|Vancouver at night, what a beautiful sight! - Photo by Wasabi Prime|
It's hard to ignore the beautifully modern side of Vancouver, with its aqua-glass skyline of condo towers, and the sculptural and structural keepsakes from their 2010 hosting of the Olympic Winter Games. But look past the New, and there's still plenty of the Old; heritage buildings standing as quiet sentinels, sharing history for those who seek it. I had the great fun of experiencing a unique walking tour of the city, by Forbidden Vancouver Tours. I typically shy away from guided tours, especially in cities I've visited before, but this was part history lesson, part role-playing game, part happy hour. You're not visiting tourist-swarmed sights, their tour and special event themes have titles like the Lost Souls of Gastown, Secrets of the Penthouse, and Who Killed Kraft Bier. You don't have a guide, you have a Storyteller, who also doubles as historian, and in my case, Vancouver's leading investigative reporter, Will Woods, who kept the energy high and our legs moving, hitting the pavement as a band of scrappy newshounds eager to get to the heart of the city's many mysteries.
|Forbidden Vancouver's stalwart storyteller, Will Woods, and the excitement of Prohibition City - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|History and mystery in Vancouver's oldest buildings and monuments - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|From private drinking clubs of the past, to current-day gastropubs - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Savoring sips at Liberty Distillery on Granville Island - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Communing with the spirits on Granville Island - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|The quirky and wonderful street art of Vancouver - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Vancouver Police Museum - a fascinating and macabre collection - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|Eating well, feeling like a Goodfella at Fairmont Pacific Rim's Giovane Cafe - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
|One-stop shopping for gourmet ingredients, cappucino and biscotti by day, wine and pasta by night - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
Another thing I asked Chef Brown about was their house-cured meats. There's a display case in the shop, showing the samples of meats being hung and dried, but there's a much larger curing system behind the storefront, to supply the high demand for this delicious commodity. Living in Italy, Chef Brown learned the process, and he made an interesting adaptation to his curing setup -- I noticed a wall of pink Himalayan salt blocks lining one side of the case. Much like the intangible terroir of wine, the salt literally seasons the air, eventually absorbing into the meat. It's that level of detail for food and flavor that inevitably draws us into the passion of the Italian way of life, where no flourish is too much. And slicing garlic with a razor blade is a perfectly reasonable way to make a sauce.
|Vancouver nightcap at Gastown's Pourhouse - Photos by Wasabi Prime|
UPDATE/CORRECTION: Their gin-based Old Fashioned is a totally true-to-style original "cock-tail" dating back to the "Golden Age of Cocktails" (1860s-1910s) where they were made with brandy, gin or rum; the use of American rye was something that came about later. Thanks, and cheers, Rhett!!
|The midnight hour of Vancouver on a quiet city stroll - Photos by Wasabi Prime|