Another whirlwind day of awesomeness has come to an end, and today was filled with allllll the food + allllll the walking. I pretty much expect that’s how the rest of the trip is going to go as well. 🙂
I started off with a walk through nearby Stanley Park. This is basically in my backyard:
How ridiculous is that? I swear, every time I turn my head I see a mountain, and the sight just never gets old. At any given moment, you can find me standing in the middle of the street, just awestruck. It’s a wonder I’m not dead yet.
Also everywhere I look, and another reason I’m amazed I’m not dead yet, blackberries are everywhere. I can’t understand why on earth Vancouverites are wasting their money buying berries in the grocery stores and in the farmers markets when there are literally blackberries every 500 feet. I assume (hope) they’re okay to eat… because I picked my way through two parks and a few side streets worth of berries today. I saw this sign at one point; I hope it’s not code for “poisonous berries, do not eat.” So far, so good, though.
I ended up walking wayyyyyy more than I expected to this morning, and in the opposite direction of what I was planning. Oops! On my way back to the apartment to drop stuff off mid-day, I grabbed the cheapest and most fantastic sushi lunch at Sapporo Sushi. Their lunch special was ridiculous – super-tasty miso soup + california roll + spicy tuna roll for $6.25… and it was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long, long time. I want to eat here for every meal for the rest of the trip. I won’t, but I won’t be surprised if I manage to find my way back there before I leave.
When I got back to the apartment, I laid out my plans for the afternoon and evening. It’s been sort of rough not having cell service and wifi everywhere I go, but today I figured out I should write out every destination’s directions before I leave in order to not waste time staring at maps in the center of town. I covered more ground this afternoon and evening (regarding the amount of destinations, not necessarily mileage-wise) than I did all day yesterday and this morning combined. Lesson learned.
My first leg of the afternoon trip took me to Earnest Ice Cream, where I got a scoop of strawberry basil topped with a scoop of London Fog (Earl Grey + vanilla). Earnest’s motto is “Seriously Good,” and they are not joking – this ice cream was fantastic. I’d expect nothing less from strawberry basil ice cream, but the London Fog blew me away. It was so light and refreshing for an ice cream. I’d eat the crap out of this if we had it in Pittsburgh.
My next stop was for a donut (for tomorrow’s breakfast) at Cartem’s Donuterie. Yes, for someone who really doesn’t love donuts, I sure do seem to buy enough of them…
Can you guess which flavor I got?
Aww yeah, Whiskey Bacon. Monday morning has never looked so good.
For my next stop, I had to take a few buses followed by a long walk. But since the place I was heading to didn’t open until 7, I had some time to kill. Enter: IKEA.
I KNOW. I’m in Vancouver, why on earth would I go to IKEA? Well, because I was dropped off in the middle of a district full of appliance and mattress stores… and IKEA has bathrooms and free wifi. AND… apparently a huge wall of bulk candy. Why doesn’t the Pittsburgh IKEA have this?!
IKEA closed at 6, though, so I still had an hour to kill. So I walked and ate more blackberries. For an hour.
After a long walk, I made it to the Summer Night Market, also known as Panda Market.
I feel like it’s important to note that there were no live pandas at Panda Market, so I was a little disappointed. However, they had this guy:
Is this Bruce Lee? I assume so. People were stopping to take pictures with him; he was a hit.
Unfortunately, I got to the market so early that some of the attractions weren’t open yet. Like this:
I wanted to get inside one of those plastic bubbles soooooo bad, but I had other places to go and I couldn’t wait around (especially since there was no one in sight even preparing to open the gate to the pool).
I got to see some interesting things, even without live pandas. Like this:
Erm… no. The girl at the stand saw me taking the picture and offered me a sample. I passed. (Though to be fair, I’ve eaten dried squid and it’s fantastic. I just can’t get over seeing the suction cups on the tentacles and correlating that with food. Just can’t do it.)
I did, however, get some BBQ Pork Buns. 2 for $3, not a bad deal! And the perfect size for a snack.
My last stop for the night was the Richmond Night Market. This market charged $3.25 admission to get in (after waiting in line for nearly a half hour to get to the admission booth), and it was insanely packed. Like, I could barely move and people were just generally being jagoffs. BUT… this market had over 100 food stalls and over 500 different food products, along with retail tents, a performance area, and dinosaurs. Yes, dinos.
One of the first unique things I saw (but didn’t purchase) was a water cake. Looks to me like a jellyfish. I was afraid to get too close.
I was thisclose to buying all the inventory at this jerky tent, but I restrained myself:
These things, called “Rotatoes,” seemed to be a huge hit. I got a couple samples along the way, and they were pretty darn tasty. The picture, though, is obviously not food. It’s a statue for the Rotatoes. Because why not?
This is another stall that tempted me. Yes, “Croiffles.” I hope the US is taking notes from you, Canada.
This was also almost a go – reminded me of being on the beach!
In the end, I settled on a two-part dinner. Part one: my very first Hawaiian salmon poke bowl from Ohana Poke Bar.
I was really afraid I wasn’t going to like it, which is why I got it at the Night Market – first off, I wouldn’t be out that much ($8), and second, I could easily find other food if I hated it. That said, I loved it. I loved the flavors, the way the mixed together, and even the texture. I’m a fan.
The second part of dinner was a “mini” serving of chicken karaage from the Mogu tent.
In contrast to the poke bowl, I really expected to love the karaage, but I didn’t. It was too fatty, or maybe there was too much breading. The sweet chili sauce they squeezed on top of it was good, but the chicken itself was just meh. I ate a piece with the breading and then ended up pulling it off of the rest and dipping the naked chicken in the sauce at the bottom. Merp.
After eating, I walked around a bit more and then stopped by the performance area to watch some dude lip-syncing and dancing to a bunch of Michael Jackson songs. At first I thought he was being ironic (typical jaded American that I am), but he was serious. And he was actually really good. He really played to the crowd and got them going; his performance ended up being one of the highlights of the night. I’m sorry I doubted you, Michael Jackson dude; you were kind of awesome.
I finally made it back to the apartment at around 11:30. Considering I left at 8:30 and only stopped back for 15 minutes around 1 pm, it’s been quite a long day. Thank goodness I have that awesome donut to look forward to tomorrow! 🙂