Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Vancouver Goes Bistro

We're still a long way from the tapas-paradise that is every city and village in Spain but the trend to smaller meals, a bistrofication of Vancouver is to be applauded. Never a fan of White Spot to begin with, I've noticed the quality of their hamburburger-based menu has diminshed preciptiously over the years. I didn't have a burger at Cactus Club but the smoke house quesadilla made a perfect lunch. I'd read glowing review of Cactus Club before. We were on our way to Park Royal, an ever-growing mall in West Van (Vancouver's Beverly Hills, or so it says on a website somewhere) to take advantage of a sale at the Body Shop, along with our young friends Steph and Junko, who you'll remember from other restaurant reviews. We drove by The Keg where our friend Indra used to work, and Milestones, where I've never eaten but the 3 women in the car were familiar with, finally into a new (for me) part of the mall, called, suggestively The Village. Where was number 6? While buying fruity body shop stuff, Steph mentioned that she hadn't been to Park Royal since she was there with Bit. I'd never been to the willage so we weren't sure where Cactus Club was. A cold foggy day, not conducive to long walks. Then we had to wait quite a while to get seating for lunch. I guess many people had read those good reviews.
I started with a dozen prawns, Bit's favourite food, with a spicy seafood sauce, as an appetizer. For some reason this isn't on the menu on the website. Steph and Junko had some wondrously thick and cheesy broccoli soup- reminded me of French Onion soup. Fumiyo and I didn't order that as we often get broccoli soup from the Soupmeister at Lonsdale Quay and figured there was no better. After gift bites from the girls' soup bowls, we discovered we were wrong. Just what was needed after a long walk in winter.
Junko had never had a fajita before, so ordered the Cajun chicken. She didnt realize they would only bring her the ingredients which she had to assemble herself. Steph had the cheddar and bacon burger, which she found profoundly filling. Fumiyo had the Jambalaya Rice Bowl, which she found filling even with no appetizer. My smoke house chicken quesadilla was magnificent. Junko entertained us with tales of her recent trip to Europe, and we all luxuriated in the food.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Old Age

I'm just finishing the book Fingerprints of the Gods by Graham Hancock, a book about a possible civilization that predated those we know of. It reminds me of the Japanese pride in the ancientness of their culture, as well as my First Nations neighbours who date their history here back into the clouds of time. Unlike new nations like Canada.
When I lived in Japan, everyone asked me my age all the time. It was a way of categorizing me quickly, as someone older than them, and thus in need of polite speech forms, or younger than them, and thus capable of being addressed more informally. I would like to have answered "autochthanous." a word I learned in a Classics class at USC long ago. The prof looked and talked like Gov. George Wallace on speed, and spoke many lost ancient languages. In a classroom of perhaps 300 people, he wrote the word Autochthanous on the blackboard and made us all say it together. He explained it as the word used by the first Greek explorers when they were travelling around encountering different civilizations. Those with creation stories, Adam and Eve, Osiris and Steve or whatever, were noted by the Greeks as having been there for a lesser or greater time than Zeus's kids in Greece. The people who had no memory or myth of their appearance as a civilization were called Autochtanous, independent of chronology. I love the fact people don't know my exact age (to the chagrin of the Japanese) but in the past year I have gone from being occasionally thought of as a younger person (by strangers) than I am to being recognized as a "senior citizen" and asked for my Senior's ID. The magical "Senior" age is still a few monthes away. I can't wait to start saving pennies on my bus trips!