This was to be our last weekend of summer and we were planning to do it up good. Then, Thursday night while preparing dinner for some house-guests, our kitchen sink went kooky and clogged. Mike's a pretty smart one when it comes to things like this. However, when limited with no plumber's snake in sight, we plunged our freaking triceps off to no avail. It was time to call in the landlord. The landlord set us up with a plumber who's grasp of the English language is quite limited - if we needed our landlord to translate, we were to phone him. You get the idea.
So, our Friday night began much later than anticipated with a still-clogged sink, hungry tummies, and still waiting for a definitive answer to when the plumber would come by. We decided that we'd go off in search of some grub and make the best of what night we had left of the last long-weekend of the summer. Off to North Vancouver and one of our favorite places, Lonsdale Quay.
We arrived at the Quay and expected a bustling, party atmosphere. Remember, this is the Friday night of the last hurrah of summer, people. We walk through the doors to the market and are greeted with silence and the sight of vendors putting tarps over their CLOSED kiosks. Apparently the market closes at 7 on Fridays. We had to quickly abandon our plans for eating a little of this and some of that from the large variety of vendors at the market. It was getting late, and we needed to feed the girls!
Usually we avoid chain restaurants whenever we can, preferring quirky unique mom and pop restaurants. But times were desperate, and when the neon sign for "East Side Mario's" called up to us from the top level of the Quay Market we were over our restaurant philosophy. We marched up the stairs, jumped over a barricade, and were greeted by a very large Italian man who appeared to be the host. This guy looked and sounded like he was a regular on "The Sopranos". I loved him immediately. After telling him we were new in town and from Winnipeg he began talking about a fellow student he knew from the 'Peg...."but she's got issues - up on human trafficking or something bad". He had me at "she's got issues" the favorite catch-phrase of my beloved friend, Heather. But I digress.
We continued our conversation with the "host". He just so happens to live in Burnaby too, he told us - just moved here a year ago. Before we knew it, he suggested we all get together at his place so our kids can play together - and he handed Mike his business card with the most classic Italian mobster name - Antonio Simoes. His business card said he's a divorce lawyer - but he quickly pointed out that he hasn't practiced in a year - he actually owns the restaurant. It was a perfect exchange - the kind that comes out of nowhere and leaves you feeling good. We're going to phone Antonio and set something up. If we start buying concrete in bulk or running out of trunk space, you know we got in too deep.
We had the most wonderful dinner at East Side Mario's. Completely unexpected delicious food and great conversation. From the dining room you can walk up the spiral staircase to the observation tower at the Quay. We took several trips up to the top during dinner to be amazed at the most glorious sunset. After dinner we went out to the pier and the girls played at the fountain and danced their hearts out.
On the way home, Sasha remarked that we had just experienced her "best night in Vancouver". Best. Night. We didn't do anything grandiose or spectacular. We were together. The food was good, her tummy was full, we laughed and talked. This is all a five-year-old needs. It's all I really need too. What are the words to that Raffi song? "All I really need is a song in my heart. Food in my belly. Love in my family". You got it right, Raffi. And nights like that just need a slideshow to do them justice....
Here's the link in case you can't see it here for some reason: