Saturday started with bright sun a little milder temperatures. After I roused T from his sweet dreams, I hustled us off the Public Market. We decided to walk to Grandville Island, were the market is. The walk over Grandville Bridge gave fantastic views of False Creek and surrounding Vancouver. Once we made it over we headed under the bridge towards the Island. it was still early about 9ish and pretty quiet at that time. We spotted the Agro cafe and stopped in for some liquid love aka coffee and shared an organic omelet of bacon, caramelized onions and white cheddar. The potatoes it came with were prefect golden brown little bites of salted french fries. It was a nice way to start the day.
Besides the Public market which is a foodies dream, the island has a large outdoor labyrinth of local artists and crafty type shops. Toss in a lot of buskers (guitars and folk music seemed to be the choice of the day), water sport themed shops and restaurants and you have the gist. The did have a large children area with their own market, entertainment etc. I being with out child on this trip opted to avoid all rugrats if possible.
The Public market was the highlight of the island. A large indoor food focused market with nearly everything. I just kept wishing I had a kitchen at my disposal a group of people to feed. The produce was amazing, so many fruits that I cannot get fresh in Chicago like mangosteens, dragon fruit and longans. I bought a fresh bag of longans and have munching on them since. There was cheese, fresh cured meats, seafood,imports etc..It easily made me consider Vancouver as a possible living spot sometime in the future.
We enjoyed the island for a few hour and then headed out going our separate ways. I had a client meeting in the Mt. Pleasant area and T went off to check out art galleries. My meeting went well and the client wanted to meet for dinner that evening. He is native Chinese and said we should go to a traditional Chinese restaurant. I was totally up for it. After my meeting I went yarn shopping at 3 bags full, who were very friendly. I looked on the map and thought to my self oh the train stop doesn’t look to far, I can walk that…..well easily 2 miles later on inclines I made it foot sore and in desperate need to use a restroom. (I will say I have walked more the past few days than all year so far).
T and I met back at the hotel and he briefed me on his travels. He went to Equinox gallery and managed to catch the last day of the Fred Herzog showing. He brought back a nice program from it and I did enjoy the street shots that were views we could see from the hotel. His second gallery was the Monte Clark Gallery, he came across the Greg Girard show. Which after checking out online I have to say I like his pics. His final stop of the afternoon was The Vancouver Art Gallery, to view the Ken Lum exhibit. Ken Lum was an artist T enjoyed when studying photography and art at Uni in Melbourne and Hobart.
Once we reunited and compared notes, it was time for a quick shower and dress for dinner. The client picked us up and took us to Richmond a nearby coastal suburb of Vancouver. We pull into a tiny strip mall and park and head towards Top Shanghai Cuisine Restaurant. It is packed, bright and loud and we are the only Westerners in the building. The client (ill refer to as C moving forward) has made a reservation and quickly sorts out our table. We are seated at a 4 seat table on the side of the room. The center of the room is dominated by large round tables with massive glass lazy susans laden with food and people eating and chatting loudly.
C questions us on our dietary likes and dislikes. T has lived in Korea and I have spent enough time in SE Asia that we are both willing to go with whatever. C is from Shanghai are and starts by ordering dim sum from his town. They arrive along with 2 other cold dishes and the parade of food begins. The dumplings are hot and perfectly seasoned juicy nuggets of pork. We quickly devour them. There is a cold dish of pork in aspic which is amazing, tender with hints of 5 spice and garlic. The final cold dish looks like clear noodles with black sesame specs. C is trying to remember the English name and finally comes up with jelly fish. T and I grab a bit if everything and dig in. The jelly fish is crisp in texture with a clean flavor of sesame and vinegar. It was well balanced and the texture ended with a burst of liquid. It was tasty and cool, I would eat it again.
This place moves at a quick clip so before we have even sampled the first wave a large tureen of soup is brought out and served to all. Its a light crab and egg soup. It is light on the palate and very good. More food comes, sweet and sour whole black cod, yellow fish done in some style, greens. T and I realize this i s going to be some serious eating and we order a bottle of red wine to sustain us. We start doing a lot of toasting, eating and laughing at our table. C comment son how open we are to trying his foods and our ability to rock out with chopsticks. The black cod is beautifully presented and has a well balanced sweet and sour sauce with shrimp in it. The fish is boneless and perfectly cooked. The yellow fish is a stronger fish and has a slightly spicy savory preparation. Both complimented each other well and were fantastic. The yellow fish did have some bones but was cooked well enough that it was simple to remove the bones with your chopsticks. The greens were fantastic and I ate a few helpings. Next came out duck a few ways, we had crispy skin with little pancakes, slivers of cucumber and green onion and plum sauce. The duck meat came next small chopped with veggies over fried cellophane noodles. Needless to say all 3 of us ate and drunk our selves silly. C brought us back to hotel and said he hoped we would come again soon so he could show us around. I have definitely cemented that client relationship. T and I wandered around for bit to work off our meal and then retired for the evening.