That Saturday so long ago was awful. They had just seen Him crucified and they saw Him breathe His last breath. He was gone. They put Him in the tomb and rolled the stone. It was so final, the sound of their Savior in agony still echoed through their mind. How could He be gone. They hadn’t slept all night but tossed and turned in sorrow. They kept thinking of His mother Mary, her anguished screams as she saw her Son, hanging on the cross, like a criminal.
Some in the crowd were laughing and pointing, shaking their heads that the King of the Jews was really just an ordinary man. And the proof was right there, He was dead. Some of the guards even cast lots for his clothes. It was a mockery and the depth of sadness that filled the women that day went bone deep. Saturday was filled with more crying, yet a small flame of hope kept steady. He did tell them that He would come back, hadn’t He said that? But His death was so real, the blood, His last breath. But what if He did come back?
So the women spent that Saturday cooking meals and cleaning the house, keeping an eye on the children while the men gathered at the gate and talked in hushed tones. At the well, a few of the women gathered and started asking each other if they thought He would really come back to them. Some women turned away and wouldn’t even talk about it. But a few of the women huddled closer together and started wondering aloud to each other, would He really rise from the dead. And slowly, their hearts became filled and without missing a beat, they knew. They didn’t know how or when exactly, but they knew He was coming back. They quickly hugged each other, gathered their water jars and headed back home. That night they fed their families, sat with their husbands and cleaned up, all the while knowing, that He was coming back.
The next morning, it seemed like nothing had changed and as far as they knew, Jesus was still in the tomb. So they made breakfast for their family and made excuses that they had to go and check on something. Dishes quickly cleaned, tables cleared and the women headed out to the tomb. As they walked, they hurried their steps because an anticipation they couldn’t name had begun to gather in their hearts. They didn’t know what had happened, they just knew they had to get to the tomb.
At last it came into view, but something was wrong, the stone had been rolled away. Hearts beating they ran the last few steps and walked into the tomb. And as soon as they crossed into the cold, dark space, they knew. Before they could put words in their minds, they knew He wasn’t there. And every doubt and sorrow and sadness was swept away, because He wasn’t there. And what He had promised, He had fulfilled. They dropped what they were carrying, grabbed each other, crying and laughing and knew. Even when the two angels spoke, they knew. He was alive, the promise they had forgotten, had been fulfilled, in spite of their unbelief, He had done what He had said He would. Now all they had to do, was tell everyone else. And that part was simple.
Long along I moved to this lovely little island, happy to embrace the quaint lifestyle of island living. The ocean lured and the pace slowed down, all was calm, all was bright. Happy to move to BRITISH Columbia, I quickly visited tea shops and enjoyed cups of tea in fine china, or cups mismatched with saucers or even the occasional mug of tea.
Murchies was promptly visited and in those days, in warm weather, they’d open up the front sidewalk and we’d enjoy tea and current scones with little pots of cream and jam. Your own little white tea pot would arrive along with the little silver pitcher of milk (see above for silver pitcher:) We would indulge occasionally and bring every guest and visitor we had to Murchies for tea, explaining that it was every bit as lovely as a local hotel that did ‘high tea’ at an exorbitant rate.
Years flew by and we soon forgot about our first love, the little white plump tea pots were but a memory and we plodded on through life. Fast forward 17 years and I found myself at Murchies again. I walked in nervously and saw all the chairs still in their same formation, the long glass case still scanned the length of the room and on the top shelf I saw them. The lovely, plump current scones all politely dusted with powdered sugar. I quickly lined up and ordered a pot of tea with scone and jam and was so happy when the smiling server said those wonderful words “would you like your scone heated”? Oh joy, oh bliss, the angels sang while I waited and then suddenly, the large silver tray came into view and there was my white tea pot and warmed scone. I sourced out a good table and sat down gratefully while surveying the treasure in front of me. The scone was sliced evenly and each side was covered in cream and then jam. So tender, so moist and just a little sweetness when you bit into a currant. The cream and jam brought back memories of having tea in Wales by a babbling brook. All was well with the world, all was calm and all was bright.
I’ve since been back 3 times to Murchies, a pot of tea is $2.00 and although I am not indulging in the scones for a bit, I still sneak a peek in their direction and sure enough, they are all snuggled up to one another in a row. So yes, lattes are lovely and paper cups of tea from speciality shops will suffice on the run, but there is nothing like returning to an old love, sitting down and enjoying all the comfort a squatty little white pot of tea can deliver, sitting right beside a cool pitcher of milk. Simple is good and sometimes, going back in time is just what we need.
Doesn’t this sound like the beginning of a joke? As in “a crab and a macaron are in a boat?” Nonetheless, these are in fact two treats I enjoyed recently and thought you might like to hear about them.
First off, years ago I ventured over the border to attend a famous ‘crab festival’. Took the ferry over, landed in Pt. Angeles and was prepared to be dazzled. It was a party atmosphere with rows of tents featuring vendors and crafters selling various crab related items, all of which was enjoyed hastily as we really wanted to eat fresh crab. We saw the giant, white tent with rows and rows of seafood restaurants all offering crab cakes, crab pancakes and finally we found the guy selling fresh cooked crab. There were miles of tables set up, each crammed with people sitting elbow to elbow indulging. Finally we were handed our paper plates with a crab, lemon wedges and slaw. Grabbing napkins we plopped down to feast and it was only then that I discovered my crab was half the size of my friends AND it was missing a leg (arm? wing?). The line up to go back and protest was miles long so I sat and ate my puny crab while my companion smacked their lips in contentment.
Fast forward a few years and I see that Nautical Nellies is having a crab fest right here in town. Even though I’ve lived here forever I’ve never eaten at this restaurant and I really have no idea why. Reservations were made and with low expectations I go in for lunch. First thing I notice is the amazing friendly greeter, she was so warm and friendly I honestly thought she was a friend. We chatted merrily as she brought me to the table and I was so sad to see her go, even though she gave me a wonderful table. Next up with Jim our server, my guest ordered the fresh crab and I ordered sushi (remember my missing crab appendage? I couldn’t bear to see two crabs come to the table without measuring so I went for safe:).
Jim comes by for our order and I waffle about sushi choices and he sweetly offers suggestions while my friend orders the crab. Next comes a darling little tea lite contraption with a small pan of hot, sweet butter in it and I start getting nervous because already I am impressed. My sushi comes quickly and then comes the plump crab. I daintily eat my sushi and keep watching the crab slowly being devoured, my friend keeps ooohing and awing over the tasty crab and I reach over and pull off a leg and dip it in butter. I have never tasted sweeter crab meat in my life! For a minute I wonder if I can send back my sushi and get a crab, it was so good. And a lovely caesar salad comes alongside with garlic toast – does this day get any better?
I finish my sushi and watch the process of the crab being methodically taken a part and each sweet morsel of meat being dunked in a seasoned butter bath. 30 minutes go by and my friend is still eating, I’ve practically licked my sushi plate, eaten half of her salad and checked my emails and Facebook feeling so deprived. Finally friend finishes her plate and Jim comes by again, I feel like a starving orphan while my friend sits contentedly marvelling at the delicious crab. Jim suggests dessert and since it’s the friends birthday I suggest we split the flourless chocolate cake.
Well, sweet Jim comes by with a piece of the cake WITH A BIRTHDAY candle on it and a nice dollop of whipping cream. It was to die for, I was hoping the friend would be too stuffed with her crab to partake but she enjoyed her half (which I cut with Swiss precision). Best flourless chocolate cake I have EVER eaten and will go back just for that cake alone. The bill came and the cake was gratis due to birthday celebration – seriously? Who does that anymore? So next time you’re downtown, swing my Nautical Nellie’s, they will not disappoint!
And finally, Bon Macaron has opened here in the city, about 5 weeks ago. If you go for no other reason, it will be to see the two delightful French men talk to you with the most beautiful accent known. I popped in last week and was so mesmerized by the cute co-owner I could only giggle while he told me all the flavors. A full macaron is offered as a sample during the month of January and for $1.50 each, they are worth their weight in gold. I chose 6 flavors only because a) I wanted to keep the co-owner talking as long as possible while I decided and b) their cute plastic container made me feel tiny and petite as if I was dressed in Chanel.
They offer savoury versions which I wish I had tried, the sweet ones are a little too sweet for me (shocking I know) but elegant to serve as a special treat. The treats are gluten free which is a nice treat and once I rationalized that they had healthy almonds in them and egg whites, I enjoyed them even more.
If for no other reason than to feel like you’re in Paris, drop by Bon Macaron and watch these two lovely gentlemen charm you with their delectable macarons and swoon worthy French accents.
Was it just me or did you find the holidays completely overwhelming? Aside from the fact that my refrigerator died TWO DAYS before Christmas and a replacement had to be bought AND the shelf above had to be sawed off, it was crazy. And every time I turned on the tv I was bombarded with sick cats and dogs that needed to be housed, children starving in Africa, the blood donor clinic wanting my blood, the food bank needing my turkey and the nice bell ringer at every store I shopped at wanted my spare change. Plus my other life kept me going up until the 24th.
Needless to say, some self care was in order and I did my best to avail myself of the treats my city had to offer. Here is a brief recap:
I fell in love with a restaurant that served Lao and Thai style cuisine in a location that I had overlooked (across from Save On Foods). Lao Vientiane Restaurant has THE BEST SPRING ROLLS ever tasted. Portions are generous and reasonably priced. The story printed on the front of the menu is worth the visit and even if you show up and it looks empty – trust me, the place will fill up fast, so glad we had made reservations for 5 that day:) Food was delicious and served HOT and it stayed HOT (not spicy, but temperature wise), spiciness is negotiable and done right. Definitely a must on my list for 2013 is to go back and work my way through the extensive menu.
Next up was Macchiato Caffe – 780 Johnson St, across from the Atrium. The high backed white leather like chairs are SO comfy you could stay for days. The lure was their extensive gluten free bakery items, chocolate fudge brownie was a deep, rich chocolately dream and the Maccha Latte was just the right blend of macha and milk. Generous sized cups and this is a new favorite when you’re downtown.
Finally, Jam Cafe on Herald St. is the new place where I will dream about until I can return. The location is good, parking meters only allow for 90 minutes but it worked in my favor. The decor is urban, funky, barn like and a place where you want to nurse your coffee for days. I loved the menu, it wasn’t 18 pages of the same thing – it was a succinct account of what they offered and I didn’t go further than the buttermilk biscuit sandwich.
Here’s the thing – I lived in Santa Cruz, California for 5 years and had good friends that were from the South and they taught me what a good biscuit should look and taste like. I have been bitterly disappointed for as long as I can remember, but somehow that day, I looked at the menu, up at the wall art and thought ‘maybe it’s time’ and ordered. Jam Cafe is not a huge place but even I was impressed with the fast service. A GIANT buttermilk biscuit arrived sliced in half with cascading buttery scrambled eggs, on the biscuit was tomato jam that had me licking my fingers in excitement. A nice portion of evenly fried hashbrowns and on top – broiled red tomatoes which I do not like. Ever. Nonetheless, enthralled with my biscuit I politely bit into a tomato and swooned, these little darlings were sweet with freshness and just broiled enough to bring out the flavor of the summer. Between bites of my biscuit, hashbrowns and coffee – I could barely contain my happiness. I wanted to kiss the cook, square dance with the wait staff and proclaim my love to everyone in the cafe – it was that good. It made me happy to have such a good restaurant in my city to enjoy my favorite meal of the day.
So there’s a little peek into my holiday season, new fridge arrives this weekend – aside from singing the alleluia chorus a few times, I’ll try and document the celebration.