p1150761-w500-h500.jpgChambar
568 Beatty Street,
Vancouver, BC:
Ph: (604)  879-7119 or reserve online
Chambar on Urbanspoon

I have not eaten at Chambar since they moved a short while ago to their new location just up the street from their first spot. This was a good choice for lunch with a friend before we went to a VIFF screening at the Vancouver Playhouse a few blocks away.

The new restaurant had a lighter more open feel. We sat at a table toward the back of the restaurant. It was very busy for lunch time but our service was prompt and efficient.. 

p1150769-w500-h500.jpgEarls Vancouver Downtown Test Kitchen
905 Hornby Street

After seeing a film at the Scotiabank Cinemas  we exited the complex to find that rain was pelting down with gusts of wind blasting our umbrellas inside out. We speed-walked a few yards to the corner of Smythe and Hornby to have supper at the Earls restaurant round the corner.

We asked to be seated where it was reasonably quiet and the lighting was  good. The area in the dining room where we sat was excellent. We were not bothered by any booming loud music as  so often happens these days. The light was bright enough so that the menus could be read without the aid of my mini-flashlight, and the food photographs worked well too.

I liked the sound of the dynamite prawn and mango roll - a panko-breaded prawn and mango with avocado, cucumber, unagi maole and sriracha mayonnaise. It was beautifully presented and tasted as good as it looked.

 

img_6624-w500-h500.jpgDarling, A Musical
Music and Lyrics  by Ryan Scott Oliver;  Book by Brett Ryback
Directed and choreographed by Dawn Ewen
Musical direction by Steven Greenfield
Springboard Theatre Production
Renegade Production Studios, 125 East 2nd St., Vancouver
October 8 to 18th, 2014

Vurs-w500-h500.jpgancouver, BC: Many of Vancouver's successful independent theatre companies were started by the entrepreneurship of new grads or young actors to provide a vehicle through which they could practice their craft of theatre and gain practical  experience in performance, technical or production aspects. Springboard Theatre was founded a year ago by Capilano University Musical Theatre Program grads, Michelle Bardach, Kayla Heyblom and Katie Purych with the objective of putting on a musical that was youthful and provocative, and had not been done before in Vancouver. The musical they selected was Darling, the Musical written by Ryan Scott Oliver and  Brett Ryback in 2009.

Set in 1929 Boston just before the Great Crash, Darling gives a gritty, down-and-dirty twist to Barrie's tale of Peter Pan, Wendy Darling and the Lost Boys.

p1140597-w500-h500.jpgÇa Va Brasserie by Todd English   
310 West 44th Street (Cross Street 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 803 4545  or reserve online

p1140596-w500-h500.jpgDuring my brief stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for evening dining before I was to once again board Cunard's majestic Queen Mary 2 ocean liner. The QM2  features a Todd English restaurant as their fine dining alternative. On previous trips I had dined several times at this restaurant and tried many of the menu items. I was curious to compare the Todd English  Brasserie in New York (which serves French cuisine) with the current menu items of the on-board restaurant.

So before heading off  to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical we had dinner at Ça Va Brasserie. It was only a short distance away from the theatre so we could relax over an early dinner.

My Rabbi
my_rabbi_-_kayvon_kelly_joel_bernbaum_image_derek_ford_2-1-w500-h500.jpgWritten and performed by Kayvon Kelly and Joel Bernbaum
Directed by Julie McIsaac
A Sum Theatre Production.
Firehall Arts Centre,
Oct 7 to 18, 2014

Vancouver, BC: Two boys, Arya (Kayvon Kelly) and Jacob (Joel Bernbaum)  growing up in Saskatoon, meet at fifteen and become close friends; as close as brothers. Arya's family are Iranian Muslims.  Jacob's family is Jewish. Neither boy is devout, and the family's religious differences play no part in affecting their friendship. At times of stress such as parental illness, they are there for each other.
They grow up and Jacob moves to New York to become a rabbi while Arya goes to Iran to learn about his origins. They keep in touch by letter for a while...
The play opens with Arya, now a devout Muslim,  and Jacob, now a Rabbi in Toronto, each at prayer. A chance encounter in a Toronto street reunites them. But the bombing of buses and cafes in Israel is being echoed by the bombing of synagogues in Toronto. Can this bond of friendship between Muslim and Jew endure through religious, philosophical and  political differences?

Benares - Mid-town West
240 West 56th Street (between Broadway and 8th Avenue)
Ph: (212) 397 0707 or reserve online

Benares on Urbanspoon

On this brief pre-cruise stopover in New York I had only two opportunities for restaurant dinners. Having picked French cuisine (Ca Va Brasserie) for the first dinner, my second choice was Indian cuisine, a favorite cuisine of my fellow diner.
The Mid-town West location of Benares was my first choice.

Stella 34 Trattoria
at Macy's Herald Square 6th Floor
151 West 34th Street, New York

What a surprise it was to me to find an excellent restaurant located in a major department store and this discovery came about in quite an unexpected way. My westbound trans-Atlantic cruise on the Queen Mary 2 ended in Brooklyn early on a Wednesday morning, and my direct flight from JFK to Vancouver YVR was scheduled to leave at 7 that evening. So unusually for me, I decided to sign up for a ship's transfer to the airport, with a half day tour of Manhattan included. So after disembarking, our bags were placed on the bus, and a tour guide came on board to give a commentary on the various neighborhoods we passed through. At lunch time the bus dropped us off near Macy's for an hour of free time, during which we could get lunch for ourselves.

Triomphe at the Iroquois Hotel
49 West 44th (between 5th and 6th Ave)
New York, NY,10036
Ph: (212) 453 4233 or  reserve online

Walking along West 44 th looking for 49, I nearly missed the entrance for Triomphe, not realizing that it is the restaurant of the Iroquois Hotel, a four star mid-town Manhattan boutique hotel. I had arranged to meet a friend there for brunch.

As I was enjoying a cup of coffee, I noticed on the menu that they offered fresh squeezed orange juice. The waiter assured me that it was indeed fresh squeezed and brought me a glass. I decided to indulge in the "build your own omelet" - one can pick three fillings from the choice of peppers, onions, spinach, tomato, mushrooms, bacon, ham, prosciutto, gruyere, cheddar and goat cheese. I opted for onions, prosciutto and cheddar cheese. It comes with breakfast potatoes and toast - both of which I opted only to taste.

To cap off a delightful brunch, I had a cappuccino. Overall a nice relaxed dining experience.

The 2014 Vancouver Fringe Festival opened on Thursday Sept 4th. This event features 91 artists in more than 800 performances of over 80 shows in 11 days on Granville Island in theatre spaces and other odd sites as well as various off-island venues such as The Cultch, Studio 16, Havana and the Firehall.

One of the great aspects of the Fringe Festival is that it draws in a broad spectrum of the community, from the committed year round theatre-goer to people just checking out theatre for the first time. In one line-up I chatted to a high school girl who wants to be an actor and her friend who had never been to see a play; a senior who volunteers at just about every play and festival that she can and another senior who has season tickets to theatre, opera and the symphony. I met people who have come to Vancouver specifically for the Fringe Festival and others who discovered accidentally while exploring Granville Island, that they could catch a couple of plays. I met a lady who lives in England but visits Vancouver every  year to visit Fringe.

The second important aspect of the Fringe is that it offers something for everyone, whether you like comedy, drama, musicals, solo performers or ensembles, and reviews simply reflect the individual biases of the reviewer so see for yourself.

Here is the listing and links in sequence of the shows I have seen so far.

I really enjoyed all five of these shows, each performed by a solo actor.

 ...didn't see that coming
written and performed by Beverley Elliott
directed by Kerry Sandomirsky
musical direction by Bill Costin
Happy Good Things Productions
Performance Works, Granville Island
Remaining Shows:
Wed Sep 10 9:25 PM
Fri Sep 12 10:30 PM
Sun Sep 14 7:50 PM

A consummate professional, Beverley Elliott had her audience in the palm of her hand from the minute she walked out on to the stage.  Singing and narrating her autobiographical journey, she had me chuckling through her on-line dating 40 plus dates at the food court in the Brentwood Mall, her revelation that there was another life outside small-town Presbyterian Ontario and gigs in gay bars. Loved her show.

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