Saskatoon Round 2: Bottega Trattoria

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Last weekend Saskatoon really won me over with its sunny open skies and green parks and their zoo that had two cougars in the same cage (that’s nuts right?). It helped that this time I stayed in Leah’s nice apartment in University Heights (and not the hotel that we stayed last month when we dropped her off, which was apparently the ‘hood of Saskatoon and a place my mother reacted to like one might react to having lice poured on their head. Combine that with daytime highs of 10 degrees in August and we didn’t get the nicest first impression of Leah’s new hometown. And my parents and I bond over nothing if not our shared obsession with Leah’s happiness, safety, and well-being. Often to the detriment of all three.)

Anyway on Friday night we went to Leah’s Coating Ceremony. It was at a nice hotel by the river and there was a big banquet for all the new vets and their guests to eat before they (the vets) got led out of the room and then led back in again by a guy playing bagpipes and then handed their stethoscopes and embroidered white lab coats (not by the bag piper… by some other people). Leah actually put so much food on her plate that by the time we got to the carving station she had no more space and I had to ask the chef for two pieces of roast beef and then wait for her to eat her way through a couple inches of real estate so I could put her share on her plate. It was a fun evening. Another vet student at our table, this real Saskatchewan cowgirl, kept asking me why I wasn’t eating any of the fancy cupcakes and making fun of me for taking fruit for dessert. Those crazy BC girls and their fad diets!

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On Saturday we ventured downtown, where you would think many businesses should be open and busy, but we couldn’t find a place to eat lunch. If there is a street where all the good restaurants are, we couldn’t find it. The places we did duck in to, just to scan the menu for gluten-freeness, were completely empty. Turns out this is pretty off-putting when deciding whether or not to eat somewhere. We left a place that boasted a 100% gluten-free menu for this very reason (and also for the reason that they had chili in a bread bowl on the menu, which obviously intrigues me. Turns out the “bread bowl” component of this particular dish isn’t gluten-free at all, it’s just regular old wheat bread carved into the shape of a bowl! A funny trick. So really it was like a 98% gluten-free menu, as Leah pointed out. We read on to find their page of sandwiches, which listed a gluten-free bun as a potential option, which suggests not only that there are other options at the 100% gluten-free restaurant but that gluten-free is not the default option, which is what you might assume in a place that says it’s 100% gluten-free. It was more like 72% gluten-free. The hostess did not understand why we were asking her about so many obvious things.)

Sadly this was not the most disconcerting restaurant experience we were going to have that day. We eventually chose to sit down at a place called Bottega Trattoria, which was basically empty but looked nice-ish and new-ish, and not cave-ish. We were sold when the waitress confirmed that they “offered gluten-free options” (not giving away the farm with a “100%” guarantee. Get it? Giving away the farm? We’re in Saskatchewan!), and that they had gf pasta and pizza. So we sat down at one of the very crowded tall wooden tables, and our super beautiful waitress gave us menus (“Ugh she’s so pretty…I want to punch her in the face”-Leah).

We both ordered pasta and hoped for the best. The urban spoon reviews were pretty terrible, only scored 56%, but most of the complaints were about the service, and we really weren’t in the mood to keep searching for what was sure to be a similarly average meal a few blocks away (feeling quite cynical at this point).
While we sat there drinking our waters the owner came over and opened up the big glass garage door beside us, letting in not only the sunshine, but three drunk guys wearing what can only be described as shorteralls, into the restaurant.

Why they were wearing identical hick-costumes, and why they were blind drunk at one in the afternoon, we still don’t know. But we certainly had time to find out, because once they procured the necessary beverages to keep the party going, they swarmed our table and wouldn’t leave.
So just to review: inside the restaurant you have one manager, one server, two paying customers, and three drunk guys in shorteralls. What happened next is as follows:

Guy 1: Hey ladies, what’s up, are you from here? (or something like that) (looks down at empty chair) Can I sit here?
Me: Vancouver, and no!
Guy1: (looks hurt) Hey don’t judge me, gargle blah blah blah, something indignant.
Guy 2: Sorry about him, he’s got no social skills. I used to be a runway model!
Guy 3: And now he’s the king of the rigs! He makes a lot of money, you know.
Guy2: So do you guys want a casual night out, or like a party night? Because I would suggest _____bar for dancing and ______lounge for just like, hanging out. Which one do you want to go to?
Guy1: Are you a redhead?
Guy2: How old do you think I am?
Guy3: Can I sit here?
Leah: I don’t want to eat lunch with you guys…
Guy 2: Let me guess, you’re a teacher.

And so on.
It wasn’t as if anybody was going to mistake them for our friends who just ran into us and were saying hi. We were two normal people, in normal clothes, waiting for our food. They were three hammered guys in shorteralls, standing way too close to our faces. The service staff, which made up the only other bodies in the building, watched this happen and didn’t do a thing about it. When one of them asked again to sit down with us and we again said no thank you, they sat down at the table that was right beside ours. At this point we had been waiting for our food for 40 minutes and there were NO OTHER CUSTOMERS in the restaurant. Leah proposed we exit out of the front window, just like our visitors entered. But we were too tired to find somewhere else to eat. When our food came and we were ready to just be alone and eat our pasta and get out, guy 3 said, a la Kanye to Taylor Swift, “ok I’m gonna let you enjoy your meals, but I need to ask you one question… I have a food truck called “Disco Dogs” and it’s like, doing, really good. Do you think I’d make it in Vancouver?”
Like how would I know? So we didn’t go out for a casual or dancing night, we stayed home so we wouldn’t have to try to find food again.

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Wanna go for a picnic? Alpaca lunch! (My favourite joke)(At the zoo with the two cougars)

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WAC: Kelowna Edition

WAC: Kelowna Edition

Kate and I drove to Kelowna last weekend for a little Easter celebration, wedding planning, and to scare the crap out of Megan (who didn’t know I was coming).
Kate was going to pick me up at 11 so we could hit the road and make it to her mom’s for dinner. By 12:30, when she had finished having brunch with some guy (there was a 45 minute wait at the diner! so they waited…), she picked me up, and we made our first stop 5 minutes later at Coquitlam Centre to go to Target, buy some stretch pants and grab some ‘bucks for the road. We pulled out of town around 2.
So then we were driving. Yay! The wind (air conditioning) was blowing through our hair. Next stop: Hope! Was sure at this point everything was going to be smooth sailing and creme eggs. But then we got hungry for lunch. Asked Kate if she’s ever had a burger from Milestones, and she hadn’t, so wouldn’t that be a great lunch! Except for our next exit was Merritt. Forgot that there isn’t anything in Merritt except for three gas stations and a building that has a giant Elvis mural on it. But then I remembered that they have a Dominos, and that last time Daniel and I drove through there (the only time), we saw that Dominos now carries gluten-free pizza crusts. We also saw that they were closed. SO Kate and I were going to try it.
We ordered. I emphasized the required precautions. The girl ignored me. So we went outside and did jumping jacks until our lunch was prepared (I am careful to always stretch and get some brisk exercise at every stop on a road trip. This prevents leg cramps, blood clots, etc. Is akin to getting blood thinners while sitting for days on end in hospital, or always taking the little cup of water offered to you on even the shortest of flights – it’s just good common sense.)
Soon we were back in lovely ginormous truck, munching away on our yummy pizza. Happy. Katie, woeful celiac who feels like she can never find anything to eat and is often forced to cheat and eat gluten when she is drunk, thinks pizza is great. It was that good crust that is in the middle of being thin and fluffy, and it was really greasy and cheesy, so tasted like real take-out pizza. Since my last little health fiasco I have not had any food that wasn’t researched, cooked, measured, and then recorded in a diary myself before consumption, so this was a very special occasion. Noticed Kate was on her way to scarfin down the whole pizza, so decided to help myself to a second piece. Why not? We were road trippin. We were Thelma and Louise. If i’m going to have a second piece, I’m going to pick the one with the most bacon. That piece also happened to be the piece with the LONGEST BLACKEST STRAND OF HAIR BAKED RIGHT INTO THE CHEESE.
We gagged a lot. I threw it out the window, as to not discourage us from eating the rest of the pizza. Which we did, about an hour later when we were able to forget about that sick hair.
We arrived in Kelowna. As we drove up to my Aunty Tanya’s house I took off my seatbelt and crawled under the front seat of the truck so that nobody would see me when we pulled up. Kate hopped out and called Megan outside for her big surprise. Megan (who hadn’t seen her sister since Christmas), stood in the front doorway and said “nooo, it’s wet out there.” So Kate piggy-backed her to the truck and said “open the door I have a surprise for you!” and Meg says (whiny voice) “is it candy?” Then she opened the door and she was so shocked! She was confused. And then she was overcome with tears of joy. Joy because her maid-of-honour-assistant had arrived to grant her wedding wishes! And because her regular maid-of-honour is mostly a (cute) figurehead (just kidding Kate!!!! Best MOH ever.)
The next day I was treated to lunch by the Schlueter Fam at the very adorable El Dorado Hotel. When we sat down, Kate sadly pointed out that while “GF” was marked on the menu, the only items that fell under this category were salads. Upon closer inspection, we found they actually offered gluten free buns, pizza crust, AND fish and chips! And I mean fish AND chips. Not grilled fish and salad, but deep fried fish and deep fried fries.
We decided our best course of action was to order the smoked salmon pizza and a two-piece F’n’C to share. Our food came and the fish looked absolutely 100% like the real regular wonderful beer-battered McCoy. Told Kate she probably shouldn’t eat the ketchup, so she ate all the tarter sauce instead. She was happy with that, she’s learning the ropes. The fries were those good fat ones I haven’t had in so long. And they had a long blondish hair nestled in the bowl with them.
We didn’t let it ruin our trip but like seriously what are the chances?

cuzzes weirdos

Milestones on 4th

Milestones on 4th

My mom and I went to get my sister from school today, because she is here for a few days and she brings her vehicle with her and to us it is supreme luxury to not take the bus anywhere, ever. We were just running to UBC, getting Leah, I was going to talk to my prof for 10 minutes, home. Done. But then they decided they wanted a snack. This was not part of the deal, and I was basically in my pajamas. Then they decided they didn’t just want a snack, they wanted a full on sit-down lunch at Milestones. I was against this choice for several reasons. The first was that the only things I can have there are big burgers and steaks and plates of pasta, and it was two in the afternoon and I just wasn’t feeling it. The second was that I looked just appalling. The third was more of a personal matter of principle for me, which was that I have tried to work at that stupid place like THREE TIMES because they are across the street from my house and they seem to ALWAYS be hiring and I swear I am over-qualified. Anyways.
We went in and sat in the little heated atrium place and it was all set to be a really nice girl’s time. Leah was being just a ridiculous person and was really hyper and wanted to order everything on the menu (“I just want to feel really FULL.”) I wanted to order nothing. My mom was asking that we just “have a nice lunch out together, please don’t suck the joy out of everything.” So I announced I would eat after all.

Leah: “REALLY!!!!!!! What are you going to get!!!!!!” (like I said, being a crazy person)
Me: the burger.
Leah: “oh really!!! What!!!”

She was just really excited. I don’t know.
I was curious about the burger because I have tried all the other stuff on their little gluten free menu (which I do appreciate, so thank you Milestones, you bastards-that-wont-hire-me), and because they do have really good bread that they order in from Milwaukee that I wish I could buy here. I had the avocado salsa/bacon topping choice, and it was darn good. My mom and Leah ate half of it because I had to stick to my guns and prove to them how un-hungry I was. But it was a very burger-y burger and I would probably do it again.

And yeah, obviously I took all that lettuce crap off of it.

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