Sunday, November 17, 2013

East side art Crawl and a taste of Russia

November in Vancouver is not my favourite month, the days are short, rainy and cold. The only thing that makes it bearable is that next month is December with all that brings. Another thing to look forward to in November is the East side culture crawl.  I go every year, for at least one day, and wander round the studios until I am too tired or satiated with all the art. This year instead of going to large studios one of which holds 128 artists we decided to wander around Strathcona and visit individual artists sometimes in their own homes.

After an hour of wandering aimlessly looking at art and buying jewellery, we stumbled across someone with food in a take out container that they said they got from the Ukrainian church basement. As this was only a block away we headed over for a perogie lunch.  The church basement looked just like a church basement should, institutional with bad lighting, hard stacking chairs and grey walls.

The food on the other hand was great. Made by the woman of the church with pride and my friend who had grown up in Winnipeg said that it was very authentic to the large Ukrainian population on the prairies.  We got two lunches to share between the three of us $13.00 each plate.  A vegetarian lunch perogies, cabbage rolls, coleslaw and borscht.

vegetarian borscht

We also had the non vegetarian lunch, perogies, cabbage rolls, coleslaw and Ukrainian sausage.

This was a wonderful lunch, but I think we should have bought another sausage.  All the items could be bought individually as well, and that was great sausage!

Out on our rounds again wandering around this very interesting neighbourhood.

There are a mixture of turn of the century heritage homes and what looked like workers housing built between the wars and even a few early Vancouver specials.

Near the end of the day we happened upon a Russian Orthodox church selling their traditional food.

By the accents of the people selling the food, they were fairly new immigrants to Canada and they also proudly told us about what they had to offer in the way of refreshments. They were also giving way hot tea which was gratefully accepted on this increasingly cold afternoon.

The "Russion Piroshki" was a small stuffed bread roll, stuffed with cabbage and onion.  This made a tasty little snack to go with hot tea.

This was a great day, we saw some wonderful art, got to talk to the artists and learn a little about their process and see where they created.  All three of us took home some piece of art that we could not resist. We also got to try some authentic traditional food from two different parts of the former USSR. Who would have thought you could have done all that in Strathcona, just a few blocks from one the bleakest neighbourhoods in Canada.

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