If I were asked to sum up my entire trip through the Pacific Northwest so far, it would come down to one category – food. Really good, scrumptious, make you sigh in supreme contentment good food.
Our last day in Vancouver (about a week ago – yes, I have been very remiss in updating!), my niece and I sampled as many culinary delights as possible. We returned to the bubble tea shop on Robson Street for a refreshing drink to sip in our explorations – this time I tried the mango green tea. I am now a bubble tea convert and hoping for this trend to make its way to the Midwest.
We also stopped at a food cart selling “Japadogs” – a Japanese-style hot dog and culinary masterpiece. We tried the turkey terimayo – a hearty turkey dog covered in onions, sauces, and seaweed. Unlike anything I’ve ever bitten into, with a salty but satisfying punch. The food carts are associated with a highly reviewed restaurant in Vancouver and they roll out the carts at lunchtime to satisfy the masses.
For a grand finale to our time in Vancouver, we spent a leisurely dinner at Sanafir, an upscale tapas bar on Granville Street. The atmosphere is seductive – flickering candlelight, romantic draping chandeliers, intimate booths, a Moroccan ambience set against cool modern lines. As far as I could tell, all light came from candles. This place is a bit spendy and see-and-be-seen, but the food is worth the investment. Erika ordered locally harvested mussels in a buttery honey sauce – smooth and soft to the taste buds. I ordered a seafood tapas trio. Sanafir is known for their trios – you choose between chicken, pork, beef, seafood, and vegetable and they bring you a tapas dish with your chosen sustenance prepared three ways – Mediterranean, Indian, and Asian. My ahi tuna roll was an explosion of flavors and the prawns in mango chutney were the highlight. Just when we thought they couldn’t impress us more, they brought us our dessert trio – rich Chinese 5-Spice Chocolate Cake, mango and banana rolls dipped in chocolate, and a Turkish coffee creme pudding. The official names of the dishes are long forgotten, but the pleasure of the flavors have lingered.
After our foodie tour of Vancouver, I thought my mealtime delights were over, but then my sister and niece took me to a local Vietnamese restaurant in Snohomish, Washington called Pho Mimosa. It’s a little delightful restaurant run by a family of sisters set into a small strip mall. I have never tried Vietnamese food – my niece suggested I order the traditional noodle soup with seafood (Pho de Bien) and I was not disappointed. You receive the soup with a generous helping of noodles and seafood, then add peppers and fresh basil to flavor the broth. Spicy, soothing, satisfying. Paired with the lotus tea, a perfect combination.
To top off my culinary adventures, yesterday I met up with some friends in my hometown Portland, Oregon for donuts and coffee at a locally famous hole-in-the-wall called Voodoo Donuts. Much has been written about this little donut shop on the corner of Burnside and 3rd in downtown Portland. All well deserved praise – I ordered the Dirty Old Man for $1.75 and received a hefty chocolate donut piled with crumbled Oreo cookies and peanut butter. My favorite is the Raspberry Romeo, a raspberry creme stuffed concoction, but this time I needed to branch out into new territory. I was not disappointed. Don’t let the long line discourage you – a box of these donut masterpieces are worth the wait.
Halfway through my vacation – I wonder what new culinary adventures await?