My dad is obsessed with Wheel of Fortune. Not sure why and can’t even remember the year it all started. It doesn’t matter how busy the restaurant is, dinner rush or not, at 7pm my dad drops everything. He rushes to the far corner of the kitchen and turns on the rundown TV to get his fix of Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
But I get my dad’s obsession. A host with a beautiful sidekick on a stage that’s all things glamorous and glitzy? Palm trees? Check. Oversized confetti and glitter? Check. 1,000+ lights? Check. lt’s like an oasis – dream vacations, ginormous pots of money, brand new cars… is it too good to be true? Apparently not. Every time someone solves a puzzle, my father claps. If they solve the Prize Puzzle, my father erupts into the most thunderous clapping and cheering, a feet-stomping outburst that makes everyone in the restaurant stop. It’s like the contestant won an Olympic gold medal or landed on the moon.
Turns out I discovered my very own Wheel of Fortune in Vancouver during the STMT X Canada sourcing trip! Instead of Vanna White flipping oversized letters, I witnessed a beautiful lady flipping oversized lids, revealing all sorts of jewel-colored dried fruits, vegetables, and nuts. I freak out everytime I hit the dried fruit and veggie bins at Whole Foods. But all this awesomeness is next level shit and before I realize it, I’m full on freakin’ like my father. I’m walking around, talking to myself repeating over and over… I love this place, OMG, is this for real? OMG. OMG. And then… the beautiful lady walks up to me, platter in hand and with a smile she asks me if I’d like to sample their lime and saffron cashews. Ummm hellz yeah, I do!
And then I wondered if I was dreaming. Beautiful people walking around offering me samples of gorgeous dried deliciousness. Everything looks fake, I mean, it all looks too good to be true. But it’s not. I take a bite of the most vibrant yam chip ever, half expecting it to taste like cardboard, but it doesn’t. It’s amazing. I ask for a sample of the okra – the beautiful lady tells me to go ahead and help myself. Are you f’in kidding me? I really am dreaming. A place where I’m free to grab samples of anything and everything?! This is most definitely not Whole Foods. It’s an oasis.
(STMT X Canada Sourcing Trip – photo RAH)
Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts, West 4th
2248 West 4th Avenue
Vancouver, V6J 1MP, Canada