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June 22, 2009

Devouring Vancouver

I can't imagine why I have a weight problem when I re-read what I'm about to describe.

When it comes to returning to Vancouver it's pretty much a visiting/eating fest. I've waddled over to my computer (did you miss me?) to give you an update.

Let's start at the favorite Punjabi restaurant of Colleen and Gayle which is the hole in the wall Original Tandoori King on 65th and Fraser. A few years back (add 5 years given my inability to measure time), we took a course through UBC Continuing Studies where all we did was try all the major Indian restaurants in Vancouver and learn about the culture from South to North.

The instructor was fabulous and at 40 (after a life of spinsterhood I say only partly in jest), she managed to pick up an Indian specimen in less than a month on a trip to India. I often think of her and wonder how that all turned out. She might have scored him in a month but she had to wait at least a year to get him into the country legally. He was from small town in the Punjab. I think he was a principal. She was an activist. We ended the course in her family's large kitchen getting instructions (hand gestures) from her mom who couldn't speak English while we tried to make round, not square, Chapatis.

Don't make a mistake and go to the one on Fraser. The original is around the corner. Looks like hell. Food is good. Service is a little too efficient lately. Just ignore her says Colleen about the waitress who won't leave us alone every five minutes. How long have you known me I think when she says that.

On the way to the doctor the next day grabbed lunch at Thai Away Home on Cambie. Must have been dehydrated since I drank more water in 5 minutes than I usually do in 2 days. Was feeling lightheaded from traffic and a visit to Winners. Intense.

Thursday evening I fit in a visit to Gwen to see the unique view from her newly purchased North Burnaby apartment. I've never seen down the inlet all the way past the Lion's Gate looking from North Burnaby. We ate at what must be an iconic stop called Xcite near Willingdon on Hastings. They may have named it that to describe how you begin to feel when the waitress forgets your order. Food was decent. Service was kitty-cat-like which in translation means do whatever the hell you like, Morris couldn't care a less. Get it?

Slept in on Friday morning until 8:40 am (even though I was on the couch and Ms. Eaton was blowdrying her hair close by in preparation for work). Since I had to return her key anyway, might as well meet for lunch. How about Phat in Yaletown? We like it there. Scored a table on the patio when it miraculously cleared out around 12:40 pm. Is the Glowbal patio a few doors down always that packed? Forgot to make a visit to Marimekko to remind myself of my Finnish excursion from 28 years ago. Everyone looks so unSalt Spring like down there. Rich. Well coiffed. Really expensive eyeglasses. No dreadlocks in sight. Those clothes didn't come from the Thrift store and if they did, it was intentional.

Later in the day arrived at Anne and Bob's new place overlooking the Creek almost directly across from the Olympic Village. That neighborhood down by the Roundhouse Community Centre is so amazingly livable. Especially I should add if you have a spare $600,000 minimum or you're not afraid to sleep on a park bench. Then, it too can be yours.

They treated me to a new experience at the French Cultural center on West 6th off South Granville. I can't say enough about the quality of the food at Salade de Fruits Cafe. The french waiter was really cute too! And everything sounds so much better when it's said in either French, Spanish or Italian.

It's always exciting to be introduced to a restaurant you've never been to that's really great. Woke up Saturday morning, and took little Charlie (their dog) for a walk. Returned to home made Granola at their kitchen table watching as the Dragon Boats lined up for the first race of the Dragon Boat festival. Then, we parted ways after a really nice visit. They headed to Victoria and a granddaughter's debut singing performance (she's 6) and I headed out to Surrey.

I was intent on taking my Dad to the Crescent Beach Bistro only to discover that it's not open on Saturday afternoons. We have had some really good meals there together on previous trips. Really disappointed. He was looking forward to oysters. Instead went to the worst fish and chip place I've ever been to. No. Not on purpose. Washed that horrible waste of money down with ice cream. Felt really bad about the lunch. Happy Father's Day.

Travelled back into New West which had the best restaurant of all. It's called the John Family Gourmet Hideaway. Renowned Chef? Peggy John. So incredibly generous that she's open on my behalf to hosting people she's never even met. Carol and Butch arrived in their black Jag. Really? Really? Are you kidding me? Great chicken. Steak. Skewered veggies. Great company. Met up with the blue-eyed pugilist again.

He's weighing in at 10 pounds. The sun hat I bought that matched two new outfits covered his entire face and head. Geez. Grow already buddy. He's such a cute baby that two out of three confirmed baby-phobic adults - Carol and I - picked him up, held him and smiled big smiles as he took it all in without freaking out.

Lisa was there as his escort (coincidentally she's also his favourite restaurant). We haven't tried the liquid lunches he's very partial to. Packaging is still an issue.

After the best pancake and strawberry breakfast courtesy of Chef John, and some friendly banter, spectatoring (is that a word?) of the weekly scrabble game, I packed up and managed to squeeze in a quick visit with niece Meghan who has traded Maple Ridge for "The Drive". She was getting ready to drive herself insane with some Ikea instructions. Seemed like a good time to visit Calabria for a coffee break. So we did.

Headed to my old "hood" and dropped in on Dee. Met the infamous LL, chum chum, main squeeze Don. Nice guy. We left him and met up with Narida the storytelling Aussie, whom we originally met 3 days after her arrival in Canada 3 years ago when we were (where else?) at a restaurant celebrating something and she sat beside us which was mere inches away, almost in our laps anyway.

We walked along my favorite Coal Harbour seawall and headed up to the viewing level of the new Trade and Convention Centre. Very impressive. On the way back we ducked into the Westin Bayshore to go to the Seaside Lounge. We like it there. It's never very busy. Lime Margarita please. Would you look at that it's raining. Remember rain? Narida regaled us with highlights from the East Indian comedian Russell Peters after attending his show at GM place some time earlier in the month. Wow. Just go if you get a chance ever. Tell him Narida sent you. Don't show up late. Don't sit in the first 5 rows. Don't take it personally.

Still had a couple of hours before the 9:30 ferry. Still couldn't connect with Beth and Neil. Called George and Keiko. Meet me at Banana Leaf for dinner I said. George, get out of your bathrobe already. Tear yourself away from the telescope. Devoured the Gado, Gado. Nasi Goreng. Roti Canai.

Drove to the ferry. Actually refrained from eating anything. Are you proud of me?

Damn ferry was an hour late. Picture blackness, shiny black water and the lights from the yacht club sparkling, the wake the only sound. Arrived back at 12:30 am.

Happy to be here, even if there's too many damned white people and too few curries. Blessed be me.

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