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April 9, 2010

Vancouver: Granville Island Market

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I've been waiting so long to put together a post on Vancouver's Granville Island Market, that I'm just about out of anything to say about it besides that it was a lovely time wandering through it.

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We took one of those tiny boats there and walked around and ogled the food, particularly the meat, on display.

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February 23, 2010

Vancouver: Homelessness

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One of the striking things about Vancouver to me was how much homelessness there is. Like my first visit to San Francisco, it was a stark reminder of how much less drug abuse and poverty we see in New York these days. Even now, recession and all, the presence of homelessness is nothing like it was when I was growing up.

So, seeing so many panhandlers out and about, not to mention the sketchy scene in Chinatown was jarring.

I hear that many groups are up in arms about the money going to Winter Olympics. It's said that that money could be used to ensure that no one would have to sleep on the streets again.

I have no idea. As a U.S. citizen, I'm certainly in no position to call out Canada on its funding of social programs.

Further, I think that the argument judges that sports aren't important. I'm not much of a fan myself, but I'd be deluded to say that sport doesn't pull people together in a way few other things can. And I'd be arrogant to decide that my disinterest trumps the overwhelming support sports have worldwide.

As far as homelessness goes, I don't have a solution, but I don't know that throwing money at it necessarily resolves it either.

February 22, 2010

Vancouver: On The Water

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New Yorkers take the water for granted. We're a city of islands, but we rarely set foot in the water. Even at our great waterfront views and sightseeing locales, we are looking past beyond it to see our skyscrapers and bridges.

Yes, there is the pollution issue, but that's more a symptom than a cause. Our busy city culture tends to focus getting over, under or through the waters surrounding us.

In Vancouver, I was surprised at how many people were out on the water. Besides those who were fishing or landing planes, there were people rowing crew and kayaking. Instead of the big water taxis and giant circle line boats we have in New York, tiny boats that would fit now more than a dozen people traffic passengers from port to port.

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We sat at water level and waved as this lady passed us by. Yes, this totally freaked me out. Don't mistake this for pining. I won't be kayaking around Manhattan any time soon. It's just an observation of something that is seemingly entirely different to me.

February 19, 2010

Vancouver: Feeding Time

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Walking down the waterfront in Vancouver after lunch at Kitaro, I had one 'city-boy' moment after another.

We saw this guy gutting a fish down by the marina. I was annoyed that he was just chucking the bits he didn't want back into the water. With this gorgeous view around me, it ticked me off a bit that this guy was littering like that.

Then I jumped a little when I saw a blur under the water.

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He wasn't littering, he was feeding the local wildlife. Apparently, there are tons (literally) of sea lions that live in the area and share the water with all the boats and planes that use it daily.

A crowd had gathered to watch and one of the other tourists tried to get in on the action. That was all well and good until the sea lion got a bit friendlier than expected:

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Vancouver: Distance

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I'm not so great with the metric system, but I'm pretty sure Vancouver was the closest I've ever been to the North Pole (on the ground).

February 18, 2010

Vancouver: Kintaro Handmade Tonkostu Ramen

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Our first stop in Vancouver after checking into the hotel was Kintaro. Guy had read about it and as Asian food is always on the top of my list of things to try while out west, I was more than happy to check it out.

The ramen shop seemed to have quite the following. When we got there, the line ran out the door and that didn't seem to be anything unusual. The neighboring restaurant politely insisted that those in line refrained from blocking their storefront.

Once inside, it was clear that part of the reason for the line was the exceptionally small space. Folks were crammed in pretty tight, but then, pork was involved, so I wasn't surprised.

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The specialty of the house is tonkotsu. Not to be mistaken for tonkatsu, this is ramen topped with roast pork and enveloped in a rich, milky pork broth.

We sat at the counter and I watched as huge pork bones were lowered into stockpots and simmered for the next batches of broth. Like most ramen places, there were variations on the basic stock using soy sauce or miso, but they all came from the same porky base.

I can't track down any notes from Kintaro, but I believe I had an order with extra pork because, well, that sounds like me.

One of these days I need to figure out what goes into that base and try to make a batch of my own. I think some research is in order. I'd better go to Manchenko Tei for lunch today to get started...

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Kintaro Ramen Noodle,
788 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC, Canada, 604.682.7568‎

Snapshots from Vancouver

Vancouver

I haven't really been following the Winter Olympics. I rarely do. But reports and discussion tend to be inescapable.

The other day, I saw Brian Williams reporting from Vancouver with the bay behind him and I was brought back to the few days I spent there last year. One of the best things about travel is how it resonates with you long after you've returned. I heard another report on NPR where the correspondent was drowned out momentarily by a landing seaplane. Before he said anything, I knew what that sound and remembered the city-boy awe at airplanes that land on the water!

Over the next couple of days, I'm going to try to catch up on some of the posts I never got around to writing from my trip to Vancouver. Enjoy!

December 28, 2009

Vancouver: Gas Station

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As if the Seaplanes weren't enough to wow me, I was completely amazed by the idea of a gas station on a river. I mean, it makes sense, right?

December 21, 2009

Vancouver: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

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First off, Vancouver's chinatown is sketchy. Like Bowery in the 80's sketchy, junkies crowded around bars, divey hotels and help centers.

So, it was a little jarring to walk a block away from a major thoroughfare of despair and end up in this gorgeous space. It's a recreation of traditional Chinese garden from the 15th Century.

I skipped the tour in favor of wandering on my own and shooting photos, so I don't have much more to add. My only advice would be to be aware of your surroundings on your want there.

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December 18, 2009

Vancouver: A Duck and A Pig Ride Through Downtown

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I have no idea.

December 17, 2009

Vancouver: 3 Door Boarding

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So, the Western notion of a Public Transit system paid for by the honor system is apparently applied to buses as well as the subway in Vancouver. This 3 door boarding process caught my attention when I was out there over the summer. Each of the doors has an automated payment system that riders are trusted to swipe when they board.

Craziness.

October 27, 2009

Vancouver: SeaPlanes

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I have to admit that one of the most exciting things in the Pacific Northwest to me was seeing seaplanes for the first time. I've seen them on TV and in movies and such, but had never seen a plane land on water before. It was really rather cool to watch.

I can't imagine a row of these little planes flying out from under the Brooklyn Bridge. In fact, given the poor track record small planes flying around New York, I'm pretty glad about that. Either way, more than the gorgeous scenery off in the distance, just seeing these things in action really impressed me.

September 30, 2009

Vancouver: Work Less, Do More

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Words to live by.

September 15, 2009

Seattle: Not Eating in an Eating Town

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Apologies for the radio silence of late. I haven't managed a single dispatch from the Pacific Northwest, in part, due to some of the difficulties I had while out there. I suspect that starting off the trip with a brunch of a seafood buffet and raw bar probably had a good deal to do with my troubles. Suffice it to say that I spent most of the time I was on the road without much of an appetite and the rest of the time downing Pepto to keep myself in one piece.

That said, I did manage to have some great meals despite everything and I saw a lot of both Seattle and Vancouver.

I've got a great many updates to put out and I hope to have many of them out over the next couple weeks.

Stay tuned...


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