This week, Jon Meyer, Seattleite‘s Food + Travel Aficionado, tells us where to go, what to do and how to eat in British Columbia’s largest city.
STAY: After one night at Moda, my hotel-going life has changed. However, it wasn’t the hotel’s location in Yaletown — the trendiest of Vancouver’s boroughs – nor was it the attached coffee shop, chic sports bar (not an oxymoron in this case, I swear) or Italian restaurant managed by a James Beard Award nominee.
Simply put, staying at Moda makes you feel cool – so cool, in fact, that your standards for lodging excellence will be revolutionized. Walking about the hallways, riding the elevator, jumping on your bed, looking at the lamp – the four-letter word describes it all.
Though the building was constructed a century ago, the interior design and furnishings have a uniquely modern feel. Standard rooms are small but the space is used thoughtfully. Even the larger rooms feature the bare essentials: seating areas, work desks, and bathrooms complete with the all-important shower and tub combo. All the amenities that are needed for serious, relaxed urban lodging.
BREAKFAST: Upon awakening, your first meal of the day is a must — and so is Café Medina, the creation of Belgian chef Nico Schuermans. Medina thrives on matching the sweet and savory. Belgian waffles with a plethora of toppings share menu space with hearty, clay pot-born classics like Tagine. A smile will be involuntarily produced by you, the satisfied patron.
PICK ME UP: If a cup of coffee is necessary, Caffé Artigiano is the answer. Now boasting a café in nearly every Vancouver neighborhood, Artigiano’s brews are worth finding. The beans will be of excellent pedigree, and the cup produced by a barista operating at an international level. Artigiano baristas have earned Canada’s Top Barista awards six years straight, and they fare nicely at the international competitions, as well. Where you at, Seattle?
DINNER: Back to Moda’s restaurant, Cibo Trattoria, for a moment. Executive Chef Neil Taylor is like many Vancouverites, in that he’s an international transplant — but that’s where the comparison ends because they just can’t cook like him. The menu changes daily, with foragers and producers knocking at the back door. Even with all that, an expertly constructed wine list offers balance to any decision.
COCKTAILS: The final stage is drinks, because imbibing usually equates to a nice final chapter. In the midst of downtown lies the Cinema Public House featuring custom cocktails from mixologist Trevor Kallies. Clean lines and modern atmosphere allow patrons to stay focused on their company — or a clear line of sight to their neighbors.
NIGHT CAP: Should curiosity take you into a cab, Diamond in Gastown is a worthy destination. Take The Saint on Cap Hill, head up to the second floor of a dimly lit brick building and you have the dark and mysterious Diamond. It’s the perfect spot to get an early feel for the Vancouver locals, or wind down the night amid low-light and well constructed cocktails.
Jon’s Adventures in Canada will appear every Thursday during the month of June.