Weekend “with” the rich and famous
This past Presidents’ Day on Monday was the first time in my 10-year working career that it was a holiday for me. Making full use of this holiday, Smelly and i went snowboarding at Whistler, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics. On our way to Whistler, we made our usual stop in Vancouver to meet up with Boon and Shaohong. Together, we had dinner at the well-known restaurant Vij’s.
Last year we came up to Vancouver during Labor Day weekend and we wanted to try Vij’s but when we got there and found out that the wait was going to be at least two hours, we ate at the bistro-style restaurant called Rangoli, which is located right next to Vij’s and has the same owner – Vikram Vij. Recently, we watched an episode of No Reservations in Vancouver and in that episode, Anthony Bourdain visited several Vancouver restaurants, including Vij’s. Coincidentally, Vij’s restaurant takes no reservations. That made me thought of going to Vij’s again.
On Saturday, after shopping at the only H&M store (located in Coquitlam, BC) in the Pacific Northwest, we went straight to Granville. By the time we arrived there, it was close to 1730. Already we spotted a long line of people waiting outside Vij’s. Vij’s does not take reservation so there’s no telling how long you have to wait. By the time we got to the restaurant, the line was already 40-people long. We were not the initial batch of people that got seated and we were told the wait was going to be 1.5 hours. Indeed, we waited for at least 1.5 hours before we were finally seated. While we were waiting in front of the bar at the back of the restaurant, Vikram would walk by every so often to ask how we were doing. It was a pleasant surprise to find that he is such a down to earth kind of guy. Not only was he visiting table to table talking to the guests, Vikram was also helping the waiting staff out with things like setting tables, moving extra chairs and taking orders. I have never seen a more personable and hospitable host like Vikram. The food was good and the wine was great. Vikram even took time out of his busy night to take a picture with us. We had a really great time there.
The following morning, we drove up to Whistler. After checking into the Westin at Whistler and unloading our stuff in the room, we went straight for the gondola. For the past few weeks, i had been collecting the Ski Free with Shell vouchers religiously. Every time i fill up my car with at least 10 gallons of gas, i would ask for a voucher. In all, i collected probably 6 or 7 vouchers. The Ski Free voucher was a great deal last year because at Whistler, we would pay regular price for a lift ticket and get the second one for free. Other than a few blackout days, it was valid for the whole season. And that’s what i thought it would be too for this season. Wrong! Found out at the lift ticket window that the blackout dates for this season are “Jan 1 thru 6, Jan 18 thru 21 and February 2 thru April 13, 2008“. Holy shit, that’s pretty much the whole freaking season! That’s so lame.
On Monday morning, Janet and i went to Aubergine Grille for breakfast, a restaurant in the Westin. After we were seated, i suddenly recognized a familiar face sitting diagonally across from me at the table right next to ours. The renowned director of “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” fame, Ang Lee (李安), was sitting less than 5 feet away from me! I got kind of excited and was hoping to get a chance to talk to him and let him know how much i have enjoyed his movies throughout the years. But i did not want to intrude onto his privacy. Besides, i am pretty sure he has heard enough compliments, more than he ever wanted to hear.
So that’s how i spent my Presidents’ Day long weekend, “with” the rich and famous.