food: vancouver christmas market

well… when i first drafted this post, it was december 17th.  and christmas was almost upon us.
now, it has come and gone.
excuses excuses, but december was a particularly trying month for me for various reasons and lots of things fell by the wayside.  this post/blog being one of them.
to be honest, i also didn’t travel anywhere nor did i cook barely at all.  i certainly ate, but not much in the way of preparation…

but, resolutions abound in the new year… so i’m going to finish this post and then post some more.

for the last couple years, vancouver has played host to its own german-style christmas market.
and if there’s one thing i really enjoy, its a cup of hot mulled wine while wandering around eating and shopping for knick knacks.
so this was pretty much right up my alley.


first off, kudos to these guys and the city of vancouver for treating us like adults and letting us wander with alcohol.
you could buy your hot mulled wine and/or a beer and wander freely inside the market.  not penned in to a beer garden looking longingly past the plastic fencing forced to choose between the drink and the market itself.
this was a vast improvement over many other events vancouver is home to, simply for that reason alone.  alcohol should not mean segregation.

i also was a huge fan of the mug deposit system.
instead of drinking your beverage from a disposable plastic or styrofoam cup, you received a real ceramic mug for the deposit price of $2.  then, if you wanted to keep your mug, you could… or you could return it for your twoonie back after you were done refilling as needed.
another great idea.  i wish other events would take heed and do the same with beer gardens and get rid of all those wasted plastic cups.

basically what i’m saying, is that this market took some of europe’s best ideas from their markets and instituted them.  which really, if you’re going to refer to yourself as a german christmas market, you’d better represent.

so, to show support for this idea, we immediately went into the lineup to get a mulled wine.

anyways… on to the food.
there were many choices, in fact, the stands were weighed heavily towards food over goods… which was just fine with us.

first stop… schnitzel.


sorry for the overexposed picture, it was dark and flash was the only way to go.
anyways… the schnitzel itself was pretty damn good.  we waited about 25 minutes for it and received a lovely golden crisp piece of pork with a light panko coating.  served with a pita bread, potato salad, lemon wedge & a pickle.

overall… solid.  we ate it and liked it, but really, i think vienna has ruined me for schnitzel.
when it comes from the deep fryer its just not the same as the frying pan full of butter… and the potato salad was out of a costco bucket and sprinkled with dried dill.  don’t get me wrong, i’ve eaten my share of costco potato salad, but i guess i hoped for something a little more homemade.

next up was the spätzle!



i was really looking forward to this…
after another 25 minute line up, we finally had our cheesy pasta-y goodness in hand and barely stopped to breathe.


the smell coming off this stand is so amazing, it should be illegal.  essentially this fella above just continuously tosses the noodles in excessive amounts of clarified butter, bacon and onions in a giant wok-style cast iron frying pan.  have you ever just fried pasta in clarified butter until its cooked?  ya.  you should do that.  because it was pretty much my heaven.

throw in some bacon and fried onions and you’ve got a winner.
but seriously… so much butter.  i watched that dude use pounds of butter in the time i was in line.
then he scooped out a portion, smothered it in cheese and topped it with fried onions.  yup.

because we’d been smart and shared all our meals so far, we figured it was high time for a bratwurst.


so for our last food stop of the evening, we hit up the brat stand and after a 30 minute line (see a pattern there?  we need more food stands!) we were rewarded handsomely with a lovely sausage on a crunchy soft roll smothered in sauerkraut and golden caramelized onions.

here’s a testament to how good that thing was… i hate onions and kauerkraut and i ate it all without picking it off.  it just seemed like one of those “when in rome…” kinda things.

bellies full, we grabbed a beer and wandered around to see the crafts.  overall we didn’t see too much that interested us… the one place with tons of cool looking stuff was in a building and the lineup was ridiculous to get in, and frankly i just didn’t have it in me to wait in yet another line, so we moved on.

we picked up an ornament for the mother in law and my husband purchased some alpaca socks (which he LOVES) and then we called it a night.
overall, it was a lovely way to spend an evening and i hope next year they expand the market because after the long line just to enter and then the continuous lines inside, i think a lot of people get frustrated.

but i’m happy to see the city giving these kind of events licensing and space and hope this is a tradition for many years to come.