Archives for posts with tag: vancouver

I love Vancouver. When I first moved there, I did not. I thought that Canadians were weird and putting on fake accents to irritate me specifically and everything was ridiculously more expensive and my university campus was bigger then the town I grew up in and looked like Lenin picked the architect for half the buildings. Aka, I was really lonesome the second my dad left and I feared for a friendless semester in a just-foreign enough to be even more lonesome country. But things perked up pretty quickly. Good and plentiful Asian food, a somewhat ugly campus situated in maybe one of the most beautiful places on the continent, a constant pizza-eating TV-watching girl party in my giant packed-like-sardines house, a fun garden internship, tons of yoga and biking home from yoga at sunset in a bliss state, my favorite coffee shop in the whole wide world (and the best muffins in the whole wide world,) and a volunteer gig at the UBC garden with kids, where I met Nicole, yet another fantastic friend I’ve been lucky enough to snag along the way. This weekend I popped back up to BC for a weekend visit, and lucked out with the warmest loveliest sunniest weekend of all time. Nicole and I walked and walked and talked and talked and ate and ate and ate. Nicole took us to Via Tevere, a impossibly cute Neapolitan pizza place just off Commercial Drive, tucked into a neighborhoody little street– like it just so happened to have landed there. Nicole said I’d love it; she was so right. Cozy and tasty and good in so many ways. I keep getting so lucky with friends– I meet these fantastic people and we have the bright friendships that keep on keepin’ on even after we’re apart. And they become a big part of my fuzzy memory-imagination of the places I’ve lived, which is wonderful.

And this pizza, it too is now a part of my own dreamy version of Vancouver. All Neapolitan pizza is amazing. This was really amazing. For one, the place was toasty, which only seemed appropriate as there’s a 900 degree oven smack in the middle. Sweaty pizzaiolos throw together the pies and slide em in for 90 seconds a piece, the pizzas reemerging like phoenixes from the fires, ashy and amazing. We got: one with cheese, cherry tomatoes, and basil, a margherita plus broccoli rabe, and a fantastic one with spicy Italian meats. Yum. The crusts were maybe the best part, dipped in spicy oil… Yes. We ate the leftovers with much much joy later on.

The next day: brunch at Dunlevy Snackbar. Mother’s Day brunch traffic? Not an issue here. Too hip for regular moms. A rad little Chinatown storefront (Note: Vancouver’s Chinatown is not like Seattle’s “International District” where takeout boxes blow down the street like tumbleweed and the same Peking ducks have been hanging in the windows since 1995. Vancouver’s is bustling and lively and full of shocking dried things and pungent fish shops and old ladies haggling.)

And then Dunlevy Snackbar, full of true Van Hipsters. But in a good way. It still feels like a “find,” like you too are awesome for being there. The owner, Theo, is running around the place, making coffee, taking orders, and giving you the verbal menu. Three choices. Euro Brunch, arepas, or baked eggs. What a rad idea. Only one meal a day, only three things a day. Makes picking easy, makes prepping easy. Makes changing the menu really easy. Keeps things interesting. For us: one Euro brunch, one arepa. Do you loyal readers remember arepas? The dance party break snack of Florida, bought from a young couple frying up masa with one hand and feeding a baby with the other in a dorm kitchen. Arepas, griddled corn cakes topped with a slice of guava paste and a slice of white cheese and a big dose of pure joy. Dunlevy of course did it differently: topped the corn cake with chipotle black beans and potatoes and scrambled eggs, accompanied by a bright little carrot slaw. Yum.

And the Euro brunch. Ok, so my favorite part of Germany is frühstück. Breakfast. At the oddball little hotel we always stay at in Frankfurt (frequent flier miles get you to Frankfurt…) theres this glorious place called the fruhstuck raum. Fruhstuck fairies fill it every morning before dawn with baskets of fluffy white buns covered in seeds, platters of holey cheese, plates of smoky meats, soft boiled eggs, joghurts of all varieties, a tray of sausages, and all the teeny Nutella containers you could ever dream of stealing. You fill up a plate (or three, if you’re me. Hey, you don’t get a trip to the Fruhstuck Raum too often) and sit down and delight–delight–in the German version of breakfast.

Dunlevy’s take was pretty darn similar. A soft-boiled egg (which I am going to make a part of my life, if only for the ultra cute egg cups,) rye bread, a croissant, jam, cheese, ham, fruit, almonds, olives, and hummus. Inclusive of all the EU nations. Delicious. And we had a good chat with Theo after, and what makes you feel cooler than a chat with the owner. Dunlevy Snackbar, also now a part of my version of Vancouver. Then we spent the afternoon at the beach in Kitsilano, my old ‘hood, making bracelets and saying over and over how good the sun felt on our cold little northwestern bodies. After a delicious little front porch barbeque to round out the day, I headed back down to Seattle, dreaming of Vancouver the whole way back.

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Unexpected sunshine > expected sunshine. Florida sunshine was undoubtedly wonderful, but November sunshine in rainy Vancouver BC is just about 1,000,000x better. No better feeling than waking up to sun streaming into your room when you were expecting dark greyness accompanied by rain tapping on the roof. And it gets better, going to a big beautiful farmer’s market still full of colorful, wonderful things, so late in the year and so far north. Started off the morning with a big (warm) cup of coffee–I love coffee part for the caffeine, part for the taste, but mostly for the warmth–and breakfast tacos. Yes, breakfast tacos. Smelled them from a block away. I’d read about Off The Wagon before I even moved to Van-land, but hadn’t actually experienced them till now. Nicole (best farmers’ market companion ever, buys not just produce but also baked goods and is really, really good at sharing) got yam and black bean, I got one yam n’ bean, one chorizo and egg.

Corn tortilla, topping, cucumber salsa, avocado. And a maybe-too-hearty of a dash of jalapeno sauce, if you’re me.  Perfect market-ing fuel.

Aside from the joy-inducing tacos, got crazy-looking romanesco broccoli, a watermelon radish (green on the outside, pink on the inside), kale (of course), beautiful little tiny heirloom tomatoes, and the best loaf of bread ever. Then on to the Vancouver Yoga Show, home of more yoga pants than you ever dreamed of. And lots of free samples of super groovy health drinks, and lots of good people watching. Vancouver: the land of November markets, late fall sun, and yoga.

I’m interning at the sweetest community garden project in Vancouver, The World in a Garden, and this weekend we had a lovely and surprisingly sunny harvest party. The sunshine busted through the weeklong wall of clouds and we were able to spend time in the garden, eating piles and piles of super-ultra-literally-just-picked-fresh kale and fragrant roasted garlic, drink cozy hot apple cider, chat with passerby (and get them on the kale train), sell blueberry jam and stewed tomatoes and honey from the garden tribe of honeybees, give garden tours with tiny people and grownups alike, get some wisdom from the Mayan gardeners from UBC, and listen to the Wheely Slow Cooking Tour, a charming little folk duo. The Wheely girls just got back from a summer tour around the farms of Canada, going wherever seemed right, staying with farmers and eating good, fresh food and writing songs about the earth and fields and food and home and goodness in general. We had a few kids in the garden, guessing the names of plants and digging up tiny carrots and beets, to their total delight.

The next day I was back out in the garden for another sunny day, the brightness countering the coolness. We have drop-in volunteer days on Mondays, and this Monday was particularly quiet, but there were a few visitors, one of which was an amazed little girl who walked around the garden, peeking under leaves at the colorful squash, peering up into blackberry bushes at the last few berries. “Wow, food comes from nature,” she said. I love that, and that’s why I love the garden. We should all know that, and more than just know it, wonder at it! Food comes from nature! And nature can be right smack-dab in the middle of a city, in a little garden nestled between old train tracks.

Things I like: really good Italian food, weekday visits, and the Canadian drinking age. Last night Stuart made the northward trek up to Vancouver and we decided to go wild, break a long standing tradition, and go out for something other than sushi. I’d read and read about Campagnolo Roma; the perfect pizza, the dreamy pasta; so we made the long and slightly sketchy journey over to East Van.

Where we were royally rewarded. Pretty empty on a Tuesday night, we sat right down and I started the long and painful process of deciding what to order. Settled on margherita pizza (classics, man) and tagliatelle with artichokes. And two glasses of Italian red wine, to celebrate this sensible ol’ country and their friendly policies. Entering the starvation zone, we requested a bit o’ bread– turned out to be the best request I’ve ever made. If I’m ever on death row, Campagnolo bread is my last meal. Marvelously charcoaly on the outside and unbelievably doughy and light and moist and a tiny bit sweet and a tiny bit salty on the inside; this bread shot up into Top Five Best Things Ever Eaten by a Human. Lordy. Almost canceled our order and just begged for a couple pounds of bread.

Thankfully, we stuck with Plan A, and soon a beautiful margerita came our way. That real-live thinner-than-thin crust, incredibly bright tomato sauce, milky mozzarella, little flashes of basil, and mounds of fresh spicy arugula. And the pasta, wide ribbons of fresh tagliatelle and soft salty artichoke hearts, layered with bright lemon and salty Parmesan. Lordy. Joy abounded. Too full for dessert, we (perhaps foolishly) refused dessert: affogatto… honey panna cotta… Next time.