When I got to Vancouver a couple of weekends ago, I was super lazy and felt like we probably weren’t gonna leave the basement to stop watching The Wire until I had to go back to the island. And then Daniel’s friend O’Shea gave us passes to the PNE! And the PNE has Super Dogs! So we had the best day ever.
Right off the bat, as soon as we walked through the gates, we were approached by a girl selling some kind of lactose free beverage who wanted Daniel to ride a bike in order to turn on a blender. Then we drank the weird smoothie he made by riding the bike really fast. So we were off to a hot start.
The first thing we ate (after watching some cute sheep get wrangled for their fuzz and stumbling upon these amazing drumming kids, seriously, go to the PNE and find them) was a hot fudge sundae (me) and an “elephant ear” (Daniel). My ice cream was weird and grainy, and the fudge left a nice coating of lard in my mouth. Can’t speak for Daniel, but the elephant ear thing looked fairly ridiculous. Giant flat churro thing covered in whipped cream and other stuff, got all over him, he had to sit down to manage it. Your average carnival-y food.
Then we went to see the Super Dogs and got some super salty popcorn, likely covered in gluten-y seasoning (very suspect popcorn, worse than movie theatre popcorn). All I can say about those dogs is that I loved every single one of them and they are SO SMART. They could jump about 9 feet, and dance to weird electro-country, and play a game of hockey that was actually musical chairs (there was even a Zamboni dog that came to take away a “chair” each round).
I had not been to the PNE in approximately 20 years, which, besides being very depressing (I can actually refer to events that took place over two decades ago and know that I was talking and walking around), also left me so impressed with all of the entertainment. We saw the Genghis Khan exhibit, which was thankfully supplemented with commentary by Daniel, who had recently listened to a ten-hour podcast about the Mongols. Don’t know what else to say about that besides that it was both very interesting (the exhibit and his commentary) and very strange (Daniel’s ability to listen to ten-hour podcasts about Mongols). We also sat through a live episode of Family Feud (needless to say, hilarious), and watched some little professional hip-hop dancer kids, saw the prize house, and walked through the weird building full of shopping-channel products.
By this time, we needed to find something more substantial to eat, because Daniel has this thing about feeling like he hasn’t eaten all day until he’s had something with meat in it. Meaning he’d technically been fasting since the day before. Lucky for him there was a RIB-OFF.
These guys meant business. All of the cooks were just glistening with sweat and hovering over these giant grills all day, and the prices were the same across the board, so every booth could only entice customers by being the absolute most delicious. We went from booth to booth looking for the most competent BBQ-ers, asking around for gluten-free and inspecting for pork-to-bun contact (via the tongs). We finally picked a line-up, settling on the guys that made their own sauce and knew where it was manufactured. We chose a combo of brisket and ribs, with a side of potatoes to wash it all down. It was way messier than the elephant ear. They leave out industrial rolls of paper towels, but they should really just have those showers that they have at the beach where you can rinse your feet.
Thanks again O’Shea!!! You’re a gentleman and a scholar.