I had bookmarked quite a few foodie places that I wanted to check out, and so we had a few culinary outings. The most important thing when we touch down and get of the plane is always how quickly we can make it to a Tim Horton's to have a proper doughnut with a coffee. Whenever Marco is asked what the national dish of Canada is, he replies that he thinks it's Timmy's doughnuts, so this is definitely an essential part of each Vancouver visit! We also went for some more upmarket doughnuts at Cartem's, who stock flavours like Earl Grey and Maple Bacon.
I also absolutely wanted to go to Beta 5, an artisan chocolate shop behind an unassuming door in an industrial district. Once you enter through that door, you are enveloped in gorgeous chocolate fumes, and can make a selection from their truffles, bars and chocolate covered fruit. They also sell desserts in jam jars, and the Red Velvet Cheesecake I picked was almost better than the 6 beautiful pieces of chocolate I bought.
This is not actually Vancouver, but White Rock, on the US-Canadian border. It's more or less considers a suburb though, and it's a lovely little seaside town, with a wide beach and a few restaurants. The ocean views from one of those houses on the hillside must be amazing!
Another great place to visit downtown was the huge second hand book shop, MacLeod's. This is a book lovers paradise, with shelves full to the brim and piles of all imaginable kinds of books stacked all around. To be honest, if I worked there I'd live in constant fear of being buried under a literary avalanche, but hey: what a way to go! I bought an old hardback edition of Hemingway's Farewell To Arms there.
We had our customary sushi pig-out, and ate lunch at Save On Meats, a butchery-cum-diner which sits right on the edge of Vancouver's roughest area, so you will see drug users and homeless people. The story that always comes up when I mention this place is how Marco's mum used to place little him on the counter when she went to buy meat there in the days when his parents still lived downtown. Marco only remembers that there were a few characters around that he found scary. Save On Meats do their bit for the community by offering tokens to give to the disadvantaged neighbours, which they can then exchange for a meal.
If you are into cycling, you would like Musette Caffé, which I had read about and took Marco to as a surprise. The owners are absolute cycling nuts, and use their cafe to display racing memorabilia and as a hub for local cyclists to park their bikes, organize rides, buy gear and fuel up.
I hope you enjoyed the snapshots of Vancouver that I brought back, I cannot wait to go back and discover more of it's little corners.