This is a little glimpse that a project I've been working on. These are a couple of lino cuts that I carved. I'm pretty used to carving rubber blocks, but this was the first time I've returned to lino since high school. The texture of the lino these days is so much better, so much easier to cut.
Some of you have heard of the Hunger Games Trilogy (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay) by Suzanne Collins, I presume? Shane brought the first book home last week, and I have been devouring the series ever since. Plot-wise, it's a little Battle Royale set in a North American dystopia, but the story is still very compelling (even though it's a 'Teen' book). It's a page-turner, and Collins crafts a very flawed, very strong and at times admirable heroine in Katniss Everdeen, who survives because of her single-mindedness. There are moments that will make you cry, and these moments are surprising because they are ones of unexpected kindness. As far as trilogies go, this one ended as it should, though I suspect it's not as satisfying as people would have liked it to be.
The books take you some where, and the journey is pretty incredible.
One of the best things that happened in Vancouver, food-wise, was that the City of Vancouver created a pilot project for new street food carts. Although the carts have been slow to pop up, their arrival brings about a refreshing change from the usual hot dog stands.
Re-Up is probably one of the early success stories of the project; almost from the beginning, there were lineups during lunch hour. The tiny silver cart is located on Hornby near the Vancouver Art Gallery, near the fountains and Olympic clock. My friend Brigid and I went for on our lunch break to check it out. I first tried Re-Up the week after it opened (without my camera), and I was curious to repeat the experience.
The odd thing about Re-Up is that it's not very clear when they open - the first time I visited they opened at around 11:15am, but on this particular day they opened for business a little after 11:30am (generally the opening time is 11:20am). There were a few people milling about, and it was pretty obvious that they were eyeing the little silver truck.
We both had the sweet tea ($2), which was sweet, strong and very refreshing. The tea had an intriguing floral flavour that I couldn't quite place - a little of rose or violet, which was very unusual. It was very good.
Now we come to the goods. Re-Up has only one thing on the menu - the pulled pork sandwich ($6). The pork is smoked off premises and is warmed before serving.
The Portuguese bun is warmed, stuffed full of pork, topped with vegan BBQ sauce and coleslaw. The result is a sandwich that's overflowing with meat and crunchy cabbage. Don't wear your dress clothes with this one, folks. It's a messy bite, but so incredibly delicious. The pork is tender and moist, with a nice smoky flavour, and the sauce is wonderful - slightly spicy and nicely tangy. I've never liked coleslaw, but this coleslaw is surprisingly good.
Even though I was full, I felt like I could've eaten another one of those.
Re-Up is addictive, indeed.
My co-workers are mostly vegetarian and vegan, so we took the opportunity one day to visit this organic, raw vegan restaurant after doing a site visit for work. The day happened to be the wettest day in August since 1958 or something. Can you tell by the picture?
Organic Lives is on the corner of Quebec and 2nd Avenue, and is housed in a big red brick building. Even with the signage, it was a little hard to tell that there was a restaurant inside; in fact, I must have walked by the restaurant every day when I lived in the area.
Okay, when I first heard about this restaurant I was skeptical, because what can there be except salads? But looking at the restaurant's website I was intrigued by the various food preparation methods. Although none of the food is cooked, there is a lot of dehydration, blender use, and some really complicated processes.
The first thing that I noticed about the place is that it is quite warm, despite the lack of stoves. One of my co-workers explained that this was because of the industrial size dehydrators they use. Although the seating is quite limited (around 20ish seats?), the restaurant had a large kitchen/prep area and really high ceilings. There is a bar area on which you can perch and watch the food preparation.
Along one side of the restaurant, there are products that you can take home with you, like coconut water, dehydrated pineapples, and various nut butters.
The menu is quite interesting, because it's very 'normal', with things like lasagna, wraps, sushi, pizza, and nachos. This makes dining here less intimidating for people, I guess. But when you read the descriptions and the food actually arrives, the utter ingeniousness of the dishes is pretty astounding.
Now, on to the food!
Side Garden Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing
I had the lasagna with Caesar salad ($14). The lasagna was made with thin slices of zucchini, and tomato, a nut-ricotta like cheese, sun dried tomato sauce, hemp-basil pesto. This was beautiful to look at and even more beautiful to eat. Everything was super flavourful and fresh tasting. The nut 'cheese' had the most uncanny resemblance to ricotta, but tasted even better than the original. However, the star of the dish was definitely the Caesar salad. The Himalayan pine dressing was tangy and complex and utterly delicious. The 'crutons', made from almonds, was amazing. I was amazed at the vibrant flavours this dish had.
Everyone loved their dishes. By all accounts, everything was intensely flavoured and delicious. It was such a surprise for me, because many of the ingredients I had never even heard of! And I was astounded at how good everything tasted. Even though the dishes here are a little bit pricey, it is worth the money considering the organic ingredients and the intense amount of preparation involved in the dishes.
I want to come back and try everything on the menu!