Tojo.

A few years ago David was watching Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations: Vancouver and a catchy techno beat and a high-energy foreign voice caught my attention. I sat down on the couch and was mesmerized by this petite character with a … Continue reading

Across the Border

One of the things I like most about Seattle is the ease with which you can leave the country. It’s about a two-hour drive to the Canadian border, then another 15 minutes to my cousin’s partners’ home in a quiet Vancouver suburb south of the city. David and I try to get up there at least four times a year. When we first start visiting, David was quick to say he wanted to moved there. I was bothered by his comments, but a year later, I find myself looking at property and entertaining the idea myself (especially now when I think about this upcoming election).

Having family not only on the west coast, but just a two-hour drive away means a lot to me. I get homesick often and being around Robert makes me happy and eases my homesickness. Robert and Randy are incredible hosts; Attentive without being overbearing and entertaining without being exhausting. All four of us love to be in the kitchen and experience wonderful restaurants, so our food adventures are never boring. Typically we would come back from vacation being a couple of pounds heavier, but thanks to Robert and Randy and their active lifestyles, it usually all evens out. We go for walks through the city’s extensive gardens, parks and neighborhoods during the day, then walk around their neighborhood after dinner.

The first thing we usually do is sit down in front of the fire or outside on the patio next to the pond and plan menus. The lists then lead to a couple of hours spent at Granville Island Market, which is always the highlight of our trip. Living in Seattle, Europe seems so far away, but not when you walk into Granville Market. The cured meats, unpasteurized cheeses and the abundance of brightly colored produce is overwhelming at times. I think the border patrol thinks I’m lying when I tell them what food items we are coming home with.

This past trip we explored the woods and treetops and went to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. The weather was perfect, although a little on the warm side. It was the hottest day of the summer thus far. We saw many bald eagles and got very close to two Grizzly Bears, which were in captivity on top of the mountain. British Columbia is home to more Bald Eagles than the entire United States (Once you visit, it will be obvious why). So much for our national bird.

We also went to local farmers markets, wineries, and gardens and took in the beauty of British Columbia. We stayed in both nights to cook and the dishes that came out of the kitchen were delicious. Cooking and cleaning was a joint effort, which made it much more enjoyable. On Friday night we made Seared Scallops with sautéed Chanterelle Mushrooms & Parsnip Puree, Potato Pancakes with Scallions, and Crispy Kale with Maple Syrup. Saturday night we decided to switch it up a bit and enjoy tapas on the patio. We made Roasted Eggplant Caprese, Roasted Red Pepper Roll-ups, Apricot Salsa with Chips, Figs & Prosciutto, Beet Blue cheese & Watercress Crostini and Lamb Merguez Sausage. Let’s just say we didn’t stave. To Randy and Robert, thank you so much for always opening your home to us and being so welcoming and loving. We can’t get enough of you two or your home.

Mount Baker

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Cliffwalk

Capilano Suspension Bridge

Extremely Tall Trees

Beautiful Day

Grouse Mountain Sky Box

Oh so hot!

Apricot Salsa

Figs & Prosciutto

Cooling off in the Fountain

Queen Elizabeth Gardens

Queen Elizabeth Gardens