I knew the minute the prospect of a business trip to Vancouver arose that I intended to meet Davina Haisell in person. Davina has been an early, enthusiastic supporter of our efforts with this blog, and of the e-book, The Narcissist: A User’s Guide, I co-wrote. She’s a gifted writer whose work I thoroughly enjoy, and whose talents I envy. I was thrilled when she accepted my suggestion that we meet for dinner!
After a blessedly uneventful flight from Minneapolis to Vancouver and settling into my hotel room, I confirmed my rendezvous with Davina by telephone. Her voice was melodious and seemed as filled with anticipation as I was. I boarded the new Canada line close to my hotel and before I knew it, my train was at the Oakridge stop where we were to meet and go on to Queen Elizabeth Park.
We had joked a bit about how we were going to recognize each other (carnation in the lapel? carrying a rolled-up newspaper? a whispered “Rosebud?”), but we needn’t have bothered. We knew each other immediately from photos on Facebook, and just as immediately, the conversation began as if we’d resumed it after a momentary lapse instead of it being our first meeting.
Davina had recommended we preface our dinner with a walk through the Park gardens. There couldn’t have been a better idea. Vancouver’s rainy conditions on our day might have been disappointing. Instead we were treated to a vivid display of breathtaking proportions.
Queen Elizabeth Park is sited on the grounds of a former rock quarry, which was used to build Vancouver’s roadways at the turn of the 20th century. Visitors are more than 500 feet above the sea level of the main part of the city. The panoramas are exceptional.
What a delightful experience for me, starved for spring as only a Minnesotan can be, to take in these vistas. Chatting as we wandered through the Park gardens, it seemed as though we had been friends forever, often stopping to admire or breathe in the fragrant aroma of hyacinth and fresh earth. The beauty was superlative.
Davina had made our dinner reservation at Seasons in the Park for 5:30, but we arrived a little ahead of time.
Greeted by our charming server, Smador, who recommended a bubbly Prosecco when I inquired, we settled in next to a window with an impossibly perfect view of the Vancouver skyline. And there we stayed for the next three hours.
Seasons in the Park is a fine dining experience with ocean-friendly seafood choices punctuating a robust menu characterized as typical of the Pacific Northwest. I started with the Carrot Ginger Soup, anticipating correctly that it would take away the damp and chill.
Davina ordered a Mixed Seasonal Greens salad with maple vinaigrette, goat cheese, candied almonds and berries.
This was a sound Paleo diet choice which I mirrored for my next course, adding a side of Grilled Salmon to make it an entree.
Davina’s sirloin arrived at the same time as my salmon salad, served with garlic mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. It was perfectly done.
For my dessert course, Smador recommended the Double Belgian Chocolate Truffle and Fudge Cake. Well, alrighty then! Although chocolate is solid suggestion with me any time, this was truly outstanding.
Davina chose the Vanilla Creme Brulee, which arrived perfectly presented with a fresh strawberry and biscotti.
We lingered over our desserts past the sunset. As the lights of the city below twinkled, I marveled at the connection we had forged over time spent reading each other’s blogs and encountering others with whom we’ve created a community. Out of the vast reaches of the internet, we’re part of a smaller town, and as friends, Davina and I have much in common.
I am hoping Pete and I can persuade Davina to visit Minnesota in the future. We’d love to return the enormous favor she showed me on our perfect afternoon and evening. And of course, now that I’ve briefly visited Vancouver, I’d like nothing more to return and get to know it better. As for Davina and me? We’re like this! 🙂
Photo Credits: Myself, Davina Haisell and the lovely Smador, our personable server at Seasons in the Park.
Have you ever met someone you only “knew” online? Care to share?
If you’re ever in the Vancouver area, Seasons in the Park is a wonderful experience.