Monday, July 4, 2011

Vancouver - Tojo's and Chinese Garden

Today is Saturday and it is my birthday! We decide to head across the border to Vancouver, Canada for two days. We pack light, take my rat terrier Tye and drive. The day is beautiful - sunny and blue sky.

We get to Vancouver around 1 p.m. and decide to take the Stanley Park Seawall Walk starting from Convention Center all the way to the Stanley Park. There are tons of people walking/running/biking around and enjoying the sun and views of Vancouver. We make it to the Stanley Park and walk around. After walking for 3 hours we decide to relax in our hotel before heading out to dinner to officially celebrate my birthday!

It is dinner time and we are off to Tojo's, which is supposedly one of the best sushi restaurants on the West Coast and been listed as one of the 1000 place to see (maybe eat?) before you die.

At Tojo's my friend made a reservation for a sushi bar and we learn that there is NO MENU at the sushi bar. Everything we are going to eat tonight will be chef's choice!!!! Alright! We take a sit at the bar. The Chef - I presume Tojo himself - comes over and greets us and asks if we have any allergies. He tells us everything they make is original. Then he is off. And our dinner begins. As we later learned from our friendly neighbors Tojo created California Roll and BC roll. I did bring my camera to document every meal we are going to have tonight.

The meal "Omakase" begins. We start with Tuna Sashimi. Presentation is beautiful and fish melts in your mouth. Every dish we have comes with chef's recommendation for whether to use soy sauce or not.

Next is Fried Zucchini flower filled with scallop and served with green tea power.

Here comes dungeness crab salad with fresh apples and glass noodles.

Next up spot prawns. Check this presentation! Yes, it was a whole prawn, with the head and all of its things inside...

I read the menu on the web site and wanted to have some sablefish and they read my mind. We had smoked sablefish with mushrooms. Delicious!!!!!!!!!

Now it was Sushi Time! We had a roll with salmon, tuna, scallop and flying fish roe, king crab nigiri and I requested hamachi nigiri! Tojo serves only sustainable fish so when I asked for chutoro they told me they did not serve bluefin tuna because it was overfished. They did offer me albacore o-toro, which was very good :)

As it turned out there were a lot of Birthday Guests that night at Tojo's and everyone had to survive through a Happy Birthday song! I did too! But it came with a candle and green tea creme brule - Japanese size, of course!

I must say Dinner was Superb! This was a place I have heard a lot about and it was a perfect birthday dinner! I also have to thank two beautiful ladies from Vancouver who sat next to us and enhanced our experience by keeping a fun conversation!

On Sunday morning we decided to visit The Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden. Here is a link to its Web site. This is the first Chinese Garden built outside China and everything (wood, stone) were all brought from China except for water and plants. We took the tour, which provided a good explanation of the garden and the life of the scholars. This is a scholar-type garden. The scholars were governors, not researchers.

It was nice to walk around the garden and enjoy the structures, designs and wood carvings and even some live turtles :)

After visiting the garden we went for Dim Sum and then back to Seattle to celebrate the 4th of July! Happy Independence Day!

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