Getting our Hands Dirty in SoMa

How would you spend a couple of hours on a drizzly, gloomy day in Vancouver with a good friend?

Binge watch Game of Thrones?

Find pins to add to my Pinterest boards?

Curl up by the fire and devour this year’s Man Booker prize winner?

Polish my silverware (this would take 5 minutes)?

Nope, {Kale} and I did none of those, instead, we donned our rain gear and braved the wild terrain of South Main Street, also known as SoMa in Vancouver.  It is a multi-ethnic neighbourhood that is rapidly shedding its rundown image and becoming trendier by the minute.  Old junk shops, used book stores, and second-hand stores are giving way to funky new eateries, one-of-a kind designer boutiques, and modern food shops.  There are still lots of original shops to find, and hopefully the hip and the modern won’t crowd them out.

{Kale} and I headed to SoMa with the sole purpose of finding superfoodie fare that we could only eat with our hands.  Because some say that foods taste better when eaten with your hands.  So, armed with {Kale’s} hand sanitizer, we went ready to get our hands dirty and to give our taste buds a thrill.

SoMa Vegie Pie 2 kake2kale

First stop was a shop that I have driven by numerous times and have always found their name, Yek O Yek, amusing. How can you forget a name like that!  It is a Mediterranean grocery store that also sells pastries and serves hot food.  While perusing the pastries our eyes immediately landed on a pastry version of Princess Leia’s hairstyle.  It even had the requisite superfoods in the filling – cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots.

It is simply called the “Veggie Pie”. Because the filling is rolled into the filo pastry there is quite a good ratio of pastry to filling. My motto is – “you can never have too much pastry”.  We declared it simply delicious when we took a bit.  What a great deal as it was only $3.99 and the serving was generous.  Once the pie was devoured, we pushed on.

SoMa Salmonito kake2kale

The Fish Counter drew us in, because we could see people happily eating in the window.  That is a good sign in and of itself.  It is half seafood shop and half fish & chips counter.  But besides fish & chips, they also serve tacos, Oyster Po Boy’s and more.  For the sake of this post, we ordered the Salmonito, as it was one of the few items not deep-fried.  This tasty tortilla was stuffed with superfoods, from the omega-3 rich salmon, to a slaw made with fennel, onion, and cilantro.  The crunch of the slaw balanced out the tenderness of the fish.  Even though we shared the Salmonito, it was a handful, as they were very generous with the salmon!

SoMa Candied Smoked Sable Fish kake2kale

While we were waiting for our Salmonito we perused the seafood shop and saw they had a candied smoked sablefish…intriguing.  Who hasn’t tried candied salmon?  But sablefish?  So we got a small piece and to be honest, it tasted very similar to candied salmon.  Nonetheless, it was still scrumptious.  We got our omega-3 dose for sure that day.

SoMa Bird's Nest Baghlawa kake2kale

We saw this eye catching treat at Yek O Yek, called Bird’s Nest Pistachio Baklava, and just had to have it.  It is aptly named, as it looks like delicate little eggs in a bird’s nest.  It is a variation on the usual baklava that we normally see, with layers upon layers of filo, ground up nuts, honey and butter.  This bird’s nest was less rich but just as satisfying, with the finely wrought circle of crispy filo cupping the honey drizzled whole superfood pistachios.  Finger licking good!

SoMa chocolates kake2kale

The final place we bumbled into was Chocolaterie de la Nouvelle France, a mouthful to say, but if you are a serious chocolate connoisseur, this is the place pour vous!  Having chocolate was the perfect way to our day, especially dark chocolate as it has a host of antioxidants, minerals and increases serotonin, which lifts your mood.

Once you are inside the shop you feel transported to a special place where you know they don’t take chocolate lightly.  The décor is sparse in the compact space, with just a handful of chairs and tables.  The chocolate is the star, whether in a display case or in wide-bellied glass jars.  The owner makes them by hand and she really knows her stuff. You can tell she is passionate about what she does and it comes through in her chocolates.  {Kale} and I decided to try her drinking chocolate (made with dark chocolate) with almond milk.  I wanted to be adventurous and so I asked for my drinking chocolate to be infused with jasmine, as I love jasmine tea.  My expectations weren’t too high, as I thought the pairing would be a little mismatched, but to my surprise the slight floral note to the chocolate was very uplifting.  But I must say, though we each ordered the half size, it was plenty rich.  {Kale} and I probably could’ve shared one order and be satisfied.

We each had a milk chocolate square. {Kale’s} was the coconut, almond and fleur de sel, and mine was the same but without the coconut.  It was the perfect thickness, and melted in your mouth with the fleur de sel cutting through the sweetness of the chocolate.  What a wonderful way to bring our hands-on adventure to a close.  With our friendship and our bodies nourished, {Kale} and I bid a fond farewell and knew that not even the relentless Vancouver rain could dampen our spirits that day.   C’est magnifique!

Eat healthy, live great! {Kake}

p.s. The places we mention above are just a small sample of places to explore in SoMa, which makes me want to go back sooner for another adventure.

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