Last night I had dinner at a restaurant homonymously called C, just a block from where the little Aquabus docks at the bottom of Hornby Street. It’s one of my favorite spots in Vancouver, a restaurant dedicated to the fruits of the ocean, a sparkling white eatery on the edge of the water where the only meat on the menu is called the Catch of the Day.
I sat at one of the small linen-covered tables on the south-facing patio, looking across False Creek towards Granville Island. The marina was busy. There were slow cruising yachts and motoring sailboats and pods of sleek kayakers all taking advantage of the cold but gorgeous weather. I ordered a half-dozen royal miyagi oysters, with their crisp cucumber taste, from Cortez Island and a citrusy pinot blanc from BC’s Okanagan Valley and sat there and watched the sky slowly lose its color.
If you are at a beautiful restaurant, like C, and you have some of the best oysters you’ve ever had along with a really great wine and air is brisk and the waterfront bustling, it can make you happy in a way that you will remember for the rest of your life—if you are with someone special. But if you are there by yourself, you can enjoy the clean, briny flavor of the oysters and the crispness of the wine and soak yourself in the beauty of the water and the night, but it will leave you melancholy. Because there is no one to share it with and so you have just had something extraordinary but what is the point if you cannot look at someone else and, even without speaking, know that this is what has taken place.
After I finished the oysters, I ordered a heady fennel-tasting bouillabaisse full of crayfish and king crab and blocks of chunky white fish. It was as good as anything I’ve ever had in Marseilles. No, I am lying; it was better. It was dark now so I took my time both eating and drinking the wine, not wanting to hurry but just enjoying the meal and the setting. It was such a stunning evening.
I looked out across the water to the lights on Granville Island. A party boat—full of revelers in suits and long dresses—was going by. There was a three-piece band, in tuxes, playing jazz music on the stern which was lit by Japanese lanterns swaying back and forth like fireflies. A few couples were dancing. Others were leaning against the railing, staring across the darkness to the restaurant. A woman in a long black dress caught my gaze and waved at me as the boat went by. I waved back. And then the boat disappeared into the darkness.
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