For the first time since we arrived in Vancouver (on this trip, anyway), we decided to tear ourselves away from the wonderful breakfast at the Shangri La and head into town for breakfast.
There was a place in town everyone kept raving about and my gluttony was far too intrigued to not pop in and try things out.
The place was called the Jam Café. It doesn’t sound like much on name alone but once we arrived to a queue outside the cafe, I knew the hype kinda had to have some legs to it.
I’m not a fan of queuing for food – especially not for breakfast (I’m just far too hungry and impatient to do this) but I’m also very greedy (as you may have guessed from my inability to stick to just one choice for breakfast for the last couple of days) and so I decided to wait for a little while – getting hungrier (perhaps even ‘hangrier’?) with each passing minute.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to wait too long and before you knew it, my breakfast of chicken and waffles and Lloyd’s of French Toast the size of a mountain, arrived. And boy was it good! Like seriously, as soon as you take a first bite into it, you totally understood why there was a queue round the block for it. (Even just thinking about it now makes me so hungry! *licks lips*
To keep hunger at bay, I started off with a Strawberry Lemonade….(I don’t know what it is but they just know how to do that really good up here in Vancouver – I’ve ordered my fair share of Strawberry Lemonades on my travels, the last one tasted like someone just chicken in Strawberry Jam with sugary water so I really appreciate it when places like the Jam Café just get it so right).
…Lloyd went with a chocolate milkshake (no surprises there).
As soon as breakfast was over, we hot-footed it quickly across town (kinda lost track of time), picked up our car from the valet at the Shangri La and headed straight for Squamish.
Squamish is a pretty special place in British Columbia. It’s about 1 hour’s drive from downtown Vancouver and is home to the Squamish people, some of the indigenous people of Canada who lived here long before the Brits and French even considered sailing across the pond.
Squamish is also home to the Sea to Sky Gondola – the best way to get some pretty amazing views when you’re in this part of Canada.
You can, of course hike but we were only in Canada for a week and I definitely was in no mood to spend half a day hiking up and back down (Canada has some really tall mountains – plus, not that I expected to see one but what would I do if there was a bear on that path? I don’t know how to handle a wild bear – I’m not Canadian enough for that. 😀 )
Up at the top (and partly why we had to rush over after breakfast), we met up with our pre-booked First Nations guide – Karen (the First Nations are the indigenous people).
Karen would be showing us around Squamish, where her people were from – telling us all about their cultures, traditions and showing us some of the best viewpoints on the trail (again, I was worried about bears but you don’t really go that far – in fact, you’ll find that there are quite a fair few people up here with you).
The viewpoints were as incredible as expected (*look out for Mount Garibaldi when you’re here) and learning about how the indigenous people used everything from trees to sap was absolutely fascinating.
Even the relationship they have with the nature was interesting (this is why you’ll find lots of trees with stripped barks back in Stanley Park in Vancouver, the indigenous people use nature but respect it and pay homage to it and would never have wastefully destroyed a tree – it was used to what they needed it for e.g. the bark for medicine, and let to carry on growing).
When you’re up here, guide or no guide, be sure to head over to the viewing platform (it reminds me in a lot of ways of the ones we’d seen over the fjords in Norway). This is where you’ll have some of the best views of the mountains, lake and nearby towns and villages.
There’s also a suspension bridge worth walking across though if you’ve got vertigo or you’re really scared of heights, you might wanna give that one a miss. 😀
Eventually, with our tour over, we headed over to the café/restaurant (not sure which one it is) for lunch and a big drink (the heat had certainly picked up a bit on our walk), before heading back down on the Sea to Sky Gondola and into town.
Not too far from the Sea to Sky Gondola, however, is an amazing waterfall which we didn’t even know existed until we heard it (and then saw it) on our drive back. It’s literally minutes away and worth swinging by on your way to Vancouver. It’s called Shannon Falls and as it turns out, is the 3rd largest waterfall in British Columbia.
Back downtown, we popped into the pool at the Shangri La to cool off in the heat before slowly making our way to the MARKET by Jean-Georges restaurant for dinner. (It’s located in the Shangri La so I wasn’t kidding about that ‘lazy’ part…).
First off, before I even start going into what we had, I can say without a doubt this was one of the best meals we’d had in the city! (And this says a lot considering the many amazing breakfasts we’d had and that amazing meal at Savio Volpe).
There was a bit of salmon and Carpaccio to start…
…swiftly followed by beef and lamb for mains (I can’t actually remember who had what now – I think we decided to tag team and share both but doesn’t matter, the menu changes here so you’ll probably get to try something totally different from us when you visit).
The chef even popped out to say a quick hello! 🙂
The desserts that followed were absolutely fantastic – chocolate fondants and ganache – the perfect way to round off a pretty amazing meal! 😋
Funny, even now when I think of some of my favourite memories of Vancouver, my mind still goes back to the amazing food we had across the city – all thanks to evenings (and mornings) like this. 😁