As much as I love the diversity of neighbourhoods in Vancouver, from the quiet oak-lined streets of the West Side to the community parks of Strathcona and the sloped views of Sunset, the West End downtown has been my home for nearly seven years now. I love that I can walk in a block or two from a major downtown street and hear birds chirping and lawn mowers trimming. Today’s round-up of photos from the Vancouver Public Library‘s archives features the grand old houses of the West End, some of which are still around today.
It looks like your classic neighbourhood corner store. A place where I would have gone to purchase 5 cent gummy candies and Big Leaque Chew when I was young. Granger Grocery on Heather at West 16th in Vancouver even has the iconic “Enjoy Coke” sign outside. However, one step into what is really Connie’s Cookin’ and you’ll feel like you’re in a whole other world — one with delicious Korean food.
Michelle led me to Connie’s, where she’s become a regular. Having a Korean mother, she instantly fell in love with Connie’s cooking and the friendly atmosphere created by her and her partner Jamie.
There are a few remnants of a corner store, like Twix and Crispy Crunch bars stacked in a corner, but you won’t find smokes or Lotto anywhere — that’s not the main attraction. Walk into Connie’s a look up at the menu board. There’s one menu item each day. If it’s Thursday, you get what Connie cooks on Thursdays. In our case, it was raw vegetable Bi Bim Bap.
We took a seat in a nook with hand-carved seats between beams that resembled tree trunks. Everything seemed hand-made, including the chair I sat on that Jamie said he wasn’t quite finished putting together (it was sturdy enough, he just planned on adding a foot-rest). There was only room for about 8 people but you can shuffle around a bit or get your meal to-go. Sketched signs give instructions about menu items and a shelf of artisan soaps and lotions for sale near the door provided a contrasting aroma to the spice that was being simmered into our dishes.
While Connie works her wizardry in the kitchen, Jamie runs a tight ship up front. He delivered our plates (“for Michelle and friend”) which were covered in heaps of fresh vegetables. The sign outside said black beluga lentils, mung beans, alfalfa sees, red clover seeds, and red radish seeds were the toppers on the dish. I also ordered chicken with mine and when it arrived perfectly juicy and tender, shredded apart resembling succulent pulled pork, Michelle had to order some for herself as well.
To wash all down all of this crisp, crunchy, spicy goodness we picked up two green juices from the front counter. Kale, spinach, apple, cucumber — a nice splash of vitamins that would make our stomachs happy for the rest of the day. My lunch came to $13 (for the Bi Bim Bap, added chicken, and the drink).
If you stop by Connie’s on Wednesday’s you’ll get a noodle dish and Michelle said her fish & chips on Fridays are awesome. It’s casual, comfortable, quirky, and delicious. Connie’s Cookin’ truly re-defines the term “hidden gem” for me — it’s completely unexpected. It was definitely a nice way to spend an afternoon with my childhood friend, walking to the corner store and spending our pennies.
Connie’s is located at 701 16th Avenue West with the big Granger Grocery sign out front. They’re open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch. I can’t find a website, Facebook, or Twitter account for them. According to Yelp they’re open 9:00am to 6:30pm on weekdays and on Saturdays from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Over the years I have profiled bloggers from the Northwest Territories to the Fraser Valley, anyone that interests me and that I hope will interest you as well. A few years ago I started asking a standard set of questions and I’ve sent these out to a few local bloggers for this week’s series. Click, share, explore, and enjoy.
How long has your blog been around?
It was started in February 2010 during a trip to Mexico City on an extra-long reading week due to the Winter Olympics.
What is your role?
I’m the owner and 95% of editorial content is written by me.
What does your site do/what is it about
Being Tazim is a blog focused on reader-service, organized around the principle that every individual has varied interests and unlimited creative potential.
What can people see, read, and do when visiting your site?
Content ranges from smart tips for home décor, to smart ways to use and enjoy technology. My partner and I travel a fair amount, so I also share a fair bit of our travel adventures, as well as (more recently) DIY projects and ideas.
Why do you blog?
Originally, I started in order to express the ‘hidden’ personas that I couldn’t focus on due to being a full-time university student. I ended up focusing the topics over time and connecting with other bloggers in a variety of social medias—and it became a way to be part of a great network of supportive people, in addition to being able to do something that I love. My formal education started out in interior design (before I pursued a degree in Art History at UBC), but I don’t practice interior design professionally anymore, so the blog has been a place where I can still showcase my ideas.
What is the ultimate goal for your site, how would you like to see it grow?
I’m hoping to be able to reach more local readers, and those interested in home decor and creativity. Being able to interview people I’m interested in, attending events, and featuring home, studio and store tours are all things that I would like to focus more on. Every month I am happy to get more opportunities to work with brands and causes that I stand behind — and I would love to do more of that on my blog. Ideally, I would like to be able to work part-time and spend more time on my blog.
Read all entries in my Blogger Profile series and feel free to suggest a blogger for possible feature in the comments of this post.
I haven’t tried nearly as many food trucks in Vancouver as I would like so when Marc Smith asked me to join him during his 30 Day Adventures: Food Truck Edition, I had a hard time picking our meet-up location. However, I am a big fan of breakfast and after reading food bloggers praise Yolk’s, I knew we had to make that our destination.
Parked outside Stadium SkyTrain station downtown from 7:30am until 1:00pm Monday to Friday, Yolk’s offers up creatively delicious breakfasts on the go. They are known for their free-range egg sandwiches but we were there at about 11:45am and selected items from their brunch menu. I went with the Croque-Madame Muffin (brioche bread, carved ham, béchamel sauce, Gruyere, poached free-range yolk) and Marc went with the Brioche French Toast Sandwich (double smoked bacon, fresh mint, local berries, maple whipped cream, vanilla syrup).
Marc’s french toast was $9.75 and the Croque-Madam was two for $7.55 (or $4 each). I had already had a large breakfast that morning so I would have ordered a few more items, which will just have to wait until next time. I’d like to fully commit with either their Tempura-Panko Avocado Sandwich (poached free-range egg, fresh cilantro & lime hollandaise) for $6.95 or the Full Combo Breakfast for $10 (free-range egg sandwich, organic potato skewer with lemon and truffle + organic Brazilian coffee).
They post their daily menu offerings and specials on Twitter and Facebook every day so you know what to expect when you walk up to their window as well. Yolk’s accepts cash, debit, and credit cards, which is very handy. You can find them at Beatty and Dunsmuir daily or at special events like this weekend’s final Yelp Food Truck Fest at the Waldorf Hotel.
If you want to learn more about the food trucks in Vancouver, check out Marc’s blog series where he’s dining at 30 different food trucks every day for 30 days.
The Rosewood Hotel Georgia in the heart of downtown Vancouver not only has a beautiful art collection, chic luxurious guest rooms, and a fantastic brunch at Reflections, it’s home to Sense: A Rosewood Spa.
Hotel guests and locals can both enjoy a variety of therapies, treatments, massages, and facials. Men and women have their own facilities but can meet up in the relaxation lounge pre and post treatments for decompressing from the day with some tea. The spa also features the hotel’s fitness centre and a 52 foot indoor salt water pool.
Sense is offering up a 15% discount for locals which will run throughout the winter. 4 hours of valet parking is complimentary when you book as well.
I recently went in for the Vancouver Signature Sensation treatment. You know that feeling when you’re taking a hot shower and you pause for a moment to let the water cascade down and clear your mind? It’s like that plus an exfoliation — plus a shea butter massage.
“A cool glacial breeze and the aroma of fresh mountain air are captured within this signature service. Our peppermint- and herb-infused sea salt exfoliation will melt away dry skin and leave behind a subtle cooling sensation. A cleansing Vichy rinse releases tension, stimulates blood circulation and relaxes tight, sore muscles. Last, a hydrating massage with our signature shea butter blended with essential and hydrating oils holds the moisture in your skin.”
I have a gift certificate available for one lucky reader to experience an 80-minute Vancouver Signature Sensation treatment at Sense (value $175). Here’s how you can enter to win:
- Leave a comment on this post (1 entry)
- Post the following on Twitter (1 entry)
I will draw one winner at random from all entries on Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 12:00pm. Update The winner is Sharon! (Comment Oct 2)
Yesterday was National Tree Day and this weekend communities around the province are tree day activities. I thought it would be only fitting to have a tree theme for this week’s roundup of photos from the Vancouver Public Library. Bear in mind, most of Vancouver – including and especially downtown – was covered in forest in the early days.