I was born in the interior. There’s no ocean salt in my blood, nor tales of the sea in my bones. There is, however, a deep appreciation and love for maritime history, which it probably why I’m so enamoured with the Steveston shoreline. At one time, the town’s existence depended solely upon the water on which it rests, and even today it’s home to a very active fishing industry. If you want to get into the heart of it, and I mean right inside, go to The Fisherman’s Boot Cafe.
Where will you find it? In a shipyard, of course, east of Steveston village and west of London Farm. Even though it all looks a little off-limits, anyone can wander in and seek out the cafe for breakfast or lunch – I’m proof!
The place is rather rough and tumble, and I imagine looks a lot like it did when it opened several decades ago. Who are its customers? Honest-to-goodness fishermen, and fisherwomen. Fisher persons. Fishers. Am I politically correct yet? Those who fish. I believe I am covered.
During the week, they serve breakfast until 11am, and all day on Saturdays. Their classic is the Fisherman’s Breakfast, which includes 3 eggs, 2 pieces of bacon, 2 sausages, hash browns, toast, and coffee FOR SIX DOLLARS, including tax. I was too late for breakfast so I opted for the clubhouse sandwich on sourdough, with fries. Also only six bucks.
It was enormous and tasty, and brought to me by the no-nonsense but friendly proprietor. She was happy to let me know I could take a book from their free lending library anytime, and like a good mother, worried that I didn’t finish everything on my plate. So try to eat it all.
While I sat enjoying my clubhouse (3 pieces of toasted bread, ham, turkey, bacon, cheese, tomato, lettuce, and mayo), I eavesdropped on the conversations nearby. Unsurprisingly, they were all about fishing.
“You still crabbing?”
“He hooked it real good.”
“The sockeyes are bigger than the springs, they’re saying.”
“What’s your count?”
And so went the endless talk of the day’s catch. I enjoyed being in this unpretentious place, but be warned, it’s not for everyone. Steer clear if you’re looking for fine-dining, or are uncomfortable with the f-bomb being dropped as frequently as nets into the nearby water. But if you’ve got an adventurous spirit and are up for an inexpensive, filling meal in the heart of fishing culture, then anchors away, ahoy matey, and the rest of it.
I went to The Fisherman’s Boot in honour of the upcoming Maritime Festival in Steveston, which runs this August 10th-12th. They were beginning to setup yesterday at the Britannia Heritage Shipyard, and I wandered around with my camera.
It’s a very photogenic place, with its weathered grey buildings,
huge old boathouses sitting directly over the marsh,
and of course, its BOATS. This wooden beauty was a rum runner during prohibition. Cooooool.
I had the opportunity to board a tall ship called The Kaisei, but I’m going to write about that in another post so I can dedicate more time to it.
The festival will have live entertainment, food, and plenty of interesting maritime stories and activities. Rumour has it there’ll also be mini donuts, so if you weren’t convinced before…..
The sea may not be in my blood, but it’s sure in Steveston’s, and whether you can make it for the festival or not, Britannia is a great place to visit anytime. And if you’ve got a rod and are curious as to what’s biting, head to The Fisherman’s Boot and ask a fellow diner!
A few vegetarian options
5180 Westwater Drive, Richmond BC
August 10th – 12th, 2012