By Tana Kosiyabong
While people around the world are still keeping their eyes on the World Cup Soccer, many Vancoverites have already moved on to our very own “Vancouver International Jazz Festival”. From June 25th to July 4th, hundreds of jazz concerts will be performed in several venues around the city. Some are free to the public; others are paid events.
During the last weekend, Gastown had hosted one of the festival free venues. And because the event was only a block away from my condo, you bet I wouldn’t miss them. So I walked out the door and went down to the concert area near the Gassy Jack statue to listen to the jazz. (There was another stage on the other end of Water Street as well.)
After enjoying the groovy music for a while, I decided to wander along the street for something to eat. On my way, I smelled an alluringly sweet aroma in the air. The scent led me to Swiss Style Nuts, a literally hole-in-the-wall shop, located at 73 Water Street between Carrall and Abbott Streets. I have walked past this shop several times, but they were normally closed. So I asked the man who I assumed to be the owner and his son about their shop. They told me that Swiss Style Nuts will be opened all summer long. But they have to close in winter because Gastown is more or less a Ghost town during that time.
Then they gave me some free samples of the Swiss-style Almonds. (Well… unfortunately not because of my charming accent. They offered them to all passersby.) The freshly roasted almonds are coated with a crunchy layer of sugary sweet crust. I really enjoyed the double-crunch textures in my mouth; however, I would have added a tiny bit of salt into the coating mixture to balance the sweetness.
Swiss Style Nuts offers four different kinds of nuts: peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, and pecans. The prices ranged from $5.99 to $6.99 a bag. They were bit steep for my taste so I decided not to buy them. But if you’re are not as cheap as I am, feel free to give them a try.
Because a few nuts couldn’t possibly fill up my belly, I kept on heading West for more food. Just a couple store fronts down from the steam clock, I found a bright yellow hot dog cart on the foot path. The stand name is Top Dog. But I think the owner should have renamed it “Smart Ass” Hot Dog to match his personality. When I asked what’s the difference between the $3.50 and the $5 hot dog, he gave out a long sigh, then asked me what’s the difference between cappuccino and regular coffee? I couldn’t help but laugh at his sarcastic remark before I ordered a $5 smokie dog.
My hot dog was ready shortly after. It was way longer than the bun which is a good thing in my opinion. The condiment bar offers relish, banana pepper, sauerkraut and several sauces. I added some banana peppers, sauerkraut and a big squeeze of the fake Sriracha hot sauce on it. The smokie was made with a good natural casing which would have snapped when bitten into if it hadn’t been marking with a knife first. Even then it was still juicy and quite tasty. I wanted to ask the owner if he is going to be there regularly or just for the event, but I didn’t want to hear another smart ass answer. So I didn’t bother asking.
Overall, I really enjoyed my experience at Vancouver International Jazz Festival with all my five senses, thanks in part to the jazz music, and the lovely food aroma in the air. Although the Gastown event is over, many more jazz concerts are still going on until July 4th at other venues including free daily concerts at Granville Island. Enjoy! And Go Argentina!
Swiss Style Nuts Almonds (Free Samples): ©©© 1/2
Top Dog Smokie Hot Dog: ©©© 1/2
Remaining Budget: $189.22
Budget Spent: -$5 (Swiss Style Nuts Almonds are free samples)
Budget Available: $184.22
For more information about Vancouver International Jazz Festival 2010, click here.
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