Adventures in Vancouver's SoMa / Riley Park neighborhood – June 23

Adventures in Vancouver's SoMa / Riley Park neighborhood – June 23

The SoMa (South Main) or Riley Park area at Main St. and King Edward / 25th Avenue, is definitely one of my many Vancouver neighborhood hang-outs.  Sometimes I can be found working at the Riley Park Branch library.  I have attended and hosted writing events at The Grind coffee shop for Asian Canadian Writer's Workshop.  This is a great coffee shop for studying in, hanging out, or using for meetings.  I have also attended  performances by friends at the Montmarte Restaurant or the Legion. It's an incredible two block strip that I particularly like from 24th  to 26th Avenue along Main St, and includes one of Vancouver's best Chinese restaurants, Sun Sui Wah.

Today we had brunch at The Crave restaurant at 3941 Main St. to celebrate my girlfriend's birthday.  The floorspace is intimately small, and as we waited at the entrance for our table – I found myself beside “the bar” so I ordered the “smoothie of the day”, a delicious blend of raspberries.  Since my girlfriend's favorite drink is a gin and tonic, I asked them to substitute gin instead of the vodka for the “adult smoothie.”  11am, and we are on our way to a great brunch.

We squeezed 5 adults and a 7-month baby into our booth.  The items are quite reasonably priced.  All the bennys and “Eggs Your Way” ($7) came with buttery potatoes, so savoury I didn't even use ketchup or HP sauce.  My girlfriend ordered the California Benny ($8 1/4) and also really likes french toast ($7) so that's what I had.  It was a deliciously rich challah french toast with raisins inside, served with maple syrup.

After brunch I dropped into the “House of the Spirit Bear Gallery” at 3957 Main St.  I had noticed when the gallery had opened about a year ago, but had never been inside.  Upon entering I quickly saw a wonderful display about Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas.  Yahgulanaas is also known as “Haida Manga Guy.”  I first met him when I was asked to introduce him at Word on the Street festival a few years ago.  As he read from his book, I held the book up for the audience to see, and turned the pages.  He really appreciated it. 

Anyways, gallery owner Darrell Gilmore told me that Michael is having a opening at the Museum of Anthropology on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 at 7pm.  Darrell tells me that Michael has collected argillite dust from all his fellow carvers and used it to create an “argillite paint” which was used to cover a Pontiac Firefly car, upon which more uniquely Yahgulanaas artwork was painted.  It sounds inspirationally crazy – just like Michael.  Darrell gives me one of the post cards, and right away I zoom in on the words “Live music and refreshments to follow, “tailgate style,” on the grounds of the Museum.  Definitely going to have to check out this party…  That guy Darrell… nice guy.

Next I walk into the Riley Park Branch library.  I talk to my co-workers there and book some more hours.  We chat briefly about library stuff, including worksites, supervisors, co-workers, library culture, library videos on

Windsor Quality Meats at 4110 Main St. is a great butcher store.  Staff are really friendly, and I like to pick up the specials.  My tongue still remembers the incredible rib-eye steaks that I picked up last year.  Today I picked up Maui Ribs, and salmon fillet steaks marinated in orange and spices.  Yum Yum – I think my girlfriend will enjoy an  extra-special home-cooked birthday dinner tonight.

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