The weekend trip to Vancouver during the last weekend of August was fun; here are pictures of some of the highlights:
Urban living, as viewed from Granville Island Market
Exotic fruit from Granville Island Market, left to right: passion fruit (lilikoi), cape gooseberries, mangosteen.
When we went to Granville Island Market, I was stopped short on numerous occasions by the variety of foods, among which was the exotic fruit. I had to buy these three because this variety of passion fruit and the fresh mangosteen we had not seen since we enjoyed them on our honeymoon to Bali 7 years ago, and they can’t be found back home. The passion fruit is different from the shriveled purple variety I see in the markets at home, and the mangosteen is so unlike anything you will ever eat, and the fruit (the white stuff pictured below) is so delicately sweet and luscious. I’ve heard that one of the reasons mangosteen isn’t available in the U.S. is because it doesn’t ship well, but the imported specimens I bought and tasted in Vancouver were every bit as good as I remember them. Heaven!
I had to try the cape gooseberries after reading about them on Francesca’s Fluffbuff blog, which she knows as alkekengi. I’ve tasted dried cape gooseberries from Trader Joe’s, and although I don’t seeing them fresh in the States, Francesca has. We saw them frequently in Vancouver, sometimes with their paper-like husks on (like tomatillos). They have a very unique flavor, not easily described, but maybe faintly sweet, somewhat tart or sour, very seedy, with an overall texture similar to cherry tomato, just not as juicy. My son and I enjoyed munching on these.
Having visited this city many times, I am often amazed with how livable and alive it is. Traffic is a big problem (the transit system is apparently good), but it seems lots of people walk, and where there’s foot-traffic there’s lots of independent business. The number of small stores and eateries was wonderful to see, but especially the variety of cultures represented by the restaurants was amazing. Even the shopping mall had a busy produce stand and fishmonger.
We picked-up some tasty fresh pasta, sauce, and fresh grated cheese from Duso’s Pasta & Cheese at Granville Island Market and, thanks to the small but handy kitchen where we stayed, we had dinner in that night:
Among our finds of other local food, we had the best cinnamon roll, which sadly, we’d bought only one of from Bean Around The World coffee bar (by the way, for something different try their London Fog drink: Earl Grey tea with vanilla syrup and milk foam on top):
Take note of how thin the layers of pastry in the cinnamon roll are, not thick chunky, dried, gagging hunks of pastry that I often see. It was the most perfect example of what a cinnamon roll should be.
We almost didn’t make it to the yarn store, since on our way we drove past Transylvania Peasant Bread, boasting a brick wood-fired oven (we did stop there after the yarn store). Indeed, walking into Transylvania Peasant Bread is like a step back to another era: there’s the baker, his dome-shaped brick wood-fired oven, and a couple of shelves of fresh loaves of two types of bread. It was that simple, no 20 different types of bread to choose from. So I chose a two-pound (?) loaf sour dough whole wheat (I think that’s what it was), still warm from the oven; evenly baked, dense, very nice.
Finally, a picture of Alan Dart’s knitted pirate from the Simply Knitting magazine issue I bought on the trip: