Published: April 13th 2009April 13th 2009
I normally don’t wake up @ 6:30am on a Saturday, but if you’re going to get the best market experience, you’ve got to go early. I took a taxi down to Granville Island where I had an 8:30 tour of the public market with Edible British Columbia that I would be filming for my video piece. When I arrived to the meetup spot, I quickly discovered that I was the only person signed up for the tour, which avoided any issues of guests being uncomfortable with filming. Score! I met my guide, Chef Gurj Dhaliwal, who gave an excellent tour through all the fresh ingredients the market had to offer. Gurj didn’t mind being filmed as well, as he actually won a reality show completion on Food Network Canada. I could go on about how awesome this market was, but I’ll post a link to my video soon! All in all, if you like public markets, Granville Islands' hits the spot.
After the tour of the market, Gurj treated me to a cup of delicious salmon chowder with fresh crusty bread which was the perfect finish to the 3 hours of sampling treats. I sat outside on the deck and
listened to some jazz performers with children tried to chase pigeons around. I walked around Granville Island for a little bit and ended up visiting Masa Shiroki, the Artisan Sake Maker. Masa’s boutique is the first premium sake winery in Canada, and only makes a few batches of his sakes per year. For just $5, I had a sampler of his 3 in-house sakes which incorporated local and season ingredients. Masa also showed me the barrels he uses to ferment his sake which was an added bonus. Seeing as I was right there, I ended up heading to the Granville Island Brewery to get a sampler of their craft beers, including a winter lager that I really enjoyed. The hint of fresh vanilla at the end really set the beer off, and I had a couple more pints to finish off the afternoon.
I headed back to the hotel to watch my footage and make sure that I actually captured some good stuff. Relieved that the bulk of my filming was over, I took a quick nap and got ready for hockey night in Canada. As previously mentioned, hockey in Canada is bigger than all of us. It is
a force that can not and will not be stopped. It is an obsession. Vancouver is no exception to this mantra. That Saturday night, the Vancouver Canucks were taking on the Chicago Blackhawks @ General Motors Place. I checked ticket availability before I left, only to discover that all homes games had been sold out well in advance. I also wasn’t keen on paying the $150 single ticket prices off of StubHub. So I did what anyone else would do in this situation, head to a local bar and watch the game with a bunch of other people who couldn’t get tickets. I went to some bar around the corner from my hotel, pulled up a stool, put on my sweet Canucks cap that I bought, ordered a pint, and in span of minutes, became quasi-Canadian. A small group of us cheered on the boys in blue and green, who put the hammer down against the BlawkHawks 7-3. From what I heard, this was an a**whooping compared to some of the Cancuks prior games. Revelers were celebrating on the streets and everyone was happy for the win. Since it was Saturday night, why not continue this copious consumption of alcohol?
I stopped by Café Cerpe on Granville to get a quick crepe for dinner, filled with smoked beef, chedder, and spicy mustard. For a Canadian street crepe, not bad, but nothing compares to the real deal in France. I took the SkyTrain back to Gastown and hit up the Steamworks Brewery, one of the most popular in Vancouver. I went up to the bar and tried their signature Lions Gate Lager. Then the bartender asked me if I wanted something stronger and would knock me on my a**. Hell yeah! He gave me some of the Blitzen Christmas Ale that was still on tap, which definitely gave me a well deserved blitz. I ended up chatting with some locals who were still excited about the Canucks, and I actually learned about Vancouver’s not so publicized side.
If you’ve ever been to Portland, Oregon or Seattle, you know that both cities have a very mild climate and don’t get bombarded with as much snow as other northern cities. The same applies to Vancouver, which gives it a milder climate during the winter months. Because of this, many of Canada’s homeless population migrates to Vancouver during the winter months to escape
the chills of Calgary, Edmonton, and even Canada’a most dangerous city, Saskatoon. Many of these homeless inhabitants have drug-related problems, and hang around the streets of Vancouver begging for money, just to get a fix. In addition, Vancouver has a very lenient drug policy. It’s quite alright to carry around a small amount of marijuana on you (or as the locals call it “BC Bud”) and be ok with the 5-0. Often times, you’ll smell that bud walking down the streets of downtown. Needless to say, the city is trying to figure out how to clean up this problem before the Olympics roll into town. Again, this is a side of Vancouver that isn’t mentioned in the guide books or online blogs, but like most cities, there’s always a downside.
Not to leave this post on a sour note, I ended up hanging out @ Steamworks for the rest of the evening and definitely had my fill of pints for the nights. While there was no place to get proper Adams Morgan style jumbo slice on Granville, 7-11 always seems to do the trick for a Saturday night fix, wherever you are in the world.