|Our hotel -- the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel|
|The seaplane in which we had the tour|
|View of Vancouver city centre from the seaplane|
|Me holding on for Grim Death at the centre of the scary bridge|
|Grizzly Bear on Grouse Mountain|
The food market was very interesting. It had lots of "basic" commodities, such as the standard fruit and veg that you would expect to find in a Western market -- potatoes, cabbages, carrots, apples and pears -- but also a lot of exotic and oriental fruits (like mangosteens, rambutans, longan, dragon fruit, fresh dates, physalis etc), and huge quantities of whatever was in season locally (mainly tomatoes, to my intense delight!).
|Oriental ingredients-- mangosteen, rambutan, longan etc|
|Dried chillis on sale|
From this stall we also bought an authentic made-in-Mexico tortilla-press. Made of cast iron too! We did have a few moments of hesitation when we considered the implications of this on our baggage allowance for the return journey, but we have been looking to acquire a tortilla-press for ages and the doubts were soon dispelled when I declared that I would rather leave behind all my shoes rather than forego this rare opportunity. Here is a picture of it.
The tortilla afficionados amongst you will know that Mexican tortillas are traditionally made with a type of cornmeal called Masa Harina. This is now on our shopping list, though I think it may be hard to find in our part of the world. For the time being we will be using "Island Sun Fine Cornmeal" from the supermarket (look in the West Indian foods section at Tesco). Never having made tortillas from scratch before, we will have to experiment a bit, so we are prepared for less-than-perfect results the first time round. I'll keep you posted.
|Ready-made corn tortillas|
|Crab apples (centre)|
This next picture is of fresh dates, and physalis (Cape Gooseberry - closely related to the tomatillo)
|Dates (left) and physalis (right)|
|Part of the amazing array of olives on sale|
|Some stunning chocolates!|
|The postcard stall|
Finally, a few words about, and a couple of photos of, the second part of the holiday. We travelled up to Whistler on the Rocky Mountaineer train. It is a very scenic journey, that takes about 3 hours (it goes very slowly so that you can enjoy the views). Here's a picture of the train.
|The train to Whistler|
|The "stats" about Peak-To-Peak|
|The Peak-To-Peak cablecar|
|Autumn colours on the Whistler hillsides|
From the Foodie perspective, what were the highs and lows of this holiday? As regards the lows -- I had better not name the restaurant where mice were running about all over the place, and in which the same (completely inappropriate) accompaniment of Pak Choi in sesame sauce was served with both my Mediterranean chicken, and with Jane's Cajun Prawns Diane! This is what we call CONfusion food. We also encountered the worst Beef Rendang we have experienced anywhere, in a so-called "Award-winning" Malaysian restaurant. It was tough, gristly, grey and practically tasteless -- a huge disappointment when you know that this is usually one of our favourite dishes.
Granville Market obviously has to be No.1 of the highs, but I also enjoyed:- the veal chop mentioned above (though it was hideously expensive); a salad that had semi-dried cranberries and feta cheese in amongst the mixed "field greens"; Jane had a starter one evening that was bite-sized pieces of fillet steak wrapped in bacon, which was apparently very good; on this occasion I had a salad of baby iceberg lettuce with crispy bacon and blue cheese dressing, which was also excellent. Yes, in retrospect we did have a few reasonable meals.
My final point concerns drinks. The price of alcoholic drinks in Canada is outrageous. Even a very ordinary bottle of plonk wine was about $30 - $50 in the restaurants. In the one in which we ate on our first evening, which was not exactly posh -- spirits were $17.50 a go -- that's about £12! Luckily we had had the foresight to buy a bottle of Duty-free Scotch whisky on the way out, which we consumed over the course of the week back in our hotel room. The whole bottle cost only £12.50. Nuff said!