It was a beautiful sunny day and I had a craving for some ice cream. My hubby and I ventured over toward English Bay on the hunt for a nice, cold treat. We came across D’oro Gelato and Caffe and went in. It’s a cute little gem of a cafe offering a variety of gelato flavors, as well as coffee and cakes. The staff was very welcoming. While we were browsing the flavours, we were offered our choice of samples to try. I tried the nutella, the ferrero rocher, and the salted caramel. I ended up choosing the salted caramel in a waffle cone and the hubby went with creme brulee in a cup. The gelato was excellent. It was creamy and tasty and not overly sweet.
I had seen posts from H Tasting Lounge on social media and it piqued my interest so I convinced my husband that this is where we should go for our wedding anniversary. A little background – this is the lobby lounge in the Westin Bayshore Hotel. It’s inspired by aviation genius Howard Hughes. To anyone who hasn’t heard of Howard Hughes, he was an eccentric and wealthy record setting pilot. The Leonardo Dicaprio film “The Aviator” is based on his life. He’d spent some time in Vancouver in the early 70s and is said to have been a guest at the Westin Bayshore Hotel.
I reached out to H Tasting Lounge by email from their website once and by phone twice for a reservation weeks prior to our celebration and unfortunately I didn’t receive a response. I really wanted to check it out badly, so I tried yet again and reached out to them via instagram. This time they got back to me right away. They made my reservation for me and asked that I email the manager to provide my contact information. The manager was kind, apologetic and promised to make it a special night for us.
So Saturday arrived and we made our way over to the restaurant. Wow, to say we were impressed is an understatement. The lounge interior has an art deco inspired design. It’s just so beautiful. I could be bias because I happen to love 1920s/1930s style, but they happen to do it really well. Outside the entrance they have a vintage Porsche parked out front. It sets the mood for what you’re walking into. The hostess was dressed in Gatsby type clothing and greeted us with great enthusiasm. She led us to the back of the restaurant to the best table in the house. It was a booth in the corner with views of everything happening in the restaurant. Our server, I believe her name is Melissa, came over and greeted us. She said that she understood it was our anniversary and presented us with two glasses of champagne. It was a nice touch and it was a great for us to start our evening out with a toast. One of the things I really admire about this restaurant is how they completely commit to their theme. Waitresses are wearing little gold airplane pins, the retro design is everywhere down to the cutlery, the cocktails specify what part of the world each one comes from, the menu is separated into sections such as “taxi”, “take-off”, “in-flight” and “landing”. So freakin’ cute! I ordered the “House of Faberge” as my cocktail. It is art in it’s own right. Gorgeous to look at. They serve the liquid in a breakable egg. I encourage you to watch the video posted so you can see what I mean. Cool, creative and fancy, plus it was delicious and went down smooth and easy. We ordered some oysters for our appetizer and they were fresh and great. Now on to our mains – I had seen postings of the lobster mac and cheese on social media and it had made my mouth water. This is perhaps one of the main reasons I wanted to come to the restaurant. I could not find it anywhere on the menu and we were told that they recently changed it. I’ll admit, I was majorly disappointed and don’t really understand their decision to remove it from the menu. Perhaps it changes seasonally, but I was sad lol. I was looking really forward to it. I ended up going with the striploin and Chris ordered the wellington. Not only were the plates pleasing to the eye (Hello, they carved my potato into a star!), but they were so good! Yum!
The lounge offers live music daily and the musician was quite good singing songs of everyone from Eric Clapton to Taylor Swift. It added to the ambience.
I decided to order another drink, and they had one on their menu that sounded like a vacation (beachy waves) and I ordered it without realizing that it was a mocktail. The waitress pointed this out to me and offered for them to add rum to it. It tasted like a tropical beach cocktail and it made me feel like it was summer.
Just when you thought it couldn’t get even better…I asked for a dessert menu and Melissa told us there was already a dessert coming out for us. I felt they’d already done so much for us with the champagne that I wasn’t expecting anything else. They were going above and beyond and we felt so grateful. They brought out a baked alaska and flamed the peaks of the meringue in brandy table-side. This was my first time trying baked alaska. I’d seen it as a challenge on Master Chef before and I always wondered what it was like. Ice cream covered in meringue. It was lovely and unique.
Chris and I both agreed that there was nothing negative that we could say about our experience. We had such a great time, the food was amazing, service top-notch (they really made it feel like a special night for us), and it was a wonderful ambience. I have seen that they offer a girls night menu on Mondays and high tea as well and I just cannot wait to go back!
I’d seen Lucky’s doughnuts all over social media and I heard that they’d opened a 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters location in downtown Vancouver recently, but I didn’t know where. My friend and I went for a walk over our lunch break and we came across the new location on Thurlow. My friend had been there before and I was so excited to go inside to try Lucky’s Doughnuts for the first time. It’s a super cute little coffee shop and it smelled divine. I was starving too so I was happy to see that they offered brunch options until 2:00 p.m. I went with the smoked salmon toast and I picked a chocolate old fashioned doughnut. They gave me a number and my friend and I went and sat outside as it was a beautiful day. The wait for the food was a bit longer than I expected as the meals are pretty simple, but it was busy. The waitress brought out my meal and unfortunately handed me a set of silverware that was dirty, but I pointed it out and she quickly brought me a new, clean set. The plate was gorgeous and delicious. Smoked salmon with cream cheese on toast. Simple and filling. The doughnut was also really tasty. I enjoyed the lunch so much I came back a week later and decided to try the avocado toast with a fried egg on top with a side of mushrooms. Again, it’s a very simple dish, but you can’t go wrong with it. Very good and I’ll be back.
We booked our parasailing adventure with Cabo Expeditions. We were picked up by a shuttle from our hotel and taken to the Cabo San Lucas marina. When we arrived, we learned that we were the only two people that had booked for that time slot so we got the boat all to ourselves. We walked through the marina and saw some wildlife before even got on the boat. We knew it was going to be a great day. We were on the boat with two employees, the captain and the technician. We were strapped in and taken up in the parasail. It was simply gorgeous. There is something so calming about being up there. It’s serene. You’re floating above looking down into the ocean. We saw a sea turtle swimming, as well as otters hanging out. It was really cool. The employees took many photos for us that we loved. A big downside was that toward the end of our time up in the sky we looked up and noticed that one of the hooks wasn’t completely closed. I think they probably strap people in so much that perhaps they do it too quickly. It made us a bit panicked for the last minute or so, but we were brought down pretty much right after we noticed. We were lucky. It was a memorable experience and one that my husband and I always think back to. If you’re going to go, perhaps try a different company and make sure everything is closed completely on your own before you’re let up into the sky. For us, we’re still alive lol so it worth it and a happy memory.
Yesterday, my husband and I checked out the Spot Prawn Festival for the first time. I was browsing online a few weeks ago and I learned that the Spot Prawn Festival offers a brunch with 6 great Vancouver chefs each preparing spot prawns in a different way. To a foodie like me, that sounded amazing, so I jumped at the chance.
Our tickets noted that the brunch was at 11:00 a.m., so we headed over there a bit before the start time. The festival was pretty empty this early. We went over to the marked brunch section and we were told that the brunch actually began at 11:30. They checked us in and gave us our wristbands and our “passports” told us to come back. This gave us a bit of time to stroll around and check out the rest of the festival. They had cooking demos and vendors had set up stands throughout the area with some vendors offering samples or contests to enter. There was also a line-up to purchase fresh spot prawns from boats that were pulling in and a different area where you could buy spot prawn chowder for $10.00.
We went back to the brunch area at 11:30. A line-up had formed to get through, but it moved very quickly with no wait time. The area was set up with empty tables in the middle and cooking areas/stands for each chef around the perimeter. It reminded me of the challenge set ups I’d seen on Top Chef. There was also wine and beer stations toward the back and a coffee station at the entrance. Toward the end of the event, they also set up a station for ice cream. The way that it worked was that you would go to the stand of your choice to pick up the dish from that chef station and get a checkmark on your passport for that station, then take your food back to the middle tables and eat. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
I’ll start with the wine. They offered several types of wine samples from Evolve Cellars. I’ll admit that I have not heard of this award winning wine. I tasted each kind that they offered and it was so delicious. I will be looking to pick some of this particular brand up next time I want to purchase some wine.
Beer samples from Moody Ales were offered. They offered the Vienna Amber Lager and the Sublime Pineapple Hefeweizen. Although they were both great, the pineapple beer was a clear stand out. So yum!
Coffee from Mogiana Coffee was offered, but I didn’t end up trying it.
The food offerings were as follows:
Chef Tret Jordan of Homer Street Cafe and Bar prepared a salt baked spot prawn with red chimichurri;
Chef Robert Belcham of Campagnolo Restaurant prepared a spot prawn chowder;
Chef Vikram Vij of Vij’s prepared a coconut curried prawn;
Chef Tim Bedford of Drift Cafe Bistro prepared spot prawn chawanmushi, pickles, herb salad, fried shallot;
Chef Caitlin Mark of H2 Rotisserie prepared seared spot prawn with chili pepper and honey glaze, cucumber basil garnish;
Chef Karl Gregg of Colony Bar prepared a sauteed spot prawn, soft boiled egg, roasted new potato, lemon aioli.
We had so much fun at this event. These Chefs obviously know what they’re doing, so of course the food was amazing! There was nothing that I didn’t like. Everything was sooo good! Because there were only so many tables, for every plate we picked up we ended up sharing a table with a different group of people attending the event. Everyone was so friendly and talkative. People were just really x x xenjoying themselves – eating great food and drinks, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful views and meeting new people. It was great to chat with the chefs as well.
Before we left, we finished our brunch off with a sampler of La Glace’s bananas foster ice cream. It tasted like banana bread. It was smooth, creamy perfection.
This was a fantastic event that I would definitely recommend!
One of my all time favorite lunch time spots is The Poke Guy. It is sooo good. They offer fresh, wild (not farmed) marinated cubes of seafood. They boast of being ocean wise and all of their packaging is compostable. Although the eatery is small and the line-up is always ridiculously long (a sign of how great the food is), it somehow still gives off a feel good, laid-back, casual vibe reminiscent of the poke shops in Hawaii. You start off by picking a size – the big guy or the little guy. Then you choose a base such as brown rice, white rice or salad. Next you choose your choice of raw fish or poke. They have a pretty good selection that includes ahi tuna, while sockeye salmon, lomi lomi, etc. They also carry soft tofu and more recently have also started offering ahimi ahimi which is a sustainable plant based alternative to ahi tun with the texture and flavor of the tomato. They usually also have a feature of the day – I’ve tried several of them in the past including marinated shrimp, scallops and spicy ahi. Yum! Their selection of sides is abundant and fantastic – tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, coleslaw, imitation crab, mango, pineapple, jalapenos – the list goes on… Lastly you choose your sauce and crunchy toppings. By the end of it, you have this heaping full bowl of deliciousness. Everything is so fresh, I just can’t get enough. Although I can’t say I’ve tried all of the poke places in Vancouver, of the ones I have tried this one is a clear favorite for me.
I’ve walked past the Kaboom Box food truck on Granville Street millions of times with great curiosity. Before lunch today, I was craving some fish and chips so I decided today was the day I would give it a shot. I walked up to the food truck and took my first close look at it. It’s not as nice, new and flashy as some of the other food trucks I’ve seen around town The menu looks a bit worn and faded, but still seemed interesting enough. They market themselves as “West Coast Street Cuisine”. I had every intention of ordering their fish and chips which looked very appealing in their photographs , but as I approached the front of the line I blurted out “oysters and chips”. It had piqued my interest and this happens to me sometimes, haha. My meal was ready pretty quickly. It was a generous portion for $12.00. It looked terrific and I was excited to dig in. The fries were easily the highlight of the plate. They were crispy and salted to perfection. The fried oysters had a crispy batter, but I found them to be a bit on the greasy side. They were good, but not amazing…I’ve had better. The homemade tartar sauce was really delicious. Unfortunately, the cole slaw was fairly underwhelming. Overall, my experience was just okay. I don’t think I’ll be back.
Chris and I booked a private tour of Havana by vintage car. We were picked up by our driver and tour guide in a classic Chevy and we were on our way. From start to finish this tour was completely amazing. Our drive to Havana was long, but comfortable. The tour guide was friendly and knowledgeable. His english was impeccable. We learned so much from him and he was funny and engaging. Once we arrived in Havana, he took us to several landmarks such as Revolution Square and Havana Cathedral. Seeing all the vintage cars in Cuba makes you feel like you’ve gone back in time. We were happy to soak up all the culture Havana has to offer. It’s so full of history and art. The buildings are colorful and bright and make awesome backdrops for your photographs. The architecture is amazing. It’s truly a beautiful place. Our tour guide took us to Hostal y Paladar El Canonazo for lunch. Lunch is not included, but the food was authentic and so delicious. There were chickens walking around while you’re eating which was pretty cool too. Our driver and tour guide completely catered to our every need and they went above and beyond. They were really lovely. I would highly recommend this tour to everyone. I have done the Havana bus tour years ago and this was better more comfortable and enjoyable on many levels. I loved it so much. We made some really wonderful memories and it was a highlight from our trip to Cuba. Like Camilla Cabello says, half of my heart is in Havana <3
I met a few girlfriends for some dinner and drinks at Parq Vancouver as we wanted to check out the new casino/hotel and its restaurants. After walking around and checking out the gorgeous space, we settled on Honey Salt for the evening. Our seating was “lounge style” (a couch and chairs with a table in the center) which I sometimes find difficult for when eating a meal. Nevertheless, we made ourselves comfortable and took in the space around us. The restaurant decor is super cute, glossy and inviting. We ordered moscow mules and caesars all around and they were pretty good. For dinner, I went with the grilled maple hill chicken which is served with mac and cheese. Although it was fine, it was nothing special. I expected more for the $25.00 price tag. For dessert we all decided to share the society chocolate and banana cake. This was the highlight of my meal. It was massive! The four of us didn’t finish it (mind you, we were stuffed from our dinner). It was moist and fluffy and it wasn’t too sweet. Yum! At the end when we were ready to pay, I reminded the waitress that I would be paying for myself and the main of my friend sitting right next to me (I had told her this before we started ordering as well). My friend was still going to be paying for her drinks. She said that she knew and would split the meals accordingly. She passed the bill around and I glanced at it quickly. I saw an entry on there for my meal and the main of my friend so everything looked good. I passed the bill over to my friends for them to take a look. We waited for a bit for her to get the debit machine then began her rounds getting payment from our group. When she got to me I again referenced that mine was the shared bill. She put through a bill and I did think it was a little low, but I went with it as she was holding the paperwork. She ended up mixing up the bills and my friend sitting across from me ended up with the bill I was meant to pay. My friend and I worked it out separately, but it was a bit of a nuisance that after all that it still got mixed up. Overall the restaurant isn’t bad. I do see potential. Perhaps they’re still in the midst of ironing some things out as it’s still so new. I would be open to giving them a try again in the future.
If you’re looking for some romance when in Scottsdale, you should definitely check out the Gondola Boat rides at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch.
Surprisingly enough, not a lot of locals seem to know about the Gondola rides. When we went to Scottsdale we asked our hotel concierge about it and several taxi drivers, but no one seemed to know what we were talking about. We were even told that it didn’t exist, but we decided to go and see for ourselves and made our way down to the Hyatt.
First of all, this hotel is gorgeous. It’s a huge property and when we went there seemed to be a lot going on. There were live singers, a very busy lobby bar, and a beautiful grotto outside. I can’t speak to the service if you’re looking into staying there, but it’s gorgeous.
We were directed to where we could purchase a pass for the boat road. Tickets were $10.00. I believe if you are dining at the Italian restaurant at the Hyatt, the ride is complimentary. They split you into groups and load the gondola’s accordingly. The wait wasn’t long at all. The gondolas are authentically handcrafted Italian boats. We were ushered on with several other couples. The man-made waterways are simply stunning. The professional gondoliers are also classically trained singers…and once they start serenading – wow! It is so incredibly romantic gliding through the river, with the stars lighting up the night sky above you and listening to the gondolier sing. It was a lovely experience that we both enjoyed.
The video below is not clear at all because it was so dark, but I wanted to share some audio with you all so you could hear the beautiful singing: