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Travel Shorts // Canada + Food Shop

Ayoub’s, Dried Snacks Shop in Vancouver

My dad is obsessed with Wheel of Fortune. Not sure why and can’t even remember the year it all started. It doesn’t matter how busy the restaurant is, dinner rush or not, at 7pm my dad drops everything. He rushes to the far corner of the kitchen and turns on the rundown TV to get his fix of Pat Sajak and Vanna White.

 

But I get my dad’s obsession. A host with a beautiful sidekick on a stage that’s all things glamorous and glitzy? Palm trees? Check. Oversized confetti and glitter? Check. 1,000+ lights? Check. lt’s like an oasis – dream vacations, ginormous pots of money, brand new cars… is it too good to be true? Apparently not. Every time someone solves a puzzle, my father claps. If they solve the Prize Puzzle, my father erupts into the most thunderous clapping and cheering, a feet-stomping outburst that makes everyone in the restaurant stop. It’s like the contestant won an Olympic gold medal or landed on the moon.

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts in Vancouver, Canada

Turns out I discovered my very own Wheel of Fortune in Vancouver during the STMT X Canada sourcing trip! Instead of Vanna White flipping oversized letters, I witnessed a beautiful lady flipping oversized lids, revealing all sorts of jewel-colored dried fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I freak out everytime I hit the dried fruit and veggie bins at Whole Foods. But all this awesomeness is next level shit and before I realize it, I’m full on freakin’ like my father. I’m walking around, talking to myself repeating over and over… I love this place, OMG, is this for real? OMG. OMG. And then… the beautiful lady walks up to me, platter in hand and with a smile she asks me if I’d like to sample their lime and saffron cashews. Ummm hellz yeah, I do!

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts in Vancouver, Canada

And then I wondered if I was dreaming. Beautiful people walking around offering me samples of gorgeous dried deliciousness. Everything looks fake, I mean, it all looks too good to be true. But it’s not. I take a bite of the most vibrant yam chip ever, half expecting it to taste like cardboard, but it doesn’t. It’s amazing. I ask for a sample of the okra – the beautiful lady tells me to go ahead and help myself. Are you f’in kidding me? I really am dreaming. A place where I’m free to grab samples of anything and everything?! This is most definitely not Whole Foods. It’s an oasis.

http://www.radandhungry.com/products/28-stmt-x-canada-kit


(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photo RAH)

Address ::
Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts, West 4th
2248 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, V6J 1MP, Canada
http://ayoubs.ca/

Words to live by…. Never imitate, Authenticate. Spotted this awesome wall at Milano Coffee in Gastown, Vancouver.
 
(STMT X Canada Souring Trip – photo RAH)

Words to live by…. Never imitate, Authenticate. Spotted this awesome wall at Milano Coffee in Gastown, Vancouver.

 

(STMT X Canada Souring Trip – photo RAH)

Definitely feelin’ lucky after we discovered a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! Stay golden, Vancouver.
 
(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photo RAH)

Definitely feelin’ lucky after we discovered a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow! Stay golden, Vancouver.

 

(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photo RAH)

Travel Shorts // Canada + Tea

O5 Rare Tea Bar, Tea Shop in Vancouver

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver, Canada

Sometimes I go slow, sometimes I go quick… I love puttering, going up and down every street, every block. Stopping to check out any and all shops that catch my eye. But our first hunt for Canadian goods put us to the test – it was a total stressfest, and I didn’t want a repeat. We went for days hunting down the goods and even extended our trip.

 

So this trip it was decided, our plan was simple – go hard until we knock out everything on our list. No stopping for shops that aren’t office-supplies related. But then we walked by a shop with a window display that held my attention. I was making a mental note to hit this spot later when I noticed one of the gals inside waving at me and yelling out, “Hi.” Ever peek into a shop or stare at a window display when a shopkeeper notices you and waves? Or maybe they walked to the door to greet you? That one time way back when you were on vacation in some small town, somewhere far and remote?

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver, Canada


RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver, Canada

How could I walk away from someone waving me in and smiling? It’s like they’re sending me a big hi-five. Would you deny them some love? Not me. We were on a mission, yes. But sometimes shit doesn’t go as planned and it’s a good thing. We walked in and next thing you know, another gal offers us a taste of locally made bitters served up warm in a champagne flute. Fancy love.

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver, Canada

The gals, Carra and Riadh, are super excited to tell us about all the things we’re tasting, the aromas we’re smelling. They point out different tools they use to serve and make tea. They even demonstrate how to grind green tea leaves to make matcha powder. And a total surprise, we learned that Vancouver has the largest matcha market outside of Japan.

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver, Canada

And the star treatment doesn’t stop – the shop owner, Pedro, walks up and introduces himself to us. He’s super animated, talking nonstop about the various teas. Pedro spent some time in Asia and fell in love with the tea and culture. He returned from his trip determined to share his love of tea. Before he managed to secure investors for his shop, he peddled tea out of his car. This is super risky for anyone, but try doing it when you have a wife and four kids to support? You got to be seriously passionate and driven to risk the livelihood of the people you love most.

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver, Canada

We discussed various teas from Korea and then it’s on – we’re goin’ nonstop about the different islands of South Korea, cities we visited, our favorite types of Korean tea, how Koreans love drinking, especially someone’s homemade makali… Full circle – we’re back to discussing tea in the shop. I’m interested in the teas he stocks from Korea. Pedro hunts down rare and small-batch teas, working closely with only a few select farmers. I sampled a rare blend from Korea, the Balhyocha Saebyok tea. It’s a special harvest made in really small batches. 10 kilos produced per year. It tasted grassy, fresh, nutty, and of persimmons. Sounds weird? It wasn’t. It was amazing.

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, O5 Rare Tea Bar in Vancouver, Canada

I love that O5 is a beautiful shop where people can learn about and discover different ways to enjoy tea. But what I love most? Pedro created an amazing space that’s super inviting to anyone who wants to get a taste of his passion. We can totally relate – it’s why we do what we do. RAD AND HUNGRY is our way of sharin’ the joy of what we love with everyone.

 

(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photos RAD AND HUNGRY)

Address ::
O5 Rare Tea Bar, West 4th, Opened August 2012
2208 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, V6K 1P2, Canada

http://o5tea.com/

TRAVEL SHORTS // Canada + Music

The Astoria, Dive Bar in Vancouver
 

My family immigrated to Seattle, and my dad’s best friend and his family immigrated to Vancouver. We’d drive up to visit, and one of our regular stops was our Chinese herbalist. I loved going to the shop – the ginormous wall of wood drawers filled with all kind of crazy dried things was mesmerizing. Spent a ton of hours sifting through the draws, drawing in the back room, and gluing my drawings together with rice (the Asian ghetto version of paste).


The shop was located on East Hastings Street. The area has never been anything other than seedy. One night, my father planned a quick stop by the shop. He parked in the back alley, and not a minute after he left a cop knocked on the window. My brother rolled it down and explained that we were waiting for my dad to return with his Chinese medicine. The cop responded with, “Chinese medicine, huh?” He asked where my father went and left. Moments later my dad returned to the car, package in hand and explained how the cop busted into the shop. Only then did we realize that the cop assumed that the Chinese medicine be drugs.

I think about that night every time I drive along East Hastings. Looking back it totally makes sense – it’s a rough part of town and not pretty. The core section is full of homeless people and druggies hangin’ on every corner and in front of every building. And you’ll most definitely spy used needles and cracked vials on the street.

RADANDHUNGRY Hotel Astoria, Vancouver, Canada

RAD AND HUNGRY East Hastings Street, Vancouver Canada

So WHY did I end up on East Hastings this past sourcing trip?! Not for a Chinese medicine pick-up. To check out a local band, 
Sunshine. They were celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album at a classic Vancouver landmark, The Astoria. The cab dropped us off in front of the awesome neon sign. A TOTAL dive bar with the standard fixtures – weathered locals and cheap drinks. It’s also got pool, pinball… and a dance floor! It’s the perfect place to see a show – you’ll feel close to the stage no matter where you stand. Paid the cheap cover and walked into the flood of 80’s new wave meets indie pop Canadian hipster vibe. Exactly what I wanted on a cold, wet rainy night – dancing and Sunshine.


RAD AND HUNGRY Sunshine at The AstoriaRAD AND HUNGRY Sunshine at The Astoria

(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photos RAD AND HUNGRY)

Address ::
The Astoria, Downtown Eastside
769 East Hastings Street
Vancouver, V6A 1R3
www.theastoriapub.com

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photo RAH)

"Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photo RAH)

Spotted walking around Vancouver – Post No Bills.

 

(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photo RAH)

TRAVEL SHORTS // Canada + Food

Finch’s Market, Café and Market in Vancouver, Canada 


RAD AND HUNRY Travel Short, Finch’s Market

Looking down at my just-polished plate, thinking to myself… how can something that looks so simple be so damn tasty? I want more. I need to learn how to make this potato and leek soup. It’s rich and creamy but not too heavy. I need to make this salad, fresh produce and barely-there dressing, the perfect amount. And I’m in luck – I can pick up the ingredients to recreate my lunch at home, in the same place that I devoured it.

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's Market

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's Market

Part café and part corner grocery shop, Finch’s Market is located in 
Strathcona, the oldest residential neighborhood of Vancouver. They serve up coffee, tea, and a tasty selection of sandwiches, soups, and salads, made fresh with local produce and ingredients from small and independent suppliers (along with solid staples). Anyone can open a café and serve coffee. But not everyone can serve a cup of coffee made with their own organic direct trade beans that make me melt.

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's Market

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's Market

Shelves line one wall stocked with coffee beans, sauces, and dried goods. Below it, a bowl and wood crates filled with fresh produce. There’s a vintage fridge stocked with organic milk and eggs, and more shelves stacked with jars of spices, jams, and grains.  

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's Market

RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's Market

I instantly feel part of this neighborhood. The people are friendly, they recognize that I’m not local and they chat me up, I know we’re friends before they even get a chance to say hello. I want a Finch’s Market on my corner. Damn – I’ll even settle for one anywhere in Seattle. Until that happens (if it ever does), I’m gonna have to make a regular trip to Vancouver to hit up this neighborhood spot.


RAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's MarketRAD AND HUNGRY Travel Short, Finch's Market

(STMT X Canada Sourcing trip – photos RAD AND HUNGRY)

Address ::
Finch’s Market, Strathcona, Opened December 2012

501 East Georgia Street, Vancouver, Canada

Love this map of Toronto, Canada. Doesn’t it make you wanna head to Toronto and try the different food paired with each neighborhood?(via THEY DRAW & TRAVEL)

Love this map of Toronto, Canada. Doesn’t it make you wanna head to Toronto and try the different food paired with each neighborhood?

(via THEY DRAW & TRAVEL)

Cannot stop obsessing over the OH CANADA photo series from Canadian photographer, Naomi Harris.

 

(via Hyphen Magazine)