This past weekend my sister and I headed to Vancouver for a girl's weekend leaving Mr. Vanilla and baby at home for a boy's weekend. We lucked out with the weather and despite it being mid October we were treated to clear blue skies and even a little heat! As soon as we got to Vancouver after dropping off our bags it was straight to Granville Island which has to be without doubt my favourite place in Vancouver. I know that's a strong statement since there are so many great places to visit in Vancouver but being the foodie that I am this is my place to go. Thankfully my sister also loves it there so she wasn't dragged kicking and sreaming!
Granville Island is as described on their website “an urban oasis filled with fine waterfront restaurants, theatres, galleries, studios, unique shops, cafes and the most spectacular fresh food market you've ever seen”, and that couldn't be any more accurate. You can spend hours wandering around taking it all in, which hundreds of people do every day. I have yet to go there and see it as 'quiet'. It is always buzzing with both tourists and locals all doing some shopping, taking in the sights, soaking up the atmosphere and of course eating and that is why I love to go there – for the food! As well as all of the lovely shops and galleries there is the huge food market which is unbelievable. Stalls are always overflowing with the freshest, most delicious looking produce you can imagine. Everything you could want (and more) is all there under one roof.
Whenever I go there I have to resist the temptation to buy everything and instead settle for just meandering through the aisles in awe of all the wonderful food. One place I can never resist however is the South China Seas Trading Co. where I always have to bring back a spice or two. This trip resulted in a few spices and condiments to add to my cupboards that I just couldn't resist including lavender, Korean chilli threads, a jar of hot and sour paste for making authentic tom yum soup (which was actually for Mr. Vanilla as it is one of his favourite soups), some Thai curry pastes and a couple of tubes of Harissa paste (which oddly enough I find quite difficult to buy here). Next stop was conveniently next door at Edible British Columbia which is a beautiful shop filled with local artisan products. Jars and bottles of jams, oils, vinegars and chutneys glisten under the lights tempting you like a kid in a sweetie shop. I managed to restrain and instead only bought a little box of 'Bacon Salt' (another little thing for Mr. Vanilla being a lover of both good quality nice salt and bacon) otherwise I think I could have quite easily have blown my budget for the weekend as there were so many things I could have bought! We continued to wander around taking it all in and 'ooh-ing and aah-ing' at everything including the most delicious looking cakes, bread and patisseries, rows of fresh pasta, olives, cheese, hams, beautiful cuts of meat, fish, chocolates and of course stacks of fresh fruit and vegetables.
After a couple of hours of doing this we realised just how hungry we were so headed up to another place we like to visit on Granville Island – The Sandbar, where we sat outside under Granville Street bridge overlooking the market as well the waterfront and across into downtown Vancouver. It is stunning and no matter how many times I go there I still love it as much as the first time. Since it was our girl's day away we ordered a half bottle of Prosecco and shared some crab cakes and BBQ ribs which were coated in honey and ginger and were therefore deliciously sticky and sweet and incredibly tender. The crab cakes were also wonderful and were served with a smoked red pepper coulis and a lemon aioli.
With time ticking on we walked back to where we were staying along the sea wall having to stop every few minutes for my sis to take even more photos. For 5pm on a Saturday night the area was filled with people jogging, rollerblading or leisurely strolling with family and friends taking in the beautiful sunny October day.