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

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Jabistro

Finally got a chance to go to Jabistro (aka the “best sushi in town”) with Janet, Tony, Victor, and Hysan 😀

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their menu’s also made on some really fancy paper
We started the dinner by ordering their lobster miso soup. I highly recommend this if this is your first time going (if not, order more of their sushi rolls!!!). There’s already a bit of lobster flavouring in the soup but I would also add a bit of the lobster meat inside.

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miso soup with lobster broth

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lobster for the miso soup
Here were some of the other things we ordered:

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ebi nanban (battered tiger shrimp with tartar sauce)

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aburicious (2 ebi, 2 saba, 2 salmon, 2 JaBistroll)
Our entire group really liked the 3rd roll (counting from the left), followed by the second one. The first roll has a little bit of jalapeño on top – and if you know me, I like my spicy stuff so this was definitely a plus 😀

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sashmi platter

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hokkaido salad (snow crab, inure, herb salted salmon)
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Tony: “I’ll have the less girly drink”  *steals my drink from me* #EveryTime

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nama (classic nigiri 7 pieces)
If you’re sharing this with friends, call dibs on the fatty tuna and the scallop 😉

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their high quality paper towels from the washroom ft. Hysan’s hand (we took a sample LOL)
We went to the movies after dinner and the theatre didn’t have paper towels in the washroom. This is why we should’ve taken like 3 samples.

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me and Tony made this plate ;). It’s the onions from the salad LOL. So if you’re looking for any food stylists, me and Tony are available for hire 😉
Since it was the first time for most of us, I thought that everything we ordered gave us a really good taste of the overall menu. If it’s your first time and you’re unsure of what to order, definitely give these a try! I also recommend going with more than one or two people because this way you can try more things without getting full faster and it also helps with the cost :).

If you’re going with less people and you want to order less, I would definitely recommend the rolls, the nigiri (both of these you have to order #NotToBeBossy #ButListenToMeBecauseImRight), the miso soup (if this is your first time), and the tiger shrimps. I wouldn’t worry too much about the salad just because you only have one stomach and you gotta prioritize what you eat #WiseWordsOfTheDay. The sauce on the salad was pretty good but other than that, a salad is a salad #TheresOnlySoMuchYouCanDo. Personally, I’m a huge fan of sashimi but I wouldn’t put the sashimi platter on my “must-order” list because I know that most people aren’t very big fans of sashimi (what is wrong with you btw), and more importantly, even if they are huge fans, not everyone is a fan of every type of fish (trying to think of the overall group utility #ImSoNice #Econ101).

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Even though we were all stuffed, I’m glad we still decided to buy popcorn with extra, extra, butter at the theatres #THANKSGUYS #LOVEYOU. We watched the Avengers and since I was itis-ing (I would use “food coma” like a true Vancouverite, but since I’m an Ontarioian now with my Roots sweatpants, I’ll stick to my Ontario slang ;D) so hard, I almost passed out during the movie.

If you’re in TO definitely try this place out!!! #ItsForYourOwnGood

Love,
Lisa

Last of June

Since I’ve been working non-stop and I basically PTFO once I get home, I decided to just jumble the last week of June into one blog post entirely. #LazinestAtItsFinest

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I had an upcoming date with this one:

Excuse me and my muscles #JK #WhatMuscles

This time ’round, we went for some dim sum!!! When we got there, they didn’t have any empty tables for us so the waitress got us to share one big table. We ended up having a blast as we talked about the food, their travels, and basically anything we can think about.

BTW, Eric got me loving baked buns instead of steamed. THEY’RE SO GOOD!! It’s crispy on the outside but soft on the inside and they make your heart melt in a way that puppies can’t. #YeahIJustSaidThat

Since Eric had work afterwards, he dropped me off at Metrotown where I met up with my co-worker Andrea who’s leaving for Toronto. IMG_5226What I love about shopping with Andrea is that she’s been a way longer shopaholic than I have so she gives really good advice when it comes to buying things 😉 #EvenThoughWeShouldntBeBuyingAtAll #ButAnyway #YOLO?

whoops. #BothOfUS
whoops. #BothOfUS

 

I also saw my twinnie Erin Jay as we hit up the last day of June Clientele. Trust me when I say this but… nobody is on the same level as us when it comes to shopping at Aritzia ;). This is the girl I spent 6 hours with at the warehouse sale last year and went to Clientele the day before our final exam (or something like that). #WeCray #WeTakeThisVerySeriously

collectively lining up for the sale last year :) #FriendsAndFam #AritziaWarehouse2013
collectively lining up for the sale last year 🙂 #FriendsAndFam #AritziaWarehouse2013
only picture we got :(
only picture we got 😦

Later on, I saw Victor and Graham as we dined at Homer Street Cafe & Bar and had our own version of a CAISA reunion. #VancouverVersion #WhoNeedsToBeInToronto #NotBitterAtAll

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steak ❤

And finally, the last day of June, I saw CAITLYN ❤ #YAY. We went go-karting for the first time (well technically it’s my second time but first time using the adult karts) with my co-workers. So… everyone lapped me at least 2 times and someone even lapped me 4 times… #Embarrassing #IDriveSafeThough.

And… onto July now!!!

Love,
Lisa

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

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Hi from me and Sean!!! 🙂 #UsingMyNewCamera

Love,
Lisa

Struggles of a Vancouverite in ON

After living in Onterrible Ontario for almost 2 years, the following are the things that I still struggle with today. Don’t get me wrong, I love London, but these are the good and bad things that I’m trying to get used to.

1. Trying to deal with the whole “bagged milk” situation

Honestly, after two years, I’ve gotten kind of  used to it. My only major complaint is that it’s not as environmentally friendly as BC’s method.

why is this even a thing
Ontario milk

this is how you do it, Ontario
this is how you do it, Ontario

2. Drinking Water

Back when I lived at home, I can easily turn on the tap if I wanted drinking water. If I try doing that here, I feel like I adopted an allergy. #dramaqueenhour

But seriously though, if you’re in BC right now, please kiss the fresh spring water for me – it’s right from your tap.

my saviour

3. Roots

Back in BC, I rarely notice people wearing Roots anything, shop at Roots, or really have any sort of affiliation with Roots. But here? Sweetie, you need a pair of Roots sweats to fit in.

if you don’t want this to happen, I suggest you run to the nearest Roots store right now

4. Snow here, snow there, snow EVERYWHERE!

A lot of Ontarians get really surprised when I tell them that Vancouver barely gets snow (until recently they got a few centimetres). Why is that…?! We can still be part of Canada even if we don’t produce any white fluffy things that fall from the sky, okay?! 😥

Because of the lack of snow in Van, I used to get extreeeemelllyyyy  excited when I see snow. But little did I know that all there is during the months of freaking November to possibly even March, snow will be around so it’s nowhere near a delicacy here.

reaction to Vancouver’s recent mild snow conditions

5. Trying to say “Toronto” properly

Yes, there’s an improper way to say the word “Toronto”. For example, if you pronounce every syllable like so:  Tor-on-to, you’re basically not from this province. On the other hand, if you say it really quickly (that’s what I do but doesn’t work at all), or if you jumble all the syllables together, you’re suddenly one of them.

The way I like to think about it is when someone says Vancouver like “VAN-(the car)-coo-ver” <— not from Vancouver. Then, someone says Vancouver like “Vang-coo-ver” <— one of us.

(I bet you’re all trying to say it now, aren’t you?  😀 I’m manipulating you and you don’t even know it)

as long as you say it properly

6. Sushi

people trying to understand my deep love for sushi

For those of you who know me definitely saw this one coming. The reason why I didn’t put this as my #1 is because it’s a very sensitive topic for me so it took awhile to gather the courage to talk about it. #dramaqueenhour

Truthfully, it’s not as bad as I had previously made it sound. But when you take price, portions, quality (okay so pretty much everything) into consideration… it’s definitely not comparable to Vancity 😛 And it’s just a given that the sushi here is not as fresh. I guess you can’t really blame them for that, I mean, c’mon, Vancouver is next door neighbours with all kinds of fishies. The only similarity that I really found is that sushi restaurants here are also not owned by Japanese people. #AddingItToTheListOfThingsIDontUnderstand

7. “True”

When I first got to Ontario, I didn’t really understand the overuse of the word “true”. I remember the first time I truly felt confused.

Friend: Where are you headed?
Me: Library, then home.
Friend: True…

Wait – why did you say “true”? If you knew where I was going, then why bother asking?!

Then it dawned on me. You know when you’re texting someone and you hit that awkward part of a conversation and you don’t know what to say anymore? In text, you can get away with saying things like “lol”. But in person, you can’t just say “laugh out loud” as a response. So … this is where the word “true” comes in (to my understanding). Unless I’m wrong then please disregard everything I just said #Awkward.

(and… this is where you have nothing to say and you say “true”. Get it? You’re welcome.)

8. Slang

There’s so much to say in this category so it should really be a post of its own. But to summarize some of the ones I’ve came across, here’s a short list.

a) “Wheeling”

What it means: when you’re trying to pick up someone. But it’s not limited to bars/clubs. It can mean that you really have your eye on someone and you’re just trying to get with them. (RIGHT? Am I getting this one right now?)

what a ridiculous term

 

b) “Dealing”

What it means: This is what follows after you’ve successfully “wheeled” someone. You’re basically with them but you’re not labelled an official couple yet.

IMO, I feel like this was a bad word choice because when I heard it for the first time, I thought of it completely differently. My friend said, “I’m dealing with ____(insert name)___ right now.” To me, that sounded equivalent to, “ugh, I have to go deal with something first.” Instead of sounding endearing, it sounded more like she was making an effort to get out of some tough situation and she’s trying hard not to cut his throat in the process.

c) “Itus”

Vancouver equivalence: food coma

Ontarians (Is this right? Please fill in this blank for me: People from Vancouver call themselves Vancouverites as to people from Ontario/Toronto call themselves _____) argue that “itus” is more appropriate because it depicts the feeling of being too full and wanting to sleep. Okay… True… (notice how I’m using Ontario slang? Yay me 😀 #OneOfThem)

HOWEVER… I might argue that food coma is a more dramatic mental imagery because we’re basically saying that we’re so full to the point that we’re already unconscious.

Plus, when I first heard “itus” I legit thought it was some new form of STDs. #PleaseBeCarefulWithYourUseOfSlangAroundForeignPeople

9. Lack of LGs

This is definitely a positive struggle.

when I found out I don’t really need to know/use/see LGs anymore

If you don’t know what a LG is… first of all, you go, girl! Or boy… #NotSexist. But if you insist on knowing, here ya go. You can even watch this if you like.

10. Not carrying an umbrella everywhere

Definitely another positive struggle. I love that it doesn’t rain 1/3 of the year here which means I don’t necessarily need an umbrella wherever I go. I also feel like it’s a lot brighter in Ontario just because there aren’t as many clouds covering the sky.

I don’t know if you know… but we get a lot of rain in Vancity. Unless you’re from Vancity then you already know.

 

Overall, despite the lack of sushi, I love where I live right now. I definitely love going back to Vancouver to visit but I’m enjoying every minute of being in London 😀 #PeopleThinkImInTheUK #GoAheadAndBelieveThatSoISoundFancy

Love,
Lisa