Sunday may not have been as glamorously sunny as Saturday, but there was a heck of a lot to do in Richmond. On yesterday’s agenda: marveling at super-fit athletes, then trekking off to eat cookies and pasta.
I started off at The Oval, where I watched rhythmic gymnastics live for the first time. There were dozens of competitors from across the country, all with bun-heads that reminded me of my dancing days.
The competition area was divided into two sections – one for warm-up and the other for performances, all of which were done in front of an intimidatingly large panel of judges. Upon joining the crowd, one thing I noticed immediately is that the sport’s Eastern-European roots extend across the world; plenty of mothers and coaches had thick Slavic accents, and a number of competitors were bi-lingual.
I arrived in time to watch the second round of finals – there were a few groups, then various senior finals in hoop and ball. I know I said it yesterday, but I’ll say it again – I am SO impressed by the skills these girls and young women possess. They have the grace and musicality of ballet dancers, flexibility of contortionists, athleticism of artistic gymnasts, and the precision of biathletes. It is utterly remarkable. Here are a few decent photos I was able to snap. Congratulations to all those who competed, and to The Oval for hosting this national event.
There are vendors set up both in and outside the building, and I found myself some darn good pre-lunch snacks.
The first were organic roasted garlic yam chips by “Mrs. Chip,” who also does a taro version in various flavours. This was one of those situations where, for a vendor, sampling is king.
I took one bite of the roasted garlic chips and knew I had to have a bag. They’re so good, and because yams are healthier than potatoes, they’re the perfect justification to eat crunchy, yummy, salty chips!
The other great find I made was THE BAKER WHO BAKES THE SALTED CARAMEL SABLES I HAD AT CAFÉ SAVOUREUX AND LOVED SO MUCH. C’est un miracle!
Her name is Olivia Wu, and she’s the brains and baker behind Cannele & Honeybun, an operation that specializes in French-inspired cookies, canneles, and honeybuns. She sells her salted caramel sables to various cafes, and yesterday I also sampled a few of her other goods.
Her latest revelatory treat are gluten-free hazelnut cookies, made with just ground hazelnuts, cocoa, egg whites, sugar, and….maybe it was salt? There are only five ingredients, and the result is a beautifully refined, chewy, chocolatey cookie, with a flavour that suggests she uses very high quality cocoa.
I also came away with two canneles, which are tiny cakes from the Bordeaux region. They have a caramelized sugar exterior, a custardy interior, and aren’t too sweet. They would make lovely favours for a party.
I also bought a fundraising chocolate bar from the ALS Society of BC, who are organizing the Richmond-Vancouver WALK for ALS on May 25th at Garry Point Park in Steveston. Save the date! You can register at www.walkforals.ca.
After I’d half-filled my belly on farmers market treats, I stopped in at Paesano’s Restaurant for a late lunch. They specialize in Italian food, predominantly pastas and entrees such as ossobucco and veal marsala. It’s more North American style Italian food, rather than focusing on any one region of Italy.
I started with a green salad ($6), then had the veal cannelloni ($18), which my server (who I believe was also the owner) said is one of their most popular dishes. She brought out a little cup of crunchy bread sticks to snack on while I waited.
The salad was a mix of greens with some red pepper, tomato, and cheese. It was a generous portion, but it was a little over-dressed.
The veal cannelloni arrived shortly after, and consisted of rolled sheets of pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese and covered in a veal, tomato, and cream sauce. It was finished with a bit of parsley and grated parmesan.
It wasn’t plated particularly carefully, but it was tasty. The flavours were good – rich, but not too salty – and while the pasta was a bit thick for my liking, it was cooked just right. Yesterday was chilly, so this was a hearty and comforting meal to warm up with.
Afterwards, I settled into Rocanini to have a cup of tea and sort through my hundreds of photos with a cup of tea. Pretty good Sunday, no?
Cash and cards accepted
Vegetarian options available