Scotty and Jaimie recently got a chance to sit down and talk about starting Vancouver Food and Culture and what sets our tour apart from the others.
2017 was a short year for us having only started in October. Our first Commercial Drive tour fell on the American Thanksgiving weekend. We had 4 guests join us that night, all from the west coast of America. They met us at our regular spot – underneath the JJ Bean neon sign – at the corner of 6th avenue and Commercial. Being that we all had the West Coast in common our conversation was naturally steered towards the topics of gentrification and international politics.
Our second tour was booked only a week later by some local Port Coquitlam boys and some Californians. We met at JJ Bean and quickly headed up the Drive to Continental Coffee, one of the few old school coffee bars on Commercial. As we waited for our coffee, I gathered some chairs and we began to get to know each other a little better. It’s always nice to sit down for a minute and get to know our guests because it allows us to plan ahead and take advantage of our time in the neighbourhood.
During our third tour, we made a spot at Merchants Workshop where one of our guests was friends with the chef. It was great to meet Doug who made sure to come out to our table and introduce himself. Some duck confit tacos paired with my Japanese whisky flight was great but for me it was the classic 90’s hip hop in the background that really iced the cake. We also stumbled into the Dirty Penny afterwards to join local comedian and rapper Kaboom for trivia night.
Further down Commercial with our fourth group, we got a chance to sit down for some appies and drinks at Fet’s Whisky Kitchen. We chatted and shared food and got an education on some of Fet’s 1300 bottles of whisky. Little did we know that the next day they would be raided by the government. You can find out more about the raid by clicking here. #Saveourwhisky !!!
Sometimes, our groups aren’t that hungry and we get all the way down to Sweet Cherubim, which is just past the halfway point. It was a great place for our fifth group to sit and have a snack, the samsosa’s are to die for, and they have a huge vegan selection of food as well. If the weather is nice, it’s always good to hang out or eat at Grandview Park for a bit while soaking up the sunset and view of downtown. Or enjoying a fresh snowfall in the winter…
If you catch us on a daytime tour like our 6th group, we like to get one of Vancouver’s best deli sandwiches before walking down to the legion where we are welcome to grab a large table and eat our food. The music isn’t too loud, the drinks are cheap and you can probably beat Scott at a game of darts! It’s also a good spot to continue great conversations we have about culture, politics and life in different parts of the world. Being close to the skytrain and transit lines are great for visitors to access easily after the tour.
We have had a blast meeting each and every one of you and we look forward to spending time with all of our future guests!
Our night started promptly at 6:00 when I met my first guest. Our other 2 guests (locals) were running a little bit late and wanted to meet us halfway through. The rain had lightened up as we headed north and got to know each other a little better.
As we headed up past Four Brothers Pizza I reflected to myself how long there had been Pizza places in that location dating back to at least ’88 when I took my first date there.
Gina* and I continued north as she schooled me on life in Tasmania where she was from. We got to Continental Coffee and grabbed some hot beverages and stayed out of the rain for a bit and continued to discuss life in different hemispheres. It blew my mind when she mentioned everything here felt backwards because of the direction of the sunrise and sunset.
Before we knew it, the rain let up and were on our way again. Gina mentioned how prevalent the weed culture was here. Every half block after 1st we smelled another joint getting passed. We eventually made it to Sweet Cherubim and grabbed 2 of their world famous Samosas.
We met up with our local friends at Renzo’s where they were grabbing a hot beverage for themselves. After catching up on introductions we headed south until the conversation turned to whiskey. We immediately did a 180 and headed back to Fet’s Whisky Bar. Little did we know they would get raided for some of their Scotch’s the following morning!
We sipped some award winning Canadian Whisky and headed back up to Merchants Workshop, on the corner of Gravely and Commercial. Chris* was good friends with the head chef and owner Doug so we knew we were in for a treat!
We started with 2 Saratogas and I had a flight of Japanese whiskeys. Our server gave us a great deal of info on the history of the drinks, where they got their bread and how our food was going to be cooked. The presentation actually blew me away. When our locally sourced (chinatown) bread came with in house crafted butter I knew this was going to be a unique experience. We ordered the duck confit that came on a tortilla shell with an amazing garnish.
Our night continued with more conversation while we enjoyed the fine food and drink. Before we were done, Doug managed to get enough time to come out and have a chat with us about the food, his restaurant and plans for the future. Once all of the olives, duck confit and whiskey was enjoyed we made our plans to wind down.
As always, I made sure Gina got to a cab and was able to get home safe and sound. For me, I was on my way home feeling blessed to be able to share my home and culture with more and more people. It’s also great to learn about other cultures.
Thanks for reading! If your interested in booking a tour with Scott and Jaimie, just click here.