Lately I’ve been thinking about how my surroundings inspire my food choices. Reading my way through the Canada Reads books inspired a date with bacon ice cream, a rise in my comfort food intake, and delight in a layered chocolate torte! But what about where we live? What effect does our city have on our food choices?
My career started in downtown Vancouver in a tall building surrounded by sushi and Asian fusion restaurants. Lunch of choice: sushi most days. It’s clean (no chance of soup slippage on your suit), and is fast to eat. Plus, it looks fashionable! It’s a nice ensemble of different colours and shapes wrapped in a black suit of seaweed – somewhat resembling my corporate ensemble.
Or, a loopy salad for the days you need a break from soy sauce. I say loopy because salad bars abound in Vancouver and the kinds of toppings you can put on your salad make bacon ice cream sound quite normal.
So what happened when I started working in New Westminster?
The first thing I noticed about New Westminster is how much it is a “home.” The inclusive community included an array of late afternoon pies, and local and family run restaurants and cafes. Suddenly I found my lunch of choice shifting towards paninis, real hearty foods, and it-looks -like-your-mother-made-it concoctions.
Sometimes I look at paninis filled with freshly colourful vegetables and wonder: how am I going to eat this? Luckily we have panini presses, and although the vegetables add height, it is great to know that as much as possible they are locally sourced and put together with high quality ingredients.
Some of my favourite haunts are La Rustica and La Lorraine providing a perfect ambiance for office meetings and business lunches. The quiet atmosphere combined with an assortment of freshly made pastas, seafood, and sauces might just be what you need to seal that all important deal. For a working lunch that’s in a relaxing atmosphere I like The Hide Out Cafe. Computer stations and wireless Internet make sure that you stay connected, while delicious paninis and soups and relaxing music make your connectivity stress free.
You may not have to look far to find what the answer to your lunch cravings — just look at your city.
What are your thoughts? How do you think your city is influencing your food choices?