November 2010

Ky Scott, Alex Rose, Carlos Rodriguez, Caitlin McCarthy. Photo by David CooperThe Secret in the Wings by Mary Zimmerman
Directed by Mike Stack
Music composition and direction by Kevin McNulty
Studio 58, Langara College
Nov 18 to Dec 5, 2010

This show may not have made it onto your theatre-going radar but I highly recommend that you head on over to Studio 58 at Langara College to see The Secret in the Wings. Everything about this production and especially the perfectly paced direction and the outstanding ensemble work is first class. It's definitely top of my current "do not miss" list of shows.

Michael Kopsa and Tom Pickett. Photo by Tim MathesonPlayland by Athol Fugard
Directed by Anthony Ingram
Pacific Theatre
Nov 5 - 27, 2010

I grew up in South Africa during the apartheid era and moved to Canada some 15 years before the time in which this play is set. Ironically it was here in Canada rather than in South Africa that I learned about and became an admirer of Athol Fugard 's plays. 

Wendy and her hostsHoney makes sure Chris is picture-perfectAfter a busy day and the very satisfying but filling lobster lunch at the Fish House Grill in Bar Harbor I felt as if I would not want to eat again for a year. 

But we were asked to gather for group pictures before dinner, so there I was at dinner time with the gang in the lobby, watching Wendy try to marshal her staff for the pictures of the hosts for this cruise.

Wendy was trying to get everyone together while Honey was adjusting Chris's cummerbund and Bruce was giving  advice in the background.

Imogen and I took advantage of the moment to get a photo too.

view from Cadillac MountainBar Harbor, Maine - day three of the Autumn Escape East Coast ballroom dancing cruise.



Our stop in Bar Harbor was memorable for two things- the tour of Acadia National Park with stunning views out over  Frenchman Bay; and the buttery, lobster lunch that left us messy and smelling of shellfish but smiling in total gastronomic happiness.

 

The Queen Mary 2 dropped anchor out in the bay beyond the sandbar from which Bar Harbor gets it's name,  and we were tendered into the port. Bar Harbor is known for being "cottage country" for the ultra rich and famous in the mid-19th century. Although the cottages were in fact palatial mansions. Most were destroyed by a massive fire in 1947. Now it is a summer resort dominated by  inns, motels and bed and breakfasts, with a tiny permanent population of around 4800 people.



There is a very picturesque harbor with a tourist centre advertising the wide range of water-activities available.  Some of these  activities include whale watching aboard jet powered Australian designed catamarans that take you 20 miles south of Bar Harbor where the larger whales feed. They often see harbor  porpoises, sharks, seals, pods of pilot whales, dolphins and often humpbacks, Minkes and finback whales. You  can sign up for a lobster fishing and seal watching boat tour or even head into  Acadia national park and take a rock climbing course.

yup- we 're tempted by the fresh baked aromaHowever my organized roomie, Carol had booked us on Oli's Trolley Sightseeing tour, a one hour sightseeing ride that includes a 15 minute stop at the summit of Cadillac Mountain, and a stop at Thunder Hole. It was a good choice.

love those blueberry muffinsWe disembarked from the tender and made our way up to the landing. As we rounded the corner of the building we were entranced by the fragrant scent of freshly baking, and there in the window we saw a tray of freshly  made blueberry muffins. 

 We promptly turned round and headed into the bakery/cafe where I  bought a delicious blueberry muffin and Carol acquired blueberry scones. Great marketing technique. They say olfactory stimuli are among the most powerful sensory inputs and it certainly worked on us.

lobster with steamed red potatoesFish House Grill

1 West St

Bar Harbor, Maine

Ph: (207) 288-3070

Fish House Grill on Urbanspoon

Reading the information on the Bar Harbor stop on our Autumn Escape dance cruise I learned that one of the things we had to do was indulge in lobster.

Lobster is BIG in Bar Harbor - at least all the restaurants catering for us hordes of tourists off the cruise ship were advertising lobster lunches. We decided to try the Fish House Grill  which we walked past just after leaving the tender that brought us ashore from the Queen Mary 2.

The Foie Gras CreationsParadou

8 Little West 12th Street,

New York

Ph: 212-463-8345 or Reserve Online 

Paradou on Urbanspoon

 Of several terrific meals I enjoyed on this annual visit to New York  I must say that our dinner at Paradou stands out and the main reason is the sinfully delicious Carte de Foie Gras creations that we shared for appetizers.

I had selected Paradou for dinner after our matinee musical, Billy Elliott, partly because it was located in the Meatpacking District, an area that I had not visited on my previous trips to New York.  As we approached the restaurant, I wondered about my choice because at first glance it seemed to be just a small storefront-type establishment with a bar and a few tables. But we followed the waiter through a narrow corridor and emerged in a delightful and spacious  enclosed courtyard.

Approaching Brooklyn Terminal on the Queen Mary 2Autumn in New York - Eight days and nights in the city that never sleeps

Sunday

 I love New York - just like it says on the T-shirts they hawk everywhere around Times Square.  Well perhaps I should qualify that statement by saying that I love spending a week or so in New York in the early fall, seeing theatre, trying out fine restaurants and dancing.  Last year I was here at approximately the same time (New York New York ) and saw some outstanding shows including A Steady Rain with Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, and Burn the Floor, which so blew me away that I saw it again, and then again for the show at the Vogue in Vancouver.

my yummy omeletteJoeDoe

45 E. 1st Street

New York

Ph: 212-780-0262  or Reserve Online



JoeDoe on Urbanspoon



Sunday morning and my last day in New York for this visit. A relaxed morning with a late brunch was what I needed and Mike said he knew just the place for brunch. We meandered slowly through the narrow streets of Soho and the East Village and came up to a crowded JoeDoe restaurant.



pork belly and eggs with sausageThere was one table free. After alerting us to the fact that there might be a lengthy wait for our meal as a large group had just been seated, we were led to a table against the wall. I was surprised that she would warn us about a wait but Mike pointed out that the place has a tiny kitchen with  solo chef, Joe Dobias, working away at warp speed. It appeared that there were at least 26 seats so he must be an amazing multitasker to keep his customers happy and coming back.



Our server brought us menus, coffee and buttermilk biscuits with savory butter. The latter assuaged our hunger and we sipped contentedly on coffee and orange juice, while enjoying the delicious biscuits and considering  our order. We actually enjoyed the opportunity to relax over our coffee rather than feeling rushed.

Natsumi Restaurant

226 West 50th Street, between B'way and 8th Ave

New York

Ph:  212- 258-2988  or Reserve Online

Natsumi on Urbanspoon

Quite out of character for me,  I had not  got round to researching and making a dinner reservation for the evening when we were going to see the musical, Fela at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre. I picked up my theatre tickets and then decided to wander around and spontaneously pick a restaurant that looked as if both  Mike and I would enjoy it.

Double Crown

316 Bowery, New York,

Cross street- Bleecker St.

Phone 212 -254-0350 or Reserve Online

Double Crown on Urbanspoon

Early on Sunday morning I disembarked from the Queen Mary 2 after a 9 night  Ballroom Dancing Cruise from Brooklyn to Quebec City and back. This  was really my first chance during this New York visit to have a quiet dinner with my son, and for us to catch up on each other's news.

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