Last Saturday, September 1st, while I was eating and having mad amounts of fun with friends, I missed a first anniversary. A very important one. And while some of you are now searching deep into your brains to remember whether or not I’m married, the answer is no.
This anniversary wasn’t with a person. It was with a place.
I haven’t lived anywhere for a full calendar year since I was 18 years old and left Prince George to go to university. Since then, for nine solid years, I’ve been picking up and moving every 6-10 months. I’ve bounced back and forth between Prince George and Victoria, headed off to tree planting camp in the summers, moved to Calgary several times, travelled, and gone to England and Italy for school. I could quite literally collect all of my belongings in a backpack, and was always happy to move on to the next adventure.
Last September I moved back to the lower mainland, and have been here a whole year. 370 days actually, with another 274 guaranteed. While many people spend a year in one place regularly, it feels like a huge accomplishment for me. I now have a wonderful job, lots of old and new friends, and am really enjoying my life. One full year! In just one place! Who wants to pin the gold star on my blazer’s lapel?
Even though it’s few days after the fact, I wanted to celebrate this anniversary by going to one of my favourite spots in Richmond – Steveston – and treating myself. Or, treat mah self, as several of the characters from my favourite TV show would say.
Actually, you know what I started with first? Purchasing Ottolenghi’s Plenty cookbook, like I promised myself I would 11 months ago. It’s in the mail, and I can’t wait to hold that lovely cover in my arms.
So what did I get to eat? Mini-donuts. The perfect treat. I’ve had Outpost Mini Donuts on my list for awhile, and this seemed like the perfect time to go. It’s located just back from the water, in a complex with a number of other shops on 2nd Avenue.
They’ve been open about a year now, and apparently had a wildly busy summer. Strolling past I’ve always noticed it’s interior; it looks like a comfortable living room in someone’s gorgeous ski chalet.
Truly, you just want to cozy up next to the fire with a cuppa tea and a half dozen mini donuts. Maple, Vanilla with Sprinkles, Lemonade, Coconut, Local Blueberry, and Cinnamon Sugar to be exact.
Here’s how they fry them up:
Here’s what they look like after they’re iced:
And here’s what they look like before they go into my belly. You can get a half dozen for $4.25, or a full dozen for $6.25. They were fresh, which meant crispy on the outside and light on the inside, and while I liked the iced ones, my favourite was the good ol’ fashioned cinnamon sugar. You can’t beat the crunch of pure sugar on deep-fried dough.
Ken Iaci and Claudette Piacenza are the proprietors of Papi’s, and used to own Papi’s Restaurant where Diner No. 1 now is. An obviously hard-working team, they’ve decided to scale back to ‘only’ the deli, which would be more than enough work for most people!
They offer fresh pasta and sauces, European-style groceries, salamis and prosciutto, cheese, antipasti, bread, paninis, meals to go, desserts, and catering. I asked if I could have a picnic-style dinner put together, and ended up with this. AH-YUM.
I had a slice of cambozola, a ball of fresh mozzarella, some olives, roasted red peppers, a meatball with tomato sauce, marinated artichokes, focaccia, and a plate of olive oil for dipping everything in. Claudette even came over to drizzle some oil over the mozzarella; it’s like she knows me!
Everything was fantastic, especially the meatball and cheese. The tomato sauce was rich and well-salted, the meat tender, and the fresh mozzarella much better than I’m used to getting in Canada. It was soft, clean-tasting, and slightly stringy. It was such a satisfying plate, and I ate it at this sunny little table.
Every last one of their desserts looked sublime, but considering I’d already had mini donuts, I didn’t get anything.
Ha! Just kidding. You know me better than that. Claudette suggested I try the citrus olive oil cake, and I fully supported the idea. Then I threw in a nanaimo bar too, just because they looked so good. It was tasty, especially the middle layer, though the base was a little crumbly.
I took both treats outside, sat under a tree, and read my book. I am so good at this!
The cake was phenomenal; it was rich and dense like a pound-cake, barely sweet, and had a tart citrus jelly glaze on top. The olive oil kept it moist, and there were anise seeds mixed into the batter. If you dislike the liquorice-y flavour of anise, you probably shouldn’t order this dessert. Instead, you can get the olive oil chocolate cake! I’m definitely planning on trying that later.
Papi’s will almost always have something you can bring home for dinner, but on Fridays they step it up. For $16.99 per person, you can bring home a 3 course meal; they even offer the menu months in advance, so you’ll know what you have to look forward to. *Place your order 24 hours ahead of time,* and you could be enjoying a meal like “Tomato Red Onion Salad, Wild Salmon Wellington, and Cheesecake.”
Don’t mind if I do.
One more reason I enjoyed being in Papi’s was because they were playing Rosemary Clooney. Every day should include some Rosemary, so let’s all treat ourselves to some now. Happy Thursday everyone, and Happy Anniversary to me.
Cash and cards accepted
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available