the hotel, and immediately find the nearest grocery store. We'd stock up on the following standard supplies:
- Water (especially if the local tap was less-than-desirable): for my own water intake, I really like purchasing one to two BIG jugs at each stop (depending on the length of our stay). Having a pre-determined amount of water I needed to drink helped to me hold myself accountable to my DWN (Daily Water Need, per my Fed & Fit book). I'd earmark how much I needed each day and played catch up whenever necessary. It's SO EASY to slip into dehydration while traveling …this was my work-around.
- Not-sweet green juice: green juice that is ONLY sweetened with a touch of fresh lemon or lime juice is always a go-to. The punch of leafy-green micronutrients always helped us to feel as if we're topping off the vitamin/mineral tank, in addition to providing a bit of hydration.
- Kale: at least one bunch for each morning in our hotel. The two of us easily eat one head of dino kale each morning, especially if it's whipped up in the fashion of the Lemony Kale recipe from my Fed & Fit book.
- Lemons: for the kale.
- Berries: for breakfast.
- Eggs and/or breakfast meats
- Cold brew coffee: even the smallest touch of home can help you feel less stressed while traveling. Having my FAVORITE coffee beverage at my fingertips right when I woke up was a simple convenience that meant a lot.
- Coffee creamer: if you take it (I do). I prefer to snag a grass-fed heavy cream for my coffee.
- Fresh snacks: this was in case we were too long between meals. We'd usually grab olives, some kind of easily transported protein (salami, for example), plantain chips, etc.
- Anything else that looks/sounds good! On this particular trip, we wound up with a jar of fermented vegetables to enjoy with our breakfasts and a bar (or two) of dark chocolate.
For more on our travel tips, check out Episode #75 of the Fed & Fit Podcast! Diane and I were in the middle of our book tour and actually recorded the tips in the back of an Uber.
Oh MY the food scene here is FABULOUS! I enjoyed a few of the best meals of my life on this trip. Diane and I also spent one afternoon on a “gluten-free bakery crawl” across town. Vancouver is known for masterfully providing treats for the gluten-free, so we made it our business to try a few spots.
This may be one of the most special dinners I've enjoyed in a long, long time. Burdock and Co. has mastered the honest art of farm-to-table with this quaint, fabulous restaurant. They gather inspiration and source ingredients from the intricate islands surrounding the Vancouver area. Their menu is filled with locally farmed and foraged produce, underlined by the most thoughtful proteins and lovely desserts. If/when you find yourself in Vancouver, BC, I *highly* recommend a planned stop here for a truly special dinner. The courses we enjoyed are as follows: Glorious Organics Salad with Currant Vinaigrette; Grilled Morel Mushrooms with Goat Camembert Cream and Sorrel; Fried Goat Gouda and Roasted Endive Salad with Sundried Olives and Watercress (my favorite); Charcoal Grilled Dry Aged Ribeye with Shio Koji Butter; Meyer Lemon Curd with Shortbread Meringue and Milk Gelato; and lastly, Chocolate Pot De Creme with Caramelized Cocoa Nib and Gingerbread Cookie. We sipped on fresh sparkling water and enjoyed a hot ginger rooibos tea with dessert. Everything was gluten-free and the meal was an absolutely fabulous experience all around!
I adored our dinner at Forage. First, like so many fabulous Vancouver eateries, it does farm-to-table WELL. Secondly, because I was able to enjoy a few foods that I hadn't tried before! The most memorable dishes were the fiddlehead fern and asparagus salad, nettle risotto, and bison tongue. They were masterfully prepared and tickled this Nutrition Consultant, knowing about the fabulous benefits of freshly foraged springtime vegetables.
Harvest Community Foods is a true GEM! It's set up as part noodle bowl counter and part grocery store. They have the most delicious homemade broth, lovely bowls, homemade kombucha, and FABULOUS grocery finds. I enjoyed a rice noodle bowl that was served up with hazelnut, smoked chili, greens, half an egg, and chicken. This was a delicious lunch before our book signing at the Indigo off Granville! If you're looking for a casual, neighborhood-feeling lunch that's made with locally-sourced ingredients, this is a great stop.
Wildebeest was a real treat! We dined here with our friends Sean and Suzanne of Pastured Kitchen. We opted for the chef's tasting menu, where they essentially surprise you with fabulous dishes until you're full. My most memorable dish here was the bone marrow! The servers were incredibly patient and receptive to our gluten-free request, so they served the fabulous bone marrow with some fresh salt & vinegar chips. The combination was INCREDIBLE! Highly recommend this restaurant if you're looking for one of those long, leisurely dining experiences to enjoy with friends and family.
Here are the three gluten-free bakeries we visited with notes on our personal favorites at each stop!
Of our three stops, this was our absolute favorite. I loved it because I was able to enjoy a chocolate croissant for the first time in over 8 years! Their display cases were filled with beautifully decorated cakes, flaky pastries, and the most lovely breads. Diane and I enjoyed the chocolate croissant (of which, I'd make the trip back for alone), a peach crostata (Diane's favorite), a vanilla + chocolate profiterole, and a cinnamon danish (their most popular item, though a bit sweet for us). The skill that went into these treats is OBVIOUS. This place is worth the trip!
Cartems is, arguably, one of the most popular donuteries in town. They serve both gluten-filled and gluten-free varieties. On the day we arrived, there were 6 different gluten-free donuts for our tasting! Note that these are cake-based donuts, not fried (likely to help avoid cross-contamination in the fryer). We loved the salted caramel and pink lemonade the most!
This place is a true gem. We enjoyed a slice of pepperoni pizza (they tuck the pepperoni UNDER the cheese), a few cookies, a s'mores bar, and a savory scone for our breakfasts the next few mornings. The GF Epicurean is known for their frozen baked goods (pizza dough, for example) and their baking mixes (cookies, scones, cakes, etc.). This is a great place to stop for a treat and even edible souvenir!
Our friends Sean and Suzanne of Pastured Kitchen are local to Vancouver, BC and whisked us away for an afternoon on Granville Island after our book signing! I LOVED this trip. This island is full of eye-popping street art, local crafts, and the most luscious local fresh foods. This is another great place to snag some local gifts and treats! I loaded up on chocolate, maple syrup, and spiced nuts.
I worked as a Floor Educator at the lululemon athletica here in San Antonio, TX almost 6 years ago. I loved the experience and truly credit my leadership team there for seeing potential my (then baby) blog. Since my time there, I've always wanted to visit the lululemon lab! This is a totally separate store from what you'd normally find. They have their design team in-house and only sell on site. You can find some fabulous one-of-a-kind pieces that are targeted as prototypes for future mass-lulu products. I walked away with a pair of leggins, a maxi dress, and a pair of shorts for my hubby.
With temperatures in the low 60's, walks were LOVELY. Especially when you go off the beaten path and stroll through neighborhoods instead of the busy streets. If you decide to go on a bakery crawl, like we did, I recommend taking the long way. It's so, so worth it. You never know what you'll see along the way!
Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
What a fabulous airport. TRULY! I have been through a LOT of them and this one was an efficient gem. When I landed, I was intimidated at the long-look of the immigration line, but it moved quickly and confidently. When we were departing, I was THRILLED to see that we were able to go through US customs in Vancouver! This was especially great news because my connection in Houston was especially short. Having already gone through US customs at the airport before our departure helped take the stress of international travel out of the equation. The line was short and only added an extra 15 minutes to our time there.
Know that there are no ride share companies in Vancouver, BC; or, at least there weren't any at the time of our visit. As such, we either walked everywhere we needed to go (grocery store, bakeries, etc.) or hailed a cab. The cabs were great! There's a rule in BC that nobody can take your credit card out of your sight. As such, the cabs and restaurants all have handheld card processors that you get to work. I loved it. Also note, if you're short on cash (especially if you haven't done any currency exchanging), know that the cabs will happily accept your credit cards.
Many thanks to the city and businesses of Vancouver, BC for partnering on this post! All photos and opinions are my own.