Monday, October 8, 2007

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving

This should be a post about family dinner: turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, brussels sprouts -- well, maybe not in that order.

That's what was supposed to be happening at our place, although we were going to have the meal on Sunday to accommodate those who needed to work or travel the next day. The last time I managed to get everyone together was back in early June, so I started early sending out an e-mail to my four kids, copying my husband efficiently so he'd follow the action. Eventually I got positive responses from three of them, although my son and his girlfriend weren't high enough on the seniority lists to get that busy weekend off (they both work in hospitality). I was disappointed Zach and Joey wouldn't be able to join us but so pleased to look forward to having everyone else together on the island. Then one by one -- first, it was Bronwen & Adam with an opportunity to go to Hawaii for a week, how could I say no? -- then Megan whose new job required her coming in on the weekends, which she'd had off when I first invited -- then Rhiannon who probably, quite honestly, didn't think it was worth using her one day off to eat a ton of turkey with the old folks!!

So we decided to skip the turkey. I was first inclined just to hibernate on the island for the weekend, especially since I've got a stack of marking, but decided to make the effort to get to the city and I'm glad I did. We've had a good time together, if quiet, and, after all, it's pretty much the two of us from here on in anyway. I'm glad we raised independent adults with busy lives and if I do sometimes feel sad that we don't have the big meals together very often, I remind myself that we do enjoy their company individually quite often and they get together regularly as well. If we all lived in the same city and everyone had weekends off, mom and dad's free food would probably be enjoyed collectively much more often, but we don't so . . .

So this is what we did instead:

Went to Vij's for dinner on Friday night. If you're ever in Vancouver and you like Indian food, go here -- the New York Times has called this "one of the finest Indian restaurants in the world"!! But if you go, don't bother trying to make reservations. They don't take them: instead, it's a first-come-first-served chaotic cocktail party atmosphere in the lounge at the back where hopeful diners wait for a table. We've never arrived early enough to sit right down and Friday was no exception even though we were there before 7. Still, with a drink in hand, crowded in next to everyone else, you can visit and people-watch and, best of all, nosh on the goodies that get handed out to placate impatient appetites. Plates of Indian-spiced yam fries or nummy little pakoras or spiced lentils on little crackers. In fact, we've often thought for the cost of a beer or two, we could come fill up on the snacks and then just head out to a movie. A cheap date, for sure! So far, though, we've never been able to resist the lure of the menu. This time I started with prawns in a coconut masala sauce served on a bed of grilled kale and followed up with duck breast in a mango reduction and some yummy veggies on the side. Paul started with samosas and moved on to shortribs. As we ate, Vikram Vij, expansive and welcoming in Indian-style outfit, circulated through the room, occasionally stopping to ask how we were enjoying the meal -- was the mango sauce too sweet? Had we found the wait too long? -- he was pleased we enjoyed the atmosphere, agreeing that the waiting time just made the room like one big party. Clearly, he enjoys being its host. Finally, we were done, just laughing when the server suggested desserts -- not an ounce of room left in our tummies. Luckily, the walk back to our place over the bridge gave us a good 25-minute walk to aid digestion.

Now I'd better get back to the marking. I've got through 40+ papers this weekend, but I've got about 15 more to go and I'd love to be able to hand them back this week (they're all in-class papers of about 5-800 words, so it's not quite as bad as it sounds). I'll write more later about Restaurant #2 and about the meal we put together from all the lovely local produce at Granville Market. Also have a few photos and even a Finished Object for you!


  1. one of my drivers brings us Indian food ever second week. something different each time and always something vegatarian for me. I'm looking forward to finding a great Indian restaruant in London as I've heard there's lots. I'd like to try Vij's is it on the expensize side for an Indian place?

  2. Yumm! I remember Bronwen and I managed to find a few good Indian places when we were in London -- lucky you!
    I should have said that Vij's is not typical spicy Indian food -- rather it's fusion -- he is French-trained and brings that training together with an Indian sensibility for great results. Yes, it's a bit on the expensive side for casual Indian -- but check out the place he has right next door (on 11th, just off Granville). It's called Rangoli (check out and while you can eat right there, less expensively than next door, it also offers all kinds of wonderful takeout food available also in those great Indian tiffins. You can get meals freezer-ready in plastic bags than can be popped in boiling water later for an instant and very satisfying meal. Can you tell I'm a huge fan?


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