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So. I am currently back in Vancouver and has been for the last two and a half weeks as a short impromptu visit.

The weeks before I arrived, Vancouver had AMAZING beautiful sunny weather. And of course, being that it is me, I brought back the Scottish weather with me.

It has been raining for the last two and a half weeks that I have been here.

Yesterday (Saturday), was the first time that the sun finally came out and being the sun-starved individual that I was having been living in Aberdeen the last 9 months, I immediately stripped down and ran around in celebration.

Not literally of course… because that would be technically illegal and I don’t want to be arrested for indecent exposure.

In any case, since it was a nice weekend, a trip down to the Richmond Night Market was planned since it is the 2nd week that it has been opened. After an arduous drive out and a HORRIBLE line, it was two hours later that we finally shuffled in like half-starved zombies into the actual market itself.

Then we attacked the foodstands in the earnest.

The interesting thing about the market this year is that there is a theme that has been set up that seems like it’s based on the giant rubber ducky art exhibit in Hong Kong.

And of course, no giant rubber ducky is complete with a random rubber ducky throne.

Game of Thrones, Rubber Ducky Redux.

And so continues my challenge to overdose on Asian cuisine/food before I leave for Scotland the coming Thursday.

~JGM

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It is pretty much a universal truth that receiving a package makes a person happy. It is very much like Christmas but at any time throughout the year. Even if that package is a package that you’ve been expecting. It is strange how much a small brown package in the mailbox elicits so much excitement and joy.

But that was not initially my reaction today when I slogged back from a 9am class, which I spent squinting at the projector screen (because that would magically somehow make me understand the nuances of the RDA cataloguing rules… ignoring the fact that if I squint too much, I am basically blind). I have taken a habit to open the mailbox every time I come back from class because the postman arrives ridiculously early in the mornings, much to the annoyance of most of my flatmates.

But that’s another digression that I will elaborate on on a later date.

I opened the small grey mailbox and aside from a couple of confidential letters for my flatmate, out popped a small, DVD-sized brown packet from Amazon with my name and address on it.

And I froze… and stared at it.

Now, I am guilty of online shopping. It is quite a bit of an addiction and the only thing that prevents me from going crazy on it is the fact that I don’t have a lot of money… nor do I currently need a lot of clothes (because what I have I’m happy with, not because I’m secretly a nudist. It’s not practical to be a nudist up here in Aberdeen). But I’m usually very aware of what I have ordered and at what kind of time frame I expect it to arrive. An anonymous Amazon package addressed to me?? Something I didn’t order??

The alarm bells went off in my head.

I’m not paranoid or silly or anything. I know it doesn’t contain anthrax… or any kind of biochemical terrorist type weaponry (cause why the hell would Aberdeen be on the target list…?) but what went through my head was ‘Oh shit, they sent me something by mistake. I’m going to have to go through lots of crap to see what happened. They’re probably gonna try and take money from me and I’m not in the mood to yell at some poor call girl on the phone about something that she can’t control or fix… This sucks.’ 

So… once I delivered the other letters to my flatmate, I went into my room and opened the rather plain, inoffensive box.

BOOM.

First thing I read on the spine of the DVD case is “Downton Abbey”. Now I know I definitely didn’t order anything of that nature because I don’t even watch that show.

And then the little message fell out.

It was an early surprise birthday gift from a close friend back in Vancouver.

And then ALL THE WARM FUZZY FEELINGS CAME OUT.

It’s great to be remembered, even half the world away. And that completely made my Friday.

A pub quiz will finish it off but that brown package kick-started my weekend.

..

..

But I guess that means I now no longer have an excuse not to watch it.

Damn.

~JMG

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Home-stomach-sickness?

It has been approximately three or so weeks since I have traded the beautiful coastline of Vancouver for the equally beautiful coastline of Scotland. Perhaps it is still a bit too soon to tell but I have not experienced the tell-tale signs of homesickness in the same way that my flatmates have. Do I miss home? A little bit but there is just so many things to do and see and people to meet that occupies quite a bit of my attention. And with the help of facebook, I keep in touch with all my friends, family, and significant other back home.

So why this post?

I really have no idea what to call it other than “Home-stomach-sickness”. Not quite like being homesick because it is not the people I miss but the food. Oh, the glorious, glorious foods. Vancouver is definitely a city without compare when it comes to restaurants and cuisines. So here’s a sampling so you know just exactly what I am missing out on in Scotland.

First off, Korean food. Through my previous job as an English conversation teacher, I have met and befriended many of my Korean students. Over the course of three or so years, I have went from knowing nothing about Korean food to being obsessed with it. Sweet, spicy, salty, whatever your taste buds desire! And sadly, there is nothing that I have found so far that has come close. In fact, I haven’t found any Korean restaurants or Korean places this far up north (yet) [so if there’s anybody out there who has suggestions, please throw them my way]. One thing I miss most? Korean BBQ.

But in Vancouver, it doesn’t just stop there! There are a few places that I would recommend to people, especially tourists and one of them is Meat and Bread on Cambie street. They were recently featured in an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on the Food Network. They offer a choice of four sandwiches, one of them usually being a special, every day and the menu is simple and fast. What’s more is that the pop (or cola, or fizzy drinks) that they offer are all organic and they have some pretty interesting flavours! I managed to finally get myself in through the door one day (there’s normally a line out the door and onto the street everyday at lunch) and ordered a Prochetta sandwich. It was… heaven. The pork was juicy and in between were pieces of crispy crackling. On top of that was some of their own homemade mustard. I HATE mustard but this tasted divine together with the sandwich. I basically polished off my board!

Yes, I said it right. My board. There are no plates in this here establishment. All the sandwiches are served on small wooden boards.

If great fresh local food is what you’re after or if you’re looking for some inspiration on what to make for a special night, I’d recommend heading down to Granville Island. The local market there might always be filled with tourists and art students but it is definitely a place to visit when you want to fill with eyes and belly!

There’s a small local bakery situated inside that I always stop by called Stuart’s. The pastries and cakes and freshly baked bread on display draws quite a bit of customers (myself included). And every time, with no fail, I order one sort of fruit tart or the other (I always go for strawberry though).

It really doesn’t get any better than that!

There’s another place that I introduce to people who are looking for authentic BC food called Pair Bistro on 10th ave in Kitsilano. Sadly, the last fancy meal I had with my significant other was also one of their last dinner services as the owner and the chef are moving on to another city due to family reasons. But wherever they move to, that city better watch out! They believe in using local ingredients and local foods. Even the beers and wines on tap are from local breweries. But the best feature of this place is the elk. This is the first place I have ever tried elk and after that, I never looked back. But here is a cruel tease of what they used to offer.

Elk medallion on a bed of roasted potatoes

Wild boar BBQ ribs with a side of coleslaw and cornbread

 

Can’t remember but I think apple turnover a la mode

Blueberry creme brulee

That’s it for my food-related post for Vancouver. Once I go discover enough places around Aberdeen, I’ll do a food post as well.

~JGM

 

 

 

 

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