Belated report, as usual!! Warning: This is very, very long-winded… feel free to skim and look at the pretty pictures! The pictures are spotty, because usually I'm hungry, forgetful, or some kind of combo of the both! Well, we (my new husband, Chris, and I) just got back from our honeymoon trip to British Columbia, and I think the post-honeymoon depression is setting in… in fact, I know it is! We had a wonderful time and I truly consider you guys lucky to live in beautiful BC! If you saw a girl crying on the Air Canada flight to Calgary on Saturday morning, September 9th, yep, that was me! At any rate, we could not have asked for a better wedding or honeymoon! We arrived in Kelowna on August 30th, and since we had gotten up at 3 am Kansas City time and traveled to Chicago to Calgary to Kelowna and got there about 3 pm BC time, we were pretty much dead on our feet tired! We decided to have dinner at the Hotel Eldorado and make it an early night, since the next day was our wedding day (more on that later)! We tried a BC extravaganza and shared the raw oysters, lobster cocktail, and salmon and clam chowder. (The whole hotel, which the exception of our room, smells of chowder and it is lovely! I so wanted to bottle that smell and send it to my dad… he would have loved it!) The raw oysters were, well, raw oysters… I don’t think they’re bad, they’re just not my cup of tea, but it was the first of many for my husband! The lobster cocktail was fantastic, but really how can you go wrong? And the chowder, oh, the chowder, I dream about it now! Honestly, this is the first time I’ve ever liked clam chowder… it is just wonderful with the salmon and the sweet corn… yum! The next day, Chris went and got me breakfast at La Boulangerie while I slept in… what a nice boy he is! He brought me back an almond croissant, some kind of an apricot pastry, and a financier… they were all extra rich and extra good. And now here, here is where we made our first, and really only, mistake of the trip… I would rather just leave this part of the trip out, but I know if I do, that Mr. Maw will rat me out!! We were driving around the town of Kelowna, scoping everything out, and we got hungry. Of course, I had all my notes with me, but we decided to be adventurous: big mistake, HUGE! We decided to eat lunch at Rose’s Waterfront Pub… go ahead, laugh, I’ll wait……………… ……………………………….. Anyway, we had the shrimp and crab wrap, which was essentially faux canned shrimp, faux crab meat, mayo, and pre-shredded cheese… yum, right! We also had the mushroom soup, otherwise known as Elmer’s Glue. And the worst offender of them all, the Poutine… frozen French fries with more of that Best Choice pre-shredded cheese, or whatever the Canadian cheapo brand is, and jarred beef gravy! (Sorry if I made anyone gag… I kind of am right now!) When we told Jamie and everyone where we had eaten for lunch that night, they all died laughing and said that they’d never met anyone that had actually eaten there!! Even the marriage commissioner was laughing at us! Oh well… at least we got our first mistake out of the way early!! Never to sway from the egullet notes again! That night was our wedding night! We got married at Mr. Jamie Maw’s lovely orchard and it could not have been more perfect for us! (We got a little too relaxed sharing a bottle of BC wine in our hotel room right before and were a little bit late, but luckily there weren’t too many guests waiting on us… I believe the Quail’s Gate Riesling was the culprit!) It really could not been a better setting, a more romantic evening, a more relaxed wedding, or a more private event… just the way we wanted it. It was so nice of you Jamie, to offer your orchard; that day was just what we had imagined it would be. Jamie poured a bottle of champagne all around and toasted us, and then we took more pictures at the vineyard next door, at what I think was called Lover’s Lane, and then some more at Knox Mountain. Then, we were off to dinner at Fresco. We arrived at Fresco about ten minutes late for our reservation, and even though I phoned ahead to let them know we were going to be late; the hostess did give our table away to another couple. She said that the couple “wouldn’t take no for answer” even though there were several other tables in the restaurant; she also knew it was our wedding night. I don’t want to dwell on the negatives because everything else was wonderful, and in the moment I didn’t let it bother me, but looking back, I can’t help but be a little irked! Jamie had also sent over a bottle of wine to go with our dessert, and when that happened, the hostess came over and said, “Oh, when I found out Jamie had sent you over a bottle of wine, I just knew I had to come over and find out who this lovely couple was!!” Guess I should have mentioned that I knew Jamie earlier!! Oh well… the rest of the evening was lovely so it definitely didn’t overshadow it! <<Forgive me, as I’m writing this part of the trip in much later, so the details are fuzzy. All of the food at Fresco was really terrific and probably our best meal all around. I had the grilled wild pacific salmon filet with potato & celery confit, artisan cheese, and walnuts with an apple cider glaze… the sweetness and nuttiness were really a perfect pairing with the salmon, a really excellent dish. Chris had the butter poached wild sea scallops with fennel and herb risotto, warm vegetable salad, and a Dungeness crab cracker. The scallops, not surprisingly were extremely tender and perfectly cooked. We had the Signature chocolate dessert with the browned butter ice cream… I love anything with browned butter, and well, chocolate could be my middle name! Fresco ended up being a perfect way to end our wedding night… very romantic, good food, and good company!>> The next day, I was feeling slightly hung over, so Chris once again went and got me breakfast… did I mention that I’m not a morning person and how much I love this man?!? Anyway, Tim Horton’s wheat bagel with cream cheese is excellent hangover food if you’re in the need… I’m blaming Jamie for that one! Our plan was to tour some wineries, so after I felt a bit better, we headed off to Cedar Creek Winery. We also went to Carmelis goat cheese, and that was so much fun! We bought a ton of cheeses and sampled even more… the paninis smelled so good, but we had already made reservations at Quail’s Gate for lunch, should have had a snack, dang it! We then went to lunch and Chris had the special which was halibut and noodles in a ginger miso broth and I had the Chilled Roasted Red Pepper Soup and the Salmon Cakes. Emphasis is on the chilled because our waitress wanted to make sure I knew that was cold!! I must look either dumber ;-) or younger than I thought!! She warmed up to us after a bit though, and brought us some complementary bread even though they don’t usually serve it at lunch, and boy was I glad she did! The bread was lovely, very fresh and warm, and was served with a soft butter with sun-dried tomatoes and olives in it… really fantastic! (We both wish that restaurants would put more effort into their breads. If you’re going to serve crappy bread, then just don’t serve it at all… we don’t need it that bad!) Chris loved his halibut and my soup and cakes were good. Quail’s Gate was probably my favorite winery; I loved the quaintness of it, and the patio was wonderful to eat lunch on. We bought a Foch for my parents, so we’ll see how they like it! After that, we went on to Mission Hill Winery and it is quite impressive; this was Chris’s favorite winery. The restaurant also looked really good here and their view is amazing! We bought a Riesling here to have on our first anniversary, if it lasts that long! For dinner that night, we went to Waterfront Wine Bar for a late one. We both were in the mood for something comforting and this place really hit the nail on the head. We shared the roasted free-range chicken breast with roasted vegetables (the most amazing roasted tomatoes I’ve ever had!), the cheese plate which included a Carmelis cheese, and the chocolate bread pudding. I’m not normally that into bread pudding, but Chris talked me into it, and I was glad he did… very rich and satisfying! We really enjoyed this place and wish we had more casual but elegant places like it in Kansas City. The next day, we were headed to Whistler early in the morning, so we stopped off at La Boulangerie again and got a regular croissant, a pain au chocolat, a palmier, and a loaf of French bread for our lunch. I almost had tears in my eyes as we drove away and I realized that my palmier was not like Canucklehead had described it in this post… there were no two palmiers, no jam, no palmier sandwich at all! The palmier was still good, but obviously you can understand my being a little heartbroken! I got over it when I moved onto the pain au chocolat! We knew there wouldn’t be too much on the way to Whistler so we had picked up some salami from Illichman’s before we left town, and we ate that, some dill and onion soft goat cheese from Carmelis, the French bread, and some grapes we picked up from a roadside stand. The salami was excellent… I think we got spicy and Hungarian if I remember correctly. This kind of combo is one of my favorite simple meals to have. That night we went into the village and walked around trying to decide where to eat. As you can imagine, on a holiday weekend, the village was quite busy, so many places did not have room for us anytime soon! We ended up at Apres, where they had a table available. This was probably my favorite space of the trip… it’s very cozy and intimate, but still very contemporary… I’d like to think if I had a restaurant, this is what it would look like. I was a little disappointed because on their website they had advertised a $33 summer 3-course prix fixe menu, and I thought that it would probably be too late for that, but then when we got there, they had a sign outside advertising this deal… not so. I think what we ended up with was a 2-course prix fixe menu at $38, so not even close! I forgave them though, because the food was very good and the service was extremely professional and nice. I had pan-seared Alaskan scallops, lobster tortellini, coriander and lemon emulsion, tomato and Banyuls salsa for my appetizer, and this probably ended up being the best dish of the trip… really outstanding marriage of flavors! Chris had the house-smoked Sockeye Salmon, Dungeness crab salad, potato crepe, and crème fraiche appetizer that was equally as good and also probably in the top three dishes of the trip! So, after these fantastic appetizers, we were really psyched for the main courses, and were subsequently disappointed… don’t get me wrong, the mains were very good, but they didn’t even come close to touching the caliber of the appetizers. I had the duo of dry aged Angus beef: Cabernet braised short ribs “Osso Bucco” and petit filet mignon, casserole of shallot confit, and Hon Shemiji mushrooms and Chris had the pan roasted Lingcod filet with spring vegetables, “Matignon” Clam, and lemon thyme. Mine was pretty good, but Chris’s Lingcod was really bland… we’d never had this fish before, so we didn’t really know what to expect. We were also served a pureed cauliflower gratin on the side that was absolutely outstanding. Nothing really excited me on the dessert menu, so we let it be. All in all, not bad for two of the best dishes on the trip! The next day, we had our fishing trip, so I had to get up early! Boo for that! The ladies at the B&B we were staying at were so sad that we weren’t going to be there for breakfast, and I was too! All in the name of love and trout! We didn’t get done with fishing until around 2, and by the time we cleaned up and got to the village, it was around 3, and not a lot was open for lunch. We decided to give Earl’s a try to see what all the fuss was about with these CFD’s. I had the clam chowder and Caesar salad, and it was okay. Chris had the Dynamite Shrimp Rolls and the Thai Chicken Wings; we both thought the shrimp rolls were pretty good and the wings were wings. For us, Earl’s was what I think it is… just a chain restaurant where you can go and have predictable food. You are lucky though, because there are not nearly as many chains in BC as there are in the U.S., especially in the town I grew up in about an hour from KC. And we were on to Victoria… again having to get up early to catch the ferry and again saddening the poor ladies at the B&B…. we had to reassure them that we would be back someday! They did send us with a very fresh and juicy blueberry muffin and an apple to go though. We were starving by the time we reached Nanaimo, so we stopped at a little bar/ restaurant to grab a quick lunch… I don’t remember the name of it, but it was a decent little lunch. Chris also found a genius way to get around not many restaurants being open on Sundays or Mondays in Victoria… take a gourmet kayaking trip!! We went sea kayaking with Sea Wolf Kayaking that night and had a blast! Our guide fixed us a seafood stir fry that was pretty decent along with a salad and a peach crostada on an island that we kayaked to! It definitely made for a fun dinner! (We later saw the kayaking trips with Edible BC and were a little bit jealous; these ones sound much more gourmet, but we still had fun!) The next day, we ate breakfast at the Swan’s Brewpub. I had the continental breakfast which was a croissant, vanilla yogurt (really good local yogurt with actual vanilla bean flecks in it- I don’t remember the brand, but I saw the factory in Victoria), a banana, Baby Bell cheese, and an orange juice… not bad for a continental. Chris traded his continental ($7.50 value on the menu) for the Eggs Benedict with pesto and home fries; the pesto was really excellent and tasted very freshly made. For lunch, we went to Nautical Nellie’s, which I have to say, was probably the most pleasant surprise of the trip! I wanted to go there being that I’m a Nell by middle name, and my mom is a Nell by middle name, so I wanted to get t-shirts! (My mom’s first name is Victoria, so it was a double bonus!) Anyway, we anticipated it to be kind of cheesy and touristy, but the food turned out to be quite good. We shared the smoked salmon appetizer with red onions, capers, and sour cream… it was supposed to come with blinis, but they were all out, and asked if garlic bread would be okay; of course, I’ve never been known to turn down garlic bread! I’m not usually a huge caper fan, but man, it is right on with that combo! We also shared the Tasting Box which came with albacore tuna tataki with pickled ginger, sweet hoisin pan seared scallops with jalapeno chutney, lobster and shrimp cocktail with tomato horseradish, and cream coconut curry prawns in spicy tomato sauce… all very good and perfectly cooked. For dessert, we had the Chocolate Eruption, which of course, was tasty! All in all, a most pleasant surprise. Our waitress was extremely nice and very professional as well. The Tasting Box Chocolate Eruption That night, we had dinner at Café Brio, and I think I probably built it up too much in my mind, but found it probably to be one of the biggest disappointments on the trip. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but a.) nothing really spoke to me on the menu and that rarely happens, and b.) some of what we had was not worth the money. Chris had a duck ragout which he said was pretty good, but not spectacular. I believe he also had another raw oyster, but I don’t remember much about it. I had the Saanich Greens with warm goat cheese, verjus, and wild flower honey which is $12 (CD) and in my opinion, way over-priced. It was just the greens with a tad bit of vinaigrette and about a quarter-sized pat of goat cheese, nothing else. I honestly did not taste any depth to the vinaigrette whatsoever. I also had the Corn, Dungeness Crab, and Leek soup, which was very good, but I definitely left hungry. When it came time for dessert, again, nothing really intrigued us, so we decided to head onto another restaurant a little later in the evening. (I’m sorry, but I’m really tired of seeing crème brulee on menus!!) Maybe if I had gone into the evening with little to no expectations, I would have liked it better, so that was probably my fault. Later on that evening, we headed to Wild Saffron Bistro to try out the Cheese Fondue for two… it was very good and a healthy-sized snack right before bed! All of the dried fruits that accompanied it were gorgeous and plump, and the bread that came with it was awesome with the cheese. It made for a fun end to the evening. Dippers And onto Vancouver, where the serious eating can begin!! (Are you tired yet?!?) We both had the continental breakfast this time, perfect for the ferry ride. We had left lunch plans open because we weren’t quite sure where we wanted to go most, so Chris picked Feenie’s from my list. We shared the ravioli, which I can’t quite remember, but I think was a lobster and sweet corn ravioli… very good. I had the mussels for my main and they were the best mussels I’ve ever had, hands down; obviously, we don’t usually get very good mussels in Kansas, so I enjoyed these immensely. It’s on the menu as an appetizer and I did find it to be a little too much richness for a main. Chris had the special which was an open-faced smoked salmon sandwich; he said he really enjoyed it, but that it was a little too tough to eat because the bread was fairly hard. And then for dessert, the best dessert of the trip: Warm chocolate fondant w/ ancho-chile anglaise, cinnamon ice cream, almond praline and honey tuile!! In all fairness, it does have my favorite flavor combination- chile, cinnamon, and chocolate, but it was still far and away, the best dessert we had on this trip! Salmon Sandwich My somewhat fuzzy mussels! The best dessert of the trip! For dinner that night, we went to Guu with Garlic. We really enjoyed the food we got, but found the experience to be a little overwhelming. I probably should have gotten advice on what and how to order, because we ended up leaving pretty hungry still! We ordered the grilled snow crab, the chili shrimp, and potstickers. It took us about 45 minutes to get our food and about 15 minutes to eat it! I’m not sure why it took so long to get our food, but the lady and her daughter next to us had food in front of them minutes after they sat down! I’m not sure if they ordered before they came or what, but they had probably 7 dishes eaten before we had even gotten our food and they sat down after us! We wanted to order more because we really did enjoy what we got, but we were afraid it would take another 45 minutes! The girl next to me had ordered a melon soda with sake ice cream and it looked so good that I got one too, and it was really, really good… my kind of girly drink!! Since we were still hungry, we set off in search of dessert. We saw Mondo Gelato and Mum’s Gelato, but then Chris wanted to take me to True Confections when he saw it was all desserts, knowing me well. I had the Boston Crème Pie and Chris had the Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake… huge portions but I thought they were just okay. I also had a hot chocolate with Bailey’s that was very good in the Vancouver chill. The next day, we headed to Granville Island, my favorite part of the trip! I love farmer’s markets and try to get to one wherever we are on vacation, so this was definitely a dream come true! I wanted to snack on everything I saw but I also wanted to save room for Go Fish! I ended up getting some profiteroles that were quite good. We spent quite a bit of time at Edible BC and spent the majority of our souvenir money here! We bought lots of things for our parents and quite a bit for ourselves! I ended up getting a sugar tower from Maison Cote with lavender sugar, ginger sugar, and basil sugar. We also got the Balsamic jelly from Maison Cote, which was probably our favorite souvenir of the trip. The people at the store were extremely nice and we were able to sample everything we bought. They also packaged everything in bubble wrap for our plane ride home. This truly is a wonderful store and I wish that I had bought a lot more, but our bags were over the weight limit as is, so I’m glad I didn’t!! After this, we went to Go Fish! They definitely do not start taking orders until 11:30 on the dot; we got there early, as everyone says to, and it was weird to have all the windows open but not have anyone even acknowledge you until 11:30! It kind of adds to the whole experience though! I had the Atlantic salmon sandwich with cucumbers and it was fabulous… I was surprised that it was rather fancy for a little shack kind of a place! Chris had the salmon fish and chips- the best fish and chips we’ve ever had, no question! It’s amazing how they get it so crisp on the outside, but then the fish is done just right and is so juicy on the inside! I also got the potato leek soup with “fish” and it was pretty good as well. The view is outstanding, of course! I think I would eat at Go Fish! everyday if I worked or lived nearby! I can't quite get the motion down of holding camera still and pushing button!! Granville Island Potato Leek Soup Atlantic Salmon Sandwich Salmon Fish and Chips Our favorite boat from the view of Go Fish! We went to C that night for dinner and it definitely lived up to hype, in my opinion. We had decided that we wanted to sample a little bit here and then move onto another restaurant. So, I ordered an amusant of the chilled corn soup with cured trout and Chris had the smoked scallop and another oyster. Of course, the presentation was outstanding but the flavors were as well; I love any kind of corn soup and almost always order it if it’s on a menu! I also had the appetizer of a grilled scallop with crisp pork terrine, organic carrots, and black truffle, very good as well- loved the crispy crust on the pork; it was kind of a take on carnitas. Chris had a halibut dish of some sort, which I think ended up being one of his favorite dishes of the trip. We went to Chambar afterwards for dessert; Chris had the trio cheese platter with spiced rhubarb jam and fig bread and I had the Belgian waffle with warm chocolate, raspberry coulis, and vanilla ice cream. I should have written down what the cheeses were, but of course didn’t… they were all really good, one in particular was very strong by itself but was so good with the jam. The Belgian waffle was very good, but I liked the cheese platter better; luckily, Chris is very generous! Oyster Chilled Corn Soup Smoked Scallop And now we’re at our last full day in Vancouver… boo, hiss!! We decided to go to West for our last lunch. I started with the mushroom soup with truffle oil and thought it was good, but really just a good mushroom soup, nothing more, nothing less. I also had the Queen Charlotte Halibut with fennel marmalade and eggplant puree; this was good, not really my cup of tea, but the halibut was perfectly cooked and lovely. Chris had salmon and gnocchi- the gnocchi was amazingly light, hard to do. We had the chocolate tasting for dessert which consists of a chocolate hazelnut frangelico cake, chocolate nobo tea mousse with a lemon wafer, and a chocolate sorbet, vanilla ice cream swirl with lemon wafer. I thought it was a decent dessert, but looking back, don’t really find it that memorable. My favorite part was probably the little truffle on top of the frangelico cake! All in all, I know everyone has their own opinion, but we liked C a little bit better than West, and now I wish I had tried dessert at C to get a full comparison! For dinner on our last night in Vancouver, we headed to Wild Rice. From the menu, I knew Chris was going to really love this place so I was excited to go there. We really wanted to go out with a bang so we sampled a lot! We had a scallop chuk stick, mussel potstickers, candied salmon wontons, wild boar with plantain chips, the Atlantic Char special of the night, the dairy-free cheesecake, and the chocolate mousse. I also had several cocktails; my favorite being the Lotus with lychee-infused vodka, lychee juice, lime cordial and ginger ale. I would say that the wild boar was the highlight of the evening- really, really tender and flavorful and went perfectly with the plantains. I liked my dish, but the sauce on it was a little strange- I can’t remember what was in it, but it almost felt like you were eating a creamy cheese sauce, which it wasn’t, but it just didn’t seem to go with the rest of the dish which would have been very good by itself. The green tea pancake underneath the Char was fabulous. They didn’t have room for us at a table, but we sat upstairs at the bar, and it ended up being the perfect way to end our trip. Very cozy and romantic, once we started to close the place down. Every one of the staff was extremely on top of things and very nice. A fantastic evening all around! Chuk Stick Mussel Potstickers Candied Salmon Wontons Atlantic Char Wild Boar "Cheese"cake Chocolate "Mousse" A gooseberry? We were told this was a gooseberry, but I've never seen a gooseberry that looked like this! So now we’re back and a little bit sad! We made a pact to eat seafood at every meal and I think we almost made it; although, we will never be able to eat seafood in Kansas again and have it even come close to being as good. That’s the price you pay for having a truly excellent honeymoon with tons of eating, I guess! It’s funny, now that we’re back, it’s the simple things we miss the most… the smoked salmon, the French bread from La Boulangerie, the clam chowder, the fish and chips, that salmon sandwich at Go Fish! Maybe it’s time to go back to Vancouver and do a “fast” food tour! Ah… there’s always next year! Thanks to everyone on egullet for providing us with direct recommendations as well as all the previous postings, blogs, and fun reading. Thanks, especially to Jamie and Eva, for welcoming us with open arms. We will never forget this experience. ** Apologies for the sideways pictures; I was too tired to fix them! *** Note to travellers... most of the hotels we stayed at were extremely reasonably priced, even during the high season... if you would like more information on them, feel free to PM me! They were all lovely hotels!