Thursday, January 31, 2013

Steak and Lobster Thermidor at the Boathouse

We went to a Dine Out with Richard and Emily Wednesday and had a great time as always.  We'll really miss them in Feb and wish they could have made it to Palm Springs but they're heading to San Francisco during Emily's winter break to see friends and check out jobs and opportunities.

Looks like Emily will be going to India for some of her research for her thesis...a really interesting topic on how the US drug companies are paying poor people to take part in drug tests that really don't meet any real standards and the "choice" of taking the drugs is pretty much dependent on their poverty.

Very yummy!

Talking so much and having so much fun I forgot to take my own that is a change!

Music at the Sylvia

Just got back from the Sylvia after watching this great blues guy,  Harpdog Brown.  We really enjoyed listening to him and playing the harmonica. early night for an early rise...but Palm Springs here we come!

Joe Fortes featured on a Canada Post stamp

Great front page in the Sun with the story of Joe Fortes being featured on a stamp being issued this Friday.  He taught my mom to swim and saved numerous urchins of her ilk from drowning in English Bay.  Lots of kids like my mom sent off to spend the day at a young age without any supervision.  I always remember being so shocked at my mom telling me the story of their mother giving them two nickels for carfare to go to English Bay and she always  spent the home carfare  nickel on chips and told the bus driver she "lost their carfare in the sand" because honesty was so important in our the point I took back a jawbreaker to the corner store because he had given me 16 instead of 15 jawbreaker for 5 cents.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The real Vancouver Chinatown...mon amour

I know that Vancouver has gone very upscale with the fancy Chinese restaurants no longer in Chinatown but on Main and in Richmond but I still just love Vancouver's Chinatown.  It's still a real community with lots of people living there.  Glad to see it's a bit cleaned up and some of the worst of the Downtown Eastside isn't as obvious these days.   A lot of Chinese elders live there and I'm sure there were periods when they didn't feel particularly safe.

We had lunch at a real Chinese restaurant of the old and simple food.  Their specialty is bar-b-q and there were about 30 bar-b-q ducks in the window when we arrived.  We started with splitting a "small" bowl of hot and sour soup....absolutely wonderful with lots of shrimp which you don't often see.  The "small" bowl would have been hard for me and any other woman friend to finish.  Cost: $7.50.   Then two orders of bar-b-q duck and bar-b-q pork with rice.  $6.50 each.  One would have done with the soup.   Even though Jim did his usual heartly eating we took home enough for dinner that night.

We added a pork bun and shrimp puff to it from this great bakery called "New Town".  It's won many awards and we bought a load of other stuff too.  Grand total:  $8.50
At Pure Vanilla you would pay $40 for a similar quantity.  I hadn't had a pork bun for a long time and Jim and I both felt the pork tasted very much like haggis.  There must be a similar spice.

And of course, free tea.  We were disappointed with the tea because it was more of an orange pekoe type and no other choices available.  We had the same thing in Victoria in Jan when we went to China town.  I hope this isn't a new trend...we really miss the pots of real green tea.

 New Town Bakery

 Very Chinese place.  Reminds me of the On On Garden we used to go to in High School and university.  The menus were all in Chinese and no one spoke English.  My Japanese friend had some Chinese friends so we went with them.   We had loads of food....hungry students!  And the cost per person was between 75 cents to a dollar.

 Bakery items.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Some good films on Netflix recently

We were very impressed with the Iranian movie "A Separation"....just excellent.

And "Hugo" was great fun...sort of a little like Amelie and it took place in Paris so we're goners already just for the scenery.

And then we saw a George Carlin stand up routine "It's all bad for you".  I see they have a number of them.  Good for a laugh if you like your humour a little on the dark side.  We seem to be on the "dark side" as far as Netflix is concerned.   Selections often are suggested to us such as "Dark Romantic Comedies"  "Dark Dramas"  etc.

Looking forward to the day...

Been off alcohol so as not to irritate my cough....sigh....missing the red wine the most.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Escape from Bedlam...

With the purpose of escaping the "cheering" on of runners today from some run taking place and to go somewhere to drown out my cough we went to Timbre Restaurant on Commercial.  Sundays at brunch time they have live Bluegrass music.  It was excellent and all missions accomplished!

 Great old time I'll have a double monster Caesar.  Just water for me today.  Even coffee irritates the cough.

The band was called Viper Central....3 guys (bass, guitar, banjo) and 1 woman on violin.  They all sang.

We often aren't in this part of Commercial so hadn't noticed Falconetti's Meats and like fabulous sausages.  We're trying to use stuff up  and they weren't open yet and didn't fancy standing around in the rain too long.  

Don,  we'll pick some varieties up and bring them over to Vancouver in March.  Any favourite choices?

Chaurice$1.70 / 100g
Chicken Thai$1.90 / 100g
Polish$1.80 / 100g
Yucutan Chicken$1.90 / 100g
Hot Italian$1.70 / 100g
Sweet Italian$1.70 / 100g
Honey Bratwurst$1.70 / 100g
Wild Boar$2.25 / 100g
Blue Cheese Sirloin

A kind offer from cousin John....

Hi Janice,

Sorry to hear you're sick again. Since you probably won't be able to travel and have already bought your tickets and reserved rooms etc. Carol and I have volunteered to take your place so the money won't be wasted.

While we're gone you can amuse yourself by coming over to our house three or four times a day to feed the cat.

John John and Carol will be lying under the Palm trees soaking up the sun and listening to the wonderful songbirds and watching hummingbirds while we deal with Mr. Darcy...

Ha, ha, ha....I'm feeling better!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The poor long suffering husband

I thought some hot and sour soup might be a good idea and also to get out for some air.  I noticed this new restaurant called Chengdu Szechuan Bistro on the corner of Robson and Denman and I needed a few things at Safeway anyway.  Well,  the hot and sour was too hot for me with this cough but a had a very interesting taste.  Jim ate most of that then we had the ginger beef special....very good.  And we split a deep fried bananas and ice cream....that did me a world of good!

 Very nice decor and people and they have dim sum every day so I will finally get Jim out for dim sum.  And we noticed another Chinese restaurant going in in the same area.  We're very low on the ground for Chinese restaurants around here so good to see.

 Life can be very  tough when your wife has a raging cough...


Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Robbie Burns Day!

Don got the idea of celebrating Robbie Burns Day many years ago and we began with a dinner at their place with haggis, scotch eggs, cock a leekie, soup and the like.  Don asked Jim to come prepared to recite the ode to the Haggis.  Well,  he not only did that, he borrowed a kilt and regalia from Bill Thomas and went the whole hog (Bill eventually gave JIm a kilt outfit).  We exchanged doing this at each other's homes for a number of years and then we began to attend the event at the Union Club.  Great fun,  great entertainment, and great food!

I hope to have a tiny dram of scotch tonight to raise a glass to Robbie Burns.  It will be small, though,  given this wretched relapse I've had.

 Don, Jim, Elaine

 The piping in of the haggis.

 Jim and me

 Sailor's Hornpipe

Highland dancers

Thursday, January 24, 2013

This photo brightened my day...thanks, Don!

Manarola, Italy, Cinque Terre

We almost got there on our way back from Venice in 2002 but pouring buckets and had been told the roads would be washed out.

Ah well...for another time.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sick again

I did have a nagging cough but everyone was saying the cough lasted for a month so wasn't worrying too much about it.  Then in the middle of last night it got much much worse very quickly.  It seems I have bronchitis so now on antibiotics.  Hope it is all better by the time we fly Feb 1.  That California sunshine should do some good if we can just make it there!

I  hope we'll be able to keep our Dine Out date with the Fishers and the Duthies
Sat...we're looking forward to seeing them and and also checking out the restaurant "Seasons in the Park.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This Day in History from the Vancouver Sun

January 22 is the day Apple ran this ad at the Superbowl game.

From the Sun:

"The commercial was incredibly expensive for the time, costing $900,000.  It was directed by Ridley Scott,  and had a look and vibe reminiscent of his film Blade Runner.  Oddly,  Apple's board didn't like it and wanted the commercial pulled,  instructing the ad company to sell off the 90 seconds Apple had booked on the Super Bowl broadcast.  But Apple founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak loved it, so it ran, and the Mac took off."

A foggy start but the sun is breaking through now

It was very pleasant and nostalgic to hear the fog horns this morning lying in bed.  Reminded us of being in class at UBC listening to some prof drone on with the foghorns in the background.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chinese New Year

It seems Chinese New Year is Feb 12 so I guess we'll be in Palm Springs.  At the International Villages Cinema they have already put up the decorations.

This brightens things up...still foggy even though the prediction today was "mainly sunny".

Comments feature

I think I'm going to experiment with a comments feels a little lonely talking to myself here.  So,  to make a comment,  just click on to where it says "comment" or "no comment".

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Another great day....

 Today,  we went to see "Quartet"....really enjoyed it but we have a weakness for Maggie Smith for lots of reasons, not least that we saw her live in Edinburgh in Albee's "A Delicate Balance".  Those were the days when so many of the famous still did live 1972 we saw Laurence Olivier in Long Day's Journey into Night for 30p (about 75 cents) at the Old Vic (our very first play in London...what a way to start!),  Alan  Bates in The Caretaker, for around a pound, Glenda Jackson in White Devil for around the same...and others I can't remember now.

Wow...fog rolling in like the old days when folks were burning coal in Vancouver.  Guess it's the smog  since there hasn't been almost no wind in the last week.  Feels very listening to the Big Broadcast on WFUV...Fordham University, NYC...the old jazz greats....we just love it.!

Dine out at The Gramercy Grill on Arbutus

We began the evening at Neil and Donna's with a lovely single malt and great appies then headed out to the Gramercy Grill.  Jim and I both began with the beef carpaccio,  then the seared duck for me and NY steak for Jim.  Donna started with the beet and goat cheese salad then the veal milanese.  Neil had the steak and Jim and Neil both had the flourless chocolate cake and Donna and I had the pecan pie....I passed up the lemon tarte for a change!  Washed down with See Ya Later Pinot Noir.  Excellent food and drink!

This was my courtesy of the restaurant website.

I must get a decent iPhone overexposed both Jim and I in the photos so these are cropped ones of Neil and Donna.  A really fun place to dine and we had lots of great conversation and catching up.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sunset tonight...

Another amazing sunset tonight…we love watching the silhouettes of the bikers, walkers, etc. at this time.

Andrew Coyne in the Sun today

Good take on the Lance Armstrong story...he just isn't as charming as elite liars like Bill Clinton and Brian Mulroney.  As Coyne says, "Anyone can pull a con like Armstrong's.  You just lie and keep on lying until someone catches you.  It take a master to keep the con going even after you've been caught."

Rope a dope

The Lance Armstrong thing is rather fascinating.  Seems like there is lots of doping in most sports.  Perhaps we should make it "legal" and just accept the most recent advances in tennis racquets and golf clubs.  One way to create a level playing field.   Keeping doping out is perhaps like requiring tennis players to play with wooden racquets and making Tiger Woods play with wooden shaft clubs.

People who don't dope could garner our attention by proving that...kind of like people who want us to know how "green" they are and that they are cycling to work  in the rain while we're creating emissions in our warm comfortable cars.

I wonder if Ali really did "rope a dope"...

Saturday brings out the rowing crews...

It's always a pleasure to see the rowing crews but I think I must get a camera.  The iPhone just isn't quite good can barely see the rowers.

Friday, January 18, 2013


We unplugged from cable TV a week ago and today the land phone was unplugged.  We were only watching the news on cable and that was just a bad habit really...nothing of interest or new on the "news".  We were just getting nuisance calls on  the land phone here and felt we should justify our cellphones by using them more.  We'll probably cut the cable in Victoria as well.  At the moment we're on a "vacation stop".  We will keep the land phone in Victoria.

And in Vancouver,  we didn't even watch the news...we watch the view instead.  Another great sunset tonight.

Sunset from Cloud 9

Since it was such a beautiful sunny day yesterday we thought we'd take advantage of it and arrived right at opening time of the bar (5pm) and managed to catch a wonderful sunset.  One of the best deals in town...$7 tapas in the bar (two usually do the two of us for dinner) washed down with a beer and a revolving view of Vancouver.  Total with tip:  $34.00

Then later a Red Truck Ale at the Sylvia and free live music.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Reconnecting with an old university friend...

I guess we hadn't seen Dick for over 40 years....great to see him and his wife,  Susan.  We started with a super lunch at The Sylvia then came back to our apartment for a Calvados....perfect ending.

Watching the world go by...

Basking in the sun watching the walkers, joggers, cyclists, dogs....everyone happy and why not!

A new bag for my collection of book bags....the Vancouver Public Library. At $1.50 one of the cheapest. And it just says everything I love about Vancouver...on the side there is the word "library" in 13 languages.

What beautiful sunny weather and until Sunday!

We are very lucky...just read in The Telegraph all of Britain is going to be blanketed with snow over the next while.   Many heating systems will fail and motorists are advised to keep off the roads.  We'll be thinking of our friends in the UK and hope most of them can sit cheerily by the fire and enjoy hot drinks.

The lake at Castle Howard in Yorkshire is complete frozen over.  Gorgeous, isn't it?  We had a lovely time with Susan and Alan visiting Castle Howard together.

 View this morning.

View last night.

We get so much pleasure from looking at our view that we don't even watch the news anymore and the news was about the only thing we watched so we cancelled cable.  With our Apple TV and Netflix....who needs cable really?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Lunch today at the Cactus Club in English Bay

It's always a fun time to be with my cousins,  Bonnie and Georgia.  Sounds like they had a wonderful time in PV over Christmas.  We're looking forward to getting away to the sunshine soon too.

And we learned that my uncle and aunt,  Bonnie and Georgia's parents,  went to Nick's all the time.  Something I didn't know.  Jim and I discovered Nick's in our university days.  Our parents didn't tend to dine out.  White Spot for car service was a big treat.  And my Dad would pick up fish and chips from a place on Kingsway called "Dunker's Donuts" kidding....great fish and chips.  For a dollar,  you'd get 8 pieces of fish,  loads of chips, and onion rings thrown in to boot.

Great day on the "Drive"

Jim was in heaven  yesterday as we began our Commercial Drive stroll with lunch at Nick's Spaghetti
House.  As always,  a step back in time...nothing has changed since our student days.  Big portions, reasonable prices,  same decor,  iceberg lettuce in the salad.  That's the thing we missed the most when we moved to Victoria over 40 years ago...the cheap ethnic restaurants.   And I guess that's why we hit all those when we first come back to Vancouver.

After the pleasure of Nick's it was pretty hard to take that there wasn't one Italian restaurant in Victoria!   After a few years,  the restaurant, Chef Anthony, came to town and made life bearable.  And then Antonio's, where we enjoyed so many wonderful French meals.   And now, of course,  it's an entirely different scene in Victoria although much more expensive than dining in Vancouver.  It was pretty depressing to be 24 years old after growing up in Vancouver to be told your dining choices were pretty much the Princess Mary,  the Dingle House,  and the Empress.  And I won't even begin to mention that you couldn't swim in the ocean...!

 But then,  I wasn't commuting to Delta to teach and Jim could walk to work.  We would have both been commuting if we stayed in Vancouver.  While Richard loves Vancouver,  he feels Victoria was a great place to grow up as a kid.

We are sometimes asked if we regret not staying in Vancouver because now we'd have a home worth millions.   Nope,  no regrets there...just can't get too excited about money.  And we would have never considered living in an apartment on in the West End so not have this wonderful urban experience.  We would have been happily ensconced forever in our West side house.  And who knows....we may not have been so attracted to the south of France where we could swim in the ocean if we had the ocean in Vancouver.  Or been as interested in big cities like London, Paris, NYC,  San Francisco if we lived in Vancouver.  We've had a hell of a lot of fun in those places!

 Same old decor...sort of 50's rumpus room.

 My veal....yes,  a "lunch" portion!

 Paintings of Italy all over the restaurant.

 Jim not only made short work of his NY steak and spag but ate some of my veal and salad as well.

Our new friend.  He asked us to take a photo of him and his friend as he was heading up to Dawson Creek (on a 19 hour bus trip ) to look for work.   Funny coincidence that one of Roger and Kerry's sons has just recently begun his first RCMP posting in Dawson Creek.  We got talking so invited him for a drink.  He had travelled and worked all over the Orient so had lots of tales to tell.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Woke up to a light dusting of snow yesterday

We had very little but reading the paper today I see some areas had significant amounts and it did cause some traffic chaos.  Twilight was wonderful last night here with a soft pink glow.  Given our location whatever sun there is around we get the glory of it.

Monday, January 14, 2013

More of our favourite haunts....

We took the little ferry over to Granville Island Friday for Mussel Mania....upped the price to $12 but still a great deal for a couple of pounds of mussels,  fries,  french bread, and a pint of Granville Island Honey lager.   We had our the Thai and Jim the Proven├žale (loads of chorizo as usual).

We began with a walk around Granville Island first with stops to the hot chestnuts and nuts vender,  then tasted 3 sakis and a plum wine at the Artisian Sake maker.  After,  picked up some appy goodies at the market for our Saturday dinner party.  Among other things wonderful salmon jerky...evaporated in minutes on Saturday.  Probably best to leave Jim in a bookstore when I do the market stroll.  This time I had him pay as we went along and he needed a fortifying drink when we got home!

 Sake tasting

 Moules frites

 We got a mixture of chestnuts and various other nuts.

Taken from the little ferry on the way back.

We were surprised to see Maria's Taverna is no longer in business.  Had a great lunch Sunday at our good old stand by for Greek food,  the Olympia before seeing Skyfall (which we really enjoyed).  I really don't know how they can make money on the servings for lunch...$9.95...huge amount of lamb (Jim) and calamari for me along with rice, Greek potatoes,  pita bread, and Greek salad.
We almost felt like we were in sunny Greece with the colourful murals on the walls.