Yesterday, me and my chum, Ethan, decided to head out for a belated birthday lunch (E’s birthday, not mine) and maybe do a little photo prop shopping while we were at it.
We thought we would check out the newly resurrected Save-On-Meats diner on West Hastings. For those of you unfamiliar with Save-On-Meats you can watch the story of how restauranteur Mark Brand is trying to bring good to Vancouver’s downtown east side – one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Canada – in the new Oprah Winfrey Network show, Gastown Gamble. I’ve been wanting to try this place out long before I knew it was going to star in a reality show – the building is iconic, the decor is pure deli-diner and the word was, the food was pretty good.
It was all those things – we both had the signature burgers with fries for $6 each. Solid bun, great tasting patty, fresh lettuce, bacon, cheddar and crispy fries. For SIX dollars!! It was a winner. Plus, cool neon all over the place. Definitely worth checking out. There was a line to get a table during our entire stay but it moves fast.
We did a quick wander by the old Woodwards building, through parts of Gastown, stopped to add a few photos to my street art collection (get this, when I took these two photos I didn’t see that the graffiti was a face – it wasn’t until I got it up on the screen that I saw it. I just thought it was cool geometric shapes! Just proves half the time I don’t know what I’m doing with my camera!)
Then we decided to head up to Chinatown and do a little prop shopping and check out Chinese New Year’s festivities.
Chinatown is always a fun visit – so I thought I would just leave you with a photo essay of our day. We had adventures, as one often does in Chinatown or the Downtown East Side. Ethan got a warm welcome to the DTES on our way back from our day. It’s an eye opener to anybody who’s only ever seen Vancouver as a pristine city of glass, mountains and ocean on TV. Drugs, prostitution, homelessness… people tripping you with their umbrellas on purpose (yeah, that happened! What a mean old man!)…
We had trouble identifying the bottom photo above. After a call out to Twitter, we’ve come to the conclusion that they may be water chestnuts, but more likely they’re Chinese arrowroot.
What’s New Year’s without BBQ??? BBQ duck… mmmm… But we wound up going with Chinese New Year’s pastries. We waited in a crushing throng of people lined up at a bakery counter but eventually came away with a paper bag of goodies.
We did well on our prop hunting too – so many little shops selling pretty much everything you could ever need for a kitchen. Some were huge, some were tiny. One teenie tiny shop had an upstairs that looked choc-a-bloc with goodies but when Ethan made a bee-line for the stairs a little tiny woman grabbed his arm and shook her head and very emphatically said “no upstairs, no upstairs”. So… we didn’t go upstairs!
And so I say to all of you, Gung Hei Fat Choi! Happy New Year!