Yep, it’s been a while….
Yep, it’s been a while….
Last year when I turned fifty, a girlfriend told me she wanted to take me away to celebrate.
As luck would have it, it took over a year to pull off the logistics (and to dovetail our trip with the annual summer Shakespeare Festival), but Ashland proved to be worth the wait….
What a week it’s been in Southern California….
Our Japanese exchange students at Lewis and Clark are wrapping up their year abroad, and my friend Mary Ann and I’ve been trying to get to things on their bucket lists….
It’s hard to believe we were only in Vancouver four full days.…
Man, did we pack it in during our Vancouver trip with my Mom.…
Take four voracious appetites. One big car. And a wallet full of credit cards.
Vancouver, here we come.
My Mom and my kids took off early Saturday morning and prepared for the three-hundred plus mile drive north.
First up, a long drive up here.
Big accidents on the freeway. Traffic jams all throughout the Seattle area. And then an hour and five minute wait at the border.
But there was truffle salami, Ken’s bread, and assorted cheeses to keep us nourished.
And one last beautiful sight before we crossed the border.
I’ve been to Vancouver ages ago, but none of the rest of the my crew had — so we had lots to check out in our initial forays.
There was the gorgeous English Bay.
And just a glimpse of Stanley Park. I can’t wait to come back and see more.
Then there was Canada Place.
And the impressive skyscrapers of Coal Harbor.
It’s always so enjoyable to watch seaplanes taking off and landing.
Hungry, we headed to Robson Street to a place both friends and Yelp recommended.
It’s a dim sum place that is known for their various dumplings – especially their soup ones (their Chinese name is often colloquially abbreviated so that they are known as XLB’S).
Having been to Din Tai Fung in Seattle I know what they were going for.
You put one of these little dumplings on a spoon and wait a minute to let it cool off. You can pinch it to let a tiny bit of the soup pool into the spoon or ingest it whole, still warm and intact.
Either way, a rush of warm savory broth and a moist, meaty pork dumpling await you.
It’s like an detonation of warm gingery pork flavor and hot stock in your mouth– and when it’s done well, like it is here, the dumpling skin is whisper-thin and tender.
If Din Tai Fung’s soup dumplings are a 9.5, these were a 8.5 — and that’s delicious enough to revel in.
More goodness awaited us.
Pork and green onion pancakes.
And Mongolian Beef. That was a hit.
And Shanghai Noodles. We loved those, too.
Eight things in all — and four very full bellies.
Desperate to walk off our gluttony, we headed to the Museum of Anthropology.
Situated on the University of British Columbia campus, it’s set on a grassy field not far from the water.
An enormous totem collection fills the main two story room when you first walk in.
Most of the totems are really old but the colors are still pretty vivid.
Now that I’m a huge Seahawk fan, it seems like everywhere I looked I saw the imagery of that bird in the carvings.
But truth be told, my crew and I only had a modicum of interest in the totem world, but there were many more things of interest.
There are thousands of items on view from around the world.
Like killer kicks from China.
And cool head gear.
And Javanese motorcycles made out of hand-woven baskets.
There were statues fashioned out of broken pottery.
And on special exhibit, whole rooms adorned with paper cut-outs from a Taiwanese artist.
You can go inside some of the canopies and look up to feel surrounded by a winter wonderland vibe.
Up close it was stunning how intricate the cut-outs were.
And then there was the video of a calligrapher in action.
That was so beautiful to watch her swift, artful yet precise movements.
And we all saw woven artifacts that look like bacon.
But I have to say my favorite was a whole section dedicated to vintage pottery.
Here’s an Austrian plate from the 1700’s.
Couldn’t it just as easily be Anthropologie circa 2016?
(I swear you could put this piece in the store right now and it would fit right in).
There were hundreds of pieces of pottery from all over Europe and Asia — and so many drool-worthy (and amazingly intact centuries later).
A long day in the drizzling gray ended at home with unremarkable neighborhood pizza takeout for the kids and rather wonderful butter chicken from Tandoori Fusion.
Our rental VRBO is the perfect place for a fire and nice meal enjoyed with an icy cold beer.
Man I love Indian food when it’s done well.
Vancouver — so far, so good.
More meals, more attractions and family time awaits.
I’ll keep you posted.
It’s that time of the year again….
Back in Portland, now up to our eyeballs in homework and walking to school in thirty degree weather, it’s hard to believe that just a few days ago we were stuffing ourselves silly, luxuriating in balmy weather with nary a worry except where best to eat next….
What will I remember most about the second half of our L.A. trip?…