Named after John “Gassy Jack” Deighton, Gastown is one of Vancouver’s oldest neighbourhoods. Water Street is where you’ll find all manner of Mountie-clad moose and maple syrup, but if you venture to the corner of Hastings and Cambie streets, you’ll see where the locals go for a carb fix.
Purebread started in the ski haven of Whistler, B.C., with artisanal loaves, but has since branched out to include nearly anything worth baking. It’s best to get there early, not just to avoid the lines but also to see the full kaleidoscope of offerings. The breakfast sandwich goes swanky with prosciutto and egg on brioche, while nubbly scones get dolled up with rosemary and lavender.
If you aren’t averse to dessert in the morning, save room for a Purebread brownie, which hides hearts of raspberry, caramelized banana or the legendary lemon chèvre. You’ll also find such quirky treats as Anzac biscuits (crisp, nubbly oat cookies), pavlovas (meringues with a chewy centre) and Lamingtons, owing to co-owner Mark Lamming’s New Zealand roots. And tuck a sour dough loaf in your bag for glorious French toast the next day.
Skip the car and opt for transit or a water taxi to get to Granville Island, the former industrial flats where artists work in all kinds of media, from clay to glass, fibre to metal. Culinary artisans are mostly housed in the Public Market, but the island’s real gem is in the neighbouring Net Loft building. There, local chef and restaurateur Angus An pays homage to Thai street food with Sen Pad Thai.
Set aside any worries about gloppy noodles.
These are so springy that they almost bite back, and they’re wok-fried to order. Mull five kinds of pad thai or choose the under-sung pad siew beef, a Chinese-inflected dish of chewy rice noodle sheets, glossy with soy and speckled with beef.
Mount Pleasant is where the cool kids go for fourth-wave coffee, pop-up shops and craft beer by the paddle. It’s also home to Burdock & Co.
Where other restaurants pay lip service to the notion of local and seasonal, chef Andrea Carlson has long been working with small producers to shape the region’s culinary identity.
The frequently changing menu highlights local delicacies such as uni (sea urchin) and sake kasu, a by-product of the sake made on Granville Island.
Risotto is made with rice grown in Abbotsford, B.C., about an hour’s drive away, and the wine list includes some of the more interesting bottles from the Okanagan Valley, about five hours away.
While the menu changes often, there’s usually some form of fried chicken. A recent incarnation featured buttermilk-marinated chicken thighs, deep-fried to perfection and served with puckery dill pickle mayo. It’s so pretty that you’ll reach for a knife and fork, but you’ll want to swipe the plate clean with your finger.
- The Washington Post.