Sunday, May 12, 2013

Catching up - Vancouver

Quite a bit has happened since my last post in September. Nothing really major though, Connie and Kai are great as always, life in Vancouver is still sweet (literally, I'll explain in a bit) and I still drive the TT. Grin and all.

So what is new? Vancouver has gotten a lot more interesting on the chocolate/bakery/coffee front. Several new places have popped up that are collectively giving Thomas Haas a run for his money. Consider Beta 5 for example. This is a chocolate upstart located in a little workshop on Industrial avenue and is doing some very creative work with chocolate and other confectionary. They nail the flavors, their Polygon bars are currently among my favorite. They also do some great baked goods like croissants (the croissant quality bar has risen significantly in Vancouver) and the best cream puffs you can imagine. I can frequently be found in or around their shop trying to discreetly consume a caramel creampuff, failing miserably at the discreet part and dribbling caramel cream all over myself. I then have to run back into the shop to grab a napkin, much to the amusement of the staff. Thomas is still on top with his more traditional chocolate offerings but Beta 5 is nipping at his heels with a more modern twist on chocolate!

They also have a Chocolate Union where they produce a themed set of chocolates and other treats every month. Members can drop by to pick up their box. Connie gave me a membership for my birthday and so far I am loving it!

The fastest rising star in the Vancouver bakery scene is Beaucoup Bakery. Started by a graphics designer who quit her job, went to Paris to learn how to bake, came back to Vancouver and opened a little bakery. Beaucoup currently offers the best croissants in the city, hands down. Even Thomas can't touch them. You haven't tasted a true crispy-flakey-buttery smooth on the inside croissant until you've had one from Beaucoup. I am addicted to the things, I find myself making detours to Beaucoup to pick up their goods. Before I headed out for the drive mentioned in the previous post, I stopped by Beaucoup, picked up some goodies and devoured them much later overlooking a valley around Lytton. I now have Beacoup worked into my Sunday groceries ritual where I go there on the way to Granville Island. Kai is a fan as well so we share the love. Connie doesn't have the sweet tooth so she usually declines. Poor girl doesn't know what she is missing! There are plenty of other examples like East Van Roasters and the stupendously great donuts at Cartems.

Beaucoup sampling, almond French toast and petit pain au chocolat. And coffee of course!
The food cart scene is also going strong with more and more carts showing up. This is great, I tend to eat at food carts throughout the summer, today I went for a walk to Robson square, got a very nice Hoisin chicken wrap and sat in the sun eating this wrap while watching the city hum along. I then wander over to the JJ Bean shack next to the CBC building for a cappuccino before heading back to the office. This ritual makes for a very fine lunch break indeed.

Speaking of food carts, when I switched to a Windows phone 8 (Microsoft freebie!), the one app I missed almost instantly was the food cart app. Given the relative simple nature of this app I decided to try to write one for the Windows 8 phone. The result was a fully functioning app for Win8 phone which I managed to get published on the Win8 phone store! So now I can add 'mobile app developer' to my resume :-)

Restaurant wise things have been the usual coming and going of new and old places. The Fat Dragon closed its doors unfortunately, a few new places popped up. We tend to stick to favorites now, Connie and I recently went to Vij's and found the place virtually unchanged. Not a bad thing in this case, the food was still absolutely delicious. Kai and I roam around the city sometimes when Connie out for the evening. We have been to Wildebeest, I loved it, Kai not so much. We still pop into Kits Daily where chef Brian is always ready to cook something good up. West still delivers the goods, I remember sitting at the bar one night when Connie and Kai were out of town. I decided to treat myself and had a tasting menu and some amazing cocktails. Such a great thing to do.

OK that about wraps up the Vancouver update. Last but not least is a shot of False Creek at sunset. I walk to work every day, 30 minutes each way along the seawall and across the Cambie bridge. In a city like Vancouver this is a delight and I consider myself very fortunate I can do so.

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