VANCOUVER SUMMER & WINTER RECOMMENDATIONS

Hi everyone!

Long time no blog post. But I’m back (temporarily LOL) with a very highly requested post on what to do/eat/etc in one of the best cities in the world… Vancouver!! If you don’t already know, yours truly grew up in Vancouver and therefore knows all the ins and outs to that city (just kidding, I left when I was like 18 – but I do have friends that know the ins and outs to that city…) so together, these are my personal recommendations (and my really good friends Yannis & Eric’s recommendations).

Hopefully this blog post can help you plan your trip if you’re ever planning on visiting or this can help you plan WHEN to go. In general, I recommend going to Vancouver in the summer time (if you can only go one time in the year) because Vancouver rains about 2/3 of the year and most of that will be in the winter. Unless your purpose is to ski/snowboard, summer is definitely a better choice to visit the city itself.  But of course, if you can afford the time and $$$, I would definitely recommend both summer & winter. Either way, I’ve separated this list to Summer and Winter so you can plan your activities and food schedules accordingly.

Without further ado, here goes:

PS: Whatever is in bold is my FAVOURITE and things you should NOT miss!!!!

Vancouver/Nearby Activities

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Biking along seawall / Stanley Park – This is my FAVOURITE activity by far in the summer!!! This is where you should rent your bike (the other places are really expensive)
  • Fireworks – I love when it’s fireworks time in Vancouver!! I spend the whole day at English Bay (that’s where the fireworks will be) and hog my spot until the fireworks come around. Check around for their dates! This is also completely free (obviously because economics taught us this is a public good)
  • Richmond Night Market – usually on Friday & weekends, go for Asian street food & cheap goods! If you’re from Toronto – this is better than the ones that are being hosted!
  • Granville Island
  • Improve Theatre (never tried but my friend Eric recommends it!)
  • Vancouver Theatre Sports League (recommended by Eric as well!) These are cheap on late nights or Sunday nights

 Outdoor Activities

  • Hiking (hikes below)
  • Paddle boarding (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
  • Jet skiing  (check it out on Groupon for deals!)
  • Cultus Lake Waterpark
    • There’s also a lake there if you want to spend the day
    • You can also go camping in this area!
  • Beaches
    • Rec Beach (by UBC)
    • English Bay (and all the surrounding beaches: 1st beach, 2nd beach…)
  • ATV (Whistler)
  • Moped around the city (only $22 an hour at some places)
    • one of my favourite activities as well! Made me feel like Lizzie McQuire 😉
  • Take a picture at the Steam Clock in Gas Town!

 Over Night Trips (most of these you can also do in just 1 day)

  • Vancouver Island
    • Visit Victoria – the capital of BC!
  • Cultus Lake (for camping)
  • Tofino (very north of Vancouver Island) to go surfing & camping!
    • however, this is REEEEEEEALLLLLYYY far from Vancouver. If you don’t have time/if you’re not a fan of camping/surfing, then this might not be worth it for you.
  • Whistler – just because you’re there in the summer doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to do!!!
    • Ziplining – home of the longest zipline in North America – I did it myself and it was one of the most thrilling experiences
    • Bungee Jumping
    • ATV

 Night Life

lol tbh I don’t go out anymore but my 19 year old self gives you the following recommendations:

  • Celebrities on Tuesdays (LOOL this was my favourite place to go when I was 19)
  • All the bars/clubs on Granville Strip including:
    • Venue
    • Republic

Not gonna lie this portion kinda sucks just because it could either be outdated or because I’m just a grandma now =)

Hikes

Some of my favourite must-do hikes for the summer!

  • Joffre Lake (moderate level) – PS this one is near Whistlerish
    • If I had to pick one hike in Vancouver this would be it
  • The Chief (moderate – more difficult) – this one is before you reach Whistler (in Squamish) but still quite a drive from downtown
  • Quarry Rock (easy) – this one has a great view and it’s situated near Lynn Canyon in North Vancouver so if you’re planning on being in this area I would recommend kayaking this day and visiting those other places as well!
  • Garibaldi (never done this one but heard it was difficult)
  • Grouse Grind (this isn’t really a hike – it’s basically just stairs and a direct route to the top of the mountain but it’s definitely a work out!)

 Breakfast/Brunch

  • Catch 122
  • Medina Café
  • The Oakwood
  • Jam Cafe
  • Yolks
  • Bells & Whistles
  • Water Street Cafe

 

 Happy Hour

  • JOE FORTES – $1 oysters and their lobster roll is to die for!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fun fact: the HSM cast loves coming here
    • You better go here. this is the best place in the world
  • Ebisu – $1 oysters, Izakaya-type food, and their sushi is also amazing!
  • Nightingale
  • Steamworks
  • Coast
  • Fanny Bay Oyster

Rooftop Patios

  • Reflections
  • Pier 7
  • The Roof

 Sushi/Japanese

  • Momo sushi (downtown) (affordable & big sashimi pieces!)
  • Sushi California (several locations)
  • Miku (and other sushi restaurants owned by the same parent company). If you’ve been to Miku in Toronto, the Vancouver one is where it was first created. Also try their other sister restaurants such as
    • Minami
    • (that ramen place)
  • Victoria Sushi (far from Vancouver but worth the trek)
  • Green Leaf Sushi
  • Ora Sushi
  • Poke Time
  • Black Rice
  • Gami Sushi

Korean

Thanks Yannis for these recommendations!

  • House of Tofu
  • Big Chicken Town
  • Sura
  • Sooda

Other Asian Food

  • Phom Pen (Cambodian Food) –
    • they have “the best chicken wings in town” (but in my opinon I like this other place way better which is right below)
  • Truong Thanh
    • This 24 hour Viet restaurant is actually one of my favourites in Vancouver – their BBH is amazing and also their chicken wings are better (IMO)
  • Japadog – Japanese hot dog: try their BUTTER FRIES (I’m drooling as I’m thinking about it). Fun fact: there were line ups for at least 6 blocks during the 2010 Olympics)
  • The Asian Heritage Eatery
  • Boiling Point
  • Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant
  • Banana Leaf
    • One of my favourite Malaysian restaurants!

Dessert

  • Lucky Donuts
  • Cartem Donuts
  • Passion8 (loooove their mango shaved ice!)
  • Honey & Salt
  • Dragon Ball Tea House
  • Breka Bakery
  • Milk Cow

Other Food

  • Negebuayo
  • The Sand Bar
  • Rhinofish
  • Crab Park Chowdery
  • M Cafe
  • Steveston Pizza Company
    • This is where I got that crazy pizza on my Instagram. I got so many questions about it and this is where it’s from!

 

WINTER RECOMMENDATIONS

Activities

  • Capilano Suspension Bridge (they decorate it with Christmas lights during this time of year!)
  • Light Show (in the past there has been a couple: “Enchanted” and “Glow” – not sure which one, if any, will come back!)
  • Stanley Park (there is usually a light show here as well, really pretty and you can also ride a Christmas train)
  • Christmas Market (last time I went it wasn’t thaaaaaaaaaaaat great – if you’re from Toronto, the one in the Distillery is way better but if you’re running out of things to do or you want to do something Christmas-y, there you go)

 Winter Activities

  • Skiing/snowboarding in Whistler (I assume that’s why youre in Vancouver in the winter??)
  • If you cant make Whistler, go to Cypress or Grouse – they’re closer and will still be better than your mountains!!!!!!!!!

 

I hope this list was helpful!!! I will continue to come back and modify it. If you’re from Vancouver and you think there’s something worth putting on here that I’ve missed please let me know!

Most importantly… enjoy your trip!!!! ❤

Love,
Lisa

Café Cancan // Episode 4 Must Eat (Toronto)

Hi everyone!

It’s Monday!!!!! you know what that means 😉 #WorstDayEver but at least you have THIS post to look forward to right?!?!?! 😉

Not to remind you every damn week (but I’m gonna until it sticks), if you are tuning in for the first time, I’ve started a food series where I write about one of my favourite restaurants (every Monday 9pm EST) that includes my pictures and personal recommendations. And yes, only the favourites will make it on to these blog posts so if I don’t like it, I won’t write about it #ItsADogEatDogWorld. Anyway, for more information, check out my first post on Nomé Izakaya where you can get dollar oysters every Tues & Wednesdays and hands down one of my favourite restaurants in the GTA.

This episode is going to be another photogenic place with amazing food (seriously the best combination)…

CAFÉ CANCAN!!!

Café Cancan seriously has their shit together. This is one of those restaurants where you walk in and you’re like YAAASSS. Because you can honestly tell that every little thing was thoroughly thought of. A+ for effort if you ask me. Even their washrooms are adorable (don’t have a  picture for y’all, I’m sorry). Not only is this place beautiful on the outside, it is also beautiful on the inside :’) aka the food is amazing (duh or else I wouldn’t be writing about it), but also the décor is on point. Btw, this is a French restaurant.

Before we start officially, let me begin with a disclaimer which is the fact that I’ve only gone here once (because I just discovered it and ate there so I can’t hold it in anymore … I gotta share). So I can’t give you the best best list of recommendations (but the beauty is that each time I go, I’ll come back and update this list!) but I can definitely tell you the food I’ve already had and some of the things I want to try in the future.

Outfit details: Sweater: Calvin Klein Coat: Aritzia Stedman Coat Boots: Jeffrey Campbell

This time, I went there for lunch (not brunch), but the next time I go, I’m definitely going to come when they’re serving brunch (only on weekends) and dinner.

MUST READ & ESSENTIAL DETAILS:

  • Located @ Spadina & Harbord – not exactly right at the intersection but v close!
  • If you are driving, there a bunch of street parking.. and here’s the best part… IT’S FREE! (thank mighty God)
  • Reservations allowed – they’re really good about it!
  • Exact address: 89 Harbord Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 1G5

WHAT I GOT:

Since it’s a French restaurant and I went with Lucas, I knew he wanted to try the escargots but it’s only offered at dinner… but thankfully the wait staff was nice enough to ask the kitchen and they made it for us at lunch anyway.

  1. Roast Beef Sandwich
  2. Escargots – THIS WAS AMAZINGGG omg. We got bread to go along with it and we ate every last drop. If you’ve never tried escargots I highly recommend trying it here!
  3. Cappuccino 




If you’ve ever tried brunch or dinner here, please let me know your recommendations! 😀 I would love to hear them.

Enjoy your week everyone!

Love,
Lisa

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Ramen Isshin // Episode 3 Must Eat (Toronto)

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!

Welcome to the 3rd episode of my weekly Food Posts #GetaweiFood and #GetaweiFoodTO (follow this hashtag on Instagram, y’all). To understand what this is, check out my first blog post here that explains a little more about these series. Also don’t forget to check out the last post which was a fantastic brunch spot called Baddies!

Remember that these food posts will occur every Monday at 9pm EST! Turn on notifications on my Instagram to keep posted.

Anyway, getting to this week’s post… I’m introducing to you

THE. BEST. RAMEN. IN. TORONTO.

(my opinion of course haha there might be better ones according to other people but… are you reading their blog? Yeah didn’t think so. #SassyMondays)

Anywho…

This week’s special guest is my absolute favourite ramen spot in all of Toronto. I’ve been to so many ramen places including the top ones like Momofuku,Kinton, Sansotei, etc, but this restaurant I’m about to introduce you guys is BY FAR the winner in my eyes for the best ramen. Don’t believe me? This is also the only ramen place that has ever been able to surpass a 4.5 rating (currently sitting at 4.7) on Google with close to 800 reviews!!!!!!

Introducing… (not really but just broadcasting the message here)… RAMEN ISSHIN!!!!!!!!!!!!

Before I continue, I would like to say a special thanks to my amazing friend Lisha Fan for showing me this restaurant and taking me there first :’). I didn’t even take snaps/pictures my first time because it was just so damn good I scarfed it down.

WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE IT:

  • Their noodles are absolutely unreal and it’s nothing like the other places I’ve tried
  • The soup base is also Roll-Your-Eyes-Back amazing
  • Their vegetarian options are BOMB. If you’re a vegetarian and you’ve been sad that you haven’t been able to try out ramen… do not fear. This is the best place you will ever find for vegetarian ramen!
  • The staff here is also very attentive and friendly. The service is great!

ESSENTIAL DETAILS

  • Downtown Toronto – Bathurst & College
  • Exact Address = 421 College Street, Toronto, ON M5T 1T1 (again, I don’t know why you would want to have the postal code but here it is)
  • NO RESERVATIONS ANYTIME
  • Wait time is typically around 15-30 minutes depending on:
    • Your party size
    • If you’re willing to sit on the counter / bar, if you’re willing to share a table, or if you only want actual seats
  • But not to worry, you can wait indoors since it’s like -234873958 degrees right now #Toronto

WHAT I’VE TRIED

***Disclaimer: these are my personal favourites and suggestions

So before I give you a point-form version that we all love to see, I just want to say that I’ve been here 3 times. In total, I’ve tried 5 different dishes. To me, there was a clear winner and what really set this place apart from other ramen places was their Kotteri Shoyu Ramen (I’ve attached pictures of their menu below). Everything about that dish was amazing – the noodles & the broth as well as the toppings that are included.

This is the Kotteri Shoyu Ramen!!! SOOOO GOOD YOU GUYS I CAN’T EVEN A;SLKDFJ;ALSKDFJKJA;LSKDFJ;ALSKDFJ;ALKDSJF;

 

The other items I’ve tried on the menu were also good but I wouldn’t say that they were my favourite and those dishes didn’t make this restaurant stand out to me as much as the Shoyu Ramen.

RAMENS I’VE TRIED:

  1. Kotteri Shoyu Ramen – YOU HAVE TO GET THIS
  2. Spicy Miso Ramen
  3. Black Tan Tan Noodle
  4. Shoyu Tsuk’emen.

In depth review:

1// Kotteri Shoyu Ramen 

Don’t know how many more times I can say this except for the fact that this is literally the best thing I’ve ever had in my life. It’s literally my go-to ramen when I come here. The toppings are great, the soup base is amazing – not to salty but really flavourful, and the noodles are like no other ramen places (in a very good way!)

2// Spicy Miso Ramen

This was the most suggested item from the restaurant itself. Don’t get me wrong it’s still good but it’s not as great as the other one in my opinion!! I got Lucas to try this one and the Kotteri Shoyu Ramen and he definitely agrees that the Kotteri is what makes this restaurant special whereas this one was pretty average. However, definitely give this a try if you really like miso base or if you’re craving spicy.

3// Black Tan Tan Noodle

This dish was interesting because you were able to grind the black sesame seeds and pour it into the soup base yourself. However, what I didn’t like about this dish was that it was pricier than the classic ramens ($13.80 rather than $11 something) and it didn’t include as many toppings – it didn’t have egg, seaweed, etc #WhatIsUpWithThatCmonMan. The soup base for me was also a little to salty for my liking so when I got this to try I immediately regretted not getting the one I usually get RIP 😥 #DramaQueenHour.

4// Shoyu Tsuk’emen

This is their “dip ramen”. Basically the soup on the left is not only SUPER HOT but there is only very little quantity of it. The idea is that you eat the ramen by dipping into the soup rather than eating it together. The noodles here are thicker and much chewier than your classic ramen-in-soup. I got this really to try it out but I didn’t actually like it too much because I’m more into eating the noodles and drinking the soup at the same time. Also, just like the Black Tan Tan Noodles, this dish was also on the saltier side which I didn’t like. AND the noodles were on the colder side since it’s not in the soup itself so overall the dish was kind of cold. I would recommend trying this more for the experience or if you really like dip ramen but overall this was not a favourite of mine.


I’ve also tried their vegetarian ramen (just a few bites from Lisha!) and I can honestly say that the soup base was just as good despite the fact that it’s not from actual meat! If you are a vegetarian, definitely give this place a try.

OTHER:

  1. Chicken Karaage
  2. Cold Peach Jelly Sake

In depth review:

1// Chicken Karaage

Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) is always good no matter where you go and this place is no exception. This appetizer didn’t particularly stand out amongst other restaurants but regardless, good Karaage overall.

2// Cold Peach Jelly Sake

This item was pretty pricey ($9) for a small can but it was DELICIOUS. Also it was a really cool thing to try because the drink comes out in Jelly form!

Karaage
Black Tan Tan Noodle.
Shoyu Tsuk’emen.

I hope you liked this episode of Must Eat in Toronto! Talk to you all next week!! ❤

Love,
Lisa

Baddies Toronto // Episode 2 Must Eat (Toronto)

Merry Christmas, you guys!!! 🙂

Welcome to the second episode of my food series. For those who are tuning in for the first time, I’ve started a food series where I write about one of my favourite restaurants (every Monday 9pm EST) that includes my pictures and personal recommendations. And yes, only the favourites will make it on to these blog posts so if I don’t like it, I won’t write about it #ItsADogEatDogWorld. Anyway, for more information, check out my first post on Nomé Izakaya where you can get dollar oysters every Tues & Wednesdays and hands down one of my favourite restaurants in the GTA.

Anyway, to kick off today’s episode, I’ve decided to write about a brunch place that’s located more towards downtown… not exactly downtown core but… LOL don’t hate me you guys.. the next episode will be more downtown I swear. To be quite honest I was kind of afraid I wouldn’t like the food here because I read some of the Google reviews beforehand and a few people said it wasn’t that great… but fortunately, I actually LOOOVED the food, it was one of the best places I’ve had for brunch so I have to share it with you all.

So today’s guest of honour is… BADDIES TORONTO!!!

look at how cute this is!!! ahhhh ❤

WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE IT:

  • The food is good AND it’s picturesque!
  • The brunch prices start around $10-$11 rather than some other brunch places that start at $15/16 (only gets really expensive when you add a bunch of extra stuff)
  • Right by the subway station!!

MUST READ & ESSENTIAL DETAILS:

  • Located @ Bathurst & Lansdowne – once again, this isn’t exactly downtown core but it’s SUPER easy to get to since it’s right beside Lansdowne station!
  • If you are driving, there is a bunch of Green P’s in adjacent streets and there is also a parking garage across the restaurant!
  • Exact address: 679 Lansdowne Ave, Toronto, ON M6H 3Y9

WHAT TO GET:

****Based on personal experience. 

Got to try two food items when I was here and it was amazing so I definitely suggest getting those:

  1. Smashed Avocado ($10) – great vegetarian option
  2. Brekkie Roll ($9) – This is what I got personally… it was SOOO good. There’s bacon & eggs in it!
  3. Cappuccino – You definitely don’t have to get this exact thing but I highly recommend their coffee because it tasted pretty good and also their coffee art was on point (unlike some other places #unimpressed) 
Smashed Avocado

 

Brekkie Roll
who can say no to this coffee?!?

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this short & sweet post! Make sure to check this place out!! ❤

Merry Christmas everyone!

Love,
Lisa

Nome Izakaya // Episode 1 Must Eat (Toronto)

Hi guys!

I’m really excited to announce that I’m going to be starting a new segment on the blog EVERY MONDAY NIGHT 9PM EST that includes everyone’s favourite topic… FOOD! Many of you have are already victims of my food spams on Instagram stories… #SorryNotSorryByDemiLovato, but now I wanted to give you a more in depth review of some of my favourite places in Toronto / GTA (or wherever I may be). Follow #GetaweiFood on here and on Instagram!

SO EXCITED TO SHARE THIS WITH YOU!!

 

To introduce this series I thought I’d explain how this works: every week, I will try to go to a different restaurant (okay this shouldn’t be hard let’s be real because if you’ve been following along you probably already know that I eat out at least twice a week #oops). I will only write about this restaurant IF it makes it to my own personal scale of at least 4 stars (and obviously up to you to trust whether or not my personal star rating system is good or not…) besides, I’m not a licensed food critic by any means but I’d like to say that I eat enough to know what is worth the splurge and what is worth the purge (I MADE THAT UP MYSELF I’M SO PROUD :D). Note that these restaurants will include a range of everything – cheap eats, fancy eats, different cuisines, etc etc you get the point.

Anyway, that being said, I’m currently taking recommendations to all restaurants of all categories (maybe be mindful of my budget because I’m still a very broke post-grad #ThanksRichardIveyAndExchange) so feel free to send some over and I will be sure to credit you!!!!

So without any further ado, introducing the first restaurant of these series………. *drum roll please*……. NOME IZAKAYA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I honestly feel like a talk show host… honestly what network is currently hiring because I’m v down to apply). I wanted this to be my very first post because not only did I just go there recently again (I think I’ve been there about 30 times now no lie) but also because this actually might be my #1 favourite restaurant in the GTA, plus my insta stories got so many responses asking for this and the girls I went with loved it so I have to share it with you!!! ❤

Keep in mind that this is my first post so if I’m missing any information that you believe is essential to reading, do not hesitate to message me. This will help improve the blog posts to come!

My personal rating: *****

WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE IT:

  • They have dollar oysters every Tuesday and Wednesdays!!!
    • They also have different types of sauces for oysters. This is a great chance for people who have been wanting to try oysters to get it because it’s so cheap 

  • Their Japanese food itself (cooked portion) is amazing – everything on the menu is pretty good
  • They have a nice patio in the summer time

MUST READ + ESSENTIAL DETAILS:

  • If you plan to go on Tuesday or Wednesday for Dollar Oysters… you MUST make a reservation (or the wait times will be horrendous!!) – you can do this online very easily
  • Located @ Yonge & Sheppard – VERY CLOSE TO THE SUBWAY STATION – literally a 1 min walk or less
    • Yes, I know, this isn’t technically in downtown but don’t let this hold you back because it’s very accessible by subway
  • If you are driving you can park directly behind the restaurant, the code for Green P parking is 403 (download the app and pay for parking directly through your phone)
  • Exact Address = 4848 Yonge St, North York, ON M2N 5N2 (I don’t know why you would need the postal code but I’m just gonna give that to you anyway in case you want to send them fan mail or what not)

WHAT TO GET:

***Disclaimer: these are my personal favourites and suggestions

// Must Get

  • $1 oysters!!!!!!!!!!! (only Tues & Wed)
  • Chicken Karaage (fried chicken)
    • This is one of my favourite dishes in all Japanese places!
  • Marinated Short Ribs
  • Double Salmon Roll
  • Apple Salmon Roll
    •  This is my personal favourite but some people like the Double Salmon better!

 

  • Baked Oysters
    •  If you’ve never tried a baked oyster in your life… you are truly missing out. You have to try this!!!!!!!!!
  • California Style Sashimi Donburi (this is rice + salad in a bowl basically – think of Japanese styled Chipotle hahaha)

// Try Something New

  • Oct-wasabi (Tako Wasabi)
    • This dish will surprise you if you haven’t tried this before – it has a strong wasabi taste but it is extremely pleasant! However, stay away if you don’t like octopus, wasabi, seaweed, or if you are very sensitive to spicy things
    •  Put the Octopus on the seaweed, wrap it, and enjoy!
  • Deep Fried Pork Belly
    •  This dish is very fatty but sooooo good

These are just the things I’ve tried and recommend so far. The rest of their menu is also amazing and I highly recommend exploring around!

I hope you enjoyed this blog post!! Happy eating everyone 😀

Love,
Lisa

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