5th Annual Whistler Trip

21 03 2012

Every year, we go on a trip to Whistler, BC with a huge group of our friends. We discovered this year was our 5th year. It’s a teeeeensey bit different than our first few trips. Our first few trips were filled with 3 full days of skiing, 3 full evenings of going out in the village for dinner and cocktails, waking at the crack of dawn to beat the gondola line, and a fridge full of beer. The last couple of years it has been more like: 1-2 days of skiing (not full, because I’m soooooooooo out of shape), a sneak into the village to shop while the kids are napping, 1 night of going out to dinner in the village (home by 11), waking before the crack of dawn because your toddler is less than 3 feet from your head and is SCREAMING AT YOU TO GO OUSHIDE, and a fridge full of whole milk, 2% milk, and skim milk (we had to keep the beer in the snow outside on the patio).

I did a horrible job of documenting the trip. I commit to taking a picture of the whole group (8 couples and 6 kids under 3) next year. We’re blessed in that a couple of the “kids” parents come along and babysit the munchkins during the day so we can ski & shop. They are truly amazingly brave people!

The trip included a lot of sledding (for everyone but CJ – he is NOT a fan of the snow but has been incessantly talking about it since our return)

heading home from a long adventure of sledding

little snow bunnies

My favorite part of every day was meal time. Those kids would belly up to the big table and just chow down. I think Carter at whole broccoli. In fact, I think he ate most of everyone’s food that they didn’t want after each meal. He certainly ate well on that vacation.

miss m slurping her soup

toddler happy hour

Maybe next year I’ll capture it all. But who knows, the little people could nearly double by next year and dominate the adults.





Let the Games Begin!

12 02 2010

As I might have mentioned on this blog before, I love Canada. Specifically Vancouver and Whistler. LOVE THEM! I’ve been feeling kind of sad and left out this week with all of the big networks hanging out in one of my favorite cities. I hope they don’t uncover all of our favorite little spots to hang out so they’re overly crowded when we go back to visit.

Speaking of favorite spots, Fritz’s European Fry House is close to the top of that list. I told you all about Fritz’s and their signature dish, Poutine when Marisa & Ashley were in town last spring. In honor of tonight’s 2010 Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony, I decided to make the dish that will assist my further departure from olympic athleticism.

It really is about the cheese curds. Regular old cheese just won’t give the dish the oomph you need. Fortunately, we have a cheese maker down in Pike Place Market that sells their curds all around town.

beecher's fresh cheese curds

I made some homemade french fries and some basic beef flavored gravy. Layer with the french fries on the bottom, top with curds, and a little brown gravy. As a warning, this is not a low fat dish. It’s a pure indulgence, but so so worth it every now and again!

not endorsed by the national heart association

Want to know what else is on my list of favorite spots in Vancouver? You can come visit and hop a train with me to BC and I’ll show you in person. 🙂 Happy Olympics!





Last Weekend of Summer (for some people)

31 08 2009

Well, summer is once again starting to wind down. All of our co-workers with kids are wrapping up their long vacations and coming back to work. We realized we haven’t taken a true vacation in a while, so we stole away for a short weekend to Vancouver. Usually, our trips to Vancouver are whirlwind shopping trips and a stop at our favorite restaurant on our way to or back from Whistler. We figured it would be fun to actually enjoy the city a little during the summer. We booked the Amtrak Cascades to head out of town on Friday night, coming back on Sunday night. It’s so convenient to not have to sit at the border for 2-3 hours coming back.

Apparently everyone in North America had the same idea. It was impossible to find a room. Of course we started looking for a room after we booked our non-refundable train tickets. We got lucky though and a guest house on the edge of downtown, in a neighborhood called Mt. Pleasant had one room available. Below you can see the view from the intersection of our guest house’s street looking north into downtown. The view you see here is of the Olympic Village, where the athletes will live during the Winter Olympics 2010.

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downtown vancouver and olympic village from mt. pleasant

The town is abuzz, there is so much construction, there are olympic mascots in every shops’ window, it’s quite fun! Downtown, in the city centre, there is a countdown clock for the opening ceremonies. I’m excited to see how Canada does the Olympics. We’re still considering tracking down tickets as we have a place to stay (but 30 other people might be staying there too). We did a little clothes and shoe shopping while in downtown, making a big loop around downtown.

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countdown to 2010!

We then wandered over the Granville bridge to Granville Island. This is the view from the downtown side of the city. I enjoy looking at all of the  balconies with the trees and flowers.

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view down to false creek from granville bridge

The city has all of these little foot ferries that go point to point for about 2 loonies ($2 CAD). This one is called the AquaBus. If you remember, I went with Marisa & Ashley back in March as well. There is a huge open air farmers market, artist’s colony, restaurants, bakeries, and even a little brewery. We spent a lot of time just wandering through the market.

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the aquabus on false creek

After the market, we wandered along the waterfront for a few miles until it was time to cut south and head back to our bed and breakfast. We found this interesting piece of art along the way. Yes, that’s me running.

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im always disobeying the laws, arent i?

Saturday night was dinner at Vij’s. We waited 2 1/2 hours for a table. If you’ve ever been to Vij’s, you can back me up. The wait is worth it! Usually when we go, we line up at the door at about 5:00pm. They open the doors at 5:30 sharp every evening and it is first come, first served. Vij, the owner, is not keen on reservations. The food was amazing, as usual. We had lamb & paneer samosas, punjabi heart attack (a small nibble of cashews sauteed in butter with some spices served on a little spoon and a side of lemon quinoa salad to clean that out), lamb “popsicles” (rib chops) in a creamy fenugreek sauce, and a beef tenderloin with almonds and garlic in a tomato and yogurt curry. Yeah, we didn’t eat light, but how can you? It was divine. And worth every bite! We walked about 7 miles over Sat/Sun, it will be fine. 🙂

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waiting. waiting. waiting. vij's. worth it.

Sunday morning we got up and headed to Gastown via the new Canada Line on Vancouver’s subway system. The one real sight in Gastown is the steam clock. On every quarter hour (it’s 6 minutes behind, btw), it blows some steam and plays Westminster Chimes. Each quarter hour adds more notes and on the hour it plays the whole shebang. Lots of aggressive tourists, but fun to watch.

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steam clock in gastown - tourist trap city

Right by the train station & clock is this lovely building we stumbled upon. There is a restroom right next to this window with the most spectacular view I’ve seen from a loo. This window is looking out toward the Coastal Mountains.

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cruise ship, burrard inlet, coastal mountains

We happened upon a small neighborhood farmers market as well. Look at these beauties! I hope my crop will somewhat compare.

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heirloom tomatoes galore

These below are Green Zebra variety of tomatoes. If you ever stumble upon them, snatch them up! They are a perfect, meaty, tart tomato. Perfect with cheese and olive oil. Too bad fruit can’t cross borders.

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the bi-color green zebra tomato

Before our next walking adventure, we stopped off at Steamworks, the Gastown brewery for lunch. We shared a plate of sinful fish & chips and sat in the sunshine.

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scott enjoying the sunny patio at steamworks

We walked our way through the city back to our bed and breakfast to grab our suitcases and head for the evening train to Seattle. The train ride is one of those things that I think should be on every Northwesterner’s weekend things to do. It’s seriously so beautiful and so much fun! This was the sun set just after we crossed over the border back into the US.

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sunset over the strait of georgia

My favorite part of the train ride is through Chuckanut. It’s about 5 minutes worth of train where you see something that is not accessible by car and is just so serene. It was a perfect sight just before the sun disappeared.

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chuckanut pass near larabee state park

Well. I’m considering our summer NOT over yet! There’s still sun shining in this town and we will take advantage, but it was fun to participate with everyone else in their last weekend of summer.





Canada Done Texas Style

21 04 2009

I was lucky enough to crash Marisa & Ashley’s vacation in Canada and joined them in Vancouver for the weekend. I took the train up on Friday morning. It was misty and chilly, but a beautiful train ride up the coast. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend travelling by train. You see so much more and someone else is doing the driving!

By the time I got there, the blue skies were coming out and the temperatures were really warming up

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the maple leaf flag behind a maple tree

I got there just about lunch time and everyone was hungry. We hopped over to Fritz European Fry House to sample one of my favorite things in Canada. Poutine.

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the menu at Fritz. french fries with a side of french fries!

Now, get your mind out of the gutter. This stuff is faaaaaantastic! It’s french fries, topped with cheese curds, and then smothered with brown gravy. It’s a Québécian dish that some have claimed as the national dish of Canada. You can sometimes find it in the states, but it rarely tastes right. Seems like something Texans would be all over. Marisa’s was topped with a homemade ragu sauce as well.

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classic poutine. im drooling looking at this picture!

From there, we needed a walk. We headed down Granville Street and crossed over the bridge to go to Granville Island. This guy followed us much of the way. BC is full of bald eagles. Scott thinks they go there for the free healthcare.

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barry the bald eagle following us

Vancouver is one of those cities that just can’t be compared to any other. Beautiful steel and glass high rise buildings with a back drop of snow peaked mountains and beautiful water everywhere. It really is stunning.

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looking back at vancouver from granville island

Once we crossed the bridge we wandered Granville Island. It is a big artist’s community with many galleries and a huge public market.

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public market and blue skies

Marisa decided to chase the goose to see what he did. The series of pictures are hilarious. The goose was not a fan. At all.

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goose is getting on high alert

The flowers were beautiful as always, there were huge hydrangeas everywhere. I always have to get a picture of them when I can.

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self indulgent hydrangea shot

On the way back, we took a little water taxi for 2CAD (about $1.80 US) back across False Creek to the mainland. Great way to get a feel for everything Vancouver has to offer.

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barnacles on the pier legs

Back to the city side, we hung out on the beach stroll that leads to Stanley Park. This tree atop a building baffles me. Where do it’s roots go?

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how does the tree withstand wind storms?

Vancouver is the host city for the 2010 Winter Olympics. You’ll start seeing this symbol everywhere. I figured it was created for the olympics, but learned it was actually a symbol of the indigenous Inuit tribe. It is called an Inusksuk and is said to represent northern hospitality and friendship. This one is on English Bay.

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kim and the inukshuk

The views were impossible to take in by camera, but I tried…

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the foothills across english bay

We stole this idea from someone else on the beach walk, I like to see how little we are against the big tree.

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where's waldo...er...ashley?

The girls did too…

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she is woman, hear her roar

After our adventures in the park, relaxing in the sun, and a little shopping, we were wandering back to the hotel and I realized the cast from Twilight was probably staying at this hotel on our block. We then spotted a pack of teenagers on the corner with their phones and cameras ready. Marisa and Ashley are die hard fans of Twilight…they might have convinced me to read the series. Well, they are also die hard fans of the boy who played one of the characters…soooooooo…we set up shop. Across the street. Cameras ready. Waiting. For Edward. No, definitely not stalkers.

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stalk...er....fans of twilight 🙂

We gave up and made our way out for the night. We had dinner at a great brewpub in Gas Town with intentions of completing their trifecta of karaoke. Alas, the place we tried was not doing karaoke on Saturday nights :(. So we wandered around town and wound up back at Fritz. We got some poutine to round out the trip.

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last dose of poutine before heading back to the states

It was a really fun trip! Next up…the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley!





Tired of the Wishbone? How about Whistler!

27 01 2009

So, I took a hiatus. I needed a vacation from my “vacation.” And all that really meant was I’ve been really, really slammed at work. Oh, and traveling to British Columbia on our friends’ annual trip to Whistler. We were missing a few and gained a few this year, but as usual, it was a really fun time of good skiing and company.

There was not a cloud in the sky on Friday, you could see so far from the tops of the mountains.

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Looking from Blackcomb Mountain to Whistler Mountain

You can see that it was kind of bare up there. It was pretty icy, but some parts of the mountains had excellent snow. Here we’re all trying to get our legs ready for a full day of being on the mountain.

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Marisa, Scott, Myron, and Andy getting ready for our first run

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The snowboarder and planner of the trip - thanks Myron!

Most of you know that some of the best part of skiing is après ski! We made Merlin’s at the base of Blackcomb our end of day meeting spot for some cocktails and snacks to talk through the runs of the day, talk about how old we are getting, and tell funny stories (or create new funny stories).

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Liz, Steph, and Kim

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Myron seemed dumbfounded by the enormous nacho plate

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Scott & Steven

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Marisa & Andy

Because of the lack of new snow, the snow blowers were running 24×7 on both mountains. The last day we had fun skiing through them watching the spray off one another’s head. Scott’s beard (yes, the snow has melted in Seattle in case you were wondering what is going on with that) was frozen solid.

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Frozen mountain man

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Happy Scott & Kim

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Looking back over Alta Lake and Whistler Village

Thanks to Myron for planning again! Next year, is Vancouver 2010, we will NOT be making our way up the hill during the insanity. Banff or Big Mountain, here we come!