polka power

Old people dancing to live polka music may just be the cutest thing ever.

A Friday night and with nothing to do, last minute plans were made for Out. But where? Miranda was craving German food and ambiance, so we headed to the Vancouver Alpen Club. I am not necessarily a fan of German food – something about that much schnitzel terrifies me – but as I had scarfed down leftover pizza an hour earlier, I was up for anything that did not involve my couch.

The Vancouver Alpen (not Alpine, as I later learned) Club is a fantastic freaking place to be. It’s likely the single most German place in all of Vancouver, and it is awesome. Great food, a live band with an accordion and tuba, and so many adorable old people cutting a serious rug while dressed in their sparkliest clothing. It may have been the only place outside of a Vegas revue that I’ve ever felt under-sequined – EVERYONE there was sparkly. I was matte and sad and desperately wishing I had had a feather boa. With me, I mean – I had several at home, of course.

put on your red shoes and dance

We ordered drinks and food from a super friendly server who was genuinely upset for me that I was the Designated Driver for the evening. I didn’t start out as DD, but Reilly ordered a beer that came out the size of his head so we thought it best to arrange our safe passage home beforehand. Also, I don’t drink and stuff. It was all largely unnecessary in the end as we were there for several hours, the one beer was more than enough, and it was followed by two equally large coffees – but it was nice to receive condolences over my DD status as opposed to the usual eye-rolling from servers who think I’m the cheapskate of the bunch.

Since I had eaten before I left the house, I opted for a pretzel and the haussalat while the others ordered complicated-sounding foods like schweinefilet, schweineschnitzel and rinderrroulade. I later regretted my unadventurous ordering, as the bites I stole from everyone’s plate were kind of sublime – the Germans know how to make a mean gravy that made EVERYTHING taste amazing, even more so than it was unadorned. Reilly also ordered the Sausage Sampler, something I had my eye on but opted against because a) even I have a sausage limit, and b) a traumatic childhood experience left me scarred and loathing European wieners.

so much schnitzel!

The VAC was split into a restaurant and a dance floor which was decorated with disembodied, mounted animal horns. These may have been the same animals featured in Reilly’s Sausage Sampler, actually. It’d have been pretty fucking creepy if not for the band blasting polka’d versions of all the hits of the 50s and 60s and beyond – seriously, you’ve never heard “Mambo Number 5” until you’ve heard it as a polka. When people weren’t dancing, they were enjoying the band and rocking out – we had an old German man sitting with us, providing the tuba line on the table so hard my wrists were shaking. It was really sweet to see the old, bedazzled couples having such a fantastic time – they reminded me of my parents, who used to go out dancing at the Legion every weekend before my dad got too ill and my mom too crazy. I imagine it was very similar to what I saw last night, and it made me smile.

There was something incredible going on at every corner of the Vancouver Alpen club – even the notices posted on the bulletin board were amazing. I have a new crush on a man named Paul, who needs some lederhosen:

paul needs lederhosen. won't you help him?

As it turns out though, German food gives me weird ass dreams. In the 5 hours I slept, I :

  • Killed a man at a public bath because I had an overwhelming urge to push him down the stairs
  • Narrowly avoided decapitation due to someone stringing navy blue yarn across a McDonald’s parking lot at a Halloween party
  • Couldn’t get my passport in Victoria because I couldn’t tag the photos I took at Fragapalooza (the keyboard kept switching languages on me)
  • Had sex at train crossing while fleeing from my crime
  • Discovered Ed was previously married, 65 years old AND being hunted down by his ex-wife for sex
  • Drove through a video game demo and came to a stop in an episode of King of the Hill guest starring John Goodman as a surly short-order cook
  • Rode Lola down the interstate without a helmet or a seatbelt, behind people I know in incorrect couple configurations
  • Was hunted down by the brother of the man I pushed down the stairs – he wore a trench coat and spoke like a bad crime movie from the 50’s (I lost him in a pickup truck that I later had train crossing sex in)

Any one of these would make for a weird dream, but all of them at once had me awake and baffled at 7am. What the hell was in that gravy? Doesn’t matter; I’d eat it again in a second, over cereal if I had to. It was tasty.

We’re already making plans to go to the Alpen Club again, this time with Ed and Josh in tow as they are both Fans of Sauerkraut. Next time, I’m gonna wear sequins. I will never be out-sequined again.

hee hee "sausage"

9 thoughts on “polka power

  1. Oompahpah! This makes me nostalgic for my hometown of Kitchener, Ontario, home of Oktoberfest.

    P.S. I want to see John Goodman starring as a surly short-order cook. Or anything, really.

  2. Oh and also, I love German food but they have a way of making *anything* sound unappetizing. I mean, who wants to eat “Schweineschnitzel”? Gott im Himmel.

  3. Did you see Randy Quaid squatting in your condo when you came home?

    “Dude, Randy Quaid’s rummaging through my fridge!”

    “I think that’s a homeless guy who broke in to your house.”

    “No, it’s totally Randy Quaid!”

  4. Hey – I’m totally looking for a place to practice my ballroom dancing…. was it really all polka music/dancing or was it ballroom dancing with a polkaesque vibe? (I ask since I don’t know how to polka.) Sounds like the perfect place to go for a chill night of dancing.

  5. I love the Alpen Club too. I lived in Germany for a while as a kid, and also went on various holidays there later on, so it makes me all nostalgic and such. The best moment was ordering appetizers from a very earnest, fresh-faced young fraulein:

    Friend: “so what would you recommend as an appetizer? What’s good here?”

    Waitress: “OH! Do you like cold fish?” (big expectant smile)

    Everyone at the table, in unison: “NO!!!”

    (She persuaded us in the end, and it was delicious).

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