Sunday, July 19, 2009

Guu was Guud!

On our visit to Vancouver we took advantage of having family and went on a date while the sidekick remained with Cate and Marc. We have been on one "date" since getting to Edmonton as teenage babysitters charge crazy amounts of money here and the people we childcare swap with keep getting posted. I love my little sidekick but it was really nice to have an evening out without having to parent.

A few months back Ian went somewhere (hard to keep track of that guy) and it was necessary for him to fly Air Canada. While reading EnRoute magazine he read about a Japanese pub in Vancouver called Guu, where the staff yell in Japanese across the restaurant and yell in Japanese at you when you enter the restaurant. Ian very seldom gets excited about things so I hoped we would get the chance to go. Upon further investigation it was apparent that it was definitely not a family restaurant and we would need a sitter. Yay Cate and Marc!

There are 4 Guu locations in Vancouver; Ian chose the one on Robson and we set out on the bus to get there. Guu is a pub and doesn't take reservations and we had a small wait once we got there so we explored some shops on Robson.

Our name was called and we were loudly greeted by a hostess. I was a little disappointed that there were no inside seats left as that's where the electric atmosphere and cool decor was. The outside patio was small but it was a nice night and it did make for a nice date atmosphere.

The menu was huge. All the menu items were said to be traditional pub fare and were small tasting plate sized. No knowing what to order we started with a shaved pork cheek, baked oysters, edamame and scallop sashimi. Ian had a Sapporo and I ordered what I thought was lemonade but it turned out to be Ramune. Ramune is a lightly flavoured soda in a nifty bottle with a marble in the neck; funky.

Everything but the sashimi came and was all delicious. The oysters were so phenomenal when we reordered our sashimi we ordered more oysters and a ton of other food. The scallop sashimi never came but all of the other dishes we tried, except the fish cake, were really tasty.

We left Guu feeling pretty full and having had a nice time without the sidekick. Funny thing about the sidekick though, we talked about him almost the entire time.

Upon returning to Cate and Marc's we were surprised to find the G-man asleep in the bed. He never goes to sleep for anyone but us so Cate is a superhero.

Gratuitous Gaius Photo

Friday, July 17, 2009

Family Vacation -The Glorious Train

Gaius and I have travelled a lot this year; it was nice to have Ian along with us. During the July, VIA rail has been offering free trips for current serving members of the military and veterans and 50% off trips for their families. We had planned to stay put in Dredmonton all summer due to finances but we couldn't pass up the awesome deal. Thank you VIA rail for making an amazing family vacation possible.VIA Rail's current advertising describes the train as "the more human way to travel", I find I must agree with them. The plane is merely efficient and the bus is cheap, the train feels like traveling in style (even if your going coach).

The trip took 28 hours and had to sleep sitting up because the deal was only available for coach (no bed) but we were afforded a family seat (4 seats set up like a pod) so G had a bed of sorts. The scenery was beautiful and we saw wildlife without that rush of panic that comes with seeing wildlife on the highway. The aisles were wide and G could play in them without being too much of a nuisance and the observation car was a welcome distraction every few hours.
Being a health conscious and somewhat frugal foodie I packed a whole bag full of healthy snacks and beverages for us with the plan of eating dinner on the train. I was expecting the food to be expensive given that we were captive on the train with no other choice of where to go. We reserved for the first sitting and found it interesting that since the dining room is so small they stick strangers at tables together.

The menu was small but the most expensive entree was $11.50. We both chose the pot roast, it was flavourful, tender and a good sized portion. The wine selection was a disappointing red or white but the lemon cake for desert made up for it. Since we unexpectedly had a cheap dinner we decided to have breakfast which was, again inexpensive & good. My only breakfast complaint was that maple syrup was advertised on the menu but we were served table syrup.

I am sure the dining car in the Blue and Silver classes is much fancier and I had thought we could choose which dining car we would like to eat in but coach people aren't allowed to go into the Blue and Silver class cars. Being that people from Blue and Silver were welcome to walk through coach, it made me feel a bit second class.

The train was indeed the more human way to travel. The train environment has a comfortable social aspect and the opportunity to stretch out comfortably and read a book. The plane would have gotten us there in 2.5 hours, we could have driven in 12 but we wouldn't have had the same experience meeting people, feeling relaxed and eating good food.

With the hope that VIA will offer the same deal next year we are already thinking of where we would like to go next July. If you have the extra time to take the train I highly recommend it as a travel option. I felt like I was on vacation the moment I was on the train; a nice change.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Headed to Vancouver with Both my Sidekicks

The whole fam is getting on the train to go to Vancouver tomorrow. Stay tuned for awesome pics of training it through the Rockies, Vancouver adventures, and so many sweet kids you might get diabetes.

Oh, and also stay tuned for Plot 56 pics. Plot 56 is coming along nicely despite cutworms, cold, potato beetles, and a late start. Plot 56 is the reason for the blog lag. I am out at the plot watering, weeding, and worrying 'til about 10 every night, but the garden makes me really happy, or rather, by gardening I make me really happy.