I was well overdue for a trip to see my Grandma in Maple Ridge B.C., as she’s getting up in age. I used Aeroplan points for the flights and car rental (I got 25,000 points and a free companion flight from signing up for a Visa Aeroplan card (which I hardly used and subsequently cancelled before the annual renewal)!) We wanted to make sure we had opportunity to do things ourselves, including eat lots of seafood, so we packed a lot into the 2 days.
We landed at the Vancouver International Airport at 7:30 am on Friday and headed to The Lakeside Grill at Mayfair Lakes Golf Club in Richmond for breakfast. For $9 each, we had a hefty serving of food! There’s no way we’d find this meal for $9 in Calgary. The view was great (we golf, so we appreciated the view), and watching the two old guys argue on the practice green was entertaining! The floors needed to be vacuumed – badly. But otherwise the small restaurant was nice and bright and clean. We ordered our eggs ‘over easy’ and they came out basted. Not a big deal, but it’s not what we asked for. The whole grain toast was really good, and the fried potatoes were awesome. The 2 sausages were little, and apparently deep fried, but they had good flavour. Overall, a great deal!
We took my Grandma and Aunt out to the Black Sheep Pub in Maple Ridge for lunch. Jay and I were still full from breakfast, so we split the roast beef sandwich special with caesar salad and each got a caesar on recommendation from my aunt. The roast beef sandwich was just OK – it had lettuce, tomato, mayo & mustard with a fairly big pile of roast beef in it. The caesar salad was awesome though – one of the best I’ve had (I’m picky about my caesar and am often disappointed with restaurant caesar salads). It even had homemade croutons. I totally recommend it! My aunt got the seafood wrap. It looked like it was mostly all veggies, with not a lot of shrimp or crab… but she liked it. My Grandma thought her cheese quesadilla was too crunchy. My Aunt and Grandma go to the Black Sheep Pub regularly, and the place was packed full with locals. I’m guessing it’s a very popular watering hole. If I lived there, I’d likely be a regular!
We made a reservation at the Salmon House on the Hill in West Vancouver for dinner a couple weeks before the trip. We knew we wanted a good seafood place and it had decent ratings and was recommended by my cousin. We weren’t seated by a window, but in a semi-circle booth facing the windows, so we still had a decent view. Customer service was quite good. I ordered a dry riesling, and during my tasting, my cheeks puckered and I got a horrible look on my face! The server offered and suggested a new wine that we would enjoy more, allowing us to taste it first. I felt really bad for sending back a bottle of wine, and I would have kept it had the waiter not been so nice about it, indicating it wasn’t a big deal – they could sell it by the glass. We ended up with Red Rooster Pinot Gris (2014) which we enjoyed.
Onto the food, we ordered the chilli prawn springrolls as an appy. They were quite enjoyable, with big chunks of prawn. The sauce was kind of bland – it really didn’t add much to the flavour of the dish.
We ordered the $75 Seafood Tower for 2 (there was also a $100 version). There was a chilled selection (bottom): smoked salmon (totally awesome!), fresh oysters and chilled prawns. A seafood bowl (middle): with clams, mussels, prawns, salmon & halibut in a lemongrass coconut broth with a couple croutons. This dish had great flavour, but the fish was overcooked. The top of the rack held alder-grilled sockeye salmon, halibut and prawns with grilled asparagus. We actually found this tower to be somewhat confusing – some of it was cold, some of it was hot… we didn’t know what to eat first and it we had to think about how to get it off the tower and onto our plates. It would have been more enjoyable if the cold dish came out first and the warm dishes came out separately. We came to the restaurant hungry… and even with the appy and the tower, Jay was still hungry.
The torte we chose for dessert was friggin’ amazing! I don’t even know how to describe it fairly. There was a surprising base – it reminded me of rice krispies… but the whole dessert was to die for. If you’re a chocolate fan, you’ll love it! I personally thought the presentation of the creme brulee was awkward with the pink bits and a macaron piled on top, but it tasted good.
Brunch on Saturday was at Kingfisher’s Waterfront Bar & Grill, just east of Maple Ridge, near the old Albian ferry terminal. I guess they have live bands some evenings, and it’s still a pretty busy local joint, even without the ferry operating. I would normally go for a giant greasy hash of sorts, but given how much food I ate over the 2 days I felt I should be a little healthier. I got the Guinness Cheddar Omelette that was stuffed with onions and mushrooms. Honestly, I couldn’t even taste the cheese, let alone any hint of Guinness. I was quite disappointed in my whole meal, finding the omelette and the potatoes flavourless. I don’t often have to use salt, pepper and ketchup at a restaurant, but I did here. I tried Jay’s West Coast eggs benny on a scone. It came with a lemon basil hollandaise – it was noticeably herby, which is a different approach to hollandaise. I’m not going to say I don’t like the place – I just didn’t like my breakfast. It’s a great location with a great patio on the water. Next time we’re out to Maple Ridge I’ll have to try something different.
Our last meal of the trip was dinner at The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant on Granville Island. This was an unplanned stop and it turned out well! The restaurant and lounge are upstairs, in an open & airy space. The music wasn’t too loud and it was easy to hold a conversation even though the place was packed. They have a daily fresh list to choose from which is nice. We decided to get a king crab to share along with an appy or two, but it turned out they were out of the crab, even though it was still on the fresh list. So, Jay got the sable fish from the fresh list and I got the seafood hotpot with a red curry sauce. I asked for fresh bread instead of rice to go with my hotpot, but either would be amazing. The subtle flavour of the red curry sauce was just awesome – I would have drank the rest of the sauce if I could! My only qualm was the first clam I ate had not 1, but 3 small pellets in it (pearls? ha ha)… I could have broken a tooth. The sable fish was good, but neither of us had ever tried it before. It was enjoyable but Jay wouldn’t get sable fish again.
We had a truly enjoyable trip – we were able to see family, spend good time with each other, smell some ocean air and eat some good food!