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

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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Oyster Motoyaki

I had trouble thinking of a title so I decided to just go with the name of one of my most favourite Japanese dishes. In addition, I felt like the most memorable conversation topic (for me) between me, Karen (aka #TheIntrovertToMyExtrovert) and Jmok (aka #NotHorseButSheep) was our discussion regarding Oyster Motoyakis. If you don’t know, oyster motoyakis are baked oysters covered in cheese (or something… I don’t know, I’m not a foodie. I’m just responsible for eating it).

Here’s a picture if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

The reason why this dish was brought up was because we planned to meet at Metrotown to eat at that Japanese restaurant, Shishiya (is that how you spell it?!). Little did we know, that restaurant closed down #YouKnowYouveBeenAwayForALongTimeWhen. Anyway, I was expressing my disappointment because one thing I really liked about that restaurant was the way they prepared their oyster motoyakis. More specifically, their OM (I’m just gonna refer to them as this now because my fingers are getting tired… but I actually typed more trying to explain why I’ve shortened it to OM #OhTheIrony) are actually in oyster shells instead of fake shells (okay what I mean is tin (?) trays). Like so:

Example of OMs in NON-OYSTER shells #YesImDeeplyConcerned

Anywho, I just thought that by utilizing their actual shells made it more legimate and IMO I thought it tasted better. But no… Karen just had to ruin this whole idea for me by suggesting that there’s a possibility that they could be reusing the shells. GROSSSSSS #LostMyAppetite #JK #IWouldNever. So what I really want to know is that whether or not these are actually reused?! DOES ANYONE KNOW?! #PlsTellMe #ImReadyForTheTruth (I feel like a little kid learning about the idea of Santa for the first time).

Instead, we headed over to Kingsway Sushi for lunch. BTW, did you guys know that Kingsway Sushi does not offer order forms?! #HowInconvenient. Obviously we pigged out at lunch but the important thing about lunch was that I learned that Jon was born in the year of the sheep and not the year of the horse so there’s basically no chance of there ever being a Jisa because astrology compatibly is obviously very important #CantTellIfImSerious. These two also made me realize how much I’ve been away from the cadet world 😦 I hope you guys have fun this summer @ Alberthead!! See you at CofF’s?

For dessert, we visited our spot (making it sound like we’re some romantic threesome or something #SingleBuddies4Life) aka That-One-Gelato-Place-That-Has-A-Million-Flavors-But-I-Forgot-The-Name.

This is the place!
This is the place!

We were gonna compete to see who wore Karen’s mom’s sun-thingy (what are these called) the best but the two of them forgot to take pictures. It’s obviously because they knew I was gonna win #Weak.

I win by default #ProbablyStillWouldveWonAnyway #LetsBeReal
I win by default #ProbablyStillWouldveWonAnyway #LetsBeReal

As luck would have it, I bumped into Sean (ughhh FML #JK #ILY) when I was trying to go back home from Metrotown. I don’t usually shop with guys but I gotta admit, Sean’s a pretty good boy to shop with 😉 #IHaveHisNumberIfYouWantAShoppingCompanion

DSC00095
Hi from me and Sean!!! 🙂 #UsingMyNewCamera

Love,
Lisa