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Clubs, Canadians, and Carols

Yep. I checked on the Zagat webpage and its true!

Did you know that Red Robin is Zagat rated? Yep, neither did I. Who knew?

A few of us took a coworker there for a birthday lunch (birthday girl’s choice).  I ended up splitting the Whiskey River Chicken Sandwich with another gal. Tasty, yes. Best burger? Not by a long shot. Every now and again, I wonder if organizations like Zagat can be wooed by large corporations. Or perhaps I’m just in a cynical mood.

Whiskey River Barbecue Chicken Sandwich

Over a month ago, Boyfriend casually mentioned that he had made a surprise plan for us on November 30. I love surprises so I did everything I could to NOT try to figure out what he was up to.  A few days ago, Boyfriend told me that I should plan to dress up, and that I would need my passport. Oh, Canada!

We left work around 3 and hit the road north. The wait at the border wasn’t bad, but the border agent asked Boyfriend what we were planning to do in Canada, and the jig was up. Boyfriend had purchased tickets for us to go see my favorite band, the Barenaked Ladies. I had been disappointed in July because the band was coming to the Seattle area at the same time that Boyfriend and I were heading toward California to meet up with my family.

Boyfriend’s plan had been to spirit me up to Canada, take me for sushi, and then to the theater where the Barenaked Ladies were performing with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Unfortunately, we got stuck in traffic just outside of Vancouver and watched the minutes tick by. We decided that we didn’t want to rush dinner, so we drove up to the theater to look for parking and a quick snack before the show.

It was pouring, so we ducked into one of the first bars we came upon and sat down to have a drink and peruse the menu. We ended up at the Olympia Grill, were we each had a drink and split one of the best club sandwiches either of us have ever had.

A delicious club sandwich- whole grain bread (minus the obligatory third piece of bread!), thick-cut turkey that was both warm and moist, fresh tasting lettuce and tomato, and crispy bacon. We always omit the mayo.

The show was at the Orpheum Theater in downtown Vancouver. The theater was built in 1927 and is beautifully ornate.

Entrance to the Orpheum Theater

The main gallery in the Orpheum.

The Orpheum Theater’s stage with some of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra members.

The scroll work in the theater was beautiful.

The show was wonderful- the Barenaked Ladies are charming, funny, charismatic performers, and terrific musicians. It was fantastic to hear their songs being played by the orchestra. They played a great mix of their old songs, their newer songs (yes, including the Big Bang Theory theme song), and Christmas carols. I picked up two discs while we were there; a rarities disc called ‘Stop Us If You’ve Heard This One Before!’ and ‘Barenaked Ladies Hits from Yesterday & the Day Before’. I have most of the songs on these two discs already, but I really like to support artists that I love.

For dinner, we went to Juno Bistro who luckily happens to be open until 11:30 on Friday nights. Juno is Japanese run and features locally-sourced ingredients.

Our sushi platter at Juno Bistro.

We ended up ordering both nigiri and three rolls and enjoyed the food very much. The nigiri was quite a bit better than the rolls. The rolls were fine, but the nigiri was sublime. The fish was very fresh, the cut made each bite very tender, and the fish to rice ratio was well balanced. I am used to my sushi rice being a little more vinegared, but other than that, I was very happy with the food we were served, and can see why they merit a lot of happy customers on both Yelp and UrbanSpoon. If I were to go back, I would likely focus on the nigiri and skip the rolls entirely.

Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro on Urbanspoon

What an incredible night Boyfriend planned, and for no particular reason. Yes, that’s right- the concert, the dinner, and all of the planning he did to make the surprise work was ‘just because’. I’m a lucky, lucky gal with the best guy, ever!

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