23 August 2010

Dear Vancouver

Dear Vancouver,

I'm sorry it's been so long since you've heard from me.  It's not that I didn't want to stay in touch. I've simply found myself so busy...

Remember when we had so much fun together in the early 2000s? Great meals, wonderful shopping... those times we watched Indy cars spin around the track.

You've really grown up since then, ramping up the chic factor and erecting big arenas to host legions of fans during the 2010 Olympics. It's no wonder the Olympics committee picked you for the Winter Games: You always dress so stylish, with international flair, and have been leap years ahead of your time (especially compared to Seattle) with your lightning-fast SkyTrain.

It's true -- your taste has gotten more glam (Hello, Gucci, Tiffany, and Burberry). Your restaurants cost a lot more, too (especially now that our American dollar is so weak in comparison). But, you're worth it.

I'm so happy I took my mom up to see you for her special birthday celebration! We dined on some of the freshest seafood from COAST. Plus, how cool is it that your aquarium endorses sustainable, "safe" fish to eat -- so I knew instantly what to order. Thanks for that!

Thanks, too, for fueling us up on caffeine with your many Starbucks (nearly every corner!) plus the Murchies tea shops where I picked up some black currant tea and the stone fruit teas for my Seattle mornings.

Thanks for the wonderful shops on Robson (Zara! Aldo! Lush!) I can't wait to wear my my new treats from each once the weather cools off.

And, you know what? Thanks for being zany, choosing to host a Zombie day. We quite laughed as we walked into the Art Gallery to see the (incredible) Modern Woman exhibit and were suddenly surrounded by bloody zombies. Awesome. (I think my favorite was the zombie-housewife chasing her zombie-husband with an oven mitt.)

Thanks for fostering the musical talent of Michael Buble. That cat is one helluva charmer, and we loved every minute of his show at GM -- er, Rogers -- arena.

Finally, thanks for the lovely landscape of Stanley Park -- 1000 winding acres of muted blues, greens, browns, and greys; of huge salt-water burnished rocks awash in sea kelp; of low-hanging fog atop the Lions Gate bridge (comparable to the beauty of the my first love's Golden Gate). True tranquility.

I had a great visit, and can't thank you enough for your open arms in welcoming me back.

XO, and I promise not to stay away so long this time,


Oh, PS! Thanks SO MUCH for keeping English candy in stock in your quickie-marts! I'm in Cadbury heaven...

12 August 2010

Quick bites: The latest tastes

Thanks to a rush of social engagements and some extra free time, I've eaten a veritable smorgasbord of new tastes over the past few weeks in Seattle. Some of my favorites:

  • Slices of sweet, luscious Pence Orchards peaches at Metropolitan Market (and, now, found in my fruit bowl). Bonus: As part of his Peach-o-Rama festival at Met Market, Jon Rowley charts the peaches' sucrose levels with his beloved refractometer so we know how much (or how little) sugar to add to our pies.
  • A soft, salty big pretzel with a kicky Welsh Rarebit cheese sauce at Quinn's. Strangely, we ordered this alongside the dessert course and it paired wonderfully with the sweets.
  • Beauteous beignets at Where Ya At Matt. These fluffy pillows are heavily dusted in powdered sugar that melts, sensuously, as it hits the tongue. Eat them while they're still warm.

And finally, to wash it down, I've found 2 new favorite warm-weather wine vintages:

  • Tart, tangy, and slightly effervescent Albarino -- a Spanish white from the northwestern region of the country
  • The crisp, refreshing zing of chilled rose -- especially Vinho Verde rose.

(I'd hoped to hit up the Melrose Market and sample some treats at Sitka & Spruce last night. We took our chances and went sans reservations; alas, the walk-in tables were all full. We'll try again in a couple weeks and I hope to tell you it was delicious!)