So our foodie friend Jonathan managed to score a multi-week sojourn in Vancouver. His visit is work-related, so his company is putting him up in a high rise overlooking Coal Harbour, and providing him with a daily stipend. What to do, what to do -- or more importantly, where to eat? Hmmm...
Jonathan lives in Manhattan, is a world traveller (it's his job, poor SOB!), and is an accomplished cook and enthusiastic epicurean, so it's not like he's looking for the nearest McDonald's, or even The Keg. This makes recommending places to indulge his appetite and interests a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, Vancouver has advanced several degrees beyond the days when our dining choices extended to Hy's Steak House, White Spot, and a couple or three chow mein palaces . We've steered him towards Japadog, located handily enough just outside his office tower, and he's found Robson St.'s izakaya scene all on his own. He's also been smart enough to post on Chowhound, and has a wealth of recommendations from the local foodie community. So we're pretty certain our lad won't waste away here in the hinterlands, though he reports that the prices we pay for domestic plonk came as a rude shock.
To date, our main contribution to his culinary education has been to take him to 12B, a mystery venue, where Chef Todd (sorry, no more precise identity is available, though judging by the quality of food presented, he is no stranger to professional kitchens) prepares highly imaginative, intricate food for small batches of diners who bring their own wine.
It's a long story, but our group of ten were mostly strangers to us, though not to each other. This caused an interesting moment or two, given that our host is healthily paranoid, given the iffy legal status of his enterprise. Nevertheless, by the end of the evening we were all chatting happily away, sharing wine and impressions of the evening as though we had known each other for our entire lives. By the middle of the next day, we had exchanged emails and promises to do this together again. And that is the magic of good food shared in compatible surroundings with similarly-minded folk. The community that is formed is somewhat more than the sum of its parts.
Tomorrow we get to expose our friend to the delicacy that is poutine, as prepared by the fine Quebecois chef at La Belle Patate, followed up by drinks at the Sylvia Hotel. Environment Canada promises us sunshine and warmth. Is there any better way to while away a Saturday afternoon? It may not be Manhattan, but it is Vancouver!