• Sleepover at Ikea - Maybe this is the only way to get to the $1 early enough…

  • A ramen bath - Japanese spa with special baths resembling instant noodles.  I wanna play!

  • Old age homes for dogs - 1) Old dogs don’t like to be abandoned at strange places.  2) Playing with young puppies will probably cause the older dogs to die faster due to exhaustion.

  • A remote-controlled pigeon - Oh the poor thing…

  • An article on a brilliant method of teaching grade schoolers about bats and rabies.  I smell a lawsuit.

  • Will trade beer for Crumpler bags.  Tempted by the beanbag and messenger bags…


Our west coast Family Day week trip is becoming an annual tradition

March 08, 2011, 9:27 pm

We visited the Pacific Northwest over the Family Day week, which included eating in Vancouver, skiing in Whistler, socializing in Seattle, and shopping and wine region touring in Oregon. It wasn’t until the flight home that we realized we had a pretty similar trip to California during the same week last year. Hmm, I wonder if there are any noteworthy wine areas in Colorado for next year…


Vancouver was very un-Vancouver-like when we landed on Friday morning, at least for winter. It was sunny and warm, blue skies. We could actually see the mountains in the distance. Since we’ve all been to Vancouver on numerous occasions, everything we did there evolved around food. We would pick the place we want to eat at, and then wander around the area digesting while planning where to get our next meal.

We ate at:

Kintaro Ramen - Close to Stanley Park

Hapa Izakaya - Rather pricey, not as good (or as Japanese) as Guu

Ajisai Sushi Bar - In Kerrisdale, a bit out of the way if you are hanging around downtown, but good value for good sushi

Refuel - In Kitsilano, Mike likes charcuterie

Chef Hung Taiwanese Beef Noodle - At Aberdeen Centre, we were there when it opened last year, but the lineups prevented us from trying it then

Thomas Haas - Chocolate and pastries, need I say more?

Aztec Hot Chocolate


It was uncharacteristically cold at Whistler when we were there, reaching -20 C and below at the peaks. One of the days had really poor visibility, which is really freaky in bowls as all you see is a uniform whiteness everywhere; you can’t tell how fast you are going, or even if you are going uphill or downhill. Snow condition was ok, we could have done with more fresh snow.

Symphony Bowl, Whistler


It’s been my track record so far that every time I visit Seattle, it snowed there. The day we were leaving Vancouver, both Victoria and Seattle got hit by snow. But nothing in Vancouver (which changed when we returned at the end for our flight home). The drive from Vancouver to Seattle is fairly short, but in between, we hit areas with no snow and areas with a lot of snow. Burlington area was especially hard hit, we know, cause we tried to go to the Lululemon outlet there, but it was closed due to weather (… for FOUR days! It was closed when we were driving back up as well).

Mike finally got to do the Boeing Factory tour finally. Not much had changed since I was there 2-3 years go, the 787 is STILL not released yet.

We met up with Shwu to tried the Din Tai Fung that recently opened in Bellevue. It was packed, but not the insane 3 hr lineups they were having when they first opened. Their basic xiaolongbao were good, but other dishes were rather small by Chinese standards. It had a full western-style bar, which was weird, but only fitting since they were located in an upscale Western mall, next to Nordstrom and Crate & Barrel.


Willamette Valley, Oregon

Since we didn’t have any touristy thing left to do in Seattle, we headed to Portland instead. Well south of Portland to be exact. Oregon doesn’t come off as a popular tourist destination, but I really enjoy it there.

It has the following going for it:
1. No sales tax (yay factory outlets)
2. Pinot Noir (big wine region)
3. Legal to buy 190-proof Everclear alcohol

Ok, so I don’t really care about that last one, but it was mentioned to me by someone describing why one would ever want to visit Portland.

Mike discovered Oregon pinot noir a few years ago on a customer visit in Portland. Back then, the only way to get Oregon wine was to bring them back from the States. Nowadays, however, the major wineries been able get their wines available at the LCBO. The region we visited is known as Willamette Valley, which starts outside of Portland and extends all the way to Salem. The area is also very scenic, rolling hills with mountains in the distance. There were a lot more wineries there than we expected. We only managed to visit five of them and there are plenty left to visit for next time.

Deer at Willamette Valley Vineyards

We also had fun shopping too. There’s an Icebreaker outlet at Woodburn Company Stores (only one in North America), and a new Off 5th Saks outlet in Tigard (Mike really wanted to check it out but we ran out of time). Yes, it is a little odd to be driving through wine country, and then see a Whole Foods.

Yes, Oregon, we will be back!

Photos on Facebook

Just noticed that my archive widget is behind by 2 years. Don’t think I remember Expression Engine anymore..

Tagged: Food, Travels

Thanksgiving in NYC

October 14, 2010 | Travels |

We headed down to New York City over the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, taking Tuesday off as well for a total of four days of vacation. I’ve never been on a “real” visit to NYC before, as my past experience involved a whirlwind Chinese tour in middle school (four major…

First Portage Trip to Algonquin

August 22, 2010 | Travels |

We went on our first portage trip last weekend to Algonquin. It was a fairly short trip that looped around the Canoe Lake area. We arrived on Friday morning and launched around noon. We camped two nights, and got back early afternoon on Sunday.

Yellowstone 2010

July 30, 2010 | Travels |

Our major summer trip this year was to Yellowstone National Park. We were there for the last two weeks of June until before Canada Day, for around 10 days. I went with my parents and Mike. Yellowstone is on my list of places to visit because of how famous…

1000 Islands for Victoria Weekend

June 03, 2010 | Travels |

Had a nice little vacation in the Thousand Islands area over the Victoria long weekend. The 1000 Islands area is a little east of Kingston, with the main tourist area at Gananoque. So first, it was nice to only have to drive 3 hrs to get to our destination for once, and second, it was the perfect weekend to spend near the water, being so hot and sunny. We left Toronto on Saturday morning and came back Monday night.

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