Friday, February 5, 2010

Pyrohies in Vancouverovsk

Sometimes it takes visiting another country to truly get a taste for its local cuisine...and sometimes it just takes moving to a new neighborhood. In this case, Steve and I and our downstairs nabes, Amanda and Drew, set off one block down the street to the Ukrainian Orthodox Centre for their monthly perogy (pyrohy) dinner and though none of us have ever been to the Ukraine to compare, we were not disappointed. I'd first heard about this evening from a volunteer I work with who, upon hearing that we were moving to the Main area of the 'Couv insisted that we check out this neighbourhood gem.

With lines running
down the block that continues, quite deceivingly, inside the building, hundreds of hipsters, Ukrainian immigrants, local families, and visitors-in-the-know fill the fluorescent-lit church function hall the first Friday of every month. To say they have it down to a science is an understatement - upon first entering, we thought to take our perogies to go (as we do only live a block away), but couldn't resist taking in the experience by allowing one of the several volunteers find us a seat in and amongst the communal eating areas. But first, one must wait. And wait. And wait. At the door you're given slips of paper with the various dinners one could have, though it's generally understand that while you guard your place in line (which could easily take 1 hour from start to finish), members of your party can duck out to grab a pen and a glance at what's on the "Super Dinner" or "Regular Dinner." All dinners include, of course, perogies - but the variations come with your choice of cabbage rolls, borscht, Ukrainian sausages, and what Ukrainian spread would be complete without the option of salad or sauerkraut? I opted for the Vegetarian Dinner and when it was finally my turn to approach the still-smiling volunteers (soothing my aching-from-hunger belly), I was told I was "clearly a first-timer" because I offered to grab the tray. We learned quickly that we've already done the work by standing in line for 45 minutes, now all we needed to do was be patient as the eastern European good stuff was piled high on our plates.

This is not an east side Vancouver event to be missed (as you can see from the filled and happy mouths to the right).
I've already got the next three "first Fridays" written on my calendar. So hurry up and transport yourself over to the Ukraine on 10th Avenue between Quebec and Main Street, but hurry, as they've been known to run out before the evening is up!


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