The Dishes asks Vancouverites to walk us through a map of their ideal day and night on the town. We’re talking breakfast, lunch, happy hour, dinner and late night cocktails. Tax and tip included.
Today Ignacio (Nacho) Arrieta, co-owner of La Mezcaleria takes us on a whirlwind tour of his favourite places to eat and drink.
Good morning! What’s for breakfast/brunch?
I start my day by heating some water for Earl Grey tea; then, we decide what’s next. My family and I recently became big fans of Maxine’s on Burrard St. We park in the West End and walk around, exploring the neighbourhood a little bit before eating. The restaurant is a great space and has super friendly staff. Their coffee is on point, and their tequila Caesars are fantastic. My son loves the brioche french toast. I try something new every time but always get a side of farmer’s sausage and delicious, crispy hash brown potatoes.
Sometimes when we feel adventurous, we like to visit the Hilltop Diner Cafe, followed by a visit to Fort Langley.
Where should we meet for coffee/tea?
I often go for coffee in my neighbourhood. I love coffee from Milano on 8th Ave and then hanging out at the park across the street.
I also visit the Federal Store frequently. It’s an excellent place to catch up with friends and handy when I run out of eggs at home. I never come back empty-handed. I usually bring home a loaf of sourdough bread and cheddar scones for breakfast sandwiches. My favourite sweet treat there is the blueberry scone.
Also, Simit’s Bagelry has delicious bagels and Turkish tea. I love seeing my son devour his bagel with extra cream cheese.
Now we’re hungry again. What’s for lunch?
I think lunch is my favourite meal of the day. I’m lucky that I get to eat lunch at work [La Mezcaleria] a lot, but now that you ask me about it, I think my biggest cravings are for Asian food. If I’m on ‘The Drive,’ I like to visit Mr. Red Cafe on Hastings (the deep-fried rice cake with ground shrimp and pork, followed by the classic beef pho are, my go-to). I like to add some chilli oil and pickled garlic to the pho. Another place I like to visit when I’m on Commercial Drive, and I need some quiet time for planning my day at work is the Portuguese Club. This place reminds me of classic cantinas in Mexico. You go for lunch and get delicious food – in this case, Portuguese – one or two beers, and then return to work.
DD Mau is another place I often crave at lunchtime. I like to start with chicken wings with fish sauce and papaya salad, followed by either the classic beef pho or the delicious vegan pho… depending on what I’m doing after lunch. It’s also a great place for cocktails, meetings, and catching up with friends.
Who has you figured out at Happy Hour?
I don’t have a specific place for happy hour. If it happens, it happens, and I feel happy if I get a good deal that day.
What’s for dinner?
Kissa Tanto is always good – even better when the chef comes out of his kitchen to say “hi.” Savio Volpe is also a favourite. We love the kale salad there and all the grilled flavours. Como Taperia is delicious; everything on the menu tastes really good, and I love the vibe during their dinner rush or on a busy, sunny afternoon.
What’s for dessert?
Trafiq on main – their chocolate truffle cake is delicious. I also really enjoy Fratelli on Commercial for little treats. Breka is also good (and gets bonus points for being open 24 hrs). Not to mention, Collective Goods…
Where are you taking us for late-night cocktails?
We have new neighbours on Commercial Drive, and it has been enjoyable to hang out with the Greeks at Loula’s next door. These guys are super welcoming and fun. I love their Gaia’s G & T and fun vibes, and sometimes you even get to break plates, and it’s ok. And if I get hungry late at night, their grilled lamb chops with fries are amazing. Loula’s on the drive is definitely a great option for late-night cocktails.