Today being a gloriously sunny day, I decided to skip out of my weekly lunch meeting at the Dot Com Pho and take my girls for a day on the town. We jumped aboard the Skytrain in Burnaby and headed downtown.
I asked the girls if they wanted to go on a harbour cruise and they responded with a resounding “YES!!” So off the train at Waterfront Station and over to the harbour cruise.
The girls, as usual, loved the harbour cruise.
Once we were on the North Shore we had a light lunch (teriyaki noodles with chicken and vegetables) at the Lonsdale Quay before heading back across the harbour to the Canada Line.
From Waterfront Station we headed to the Vancouver Airport aboard the Canada Line.
The girls loved that ride, especially the extended run through the tunnel. It is interesting how the Canada Line tunnel is so well lit compared to the Expo Line tunnel that runs under downtown Vancouver.
At the airport the girls had a great time playing in the playground near the observation deck. We could watch the planes moving about, fueling-up and doing whatever they do before departing while the girls played their funny kid games.
After a coffee and an extended time sitting on the observation deck, we realized that we had an hour long train ride to get back to life in the burbs.
We jumped on the Canada Line, rode to Waterfront, got on the Expo Line and rode back out the burbs.
Fortunately, the girls, who were pretty well exhausted after a full day of action were able to find a vacant sleeper car on the way home.
We headed out to Steveston today to see what all the fuss about the sockeye salmon run is all about. As it turned out we did not see any salmon running anywhere but we did see many of them being carried around in plastic bags.
However, before we could do anything about the sockeye salmon, we had to stop at a thrift store to get my Sweetheart a pair of jeans. Before we left home I noticed she was wearing jeans, and me, being the helpful sort that I am, reminded her that it was going to get sunny and probably much warmer later in the day. So she ran back upstairs, pulled off her jeans and put on a very cute and summery skirt.
Oops. I should not give fashion advice. As soon as we stopped the car and opened the door the wind just about tore the door off. My Sweetheart looked at me and told me to drive back to the thrift store that we had passed on our way through Steveston.
So much for my wish to get away from shopping. Eventually my Sweetheart came out of the store with a massive bag of baby clothing and toys. Then it was off to the Steveston waterfront.
The Gulf of Georgia Cannery is a beautiful setting; it is even used as a back-drop for wedding pictures.
The boats were all lined up at the wharf and the people were lined up waiting to get a piece of this year’s record sockeye salmon run.
Personally, I hate line-ups so I refused to take part. Apparently they were selling sockeye salmon off the boats for $15-$20 each. A jolly good price that many were more than willing to pay. Instead of buying an entire sockeye salmon though, I wanted mine golden-fried with chips.
So along we went to Pajo’s Fish and Chips.
The line-up was 30 minutes just to order your food and then another 30 minutes to get the food. Having two toddlers with us (and me with my blood sugar getting dangerously low-equals me very cranky) we decided that the Pajo’s at Garry Point would probably be less busy. (Cue the laughter here).
Actually, at this one I walked right up to the counter and ordered our food (salmon and chips, thank you very much). Forty-five minutes later we sat back and ate. I have to admit, it was worth the wait and the kitchen staff at Pajo’s were busting their butts all day. Cudos to them for their efforts at feeding the masses today.
After eating I took the family over to see the Steveston Fishermen’s Memorial. This memorial is a giant net mending needle with the names of people who have been lost at sea inscribed in the base of the memorial.
I am saddened every time I visit the Memorial and I see my uncle’s name, Toby Bjerke and his boat the Mistress on the memorial.
The loss of too many of my family member’s was part of why I was so passionate about the water safety contest/giveaway that I recently ran. Far too many people die from preventable deaths like drowning. We really do need to change the way that we think about water and safety. At any rate, today was the day that I met with the winner of our water safety contest, Deni, commenter #9.
Ironically, when her name was drawn I was concerned that she might live somewhere far away in the USA or who-knows-where. No problem, she lives close by our family and we met for a coffee this morning so I could hand the gift card over to her. Even funnier, her and her husband also have twin girls that she blogs about. You can visit her blog at These Happy Days dot com.
But back to our Steveston day-tripping…on our way out of Steveston my Sweetheart says, “Hey there is a guy selling salmon, let’s stop.” No lines up, no waiting, $12 a fish, beauty. Next thing I know there is a “thump” as she drops a bag in the trunk of the car. She then jumps in and we drive away.
Then we get home and I open the trunk.
Well my Mom worked in a cannery when she was younger, so what the hell, I can gut, clean and behead a salmon I suppose. My theory is that I might have picked these skills up from my Mom through some genetic thing-like thing, seeing as she worked int he cannery years before I was born.
Get out the trusty Swiss Army knife and the Ginsu knife and away I went at it.
It was actually easier than I thought it would be.
And then a little clean up.
Having a background in Shakespeare, all I could think about was Lady Macbeth as she tried to clean the blood off her hands. “Out damned spot, out…” or something like that.
Soon I was done my bloody handiwork though.
The gutting and cleaning was actually the easiest part of the process. We do not have a knife sharp enough to fillet the salmon so it was a bit of a mess trying to complete that task. Regardless, it tasted really good!
Another great day in the city. What a fabulous city we live in!!
Today I loaded the twins and my Sweetheart into the family sedan and headed out to Stanley Park. And it turned out to be a great day for touring the park!
However, before we got to Stanley Park we stopped into the Vancouver Community College culinary arts retail outlet and picked ourselves up a couple of lunches to take with us. My Sweetheart got us a trout dinner and a cod dinner. We both agreed that the trout dinner was the superior meal.
We shared this meal between myself, my Sweetheart and the twins. We are now at the point where instead of buying two meals, we need to buy three because the girls eat so much of our food. The times they are a changin’.
At any rate, before we ate our picnic lunch we toured around the Stanley Park Rose Garden. We had a chance to chat with the people who maintain the gardens. When I asked a gardener what the pattern in the way that the flowers and cacti are planted, he just shrugged and said that they actually did not have any plan, it just turned out that way.
Another interesting fact that we found out from the gardeners was that all the edging and trimming is done with hand tools. No noisy two-stroke engines wailing away. A bonus for those seeking a little peaceful respite from the noises of the city.
After our trout lunch we headed out for a walk around the park. As we walked by the concession I got a sudden hankering for an ice cream sandwich. My Sweetheart headed up to the concession and then promptly returned to tell me to get over my hankering. Why?
$3.85 for a Klondike Cone? No thanks, so the next best thing is the wild blackberries growing next to the concession stand.
We feast on berries before walking over to the Theatre Under the Stars at Malkin Bowl.
I will have to get back down to the Theatre Under the Stars to see how the performance works out. The funniest thing during this picture/no picture exchange was the guy who was hosing the crow shit off the chairs. He was taken by surprise by me walking into the open air theatre and he took his job of walking me back out very seriously.
A great day for visiting Stanley Park. One last thing though, as we were driving out of Stanley Park my eye caught sight of the building on the corner of Georgia Street just after Lost Lagoon. On one of the upper levels of that building in one of the suites, through the floor to ceiling windows you can see what looks like a white grand piano.
I remember the old weathered grey wooden building that used to sit on that corner. It housed a bicycle rental shop last I remember. Now it houses a grand piano. Yes, the times certainly have changed.
On Sunday we took the twins to our favourite place in the city, Granville Island. Unlike the brave souls who engage in the blood sport of finding a parking spot on Granville Island, we park a block away and walk down to the Market.
Although we often like to go to Granville Island to soak up the ambiance, yesterday’s foray was purposeful in its nature. We were headed to the Lobster Man to see what kind of fab West coast Mussels they had in their tanks for us.
Upon our arrival we were not disappointed. A lovely bin of the Gallo Mussels awaited us. Gallo Mussels, long grown in Europe and eastern Canada, they are now cultured in the cool, clean coastal waters of BC and and available year round, this mussel’s delicate flavor is a great compliment to any of your seafood recipes.
And what I consider a genius marketing move that all retailers should consider, The Lobster Man tells you how to prepare the food they are selling you!! So if you are unsure of how to cook mussels, they hand you a sheet of paper with a variety of ways to prepare their product. Pure genius I say.
My Sweetheart decided to try the Mussels with shallots and wine. A simple preparation; into our Lagostina dutch oven my Sweetheart poured about a cup and a half of white wine, a couple of finely chopped shallots, a bunch of basil and a pinch of cayenne. She let that boil gently for the required five minutes and then left it to simmer until it had reduced to about a half cup (all of measurements are approximate seeing as our girls have hidden our measuring cups in their toy box).
After the sauce was reduced she scooped in a dollop of butter and let it melt. Then she dumped in the mussels (after very carefully washing them under fresh, cold water). The recipe calls for 4 pounds of mussels to feed three people. My Sweetie bought 2 lbs and that was plenty for the two of us.
Clap the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to medium and let them cook for 8-10 minutes. In the middle of that cook time, pull the lid off the pot and give the mussels a quick stir. Put the lid back and let them cook until they pop open, usually within the estimated time. If some of the mussels do not open, throw them out. Otherwise, enjoy!!
And although it was close to ten o’clock last night when we ate dinner (both babies were up all evening screaming like someone was stabbing them with a spoon) the mussels were an absolute delicious delight. Their meat was in fact plump and sweet and delicious. This dish was much easier to prepare than we ever thought it would be. Like I said, handing someone a recipe along with your product is pure genius.