Earlier in the fall I spent a week test driving the Acura ILX 2019 car around the city while I was out and about trying some new dishes and coffees at restaurants and cafes in Vancouver.
I visited Vij’s on Cambie with Lawrence as he had yet to eat at this popular Indian restaurant, this year the restaurant was celebrating their 25th year since Chefs Vikram and Meeru founded this glorious restaurant. Each of these dishes were amazing in their own right, from the Grilled eggplant, papaya and black chickpea curry on a potato puri to the Lamb popsicles in a fenugreek cream curry and the Beef short rib roasted spicy okra, walnuts and jelly beans, to the Gulab jamun in Kheer which was the perfect way to end a meal here.
The next night my friend Chef Brandon Pham joined me for dinner at one of our favourite spots in the Westend. Arike Restaurant specializes in West African cuisine with Canadian ingredients, here talented Chef Sam Olayinka serving up dishes with recipes from his Grandmother.
We loved the Akara Onion Rings coated in bean flour and lightly fried to be crispy and not oily, served with a cashew garlic mayo, and spiced caramelized onion dip; the Fried Habanero Corn Fritters is another great shareable with confit garlic & salted tomato.
Brandon and I also shared a platter with some of the other popular dishes which included the Cassava Fries, skewers of grilled Suya Beef Striploin along with the Oxtail Boudin. For dessert we shared the Pof Pofs with ginger honey, cinnamon sugar, and mint. This is a wonderful place to take your loved one or foodie friends, a hidden gem in the heart of the Westend.
The next day I drove back to the Westend to visit Noodle Arts for lunch, I had the outstanding No. 3 Lanzhou Beef Noodle Soup made with triangle shape noodles, with house-made chili oil in the beef broth. For the soups, you choose the desired thickness or shape of the noodles, then watch master chef make the noodles in the open kitchen in minutes if not seconds.
Across the street is Khaykery, a newly opened bakery that specializes in Filipino baking and desserts. Known for their popular Silvanas which are basically macarons filled with a butter cream filling, rolled in coconut and then frozen.
Acura’s ILX comes from a 2.4L four-cylinder engine making 201 hp and 180 lb-ft of torque, and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic is tasked with putting that power to the front wheels.
For lunch the next day it was off to Batard Bakery on Fraser Street for their Ricotta and Jam toast which I ended up taking to go as it was a packed cafe that day. I love this bakery for their delicious breads, and baked goods.
There are some great new tech features in this car such as the dual-screen infotainment system called “On Demand Multi-Use Display” that promises a more intuitive user experience. The ILX’s A-Spec sport-oriented trim still makes do without any actual performance upgrades over the rest of the line, but it does enjoy a new wheel design, new sport seats, LED fog lights, darkened head- and taillight assemblies and piano black and chrome interior trim.
On Sunday night Lawrence and I visited Fable Diner in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood for dinner.
The Eggplant Chips & Hummus is an tasty shareable which we both enjoyed. The Roast Duck Pancake has always been a popular choice and no different this time around. We shared the Kale Caesar Salad along with the tasty Chickpea Patty Burger with Salad which were the perfect accompaniments.
For dessert we indulged with the Coffee malt shake and the Goat cheese cheesecake.
I really enjoyed the Acura ILX it was a great car to drive in and around Vancouver in the to try some great eateries.
By: Richard Wolak
Disclosure: Honda Canada provided me with the 2019 Acura ILX for a week to test drive, and photograph.