Going left

For various work reasons I found myself in Vancouver for three days this week. Never a bad thing, I says. In between meetings I found a few opportunities to entertain my taste buds.

Tuesday

I used my last AC upgrade to get myself into business class, so I was well-fed on the flight from Toronto to Vancouver. A little spicy chicken, a little basmati rice, a little white whine. Actually, a lot of white wine, and terribly oak-ridden at that. I struggled through though, whilst watching Jason Bourne (meh), Ghostbusters (fun), and The Wrath Of Khan (which was under the Classics section, naturally).

I landed at YVR, checked into my modest little hotel (the St. Regis), grabbed a capp from Caffè Artigiano, did some work, and had a killer steak dinner at Gotham:

  • dungeness crab cake w/ lemon dill mayonnaise, paired with Pascal Bouchard ‘Vieilles Vignes’ Chardonnay 2014
  • New York strip steak w/ steamed broccoli, paired with Casa Silva ‘Quinta Generacion’ Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2011
  • 16-year-old Lagavulin

Not surprisingly I fell asleep on my hotel bed, trying to watch Netflix.

Wednesday

Giant breakfast downstairs, a coffee meeting with my work friend William, lunch at the spectacular Hawksworth restaurant (a burger and glass of Freemark Abbey Cab Sauv), an espresso at a different Artigiano, a meeting at our Vancouver office, and then more work and more coffee back in my hotel room.

That evening I had drinks at Chambar with my old friend Amy. At first we tried the Reflections pop-up at the top of the Hotel Georgia, but it was about seven different kinds of awful. Luckily I know and love Chambar (or the previous incarnation, at least); I had a Timmermans gueuze and a Grimsbergen dubbel and we shared some charcuterie and over-truffle-oiled bison carpaccio, and got caught up on…I don’t know, seven years?

Thursday

All-day meeting. Flight was delayed; I killed at time at Vino Volo wine bar in YVR and then got home in the middle of the night.

Photo by Bill in DC, used under Creative Commons license

"She's a Longhorn, the oldest pure breed cattle in Britain."

I’ve been doing a fair amount of travelling for work lately.  Luckily I was able to avoid the pitfall of eating shitty food on the road. Here’s what stood out.

Washington, D.C.

When I first landed in Washington (interesting city, by the way) my hotel wasn’t ready so I needed to kill a couple of hours. I was starving and went looking for a bite. I was about to give up and eat a Starbucks snack, but happened upon Graffiato and took a seat at the bar. I was pretty happy with where I’d landed: cool spot, nice staff, excellent music (Led Zeppelin, Tool, Queens of the Stone Age, White Stripes, Nirvana, old Smashing Pumpkins, etc.) on the speakers, and an interesting beer & wine list — I had a Southern Tier IPA and an Anne Amie Amrita Cuvee 2011 Viognier blend from Oregon. I ended up back there the following night; I had the Brooklyn Oktoberfest and Shipyard Pumpkinhead while listening to The Talking Heads, Rolling Stones, The Pixies, and The Proclaimers.

I got to hang out at the POV Lounge for a while, overlooking the White House and Treasury and other Washington sites, and have dinner at The Hamilton. And when I kind of couldn’t take any more interaction at my conference I went down the street to Brasserie Beck to have some excellent beers: I know I had a Van Eecke Cuvée Watou and a double dry hopped Poperings Hommelbier; after that I stopped keeping track.

Finally, after an airport snafu had me waiting in Dulles airport for several hours, I was lucky to come across Vino Volo, a wine bar in terminal B. I had a Tabali 2011 Reserva Viognier from Chile and an Emerson 2009 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir from Oregon, and a Chardonnay that I forgot to write down. Between that, free wifi, excellent food, and a perfect view of the runway, it was a miraculous find.

London

It’s been seven years since my last visit to England, and unfortunately I didn’t have much time to really enjoy London this time around. However, the company I was visiting had arranged some excellent meals for us…some excellent coffee too, as I was able to have a flat white or three for the first time since our visit to Australia last year, courtesy of Taylor St.

Most impressive was The Hawksmoor, a restaurant with the menu and decor of a classic steakhouse, but with a badass young staff. We ate as a large group, meaning the apps and wine were communal, but the Tamworth belly ribs were the the standout starter. My enormous & rare bone-in sirloin covered in Béarnaise sauce was tremendous, as was the sticky toffee pudding. We all left nearly bursting at the seams…what a great meal.

The next day most of us had lunch at the nearby Jamie’s Italian, but none of us really had much room.  Still, I managed to somehow force down some tagliatelle bolognese before heading to Heathrow for my flight home.

All this travel happened in the span of about nine days, so I was pretty wiped when I arrived home late Friday night. I’m just glad I got to try some decent new places and avoid fast food.

.:.

Photo by Bill in DC, used under Creative Commons license