Adventure Guide 2013: Crested Butte


Crested Butte
features incredible backcountry and extreme opportunities in a remote and captivating package. It’s also got more lift-accessed extreme terrain than anywhere else in the nation. You may need to purchase a ski-pass, but it’s all avalanche-controlled (what’s known as sidecountry, rather than backcountry). Few are the powder hounds who miss the constant threat of imminent burial under several tons of snow.

If you’re experienced at off-piste skiing, take the lift up, and hightail it into the sidecountry. If you’re experienced at backcountry, the Crested Butte region has no shortage of terrain; for an overnight, try booking one of the two huts in the neighboring historic mining town of Gothic through the Crested Butte Nordic Center. And if you want to get hardcore, hire the very excellent Crested Butte Mountain Guides to take you off the grid (they offer two-day backcountry clinics, avalanche classes, ice-climbing clinics, and mountaineering, as well as personalized and private half- and full-day trips).

Need more reasons? Crested Butte is one of the few surviving authentic ski towns left in the West. If funky former mining shacks-turned-pizzerias, snow tire-outfitted cruiser bikes and lopsided saloons (all in a three-block radius) are your thing, CB is sure to steal your heart.
Looking for something less extreme? Explore the 55-kilometer trail system put in by the Nordic Center. It has varied terrain and accommodates both cross-country skiers and snowshoers. You’ll need to purchase a pass from the center (an adult one-day pass, $15).

Competitive types will also love CB’s wacked-out winter festivals such as the Alley Loop, a 21k costumed Nordic race through the town’s back-alleys and trails, and the Grand Traverse, which takes competitors over the Elk Mountains from CB to Aspen (also a great option for backcountry enthusiasts).

In your recovery time, there are seasonal moonlight Yurt Dinners (ski or snowshoe in), as well as horseback riding, dogsledding and Snowcat driving lessons (seriously!).

Hotels

Crested Butte refers to the small, historic former mining town; Mt. Crested Butte, where the resort is located, is three miles away. There are amenities in both places; where you stay depends upon your needs. If you want ski-in access, luxury accommodations, or don’t care about nightlife, stay on the mountain. If you’re on a budget, looking to tear it up both on the slopes and in the bar, or want a more “local” experience, opt for town lodging. There’s a free Town Shuttle (look for the groovy, multi-colored, hand-painted blue and white buses) that runs until around midnight. After that, you’ll need to call Alpine Express shuttle service. Whatever you choose accommodation-wise, CB has lodging for every price point and taste.

Crested Butte International Hostel: Clean and quiet, but lacking in personality as hostels go, this is nevertheless a safe, inexpensive place for solo travelers, couples and families to stay. It’s right in town, and offers plenty of free parking. From $39.
visitcrestedbutte.com 615 Teocalli Avenue

Nordic Inn: This remodeled chalet-style property just reopened on December 15, under new ownership. The longest-operating lodge in Gunnison County, the 50-year-old Inn is just 500 yards from the slopes, and has a mellow, welcoming atmosphere, thanks to the friendly staff and roaring fire in the lobby. Half of the 28 rooms have been renovated, and come with plush down pillows and comforters, high-thread count sheets, boot dryers and rustic, Colorado beetle-killed pine ceilings. The remaining rooms, also slated for refurbishment, are an ode to ’80s grooviness, but are comfortable, bright and spacious. There’s also free shuttle service, continental breakfast, and Wi-Fi; pet-friendly and handicapped-accessible rooms also available. From $169. nordicinncb.com 14 Treasury Road

The Ruby of Crested Butte: Located in town, this six-room “luxury bed-and-breakfast” is one of two small accommodations in Crested Butte proper. If homey rooms with both vintage and modern touches and lots of sunlight are to your liking, you’ll love this sweet little inn. Legendary hot, organic breakfasts, free afternoon wine, pet-friendly rooms, and great packages add to its list of attributes. From $129.
therubyofcrestedbutte.com 624 Gothic Avenue

Pioneer Guest Cabins: If you’ve got AWD (ideally) and like your lodging off the beaten path, stay in one of eight adorable, fully-decked-out cabins 8 miles south of town. Located in the Gunnison National Forest along Cement Creek, the only neighbors you’re likely to see are fox, deer or elk. Cabins have either two or three beds. From $119.
pioneerguestcabins.com 2094 Cement Creek Road

Eat and Drink

The word is starting to get out that CB trumps even Aspen for the quality and diversity of its restaurants. From fine dining to sandwiches, there’s a lot to choose from. As unoriginal as some of the below listings may be, they’re here for a reason. You can’t argue with success – especially when people are willing to wait up to an hour for a pizza; it really is that good.

Izzy’s: If you’ve got time on your hands – because there’s always a line, and never enough seats at this micro-breakfast/brunch spot – this is the local’s favorite. When you see the golden latkes spilling over the edges of their plates, and tricked up breakfast bagels, egg dishes and sandwiches passing by, you’ll understand why.
facebook.com/pages/Izzys/149179161784362 218 Maroon Avenue

Lil’s Sushi Bar and Grill: Super-fresh (never frozen; fish is Fed-Ex’d in six days a week), seriously amazing sushi, and shrimp tempura that will leave you licking the plate (it’s all in the sauce, baby). There’s also plenty of goodness from the robata grill, but do yourself a favor: sit at the bar, and ask chef/owner Matthew Smith for whatever’s looking good that day. Happy hour yields some insane deals, including nigiri starting at $2.50 and rolls at $3.00, plus $3 well drinks, and $6 specialty cocktails and wine. Family-friendly, casual fine dining, with a diehard local following.
lilssushibarandgrill.com 321 Elk Avenue

The Secret Stash: Girl backpacks around world, and learns about food from her restaurant-owning Sicilian relatives. Girl meets boy who works in pizzeria, and moves to Crested Butte. Girl and boy open pizzeria in old, crazy-funky-boho ski house with crooked doorways and slanted ceilings, and upstairs seating floor cushions. A line forms out the door, and nearly 13 years later, nothing’s changed. This pizza will change your life. Hurry, because The Stash is moving to a new location this summer, so they can add another pizza oven and eliminate the wait. Personally, we’re sad to see it go. Never has patience felt like such a virtue.
stashpizza.com 21 Elk Avenue

Dogwood Cocktail Cabin: If a liquid dinner with some light snackage is your plan of action, this literal cabin on a side street is a goldmine in disguise. Wash down small bites such as tostadas, soft pretzels, or the more substantial blue cheese fondue with something from the extensive cocktail menu. Be patient, because mixing these babies takes time, but the rewards are sweet (or hot, bubbly, beery, or martini, as the case may be). Sip a Rosebud (vodka, rose water, cranberry, and sparkling wine) or the Juan Connery (Scotch, Pimm’s, chipotle bitters), in a candlelit atmosphere that’s rustic, yet seductive. Love.
thedogwoodcocktailcabin.com 309 Third Street

Getting Around

Crested Butte is approximately four-hour drive southwest of Denver, depending upon weather. While it’s more spread out and isolated than most ski areas, you can still get by without a car. If you fly into Gunnison-Crested Butte Airport, you can take the Alpine Express shuttle up-valley, and there’s a free Town Shuttle that runs every 15 minutes. To get around points south of town, there’s the free, Gunnison Valley RTA bus.

Adventure Tip

The sheer volume of backcountry in this remote region means you should take avalanche safety extra seriously (then again, when should you not?). Avoid heading out on your own, always let someone know where you’re going, and equip yourself with a beacon, probe and shovel. Avalanches are common here, so be sure you check in with ski patrol before embarking on any backcountry pursuits. Don’t try to be superhuman. Just be safe.

[Photo credit: WarzauWynn]

Instagramming Food: Fun Or Faux Pas?

instagram food - Questlove in TokyoA big topic around the water cooler Twitter this week is a New York Times story on restaurants and food photography. Some chefs like David Bouley encourage snapping photos of your dishes, even going so far as letting you in the kitchen to get the best shot, while others like Momofuku‘s David Chang have outright banned cameras. Restaurateurs argue that constantly whipping out your phone to document each course distracts from the meal, your dining companion, and even the chef. Instagram-loving patrons feel it’s a “tribute” to the chef, and even gives the restaurant free advertising.

We’ve discussed Instagram and travel photography before, and how all those fun filters can be considered “cheating” at getting a great travel picture. You could say the same about food photography, that using effects can alter the presentation of the food, to say nothing of how it alters the dining experience. It’s another symptom of the cult of foodie-ism and the tendency to not live in the moment while you try to share your experience with the world. But are some meals worth remembering past the dessert course?

This week, hip hop legend and Roots drummer Questlove made a pilgrimage to Tokyo‘s Sukiyabashi Jiro restaurant – subject of the documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi” and the start of Questlove’s obsession – and Instagrammed the whole meal. He respectfully asked permission and even took a pic of another photographer nearby. His photos are nothing groundbreaking, but his refreshingly unpretentious and conversational commentary makes you feel like you are right there with him, enjoying some $300 sushi. It’s eating vicariously through social media at its best.

Do you Instagram your meals? Where do you side on photography in restaurants?

[Photo credit: Instagram user Questlove]

10 Farm-To-Table Restaurants In Vancouver, Canada

diva at the met During a recent visit to Vancouver, Canada, it was apparent many restaurants are trying to create sustainable, farm-to-table menus. It’s a great city if you’re an eco-conscious traveler due to the many options for any price level. To help guide you, here are some top picks for morally conscious cuisine in Vancouver.

Diva at the Met
645 Howe Street

I’m not sure there are any other restaurants in the city that take creative sustainability to the level Diva at the Met does. Chef Hamid Salimian and his team enjoy foraging when they can, even for the organic matters like stones, driftwood and torched bark that make up the snack plates. Chef Salimian visualizes what most can not even fathom, while remaining as organic as possible. For example, a slice of chicken bacon from a biodiverse farm might be brined and smoked for days and come on a stone slab, while a squid ink-infused mussel bread will be topped with roe and made to look like coral. Seafood comes from Ocean Wise-certified providers, while produce comes from farms with high crop biodiversity. In terms of farms, most of their produce comes from North Arm Farm, Sapo Bravo, Glourish Organics and Cherry Lane Farm. Although an upscale restaurant, meals can be affordable, with prices ranging from $19 to $38 for an entree, to the five-course tasting menu at $55 and the seven-course tasting menu at $75.Cibo Trattoria
900 Seymour Street

Like Diva at the Met, Cibo Trattoria immerses you in a relaxed, romantic ambiance. However, while Diva focuses on surreal gastronomy, Cibo Trattoria serves up rustic Italian fare with a modern twist. What’s really interesting at this venue is they change their menu daily, focusing on what’s fresh and in-season. While certain meats and cheeses come from Italy to get authenticity, much of their ingredients are locally sourced from British Columbia farms, with deliveries coming daily. For example, their radishes come from Aldergrove while their watercress is purchased from Hannah Brooks Farm in Langley. Typical dishes may include a handmade paccheri pasta with meatballs, oregano, San Marzano tomatoes and ricotta salada, crispy ox tongue with marinated heirloom peppers or roast bone marrow garlic and parsley bread crumbs and apple salad. They also do seasonally inspired dishes for fresh ingredients, like pumpkin ravioli with chili, garlic, marjoram and amaretti. You can sample local wines from the Okanagan and Fraser valleys. And although they have to reprint their menus daily, all printouts are done on recycled paper, which is also recycled after use. The menu includes affordable small plates as well as pastas for about $15 and entrees for less than $30.

c restaurant C Restaurant
1600 Howe Street

As the founding restaurant in the Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise Program, C Restaurant was one of the first in Vancouver to deconstruct seafood supply lines, dealing directly with the fisherman to ensure a product that is of the highest quality and ethical sensitivity. Since the restaurant focuses on seasonal freshness, there really isn’t a signature dish. Instead, its signature is to utilize sustainable seafood and local produce as much as possible. Not only is their food sustainable, but their wine program features vintages from British Columbia’s Okanagan Region, as well as global wines made with an organic and biodynamic philosophy. The restaurant is contemporary, with entrees averaging $30.

Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro
572 Davie Street

You don’t need to eat at an upscale restaurant to enjoy a sustainable meal. And with Vancouver having myriad sushi establishments, it would be wrong not to include one on this list. Located in Yaletown, Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro doesn’t simply churn out rolls, they focus on high-quality cuisine and fresh ingredients, employing only serious Japanese chefs. Ingredients include wild seafood, natural beef, free-range chicken and heritage KUROBUTA pork, all locally-sourced from British Columbia farms. If you’re in the mood for a local drink, Juno serves sakes from the Granville Island Artisan Sake Maker and BC “Vintners Quality Alliance” (VQA) wines.

raincity grill Raincity Grill
1193 Denman Street

This high-end restaurant opened in 1992 with a menu that featured locally-sourced food. Eventually, Raincity Grill also added their signature 100-mile menu, which showcased items with ingredients from within 100-miles of Vancouver.

“Our menu is a tribute to the local farmers, fisherman and producers of British Columbia,” it states on their homepage. “The Chef sources out the best organic, sustainable products available … ‘Farm-to-table’ has become a recent catchphrase but at Raincity Grill it has been a philosophy for twenty years.”

Some specific sustainable menu items include “Brioche French Toast” with Fraser Valley compote and house-made huckleberry syrup, a “Spinach And Berry” salad with North Arm Farm spinach, local berries and Okanagan goat’s cheese and “Fraser Valley Duck Breast” with wild coastal huckleberries. If you’re on a budget, check out their $10 fish and chips window. Libations are also in line with their ‘go local’ philosophy, as the restaurant serves wines from the Pacific West Coast.

Edible Canada Bistro
1596 Johnston Street

Located on Granville Island, Edible Canada‘s bistro does an excellent job of supporting the farm-to-feast philosophy. While their food is fresh and locally grown, even using onsite plant boxes of herbs and produce and making use of the adjacent public market, their efforts extend beyond eating. In fact, the venue features tabletops made of recycled fir tree, hostess stands created with discarded beach cedar and two complimentary charging stations for electric vehicles. As for drinks, they’re spearheading the revolution of offering wine on tap, an environmentally-friendly way to serve vino as it eliminates the packaging and, because 27% of glass is recovered for recycling, stops millions of bottles from going to the landfill. Menu items range from $11 to $28, while their bacon window also offers inexpensive eats.

the templeton The Templeton
1087 Granville Street

Located in Vancouver’s lively entertainment district, The Templeton is an old-fashioned retro diner serving comfort food in a sustainable way. Most ingredients are organic and locally sourced, and there are an array of vegetarian and vegan options, like lentil loaf, tofu omelets, Portobello mushroom burgers and veggie bacon. If you’re a carnivore, The Templeton features organic, free-range and non-medicated meats. Best of all, this venue is cheap to moderately priced with $10 burgers, $10 fish and chips and $16 steaks. Finish it off with a $5 deep-fried Mars bar.

Trafalgar’s Bistro
2603 West 16th Avenue

Trafalgars Bistro and adjacent Sweet Obsession bakery in Kitsilano are pioneers when it comes to sustainability. In the summer of 2011, the venues launched a recycling and composting initiative that was the first of its kind by installing a Green Good composting system. By doing this, they were able to eliminate all organic waste going to landfill, with 99% of the remaining trash being recycled. Additionally, their strong association with Inner City Farms means they can make use of their compost in Vancouver’s urban gardens. In terms of food, their seafood is certified Ocean Wise, all meats are unmedicated and free-range and produce is almost always locally sourced. While the ambiance suggests fine dining, it’s actually a casual and affordable place to eat, with entrees ranging from $17 to $30 and a three-course menu for $30.

blue water cafe + raw bar Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar
1095 Hamilton Street

Located in Yaletown, the casual yet elegant Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar has always focused on farm-to-table and ocean-to-table. All seafood is delivered to their kitchen daily and only the absolute freshest, exceptional quality fish and shellfish are selected. Most of them are line caught, trap caught or sustainably farmed in British Columbia. During the month of February, they even feature an annual Unsung Heroes Festival, which introduces diners to new experiences and flavors using abundant fish species, showcasing to people options other than over-fished varieties. It’s no surprise the establishment is Ocean Wise, with swimming scallops from the Gulf Islands, Kusshi oysters and Reed oysters from B.C. and sustainably-farmed sturgeon from Sechelt. A typical entree is about $34.

La Pentola
322 Davie Street

Recently opened in September 2012, La Pentola serves up gourmet Italian dishes while also incorporating the Italian philosophy to source locally. In Italy, the regions are diverse because specific ingredients are important to different areas. Additionally, there are a vast amount of quality, artisanal products and farms around Vancouver, which La Pentola makes use of by working with them to create their dishes. For example, the restaurant uses squab from local livestock farms. Their dish has a sauce made from grapes, and a walla walla onion puree where both ingredients come from local Stoney Paradise Farm. To La Pentola, being cutting edge also means holding yourself accountable to the environment and the community. Expect to pay about $6 to $17 for a starter, $12/$13 for a pasta and $30 for an entree.

[Images via Diva at the Met, C Restaurant, Raincity Grill, The Templeton, Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar]

Guide To Vancouver On A Budget

stanley park Vancouver, Canada, has much to offer the visitor in terms of restaurants, nightlife, hotels and culture. However, while it’s a worthwhile destination, it can also get expensive. To help you make the most of your trip to the city without breaking the bank, here is a budget-friendly guide to Vancouver.

Get Outside

Vancouver’s waterfront location, mountainous terrain and many microclimates allow for some beautiful landscapes. One of the best ways to experience this is by walking the Seawall. Stretching 14 miles from Coal Harbour to Kitsilano Beach Park, you’ll stroll past colorful sailboats, beaches, parks, bridges and ancient trees. You’ll pass through Stanley Park, one of the largest urban parks in the world. Encompassing 404.9 hectares, the park features First Nations artwork, beaches, gardens, forests, monuments, recreation areas and the Vancouver Aquarium. You can also stroll through Queen Elizabeth Park, Crescent Park or Pacific Spirit Park.

While Chinatown’s Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden offers a free park, I would recommend spending the fee and visiting their traditional Chinese garden. According to their website, it is the first of its kind outside China, with the site mimicking the private spaces within a Ming scholar’s residence.”With its asymmetrical arrangement of rocks and plants, its winding paths and corridors, and the vistas that overlook its courtyards, the Garden emulates the rhythms of nature,” it says on their mission statement.

Prices are $14 for adults, $11 for seniors, $10 for students and $28 for families and free for children under 5.

Explore With A Free Walking Tour

Vancouver Tour Guys offer free walking tours seven days a week. Guides are energetic and passionate about Vancouver, and you’re almost guaranteed to get a great tour as they work for tips. Some tours they offer include:

  • Chinatown
  • Granville & Gastown
  • Murders, Mysteries & Mayhem
  • Eat Your Cart Out
  • Beer Makes History Better
  • Downtown & Olympic Waterfront

Click here to view a tour calendar.


lynn canyon suspension bridge Skip The Capilano Suspension Bridge And Visit Lynn Canyon Park

While admission to Capilano Suspension Bridge costs $33.95, the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge is free to enjoy. The 164-foot shaking, bouncing bridge offers views of waterfalls, rushing rapids and deep pools. For a virtual tour, click here.

Visit The City’s Museums

Vancouver doesn’t have too many free museums; however, there are a few ways around the system. The Vancouver Art Gallery, which features a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks as well as rotating exhibitions, is pay-by-donation on Tuesdays after 5 p.m. Additionally, while the Museum of Anthropology is usually $16.75, it drops down to $9 on Tuesdays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. At the H.R. McMillan Space Centre, you can visit the Gordon MacMillan Southam Observatory by giving a donation of your choice.

There’s also the Wing Sang Building – the oldest building in Vancouver’s Chinatown – which is the permanent home of the Rennie Collection, one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Canada. The collection is dedicated not only to the acquisition of established international artists, but also to the work of emerging artists. Public viewing of the exhibition is available through guided tours on Thursdays and Saturdays, free of charge.

Learn Some History

Around Vancouver, there are pieces of history you may not notice if you don’t know where to look. For example, in 1887 the Engine 374 Pavilion at Yaletown’s Roundhouse Community Centre pulled the first transcontinental passenger train into the city. Additionally, you can visit Hastings Mill Store Museum, the city’s oldest surviving structure, as well as the Christ Church Cathedral, which has been a house of worship since 1888.

art Wander Around Granville Island

Granville Island, which isn’t really an island but a peninsula, as it’s walkable from downtown Vancouver, is an area full of quirky shops, public art, outdoor entertainment and a bustling public market. For a free day, you can simply wander around, taking in outdoor art, sampling free treats at Rogers’ Chocolates and the Public Market, watching street performers and wandering in and out of creative galleries. I’d also recommend checking out the Granville Island Broom Company store and browsing their quirky Harry Potter-style brooms.

For interesting and affordable drinking options in Granville Island, you have a few choices. First, visit the Artisan Sake Maker, who makes in-house sake. For $5, he will teach you about sake and the creation process, as well as give you three tastings. At Granville Island Brewing, tours are offered for $10.92 at 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. daily. It includes in-depth knowledge about the beer production process, a behind-the-scenes tour and three tastings of beers made with all-natural ingredients. If you’d just like to relax with a drink without needing to think, Cats Social House near the waterfront offers $4 drinks all day and night.

Get In Touch With Your Inner Rock Star

For all you Jimi Hendrix fans, there is a Jimi Hendrix Shrine in southern Chinatown. Apparently, the musician would practice guitar while his grandmother Nora cooked at Vie’s Chicken and Steak House. Go inside the red shack, and you’ll see album covers, old photos, artwork and photocopies of Hendrix’s notes.

grouse grind Go Hiking

Although Vancouver is a city, it offers numerous worthwhile and free hikes. Cypress Mountain includes three mountains – Black Mountain, Mount Strachan and Hollyburn Mountain – all offering jagged peaks, sub alpine lakes, meadows and some of the oldest trees in British Columbia. There’s also the extremely challenging Grouse Grind (pictured right). While only 1.8 miles one way, it goes uphill at a steep incline. Hikers gain an elevation of 2,800 feet and climb 2,830 stairs. Luckily, you can ride the Skyride down if you prefer, although this will cost you $10. For an easy hike, trek from Vanier Park to Spanish Banks Beach. The roads are paved, and you’ll pass through Kitsilano Beach, Jericho Beach and Locarno Beach. Which brings us to our next budget-friendly Vancouver option.


Hit The Beach

Although a city, Vancouver has numerous beaches. In fact, almost 11 miles of beaches surround the city, including ocean beaches and one freshwater lake. Along with the ones previously mentioned, some other worthwhile ones include English Bay Beach, Second Beach, Third Beach and Trout Lake Beach.

First Nations Art

Browsing First Nations artwork can make for an informative and budget-friendly day. The most well known piece of First Nations artwork in Vancouver resides in Stanley Park in the form of totem poles. Each totem pole tells true and mythical stories from the First Nations people. The original totem poles were brought over in the late 1800s from Vancouver Island and the Queen Charlotte Islands, but are now placed in museums. However, they’ve been replaced by new totem poles that replicate the originals. Supposedly, they are the most visited sight in British Columbia. There are also various galleries around the city showcasing this type of art, like the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, the Inuit Gallery of Vancouver and the Marion Scott Gallery. drinks

Take Advantage Of Bar Specials

Because of their liquor laws, British Columbia doesn’t technically have happy hour. Just because they can’t discount drinks by the hour, however, doesn’t mean their bars don’t offer great deals. My top picks include:

  • Rogue Kitchen & Wet Bar- This Gastown bar offers The “Don’t Care” glass of Red or White for $4.99. As they say on the website, it’s a glass to get the job done.
  • Hapa Hour at Hapa Izakaya- Located in Coal Harbour, this bar offers $5 glasses of wine, $4 beers and half-price tapas from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Local Public Eatery- This waterfront venue located across from Kitsilano Beach offers $4 glasses of red and white wine.

Know Where To Eat

Samurai Sushi on Davie Street is a local favorite, not only because it’s delicious, but because you get heaping portions for a small price. The nearby Stephos Souvlaki Greek Tavern does the same, but for Greek food. At Medina Cafe, you can order a waffle with your choice of topping for less than $5. If you’d like a large selection of artisanal eats for cheap, check out the Granville Island Public Market, with stalls featuring cheeses, meats, jams, baked goods, fruits and more.

Take Advantage Of Free Samples

At the Public Market in Granville Island you’ll often find vendors giving out free samples of their products. Cobs Bread is another venue often giving away free samples of made-from-scratch goodies. Additionally, Rogers’ Chocolates, the oldest chocolate shop in Canada since 1885, will hand out samples of freshly made maple chocolates and other treats. BC Liquor Stores often give free tastings on weekends when sales reps are there, and at Swirl Wine Store you can try complimentary tastings daily.

feastro the rolling bistro Explore Vancouver’s Explosive Food Truck Scene

Vancouver is home to over 50 food trucks, offering full meals without the worry of paying extra for service or space. Some of the city’s best food trucks include:

  • Feastro The Rolling Bistro- Located on the corner of West Cordova and Thurlow Streets, this food truck offers delicious entrees like soft tacos, fish & chips and smoked chicken gravy poutine. Breakfast is $2.25 to $4.95, while brunch and lunch range from $8 to $13. Specials are featured daily.
  • Mom’s Grilled Cheese- Residing at Howe Street and West Georgia, this rolling restaurant features home-style grilled cheese, as well as more complex sandwiches, soups and sweets. Meals range from $5 for carmelized apples, candied pecans and cinnamon mascarpone cheese on Brioche, to $8.50 for daily specials like Monday’s homemade meatloaf on French bread and Tuesday’s turkey and brie on cranberry pecan bread.
  • Re-Up BBQ- You’ll find this food truck at 700 Horby, selling items like southern-style pulled pork sandwiches for $7 and beef brisket for $9. For $2.25, you can also get a “Southern Sweet Tea,” with orange pekote, lemon and sugar.

You can find out more about Vancouver’s street food scene with the free Vancouver Street Food App for iPhone, iPad and iTouch.

Get Half-Price Tickets To The Game

Located in Tourism Vancouver’s downtown Visitor Information Centre on 200 Burrard Street, you’ll find Tickets Tonight. The budget-friendly outlet sells tickets for events sold by both Ticketmaster and independent retailers.

peppers Take A Budget-Friendly Day Trip

About an hour away from Vancouver is the Fraser Valley. If you have a car you can do a self-guided Circle Farm Tour, which offers free tours of wineries, farm-gates, open-air markets, heritage sites, fairs and special events. Click on a specific community for a map.

Browse Antiques In Gastown

Walk down to the historic Gastown, and you’ll find tons of antique and vintage clothing shops. While it costs money to purchase items, window-shopping is free. Some of my favorite shops include Salmagundi West, L’atelier Home and Deluxe Junk Co.

Go To Brunch

On weekends, Vancouverites take to the streets to fill up at the many brunch spots in the city. During brunch, you’ll get excellent deals on meals and drinks. For example, La Brasserie offers brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and will often have deals like $5 mimosas and ceasars. The Blarney Stone features a Sunday brunch and many times has deals like $4 Irish beers and $5 brunch drinks. Just take a stroll and look for the colorful chalkboards littering the sidewalk.

Stay At Budget Hotels With Ambiance

Just because a hotel isn’t expensive doesn’t mean it isn’t comfortable and nice. The Urban Hideaway Guesthouse is a cross between “a hostel, a B&B and a Traveler’s Inn.” It has character, as it was built in 1896 and is set in a 19th century Victorian house. You can book their best room, a super double with private bathroom and continental breakfast, for about $85 per night. Additionally, the Budget Inn Patricia Hotel is centrally located and offers comfortable, no-frilled rooms from $41. If you’re looking for something more luxurious, boutique hotels like Hotel LeSoleil, L’Hermitage Hotel and Opus Vancouver offer reasonable prices and often offer sales and packages. And remember, traveling during shoulder season will almost always ensure a better deal.

[Images via Jessie on a Journey, kimba, Jessie on a Journey, Shutterstock, Jessie on a Journey, Feastro, Jessie on a Journey]

3 Stand-Out Sushi Restaurants In Vancouver, Canada

sushi Vancouver, Canada, is filled with restaurants serving Asian cuisine, especially sushi. With hundreds of these types of venues sprawled across the city, it can be difficult to choose where to go. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, try one of these stand-out sushi restaurants in Vancouver.

Let’s Roll
104-1184 Denman Street

Located in Vancouver’s West End, Let’s Roll allows sushi lovers to make their own rolls. The process takes five steps. First, choose whether you want traditional seaweed or modern soy as your wrap. Next, decide between white, green or mixed grain rice. Once this is done, you’re on to the best part: stuffing your roll. You can choose two vegetables and two meats from a colorful showcase of items like salmon, tuna, avocado, prawn tempura, crab, beef, cucumber, spinach and more. Then, it’s time to select two toppings from conventional choices like fake crab and tempura flakes or unusual items like potato chips. When you’re finished, pick your sauces and you’re good to go. Remember, this isn’t traditional Japanese style, and the rolls you’ll make are huge. That being said, all ingredients are fresh, it’s fun and you’ll get exactly what you want.The Eatery
3431 West Broadway

The Eatery is unofficially Vancouver’s funkiest sushi restaurant. Located in the Kitsilano area of Vancouver, it’s been serving quirky Japanese fare since 1983. Signs reading “Funky Sushi” and an Astro Boy logo adorn the facade, while inside electronic music fills the air. The main attraction on the quirky cartoon-covered menu is the innovative rolls, although there are traditional-style options for those who want them. Some interesting fare includes the “Miss Piggy Roll,” which has bacon, scallops, asparagus, roe and unagi sauce, the “Found Nemo” roll, with crab tempura, asparagus and avocado wrapped with seared salmon or the “Volcano” roll, which has salmon, tuna, scallops and avocado on a bed of spicy crab meat. Expect fun roll names like “Erotica Roll,” “Italian Stallion” and the “S&S Roll,” as this is one of the sexiest sushi venues in Vancouver. You can also go here for a fun night out, as it’s more of an eclectic restaurant and bar then a quick sushi stop.

Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro
572 Davie Street

Although you’ll find a plethora of sushi restaurants in Vancouver, most of them are quickly churning out rolls without thinking about quality or fresh ingredients. That’s where Yaletown’s Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro differs. I’m a big sushi fan, and I found this place by asking numerous chefs, managers and wait staff at local restaurants where I could get the best sushi in the city. It was almost unanimous that Juno was the best. This place employs serious Japanese chefs who are committed to making the highest quality sushi rolls possible. My main reason for recommending Juno is they’re also sustainable. Ingredients include wild seafood, natural beef, free range chicken and heritage KUROBUTA pork, all locally-sourced from British Columbia farms. This is also a good place to try local libations, as Juno serves sakes from the Granville Island Artisan Sake Maker and BC “Vintners Quality Alliance” (VQA) wines.

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