Hello, dear readers! Yesterday evening I returned from a two-week trip on the West coast. Now that I’m back, I’d like to share the highlights with you, in as many segments as that requires…

The trip started off with my dad and I spending a couple of days in Vancouver. The first evening, we met my uncle, aunt and cousin Devyn (who live there) for dinner in Granville Island. This is an area of Vancouver I’d definitely like to have more time to explore: with a public market, several specialty shops, craft stores and artisans, theatre companies and a brewery, it sounds like the kind of place I could spend an entire day.

We started off with drinks at Bridges, where we had a great view of Yaletown and the harbour between:

I tried the honey lager from Granville Island Brewing, a great summer beer.

After drinks, we headed over to The Sandbar for dinner. My meal there was an intro to the huge abundance of seafood I was to eat over the next two weeks. For appetizers, I was introduced to pan-fried oysters and the “BC roll”: a sushi roll with barbeque salmon skin; for my main I chose ahi tuna in a wasabi ginger sauce. Yum yum!

The next day, I was scheduled for a tour of the UBC campus as I am planning to apply to their Clinical Psychology program. But before we went, lunch at the Topanga Cafe was necessary. This Mexican restaurant became a huge favourite of my dad’s when he lived in Vancouver for a few years, and being a self-proclaimed creature of habit, he simply could not let our two days in Vancouver go by without going there for a meal. We were in a rush, but luckily they were very accommodating with speedy service and (most importantly) delicious food:

^ Paul gleefully eating his chicken tostada.

Now, let’s talk about the UBC campus (or more accurately Vancouver in general): it is BEAUTIFUL. If I am accepted there, I will not be mad about having to spend six years looking at views like these:

That night, we met some old friends for dinner at Blue Canoe near our hotel in Richmond. There I had more seafood and we indulged heavily on decadent desserts: two pecan pie parfaits and a giant piece of lemon meringue pie.

From Vancouver, my dad and I flew down to Portland for a wedding. My siblings and I grew up with Jason and Aaron Binstock—our moms were best friends in university—and Jason was getting married to his fiancée (Caitlin), who lives there.

Blake met us in the Portland airport, and as we were seven hours early for the ceremony, we took the opportunity to do a little exploring. We ambled around looking for a place to eat lunch, passing by several blocks lined all the way around with food trucks (!!!):

^ Some even had seating outdoors!

Wanting to sit down for longer, we settled on Imperial, chef Vitaly Paley’s restaurant at Hotel Lucia. We were all impressed with everything we tried: my latte was served with a side of vanilla syrup to mix in as I pleased, and I definitely tasted some truffle oil in my tomato soup.

After lunch, we ventured over to Powell’s Books, the largest new and used bookstore in the world. I browsed the new books but then ventured into their huge selection of classics to buy a gift for Kyle: a 1952 edition of The Old Man and the Sea.

Our last pre-wedding stop was the famous Voodoo Doughnuts. The line outside was long, but we only waited about 15 minutes before we got inside to make our selections. My dad ordered an apple fritter, Blake got a bacon maple bar and I went for the chocolate with coconut:

These were some of the tamer flavours of a seemingly infinite list, including one giant donut for which they give you your money back if you can eat it in 80 seconds or less (I’ll pass).

The Binstock family is Jewish and Caitlin’s family is Catholic, so the wedding ceremony was a really refreshing/wonderful mix of customs from both religious traditions.

The reception was beautiful and a blast – we all tore up the dancefloor late into the night (if you think I’ve got moves, you should see Blake at a wedding). Add in great food—including cupcakes, several different flavours of pie and gelato, and a popcorn bar—and you know I’m sold. Plus, I caught the bouquet, so…

Stay moving,