After Seattle and then Victoria, Kramer and I headed over to Vancouver for our final leg of 2013’s Pacific Northwest tour. I was sad that we only had a chance to spend what ended up essentially being 36 hours at my grandmother’s house on Vancouver Island, we hope we get to go again soon! After all, my aunt and uncle have all the gear you need to go crabbing and I really want to go back up to give it a whirl! It sounds so nice to sit out in the water, drinking some beers and catch big, juicy crabs. Sometime soon – we’ll be back, Canada! Those crabs are calling my name. Probably because they are terribly afraid. Anyway, we didn’t realize how big of a trek it would be from Victoria to Vancouver. My aunt dropped us off at the ferry terminal and we got on the enormous boat headed to the mainland. We were then directed to the ticketing booth where we bought bus tickets from the ferry terminal to downtown Vancouver. The boat trip took about an hour and a half, and we were able to grab some hot breakfast (with Canadian bacon, of course) and enjoy some sunshine along with an incredible view of the open water. It was so nice to just sit out on the top deck of the boat and not do a single thing other than watch the scenery roll by. Once it was time to go, we went down to the bowels of the ship to get on the bus – the creaking and swaying made us very aware that we were below the water at this point, and I also felt like the water was going to force its way through the doors at the front of the ship and completely knock us all out. Obviously that didn’t happen but I like to be prepared for any worst case scenarios. After an hour long (and incredibly uneventful) bus trip, where I slept while we drove through the suburbs, we checked into our hotel, dropped off our bags, and headed out into Vancouver.
Kramer and I enjoyed some rooftop cocktails in Vancouver after some incredible sushi.
Our first stop was lunch. We went to Minami first, which was delicious. We had to get a little bottle of sake to start things off, then shared some lightly seared salmon sashimi and an assortment of sushi in the restaurant’s little backyard. After that, it was suggested that we head over to Minami’s sister restaurant, Miku, for some tempura battered fish and chips and cocktails while overlooking the water. We walked off the fish for a while, then played some one-on-one shuffleboard while we had a beer at a local bar before heading back to the hotel for a quick shower and change of clothes. What did we do next? Guess. We ate! We found ourselves at the lovely L’Abbtoir, where we shared a small dish of escargot, fried chicken skins, scrambled eggs, and mushrooms – literally all of my favorite things together in one bowl – with some well made cocktails. After that, we made our way to the Revel Room for one more drink before dinner. It was all I could do to not order their house made chocolate chip cookies, but I was strong, because I knew that I had made a reservation for dinner at Wildebeest where I’d surely be unable to resist over-ordering, having studied the menu over and over again. This place was right what I was looking for. We had incredibly, hand crafted cocktails, along with a plethora of phenmonal dishes: hickory smoked olives, seaweed infused hazelnuts, ice cold carrot sorbet with mascarpone and peppery radishes, pig head and octopus terrine, squid with garlic confit, smoked quail with wild berry honey, roasted halibut with egg-yolk dashi and smoked mushrooms, beef short ribs with smoked salt and hay jus. They really killed us with the food and I wish that my stomach had been big enough to eat more! We waddled into a cab, threw ourselves on our hotel bed, and slept for three hours before getting up to catch our 6 AM flight back home.
So, back home, after a week of some serious eating, Kramer and I needed to get some vegetables in our bodies and say goodbye to the meals filled with various meats and sweet, sweet animal fat. I made this raw zucchini salad to put on top of mixed greens for our lunches for the week, and even Kramer absolutely loved it. It’s light, refreshing and just what you need to get back on track. Best of all, there’s no oven or stove involved, making for a quick something to whip up in order to be prepared for the week ahead. I love eating raw vegetables in the summer – the flavors in the produce are pronounced, and with the addition of a little vinegar or lemon/lime juice, you really don’t have to do much cooking if you don’t want to, as the acid will break down most anything to the point where it almost tastes like you actually did sauté it. If you don’t have zucchini, may I suggest a raw asparagus salad, this lightly pickled carrot salad, or a simple corn and black bean salad? Salads, salads everywhere, so let’s all have a bite.
Tempura battered fish and chips and some cocktails, Kramer living life, shuffleboard, more cocktails, and escargot with fried chicken skin, then eventually, it’s time to go home.
Hanging out in Fan Tan Alley in Victoria.
The Empress in Victoria.
Kramer goofing around.
Being ladylike and stuff.
Canada and beer: a match made in heaven.
Alright, so – zucchini times.
I used my mandolin with a specific blade attachment to get the ribbon size that I wanted. You can use your excellent knife skills to do the same, or pick up a $10 mandolin – it’s worth it!
Toss the zucchini ribbions together with your corn, shallot, sugar, red wine vinegar, mustard, cayenne, thyme, salt, and pepper. Allow to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour so the flavor develops.
Serve on its own, as a side or on top of some mixed greens.
- 4 zucchini, washed well
- 3-4 ears of corn, kernels removed
- 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon grainy mustard
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- Slice the zucchini into long ribbons, either with a knife or a mandolin, being careful not to slice your fingers! I left the skins of my zucchini on for color, but you can peel them if you prefer. Toss the zucchini with the kernels of raw corn, sliced shallots, mustard, sugar, vinegar, thyme, cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings as preferred, although remember that the flavors will develop as the salad sits in the fridge. I recommend tossing everything together, allowing it to refrigerate for about an hour, then tasting and adjusting as needed. Serve as a side, as a salad on its own, or on top of mixed greens. This will keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.