Just came back from a trip to Vancouver (pleasure) and
San Diego (business, sort of). I'm afraid I have
nothing exciting to report about San Diego (went to
several pleasant but unexceptional restaurants, and I
can say it on good authority that few things more
depressing than eating at a Marriott hotel).
But I loved Vancouver: the rugged beauty of the
scenery; the unvarying friendliness of the people; and
of utmost importance, terrific food.
Vancouver reminds me a bit of Seattle. With a little
effort, it's hard not to eat well in Vancouver, but
the highs generally aren't as high as in, say, NYC or
I also want to thank Gary Cheong, who gave me several
tips that led to the best meals I had. For me, the
highlight was definitely Tojo, the "Nobu" of
Vancouver. Luckily, Tojo's "Nobuness" did not extend
to the prices or the attitude. You *CAN* blow a
bundle if you put yourself in Tojo's hands, but our
group of three was content to focus on their house
specialties. My single favorite dish from Vancouver
was "Tojo's Tuna," spectacular raw tuna in a wonderful
wasabi-soy sauce. The sauce drove me crazy. I had to
order rice to dunk every last bit of the sauce upon.
And then I ordered another dish. Many of Tojo's
experiments were more effective to me than Matsuhisa's.
Sun Sui Wah is a huge Hong Kong-style Chinese
restaurant. My compadres wouldn't go for any of the
scary huge fish entrees (they had geoduck clams the
size of Mark McGuire's arms) but I had perhaps the
best Peking Duck ever. I'd love to go back there.
Diva is a relaxing place for a weekend brunch, and the
black cod hash is addictive.
C was a little too fussy for me, but the seafood Asian
fusion restaurant is in a lovely setting and we didn't
try enough dishes to render a final verdict.
Bacchus is a terrific Italian restaurant located in a
small, luxury hotel with carefully prepared food in a
relaxed and quiet setting.
Even Cabrero's, which looks like a tourist trap and
was noisy as the dickens, turned out a wonderful
salmon roasted on a wooden plank.
And then there are always Aunt Vickie's potato chips,
one of my favorite brands anywhere (but I don't
suggest any but the plain variety -- both the salt and
vinegar and BBQ varieties taste artificial and are
In general, street food and pastries found in coffee
houses was execrable.