I’m High! (Vol. 1) – Adventure on Kingsway
For the very first edition of I’m High, I am doing something a little different and challenging myself to a day of fun in an unexpected place.
Drumrolllll, please. Kingsway. Yes, Kingsway Street, the mish-mash of not a thing that makes sense, especially past Fraser, but if you spend some time there, say a day, and baked, there is a whole world to discover and almost not enough time to do it.
Disclaimer* I had friends meet up throughout the day, so not a solo dolo mission, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun this day ended up being.
Wake n Bake: I decided to start at Central Park for a morning toke and was sure to stop at Guulu Cafe first for an egg yaki and cold tiramisu coffee drink. Egg yakis are egg-shaped cakes with cute little smiley faces filled with Nutella, taro, or custard. Good start to the day, and I brought something even better to the park, horseshoes! An unexpected tournament horseshoe pitch is in the middle of the park. This park has it all, swimming, tennis, squirrels even a workout circuit that follows the trails and can be a refreshing alternative to Stanley or Elizabeth in terms of things to do and fewer people.
After a few rounds, I decided to head west, and it was time for self-care. Bigfeet is just around the corner from the park and delivers when it comes to reflexology and acupressure massage and treatments. Have you been here? Because it is an excellent reason to come up to Kingsway. I tried a foot massage which they are low-key famous for and fire cupping. I have gone before; this location is the best, just mellow, and the therapists are amazing. The whole experience is not as fancy as a spa, but the massage is so good, and the price is impressive.
Next up, pool, not swimming but billiards. Just a little further up Kingsway is Marsten Billards and Dart Club. A toke on the way, my skills feel sharper to cut up a cue. It’s cleaner than the pool places I normally frequent. A few serious-looking snooker tables sit in a row next to the pool tables. It is not busy, not dead, and most of the action is happening in the Dart area. They have about a dozen electronic dart boards. Not the traditional way of playing darts, but still super fun. 🎯
A stop in Robson Park for a safety meeting before deciding to see the Lion King, Ken, at Lion’s Den Cafe. Ken and his wife Junko have run Lions Den Cafe since 2000. When I first moved to Vancouver, I remember meeting Ken for the first time. He asked me to write my name down on the calendar on the wall to commemorate my first time at Lion’s Den. He always remembered my name after the first day he met me. The cafe is named after and home to Junior the Lion. Junior is a fully taxidermied male Lion. He was alive, visited the restaurant, and was raised by one of Ken’s friends. Ken suffered a stroke a few years ago, so coming by is more important as Ken and Junko are the most genuine, creative, and welcoming people. The akee saltfish, oxtail, and jerk chicken are chef’s kiss!
I feel like a bit of shopping, so I head directly to Scary (nicknamed by our V) I mean Kingsgate Mall. If you are unfamiliar with Kingsgate Mall or the area, read this. It is accurate. I cruise through Mark’s and buy a new cell phone case at one of the kiosks. I people-watch and chat with strangers. There is a little breakdancing session happening near the BCL. All in all, a regular Kingsgate experience.
Inspired for more selections, I hop over to Mintage Mall. I am now close to the end of the line and technically cheating because Mintage is not directly on Kingsway but a little off on Broadway. Vintage calls, so I bend the rules a little. Mintage is not really a mall, but it is great because it is upstairs in an older building and separated into rooms. Each room is its own store with its own style.
Feeling a little fancy now, I backtrack to La Faux Bourgeois. You absolutely can be casual to come here. The name literally translates to “A Fake Middle Class,” but this place makes you feel elegant somehow. The atmosphere is warm, with lots of dark wood and simple settings. I am not a big fan of French food, but everything here is fantastic. The menu is refreshingly simple, so almost everything I recommend, but steak frites and a great glass of pinot are what I am working on tonight. The entourage effect from my earlier park session is definitely elevating this meal. The restaurant is bubbly, loud and enthusiastic, begging me to continue exploring the night.
At the end of the day, this was not a challenge – I could have spent my high day going a million different routes trying a dozen cuisines and enjoying myself just as much, if not more. I did end up continuing the adventure, but it involved Main Street, haha, and I wanted this to be all about Kingsway! Honourable mentions also go to the fantastic Vietnamese restaurants, Chilli Pepper House, Sal Y Limon (the jam for Mexican) and anything else I may have missed on this diverse strip.
Till next time, I’m High!