Saturday, May 29, 2010

Mondo Burger raises the bar on an old favourite

A few months back, my friend Dvora raved about a new restaurant in Steveston. It had apparently changed her relationship with all other burger joints this side of the Rockies.

The first time my husband and I tried to set foot in Mondo’s Burger Bar, we couldn’t get in the door.

On our second expedition, however, we managed to snag the table farthest from the hub of activities – right smack in between the entrances to Mondo’s and Papi’s, which are like two siblings sharing the same parent.

We were surprised at how sparsely staffed the restaurant was. A man-in-black (sans the wraparound security detail glasses) stood behind the bar and a female server covered the rest of the territory. The ambience was breezy, much like that of Papi’s, but with the dial turned all the way to “casual.”

We also noticed, with much pleasure, the modest menu pricing. After flipping through the selections, we zeroed in on a Mondo burger for $5.95 and half an order of fries for $1.50.

My husband sauntered over to the bar and paid for our orders. Then we waited...

A few minutes into this anticipatory moment, the man-in-black drifted over and asked us how we were doing. He said that the party sitting at our table usually gets ignored; we said we didn’t mind.

The Mondo burgers arrived just as our hunger meter hit its peak. Ah, and worth the wait they were.

Definitely of the manly variety, the Mondo burger outranks all others in weight and bulk. It is made to be held with two hands. After inspecting mine from all angles, I decided to cut mine in half and take the leftover home.

When the server offered to pack up the uneaten portion for me, I was tempted to ask for a box as I habitually do, but decided - just this once - to let her cart my baby away instead.

Much much later, when it was obvious that she had forgotten all about us, I motioned the server over. A look of horror crossed her face. She had dumped my baby in the trash. I knew that I should have gone with my initial instinct. She apologized, of course, but didn’t offer to have it replaced. I stewed… for a good hour or so.

The moral of the story is, give Mondo's a try. But pack your own doggie bag. It will free up the staff to attend to more pressing business and (this is more important) guarantee that your Mondo baby will not be thrown out with the crumbpled napkin and checkered paper liner.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Steveston's Starbucks sparkles on the Web

Are there Stevestonites out there who haven’t set foot in the Starbucks shop on No.1 Road?

I may be biased but I think it may well be one of the prettiest watering holes in a world awash with this brand of liquid gold.

And I am not alone.

Winter, a young man from Houston, made a personal commitment to visit every Starbucks on our planet just for the sake of doing something that’s never been done before. I suppose that’s as good a motive as any, don’t you?

Since 1997, Winter has travelled the globe, facing difficulties and joys unique to the itinerant life. So far, he has covered 8532 US/Canada stores and 1406 international stores which include UK, Japan, France, Spain, Mexico, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Puerto Rico, Ireland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Greece, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Czech Republic, Portugal, Chile. To view his photos and read his comments, visit him at

If you’re like me, you would immediately navigate to the section devoted to our corner of the world. You'll see that Winter had captured the Steveston Starbucks in a breathtaking early morning shot, just as the seagulls circled overhead and the crows screeched from the treetops, no doubt. He immortalized that moment on November 25, 2006 - just eight months after the store opened its door - and his heartwarming comment framed what he saw though the viewfinder to perfection.

But, instead of tell you, why don't I just show you!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Welcome, Veggie King Market

I don’t know about you but I couldn’t wait for this store to open its door.

A food desert is defined as an area with little or no access to foods deemed essential to a healthy diet. With the new greengrocer at the corner of Moncton and No.1 Road, Steveston can reclaim its title as a food oasis. A deep green, ruby red, blazing orange, and earthy brown oasis.

In addition to the fruit and vegetable corner at Super Grocer & Pharmacy, we can now feast on nature's bounty at the Veggie King Market, the newest kid on the block!

Finally, the big void Seacoast Produce left behind has been filled. Would you believe that years after they shut down their operation, I still miss their organic chips, exotic condiments on those splintery wooden shelves, the tub of jiggly fresh tofu swimming in its water bath, and a community-size bowl of stir fry vegetables that spared me hours of cutting, slicing, dicing, chopping, and julienning.

I don't know if the Veggie King Market will ever have ready-to-go stir fry vegetables, but for now, I am just happy that I can walk - not drive - down the street to pick up my apples and bananas.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Thank you, Steveston!

On this blog, I wish to thank strangers that I have not met.

A week before Easter, I had a flash of brilliance - something that occurs less and less frequently these days.

I added bunnies, eggs, a baby chick, spring flowers and greens to my Steveston Museum image and posted a holiday greeting for my fellow villagers on this blog.

To spread even more cheer, I decided to blow the image onto a letter size colouring page and provided free copies for the neighbourhood kids. The good staff at Steveston Community Centre agreed to post them on the community bulletin board but I didn’t really expect many takers - especially since these pages went up just five days before Easter Sunday.

But I was wrong. They were all taken. I was delighted!

Your kind response provided the inspiration for my next project - a Mother's Day special for all Steveston kids - whether they are five or sixty five.

If you drop by the Steveston Community Centre between now and May 9th, you will find the Steveston Mother’s Day postcards hanging from the bulletin board or sitting in a clear plastic box directly across from the gym. These postcards depict a local favourite – the Prickly Pear – complete with Lucy (or is it Ruby?) sitting in the window.

Please feel free to take one, write your own personal message, slap a stamp on the corner, and send it to your mother, grandmother, or any other person who has given you lots of loving care over the years.

If you run out of time for the snail mail, you can always slip it into mom's bouquet of flowers, or her box of chocolates, or the pages of her new best seller. However you wish to use it, I hope it will bring joy to your mom's heart.

Have fun preparing for the celebration ahead and thank you for your support!