Saturday, October 11, 2014


It's Saturday, it's raining and there is a low rumbling electric storm which even Talullah and Oscar do not want to go out in so I don't feel remotely guilty about lying in bed reading the papers, supplements and all the news stories I've missed this week until 10.30am. Yes, not a misprint, 10.30am. I have not had a lay in like this since my teens (correction, since the night after amFAR in May, but the less said about that the better.)

On a rainy miserable day, not that we get many, it seems only right to talk about sunnier days. The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of lovely assignments in Monaco, Saint Tropez and Cannes for OnboardOnline. The competition for top highlight is fierce...breakfast on the Superyacht Ulysses, cocktails at the new Yacht Club in Monaco, champagne at Byblos, riding at James Bond style speeds in a military rib used by the French SAS across the gulf of Saint-Tropez...but the prize event of the last month has to be my trip to Vancouver on a rather lovely TV job.

Arriving at The Loden, a chic, friendly hotel which even had yoga mats in the rooms, and knowing I was heading back home in little over 48 hours time, the best way to fight mid-afternoon jet lag seemed to be to go on a bike ride. The hotel had an assortment of bikes ready and waiting in the lobby and within minutes, I was cycling the couple of blocks to the waterfront. The skyline reminded me of a mini Manhattan but with the welcome addition of cycle lanes threading around the harbour, marina and into Stanley Park.

That night, we ate at Cardero's on Coal Harbour Quay, a buzzing bistro and bar with a suspended terrace over the water offering phenomenal views across the Pacific Ocean. Blankets were provided in case it got chilly but the late summer evening sunshine kept temperatures high enough not to need one. They bill themselves as all about fish and this is no idle boast. The West Coast fish tacos were sublime, only eclipsed by the roasted sablefish, a lot like cod, in a miso-sake marinade. This dish gave the black miso cod at E&O a run for its money, it literally melted in my mouth, no chewing required. I am drooling as I write this. We ordered some wok broccolini (tender stemmed broccoli with a fancy ending) and the way it was served has revolutionised broccoli chez moi. Steamed and then finished lightly in a wok in the holy trinity of red chilli, garlic and ginger along with soy and honey, it was delicious and is now the only way I want to eat it.

Interviews done the following day left us a day to explore so we walked to Gastown, the city's oldest quarter with a quaint Soho/boho feel downtown boasting some rather lovely boutiques including oak + fort, where I chose not to leave empty handed. A walk along the coastline, fringed with pine trees to The Cactus Club Cafe on Beach Avenue brought more culinary joy, although it has to be noted that their fish tacos, while good, were not as good as Cardero's.

I could go on but the storm has stopped, the sun has just shown its face and Talullah is now staring at me with what Issy used to call poppydug eyes so needs must.