Unlike a lot of people, I actually enjoy the company of chatty cab drivers. Rather than sitting forlornly in the back of the taxi, silently contemplating a script, the last book I read, or whether or not that snoopy neighbor is going to discover the cadavers of the two vagrants buried underneath the toolshed, I prefer to engage the driver in conversation. It always make for an interesting, occasionally thrilling ride – like the time we were in Tokyo and our cabbie, amazed by the fact that I could actually speak some Japanese, spent most of the ride turned around in his seat, excitedly chatting away, cheerily oblivious to the oncoming traffic. Or the time Fondy and I were heading back to Charles DeGaulle airport in Paris and were regaled with a lengthy lesson on the evils of French colonial policies in Africa. Our driver, an affable enough fellow who hailed from Cameroon, bemoaned the persistent French influence on the politics of his homeland. And then, upon learning Fondy and I were engaged to be married: “For your honeymoon, you come to Cameroon. You will love the food; the people.” And then, suddenly dead serious: “If you are French, we kill you.” Before brightening: “But if you are not French, you will be treated like kings.” I assured him that I would think about it. In the end, we went to Hawaii instead.
Cab drivers can often be depended upon for a good restaurant recommendation or two – not just the hot spots but those diamond in the rough family-run hole-in-the-wall eateries that eschew hoidy-toidy bells and whistles like tableclothes, complimentary bread baskets, and, on occasion, cutlery, to focus on the food. Dishes like Au Petit Café’s family-recipe meatballs, Long’s Noodle House’s tong sum choy with bean paste, or Zukkushi’s home made zaru tofu are out there just waiting to be discovered. All you have to do is ask someone to point you in the right direction. If you’re new in town, try asking the cabbie ferrying you from the airport to your hotel. Or, if you’re coming to Vancouver and prefer to plan ahead, check out urbandiner.ca, the egullet boards, or this blog (natch).
And speaking of little gems – even though it’s not a restaurant, I wanted to give a shout out to my favorite top-quality meat shop in the city, Nikuya Meats (107-2828 East Hastings Street, www.nikuya.ca), where I swung by today and picked up two luscious-looking Kobe Beef rib steaks from Snake River Farms. Pricey, yes, but if you’re looking to treat yourself, kobe beef is the way to go. Nikuya also carries other meats including Kurobuta Pork (Japanese Black Hog) that is supposedly more rich in flavor than your average pork. I have yet to confirm this, but I did pick up a frozen ham for next week.
So, let’s see what’s on your mind…
Teri writes: “While I both agree to a degree with the comments you made re the fandom (…) it’s rather unfair to deride them for going off without all the information and then doing nothing to alter their lack of knowing. And I say that fully aware that you may not be in a position to divulge said information, in which case perhaps the mocking was less than the best road to take. (…) So, you know, maybe try to avoid the sweeping generalizations?”
Answer: Unfortunately, no one involved in a production can be as forthcoming as they’d like to be. Fans of any show will be left in the dark to varying degrees and while I do sympathize with said fans (some of whom may view any change with a certain amount of trepidation), I don’t sympathize with those who devote their online activities to finger-pointing and baseless assumptions. As for the sweeping generalizations, I was and have been pretty clear about which specific group of fans I was referring to. Naturally that won’t stop others from choosing to lump themselves in with this group and revel in their exquisite faux persecution but that pretty much reinforces my point as well. Finally, when it comes to this blog, people come for the mock but stay for the food pics.
Anonymous writes: “Can we please have some sort of hint of how much we’re going to be seeing Elizabeth?! *gives puppy dog pout* Pwease?!”
Answer: Can’t say too much about what we have in store specifically for season 4. However, I can reveal that the Weir character will be a significan player in a major arc.
Mary Beth writes: “What was that dish a few days ago with the stuffed oranges? And yes I do feel “entitled” to knowing the name of that dish. I also feel entitled to seeing some ice cream recipes since you mercilessly teased us with their names way back when on your old GW blog.”
I believe you’re referring to the spicy tuna sashimi from Octopus Garden (served in the hollowed-out oranges). As for the ice cream recipes – I’ll be getting back into the ice cream making in the coming months and I promise to include pics and recipes.
Joe writes: “Do you find it hard to write and maintain a blog like this?”
Answer: This blog was originally intended to be a food/travel blog. But, upon my return from Asia, I decided to continue chronicling my adventures in eating – and whatever else crossed my mind. I’ve kept up the pace of posting daily as a means of forcing myself to write. Also, I can’t stop taking pictures of my meals.