At the beginning of September, I took an extra-long weekend and went to Vancouver for a girls’ weekend with my mom, sister, and Grandma, as an early celebration for my Grandma’s 80th birthday. We stayed with my mom’s best friend in Maple Ridge and had a very go-go-go visit! I’ll break the trip up into a few different blog posts so this post isn’t 3,000 words long.
On September 2nd, my sister Haley and I flew to Vancouver and got in around 10:30 AM. We proceeded to DO ALL THE THINGS as with just two people, you can move pretty quick! It was a very nice day to spend with just my sister, as she is leaving next week for a lengthy training program in Abu Dhabi. * cue tears *
We put our luggage in storage at the airport, then caught the ever-so-convenient Skytrain from the airport to the Waterfront station, which is conveniently close to Gastown.
Since it was lunchtime, we browsed restaurant menus looking for (1) gluten-free options and (2) big juicy burgers (which Haley was craving). We wandered along, bordering on “hangry”, and then I noticed a little restaurant just off the street called Meet. Let’s note the ironic spelling now. We perused the menu and realized they offered tons of g-free options, plus 5+ burger options, so decided to try it out. The restaurant was busy and the first thing I noticed was that all the dessert items (don’t you read that menu first too?) were g-free AND vegan. That’s pretty much like seeing a unicorn! Haley and I read through the menu and I found myself struggling to pick JUST ONE entrée as everything sounded appetizing.
The server came by to see if we were ready to order, and Haley asked her about the coconut bacon on the menu (picturing coconut-crusted bacon). The server explained what the bacon was (coconut flavored like bacon), and mentioned that the restaurant didn’t serve animal byproducts.
Suddenly I started to realize what kind of establishment we were at. I said to Haley, “They don’t serve animal byproducts?” She quickly brushed it off, saying that bacon was a byproduct, where ground beef for instance would just be a meat product. Of course, with a dawning new awareness, we reread the menu noting the strange names of different items, like “cheez” ( not cheese) and “hot chiggin’ things” (not chicken wings.) We had unwittingly stumbled into a vegan restaurant.
All drama aside, with much laughter at our foolishness, we ordered vegan burgers (mine was the Double Bacon Double Cheez Burger – I know, confusing) and found our meals to be pretty delicious, all vegan nonsense aside.
With our bellies full, we stopped by Purebread to pick up some g-free, vegan cookies which are hands-down my favorite on the planet. Their chocolate chip oatmeal cookie is out of this world! We also sampled the chocolate peanut butter cookie which was pretty dang good too. My biggest regret of the trip was not buying two dozen to take home.
It was so much fun and we really enjoyed the views! So much that we missed the path’s turn to return back to Spokes, and continued on to English Bay. Of course once we realized we’d left Stanley Park, we turned around and headed back to Spokes. $10 well spent!
From Spokes, we walked another ½ hour over to the water taxi station across from Granville Island, then taxied across to check out the infamous market. As we’d been snacking on cookies all afternoon, neither of us had much room for treats and so amazingly the only purchases we made at Granville were some greeting cards.
From Granville, we taxied back across to the Yaletown station. Haley had pedicures on the brain, so we stopped in to every nail spa we passed looking for two 5 o’clock openings. Finally she found a salon for us and off we went! We enjoyed getting our pedicures after our marathon day of walking, and then carried on in search of dinner.
Extensive pre-trip googling of g-free pizza in Vancouver led us to The Parlour. Foolishly, we thought we could just walk in around dinner time and get seated. Unfortunately, the hostess quoted a 30-45 minute wait so we put our names down on the list, and then browsed some shops while we waited. With the pressure of getting back to the airport by 8:30 PM to meet our mom and grandma looming, as soon as we were seated, we quickly ordered drinks and pizza, then devoured the food when it came. Their pizza is 5/5 stars! Amazing g-free crust that is both crispy and chewy – all you gluten-free people out there know how rare that combination is. It was a shame to eat so quickly, but we ate, paid, and dashed to the train station – just in time to catch the 8:10 train.
We arrived at the airport and met our family in the arrivals area, and then headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for the night. It was a busy and awesome whirlwind day exploring Vancouver!