Is anyone else suffering from our current “light at 8am, pitch black by 5pm” way of life?  It’s hugely problematic for me, because as soon as dusk creeps in, I want to pack up and call it a night.  And guess what, it’s terribly unproductive to end your work day at 3:30pm.

My friend Dana suggested getting more sunshine and she was right – I’m clearly lacking my daily suggested dose of Vitamin D.  So yesterday I decided to have lunch outside.  Regardless of the temperature and as long as it wasn’t raining, I was gonna GET ME SOME THAT SWEET, SWEET D.

This would obviously require takeout, so I headed over to Parker Place.  It’s a short ride from River Road, where I wanted to take my picnic, and everything is available to go.  Plus it’s all decorated for Christmas!

It was chilly yesterday, so I decided to get soup.

Lai Taste, a Vietnamese stall, has many options in that department.

I was served by a really friendly young woman, and ordered a Vietnamese pork chop sandwich, as well as a bowl of soup with grilled sausage and lemongrass fishcakes (the latter on her recommendation).  This very substantial meal was only $8.23 in total, and came with a hot drink of my choice.  It was cold out, so I asked for an Ovaltine.  I love that stuff!

I packed up my lunch, and very carefully cycled over to River Road.  I decided to explore the area directly in front of The Oval, which is a really inviting public space.

I imagine this area is bustling on a hot summer’s day; there are steps that double as seats, and a wide stretch of lawn bordering the riverfront trail.  Bundled in a sweater, jacket, wool socks, and boots, I set myself up on a peculiar-looking dock, which looked as though it was attempting to take flight.  I enjoyed a wonderful, warm lunch, some seriously fresh air, and even a chat with my brother in Regina.  Thanks, Alexander Graham Bell, for getting this whole telephone thing started.

The sandwich had lovely, crusty-but-soft bread, and was filled with breaded pork chops, sweet chili sauce, pickled carrots, daikon, and cilantro.  It was just plain delish, especially the bread.

The soup, besides being a little heavy on noodles, was hearty and comforting.  I especially loved the savoury slices of grilled sausage, and the lemongrass fishcakes were pleasantly light in comparison.

The dock was a interesting place to sit; from it, I had an nearly-unobstructed view of the sky, which changed by the minute.

Thousands of birds communed on the river to the west, and I watched as two varsity rowers paddled by, the sound of their coach’s megaphone cutting cleanly across the water.  The beautiful UBC Boathouse is just a bit further down the Fraser.

If you too are suffering from the winter blues, I suggest throwing on your warmest scarf, and getting outside.  Squeeze everything possible out of these rainless days!  Banh Mi + soup + Ovaltine + a river view = a successful SAD bust.


Lai Taste, Parker Place Mall

4380 No. 3 Road, Richmond BC


Cash only

Vegetarian options available, though there’s a lot of meat on the menu.