Where I Ate in Vancouver: Breakfast/Brunch
I've really gotta hand it to Vancouverites. I had a comfortable dining experience nearly every place I went. Overall the people there seemed to really understand food allergies and were willing to accommodate. I've been on vacations to places where food allergies are either not understood, not taken seriously, or handled without care. Because of this I'm always a little nervous to go visit a new place. I was comforted by the fact that we were still going to be in Canada (no travel insurance needed!), we were there for a wedding and to visit friends, and there would be no language barrier.
Gastown is a cute neighbourhood in Vancouver's more historic area and is full of little shops, restaurants, and cobblestone streets. We ate brunch in Gastown twice, both times at The Flying Pig. When I mentioned my allergies to the server her response indicated that she understood the severity. She said, "ok we'll make sure there is no cross-contamination or anything like that and I'll speak to the chef." Then points for making me feel comfortable! I was having my usual - boiled eggs and fruit with coffee. When I asked her why the eggs came peeled she told me that the chef washed his hands before peeling them and that they were kept separate from everything else. The second time we dined there I had the same thing and unfortunately I did find a bit of yogurt at the bottom of my plate once I had finished half the fruit. There was no reaction and I decided not to finish it obviously. Because we were in a time crunch I didn't tell the server but I'm sure if I had he would have handled it fairly and brought a new one. Their customer service was excellent.
Granville Island is known for its farmer's market and abundance of artisanal shops. Bran and I decided that on the day of his cousin's wedding we'd embark early and get to the market for breakfast. Well it seems we got there a little too early and nothing was open yet! Although it was nice to walk around the neighbourhood that has a distinctly scandinavian village feel before all the other tourists arrived. We ate brunch in the indoor market as there was no outdoor market on the day we went. Bran got Chinese food and a hot sandwich (below) and I got coffee, fresh berries, a banana, and some apples for later. I also had an Enjoy Life Chewy Bar on me so I indulged in that as well. The market was vibrant and bustling. Like St. Lawrence Market (Toronto) with more elbow room. I highly recommend visiting for brunch or lunch. There were so many food vendors offering a really diverse array of dishes and cuisines. This place was great for anyone with allergies or intolerances because there really was something for everyone.
On our first morning in Vancouver we ate at the famous Medina Cafe in the Library District. This part of downtown seemed a little random to me, kind of like Elm St in Toronto. If you're not familiar with the 416 it's basically like saying it seemed like an area where government buildings collided with a transitional pocket of the neighbourhood. So, area description aside, I'm trying to say we may not have found it if someone hadn't recommended it to me. But I'm so glad we ate there. It's a super hot spot with a fantastic vibe. The decor was beautiful and it had a warm aroma of mediterranean cuisine infused with bacon, eggs, and the scent of waffles. Their menu was unique and everything seemed to come with lots of veggies, hummus, spices, and olives. Their open kitchen was a joy to watch. Food and hands were moving so quickly and with deliberate precision. Our server handled my allergies well and of course I had my usual fare even though it looked quite boring compared to what everyone else was eating. But a comfortable meal is better than a stylish meal any day for a person with allergies. You can see on the bill below that they did take note. And I heard our server check with the kitchen again before picking up our food from the window.