It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. When it comes to meals, that is.
Our first night in Vancouver, British Columbia welcomed us to an impeccable meal that was fit for royalty. The space was Middle-Eastern gorgeous, and upstairs, you could even sit Moroccan-style on beds and lounge as you feast on the many delectable small dishes fanned out in front of you. Then again, I've always had a hard time eating a meal in bed, so we opted for a nice table that formed the divide in their expansive open window.
We began with cocktails, mine the Khira - Sapphire gin with muddled cucumbers and cardamom-infused syrup and fresh lime. A refreshing drink that disguised the sensuality of the cardamom.
Standouts were the Ahi Tuna over roasted brussel sprouts, cauliflower, bacon tossed in a mustard vinaigrette. That vegetable (and bacon) medley was so sickeningly delicious, screw the perfectly seared tuna, I say! The Grilled Octopus is also a scene stealer. Those of you who have ever said to me, "Oh, I don't like Octopus. It's rubbery," have never had the tender morsels of that sea creature done right, and boy do they do it right here.
The very next night, we thought, hey, let's kick back a little. Where to go, where to go? Yelp called out an Irish pub with stellar reviews and we went all in. Honestly, I barely even want to talk about it, because days later, I'm still feeling a wave of regret. It was so bad, in fact, that for the first time ever, I logged in a review on Yelp. It said,
"I don't understand the draw. Between the awful Guinness Stew, average beer selection, and ditzy waitress, I'm beating myself up for wasting a meal in my limited time in Vancouver. Okay, the hearty soda bread and decent Shepherd's pie make this meal slightly better than tragic."
In the 1973 short story The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, the utopia found in that town is possible only because pure evil is concentrated wholly onto one pitiful citizen. Opposites must exist. And it does, indeed, in Vancouver.