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Thursday, December 26, 2019


Like so many first-time visitors (it won’t be our last—for sure) to Vancouver, British Columbia, we ventured over to Granville Island with no agenda other than taking in the best neighborhood in North America.  That wild claim was made by the U.S. Ranking Assn.’s “Project for Public Spaces.”  Nice try but there is no one best neighborhood in the world.
         On the West Coast waterfronts, Granville Island is a triplet to Sausalito in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego’s Coronado Island.
         But who cares?  Let’s eat.
From our downtown 27th floor condo in Coal Harbor, we took Vancouver’s ubiquitous public transit, the southbound number 11 West Pender Street bus then transferred at Howe Street to the westbound number 50, which traveled over the Highway 99 bridge (pictured in this blog) and dropped us within a few feet of the modern building housing the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts.
         The street-level area of the Institute is shared by a tasty bakery and the main room aptly named the Blue Hat Bistro.
In no mood for pastries, albeit they looked wonderful and filled the entry with an aroma of morning, we opted for the evening menu of a la carte and fixed price items prepared fresh daily by professional culinary and baking and pastry students with guidance from a team of globally trained and experienced chef-instructors.

        From our window table, we faced one of the many marinas on False Bay.  We were there at sunset (one of six rainless days in November) and marveled at the orange/yellow hues on the sailboats and nearby shops.
         Our 3-course menu features a starter, an entrée, and a dessert for just $26 at lunch and $35 at dinner. On weekends, Brunch is served until 2pm.
         On the first Friday of every month, PICA’s popular market fresh and seasonal West Coast Buffet takes place - $33 Lunch; $44 Dinner; 1/2 price for children ages 5-12. Reservations for the buffet are recommended and can be made up to one month in advance.
Attached is a pdf of our evening’s dinner menu.  If we were able we would have devoured the entire menu, plus extra helpings of the officially made on the premises (we asked) ice cream for dessert.  Click here.
         Another fine point is how far the U.S. dollar goes.  Prices on the menu are in Canadian dollars—deduct 25% for this Yankee’s real out of pocket tab.  But not wishing to be rude guests we tipped the currency savings to the hardworking students and staff at the Blue Hat Bistro.
That's the Blue Hat Bistro, far left, with the blue awning.  Above is the Highway 99 bridge and, far right, is the west entrance to Granville Island.

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