Gimme a Break

So some days I cook. A lot of days I cook. I enjoy it, the methodical, creative, quiet aspect of it, and I like how I can control the outcome, for the most part. Being an actor, I don’t get to have a ton of control on how things are going to pan out in my life, so for the type A/stubborn as hell side of my cute lil personality, I need an outlet that I can be in charge of. Cooking is a great way to get that out when I need to.

But I also really, really like breaks where I’m not meal planning or grocery shopping or cooking and scrubbing and then exhausting myself trying to get my stubborn as hell offspring to eat whatever I’ve slaved over. About once a week if we can, Charlie and I steal away for a night out where we get to sit and relax in a restaurant, wear white without the fear of having little hands go Jackson Pollock on it, and basically get wined and dined. It’s very helpful for our sanity, both as a couple and as grownups. I know we’re lucky in that we get the opportunity to do that so often, so don’t hate me too much if you’re a parent who doesn’t have that luxury. Just know that I’m often in the trenches with you, I commend you, and it’ll all be over in another 18 years. Remember that helpful phrase the sweet old ladies in the checkout line say: “ENJOY IT!” (Please stop saying that, sweet old ladies, you only remember the good stuff and have blocked out the bad, let us be tired and over it for a second.)

I’m not much of a restaurant reviewer, and I certainly don’t want to waste energy writing about restaurant experiences that suck (that’s what Twitter’s for! I kid. Sort of), but I do want to spread the word when I’ve experienced something wonderful and special. This particular restaurant probably needs no help in the publicity department, but it deserves a shoutout nonetheless. It’s called Botanist, and it’s kind of sublime. Tucked away upstairs at the Fairmont Pacific Rim in Vancouver, it’s decked out like a florist’s chem lab with vines climbing the walls and drinks served in pots with sprigs of spruce for stirring. It’s pretty fancy pants, but it’s also lively and fun with sweet servers who are there to make sure you have a good time. The cocktail list is super avant garde (and super expensive) with names like “Sunshine Tax”, “Candy Cap Magic”, and “Pretty Bird”. That last one comes with a little birds nest on the side, and I mean how west coast can you get?

We had the “take it from here” option for food, which means the chef goes off and serves you what he damn well feels like, and I think he was in a good mood? Pan seared scallops with bacon lardo in xo sauce, heirloom tomato salad with burrata and a refreshing icy tomato sorbet, black pepper crusted king salmon that was so soft and juicy it basically melted on the tongue… We were also served the best snails I’ve ever had in my life, subsisting only on a diet of fresh basil before they were cooked tender and stuffed in a giant raviolo. It does not get any more hipster than that. Another standout was the gorgeous Wagyu fillet, seared on the outside and perfectly medium rare on the inside and finished with a healthy sprinkle of Maldon salt, which is my favourite finishing salt, buy yourself some right now. Dessert was a refreshing mascarpone mousse with a blackberry consommé, but the cutest part was the surprise “palate cleanser” of a simple thick slice of cheese. You serve me a big ol piece of cheese as a course and you are a winner in my books, friendo.

So if you find yourself in Vancouver wanting to indulge a touch, make your way to Botanist and let them serve you a nice, nice meal. You deserve it. Hell, even if you don’t have kids to cook for, you deserve it. I think. Whatever, go back to sleeping in, jerkface.

Back to reality. Here I come, grocery store. Good news is it’s fall, and this big coat’s gonna hide my sweatpants.

xoJ

8 Comments Add yours

  1. John says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with the serving of cheese! 🧀 🐭

  2. Rod says:

    Everyone needs a break, never appologies for that.

    1. Mandy says:

      Sounds adventurous, fun, and tasty! Thanks for sharing:)

  3. Nate McClure says:

    Well done! Based on this, you would be great as a restaurant critic but I am guessing that for now and hopefully forever, you have picked the better profession for you.

  4. Adam says:

    But what KIND of cheese? Inquiring minds want to know!

  5. n says:

    Do you have any recommendations for outstanding vegetarian, or at least very vegetarian friendly, restaurants in Vancouver?

  6. Jo Kemp says:

    Sounds like a great place to eat, although snails are not for me!

  7. Michelle says:

    One of the things I missed when my now 13 yo was little was grownup food. You need these breaks to remember who you are! And damn those descriptions make me hungry .

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