Field Trip: Vancouver
It might be my Cancerian nesting instinct but I’ve noticed that whenever I travel to another city, I’m usually in search of my hood — the place that feels like me — the place where I would hang my hat (and dog leash) if I called that city home. In Vancouver, it's South Granville. Climb the hill on the city’s west side, and you'll find upmarket boutiques, home accessories shops and gallery row. Before the Granville Street Bridge was built, and before the street was rechristened from Center to Granville Street in 1907, Vancouverites rowed across the water to pitch their tents in what was then a pristine wilderness. Now this side of the city may be considered a bit posh but like the rest of the Vancouver, it's welcoming. A few of my favorite spots:
2349 Granville St. (604) 731-2576
I love designs that play with scale -- mirrors that are unexpectedly tall or gigantic tables placed in the center of a room with vaulted ceilings -- because of the instant "wow" factor. That's the setting of this shop at 8th street that puts a new spin on the word antique with a range of industrial and reclaimed concept pieces that are decidedly modern.
3012 Granville St. (604) 569-1514
Although I was tempted by Anthropologie, I'm well acquainted with the inventory so I saved my window shopping for Genevieve Allen's Violet instead. The french doors lead into a bright, open and feminine space with a careful collection of contemporary designer labels with French flavor like: Tucker, Suno, Rachel Comey & WHIT to name a few. Don't forget to pat Beatrice, the dog.
1488 West 11th Avenue (604) 736-5711
By dinnertime, I was exhausted from having covered most of the city in flips flops -- don't do this! -- and was curious about the line in front of a restaurant on 11th street. I don't do lines, so I had a seat on the patio next door because I thought I smelled Indian food. Turns out I was right, both Rangoli, the restaurant and take-out market where I ate and Vij's next door, are sister restaurants owned by Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala. The menus change seasonally incorporating spices and cooking techniques from all regions of India with the meat, seafood and produce that's available locally.
Apparently Vij's, the more high end of the two, always has a line but I spotted a couple of other singletons on the patio at Rangoli so obviously I was on to something. I had the goat and jackfruit in a creamy curry with coconut sauce and cabbage salad. My Bollywood 411 was a mix of Prosecco with pom and mango, two of my favorite fruits. I had to pull out my camera when I saw these mini screens built into the bathroom mirrors. What was playing? Bollywood of course.
For more information about South Granville, check out www.southgranville.org