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I was lured to live in Vancouver.

You could almost say “bribed”.

Many years ago, when PH was “just” my best friend, I flew out to visit him here. He met me at the airport with a kiss and a dozen roses. Yellow, tinged with red. Friendship turning to love.

The first place he took me was not the suspension bridge or Stanley Park.

The first place he took me was Anton’s.

He had me hooked.

By the end of the ten days, he was my boyfriend. Hell, to be honest, he was my future perfect husband, because we knew from day one that this was going to work.

PH would probably argue that he knew from day -1,460.

It wasn’t love that made me agree to move to Vancouver and live with him there, though.

It was Anton’s.

If you ever come to Vancouver, you may think that you have to go see a Canuck’s game, or visit Capilano, or the Aquarium. You may think that you need to eat sushi and walk under the cherry blossoms. I recommend all of these things.

But if you haven’t eaten at Anton’s, you haven’t experienced the best Vancouver has to offer.

It’s a no-frills establishment. No table cloths. Paper napkins. Wooden tables jammed together so tightly that you have to suck in your belly to reach your seat.

But it doesn’t matter when you try to go – it could be 9 PM on a Wednesday and there would be a line-up out the door and down the street.

Anton’s makes pasta like you’ve never tasted.

No amount of superlatives or comparative adjectives can really make you understand how good the food is there. I’ve been to Italy, and I still swear that they didn’t beat Anton’s when it came to pasta. Pizza? Wonderful. Meat? Out of this world. But if you want the kind of pasta that you dream about afterwards, it’s Vancouver you need to visit.

The pasta is fresh, and homemade. Not that dry stuff that you boil soft. It’s huge, too. Like it was made by giants. Genius giants.

The portions are gargantuan. Every time we take people, they say “oh, yeah, big portions, eh? Good, because I’m hungry from standing in line for half an hour” …but then when the food arrives they’re like, “HOLY FUCKING CHRIST THIS IS A LOT OF FOOD.”

After you’ve stuffed yourself to the point of bursting you look down at your plate and realize that it appears untouched. You lug the remaining pound or two of food home in a container. You will live off of the leftovers for the next 24 hours, and probably lick the inside of the container when you’re finally done.

There are no wrong choices at Anton’s, but everyone has a favourite. Mine is Tortellini Alla Panna, a turkey-and-cheese-stuffed tortellini in a cheesy Alfredo sauce, with chunks of ham. Amazing. Perfect Husband likes the Rigatoni Al Porto, a mountain of  pasta in a spicy garlic sauce with Italian sausage. Delicious.

We haven’t attempted waiting in line at Anton’s since Babby arrived, but recently Perfect Husband decided that we were going to get Anton’s. We called ahead when he got off of work and we picked it up to go (we also picked up some for a friend of mine whose husband is training in Alberta before being deployed to Afghanistan. Nothing brightens your day like unexpected Anton’s!).

You don’t get the massive portions when you get Anton’s to go (there’s only so much they can fit in one container) but it’s still delicious and it’s still enough for two meals.

And so, Babby was officially welcomed to Vancouver with his first taste of Anton’s.

Naturally, he loved it.

The weird thing is, he liked the spicy rigatoni best, even though we were afraid it would be too much for him. Crazy Babby.

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