Waterloo, the St Jacob’s Farmer’s Market

Here’s the kitchen in the Quantum Computing Center. Isn’t it amazing? Makes you want to study quantum computing just for this. Waterloo does do some post quantum cryptography – something pretty good to think about now. The little I read up on it was that most of our current systems would hold up under cryptanalysis by a quantum computer, but the keys might need to double in size. That’s pretty comforting.

This is the student life center, the only building of (slight) architectural interest. It contains the university pub, a large square room (sorta like the one in Willard Straight Hall, but much larger) for studying, and a bubble tea shop!

We were having a mixer in the pub for prospective students – each of us were given two tickets to grab a drink from the bar, alcoholic or not. I guess by the time you apply to grad school you should be pretty much over the legal age for drinking anywhere. Anyway LZ and I got a couple of root beers haha. They were produced in Ontario itself and were really very nice. Here in Waterloo we are out in Mennonite County, and that is Old Order Mennonite County, so there’s plenty of good food and quaint little home-made things all around, especially in the St Jacob’s Farmer’s Market.

Here’s a map up in the Farmer’s market buildings to orientate yourself. Obviously in this weather there were no horse drawn buggy tours, but there was still a pretty strong horse smell :P We checked out the flea market – it didn’t really have much craft in it. The main market building has plenty of quaint mennonite things like pot holders, antique sugar jars, even droste cocoa tins(!), and that sort of thing. We bought two kitchen towels, one with a crocheted handle done by the Mennonite stall owner, and one that just had a pretty blue flower print just for me. The towels themselves are made in china :P but they make the top handle (for hanging on the kitchen wall next to the sink) all fancy. I bet they wouldn’t like that particular choice of words for their pot holders.

We really wanted to buy something from here just because that little boy is so cute. When we went up to him he asked Liangze if he wanted to “buy honey for his honey”. We were wondering if we should buy anything for raghu (there was also a bespoke granola stall), but we already have a jar of Ya Kun kaya wrapped up in lots of our clothes and two bags of maggi mee for him :P

There was this wood fire outside the building with a delicious smoky smell. I probably wouldn’t like it too much on my coat though, which I have to wear for the rest of my trip, will not have time to dry clean, and would make me smell like a lumberjack each time I meet with a professor.

I love going back to a $3/lb cherries! These were magnificent. Imported, of course, cause of the harsh winter here, but way sweeter and bigger than the cherries we get in Singapore. Actually I never used to eat them! Liangze’s mum was the person who first introduced them to me.

At the Farmer’s market (in the main building) we had a breakfast sandwich with Canadian bacon (I think in the US we call this ham :P But actually it’s just back bacon, which I rather like for the low fat content), a ham and mushroom quiche –

Don’t really understand why they put the cheese on top instead of through. In any case they use cheddar, which is somewhat inauthentic. I always think quiche cheese has to be at the least, french, like gruyere, or emmental, etc. Still these were delicious. We had them with a nice cup of potato and bacon soup and a can of cream soda :P The crush version is bright pink, which is a little weird. It bears noting that the main food section (with griddles and waffles and more egyptian food and poutine) is in the next building (the peddlar’s village), which we didn’t see until we were done eating. Our meal was delicious though. Somewhat strangely, there was a tupperware shop in the traveller’s village, from which I bought 3 nested tupperwares with this adorable christmas design on them, great for christmas cookies. I just might leave them here.

We loved all the little raw food stands in the Farmer’s Market – there were plenty of mennonite and non-mennonite suppliers carrying all sorts of cured meats, jerky, seafood, fresh fruit, bags and bags of apples, jars of chutneys and jams and pickles, jars of honey and honeycombs, stands of peanut brittle and chocolate covered marshmallows, it was a proper affair! Even caramel apples, that they will cut up for you. It’s like having a weekly fair. The farmer’s market is open on Thursdays and Saturdays, and we were lucky to be there on saturday morning with no plans! We had a great time perusing all the stalls – there was this one wood working stall that sold yoyos, pens, and domino keychains, all in extremely high quality finish (which also meant it was tremendously expensive :P) We bought the only thing we could afford – a keychain for chris, and the guy had this REALLY nifty little attachment, no more than about 1.5cm x 1.5cm, plugged into his Ipad, with which he could swipe my card!!! And I proceeded to key in my email address for an electronic receipt to be sent, and I had to sign on his ipad to authorize the use of my card! It was really amazing and high tech, and totally not what we were expecting in a Farmer’s Market :P



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