Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Where in the world is E. Spat?

Ex-Roomie and I headed up to Vancouver on Monday morning, super-excited to check into our hotel and get some shopping and drinking done. I had gotten us a hotel room on, and we were interested/slightly scared to see what our accomodations would be like. The drive was easy, and the weather was fantastic, so when we got there we were happy to just go straight out and start wandering around.

First, the hotel. It was nice, and the beds were definitely the most comfortable hotel beds I've ever slept on, which is saying something because obviously I've done alot of traveling. It was called the Georgian Court and was located right at the end of Robson Street, which is sort of the main shopping route through the city. It is directly across the street from BC Place Stadium, and is within walking distance of Yaletown, Gastown, Robson Street and Granville Street, although the area between the hotel and Chinatown/Gastown is VERY shady and we were glad we had left for dinner before it got dark.

We spent the entire afternoon shopping on Robson Street. There are tons of boutiques, chain stores, specialty food stores, restaurants and cafes, and both high-end and funkier unique little clothing and jewelry stores. I spent a TON of money at Lush. There's no better way to justify your expensive soap tastes than to convince yourself that you're getting a deal because of the exchange rate. Even though you don't know what the exchange rate is and even if you did you're too math-phobic to figure it out. I also LOVED the MAC store, which was huge, and the salesgirl helped me pick out *literally* the perfect lipstick. We went to a store with probably every different perfume known to mankind, but I forgot the name because my friend spent money there but I didn't. We went into the Sears on Robson to use the restroom and I was thrilled to see that apparently Sears in Canada carried Make Up For Ever, a brand that I buy here at Sephora but definitely isn't carried in American Sears stores (I recently bought the Diamond Powder).

So, after a FULL day of shopping, it was time to eat and drink. During the day we stopped and had lunch on Robson, but I forget the name of the place. It was a chain type place and I thought it was probably the Chili's of Canada, so I didn't bother to keep track. We also got gelato at this little place called Mondo Gelato that was REALLY good. We noticed also that there was a restaurant/bar on Robson called "Shenanigans Bar and Grill" and almost went in, but decided it didn't look good enough to eat at, even for the funny factor.

In the evening, we decided to head over to Gastown, which was SUPPOSEDLY the place where a bunch of bars would be. On a Monday night we knew it wouldn't be super-lively, but we were disappointed to find it was DEAD and also there weren't many bars to be had. We stopped first at a bar called The Irish Heather. It had a fun atmosphere, the bartenders were actually Irish (and very cute), and the beer was good (we both had, you surprises there). We decided to skip the food and find a place with a little more variety to eat at so we could both be happy.

We passed several bars but ultimately ended up standing in front of this place, Steamworks Brewing Company. Just based on the name we decided to go in and at least have some more beer, but the menu looked great so we ended up eating there as well. They have a decent selection of their own microbrew, and I have to say that the Cascadia Cream Ale was one of the better beers I've had in a long time. It was so smooth and soft, I felt like I was drinking cream soda or something. It was fantastic. Ex-Roomie had a Nirvana Nut-Brown Ale, and then a Pink Lemonade Martini, both of which she liked. She had lamb tenderloin for dinner, and I had a pasta dish with pan-seared prawns in it.

The waiter at Steamworks was so cute, and we told him how we were on spring break and wanted to go to some bars and with our check he included a list of some fun bars to go to. So, off we went.

First we headed to the Loose Moose. The atmosphere was pretty fun, but I wasn't SO impressed with the selection of beer on tap. Of course, I'm an admitted beer snob, so when I walk into a place that tries to convince me to drink Kokanee, I'm generally not so impressed. I want the best of all worlds, dive bar atmosphere but upscale beer choices. We sat at the bar and the bartender was kind of funny, but kind of obnoxious, and the guys at the bar were, well, very obnoxious, but funny too. One guy was some dude who just finished his master's degree in Sociology and is working in the same field that Ex-Roomie's dad works in, so they talked about that stuff for awhile and he ended up coming to the next bar with us.

After the Loose Moose, we walked across the street to El Furniture Warehouse, a Mexican restaurant/bar that had kind of a strange mixture of clientele and TV's showing skateboarding bloopers. We had with us Harvey of Loose Moose fame, and (for me) a surly disposition. We all got a beer and then Harvey and I proceeded to get into a shouting match about the US Military and American foreign policy. There is probably little that pisses me off more than talking about the military with people who have never been in it. On a theoretical level, obviously, anyone can understand what it's about. But, it's not the same. And, trying to convince me that the military is actually a racist, classist, sexist, horrible, terrible thing is probably not a great idea considering my background. And also if you're Canadian and you have no idea what you're talking about. So, needless to say, Harvey left after his one beer. Thank God.

By the time we finished at Furniture Warehouse, it was time to head back to the hotel. I had REALLY wanted to go to Doolin's Pub, which was across the street, but there just wasn't time.

In the morning, the one thing we wanted to do was go to a crepe place that Ex-Roomie had discovered on her first trip to Vancouver (but which had been closed on Monday, as many places there are). We walked all the way up Robson to Bretagne Crêperie, a really cute little cafe/creperie that had the most fantastic crepes I've had since I went to Paris a few years ago. I had "The Canadian," which had eggs, bacon and cheese. Ex-Roomie had one with ham, cheese, and some kind of sauce in it. Then we split one with sugar and butter. All three together only cost us about $10 Canadian, which is NOTHING for what we got!

On the way back to the hotel, Ex-Roomie stopped at Daniel-Le Chocolat Belge to get her boyfriend a gift, and we had some fantastic chocolate. They make pralines shaped like mice and cute.

The very last thing I did was get a "Coke Diete" at 7-11, and we headed back home to the good old US of A.
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