June 18, 2007
Monday was our last full day in Vancouver.
fig. a: high-fibre lunch, Chinatown
There we were, wandering around Chinatown for the umpteenth time, looking for an old poster shop that I'd found up above a souvenirs shop back in 1999 (apparently it's long gone), getting hungry because of the Asian delicacies in prominent display at every turn (see photograph above), and just generally minding our business, when who should pull up next to us in a beat-up old Nissan, honking wildly, but our good friend Erin Templeton. We were looking for Erin because she'd just gotten back from Switzerland and Monday was going to be our only chance to get to spend some time with her, and it turned out she was driving around, looking for us, too. Fate.
She took us to see her house and then she took us on a very exclusive, personal tour of her brand-new Chinatown boutique, which had just opened days earlier.
fig. b: Erin Templeton @ Erin Templeton
The eponymously named Erin Templeton was the third of the three killer boutiques we visited over the course of our week in Vancouver (along with Eugene Choo and The Regional Assembly of Text). I was thrilled to see that she'd moved into the former home of Modernize Tailors (fittingly, they've moved into a modern building across the street), one of the most beautiful storefronts in all of Vancouver,
fig. c: entrance, Erin Templeton
right around the corner from the world-famous Jack Chow Insurance building. I was even happier to see what she'd done with the space.
fig. d: interior, Erin Templeton
We got to see the studio out back where she makes her lovely line of bags, sandals, and accessories and we got a chance to catch up. By the time we were done yapping we were good and hungry. Good thing, too, because we were heading towards a feast.
We didn't actually go to Legendary Noodle, in the sense of walking into the place, ordering some food, and eating on premises, but we did walk by Legendary Noodle on a couple of occasions, and we'd evidently expressed that we'd very much like to get that Legendary Noodle experience at some point during our stay, because soon after we showed up at Brady and Robin's for a social call, Brady walked in the door with the most extraordinary take-out order we'd seen in quite some time, all of it from--that's right--Legendary Noodle. He started unpacking the spread and we were beside ourselves with anticipation.
fig. e: noodles from Legendary Noodle
Sure, we didn't get to watch the noodle pros at Legendary Noodle make fresh noodles before our very eyes, but that's okay because you see those thick-cut, homemade noodles in that Fried Thick Noodles w/ Celery, Onion & Greens? They were just as tasty as they look.
fig. f: spread from Legendary Noodle
The hits just kept coming--Cut Noodle w/ Lamb, Gai-lan w/ Oyster Sauce, Fried Pan Cake w/ Onion, etc., etc.--and everything was fantastic. A few hours later, we rolled on out of there with some leftovers in tow for S. and D. We couldn't believe our good luck: quality face-time with the newlyweds and another "must-taste" scratched off our list.
Against all odds, we were hungry again by 7:00 pm., and the timing couldn't have been better because we had one last "must-taste" to give a look-see: Green Lettuce.
fig. g: exterior 1, Green Lettuce
Now, Green Lettuce might very well have been the place we obsessed about the most during our Vancouver trip. Part of that had to do with the fact that it was one of the very last places we visited, so we had way more time to obsess over it than some of the other places on our hitlist. But it was also just the nature of the tip. We'd never heard of the place until we discussed the Vancouver food scene at length with Kildare "Eugene Choo" Curtis on the previous Friday. And, frankly, we liked what we heard: an Indian-style Chinese restaurant run by a Hakka Chinese family from Calcutta. We tried to imagine what Indian-style Chinese food might taste like and we got goosebumps. Plus, Kildare told us the place had a reputation for being the hottest, spiciest restaurant in all of Vancouver. That definitely piqued our interest. Later that same evening, when we told D. that we wanted to check out Green Lettuce, he only fueled our obsession. He started fantasizing about an all 3-chili pepper meal--nothing remotely mild or even medium, just the fiery, Indian-style hot stuff. An Indian-style Chinese gastronomical bonfire.
fig. h: rating system, Green Lettuce
Days later, when we finally got to Green Lettuce, we liked the look of things right from the get-go.
fig. i: exterior 2, Green Lettuce
Any place that insists on its firepower to that extent is all right by us. And the best thing is, after all that build-up, Green Lettuce didn't disappoint. Not in the least. Everything we had was outstanding, and while the single 3-chilli-pepper dishes that we ordered (okay, we chickened out a little at the sight of all those chili peppers) had some serious legs to it, the heat was smart, tasty heat, not just heat for the sake of heat. Faves? Like I said, everything was great--from the Vegetable Hot & Sour Soup, to the Hot Chili Vegetable Dumplings (served with a garlic, onion, and bell pepper masala), to the Masala Chicken (Dry) Fried Rice, to the Fried Green Beans (Dry) (among the best I've ever had), to the Pili Beef--but the ones that blew our minds were the chicken fried rice and the smoking-hot Pili Beef. What a way to cap the week! We tried to wrap our heads around Green Lettuce's "15% off on pick up" deal and what it might mean if we lived in Vancouver, but ultimately we just couldn't. It'd be too good to be true.
Erin Templeton, 511 Carrall St. (604) 682-2451
Legendary Noodle, 4191 Main St., (604) 879-8758
Green Lettuce, 1949 Kingsway, (604) 876-9883
Sunday, July 29, 2007
June 18, 2007