Saturday, 25 June 2016

Fox On The Run

I hit the ground running as soon as my plane landed in Saskatoon last Friday. A quick cab ride straight to rehearsal and boom! I'd missed over 2 days of rehearsals due to my Vancouver teaching job, so I had some catching- up to do. This show is a play-through, meaning that there is music in almost every moment of the play. Outdoor puppet theatre is hard, sweaty work, and tremendous fun. Doing a show based on Cree legends with a partially Cree cast means that we've done some interesting things as a cast, including smudging, feasting, and going to a sweat lodge (amazing, spooky, spiritual, and very, very, very hot). We actually met with a nutritionist yesterday, who gave us all advice on staying healthy and hydrated once we actually start performing outdoors in the sun and heat (after that sweat lodge it should be no big deal). It's one of the many supportive things this company has done for us, and I think it's going to be a wonderful 6 weeks, as long as I can sort out the fragile balancing act between staying hydrated and not having to pee for the entire length of every single show.
Where your mountains at, South Saskatchewan? 
Because we are rehearsing at a synagogue, we have Saturdays off, a thing that is almost unheard-of in live theatre. So while I had to jump straight in to work last Friday I was then rewarded with an instant day off. First things first: I managed to find a bicycle so I could commute between home and work. The little used 6-speed folding (!) Schwinn that I found for a dirt-cheap price has started several conversations with total strangers so far. I've affectionately nicknamed it the Blue Snail, because its small wheels make my rides a bit slower than I'm used to. The selling feature for me was its cute little basket, which makes it possible to transport lunches, scripts and groceries without having to carry stuff on my back- essential in this prairie heat.

One thing I wanted to make sure of was sticking to my no-flour, no-dessert eating plan while I was here; and I was nervous, because Saskatchewan is a land of bakers (is it me, or is this province especially obsessed with Long John-type donuts?). Surprisingly, my salvation came from the very place I feared most: the Saskatoon Farmers Market.

Browsing around there last Saturday I noticed the usual sweet and sticky baking stalls... but also a company called Fit Fuel In A Jar. Salads to go? All nicely packed into 750ml Mason jars? Requiring no prep or cooking on my part? SOLD. I bought just 4, since I wasn't totally convinced I'd like them... and ended up devouring them for my lunches because they are straight-up delicious.

Here's the skinny: each jar costs 11 dollars. And yes, that's a bit pricey. But honestly, if I bought all the stuff I'd need to make them, I wouldn't spend much less than that, and the convenience of having healthy meals all packed and ready to go each day is worth the extra cost. You can order online, and either have them delivered (in the Saskatoon area) or pick them up from the farmers market on Saturdays. Because they're large and include protein, I find them to be a perfect lunch (or dinner): they're fresh, packed with flavour, and yet light enough on these hot days to keep me energized for the afternoon half of rehearsals. Here are some of the meals I've tried:

  • ginger chicken & soba noodles
  • sundried tomato & lentil salad
  • chicken, mandarin & cranberry salad
  • thai steak salad
This week I ordered 10 salads (the ones above, plus a peanut shrimp salad) and picked them up this morning. They just fit in the back of the Blue Snail. I rode gingerly home - Saskatoon streets have a LOT of potholes- with 8 of them in the back and 2 more swinging from my handlebars. (It reminded me of one of my beloved Dorothy Sayers novels, where Lord Peter Wimsey is fretting over the transport of some wine of rare vintage and Bunter reassures him: "The damage is at present negligible, my lord.")
Big salads, little bike. 

I'm already scheming to reproduce these once I return to Vancouver. Does anyone have a business like this in YVR? If you know of one, get at me, because I can't find one. I'm almost tempted to start my own meal-in-a-jar company...

Of course, it's not all healthy eating, all the time. A girl needs her breakfast fix once in a while (it's been mostly granola, yogurt and fruit during the week). 
Something I noticed working here last year is that breakfasts are damn expensive in this town. Even the so-called diners and greasy spoons want to charge you something like 11 bucks for a basic 2-egg-bacon job that you'd pay less than 8 dollars for in Vancouver. What gives, Saskatoon? 

I figured that since I was gonna get fleeced any which way, I might as well get something a little more interesting. After some research on Google, I decided to check out The Hollows, which is in trendy Riversdale, pretty close to where I'm staying. 
You would be forgiven for thinking that The Hollows is actually a run-down Chinese restaurant called Golden Dragon, since that is what the signs on the building (not to mention the impressive neon dragon) would have you believe. They seem to have taken it over lock, stock and barrel, which is part of its Hipster-ish appeal. The menu embraces local ingredients, and a mix of old and modern cooking techniques. Brunch (served weekends) varies from the delicious-sounding Trout Benedict to Pear & Lavender Oatmeal (I want to try that next time) to Breakfast Poutine (which 2 people raved about independently when I mentioned that I was going to The Hollows), to my choice, which was called, prosaically, Rice & Beans. I wouldn't say it was outstanding; it was okay, and more to the point it contained neither potatoes nor bread and so it was okay for me to eat. Far more entertaining than my breakfast was the unexpected company of 2 people from Tourism Saskatchewan, who were filming a segment in The Hollows, and wanted to share my table as it head the best light in the place. We ended up having a nice chat, and they told me about some places I should check out while I was here. My table companions wanted to film their actress drinking a cocktail, so at 11am I found myself sipping a Gin Fizz while the woman across from me had a Rhubarb Margarita. The Fizz was an interesting mix of fizzy and creamy, and both drinks were very attractive. Overall, I'd splurge on The Hollows once or twice more during this contract, if only to try more cocktails and maybe their dinner menu. 

This is Fenster. Fenster ate plastic last week and it got stuck in his intestine.
Now he has a cone head and a big incision in his tummy.

It's already 6pm, and so my day off is nearly done- so soon! I spent a rainy afternoon playing salsa music on Spotify and dancing around the kitchen watched by a sceptical cat, whilst cooking up sausages (shout out to Benlock Farms, which sells amazing Angus beef products). 

Another intense week awaits. At least I know that my little area of the fridge is stuffed with an assortment of tasty meals-in-a-jar, ready to carry me through the next 6 days. 

1 comment:

  1. Salad in jar a sounds like something safe for a burly man who normally wouldn't eat salads to eat too ..or you could start a cheap breakfast joint in Saskatoon! This blog makes me want to go to there, so I'll be your regular patron (in the summer months).