Saturday, October 22, 2011

VanBC Day 2 Afternoon/Evening: Granville and a Chinese Dinner?

The centerpiece of Granville Island is the Public Market. It is a large building housing dozens of vendors who sell fresh produce, poultry, soaps, jams, jewelry, native art, many cooked food vendors, and much more. For those in Portland, it is like Saturday Market and a Farmer's Market rolled into one indoor experience. It is reason enough to become a Canadian (assuming you have the income level to subsist in this spendy town) all by itself.

On this day, it was still quite drizzly so just being under the roof was a great service. We wandered through slowly and enjoyed the wonders without buying anything at this time. We left the public market for lunch at the nearby The Sandbar. With views of False Creek and cloth napkins, this restaurant seemed upscale, but one thing we found out is that price is uniformly pretty high in BC and only partially due to the 10+% HST tax. You might as well eat at nicer places because the greasy spoons (or General Tso's bone emporium) aren't much different in price. I had a salmon burger and Ladybug went for a small sirloin steak.

From there, we went back to the market and bought some apples from the Okanagan (assuming the BC side rather than Washington), some organic grapes, and some local pastries for breakfast to save calories and money and allow us to move more lazily in the morning without worrying about sustenance. We then took our boat back to the train and headed back to the hotel.

Medical Aside: Permanent conditions and pain management

I have a ruptured post-tibial tendon in my left calf/foot that was misdiagnosed and became apparent over the course of years. At this point in time there is nothing to be done surgically that wouldn't carry consequences as serious as the condition. So I have a severe pronation in my gait (arch collapsed inward) that tends to pull other bones (right sacroiliac, I am talking to you) out of position.

We made a decision to use public transit instead of driving everywhere. While there are many pluses to this decision, it does involve a lot of walking. I do have a custom-built ankle brace with does improves things quite a bit, but walking miles each day does bring out the pain in my foot and back.

Advil does take the edge off, but I found myself with severe arch pain after day 2. I was able to use a gel sheet from my backup brace placed just below the worst pain spot to really make a difference for the rest of the week. Nonetheless, when I returned to the hotel at the end of day 2, my foot was really hurting. Sometimes it pays to use the MacGyver approach. The full effect of this didn't happen until after dinner however.

After relaxing for a while, we decided to seek out dinner. After our experiences on Day 1, we decided to refrain from local Asian cuisine using based on our shaky experience eating bones and nudged around at the market. Though it was obvious that we were intruding in some areas where we were clearly not welcomed, it would be premature to make a blanket decision about the whole area. Even so, we opted to go farther afield in order to find alternate cuisine for dinner.

There was an Italian place called Cucina Toscana about 5 blocks away. That sounded good. We started walking. Well, the blocks were rather long and 5 blocks ended up being about 1/2 mile (0.9 km). With each passing block, Chinese characters graced of every business along the way (sometimes with English subtitles). Three, four, and five blocks and and this was still the case. When we reached our Italian restaurant, it was in a 100% Asian business center and the Italian restaurant was announced in large Chinese characters with English subtitles. So much for escaping Chinaburb geographically.

Entering the restaurant was a different matter. The young man who greeted us was definitely Asian, but the table layout was Italian. The fabric curtain partially hiding the kitchen was very Chinese as was the layout of the kitchen I saw behind. I was worried as anyone with useless stereotypes in his head would be. I needn't have worried.

Our host was quiet and very pleasant; he brought us the obligatory Italian bread plate and told us about the menu. I ordered the house white wine to start and Ladybug ordered an interesting and very different beverage. It was hot water with honey and lemon and she found it to be very pleasant. Sometimes it is nice to enjoy a pleasant beverage without alcohol or caffeine.

Ladybug ordered fettucine with chicken and I went for a seafood penne dish. They were both quite tasty and coupled well with our beverages. Any residual collective blame for the crummy lunch incident was expunged with this fine meal. Since we were the only customers for the entire experience, we tipped somewhere around 30% to make up for the lack of business a little bit. [We ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory for lunch today around home and it was comparatively nowhere near as good. Good cuisine transcends national origin.]

We walked back to the hotel in the waning light. The pain in my arch was growing quite acute on the way back. I was happy to return to the hotel. We spoke about what to do on day 3 and decided to hit a couple of big tourist traps.


Pandabonium said...

I feel your pain. Well, to be honest, no, I don't. But I can relate a little. I've been having "plantar fasciitis" - an inflammation of the tissues connecting the heel with the arch and toes. Common at my age I hear. Fine most of the time, but so much if I walk a lot and also first thing in the morning before I'm "warmed up". So I have a little idea of your pain. I drive the cart when we go grocery shopping - not for being thoughtful, it makes a good crutch!

Next time bring a skateboard? :=p

Salmon burger - yum. I bought some frozen ones from Costco ("trident brand - wild salmon) and they taste very good to me and don't fall apart like my homemade ones do.

Glad you got a nice a dinner. Good on you for the added tip - while I like the "no tipping" of Japan, I sometimes wish I could.

Arkonbey said...

Man! Sorry to hear about your pain. That sucks.

However, at least this meal was better than a certain previous experience!

The Moody Minstrel said...

Some adventures are clearly better than others. I'm glad day 2 was better than day 1 even with the pain.

Don Snabulus said...

PandaB - My condition is similar in some ways to plantar fasciitis. If you have a few bucks to invest in relief, you might check out Better Braces.

I found a PTTD brace that two ankle specialists were unaware of. It was instrumental in my weight loss. Self-help for the win!

Arkonbey - Nice to read your dulcet syllables again. I think the first meal was just a freshman hazing incident.

Moody - Many thanks!