When visiting Vancouver, one must bike along the Seawall. A dedicated bike trail meanders around the perimeter of Stanley Park and Vancouver's downtown. It's flat, and therefore perfect for any fitness level. But regardless of whether it's your first time on a bicycle in several decades or you're training for the Tour de France, the views are spectacular and the fresh cool air breathtaking.
Afterwards, there is no shortage of great eats. As we leisurely worked our way back to our hotel diving in and out of the number of boutique stores that decorate Robson Street, we found ourselves perfectly timed to begin waiting outside the doors of Guu, a Japanese Izakaya known as much for its Japanese tapas as for its wait to get in.
The moment the minute hand struck 5:30PM, the door opened, and the growing line of patrons were shuttled in and efficiently placed along the bar if you were a small party, and at a table for a larger group. All the while, the servers and chefs behind the bar are screaming "Irashaimase" or Welcome! to everyone who walks in. The reviews on FourSquare comment exhaustively on the yelling and noise, mostly negatively, but I rather liked that all the orders were loudly reviewed with the chefs. The hustle and bustle give the intimate joint a lot of energy, so what's with the desire to oppress it? Besides, the food is so good, who cares, anyway?
The beauty of a small plates restaurant is the ability to try out a number of different dishes. If I had my way, I would want all the restaurants to offer some kind of customizable sampler plate.
This is the Kabocha Korroke - Pumpkin Croquette. Kabocha is my favorite pumpkin because its flesh is so sweet and tasty that often times, people think I've added sugar. It's not a very attractive pumpkin, what with its warts and oft times misshapenness, but the flavor is unparalleled. The core is a hard boiled egg, and it's all deep fried to create a crispy shell. Sweet and savory, with a smooth texture offset by the egg and crispy shell. Lovely.
This is the Pork Cheek. Some might describe it as "tough," but that would misrepresent what I would rather call the toothsome texture that lends an interesting chewiness that I quite enjoyed. The flavor was outstanding and it was our server's favorite dish on the menu.
Speaking of chewiness, I also ordered a dish of Pork Intestines. Eric will eat anything once, and I appreciate that. So I can't complain when he doesn't want to take another bite. I did contest that the dish was quite exceptional versus other intestinal dishes I'd had in my life, of which had been many. He claimed that it tasted too... "natural." Interesting. Interesting that he can eat a plateful of Scrapple's "natural" flavor. I mean, if you think about what's in Scrapple, this is a pretty close cousin...
But the star of the evening was unanimous - the Miso-Glazed Black Cod. Oh, Black Cod. What would I do without you? It began as a second-class citizen in my life, a begrudging replacement to my beloved Chilean Sea Bass. But now, it's become quite a coveted menu item. And this did not disappoint. I'm sure I had much more than my half of it. A big part of what makes our marriage work is that Eric is remarkably kind about letting me eat more than my fair share of things in which I find particular enjoyment. What a guy!
Next time I go, I'm going to try one of their fried rice dishes, among other things. They accidentally placed an order of Kimchi Fried Rice in front of us, and I deviously wanted to feign confusion as to what we ordered so I could dig in. It's just looked so guud.