Sunday, July 22, 2007

Vancouver Diary 6

June 17, 2007

Fittingly enough--it being a Sunday and all--June 17 was our most relaxed day in Vancouver, our day of rest.

I woke up thinking about the produce we'd gotten at the East Van/Trout Lake Farmers' Market the day before. I was also thinking about that as-of-yet unopened package of smoked ricotta from La Grotta del Formaggio.

zucchini blossoms, smoked ricotta fig. a: smoked ricotta, zucchini blossoms

I kept the mushrooms simple. They were so nice that I wanted to taste them relatively unadorned. Just some butter and some garlic, salt and pepper. The zucchini blossoms were kept pretty simple too. I just gently undid the petals and stuffed them with small hunks of that smoked ricotta, which, quite frankly, was dazzling. Probably the best cheese experience I've had since the smoked mozzarella epiphany we had outside of Joe's Dairy earlier this year. I then gently twisted the petals back together again and seared them in a bit of olive oil in a medium-hot pan--just a minute or two on each side. Eggs over-easy, toast, and Continental coffee completed the scene. The mushrooms and the zucchini blossoms and the garlic scapes (I almost forgot about the sautéed garlic scapes) were all pretty great--ideal brunch fare. I'm not the only one who thought so, either. Here, read all about it.

We ate brunch kinda late, so lunch didn't really come into play that day. We just went and caught a film at the Scotiabank Theatre, and as we rode up the escalator towards our movie theatre we noticed this out the window:

grass tennis court? fig. b: what the...?

a bizarre, overgrown, rooftop grass tennis court sitting on top of a Denny's. We immediately envisioned some kind of site-specific artwork, a film, or, even better, a large-scale photo-conceptualist piece, this being Vancouver, after all. Mostly we just wanted to find a way up there so we could enjoy the perverse thrill of playing lawn tennis on the roof of a building. Or was that just moss?

Japa Dog

Anyway, when we left the cinema two hours later, we fully intended to try and find a staircase up to that tennis court, but we kinda got sidetracked. You see, we'd heard rumors that the one, the only, Japa Dog--home of the Japanese-style "special hotdog--was located kitty-corner to Scotiabank Theatre, at the corner of Burrard and Smithe. And, sure enough, when we got out on the street, there he was: the Japa Dog chef, along with his lovely assistant, and that unmistakable Japa Dog cart. Suddenly, lawn tennis just didn't seem as important.

Japa Dog! fig. c: Japa Dog!

In fact, we were ecstatic. It looked even better than we'd imagined. We weren't hugely hungry, but NO WAY were we going to miss out on that Japa Dog experience. So we took a close look at Japa Dog's Japa-style menu and made a couple of selections: the all-beef Terimayo and the bratwurst Oroshi. The Terimayo, as you might have gathered, comes with teriyaki sauce and Japa-style mayonnaise. What you might not know, is that it also comes with sauteed onions and--yes!--shredded nori. It looks like this

Japadog! fig. d: Japa-style Terimayo dog

and it tastes divine. The Oroshi, on the other hand, comes with "special soy sauce," chopped scallions, and pickled daikon. I preferred the Terimayo, but the Oroshi was pretty stellar too, and Michelle thought the two were equals.

Not surprisingly, Japa Dog has made waves in the two years its been open. It's gotten its fair share of attention and it's won a number of awards too. Trust me, it deserves all the attention it's gotten. We'd definitely give it an award. In fact, I'm gonna give it an award right now: AEB's "Best Fusion Dish in the World." "Ever."

All those snapshots and articles on Japa Dog's Wall of Fame were pretty impressive, but we were particularly struck by one photo in particular:

Mr. Ice Cube ate! fig. e: "Mr. Ice Cube ate!"

"I love turkey!"? AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted might have lost some of his attitude over the years, but at least the man's got taste.

Japa Dog, corner of Smithe and Burrard



Anonymous said...

japadog existence is blowing my mind right now

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love stuffed zucchini blossoms! I've not tried them with smoked mozzarella but I sure will now. Have you tried stuffing them with cheese, then gently dredging them in some cornmeal flour batter and then pan-frying them? Heavenly!