Kisses and Pottery

by Carmen Cruz

Today is Friday, February 19th, 2010.

I think today's theme was kissing. I'm not sure why, but for some reason, people kept smooching me on the cheeks. Could it be because I went to 2 Italian houses? Maybe. Here we go....

First stop was Ukraine House. It's located out of the downtown core, on Ash, just off 16th avenue. There's tons of free parking, but when you walk in, they ask that you 'donate' $5 for it. The house itself isn't too bad. It's pretty chill actually. Most of the Ukrainian seniors hang out there, and all those wanting to enjoy some authentic Ukrainian cuisine (like Baba used to make!). The have perogies, cabbage rolls, sausage, strudel, etc. They also have Ukrainian pop and juice, vodka (which they call 'fire water'), and beer. Their beer costs about $7, but the bottles are half liters, so the price isn't actually all that bad. They also have traditional dancers perform during the week, and you can watch the Olympics in both English and Ukrainian... BUT, here's the kicker. I was told that when CTV found out that they were broadcasting in BOTH Ukrainian AND English, they wanted to charge the organization to air their broadcast. They wanted to charge them about $8000!!!!! Can you believe that? SHAME ON YOU CTV!!!! The Ukrainians said 'screw you' to the network and are watching it through NBC. Good on them. I'm thinking that CTV isn't making too many friends right now...

Next stop, Italian house. It's in the Roundhouse in Yaletown, which is basically right across from the bank and Urban Fare. Not too much to see here. Mostly corporate stuff and sponsors. Kinder surprise is there (which I LOOOOVE!) and they pass out samples of chocolate, along with wine and cheese. The thing is, you have to be really vigilant and EARLY to be able to snag a bite of something. Personally, I don't plan on standing in line for a tiny slice of cheese. I managed to weasel my way into the room where the DJ's from radio Italia broadcast and I was able to interview them for 100.5 The PEAK. They were pretty cool guys who got a little bit fresh with me ;)

Now here's a little gem I managed to find completely by accident. It's called Discover Calabria and it's on Homer between Smithe and Robson. This place was awesome and an absolute MUST during the Olympics. These people have brought in famous artisans from Calabria who specialize in sculpture, pottery and glass blowing. The also have yummy bread and olive oil for you to enjoy, along with some REAL Italian expresso. They're super friendly and welcoming. You can also check out wood carvings, fashion designs and other delicious food samples. At certain times of the day, you can create your own pottery masterpiece using an old fashioned wheel that works on your leg power (your thighs will feel the burn) and Rocco, the pottery specialist will help you out if you need it. See video. I had a blast there and I'm telling ya, go there before everyone finds out about it and the line ups get out of hand (the line ups now are minimal to non-existent).

Last, I tried to get into the Saxony house, but the lines were out of control. Same thing for Live City Yaletown. Ah well. There's always next week!