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There are advantages to not having a vacation planned this year….it means I can tag vacation days onto weekends here and there, and do things I normally wouldn’t do on a workday.  Today was one of those days.

We got up VERY early this morning and ventured down to the passport office. Our passports recently expired, which means quick cross border trips to visit our friend “Joe, the Trader” are out of the question.  The passport office is located in a beautiful Heritage building downtown.  It has GORGEOUS art deco features….

Not hard to notice there are several federal government offices here…..

….or the dancing statues.  The woman shows her knickers to the tables in the food court.  That’s not very Canadian!  We’re reserved and polite.  KIDDING!!!! We Canadians will show our knickers any time.  :)

We’re also happy to stand behind animated chefs.  :)

We surprisingly didn’t have to wait TOO long to have the passports processed.  AND….very exciting, the woman who helped us is actually a 5 time Jeopardy champion!!!  Seriously!  She was on way back in 1988, and won $52,000.  At the time, that must have seemed like a FORTUNE!!!!  (that’s alot of money to me now!)  How fun!!  Apparently, she’s STILL the only Canadian woman who has won 5 times.  AND…I bet she’d show her knickers in the food court too! :)

After our appointment, we grabbed a quick breakfast because we both had some errands to run on our own.  We went to yet another Canadian institution – Tim Horton’s.

I had an english muffin with egg white and ham, and a coffee.

Early in the afternoon, we grabbed a quick snack of chip n’s and some greek yogurt dip.  We didn’t want to eat much, because we knew we’d be “grazing” all afternoon.

Why were we grazing?  We went to the opening afternoon of the annual “Eat Vancouver” food and cooking festival.  (We haven’t been for a couple of years, but thought we’d give it a go again this year as it is back in a large venue after a couple of years in a ridiculously small and crowded alternative.)

When we got in, we made a b-line to the show stage, because there was a “throwdown” between three food network chefs, David Rocco (who, IMHO is hot, though noticeably balder than I remember him), Rob Feenie and Bob Blumer.  It was filmed for a local tv show, as well as Entertainment Tonight Canada. (ok, I was a bit “star struck” because I LOVE David Rocco’s Italian show, and I LOVE Bob Blumer’s “Glutton for Punishment” and own cookbooks by them both.  Dennis is also mildly smitten with Erin Cebula of Entertainment Tonight Canada, who was hosting the event)  The secret ingredient was kale (my favorite) and the winner was David Rocco.

Dennis made new friends, Steven and his wife Aleksandra, while we were sitting watching the event.  Seriously, emails were exchanged, and I think we’ll be seeing this couple again at some point soon.

Dennis also made a new friend in Erin Cebula of Entertainment Tonight Canada. (she walked right by us, we couldn’t resist, and she was very nice!)

Don’t mind the elbow in this shot. :)

We then moved into the “grazing area”.  OMG…we sampled, and we sampled, and we sampled.  And we have a BIG bag of freebies (samples (lots of mini bottles of hot sauce in particular), coupons, recipes and brochures) to go through now.  Going the first afternoon on a work day was great, the crowds weren’t big, there was room to walk around, there were no lines…we had a great time.  Lunch was, as they say at weight watchers “blt’s” – bites, licks and tastes.  (and it’ll be REALLY good to get back to the discipline and accountability of weight watchers next week!)

So many new things to see and try, it was fun.  We didn’t buy very much at all, just some sausage for Dennis and some non alcoholic wine for me.  So it was an inexpensive afternoon of fun!

Later on, we met up with our good friend Carlo, who is in town from Victoria for a couple of days.  Both Dennis and Carlo were born and raised in Montreal, so the desire for Montreal Smoked Meat is in their DNA.  :)  This photo is two VERY happy transplanted Montrealers standing outside of Dunn’s.  (who fly their smoked meat in from Montreal a few times a week)

We each had a famous “Dunn’s pale ale”

And of course, a smoked meat platter.

So that was my busy “vacation” Friday.  My poor foot is letting me know that I did quite a bit of walking in normal shoes today, so I’ll wrap this up and get some ice on the painful part.  We have a busy couple of days ahead too, so it’ll be nice to rest up, go through all my food show takeaways, and take it easy.  Happy weekend to all of you!!!!

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