Thursday, November 19, 2015

Vancouver Day 1: Pinnacle Harbourfront Hotel, Marutama Ramen, Cactus Club Cafe

I have always wanted to go to Canada, so my buddies and I decided to go to Vancouver for a very short trip.

The closest direct flight that we could find was from San Francisco. We had a 7 am flight. So I worked Friday night until 3 am Saturday and headed straight for the airport after work.

I rarely fly out of San Francisco, but they have a nice airport.

I really like this Pixar/Toy Story exhibit display they had.

Grabbing a quick bite to eat to hold us over until we get to Vancouver.

We didn't have to wait too long before we had to board.

I was dead tired, so I slept most of the flight. Woke up right around the time we started to descend.

When I visit other airports I realize how crappy my home airport is.

Got through customs pretty quickly, but I am bummed that I didn't get a stamp on my passport.

We arrived around 9:30 am. We didn't have a real agenda of things to do. All I know was that I was hungry and there were a few things I really wanted to try. We rented a car and headed off to breakfast.Vancouver is about a 25-30 minute drive from the airport.

Not use to seeing km/h speedometer.

I haven't seen a Church's Chicken in a very long time.

We went to The Red Wagon for breakfast. I read about their pulled pork pancakes. When we got there it was drizzling a bit and there was a wait outside. That's a good sign that the food is probably good. We waited about 20 minutes or so. It's a really small diner, but the host/server brought everyone hot chocolate.

The hot chocolate had an orange flavor to it. Come to find out it had some orange zest. It tasted just like one of those Chocolate Oranges.

We finally got sat down.

Need a little pep in my step.

They also serve cocktails and beer. I usually would, but I was so tired still.

I noticed on the wall that there was a spray painted picture of Guy Fieri. So we googled it and found out that he visited this location.

We were going to dine lightly so that we could try other items in Vancouver, but once we saw the menu we all decided to get our own thing. Linh had the BBQ smoked brisket, with eggs over cornbread and potatoes.

I had to try the pulled pork pancakes.

It was delicious. I was only able to finish 1/3 of it. It's very hearty.

After breakfast we headed to our hotel. We booked a room at the Pinnacle Hotel Vancouver Harbourfront. We booked a room about a month before our trip.

I got an email from the hotel about 2 days before our arrival that they were having a promo. If you book a room through you get a $100 Amex gift card for the first night and $50 Amex gift card for every night after that. So I cancelled my previous reservation and booked through the site. Gift cards were in CAD and we were able to apply it to the room to reduce the cost.

We checked in around 12 pm and a room was available. They gave us a corner room.

The room was a lot larger than I expected. We had a small balcony that one person could stand and see the harbor.

View from our room.

Harbor view from the back balcony.

I later found out that our window fully opens.

After settling in we took a quick nap so we can recoup for the rest of tonight.

After we woke up we headed out for an early dinner. We ended up walking to Robson Street.

From our hotel Robson Street was about a 14 minute walk.

Weather wise, in November it was pretty cold, but not as cold as I expected.

At Robson Street there are a lot of Korean and Japanese Restaurants and Markets.

A friend recommended Marutama Ramen so we took her advice.

Now it's time to start drinking.

Some toppings. Some Ramen joints in California charge for fried garlic, but here it's free!

Finally our Ramen arrived.

The egg was perfectly soft boiled.

The ramen was very good. Beats anything that I have ever had in the bay area, but still loses to Tsujita in Los Angeles. I would say this is the third best ramen I have had. Number two is Tenkaippin Ramen in Hawaii.

After dinner we headed back to our hotel.

Did a little pre-drinking in our room, before we head out for the night.

Linh didn't bring a water resistant jacked, but I had one. It's a bit snug.

We asked the workers if there were any venues that they recommended for cocktails. They referred us to Cactus Club Cafe which is literally around the corner from our hotel.

Was told that the blue lit structure in the background is the Olympic Flame from the 2010 Winter Olympics.

It started to really come down. So lucky it was a short walk to Cactus Club.

It was really busy in the restaurant, but we were able to get a seat at the bar.

The Cactus Club Cafe had a great selection of drinks and food. The atmosphere was great for a Saturday night and the music they were playing was on point. It was a mix of top 40s.

Linh started with a Kettle cran.

I got the Old Fashion.

This was our bartender Deanna. I bought a new prosumer camera for this trip, but didn't really know how to use it. Couldn't figure out the flash. Deanna was wonder what the hell was going on.

Finally found the flash, but it wouldn't go off.....

Linh ordered a few light snacks. Ahi Tuna Tower.



Finally figured out how to get the flash to work, but she didn't like this picture. So I told her I would take another.

She really liked this one. LOL.

For round two I got The Cohiba.

Then round 3 I got the French 75.

Here's our second bartender Julie.

Around 9 pm we headed to a local dive bar that Linh suggested.

The Cobalt

Drinks were pretty cheap here. A Jameson & Ginger was $6 CAD.

They had a live band and they were pretty good.

Eventually we called it a night and left. We were pretty wasted.

I forget where the taxi dropped us off, but we went on a hunt for some late night grub. We were looking for a 24hr McDonalds, but couldnt find it.

Instead we found a pizza joint. It was called Panago Pizza 

and next to that pizza joint was a 7-11.

7-11 Chicken sandwich.

7-11 Chili Cheese Dog.

7-11 also had meat skewers.

Panago Pizza. Half Hawaiian and half Meat Monster.

The last picture I took for the night. What a great way to end the day.

Vancouver so far has been amazing. So little time and so much to do. Tomorrows another day. It's suppose to be dry on Sunday.


  1. More restaurants per capita than any other place in the world and you nosh at a 7-11!

    Looks like you two are having fun anyways :)

  2. Going to Vancouver just after Xmas. You blog is terrific. Well done. We are certainly going to have a Ramen and go to the Cactus Cafe club. Also we are staying at the same hotel. Great blog (a deserved repeat) Henry

  3. Going to Vancouver just after Xmas. You blog is terrific. Well done. We are certainly going to have a Ramen and go to the Cactus Cafe club. Also we are staying at the same hotel. Great blog (a deserved repeat) Henry

  4. Thanks Henry, glad my blog can help you out. Enjoy your trip, it's a great city to visit.


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