During a recent visit to Vancouver Island, we took a 2 hour ferry ride from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay in North Vancouver. We set out at the crack of dawn to make the early ferry so we would have lots of time for adventures and sight-seeing.
Once on the mainland, we headed for the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. None of us had been there before, so we were ready to explore.
Now, I have a confession to make; I am terrified of heights!
The Capilano Suspension bridge runs 450 feet across the Capilano River, suspended 230 feet in the air. Crossing the bridge was a personal challenge for me that I was thrilled to meet. Once you are across, the only way back is to walk the other way back across the bridge. Walking over the first time was the most frightening because another visitor decided to run across the bridge sending it into a sway that felt like we were walking across a moving floor.
The bridge is not the most challenging activity in the park. There is also a Cliff Walk that is a narrow walkway that runs along the side of the cliff facing, which has been described as “not for the faint of heart”. I know what you are thinking; and yes, I did the cliff walk as well. I moved slowly across the walkway, stopping every so often to take a photo of the magnificent view. By the time I got to the end I was shaking. It was difficult to tell if it was from fear or the excitement of completing the crossing.
Sometimes, facing your fears can be liberating.
After some time at the park and some shopping downtown we headed for Vancouver’s Granville Island. I love the rows of shops selling unique artisanal work, gourmet treats and wonderful treasures. I think to do Granville Island justice you need to really make a day of it. You could visit the public farmer’s market and wander the stores for hours without getting bored.
We wandered around until it was almost dark and then decided to try an interesting looking bistro.
Edible Canada at the Market offers a prixe fix dinner menu for $28 that is a wonderful selection of local BC and Canadian cuisine. The restaurant has an upscale bistro look, with a relaxed atmosphere. There is a long, open kitchen facing the dining area so you can watch the chefs as they work their magic.
We were greeted by a pleasant group of staff and seated by the window. It was decided that we would each order something different for each of the 3 courses so we could share and taste more of what was offered.
The first appetizer was a rich and flavourful Celeriac and Apple soup with a hint of garam masala. The second was Fried BC Mountain Scallops that were served with brown sugar, bacon, baked beans and cornbread. They were not as I expected, due to the name, but the complex flavours were very interesting. Finally, we tried the Yarrow Meadows Duck Rillette, a Rougie fois gras served with Saskatoon berries, mustard, pickled onions and crostini. It was more rustic that any fois gras that I have experienced in Provence but the combination with the berries was perfect.
For the main course we tried three more dishes. The first, a Butternut squash and Cheese Ravioli served in brown sage butter with toasted walnuts. This is a dish that I often make at home but their version also included slices of roasted winter vegetables that added enough interest to make it seem like a whole new dish.
The second main was a Sear Lois Lake Steelhead fish from the Fraser Valley. It was accompanied by winter kale, wild boar bacon and roasted sunchokes from a local farm. Another hit!
The last main that we tried was the Head to Tail Lamb and Barley Stew. This rich and delightful stew included carrots and parsnips and was served with slices of local baguette.
All of the mains were enjoyed with a glass of Market Red 2012 wine that was blended specifically for the restaurant from a variety of reds from the Okanagan Valley. It was such a wonderful blend filled with notes of black cherry and plums. We had hoped that it was not a private blend as we wanted the take a bottle home.
The last course consisted of a Canadian butter tart and a Bacon Ice Cream Sundae. Need I say more?
The staff were attentive without making us feel rushed. They were knowledgable about the ingredients and very engaging in conversation. It felt as though they were as proud of the food as the owners must have been.
I don’t usually write restaurant reviews but Edible Canada was the kind of place that you want people to try when visiting Vancouver. They also offer culinary tours and a lovely food shop for those who want to take home some local cuisine.
We ended our visit to Vancouver with a late ferry ride back to the island. It was a great day filled with adventure, new experiences and great food. I cannot wait to go back.