Honeymoon in Paradise: Vancouver
By Mike Berlin
Above: Walter Street in Vancouver's historic Gastown (photographer Grant Harder, photo of clams courtesy of Raincity Grill)
Though Vancouver shares much in common with Seattle and Portland, the verdant metropolis distinguishes itself with the unbridled ambition of your high school valedictorian. In fact, the city is stumping to become the greenest in the world (a title currently held by Reykjavik) by 2020. It’s no surprise, then, that when this town does food, it’s reliably farm-to-table, snout-to-tail, and everything in between, should adventurous foodie honeymooners need persuading.
Wildebeest (120 W. Hastings St.; Wildebeest.ca), a newcomer whose exposed brick walls and pulley-hung Edison bulbs emit a steampunk vibe, dares diners to experience “whole-animal cookery.” Here, items like pork jowl poutine are notably tame alongside the shaved pig’s face (think prosciutto, but fattier) and marrow scraped from a bone that’s later used as a sherry luge.
During the day, visit the cornucopia that is Granville Island Public Market to sample bison salami and elk pepperoni at the Oyama Sausage Company (OyamaSausage.ca). Then, cleanse your palate at the Granville Island Tea Company (GranvilleTea.com) with a cup of green Leopard Snow Buds. Across from the market is Edible Canada (EdibleCanada.com), a provisions store and bistro that specializes in national goods and cuisine. If that bottle of maple syrup from your last trip up North is still collecting dust in your pantry, opt for Sweet Tree’s birch syrup, similar but with a darker color and woodier aftertaste.
In the evening, make your way to Raincity Grill (1193 Denman St.; RaincityGrill.com) overlooking English Bay, where 26-year-old executive chef/wunderkind Nicolas Hipperson has crafted the “100-Mile” tasting menu, which can include exquisite dishes like bacon-wrapped rabbit with truffled leeks and wine pairings all sourced from within 100 miles.
Rockwater Secret Cove Resort on the Sunshine Coast, a mere 40-minute ferry ride from Vancouver, is a honeymooner’s woodland dream. Comprised of tent houses scattered along a wooded hillside facing the Pacific (with full electricity, a gas-controlled fireplace, and a functioning bathtub in each), this resort captures the secluded, elemental experience of camping with none of the dirty downsides. RockwaterSecretCoveResort.com
Distinguished as the first certified-organic caviar producer in North America, Target Marine Hatcheries on the Sunshine Coast harvests some of the finest (and fishiest) delicacies. They give tours of their above-ground fishery for those looking to catch a glimpse of the 300-pound prehistoric sturgeon that produce their Northern Divine caviar. NorthernDivine.com
The Museum of Anthropology on the University of British Columbia’s campus is remarkable not just for the sheer number of archaeological artifacts it houses (around 535,000) but for its stunning design by architect Arthur Erickson. From inside, the towering glass windows of the Great Hall allow light to shape the massive totem poles on display. MOA.UBC.ca
If you’re traveling to Vancouver, consider flying Alaska Airlines, which has been burnishing its credentials with LGBT travelers by launching LGBT travel guides to core destinations (including Palm Springs, San Francisco, Seattle, and Puerto Vallarta) as well as a gay ski guide. In addition, the airline offers LGBT discounts on popular routes, as well as group rates for weddings. For more information, check out AlaskaAir.com.