February 19, 2010: Dinner at Bishop’s! Sushi at Aki’s! Checking out the art scene!

Last night, we went to dinner at a place many consider a Vancouver institution: Bishop’s Restaurant.  It had been a year since my last visit and I was eager to see if it was still as great as I remember it.  Our meal went something like this –

The amuse bouche

Bishop's bakes its own bread, two kinds of every day. On this day, it was a light wheat and a brown sugar bread.

Locally produced butter.

Oysters on the half-shell. Tiny but tasty.

Akemi's appetizer: Dungeness Crab and Spotted Shrimp kimchee dumplings in shrimp broth with daikon radish sprouts.

Berkshire Pork Terrine with candied quince and hazelnuts, served with sourdough toast. I dispensed with the toast and greatly enjoyed the terrine.

My main: Sloping Hills Pork Loin, braised pork cheek ragout, almond and date cake, birch syrup, and rosemary just. Loin good. Almond cake very good. Pork cheek fantastic.

Akeimi's main: Qualicum Bay Scallops with salt cod and salsify croquettes, celeriac puree, and pickled horseradish vinaigrette. She adored the scallops but wasn't enamored of the croquettes.

I followed by usual M.O. when it came to dessert.  One for me, one for my guest, and one for the table…

For her: The house ice creams and sorbets.

For me: Chocolate chip date cake with toffee sauce and brown sugar and date ice cream.

For the table: Pear and cherry galette with sour cream ice cream. Okay, as much as I tend to avoid mixing fruit with dessert, I decided to go off-book here. And, boy, am I glad I did. It was perfection. The best dessert I've had since Tokyo.

I wind down from a most satisfying meal.

I’ve yet to be disappointed in Bishop’s.  Last night’s dinner reaffirmed it’s spot in my Vancouver Dining Top 10.

Today, we headed back downtown to finally check out the Art Gallery.  Well, that was my intention anyway.

Akemi lounges as I get ready to head out - checking the meal, loading the dishwasher, and reassuring the dogs that we will be back later.

Akemi models my sunglasses. Despite her down-filled coat, she is always cold. But very cool here anyway.

But first – lunch!  Akemi had a hankering for sushi so…

Sushi lunch at Aki Restaurant. Akemi loved the salmon and hamachi. The toro, not so much.

Ready to eat.

After lunch we walked over to the Art Gallery – only to discover a line-up that stretched around the block!  As we strolled by, I was distracted by a woman in a mini-skirt who inadvertently flashed me – causing me to walk into a pole (see yesterday’s blog re: my sense of looming foreboding.  Maybe this was fate getting payback).

Robson Square was pretty damn crowded.

We skipped the Art Gallery and walked around, then headed over to Granville Island to check out an exhibition at the Emily Carr Center.  Among the, uh, unique pieces on display: a dress that lights up when you blow into a special handheld device, two jackets sporting LED displays, another jacket that emits the sound of a barking dog when approached, and something called a tornado dress that required one aim a flashlight up through the bottom to trigger.  After a full minute of crouching/flashing, passersby starting giving me strange looks and I decided to abandon the effort in favor of checking out the screening of a short experimental film.  We sat in a darkened room and donned headphones.  As the movie played, I was distracted by a late arrival, an annoying cellphone conversation, and hushed voices – that I quickly realized were part of the show.  Or, at least I assumed they were part of the show because the woman behind me kept whispering into my ear, undaunted by the fact that I ignored her up until she got up and left – although her constant worrying about whether or not she’d remembered to turn the stove off led me to start worrying as well.

We stopped off to pick up some anime dvds, then headed back home where I phoned up mom while Akemi decided to make the most of her vacation – by doing some of the household chores.  I told her to sit back and relax.  The dogs told me to shut the fuck up and mind my own business.

Dinner time for the doggies! Akemi does the honors.