BIG INTERVIEW | Sixty Questions With Shira Blustein, Owner Of The Acorn On Main Street

February 4, 2016.

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Shira Blustein is the workaholic punk rocker, business woman, pet owner and unrepentant fruit and vegetable enthusiast who gave us The Acorn, the incredibly popular and increasingly world renowned (and incidentally meatless) neighbourhood restaurant at 3995 Main Street. We think she’s awesome for many reasons, among them her ability to mimic Ad-Rock of Beastie Boys, her keyboard and vocal stylings in local band Blood Meridian, and her abiding affection for the 80’s hit, Axel-F. Say hello to…

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The seasonal ingredient that gets you most excited? Acorn is infinitely seasonal, so I have a new found excitement for every season, but ultimate favourite is a perfectly ripe nectarine.

What was the last live gig you saw? Godspeed You Black Emperor “Monumental” w/ Holy Body Tattoo for PuSh.

If you could have your choice of any chef to open a restaurant on your block, which chef would you choose and what concept would you like to see them rock? Thomas Keller making grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup.

What is one of your favourite things about the Main Street community? Diversity and a healthy amount of independent businesses. Also, the great view of the mountains and proximity to Bloedel Conservatory.

The thing that is bad for you that you will never stop eating? Microwave popcorn.

Default drink/cocktail of choice? A good glass of wine.

Dogs or cats? I can’t pick favourites with my fur babies (see instagram #junoandpimms).

Favoured mode of transportation? Anything on water, preferably wind propelled.

The song that you could listen to on repeat for an hour? PJ Harvey – “We Float”.

What neighbourhood are you living in? I live, work and play in Mount Pleasant / Riley Park!

The strangest talent that you possess? Imitating Beastie Boys’ “mmm drop”.

Oddest place you’ve ever slept? All the punk house floors across Canada and the US.

What keeps you up at night? Spreadsheets. So many spreadsheets.

What do you do when you can’t sleep? Make spreadsheets.

Your major character flaw? Some might say I’m a workaholic.

Role models? Females owners and entrepreneurs. I’m inspired to see women take risks and succeed.

Coffee or tea? Coffee in the morning, Tea before bed.

How do you decompress? Dog walks at the UBC Endowment Lands… followed by that tall glass of wine.

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The strangest place you’ve ever been to? A Cactus Club bathroom.

What’s for breakfast at home? Fruit, always fruit.

Where are you taking us for brunch? The Acorn (Shameless self promotion) and because I’ll probably be working.

Three books that made an impact on you in your formative years? Naomi Klein, No Logo; Mikhail Bulgakov, Master and the Margarita; Critical Art Ensemble, Flesh Machine; Cyborgs, Designer Babies, Eugenic Consciousness. 

Your biggest fear? Earthquakes.

A celebrity you’d be stoked to see walk through Acorn’s door? Bjork.

If money and citizenship were no object, what city outside of Canada would you open a second vegetarian restaurant in? New York, LA, or Lisbon!

The first album that made you love music? Soundtrack to Beverly Hills Cop.

A character from a movie that you’d love to share a meal with? Tilda Swinton as Eve in Only Lovers Left Alive.

Three events you are most looking forward to this year? Acorn Pop Up in NYC Feb 03 – 07 @ Exhibit C
Pickathon Aug 05-07 @ Happy Valley; My brother’s wedding.

What trend have you followed that you now regret? Skinny Flare Jeans.

Favourite Vancouver building? Bloedel Conservatory.

What would you like to change about Vancouver? Vancouver’s outdated liquor laws.

Your go to, no-frills place for dinner? Vegetarian Pho from Cambie Vietnamese.

If you could board a plane this afternoon, where would it be taking you? I’m on a plane to NYC as I type this!

A Vancouver artist whose work you dig? Andy Dixon.

The cliché that you overuse? “It’s not selling out, it’s buying in”.

Shoe of choice? Slippers.

The different career path that you could have gone on? Filmmaker, but then I realize they work too much… Oh wait.

Your ancestry? Spanish, Persian, Indian, Polish, Russian… Mutt.

Three films you would gladly watch again? Punch Drunk Love, The Big Lebowski, So I Married an Axe Murderer.

Favourite movie directors: PT Anderson, Lars Von Trier, Cohen Brothers.

Three favourite dishes in Vancouver? Namaste Rolls from Chau Veggie Express; Spicy Almond Ramen from Burdock and Co (bring it back!); Veggie Burrito from Tacofino TacoBar (seriously addictive).

Where’d you grow up? Calgary.

Last piece of art you acquired? David Korty Ceramics.

What are you the most proud of?  Everything The Acorn does – from the creativity in the kitchen to the people we work with, the farmers, foragers, local artisans creating quality products. I’m proud to be part of a community that support a more local and sustainable industry. I feel proud to have the opportunity to work with such inspirational and forward thinking individuals.

What are you the least proud of? The amount of waste the restaurant industry generates.

The ingredient/dish you’d like to see more customers be brave about trying? Vegetables in general. There’s still a stigma around vegetarian food that I hear about all the time. Skeptics who think they need to eat meat with every meal. Have an open mind, eat your vegetables!

Do you have a favourite photograph? The only one on my fridge – My partner and I in Amsterdam at my ex’s birthday party.

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The talent that you wish you possessed? Calling a coin toss.

If you had a motto, what would it be? My mentor always says – “Do the work, Show the love”.

The one place that you have the least interest in ever visiting? Northern Saskatchewan? I don’t know. Somewhere cold without mountains.

The most beautiful place in the world? Black Sand Beaches of Iceland.

Scariest situation you’ve ever been in? Defending my restaurant from drunk and aggressive taggers.

Your favourite cuss word? I treat all cuss words equally.

What object of no monetary value will you keep dearly until you die? All the photo albums, gig posters, and set lists that I’ve gathered while on tour.

On a perfect day off, what are the top three things you’d like to see happen? Sleep, dog trails, scheming for the future with my hub.

Your first memory? Feeding “Henry” the duck with my Pa in Hawaii.

Three words that would describe you as a child? Imaginative, Hyper, Assertive.

The best thing about your work? The food, the staff, and meeting really wonderful people.

The worst thing about your work? Yelp. Seriously, fuck Yelp.

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