Monday, April 14, 2008

Lazy Sundays and happy days

Sundays are the days I like to relax, play football, read the papers and generally chill out. It's a time when I don't have to wonder when our insane main cooker will stop the gas coming through, when we'll have to hit it with a hammer, kick it, do anything that starts the slow stream of gas. Once it starts, we know we're ok, the power will come back. One day, though, you won't eat. At least not that quickly, don't say you weren't warned (it's been fixed - Ed). 
This Sunday I've spent looking back over some of the places that made an impression on me in Vancouver 1990-92. I was a phd student at the economics department at UBC and lived on west 14th. Two places made a lasting impression, the Fringe Cafe and Benny's Bagels. The Fringe was the place that got me through my theory comps. After spending the whole day answering the toughest questions our professors could come up with, myself, Henry Thille and Benoit Delage would leave UBC at about 7.00 and head for the Fringe. The question when you walked through the door, there was probably an obligatory line-up (queue) for five minutes or so, was 'do you have the intention of eating?', 'yes' would satisfy BC's arcane licensing laws and you could then drink for as long as you want. Usually we'd find room for a plate of nachos but mainly it was ESB. I've just searched for it on the web and it says the closing time is 1.00 a.m., maybe so but on many occasions we left well into the early hours, to be faced with the same travails the following day (and night).

The second place is Benny's Bagels. When we opened we had on our menu the double cheese melt that I ate here dozens of times. This was a favourite haunt in the even later hours. The night club of choice was the 'Luv Affair', playing the best of eighties music, as well as heavy industrial house (I think it was, whatever it was, it was all beat and bass). Usually we'd leave here in the wee small hours, walk across Granville bridge and then along Broadway. I lived at 3065 w14th and Benny's was on the way back. And it opened all night. Every time we walked we stopped for coffee and bagels and the variety and quality is still staggering, especially when you think we are still stuck with 4 or 5 varieties. Google Map location:

The third place is the Luv Affair, which iIve just checked out and it closed on 1/2/2003. Check out what people said, it really was a great place. The only downside was losing on the pool tables all the bloody time.

The thing that strikes me is that these places were great at the time and what marks them out is their longevity. Both the Fringe and Benny's is still open and the Luv Affair shut after 27 years. It gives us some hope. Let's hope the oven still works.

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