Grocery-wise, I live in one of the most pedestrian shopping/dining areas on the planet, so I always come home from forays into Vancouver with unusual kitchen delectables as well as a full tummy from dining experiences not even remotely possible.
We stayed overnight there on Tuesday, so got up in the morning and headed to Le Beau Patisserie for a cup of coffee and what is maybe the best croissant in North America. That is, if I've ever had another that good in the States, I can't remember it. Even in France, they're not always that good anymore.
Then we went shopping at the market on Granville Island. There, I found whole arctic char; we love it, and one purveyor there is the only place I ever see it for sale. (Strange, it's from cold waters north of here but one doesn't even see it on restaurant menus, but it popped up over and over in Kansas City.) Also, there's a butcher there to rival anything at Pikes Place Market, including a guy there who has great veal. Veal is almost non-existent in Bellingham but there I was able to buy not only gorgeous thick tomahawk style chops but also veal short ribs. I've never even SEEN veal short ribs before let alone cooked them, but I can't wait to do so! I bought three pounds worth, just guessing that that's what it's going to take to feed four adults. There were about 10 riblets per pound.
At another shop that has spices and all manner of odd fresh seasonings, I found fresh green peppercorns. Fresh! I've never seen fresh for sale before. They'll probably end up in a sauce that will go with the veal chops tonight.
From a green grocer, I bought watercress. Not the hot house kind but the real deal, again something almost never seen in my area. Also, pea shoots, frisee and real baby carrots. Frisee is another almost non-existent thing in my area: in the last year a clamshelled hothouse version called "soft frisee", or maybe they use the word 'sweet' instead of 'soft', has turned up, but it's a lettuce and not an endive, and good but it's not frisee-frisee no matter what they call it. Last night, the starter course for the arctic char was a salad of peas, pea shoots and watercress topped with three cooked and lightly marinated prawns.
After stashing it all in the car, we headed for lunch at one of Vancouver's Xian-style noodle restaurants called Shi-Lan Noodle House. There, you choose both the seasoning-preparation and the noodle style. The noodle styles available are delightfully named Cutting, Dragging and Pushing. Dumplings and rice dishes are also served, but with the guys right in front of you thwapping those noodles around to order, how could you order anything else? We tempered a beef-pepper pushing noodle with a curried tofu cutting noodle. Fabulous!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov