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Summer Favourites: Food, adventures, other finds

Summer Favourites: Food, adventures, other finds
Summer Favourites: Food, adventures, other finds

How is it already June? It has been a busy few weeks since I last blogged.

I started running regularly again, hallelujah! I went to London, England for a family vacation (recap to come). I have been soaking up the sun and spending lots of time outside. And of course, I continue to eat and drink my way through Vancouver!

Here are a few things I am loving so far this summer:

Blue Water Cafe in Yaletown

A few weeks ago, we hosted an Industry Reception at work. After the party, several of us went for dinner in Yaletown. We ended up at Blue Water Cafe: an award-winning destination for seafood in the city committed to sourcing sustainable seafood.

While the restaurant isn’t cheap and certainly caters to a snootier crowd, the food is extremely good. I’ve had great seafood at other spots in the city, but never have I experienced something quite like their Seafood Tower: two tiers with oysters, prawns, seared red tuna, salmon tartare, jellyfish, scallop ceviche, clams and mussels, topped with dungeness crab. With a side of champagne and sashimi, it was quite the evening.

The restaurant was packed and without a reservation, we were seated at the sushi bar. This ended up being a great spot to sit and be entertained! I loved watching the sushi chefs carefully craft and plate hundreds of dishes throughout the night.

Huma Gels from Mountain Equipment Co-op

As I start to build up mileage again, my Sunday runs are getting longer. Once I get over 16 km, I generally find I need to eat something during long runs. I was at Mountain Equipment Co-op recently and picked up a few flavours of the all natural chia energy gel, Huma Gels.

Many runners I know love these gels, especially those runners who have sensitive stomachs or find the standard gels too sugary and a little sickening. So far, I’ve only tried the mango Huma Gel but loved it. A thinner texture and less artificial taste make it way easier to swallow than your average gel.

Juniper in Chinatown

The charcuterie board taste testing continues the summer. First up was Juniper in Chinatown, known for their hand-crafted cocktails and seasonal “Cascadian-inspired fare.” I loved the restaurant space itself, bright and spacious. The appetizers we had were quite good, especially the bread (grilled sourdough with cultured butter) and meatballs (made from wild boar, elk, and bison). Mostly we chose the spot for it’s unique-sounding fish charcuterie board, but we arrived to find it no longer on the menu. Instead, we ordered the mixed board (cured meats, cheeses, pickles, crostini), small in size but pretty tasty.

Grapes & Soda in South Granville

A few weeks later, we ventured across the Granville Street bridge to continue our charcuterie taste testing at Grapes & Soda. Nestled on a quiet side street off busy Granville Street, Grapes & Soda is Vancouver’s first natural wine bar and serves “seasonally inspired” small plates. Next door is sister restaurant, the widely acclaimed Farmer’s Apprentice. Both share similar rustic decor and fresh, local, farm-to-table philosophies.

We ordered a lot of food and ended up trying everything on the Happy Hour menu. In our defence, there were a lot of us. I especially liked the chickpea toast, spring greens, and variety of cheeses on the cheese board.

Dinner at Granville Island: CHAU Veggie Express and dessert at Ernest Ice Cream

On the past two Sundays, my friend Nikki and I have embarked on an evening adventure. It is a great way to extend the weekend and end it on a high note. On our first adventure, we walked over to Granville Island Public Market and got take out from Chau Veggie Express, one of my favourite healthy Vancouver restaurants. After eating outside overlooking the harbour, we walked along the seawall to Ernest Ice Cream in Olympic Village. The wait was definitely worth it, their small batch ice cream is seriously good.

Dinner at East is East and walk to Queen Elizabeth Park

For our second Sunday night adventure, we started off with dinner at another favourite healthy spot, East is East. Definitely some of the best Indian and Afghan food in the city. My go-to dish is the double roti roll, because it is hard to choose just one.

After dinner, we went on a short walk through Mount Pleasant and up to Queen Elizabeth Park. At 152 m above sea level, it is the highest point in Vancouver and offers great views of the city and North Shore mountains down below. It is also home to the Bloedel Conservatory and free, spacious, and beautifully landscaped gardens.

Running on the hilly roads of Stanley Park

I frequently run along the Stanley Park seawall, but often forget about the roads inside the park. I was able to maintain a relatively good fitness level while injured with spinning and gym workouts, but when it comes to running hills I want to die a little these days. What better way to fix this than start running more hills! Last week, I did a great (read: awful) 8 mile run, doing hill repeats on Pipeline Road and Stanley Park Drive leading up to Prospect Point. Fortunately, the route was beautiful and the forest and ocean views were a welcome distraction from the hills.

Hiking on Vancouver’s North Shore

While it may be summer in Vancouver, there is still snow in the mountains. A few weeks ago, I made the mistake of going up to the top of Grouse Mountain to hike Dam Mountain and was seriously ill-prepared for the snow. I hiked anyways, but my feet were so wet and cold by the end (and I was a little terrified of sliding down the side of a mountain).

I’ve opted for a few other safer, snow-free hikes lately, including some old favourites: Lynn Headwaters Regional Park and Norvan Falls, Rice Lake and Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve, BCMC Trail, Whytecliff Park, Lighthouse Park, and Quarry Rock in Deep Cove.

What are you loving so far this summer? Is there still snow where you live? 

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