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I am a huge fan of travelling and seeing the world. Over the past few year's I have had the privilege of travelling all over Europe and through several recommendations, I finally made it to another part of Spain that I had not yet seen, Barcelona. My first impression was that Barcelona was a lot more lively than the other Spanish city I visited the year before. In contrast to Madrid, Barcelona was a city that was bustling with activity, full of people that were out looking for a good time.

Amazing right? Most of these shots are from the inside because... well.. it was raining like cats and dogs outside.

Walking down La Rambla, you could tell that this city was going to be different. There were so many people along the strip. Shops and restaurants went down either side of the street, providing plenty of options for tourists to spend their money. Further down though, you'll find a place I loved, Boqueria market. This is a grocery market right in the midst of one of the busiest streets in Barcelona and they sell everything from fresh shell fish, to vibrantly colored veggies and fruit, and even cooked spanish specialties in the many stands around the market itself. Even if you're not a foodie, you would appreciate the color and the smell in this market. I came here one evening and then made a plan to get out there again early in the morning so I could eat breakfast here. It's like Granville Island's food market in Vancouver but with so much more personality. Oh and one thing, in Europe, don't touch the fruit or veggies unless you are buying it. They take offense to that.

Throughout the City, you can take in some of Antoni Gaudi's work. Though I don't know much about architecture, one of the best reasons for getting lost in the streets in Europe is to take in the old architecture. Europe is a very interesting place in that there are a lot of modern aspects to their architectural design, but then you would see patches of the old world that make you sit and stare in astonishment. Gaudi's Sagradi Familia is still not complete and may not be for the next century but it alone provides good reason to travel to Barcelona. You'll only understand when you see it. So go!

Finally, definitely make your way to see a flamenco show. The live music, the fast moving feet and the swaying hips are something you don't see all the time but you do in Spain. I saw it at a bar called the Jazz Si. It was a very small venue and we had to pack pretty tight in there but it was more of a locals spot which was great. Only 5 EURO for a ticket. I had a few beers and watched the show and had a great time. Definitely something anyone should do when they are in Spain.

I really only had about 3 days here in Barcelona. It was just barely enough to see the City and enjoy some of the sights. It was a lot of fun though. Barcelona is a place that I would certainly consider going back to, if anything just to take in the lively atmosphere. For anyone that is going, I would recommend 4 days at least if you want to see all of the sights and get a chance to just sit back, have some beer, sangria, tapas, and enjoy some flamenco shows.



Being from the corporate world, it isn't a surprise that I drink a lot of coffee. Sometimes it is just what I need to start a day or to jump out of the food coma that kicks in straight after lunch. Though I don't know that I drink it to stay awake - I think it is more of a placebo. I associate drinking coffee with getting me mentally prepared to do something that I have to set my mind to. Luckily in Vancouver, we have lots of good coffee shops. When I say good coffee, I don't mean your average Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or Blenz, I'm talking coffee that has a distinct taste. A taste good enough that you don't feel the need to have any additives. You know when you've had a good cup of coffee and I had the privilege of visiting a great independent shop called Matchstick this past weekend.

The space was full of natural light. There was plenty of open space and a great picnic style table. More importantly, the coffee was smooth, pure, and had that extra depth of flavor that you don't always get in everyday coffee. Definitely one of the better coffee spots in Vancouver. It sits right next to Le Faux Bourgeois on Kingsway and Fraser.

639 E 15 Ave (Fraser & Kingsway)
Vancouver BC, V5T 2R6

Matchstick Coffee on Urbanspoon



We consider ourselves to be fairly big sushi people. While we love all kinds of food, sushi is a staple in our diet. That's not really surprising seeing as how we live on the west coast; in Vancouver, you're going to find as many sushi restaurants as you would McDonald's. So when we heard from my friend that Shiro's was the place to go just south of the border, I put it on my radar right away.

For those of you that have watched the sushi documentary, Jiro's Dreams of Sushi, this place is a great alternative to flying to Japan so you can eat under the Ginza train station. For those of you that haven't watched the movie - just do. It is very artistically done and extremely interesting if you're a foodie. The chef that made the tamago, Daisuke, works here! He joined Shiro, a former apprentice of Jiro, about two years ago here, although the restaurant has been here for several decades.
Shiro is located in Seattle, a little bit away from the Pike Place Market. To get in this restaurant though, you need to get there early. Though the restaurant opens at 5:30, you're likely to be waiting a while if you get there during opening.

We both got there early (see picture of Janice below) and we had the omikaze. This restaurant is very comparable to Sushi Yasuda which we visited when we were in New York. Both are equally traditional (Shiro's even more so though given it's size and the clientele that they serve), serve amazingly fresh fish, and the chefs are all from Japan. They know their sushi and you can tell by the quality of the sushi served. Don't come here if you like modern style rolls (ie. dragon rolls, spider rolls, etc, etc), but come here if you appreciate sushi the traditional way. Some of the fish we had included, varieties of tuna and salmon, monk fish, herring, shrimp, geo duck, flounder, squid, and on and on it goes. Honestly, I would say Shiro's and Sushi Yasuda were pretty close. But I would highly recommend Shiro's and intend on coming back soon. Definitely worth the 3 hour drive! Right now, the only thing more authentic might be going to Japan's fish markets themselves.

S H I R O ' S S U S H I
2401 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

Shiro's on Urbanspoon