Thursday, December 24, 2009

Late Night Dining Options In Maple Ridge

I've spent the last four days spent intermittently moving my Mom upstairs - with the invaluable help of two good friends - and organizing/ outfitting her new apartment. Today the errands involved getting extension cords and a dish rack (since her dishwasher won't really fit in the new kitchen); rejigging some of the power bars and plugs in her apartment; and cooking dinner. Tonight, it was bison burgers; the last three days have been turkey leftovers from the feast Mom made our movin' helpers on Sunday, with Mom pushing aside the plate on the third day to announce she was sick of turkey. Pretty much everything that needs to be set up is set up; mostly the work left over involves going through the remnants of my parents' previous suite and deciding what is still useful, what should be boxed up, what should be taken to a thrift store, and what should be thrown away; but everything necessary to her life and comfort is upstairs already. I'm happy she's liking the new suite; it looks like this might work for awhile - she's independent and resourceful enough to maintain the space once I'm able to go back to work, and though she does make a few mistakes since her stroke, mostly they've involved forgetting which meds to take when, or getting confused about dates and numbers. She's quite able to take care of herself on her own (I think).

Tonight, tho' I'd planned to do more, the errand-running proved enough, and once dinner was done, after sharing America's Funniest Home Videos and a Family Feud, I found myself nodding off on the couch - I forget what was on TV at that point. She had a bingo game in the building to go to, anyhow, so I came home, read a bit, and passed out at 8pm, to wake up fully refreshed and unable to sleep further around 10:30, the bison burgers long since having been digested. Alas, my kitchen is bare, and my dining table cluttered with stuff I've moved back here; all my work has gone into Mom's place, lately, and I've been pretty much living there for well over a month, since my Dad went into the hospital, so I'm ill prepared to resume life in my suite. After killing an hour or so for my thyroid meds to go through my system, I faced a tough question: what's a guy to eat after midnight in Maple Ridge?

Since the Subway on 224th is closed, the options, far as I could tell, were:

1. A few different pizza places, all of which offer only the standard pizza toppings. Good luck finding sundried tomatoes, pesto, garlic, or carmelized onions in this town! I just had pizza last night, however, happily making it through 3/4's of a medium ham, pineapple and onion job until suddenly I felt the desire to gag. Which stopped my eating and greatly lessened my enthusiasm for having another pizza tonight.

2. The White Spot burger joint at the Chevron on Lougheed Highway, open all night. While it's greasy fast food of dubious nutritional value, I do eat at White Spot now and then and find it quite tasty, and there's no noticeable drop in quality between the Maple Ridge White Spot and the one I sometimes used to eat at in the Mac's on Davie Street. But it would have required a block's further walk on a very cold night, and I still have a bit of a limp from an old ankle injury, which left me to settle on:

3. Tim Horton's. This Tim Horton's location has made the news twice in recent years. One article suggests that it is used by local sex trade workers as a meeting place for prospective clients; alas, the john raped and brutally beat the woman in question in a nearby ravine after they met, getting a mere five years for the assault, hence the news story. More recently, a 24 year old was arrested after punching out said Tim's window. Reminds me of the guy who shattered the glass door of the video store I worked at years ago, a few blocks away - or the time, as a teen, that I put my own fist through a glass window to punch at a kid who was teasing me (I still have scars on my right wrist; it could have been very bad...). I've never really understood the appeal of Timmie's - the devotion that franchise spawns, as some sort of (formerly?) Canadian cultural institution, is rather beyond me, based on the quality of the food, coffee, and service, but one must learn to make do. The chicken salad sandwich, at least, is edible (I'm long since back to eating meat, thank God; I don't think vegetarian options exist at Tim's, unless you want to have a dinner of donuts). The chili, it transpires, is less so - it suggests low-grade meat shipped in in cannisters and heated up. After picking out the chunks of mushroom, I made a fair show of eating it, but then started to think about the stories about e. coli I'd seen in the doc Food, Inc, and decided to give it up. The worst part of the meal by far, tho', was the peppermint tea, which tasted like nothing so much as the plastic lid the Filipino worker so considerately put on the cup for me, though I had full intention of eating in and would have eschewed the unnecessary waste if given the chance. Plastic-flavoured tea - a holiday favourite. Mariah Carey Christmas music played overhead as I plodded through the meal and chased it down with a double chocolate donut, the adjective "joyless" coming to mind as I packed up my garbage and headed for the door... reminding me that when I lived in the suburbs of Tokyo, in Ageo-shi in the prefecture of Saitama - jokingly called "Dasaitama" by some, from the Japanese adjective "dasai," meaning something lacking in class or sophistication - just around the corner from my apartment was the Joyfull Restaurant (sic), also open 24 hours, and serving all manner of tasty dishes, both western and Asian. I used to enjoy their Salisbury steak, as I recall, and had plenty of teriyaki and yakisoba there, as well as slices of cheesecake with strawberries. Dasai or no, the suburbs of Tokyo make for better late night dining options than the suburbs of Vancouver. Go figure.

I think I need to buy some groceries.

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