Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dining at West

 We took advantage of Dine Out Vancouver  to take Emily and Richard to West last night.  This restaurant seems to have garnered quite a reputation so we were interested to try it.  The company was superb and we had a great time chatting....the food, ambience...not so good.  
A little too chichi (Def: showily or affectedly elegant or trendy; pretentious) for us.

The first three reviews in Yelp weren't great either so perhaps things have gone downhill.
I think this comment hit the nail on the head:

"The consistent inferiority of the food piqued my curiosity about the kitchen. So between barely touched entrée and dessert (marginally better than the savory dishes) I went to observe the cooks at work through the giant looking-glass window. Then it all made sense. It was difficult to identify the chef. No one was tasting anything. Plates were being fired and assembled perfunctorily, according to instruction. No pride, no concentration, no love.  "

Today we went to Las Margaritas and as always enjoyed our lunch.  I always get the special (today it was chicken flautas) because it includes tortilla soup which I adore and is served with a salad rather than beans and rice.  Jim adores refried beans and rice so got his usual beef enchilada.  We find this restaurant cosy in the rain and of course wonderful in the sun on their outdoor terassse.

Then to a bookstore to get rid of some books and of course acquire some others...

There was a very friendly cat in this bookstore.  I think all bookstores should have cats!

 My meal.
Jim's meal
 Love the old Mexico photos
Bookstore cat.

Monday, January 30, 2012

More Vancouver rain photos

Even the rain seems quite delightful at the moment.
P.S. These were taken yesterday...quite sunny at the moment although supposed to be raining.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Cafe de Flore

We really enjoyed this movie...loads going on visually and muscially and an interesting story.  And of course any movie that has scenes of Paris is very appealing to us.  And one of the last images was a black and white photograph of Notre Dame....my favourite building in the world.

It was great to see it at the Denman Place for a senior's rate (over 60 qualify) $5.95.  I really have to hand it to the fellow who has revitalized this local theatre.  He got a very good write up in the Sun recently and people in the neighbourhood are so positive that he has people volunteering to do things.  Not surprising...there's such a great vibe in this neighbourhood. 

Then we had a late lunch at a newish Japanese restaurant...a great Bento Box special for $5.95...included a big bowl of miso soup as well as well as tea of course.  A walk back home in misty rain.

Cuiisine of the sun...in the rain.

We began yesterday evening with a warming scotch and appies at Donna and Neil's then went to a favourite neignbourhood restaurant of theirs.  We shared some calamari at my suggestion...I always like to try it...excellent!  And we all had pasta and I even had some to take home for dinner tonight.  Super food and company!

Donna very kindly offered to help me pack but they are leaving for a cruise around the Hawaiian Islands so they will soon be basking in the sun.

Bon voyage!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Loving our place but time to go for a while...

We are just loving everything about being in this neighbourhood again and watching all the comings and goings.  Fun seeing the rowers out this morning in the rain and I saw a woman and her dog with matching yellow slickers.  Beautiful sunset last night...a great prelude to having dinner with Richard at the Sylvia.  He was a cheap guest as his company had a big employee appreciation lunch blowout at the Cactus Club.

However,  we have given notice and will move out the end of Feb.  It's been a wonderful adventure and we may still retire here in five years or so.  But we only want one dwelling to deal with so we will have to want to sell the house in Victoria.

Good thing we have this great view because the moving process has begun.  Richard was heading to Victoria this weekend and so we took advantage of that by having him take over all the artwork.  I'm rather enjoying the bare walls because I know I will enjoy seeing the artwork afresh when we return to Victoria.

And we've booked a premium suite at the Coast Plaza and Suites on Denman Aug 1 - Aug 15 so we know we will be able to enjoy summer and swims here.   I don't think we'll lose the feeling of being real locals now rather than tourists in our old home town.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Breakfast with the gulls...

We woke to a sunny, somewhat windy morning.  One of the first things we saw was the fellow who has his dog pulling him on his skateboard,  then all the action of joggers, cyclers, people feeding the gulls, Canada geese and later we saw our hotdog guy out.  We'll be on our BRAT (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) for a day at least so no loaded hot dogs today.  I'll take one of these hot dogs anyday for 3 bucks rather than this one hundred dollar dog this fellow is promoting.

Our view at breakfast
Our guy right at English Bay undercuts the Parks Board concessions and has every imaginable type of sauce and condiment, onions, hot peppers, the works.

"So, what’s with the $100 doggie, Dougie?
Luv explains that this is no ballpark tube steak. It contains Bratwurst, Kobe beef, truffle oil, a dribble of $2,000 cognac and some Atlantic lobster."

So, Dougie, at Dougie Dog...got to admire the publicity stunt and I wish anyone well in small business but I'll be sticking with our guy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Robbie Burns Day

 I almost forgot about it being Robbie Burns Birthday...how could I do that when we were just listening to Jean Redpath singing his songs?  Anyway,  this email reminded me.  Yes, sheer exuberance and so Robbie Burns.

Dear Janice
I would love to use one of your photos in my online course, as an image of sheer exuberance: I attach it, to remind you. It is on this page of your blog:

Would you be so kind as to permit this please? I would acknowledge your copyright, and give the URL of the web page.

Warm regards

Rachel McAlpine
Gorgeous courses for content authors
Twitter @aliceandrachel
Facebook http://facebook.com/writing.skills

Finally, at the ferry terminal....

Well,  we are now (Wed., 12:20) at the ferry terminal on our way to Vancouver.  We were supposed to leave yesterday but both of us had a terrible reaction to something we ate or drank so it was quite a struggle to do the final preparation and packing to get out of the house before our renters arrived.  We just didn't feel we could manage a ferry trip and fortunately the Curling's guest suite in their apartment was available.  What a lifesaver!  So,  most of the day and night in bed and being well taken care of by Elaine.  We did have a small dinner with them and it was great to see Don before we left.

Thanks so much, Don and Elaine!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Howling the day away Sunday...

It was quite a howler of a wind yesterday; however, reading today in the Telegraph that the UK was getting gusts up to 160 K....wow!

It was nice to get away from the howling wind and meet Ian for brunch at J.J. Morgan's.  Ian goes there every Sunday and it really is a good value.

(Not my photo...)

Then we met Ken and Susan in the later afternoon and had a great chat about travelling in Italy and France.  Ken is the brother of the folks coming to rent our Victoria house for a month.  The four of them travelled in Italy together recently.  So,  a few photos of Italy to brighten the day...last bit of cleaning drudgery before leaving tomorrow.  Not my photos as our Italy trip was pre-digital camera although I did buy a little keychaine one in Paris that trip.  Don't have those photos on my computer anymore.

 Siena...how wonderful and we had a wonderful view over the Tuscan hills from our room.

 We didn't actually plan to get to Venice on that trip but got talking to an Italian and he insisted we couldn't come to Italy without going to Venice.  He was right!  Even though it was cold, rained the whole time, and St. Mark's was flooding...you can't spoil Venice....

Video: Trafalgar Square banishes winter blues with its own sun - Telegraph

Video: Trafalgar Square banishes winter blues with its own sun - Telegraph:
The Trafalgar Sun, a large man-made orange ball of light, lit up Trafalgar Square in a bid to bring some winter cheer to passers-by.

The public art installation was designed and built by British artists' collective Greyworld, whose work was commissioned by Tropicana fruit juice to launch their Brighter Mornings campaign.

Ok Vancouver and Victoria...let's do something similar! There actually is a bit of sun today. Nice to wake up to....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finally...made it to De'lish on St. Patrick St.

I really don't know why I haven't made it here before as people have raved about it but today Fern, Carole, and I went there for lunch...excellent food and wonderful meals and goodies to take home.  I'm curious about trying their paella, coq au vin, duck confit.  Using up stuff at the moment since we're heading into Van soon but definitely will be making my way there on our return!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Spoiled rotten yesterday....

Chicken, pancetta, mushroom stew (A Donna Hay recipe)

 Not only did our neighbour, Chris, shovel our stairs and bring us a quart of milk, but Susan made this delicious dinner for us...great to only have to walk across the driveway!  Merci beaucoup!

*  Susan used  breast only and fresh sprigs of thyme.  I’m sure you could substitute onions instead of leeks and make other adjustments...wine and cream are essentials.

This recipe for chicken, pancetta and mushroom stew is typical of the recipes in Modern Classics 1. It is a basic recipe but one that packs a punch flavour wise and you could easily see it becoming a staple. The whole stew has a lovely creamy flavour permeated by the subtle flavour of the leeks and tarragon. I adapted the recipe slightly to use sliced pancetta rather than cubed to make the dish lighter.

1.6 kg chicken cut into large pieces with skin removed
Plain flour for coating
1tbsp olive oil
150g pancetta cut into small pieces
2 leeks sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
200g button mushrooms sliced
2.5 cups chicken stock
1 cup white wine
1 cup cream
1 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tbsp chopped tarragon
Salt and pepper to season

1. Toss the chicken pieces in flour.

2. Place half of the oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until browned. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the remaining oil to the pan and cook the leeks, garlic and mushrooms until golden. Add the pancetta as well for a brief period when almost done. Remove and set aside.

4. Combine the stock and wine in the pan. Bring to a simmer and return the chicken to the pan and cook, covered for 25 minutes. Add the pancetta, leek, garlic and mushroom mixture, the cream, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper to the pan and simmer uncovered for a further 10 mins or until reduced and thickened.

5. Serve with potatoes

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What greeted us this morning....

I'd say we had at least 10 inches of snow last night looking at the pile up on our deck.  According to John, even "Mount Dunbar" only has about 2 inches left so I guess Victoria got hit this time.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Snow and more snow coming....

We were very pleased to see Chris, our gardener, arrive before 9am this morning to shovel our walks, stairs, even sundeck and to put down some salt since it's going to get very cold tonight.  Then more snow falling so I guess we can't win at the moment.  Nice to look at and we don't have to go anywhere. 

 Thanks, Chris!

We wish those who do safe travelling, slow down, and please be careful!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Most stressful jobs of 2012

As I sit here enjoying my coffee and looking at the snow from my cosy perch I'm glad not to be working. I found this quite intersting and major stresses seem to be lack of control over working scehdule, danger, and responsibiliy for other people's lives....makes sense to me!

Most stressful jobs of 2012

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button....

 Although I religiously put all these little plastic bags of extra buttons in my sewing box I'm not sure I've used any of them.  I decided to take them all out of their tiny packages and put them in a sandwich bag...a lot easier to see what's there.  And I even cleaned up the box...what a mess it was!  And I even found the link I had taken out of my grandmother's gold bracelet.  Now that was worth the effort.

Button, Button, Who's Got the Button is a traditional children's game that is normally played indoors on rainy days and can be played by a large number of children .

The children all stand (or sit) in a circle with their hands out, palms together. One child, called the leader or 'it', takes a button (usually provided by an adult) and goes around the circle, putting their hands in everybody else's hands one by one. In one person's hands they drop the button, though they continue to put their hands in the others' so that no one knows where the button is except for the giver and receiver.
The leader (or alternatively all the children in the circle depending on your preference) starts the other children guessing by saying, "Button, button, who's got the button?" before each child's guess. The child guessing replies with their choice, e.g. "Billy has the button!"
If you have the button, haven't been guessed yet, and it's your turn to guess, you choose someone else so that no one knows it's you.
Once the child with the button is finally guessed, that child is the one to distribute the button and start a new round.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

One minute snow flurry today....

Wonder if we'll get more?  Notice some snowdrops are out already...thanks to Fern.  Still going strong those bulbs!

Wine in Langley...who knew?

It seems wine is being made everywhere these days.  Tim was in Vancouver last weekend for a 12th Night Dinner....sounds like a good excuse for a party!  And he went on a wine tour of Langley.  We enjoyed the wines last night at Tim's...excellent gewurztraminer.  We  had a super evening and will be like Tim and blame any fuzziness in the head this morning to the Langley wine...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lao Vientianne Restaurant

Patty and I had lunch there yesterday and the food was very generous, good flavour, and good value.  The old Tino's has had quite a transformation.  I wouldn't have thought I was in the same place!  I see there have been complaints about service and service was slow, then when we finally got our meals we were told by the server that she gave Patty's pork based curry to another table by mistake but did offer to make a change.  Well,  we were hungry, mine was ready, and who knows how long the change would be so she just accepted the chicken which was perfectly fine.

 Another rather odd thing is that many tables were waiting for their food and then a couple came in and got served immediately and were treated like royalty.  This doesn't go down so well when you're hungry and have been waiting a while!  As we were leaving I noticed the man in the staff area so he was probably the owner.

Not a good idea not to get the service aspect sorted out since they have been open a while now.  Since it's out of the way for us I won't rush back.

Not my photo but this chicken does look wonderful!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Speak like a Newfie

Whaddaya App is a humorous Newfoundland translator and soundboar.

We got this on our  iphones so I made a little video using one iphone while the other demonstrated the app...sorry for the shaking...ah age...

I'll get to Newfoundland one of these days...

P.S.  I realize now you can't read the "translation"...if you're interested,  YouTube has some little videos that are better.  

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Super weather for walking

The Hotel Grand Pacific's pool is closed for maintenance so we went for a walk along Dallas Road yesterday then went to the Flying Otter for lunch.  We split a very yummy and somewhat spicy calamari then split the special seafood basket.  Excellent and a great day to be having lunch by the water.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Memorial University DAI: A conversation with Mary Pratt

 Somehow I got onto archives at Memorial University in Newfoundland and picked up this interview with Mary Pratt.  I found it quite fascinating especially her painting quickly small paintings while her chidlren had naps.  Rather how Alice Munro started writing short stories  because of the only time available.

I was quite intrigued by her paintings...realism but with soul somehow.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Mary Pratt
Birth name Mary Frances West
Born March 15, 1935 (1935-03-15) (age 76)
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Field Painting
Training Mount Allison University
Mary Frances Pratt, CC (née West) (born 15 March 1935 in Fredericton, New Brunswick) is a Canadian painter specializing in still life realist paintings.
She is the daughter of attorney William J. West, who served as the Minister of Justice of New Brunswick from 1952 to 1958 and Katherine West, she has one sister - Barbara. She attended Mount Allison University, studying Fine Arts under Alex Colville, Ted Pulford, and Lawren P. Harris. She graduated in 1961. She met her future husband, the artist Christopher Pratt, at Mount Allison. After the marriage, she moved with him to Newfoundland.[1]. They have four children, John, Anne, Barbara, and Edwin.

Memorial University DAI: A conversation with Mary Pratt

 "Watermelon seeds and a rolling peach"
Oil on canvas  13 x 20 (2010)

"Strawberry Classic"
Watercolour on paper  22 x 30 (2011

Oil on canvas  35 x 24  (2011)

Monday, January 09, 2012

Soon be in Vancouver

When we came back to Vancouver from Palm Springs last year we came home to some beautiful winter sunsets...looking forward to them again!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Jim also got a cool email this week...great way to start the year!

Sent: Sat 1/7/2012 10:00 PM
To: James Sexton
Subject: Knight's tale

Dear Dr. Sexton,
I was a former student of yours @ Camosun College approximately 20 years ago. After watching the Knight's Tale on Tv this evening I thought of my theatrical English Lit teacher. I must admit that of all my teachers I had during my 3 year stay at Camosun and then following it with a degree @ Dalhousie you are the one professor I have the fondest memories of. You made an unimaginably boring class exciting. I actually enjoyed every bit of it including the role call. When you called Patricia Mastrello's name out every morning I always wished she would show up. Sadly she never did and so you stopped calling out her name.
    I thought you just might like to know,
Russell Mitchuk

So,  even calling "the roll" was exciting?  My hat is off to you, dear husband!

Some amazing birds

Don sent me some amazing photos of birds...I assume these are all the male example...

 Golden Pheasant

 Lady Amherst Pheasant


Formosan Magpie

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Irony writ large

My cousin, John, posted this photo on his blog recently.  I loved it!

December 20th, 2011 — The new memorial statues of Terry Fox were unveiled September 16th, 2011 in front of a flashing Budweiser billboard next to Vancouver’s BC Place stadium.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Michele Bachmann resigns from candidate race

Too bad.  I was so looking forward to the Bachmann/Palin ticket for the presidency...dumb and dumber.  I think the comedy created could well have saved the entire world economy.

It appears that Mitt Romney will probably win the nomination because according to observers he is the "least nuttiest". 

Generally, I like Americans, even the nutty ones, but some of their viewpoints are pretty hard to understand. 

Here's some pearls of wisdom from Bachmann.