Monday, July 30, 2007

Vancouver Diary 8: The Final Chapter

June 19, 2007

Our flight back to Montreal was a 2:00 pm departure, which meant we had to get to the airport at about noon. I made sure to make it out to Continental Coffee one last time to make a pick-up, but Michelle figured we had time for one more full-fledged food-related stop before going to the airport, as long as the place was more or less on the way. The question was where to go. Do we go back to one of the week's highlights? Hawker's Delight? We only really had a snack from there and it was right on Main. Toshi Sushi? Do they even do lunch, and, if so, would they prepare a take-out order for us? Or do we try someplace new? In the end we opted for novelty.

Duffin's Donuts

Michelle had read about Duffin's Donuts on Main and how there was some kind of Southeast Asian sandwich shop lurking within. She had a feeling Duffin's was worth a visit, and she was positive that a couple of take-out sandwiches were just what we needed for our flight. She insisted we'd be the envy of the entire passengers' cabin.

We weren't exactly sure what we'd find when we got there, but when we pulled in across the street things looked promising.

duffin's donuts fig. a: signage, Duffin's Donuts

We're still not 100% sure of what we experienced at Duffin's Donuts. One thing's certain: it's located in an old ('70s?) doughnut shop. But beyond that, things get mysterious. The place is owned by a Southeast Asian family who maintained the shop's donut selection and their Canadian-style light meals, but then added a bunch of Southeast Asian treats to the menu. We've read accounts that the family is Vietnamese and that they serve Vietnamese sandwiches, but we've also read that they're Cambodian and that they serve "Vietnamese" sandwiches (why they wouldn't be Cambodian sandwiches in that case isn't clear to me). All we know is that they're known for their "hot torta" sandwiches, and that torta wasn't the only Spanish word on the menu. Michelle got the "hot torta" with machaca, while I got the carne azada number. Did all these Spanish terms indicate some kind of Filipino connection? We're still not clear on that. All we know is that we loved the whole Duffin's Donuts experience: the friendly service, the hybridity of the operation, and especially those "hot torta" sandwiches, which made for some awfully great airplane food. Overstuffed with avocado, tomato, and lettuce, and served on a big, puffy bun not unlike a Portuguese bun, both sandwiches featured generously seasoned, thinly sliced cuts of meat.

Did we end up being "the envy of the entire passengers' cabin"? I couldn't tell you. I was way too busy wolfing down my sandwich to notice.

Oh, and the doughnuts are good too.

Duffin's Donuts, 4898 Main St., (604) 879-5551

All in all it had been quite the week. A week filled with so many highlights, it took over a month to write about it.

Many thanks to Brady and Robin for getting hitched and for bringing together so many great people in the process, to S. and D. for being the consummate hosts and for somehow putting up with our powerful food fixations, and to all our other Vancouver friends, new and old, for making the 2007 "Yummers, Not Bummers" Tour such a success.


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