Exploring Vancouver Like A Local!

Hi friends! Color me giddy, thrilled and senselessly excited: I’m partnering up with the fine folks at Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure (American Express Publishing) and the Canadian Tourism Commission to announce a rather jam-packed event I’m participating in.  I am still putting the final details on everything but can finally announce it!

When I was asked by the great folks at Food & Wine Magazine if I’d like to sign on for a this project my answer was an immediate yes. As a traveler I am the first to sheepishly admit that I have never been to Canada.


Ok, I’m glad I got that off my chest. I’m embarrassed by the fact that I’ve been all over the world yet have never set foot in my neighbor’s country. Flown over countless times, stood right next to it, known and loved many of her inhabitants, and yet this boy has never taken the time to explore all it has to offer. I’m glad I have an opportunity to change that.

Here’s where the Canadian Tourism Commission and their new site Explore Canada Like A Local comes in.  I created my own list (I’m still adding to it as we speak!) on this new site of places I’d like to visit. I was given free reign and the option to pick any place in Canada. I decided on Vancouver for a few reasons (Chinese cuisine and sustainable seafood the two chief items) and then began to compile my list. It’s pretty thorough but me? I’m always up for a challenge. With camera and empty stomach in tow I’m going to work my way through them like a champion.

But here’s where things get really exciting. Not only will I be blogging about my trip to these fantastic places but you can actually enter the Explore Canada Like A Local Sweepstakes and win my trip! Of course you can select the two others bloggers participating if you’re more of the backpacking and adventure type but really, we’ve got some eating to do, right? The winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to be as much of a glutton as I am, following my itinerary along the way.

And if you wanna check that out you can do so right here.

I’ll be heading to Vancouver mid-November to begin my exploration so check back to see the images, tweets, and reports on my visit. The sweepstakes is open now and ends December 15, 2011.

See you in Vancouver! (Kari, get ready. Please.)


You guys know I’m on twitter right? You can also find me on Facebook where I tend to post embarrassing things about myself or worse, where people put photos of me caught off-guard or bent over looking fat on my Wall. God bless social media.




  1. says

    Wow, how cool that you chose Vancouver – we do have some good eats! But, as a local, I highly recommend if you’re coming in mid-November that you bring your umbrella, an entire goretex wardrobe, your gum boots and your rubber ducky! …and a spare umbrella…
    PS, I believe the Richmond Night Market is a summer only event and has closed for the season already but the rest of your list is a winner!

  2. Matt says

    Melissa, thank you for the travel & weather tips! As a So Cal kinda guy it’s time to invest in raingear for my visit…I have none! And thank you for the info about the market! seriously, thank you thank you thank you!

  3. says

    I’m super excited you picked us, but I can’t believe you’ve never been when you live so close! Pretty good list, but keep some space in your tummy when you’re in Gastown for Peckinpah BBQ and Nicli Antica Pizzeria…and coffee at Revolver and Nelson the Seagull. And do the ramen tour around Denman and Robson! Oh it’s all so subjective. Hope I run into you!

  4. says

    You must, must have Japadogs! What’s even better is that each of their locations has a slightly different menu so you can’t just eat one!

  5. Johanna says

    Chambar is my favourite. You’re going to love it there! And the Salt tasting is quite fun. I hope you’ll feel very welcome in Raincouver!
    That said, how come there isn’t more sushi on that to-do list? You’re not planning on stopping at Tojo’s or Toshi’s? Hapa Izakaya is also a quite great Japanese restaurant.

  6. says

    This trip is dreamy. Blows my mind how beautiful Vancouver is. The food is amazing & the people are so cool. What I love most is how international it is. Cosmopolitan hip with views of snow capped mountains. Access to water ways…forests…glam hotels, great shopping and the home of my all time favorite active wear Lululemon. Great sushi too. Could go on and on.
    We honeymooned in Vancouver & Whistler 10 years ago. Great memories & I need to go back. All signed up for the sweeps. I hike but I surely don’t camp 😉

  7. Tina says

    I am sooo jealous! I’ve done quite a bit of traveling through Canada and Vancouver is absolutely beautiful. In fact, if I ever decided to abandon the US (let’s see what happens in the next presidential election; I’m not ruling this idea out), I would put Vancouver at the top of my list! The climate is nice (maybe a little wet…) and the scenery is spectacular. I could spend days just in the gardens in Stanley Park, with occasional breaks to wander to Gastown for a bite to eat now and then. I put in my entry, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  8. Melanie says

    It’s so awesome that you’re making your way up north to Vancouver! There are so many great eats to enjoy. Granted, you won’t be finding steak like Argentina! I’d suggest going to Shanghai River for xiao long bao and their hot and sour soup. You’ve got the highlights all down pat but if you’re in the mood for sweet treats, check out Thierry on Alberni Street. Some of the best macarons outside of Paris.

  9. says

    I’m so excited that you’re coming to check out Vancouver! I’m here now – it’s beautiful, and we’re about to go to Legendary Noodle on Denman and then walk the sea wall. (Try Bao Bei and L’Abbatoir in Gastown while you’re here!)

  10. Jamie says

    Vancouver is awesome – you’ll have so much fun.

    I second the advice to pack rain clothes. November is monsoon season here.

    There are so many cool things to do, you’ll love it. If you have enough time to make it up to Whistler – you should check out the restaurant araxi – it was the prize on hell’s kitchen. totally explore our local food truck scene as well – several of the trucks have been featured on food network.

    if you want higher end, you must try blue water for seafood/sushi. it’s a bit pricey though. for more reviews on restaurants you can check out the vancouver restaurant awards put out every year to see the winner’s.

    there’s a really cool breakfast place on hastings called the red wagon – they’ve even got a pulled pork eggs benedict on the menu. also make sure you stop at vera’s burgers (just plan enough time for a nap afterwards).

    too bad about the richmond night market but you can always explore china town. its huge! its close to downtown, just on the other side of gastown – but don’t walk! between gastown and chinatown it gets a little sketchy.

    have a great trip!

  11. Jamie says

    oh – also, definitely go to Vij’s. when you’re at granville island, make sure you stop by the donut place (in the market building). so so so delicious. and stop by the brewery to sample some local beer.

    the commercial drive neighbourhood is very eclectic. they have a vegetarian mexican place, himalayan food, ethiopian, jamaican, sushi, cupcakes, fancy italian, etc all on the same street. the gelato place just north of 1st ave is awesome.

  12. Tabitha says

    You’re going to have such fun! What an awesome list; I’m envious. Once you see Vancouver, even in November, you’re going to want to see so many other places in Canada asap. Try to find some Moonstruck cheese (made from the milk of very happy Jersey cows) and Salt Spring Island Cheese Co’s goat cheeses (my favourite is Romelia, although it’s a bit strong and sometimes tough to find off island). They’re both made just across the water from Van on beautiful Salt Spring Island.

  13. micelhood says

    forests…glam hotels, great shopping and the home of my all time favorite active wear Lululemon. Great sushi too. Could go on and on

  14. says

    Ah, that’s so cool and what an honour to participate! I can’t say enough good things about Canada, but I may be biased… 😉 Really it’s an awesome country with friendly people and you will love it. I have yet to visit BC but it’s on my list.

  15. says

    Oh you’re going to have the best time! Our dear friends are Canadian and have spent quite some time up in the Vancouver area [where they live], it’s a great place! I’d say, let me know if you need any recommendations/hook ups, but you won’t have a problem with that :) Can’t wait to hear about your adventures.

  16. Ada says

    Mmm, definitely go to Banana Leaf and Vij’s. And the market on Granville Island is delightful. Given that I *am* a local, I’m looking forward to seeing what you like about our city!

    (Also, The Umbrella Shop will help you find something appropriately stylish, because you’ll need it in November!)

  17. Ada says

    Ah, allow me to add that I see that you’re planning on going to Vij’s Rangoli. Don’t; go to Vij’s instead. Rangoi is a smaller location primarily for take-out (though admittedly with some tables), next door to the bigger restaurant. As a warning, they don’t take reservations, so either show up early or be prepared to wait 2 hours. And yes, it’s worth it. :)

  18. Meaghan says

    I highly recommend checking out Raw Canvas in yaletown. You start with charcuterie and cheeses, then take your glass of wine down to the easels and paint! Sharing one canvas with a friend is fun :) Also, a little ways out of Vancouver is a French restaurant, La Belle Auberge, which is worth the drive. I hope you enjoy Vancouver!

  19. becka jackoboice says

    my absolute LOVE of charcuterie (pork products in general) and seafood made me choose your itinerary before i even read it… i may meet you there, winner or not!


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