Need to get away for a couple of days? I hear you! If you’re anything like me, you are growing exceedingly tired of the same wallpaper scenes and work-from-home outfits. If cabin fever has taken hold and you haven’t seen the sun in over a year, it’s time to break away from that soul-sucking computer screen and hit the road.

Grab your NEXUS pass, throw on your favorite true-crime podcast and head for the border. We’ve got 48 hours to kill in Vancouver; here are some of my favorite spots to get the most out of this Cabin Fever Getaway.

Day One

Stay, drink and indulge at The Westin Bayshore & H Tasting Lounge

When visiting one of my favorite cities, I can’t think of a better place to land than The Westin Bayshore. It’s the perfect starting point for your weekend getaway in Vancouver, with its proximity to Stanley Park, breathtaking mountain views and the relaxing sway of the boats along Coal Harbour at your doorstep. 

Outdoor Dining Globes and Fare

I will offer up one little secret to prepare you for this beautiful Vancouver adventure: be sure to pamper yourself thoroughly and make a beeline for their beautiful hotel bar. Westin Bayshore’s own H Tasting Lounge is nothing like your stereotypical hotel bar with dusty, outdated cocktail menus and empty seats. A true luxury date-night destination for locals and hotel guests alike, H Tasting Lounge offers a whimsical cocktail experience that rivals some of the best bars in town, all thanks to a passionate and creative bar staff who can’t wait to share their passion for the craft.

There isn’t a bad seat in the house — from unbeatable views from their seaside patio to luxe velvet interiors — but for the true cocktail geek, grab a spot at the bar. If you missed having a social life these past two years, the bartenders will cure what ails you. Get on their good side and they may even hand over a laundry list of spots to check out, dishes to try and new spirits and cocktails to savor. 

Taste of Asia: H Tasting Lounge Summer Cocktail Menu

It appears the staff at H Tasting Lounge were also feeling a bit of cabin fever when they came up with their summer cocktail menu, Taste of Asia. Traditional and familiar flavors from China, Japan, Korea and other areas in the region spring to life with a bit of whimsy and a wonderful sense of humor, inspired by several of the staff’s Asian heritage and that intense feeling of being homesick during the lowest parts of the pandemic (something we can all relate to).

H Tasting Lounge

Once seated, there is no denying H Tasting Lounge is an authentic cocktail bar inspired by culinary flavors. They make many of their syrups, mixes and tinctures in-house, with sustainable practices and locally sourced produce wherever possible.

Some of the standouts on the Taste of Asia cocktail menu include the Longevity Drink, featuring the most sold spirit in the world, the Chinese spirit baijiu, along with Hayman’s Gin, PX sherry, grenadine, fermented plum drink and pineapple star anise bitters. This bright and funky flavor combination shapeshifts on your tastebuds. I have to hand it to the masterful H Tasting Lounge bartenders for pulling off such a palatable drink with the ever-mysterious baijiu. It is already not for the faint of heart, but they built it up to another level. 

The Korean Medicine cocktail is a beautiful riff off the classic Penicillin Cocktail, featuring Lapsang-infused Dewar’s blended Scotch for added smokiness, lemon, honey, ginger and gochujang for a bracing hit of heat. 

The White Rabbit Hangover Cure cocktail checks all the boxes for me: not too sweet, roasty and toasty, with a bit of flair. White rabbit candy-infused Hennessy V.S, Nocino and Hong Kong milk tea served barside from a porcelain rabbit-shaped teapot. If you ask nicely, you might get some white rabbit candy for the road and continue the childhood debate over whether or not you can eat the rice paper wrapping around the candy. (You totally can!)

If the cocktails don’t bring out your appetite, I don’t know what will. Start with the light and crispy Pacific Crab Cake, which comes with a layer of bright lemon aioli, fennel and herb slaw. The Burrata will satisfy your rich and acidic cravings with heirloom tomato escabeche, balsamic, olive oil, sea salt and fried basil leaves that add a delightfully herbal crunch.

It would be a crying shame to visit Vancouver without partaking in their incredible seafood. For the main course, the Pacific Halibut with yaki-onigiri rice cake, oyster and shitake mushrooms, baby bok choy, green onion sauce and yuzu-ginger dashi is an exquisite choice. The Pan Roasted Pacific Salmon with golden potatoes, roasted sweet corn chowder, lemon vin blanc, fresh dill and watercress will have you crying tears of joy. Don’t waste a single drop of flavor — the Warm Sourdough Filone is perfect for soaking up any remaining sauces and is served with churned miso butter, sea salt, nori and toasted sesame.

For those with a mega sweet tooth and a proclivity for the dramatic, you must end the meal with H Tasting Louge’s Dessert Platter. There’s something for everyone at the table, with blueberry cheesecake, light-as-a-feather strawberry cream puffs, gluten-free chocolate cake, assorted macarons and a fluffy cloud of pale pink cotton candy floating over top. Snap a few shots for Instagram and watch the envious onlookers flood in.

Finish the day with a lazy stroll along the Coal Harbour Seawall. Catch up on real-life people watching, golden sunset-crested mountains and a collection of after-dinner bars and shops to wander into as you ease into your weekend.

H Tasting Lounge

1601 Bayshore Dr., Vancouver, BC, V6G 2V4, Canada
Open Daily: Sun-Thu: 11:30am-11:00pm; Fri-Sat: 11:30am-Midnight
Afternoon Tea: Sat-Sun: 12-3pm
Happy Hour: 3-5pm daily
htastinglounge.com

Click here to read about Day Two of Angela Prosper’s Getaway in Vancouver.