Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ode to White Spot

White Spot Legendary Restaurant

On any given day as evening approaches, my significant other and I will get caught in the same predictable dinner banter:

"What do you feel like eating?"

"I don't know. What do you feel like?"

"I'm asking you."

"It doesn't matter. Anything."


"No. I don't feel like anything greasy. Why don't I just pick up some groceries at Choices and I'll make something."

"No, I don't feel like dealing with the mess."

"Okay, how about sushi?"

"I just had sushi for lunch. We could head down to Milestones or somewhere nearby and grab a quick dinner".

"Nah... I don't feel like dealing with the whole Yaletown scene. I just want something low key."

"White Spot?"

"White Spot!!!"

It's not that we're picky eaters, but sometimes too much choice can be a bad thing. Whenever we're indecisive like this, White Spot's the fail safe. It's always that reliable middle ground that we can both agree on. Whatever the craving we do or don't have, White Spot is the answer.

But admitting you like White Spot is a fact often left unspoken in social circles. It's like admitting you still play with Barbie's when you're 13, or that as an adult you still sleep with your teddy bear. White Spot won't impress others with your dining savoir-faire, nor will it amaze your foodie girlfriend. And the beautiful metro men from the video game studios do not get sloshed at White Spot, oh no.

White Spot may not be bragworthy cool, but its mystique - I think - lies in its nostalgia, and it's exclusive nostalgia at that. After all, it's been a fixture in BC since 1928! Those of us who grew up in the Lower Mainland seem to have an inherent soft spot for the White Spot - it's our guilty pleasure we will never outgrow. We share collective memories of pirate paks dinners - a children's meal served inside a paper pirate ship with a straw for the mast, napkin for the sail, and genuine booty of a single chocolate coin. Ahoy! indeed.

When we outgrew pirate paks (a sad day for a 12 year old), we kept going to the White Spot after school, as hinted at by Kyla Mallett's Legendary Teens.

But even as adults, native BC'ers collectively desire our triple O burgers with a floppy pickle, the spoonful of sunflower seed-speckled coleslaw, and fries - served with a reliably dribbly bottle of vinegar. Sure, it may not impress the foodies and it may puzzle the uninitiated, but us born-and-raised BC'ers love our White Spot burgers. And as my raw-food vegan friend Lorra attests, "the only time I EVER crave burgers is when I think about White Spot burgers". I think that's enough proof right there.

Edit: Sadly, I don't have any photos of the glorious White Spot burger, but a quick search on Google images will provide you with more than enough mouth-watering results.


Robyn said...

You're right! Good call!

I actually used to treat myself to White Spot breakfasts when I worked in the Granville Building.

Of course, now I live 3 blocks away from the White Spot on Granville & Drake, and yet, I've never been there for breakfast.

Connie said...

Never heard of it, but I know exactly what you mean :)

Robyn said...

I don't think you're alone Connie. ;) I don't think anyone outside of BC (well, BC and Alberta, in Canada) know of White Spot either. ;)

If you've ever heard Californians love for In & Out Burger, it's kind of the same thing.

Matthew Watkins said...

The breakfasts are amazing especially the blueberry pancakes and bacon, with a large glass on minute maid orange juice. This reminds me of 4 very happy mornings in Vancouver.

Unknown said...

I stayed at the Holiday Inn on Granville and Drake twice - the White Spot is within the hotel building - I used the White Spot all the time while staying there and now every time I visit Vancouver I make sure I go to a White Spot for a meal - here in the UK there are similar chain restaurants and I really think that the value for money and quality of the food is really good at the White Spot - especially the breakfasts (pancakes are a favourite!)

Robyn said...

Hi Sue, thanks for commenting! You make a good point - it is great value for chain restaurants.

And as an aside, I just found out that White Spot has expanded into Hong Kong and that it's very popular there!

Robyn said...

Matthew, I'll have to order those blueberry pancakes the next time I'm craving breakfast. I'm actually getting hungry right now just thinking about it!