Saturday, July 31, 2010

Post 26.13: Vancouver - Final Day

It was the final day of my visit to Vancouver, and there was just one item left on my bucket list for Canada... poutine

Poutine is Canada's national dish (but this is debatable).  Poutine consists of French fries topped off with gravy and cheese curds (with variations).  Poutine is a fun to say on repeat.  Poutine looks absolutely horrific at first glance, but... poutine tastes like heaven.

On the way to the airport, Amanda took me to Belgian Fries on Commercial St., where the bar hoppin' happens.  This is where we found the most expensive poutine in all of Canada.  The cashier clerk at the shop ensured me that both the potatoes and cheese curds were shipped over from Quebec, where poutine originated.  However, the travel from Quebec was not the reason for its hefty price.  This was the most expensive poutine because...

... a parking citation and a tow-away fee came with it.

Yes, you heard right. 

Having forgotten that it was rush hour on a Monday, we parked just after 4:00 p.m. when, of course, Commercial St. becomes a tow-away zone.  (Looks like some things in Canada are the same as they are in America, eh?)

Since we were already running late, Amanda suggested that we order the poutine and eat it in the car as we rush to the airport... but as we were waiting for the Canadian deliciousness to finish frying to a golden crisp, I was relishing in a pint of ice cold, local Canadian brew.  (Sounds a bit strange hearing it as... ice cold, Canadian brew, doesn't it?)  And when heaven contained in a styrofoam box arrived, I couldn't wait to have some.  While Amanda reminded me, "You're going to miss your flight," I feverishly tore through the plastic bag and popped the top of the styrofoam box the same way a mechanic would pop the hood of a smoking car.

These fries were hot.  Like... literally steaming hot.  My first bite just about torched the nsides of my mouth.  It took 60 seconds to fully bite, chew, and engulf the ridiculously burning hot fry... just once.  Whew.

Where the fries had been fortunate to be graced by the gravy's golden touch, the potato was pillow soft.  Where the gravy had missed, the fries were still crisp.  It was easy to taste both the crispy portions of the fry and the tender soft areas too.  I really like how the freshly melted cheese curds burst with a bit of saltiness juxtaposed with the relatively sweet brown gravy.

I had three bites before I slammed the top back down on the box.  Just hearing the haunts of, "You're going to miss your flight..." was enough for me to get in gear for the race to the airport. 

Too bad... while I was enjoying this amazing-delicious poutine (merely three bites) and polishing off my glass of Granville Island honey blonde, Amanda's car was being towed away by parking enforcement.

Upon walking outside of the shop, I heard Amanda ask, "Wherrrre's... my... carrrr...?"

And though I was inclined to respond with "right there," I couldn't.  I suggested that we walk further down the street, but that suggestion was futile since there were no cars left on our side of Commercial St.  And that's when we saw... the tow truck.  And... the tow truck driver.

The driver with his new catch, seeing Amanda run towards his tow truck, slammed on the gas pedal and literally almost ran my now carless Canadian companion over.  Jackass!

Thankfully, though, Amanda's friend Allan saved the day.  He not only picked us up but helped us find the automobile prison and stayed with us until the car was released.  Super props to Allan.  (Thank you, sir.)

But now it was up to us to race to the airport in time to check in (my bag was full of maple syrup and every candy and cookie made from maple syrup imaginable), pass through security, and clear Customs and Immigration.  In the end, I made it.  But not after being (again) detained by security for suspicious items (maple syrup cookies?) and having my bag emptied and flipped through.  Daaamn yooou, Caanaadaaaaa!

But what's life without a little bit of drama and excitement, right?

Thanks to Amanda for being a wonderfully gracious hostess.  I learned quite a few things about Canada and its people (like how they stop talking to me after they find out I'm American) and its food.  I will be back.  For sure.  Until the next trip though, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

ML - 20100811/20100705

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