Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Good morning, Vancouver.
It is a beautiful morning in Vancouver. The only plans we have for today is a massage (for me) this afternoon at 3:15. I am already excited about that. Might as well work out and get my muscles really sore.
When I return to the room Rich tells me that he has done his Yoga while I was working out. He likes the stretching. I start playing around with our room iPad and see what I can do with it.
We finally manage to tear ourselves away from the room and go down for breakfast at the Oru restaurant in the Fairmont . There is a wonderful buffet set up and we both decide to try it. We don’t really want that much to eat, but the variety temps us.
Our server is very sweet and attentive. She informs us that they will be tearing down the buffet at 11:00 (it is already 10:30). However after that we can order anything we want to have and they will fix it for us as part of the buffet. You can’t beat that.
Rich immediately zeros in on the awesome looking creme-filled donuts (remember, he hasn’t yet had his fix). He sets one aside for after the meal. We choose carefully and make several trips.
The buffet is removed and I have another request (of course). I would like one poached egg with crab and avocado. Done.
Rich starts in on his sugar bomb. It is delicious and filled to the max with the luxurious creme. Our server tells him that they are the signature item for the buffet! People go wild for them. We can see why.
On our way out of Oru, we see a beautiful table set up on the balcony. It has lovely plates that are all different and gilded utensils. I think it is for showing potential party guests the possibilites of how tables can be set. We each choose our favorite plate.
The decision is made to leave the building at least for a little while. The Fairmont has bicycles that we can borrow and the concierge told me that there is a great bicycle path along the sea wall. Sounds great as long as I am back in time for my massage!
The Vancouver Seawall walking/bike path is great. There are separate paths for pedestrians and bikes. The 9 km (5.5 miles) bike path is one-way so you don’t even have to worry about running into anyone else. It winds around the harbor and then Stanley Park (the view from our suite). Many, many people are biking, running, walking. We love it.
What a fantastic ride. We are so glad that we chose to leave our room! When we return to the Fairmont I have about an hour before my massage appointment. I go ahead down to the spa to relax and take in all the amenities (steam room, “experience” shower, etc). The massage is fantastic and I come out relaxed and refreshed.
Time to consider dinner plans. When I researched Vancouver the name of an Indian restaurant kept surfacing – Vij’s. It gets great reviews and I had in the back of my mind that we might want to try it. Tonight seems like the right time. Vij’s does not take reservations and I read that the wait can be lengthy. We have time.
The Fairmont has a complimentary car service where they use BMW 9 series vehicles to take you anywhere in the downtown area. We ask the concierge about this option, but are told that Vij’s is “over the bridge” and they can’t do that. She tells us that she loves Vij’s and we should definitely go. It is a bit far to walk (2-3 miles) so we suck it up and ask for our car. Turns out the drive is easy and the restaurant is not hard to find.
We are greeted immediately by a staff member and shown the outside patio where we can wait for a table. No sooner did we get settled than a larger than life Indian gentleman wearing a bright pink kurta sweeps over to us to make sure we have been taken care of. We know right away that he is Vikram – the owner/chef.
Our wait is all of 3 minutes before we are shown to a nice table inside the beautifully decorated restaurant. The smells coming from the room are tantalizing and unmistakeably Indian. We are given menus and drinks are ordered – Saison beer for Rich and a Mangalore Temple for me. This is how Mangalore Liqueur is described: Mangalore or the flavour of the Indian coasts of Malabar, in which cinnamon and cardamom are blended to smooth out the pepper. A surprising, strong and subtle mixture.The aromatic spices first smooth out the peppery taste (lemon-flavoured taste and sweetness of the cinnamon), somewhat masking it. Then it reappears (without being aggressive) mixed with the rounded and sweet flavours of the spices. My drink has Mangalore liqueur, ginger and Prosecco. Yummy. Rich’s beer is also outstanding. It is Belgium in character with hints of spice and clove. We are happy with our choices!
We asked our server for help with the menu and ended up ordering all of his suggestions: Spot Prawns (appetizer special), Jackfruit in Black Cardamom and Cumin Seed Curry (he really convinced us on that one), followed by the Lamb “Popsicles” and the special Chicken in Mango Curry. Naan and rice was served with all.
Wowee. Every dish was amazing. Just the right amount of heat where you didn’t want to stop eating it, but not so much that you were on fire. We wiped most of the serving dishes clean with the Naan… Yes, the Jackfruit was great. It has a “meaty” texture and takes on whatever flavors it is cooked with.
Short drive back to the Fairmont. We take special notice of the Gelateria right beside our hotel… We are stuffed from dinner, but somehow we think we can fit in just a bit of gelato. (There’s always room for gelato, right?)
Inside the shop are all kinds of press releases about Bella Gelateria. Looks like they just won the 2014 North American Gelato World Tour Championship! How can we possibly resist?
The gelato is perfect and a great way to cap off our day. It has been a wonderful day in Vancouver and we definitely hope to visit again. Tomorrow we are off to Vancouver Island.