Monday, September 27, 2010

Dreams, Fairytales, and the Granville Island Farmers' Market

I'd always dreamed of running away for a weekend and staying in a magical place. It's an entertaining fantasy, but I've always filed that dream in the same folder as fairy tales from my childhood. Rational me says: "It costs too much." Or, "I can't justify getting away from my routines and schedules." And, " It's just too self indulgent."

When I was young, I liked fantasy. I believed in dreams and I grew up on Walt Disney stories. Cinderella was one of my favorites, but for me, it wasn't about any prince in the end because that was always a mystery--what happens beyond the happy ending anyway? What I really loved was the way the mice and birds stepped up and created that beautiful dress out of leaves and twigs. I also liked that Cinderella only had a limited amount of time for her fantasy. That makes it all the more precious.

This picture hung on my bedroom wall for years. Maybe that's why I love to dream and everybody should harbor at least a few fantasies.

Last Wedesday I visited Granville Island for a book event at Barbara-Jo's Books to Cooks. I booked a reservation for the closest place--the Granview Island Hotel. It was the first time I've ever spent time in a high-end hotel. (Dad was such a fan of Motel 6, I often find it hard to justify a hotel expense but this time I said why not go for it?)

So I checked into this amazing room, wheeled my bag up and the best part was the hotel was just a short walk to the Public Market, which is a bit like Pike Place Market--fresh produce, candy makers, bakeries and hot foods of all kinds. Walk in and you immediately catch scents of fresly picked flowers, yeasty cinnamon rolls just out of the oven, freshly brewed coffee,and farther down I inhaled the scent of smoked deli meats, herbal teas and hearth baked pizzas. It was hard to keep to the healthy vegan diet I'd mentioned in my other blog with so many temptations all around me.
I bought giant figs and fresh berries, but who could resist these Fraser Valley Blueberry scones--this is sweet temptations with a sense of place.

I couldn't help myself, I was overcome and had to have one. Every bite was worth it.

I sat outside, soaked up the last rays of summer and listened to one of the many talented local musicians playing familiar folk songs from the 60s. He was guitarist in an long coat and top hat with an amazing pitch-perfect voice. Children chased gulls and groups of people chatted over coffee, rolls and sandwiches. Later, I meandered around visiting shops in this artsy place-- a fun way to slow the pace and detach from our techno world for a few days.

After a few stunning sunny days, a cool misting rain refreshed washed over the Island on Thursday when I visited the farmers' market.

The Granville Island Farmers' Market is a tiny market with great local produce and the most beautiful artisan breads. I was tempted to buy some beautiful artichokes but I refrained and it's a good thing I did because U.S. Customs Agents would simply toss them in the garbage. I did purchase a few apples ( I wasn't thinking about Customs then) and of course I had to get 100 Mile Bread because all the ingredients were gathered within 100 miles.

I laughed at this clever sign. Nix v Hedden involved the tax collected on vegetables and apparently taxes on vegetables funded the U.S. government in the late 1800s.
The time came to say goodbye, end my little fantasy, and it wasn't easy. Check the scene each evening from my window.
As I checked out of the hotel, the desk clerk handed me the bill. I stared at it and as I perused the amount I felt my carriage turning into a pumpkin.

Then at the U.S. Border, the patrol officer gleefully confiscated my Canadian born apples and tossed them in the garbage. Hey, wait a minute why doesn't the Border Patrol have recycling and composting? It should be a crime to just throw apples that good in a landfill. I breathed a sigh of relief when she let me keep my 100 Mile Bread.

My assistant was thrilled too. This was the very best crusty artisan bread I've ever eaten and it came with blueberries and hazelnuts. Here's to dreams and memorable food!


Kathy said...

Deb, Love this story! Who doesn't enjoy a fantasy. I might have to walk in your footsteps! Thanks for sharing this story.


Holly Hinman said...

I recently catered a wedding in Pemberton, BC and the menu was SE Asian. I found some gorgeous fresh rambutans at the Granville Island market. Certainly not "local" having come all the way from Thailand, but it certainly was magical! A dreamy food shopping experience there for sure.

ddzeller said...

Such a fun time in a great place, and enough to feed any foodie's fantasy.

Jan Burak Schwert said...

Deb, What a wonderful visit. You have a talent for appreciating the smallest hazelnut to the grandest hotel. Glad you got to focus on your dreams and make one of them come true. Jan

ddzeller said...

Hey Jan, thanks for stopping by the blog. It was Barbara Jo of Barbara Jo's Books to Cooks that got me on the dream track when I bought her self-published book about eating and cooking for a month in France--one of her dreams. It made me think a lot about dreams while I was there.