For our very final day in Vancouver, we took it a bit easy but made sure to squeeze in a bit of everything – more americanos, a little bit more sight seeing, good food and quality time with our hosts, Ada and Hoa. We let Chaeli spend some extra quality time with her Auntie Ada while Doug and I hit the bank and then our stop at Epicurean again for our java and their famous cannoli. Meanwhile, the two stayed back at the appartment baking chocolate chip cookies – a request made by Chaeli before we arrived in Vancouver.
Ada then took us to Go Fish – a small blue stand right by the docks. She had raved about their fish tacones and boy was she right. We tried both the spicy grilled salmon tacone and the ever-so-amazing ahi tuna tacone. We also shared a fish and chips which was enough to divide amongst three adults and one kid.
While waiting for our order, Ada and Chaeli decided to burn some extra calories by doing a little dance. I simply love this photo – it’s now my favourite image capturing the two of them. One only needs to look at Chaeli’s expression to know she is at her happiest, here.
Thank-you, Ada, for taking good care of Chaeli, who was not at all sure about walking across this suspension bridge in Lynn Canyon Park. My own fear of heights wasn’t too keen on the idea but I had fun. The trick is too move fast to the middle where it feels more balanced, take photos, and then keep on moving. Chaeli was much faster on the way back.
On our way back from Lynn Canyon, we picked up Hoa from work and then headed back to their appartment. We had to, after all, change and prepare ourselves for what was going to be the best japanese dinner we’ve ever encountered in our entire lives! I would almost say it was one of the best dinners we’ve had but I think the time we ended up at Colborne Lane on Earth Day still sits at number one.
Hoa had recently learned of a very special find on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. The restaurant is called Kishimoto. Unfortunately, they only have a facebook page – and while some fans of this place have captured images from their take-out menu, there isn’t anything online I can find to link to their dine-in menu which features chef specials. This eating establishment, with all chefs from Japan, is actually a very humble place. It’s not very large, therefore, thankfully for Hoa, reservations were made a few days in advance, and while the decor was trendy, it was very basic and simple. They didn’t even have business cards – just their take-out menus. And yet, the food was prepared to perfection and all ingredients were the freshest of the fresh! Above was one of our starting platters:
Green Eyes Roll
crab meat, avocado, mango, mayo, cucumber outside, mango sauce
spicy sauce, tempura bits, avocado, sweet miso
crab meat (YES REAL CRAB MEAT), cucumber, avocado, mayo
Their sashimi was brought out on a smooth, slate of ice. Very visually appealing, I thought. But don’t let the ice fool you. It was mainly for the look and to keep the sashimi on the cooler side. None of what we digested that night had been from anything close to a frozen state (unlike in Toronto). And oh yes… let me tell you. These slices were very much like a piece of heaven. Each and every single one of them. The salmon – oh baby – sweet and I want to say, almost melodic (if every food could have a soundtrack to it). The tuna was like butter – smooth and almost melting with each bite.
If there wasn’t an abundent of food to keep on trying, the above would have surely been ordered again. This dish is called Nasu Dengaku and is basically deep fried eggplant with sweet miso sauce. Ada’s cousin’s wife said that she has never found this dish outside of Japan. And can I say, while I love eggplant, this actually didn’t even taste like eggplant. Rather, it tasted like the rarest and happiest eggplant on earth – one possibly on some type of hallucinogenic drug at Disney World winning the biggest jackpot ever. What? I didn’t make any sense? Well, that’s because this is literally impossible for me to describe with mere words. All I can say is that this dish was sinfully so good it was hard to believe that it was a vegetable being digested. This dish was meant for the gods – not for mortal men.
I know, I know – black cod with miso sauce. What fine dining establishment does not have this dish on their menu? It’s become a predictable foodie staple. But this Black Cod Misozuke still merets a spot on some of the top, focused dishes (of the many we ordered – I’m really only showing about a third, if not more, of our final tally) because of how extremely flavourfull the black cod itself tasted.
The above two, while simple in description, deserves a standing ovation. I was actually skeptical of the seared salmon on top of the 2nd photo (I was, after all, in Vancouver – the land of fresh sashimi and dammit – give me my raw salmon now!) even though there was sashimi salmon in the middle. And I really didn’t know what ‘pressed sushi’ was. Still, it was featured as a chef special so i figured it was something I should try while I had the chance.
Yeah – as soon as I had one bite, I was preparing myself for another order (didn’t happen though because we were way too full). But wow – I don’t know what it is about pressed sushi. There is, however, a difference – and that difference happens to point to solid goodness with each pressed rice. Here’s the description in respective order to the above two photos:
Oshi Sushi (Unagi)
eel, creamy sauce and cucmber
Oshi Sushi (Salmon)
sockeye salmon, creamy sauce and jalapeno
We ended our evening meeting up with my childhood friend, Brian, and his wife Vivian, for a bit of pie and ice cream (not that we had the room, really) before heading back to the appartment. Brian’s parents are very good friends of my parents – they all knew each other before moving here to Canada. I have photos of Brian and I as babies doing tummy time on a shared baby blanket.
When Ada and Hoa moved to Vancouver, they found themselves paddling on a dragonboat team with Vivian. At the time, they didn’t know there was a connection back to me. One day, while shopping, they ran into Vivian and Brian. It was then that Vivian introduced Brian, her then boyfriend, to Ada and Hoa. After some chitchat involving how they originally came from Toronto for Ada’s job, Brian stopped and asked, “Wait… do you know Shireen?” Somewhere in Brian’s memory, I think he remembered Ada’s name (and I’m not sure if either of them remember, but they did meet briefly when they were just kids).
We stayed up for about an hour when we got home since it was our last night there. Chaeli wanted to squeeze out as much time as she could with her godparents and well, I couldn’t blame her.
It was a wonderful trip in a fantastic city with the best hosts ever!