Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Vancouver Diary 5

As you may or may not remember, in our last installment of our hugely popular Vancouver Diary series, it was Friday night and we'd finished an action-packed day (more or less) with some frozen fun from Casa di Gelato.

We now rejoin our intrepid heroes, as the AEB Players Theatre brings you...

June 16, 2007

June 16 was a Saturday. It was also Wedding Day. The event we'd been waiting for. The catalyst behind this whole Vancouver adventure.

We knew we had a big day ahead of us, but we'd heard the East Van/Trout Lake Farmers' Market had become quite the scene since the last time either of us had had the chance to visit, and T. & T. had expressed interest in making an early morning market run, so we got them to swing by and pick us up, and off we went.

pink rhubarb, Trout Lake Farmers' Market fig. a: pink rhubarb, Trout Lake Farmers' Market

Trout Lake Farmers' Market

Things had changed. It was rainy and cool and it wasn't the nicest June morning, but it didn't seem to have dissuaded anyone from making their way to Trout Lake. There was quite a hubbub when we arrived--certainly busier than I remember back in the '90s. We'd been told to expect a "foodie feeding frenzy." We were never really sure if we were up against certified food fetishists or not--we didn't check I.D.s--all we knew is that Trout Lake's phenomenal selection of organics were definitely being snapped up in a hurry. Take that pink rhubarb, for instance: the whole crate disappeared in the space of about 15 minutes. Naturally, we were most strongly attracted by those things that we don't see here in Montreal, real West Coast exotica like these gorgeous mushrooms:

mushrooms, Trout Lake Farmers' Market fig. b: mushrooms, Trout Lake Farmers' Market

No, those mushrooms haven't been touched up with Photoshop or otherwise altered. Yes, that's their real color. The poor woman who was selling them must have answered that question 150 times that day. We bought one of those assortments in the middle there just to cheer her up. Yeah, right. Who're we kidding? We bought those mushrooms because they were gorgeous and we absolutely couldn't resist. We also got a bundle of garlic scapes, some zucchini blossoms, and this magical jar of chestnut honey:

chestnut honey fig. c: chestnut honey, Arila Apiary

Kind of a strange combination of purchases, but we left Trout Lake happy, if a bit hungry. That was soon to change.

Atelier Gallery

After dropping off T. & T. and making a pit stop at Sun Fresh for a couple more steamed vegetable buns (a.k.a. breakfast), we raced back to the Chateau Vermont to change into our respective monkey suits for the Big Occasion. Then we joined D. & S. and made our way to the Atelier Gallery for a little pre-wedding culture. Our new friend Sarah had curated a show entitled

drawing never died fig. d: It's official: Drawing Never Died

and we were pretty excited to go because the show brought together the formidable talents of two old Vancouver friends and two new Vancouver friends. There was even a little food art.

Drawing Never Died, Atelier Gallery fig. e: drawing by Maxwell Simmer

Trouble is, that two-dimensional spread only made us hungry.

So we said goodbye to the gang and charted a course due north to Granville Island. That's where the wedding was--at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design--and Granville Island's also the home of a fish shack called Go Fish that had been highly recommended to us. It took us a few minutes to figure out where exactly Go Fish was because it's nowhere near Sammy J. Peppers or any of those other Granville Island tourist traps. Eventually we just tried to figure out where the fishing boats dock because, after all, Go Fish's motto is "in support of local fisherman." Sure enough, there it was, directly in front of a shrimp boat that was displaying some pretty impressive food art of its own.

shrimp boat, Granville Island fig. f: shrimp boat, Granville Island

Go Fish

We couldn't possibly sing the praises of Go Fish enough. Talk about West Coast dining at its best. Take one tiny little fish shack, add a patio to it so that your patrons can dine al fresco, put together a small but thoughtful menu including a few seafood sandwiches, some legendary fish & chips, and a few grilled fish specialties, deal only in sustainably harvested fish and shellfish, keep your prices surprisingly affordable, and what you're left with is the fish shack of our dreams. So much so that we went in intending to just have "a little snack" prior to the wedding, and we ended up having a pretty substantial little meal.

For her: the Granville Island beer-battered halibut with perfect fries and a lovely tartar sauce complete with fresh tarragon.

halibut fish & chips, Go Fish, Granville Island fig. g: halibut fish & chips plate, Go Fish, Granville Island

For him: Go Fish's wonderful "tacones" (cone-shaped tacos): one with grilled salmon, the other with grilled tuna, both of them very B.C. (as opposed to very Baja), but no less delicious for it.

salmon "tacones," Go Fish, Granville Island fig. h: salmon & tuna "tacones," Go Fish, Granville Island

The Wedding

Okay, we were on a roll--no doubt about it--and the wedding didn't disappoint in the least. Of course, the Montreal contingent had to kickstart the rugcutting,

Rugcutting 101, Brady & Robin fig. i: Brady & Robin shake a leg

and T. in particular had to pull out her notorious "air sitar" routine in order to seal the deal, but the whole affair was beautiful. The ceremony was short but very sweet, the toasts were touching, the drinks were flowing, hell, even the food was great--exactly the kind of expertly assembled charcuterie & cheese spread we favor. Of course a slight wardrobe malfunction forced Yours Truly to split the seam, uh, scene early, but all in all: a huge hit.

Congratulations, Robin & Brady! Happy Month-iversary!

Oh, yeah: we made off like bandits too. The official party favors were produced by none other than Robin's design company, Hundreds & Thousands. We didn't hold back when it came to stuffing our pockets full of her fetching coasters and pencil & notebook ensembles.

party favors by hundreds & thousands fig. j: party favors by Hundreds & Thousands

Modern Club

These damn afternoon weddings. We were drunk by 4:00 and adrift by 7:00. Luckily we had a reservation at Modern Club to sample okonomiyaki for the very first time. We were hungover by the time we arrived, so we had a bit of a hard time deciphering the menu, and especially what distinguished "modern" okonomiyaki from its "post-modern" counterpart, but everything worked out fine in the end and those crazy Japanese "pizzas" that we'd heard so much about were totally delicious. Our favorite: "modern" (natch) with squid and shrimp.

The scary thing is, the night was still young when we left Modern Club. We piled into a car and made our way back east...

East Vancouver Farmers' Market, Saturdays @ Trout Lake

Atelier Gallery, 2421 Granville Street, (604) 732-3021

Go Fish, 1504 West 1st Ave., Granville Island, (604) 730-5040

Modern Club, 3446 Dunbar Street, (604) 739-0170


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