One of the great things about touring is the seemingly endless array of action, and as a result, hilarious stories to tell:
On Saturday we had to drive out of Edmonton (thank goodness - it was even colder there than it was in Calgary) and go as far west as we could, so that the trip to Vancouver on Sunday would be minimal. As the great George W. once said "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice... don't get fooled again." So fearing we'd make the same out-of-the way mistake towards a bumble*bleep* town, I researched and found the quickest route and nicest area to spend the night. The drive towards Kamloops was as gorgeous as it was long (which is much better than the even treacherous/bleak ratio we had going for us in Saskatchewan). Our voyage took us through the Canadian Rockies, where we passed through Jasper national park - a breathtaking, snowcapped expanse of mountains and wildlife. We even had to stop a couple times due to a few rogue mountain goats loitering in the middle of the highway.
We eventually made it into town at dusk, and enjoyed a lovely dinner at Brownstone, where they were unbelievably accommodating: we basically ate items that were entirely off of the menu. They made Eric a nice vegetarian Israeli cous-cous salad, which followed his à la carte fennel-heavy Curried Tomato Bisque:
Mom and I split a crab cake appetizer, which starred a rich all-claw meat patty that was showered with a melon cucumber salsa and topped with a mint yogurt quenelle:
She then had crispy pan-seared local char over risotto, lush with mascarpone. Adrian had a grilled strip steak - which wasn't even offered anywhere on the menu - our server admitted that the chefs in the back "always like to have a few nice cuts on hand for their own meals." Now that's generous. It came classically prepared, doused with cabernet demi-glace and served along side roasted string beans and whipped potatoes. I had the scallop appetizer (which was comprised of two perfectly pan-seared beauties over fruit-studded cous cous and a duo of delectable purees - basil and red pepper):
Feeling dreamily satisfied, we returned to our rooms where Eric and I fell asleep to the Food Network. (Although not right away - we were pretty perturbed at some obnoxious contestants on Chopped).
We arrived in Vancouver early in the afternoon, and Mom and I immediately ran out for linner/dunch, as we were (I know; it's shocking) hungry. The hotel clerk highly recommended a cheap, quick sushi spot around the corner - one that Mom had already scoped out earlier on Yelp. So with this second opinion, we found ourselves at Jako (not to be confused with a legendary fusion... oh, nevermind). We started out with tea, miso soup and seaweed salad, and split the following rolls: Real Crab California, BBQ Eel, and a spicy combo (scallop, yellowtail, and shrimp tempura).
The seafood was so fresh, and predictably so, as we were in a harbor city after all. What was puzzling, however, was the total inverse proportion of quality to price - our meal was only $28 - with tax and tip!
What happened next, nobody could have predicted... but perhaps we did end up paying the price for such an economical meal... Mom got violently ill, and had to stay in for the night. Luckily, I seemed unaffected, and played the show with no problem whatsoever. The only thing we had to worry about was getting someone who could sell merchandise on such short notice - the day before Canadian's celebrate Thanksgiving. The promoter assured us that he could find someone to sell after the show, so we hit the stage with only minimal worry (which was all for Mom - whom we hoped would have a swift recovery).
We played a great show, and ended up with a nice attendance, considering the holiday. The fans were rabid, shouting and dancing, throwing notes on stage (Happy Birthday, Al). A frail fellow was even carried off, feet scraping the floor, with his arms wrapped around two friends... I supposed he partied too hard before the show...
Just when we thought the night couldn't get any weirder, we were escorted through a sea of people towards the merch booth, so we could do our usual meet'n'greet. "Ok, who's got something to sign?" Adrian asked with a big grin. Imagine our surprise as each fan then held up fistfuls of money, shouting, "We're ready to buy!" We quickly realized that the promoter has not found any body to work that night, and without much hesitation, we began to hawk our goods like pitchmen from a bygone county fair. "Who wants a tee shirt? Getcha tee shirts heeere! We got discs, but not just any discs - compact - music's newest, best, groundbreaking technology!" We proceeded to sell for the next 30 minutes, alternating between collecting money, finding shirt sizes, and unwrapping CDs. Oh yeah, and we signed them too. It was total mayhem, but kinda fun, and we all have a new appreciation for anyone that does this.
We ended up doing pretty well, and decided to celebrate by listening to a blues band down the street. We hung out for a drink, but then our third wind died down, and we were ready to hit the hay. Of course we stopped at a convenience store along the way and bought candy (it was our last chance before heading back to the United States of High Fructose Corn Syrup). There we saw a pimp negotiating a deal over the phone, while his... er... employee adjusted her skirt and hooters. We got out of there as quickly as possible and retired to our rooms, where we ate Bounty Bars and watched "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "It's Always Sunny..." until we passed out for the night.
Quite entertaining times were had in Canada - and I was sad to leave.