SOME of my favourite moments come when I look around me and consider how much I love living in this place.
Heading north over either bridge from downtown almost always gets me; hiking North Shore trails is a sure thing; and I am insufferably smug while enjoying our fabulous food scene.
Now I have another go-to favourite: the North Shore Night Market at Shipbuilders' Square in Lower Lonsdale.
The night market is one of four organized by North Shore Green Markets. Featuring produce, baked goods, crafts and food they run Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Parkgate; and from 2 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays at the Lonsdale Civic Plaza and on Thursdays at the Lynn Valley Village Square.
But it's on Friday evenings, from 5 to 11 p.m., that the waterfront plaza fills with vendors: muffin makers, fruit growers, coffee roasters and popcorn makers, and locals wander through the stalls, buy dinner from food trucks and listen to live music performed on the stage.
In a recent visit I took it in with my own family plus The Godmother and her offspring. We found parking close by, and wandered through the entrance from Lonsdale, past fountains and sculptures of the employee records from the shipyards (indicating that many were paid 50 cents an hour or less for their labour). Emerging onto the plaza it was tough to decide on our first stop. Kettle corn? Rizalina's Juice? Or maybe some food from the Phillipines?
We stopped to chat with Robert McDonald of Upper Bench Organics, to admire his
peaches, cherries . . . and his commitment to grow real food.
Then we were on to the food carts and trucks. The turnout varies from week to week, but during our visit it included the Coma Food Truck, which features KoreanMexicanAmerican fusion food. Kooky sounding, I know, but its Kalbi Burgers and Korean barbecue burritos have been winning raves from the crowd downtown where it's usually parked at lunchtime. There were also golden Indian fritters served up at the Varinicey Pakoras cart.
We opted for loaded tacos from Off The Wagon Travelling Tacos.
Yam and black bean are a veggie lovers delight: corn tortilla rounds heaped with thick roasted veggies topped by tomato salsa, avocado sauce, onion, cilantro and a lime wedge.
Pulled pork with citrus slaw is even better, while the "Pile o'Chorizo" takes top spot with a tastebud-boggling hit of tangy and spicy.
Then we were on to Blue Smoke BBQ, an egg-yolk yellow truck that dishes out killer southern barbecue. These sandwiches begin with chicken or pork dry-rubbed with a homemade spice blend then smoked for 10 hours over apple wood and mixed with a secret homemade barbecue finishing sauce, topped with homemade coleslaw, and served on a brioche roll.
It was while I was licking that sauce off my fingers, simultaneously tapping my toes to the music and catching the sunset to the west that it hit me: I love this town, and I feel lucky to live here. Those feelings only intensified (obviously) after picking up chocolate lava cookies from Sweet Thea's tent, then wandering down the pier.
Need a boost this week? See you at the market. To get all the up-to-the-minute details, visit www.northshoregreenmarkets. com or North Shore Green Markets on Facebook.