Long day, long drive.
I had my usual pre/during-travel anxiety in high gear. Knowing I’d forgotten important things (most of which can be replaced in Vancouver anyway). This feels so hard to pin down, nothing concrete in memory to attach to and go, "ah-ha, that's why..." Maybe it is just the uncertainty of leaving the safety of my routine.
Avis failed to hold our reserved car (G6), tried to put us in something of a similar size (Eclipse) and ended us up in a rather large and surprisingly dirty, but mostly comfortable Grand Prix. We were on the road at about 8AM and headed up towards Seattle. The issue about the car was annoying because we were expecting to get to use a line in to the stereo for our iPods! We ended up getting transmitters (yes, have tried two at this point) which will be returned at home.
I was pleased that I was able to recall how to get to the Sunlight Cafe, a vegetarian place on the outside edge of the University District. I’d eaten there when doing my yoga teacher training and recalled it was at least vegan-friendly. I was still feeling the anxiety pretty much and my blood sugar was dropping rapidly when we got to the restaurant so it was hard not to feel a little cranky that the navy bean soup somehow had been made with dairy (why?)! I finally settled, with some prompting from CK, to order the tostada. I was gratified that the option to sub “avocado” (by which they mean: guacamole, which IS tasty but is certainly not the same as slices of avocado-y goodness on a dish). The Red Zinger iced tea was refreshing. CK enjoyed her lemonade as well as her very tasty tofu sandwich.
We continued up I5 towards B.C. The day was lovely, cloudy but not raining, and it was nice enjoying the trees rushing past our windows. We listened to a couple of stories from Miranda July’s collection of short stories, “No One Belongs Here More Than You” (which she reads), some music, the sounds of our voices, and the sound of the road rushing by beneath us.
At the suggestion of a co-worker we crossed into B.C. outside of Lynden, Washington. It is a much smaller crossing than the Peace Arch and we were over in under 15 minutes. I noted that the U.S. side was also pretty quiet too, although we’ll be returning on Saturday so it might be a bit busier. We hit some rush hour traffic outside of Burnaby and crawled our way along Canada Hwy 1 for a while (broken down car) until it cleared up outside of Vancouver. We quickly made our way to the 1st Avenue Exit, followed that down to Commercial Drive, and finally arrived at the one-bedroom flat we’d rented on Kitchener Street.
We went to The Charlatan for a couple of pints, did a little shopping for breakfast, and went to Yogi’s for dinner.
The Charlatan is pretty trendy and boasts a menu dripping cheese & butter, heavy in meat, and seafood. Needless to say, we each had a pint and enjoyed sitting on their patio watching the folks of “The Drive” bustle through the evening. I mentioned to our waitperson that we had said no to dinner options because CK & I are vegan. She nodded and commented to me that we could find a better dinner elsewhere anyway! I mentioned that we were thinking of trying out Yogi’s and she encouraged us to go, mentioning she’d eaten there several times.
Yogi’s was very tasty! Kind of a more modern approach than the usual curry walla. We were able to order a pint and settled on a marinated bean salad served atop a papadum, which was very tasty. We split the Punjabi Stew entree along with a whole wheat naan. The stew, a rich spinach (saag) with potatoes was very tasty and was accompanied by basmati rice steamed with cumin seeds. We have discussed returning for the cauliflower/potato dish (a twist on aloo gobi) is later in the week.
We then settled into our truly lovely suite and fell pretty much instantly asleep!
The suite is located on Kitchner Street, half a block off of Commercial Drive. The owner lives in the house above, the suite being a refinished, basement one-bedroom. It is very conveniently located with numerous restaurants, shops, markets, and easy public transport nearby and within walking distance. We were very pleased with the space, finding it immediately comfortable. The owner was happy to loan us her measuring spoon set so I would be able to bake some birthday cupcakes and offered some of her recommendations for places to eat. We will certainly visit this suite again, it really makes staying in Vancouver a treat.