Monday, December 19, 2011

Number 9

If you live in Richmond, and of Asian descent, or friends with someone who is, then you have been to Number 9. This is the only restaurant I know of that is open 24 hours! Seriously, if at 3am, you have a hankering for Chinese food, or any other food for that matter, well, this is the place.

The food is actually pretty good, too. It's not mall food (this is very important to me because I really hate mall food) -- well, the Asian food isn't, I never tried their "Western Food." The menu goes on forever, they boast 1,000 items!

I was there with my sister recently and we ordered a whole roast duck, crunchy on the outside, pillowy soft tofu with garlic and chili and crispy chow mein. The waitress  made me repeat my order 3 times because she couldn't believe that 2 little women could eat all that I ordered, but I wanted a lot of leftovers to take home.

I don't live in Richmond, but this is a good "go to place" if you are in the area (Lansdowne Mall), or if you don't feel like looking for parking. It's also right by the SkyTrain. Apparently, they deliver as well.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Romeo et Juliet

The Vancouver Opera

I am a newbie opera goer, so I can only go by how it made me feel. I am sad to say that it didn't make me sad. 

I mean, I am the biggest cry baby -- everything makes me cry -- commercials, the news, weddings, I cry watching The Lion King, Finding Nemo and a few of the recent shows that I went to (Blood Brothers, Penelopiad).
But not this Romeo et Juliet. It just didn't grab me. Of course, it's sad... but I just didn't feel it.

[I think I will always have in my mind, the original Romeo and Juliet that we saw in high school (from 1968, a Franco Zefirelli film -- ok, it was already an older by film by the time I saw it, I didn't see it in 1968 - I was probably busy being born. ]

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Blood Brothers at the Arts Club Granville Island

The program has quoted that, "Blood Brother's is the musical for those who don't like musicals." I agree. It feels rock and roll. It really is barely noticeable that they are singing their dialogues and thoughts.

Blood Brothers is a musical/play about twins who are separated at birth. The one adopted has lived a privileged life, the other, not so much, in fact, he belonged to an impoverished family.  I love how they have paralleled songs about Marilyn Monroe's life to the story line. Very effective but eventually melancholic.

The most memorable thing about this performance for me is John Mann. I'm embarrass to say that I don't know him or his work at all (Spirit of the West). He plays this somewhat devil like narrator. He's fantastic - he reminds me of the butler in the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but in sexy kind of Seal kind of way. He sang in this commanding, concise but hypnotic devilish cadence.

Blood Brothers is at Granville Island, Arts Club Theatre until December 31st.

Backstage Lounge

Before the play, we went into the Backstage Lounge for dinner, it is convenient because it is connected to the theatre, plus you get a 15% discount if you are going to the show. I had the duck pizza with hoisin sauce. Well, I'm definitely copying that recipe - went very well with a glass of cab.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

 I happened to come upon nineteenth century China in  Snow Flower and the Secret Fan in a lounge of a hospital. It took me to  a journey into rural Hunan province during the "footbinding" era. Apparently, these teeny weeny feet (size of cigarette pack) were considered highly erotic. These poor women who belonged in the upper crust of society endured torture and sometimes death when they were about 5 years old in order to have these "lotus" shape feet (that usually stunk and rotted) so they can be "sexy" when they are of marrying age. These perfect tiny feet it seemed, can land you a wealthy husband (which were always the objective).

But this book was so much more, it was also about the life of girls in the era and how they were basically raised to be part of their husband's family, their secret language called Nu Shu which they used to secretly communicate with each other and their relationships with each other and their husband's families.

As I was reading it, I couldn't help but to juxtapose it with Jane Auten's, Pride and Prejudice, which was in the same era. A world apart, but ultimately, it's also about looking for wealthy husbands. Sigh... sad.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Penelopiad at The Stanley

The Penelopiad is Margaret Atwood's interpretation of Homer's, The Odyssey. At the center of it all is Penelope, and surrounding her are her many maids, who also play the other many parts.

There are occasions when this play made me uncomfortable. It is quite disconcerting watching women be men (It's  interesting to see the women be the offender as men, and do a costume adjustment in front of you, to become the victim). Art isn't always beautiful, sometimes, it's there to provoke and illicit emotions -- whether positive or negative is irrelevant. This play did just that. 

This is not a feel good story, and it's not for mainstream taste. But I do like it and recommend it. It is playing at the Stanley Theatre until Sunday, November 20. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Opera Season Begins

The Vancouver Opera season opened last night with The Westside Story. You're probably thinking, "Really? West side Story as an opera?" I did have those exact same thoughts. I couldn't really figure out how they were going to pull it off.

Well, the way they did it, was to not really have it in the standard or cliché way (fat lady singing?) I have to admit, that I was grateful for this. It would have been upsetting to hear the songs some other way but the way we are familiar with it. Maria and Tony's parts were the only ones that were done in that operatic way, but even on the movie version, it was already that way.

I have to say, though, that seeing it on stage was 10x better. To see it live was to feel its rhythm and its pulse -- it  was as close to actually being on the streets with the Sharks and the Jets.My favourite part was the dance hall scene. I loved the transition of Maria longing to go the dance, and pouf, she was at the dance.

Towards, the end of the show, I understood why this piece was chosen to be an opera -- it had a tragic ending.

I look forward to the rest of the season. Coming up right after The West Side Story would be Romeo and Juliet. It should be interesting, as of course, the former, was a "modern" version of this. After this would be, The Barber of Seville and it then closes with a big finish with Aida. It's a great line up for the season (controversial choices) -- they are trying to attract the "younger" set to come to the opera, after all.

[I love their cover design for this production: The "W" of the old Woodward's Building stood for the "W" in Westside. How nice, to personalize it to our city.]

après opera

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Giovane at Pacific Rim Fairmont

I have discovered a new drink that I will definitely make at home. 
Earl Grey tea with some Amaretto served in a brandy snifter. It was perfect night time finish.
Well, I'm back at this hotel (Faimont Pacific Rim) once again, this time, late at night to have dessert and drink at Giovane's -- their wine bar. There are so many wine bars popping up all over the place lately and this place looks inviting.

It is actually a café in the morning, and a wine bar at night -- basically, it's a casual place to hang out for a quick snack or drink. The pricing for nosh is reasonable - they have charcuterie, cheese selection, salads, pizzas, and pretty desserts.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

.38 Special

Last night, I was channeling Bonnie (of Bonnie and Clyde) and was playing a badass. (Well, as badass as I could be anyways.) For a birthday present, I took a friend to a target shooting range in Poco and did some target shooting.

Wow, that was a cool experience! It was my first time and it definitely was a different Friday night. Driving into their parking lot, you already hear the muffled but very distinct pop pop pop. They buzzed us in to get in the place. We picked our guns - I wanted an old fashioned, from the old movies type, a .38 special, while my friend chose something with more oomph - a 45 ACP.

It was quite intimidating to be holding a loaded weapon, but someone stays with you to show you the what, when and how. So, we put on our goggles and ear muffs and off we went. He showed me how to hold it when loading, how to put the bullets in, how to position my hands so that I don't hurt myself.

So, there I was, getting a bit sweaty, my goggles fogging up and all, and pop, I fire. I missed the target -- too low. I try again, and again, and again (50 rounds) and by the time I finished, I was actually a lot better. Yay me!

I don't think this will be my "to do" thing regularly, but I think it's a good thing to know how to handle a weapon. It is a bit pricey, but they do have specials pricing on certain nights (like ladies night, last night, which is free drop in fee for ladies).

Monday, October 3, 2011

Oru at the Fairmont Pacific Rim

Up the stairs to your left
The lobby  lounge when you walk in
I'm not really big on buffets -- I'd rather order exactly what I want instead of eating random food that just happens to be there. Oru is an exception, it is after all a seafood buffet at the newest hip establishment (Pacific Rim Fairmont).

Perfect view of the convention centre across the street

The light fixture with folded paper -
Oru is from the Japanese word meaning “to fold”
Everything they have, I want. Seriously -- everything!!! We're not talking just cheap frozen mussels and shrimps and salmon which are the common buffet fare. I'm talking about freshly shucked oysters (yes, here I go with oysters again), crab (already cut so it's easy to eat) with melted butter, seafood tom yum soup, bouillabaisse, very fresh mussels done in three different ways, paella, sable fish (cooked to absolute buttery texture perfection!!!). These are just my faves, there are so much more like butter chicken, halibut, sushi, wicked salad selection like shaved fennel and asian pear, and the list goes on.

The wine list is also well thought out. The waiter is excellent in suggesting an Argentinian 2008 Malbec that completes the meal. This he opens and pours in a very sexy and dangerously fragile looking Riedel decanter (apparently, we're not allowed to touch it ourselves).

Excellent service, perfect meal.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Orpheum: Vancouver Symphony Orchestra -- Ravel's Bolero

Going to a symphony is a beautiful way to spend an evening. Bramwell Tovey, the conductor, with his Brit accent, is a charming man (despite his slight itchy throat in last night's performance).

I love his little explanations. He delicately explains the frenetic sensuality of Mephisto's Waltz and tells us the background behind the Romanian Waltz. But my favourite and the "main event" is Ravel's Bolero. Ravel's Bolero is a catchy and hypnotic piece. He predicted that after hearing it, we would all go home and have the music playing over and over in our heads (yes, it is, actually). (Note that the link I put in is not the VSO)

The Orpheum: I may have mentioned before my regrets about my last trip to Italy. One is that I wish I have bought more leather goods (buttery soft jackets and purses) and the other is that I have not gone to the opera house. Well, I actually have gone to an opera in Rome, it is beautiful, but it is in a church and not in an opera house.  The reason I'm bringing it up again is because in going to the Orpheum Theatre, I remembered how much I love the architecture. It is opulent and ornate and feels like being in a different time. I can only imagine (or look in the internet) of how the opera houses in Italy would be (especially La Scalla in Milan).

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Reading history books are not on top of my reading list. But it seems that I am quite drawn to historical fiction. When I was in grade 9, I found out about the American civil war not from Mr. Wong (Social studies teacher), but from Scarlet, Rhett, Ashley and Prissy of Gone with the Wind.

And now, 25 years later, Sarah's key moves me. (yes, I'm late for the party.) It's a story of a girl in war time Paris and of a woman also in Paris in the present. It's about the French's (not just the Nazis) part in the round up of the Jews -- the Vel d'Hiv Round up and of a journalist's life transforming experience in discovering her story.

Like many successful novels, there is a movie apparently. I'll have to check it out.

Keith Urban at Rogers

Those who know me may have found it surprising that I have gone to see Keith Urban -- I know nothing at all about country music. What I do know, however, is when someone performs with heart. And he has a lot of heart -- this is evident on Monday.

He has guitar skillage, and he is charming, and he is a hottie! All these oozes out of his pores. The audience ( a lot of girls in their cowboy hats) looooooved this man, and it's easy to see why.

There are various stages throughout the coliseum and it seems everyone has had the opportunity to touch him. At one point, he pulled 3 audience to sing on stage and he even gave a guitar he just finished playing with (he changed guitars like Nicole Kidman changed outfits) to some lucky girl.

As if the audience didn't love him enough, on his encore, he comes out wearing Canuck jersey #33. Well, of course the crowd gets even crazier.

T'was a good introduction to the world of country music.

(Did I mention that he has a totally hot bod!)

Bonus: Russel Crowe was a surprise performer!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Canucks -- Club Seats

Yes, my heart is still broken and mending from the heartbreak of eluding the cup, and the chaos of  the riot, and of Rypien, and of Dimitra, but I can never ever say no to our see our boys. But, unfortunately, our usual boys are not playing tonight. Nonetheless, it was a perfect night to get back into the spirit.

The pain is dulled especially that I have club seats. I may have mentioned about this this magical place before on FB, but instead of words, I thought I'd just post some pics of this happy place.I was too intimidated to take photos of the serving staff while they are going around with their trays of panko prawns and chicken skewers with peanut sauce and other delectable treats.

scallops in yummy sauce (not sure what it is)

aahh the little things, drinking from a glass at a game

pickled yellow beets
I don't think I've ever said, to myself, "I've had enough oysters." I think I ate over half a dozen kusshis.
beet salad

yumm... freshest sashimi and sushi

These steaks are like buttah! They were topped with crab meat and served with some baby squash or asparagus.

drizzled with tabasco like I like em

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Outside the Box - Art in Fibre and Textiles

I went to the opening of this fibre art and textile exhibit in White Rock and was quite impressed. And no, it's not doilies, and toilet paper holders or tea cozies. They were actually beautiful and original pieces done by artist. My favourite one was the first prize winner of the exhibition, it reminded me a bit of a Canadiana painting done by one of the Group of Seven.

The Outside the Box - Art in Fibre and Textiles exhibition is there until October 21st.

Theatre Terrific

I have been doing some volunteer work with this theatre group for a little over 2 years now and  have finally made it to one of their performances. It is Theatre Terrific's final performance of "A Truck Full of Chickens," which played at the Fringe Festival earlier this month. This inspiring theatre's motto is : "brings together artists who would normally never work together. Our diverse ensembles include professional and emerging artists with or without developmental, physical, or mental health issues, gender or language challenges." 

Check them out next time they have a show, it is usually at the Japanese United Church.

Friday, September 23, 2011

West Side Story

I have gone to a screening of the West Side Story last night at the Vancity Theatre and yes, "I feel pretty, oh so pretty," one of its more famous songs, is on a loop in my head. Aside from being an adaptation from Romeo and Juliet and having something to do with rival gangs, I don't really know much about it at all. This 1961 film which starred Natalie Wood, is based on the very successful Broadway musical.

I must admit that because this movie is not from my era, it takes a bit of time to get used to. I mean, seriously -- gang members in an arabesque and prancing around doesn't look very authentic gang warfare to me. After a while, though, I got used to the idea of a pretty boy gang member, and have appreciated its timeliness as well as many famous songs. I feel that this movie is one of those "must see" for its historical significance, besides, there are a lot of modern day spoof/reference of this movie that you just won't understand without seeing the movie.

"The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 1997. The film holds the distinction of being the musical film with the most Academy Award wins (10 wins), including Best Picture (three other films also won 11 Oscars each, but they are not musicals).

The reason that there is a screening for this is because of the upcoming adaptation by the Vancouver Opera  It starts on October 22. Can't wait! I'll let you guys know how it is.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

"C" Restaurant

I've always wanted to go this restaurant ever since I saw a feature of its award winning chef, Robert Clark on TV. He's one of our local superstar chefs. So, when "C" was the deal of the day at Groupon, I was all over it (otherwise, I may have to forgo eating for a week to afford it). The deal was for a tasting menu - brunch. This means that you don't order, you get what you get.

As is typical of a fancy-shmancy place, it started with an amuse-bouche (for non-foodies, this means an itty-bitty appy) of corn bread on aioli. It was followed with granola with Greek yogurt, with fresh fruits sprinkled with mint, then a salad of frisee and arugula with smoked trout and grapefruit and the main course was eggs benedict with some paprika potatoes. Dessert is an in house made chocolate cherry ice cream on a cone.

It is a good meal, however, I'm pretty sure, I can get a similar meal like it for a lot less. I think I would have to go back though for dinner in order to get its true essence of what they are famously known for. 

C is in the north side of False Creek. 
2-1600 Howe Street Vancouver, BC