May 2011

Salmon NV sparkling wineAccording to the description of  "K1 by Geoff Hardy" in the Opimian brochure, this ultra-premium, cool climate vineyard in the southern Adelaide Hills of Australia, is as well known for its beauty as for its premium wines. Since a visit to Australia to admire the scenic vineyard is not on my schedule right now, I had to settle for tasting some of the K1 premium wines at the Opimian food and wine-pairing evening at the Fish House in Stanley Park.

My supper club friends and I have recently been experimenting with low-carb recipes from a cookbook by Karen Barnaby,  Executive Chef at the Fish House: The Supper Club makes MoussakaLow Carb "rice", and Low-carb Pizza and Breakfast Muffins.  So I invited a few of my foodie friends to join me at this event.

Bec Hardy Since we planned to enjoy the wines as well as the food we decided that a cab to and from the Fish House was the way to go. The reception was set for 6:30 PM with dinner to follow at 7 PM. Despite a pelting rain and slow traffic we got to the Fish House with time to spare.

Hardy is a very well known name in the Australian world of wine and  "K1 by Geoff Hardy" sounded as though there would be a story behind. it. Bec Hardy, Sales and Marketing manager for "K1 by Geoff Hardy" wines was on a cross-Canada visit, with her new husband, to talk at the Opimian events, and would be telling us about the history of this vineyard and the wines we would taste with dinner.

Handcrafted Salmon NVWhen we arrived at the reception, we were offered a glass of the sparkling  Hand crafted Salmon NV. Blended from handpicked grapes from specific blocks of Pinot Noir from the Adelaide Hills winery and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their Limestone Coast winery, the wine presents a complex impression of strawberry,  red apple and citrus... and of course it "sparkles".

While a smoked salmon and goat cheese moussse was set before us, Bec told us a bit about herself, and then gave us an introductory overview of the vineyards and the wine.smoked salmon amuse bouche

Bec has a Viticultural Science degree from  the University of Adelaide, the  Wine & Spirit Education Trust certifications, and worked for several different winemakers and agencies before coming back to work in the family wine business.

The Kuitpo Vineyard at the southern tip of Adelaide Hills was founded in 1987 when  Geoff Hardy and his family began planting  vines to grow grapes of the highest quality in order to make super premium wines.

Caramelized onion tartCru
1459 West Broadway
Vancouver, BC
Phone (604) 677-4111 or Reserve Online

Cru on Urbanspoon

The last time I ate at Cru, I thought the Cellar Door Caesar salad that I had was about the best I had tasted but that was over a year ago. So a return visit to check out some of the other dishes was indicated.

We were going to see Hairspray at the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, so we decided to catch the Aquabus over to Granville Island and stroll up Granville Street to Broadway for a pre-show dinner at Cru.

bbq duck club house with those friesCactus Club
357 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC
Phone: (604) 685 -8070
Cactus Club Cafe (Yaletown) on Urbanspoon

Shortly after  Chef Rob Feenie joined the Cactus Club restaurant chain and introduced his new line of signature dishes, I lunched with a friend at the Bentall 5 Burrard street location.

Spotting the barbecue duck clubhouse sandwich on the menu, I ordered it. I was hooked on this updated club sandwich of barbecued duck, pan seared chicken and prosciutto served on a pecan fruit bread. Or maybe it was the fries which were just right, crisp outside, soft inside and not overly brown.

On subsequent occasions, usually dropping in for lunch on the spur-of the-moment, I inevitably end up with the same choice.

Jennie Neumann in Hairspray. Photo by David CooperHairspray
Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Book by Mark O'Donnell and Thomas Meehan
Directed by Bill Millerd
Musical Director - Ken Cormier
Choreographer - Valerie  Easton
Arts Club Theatre Company
Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage
May 7 - July 10, 2011

Vancouver, BC: There is a bumper crop of fresh talent lighting up the stage at the Stanley Theatre, joining Arts Club musical regulars, Matt Palmer, Cailin Stadnyk  and Anna Kuman in a sparkling production of Hairspray.

Created and Performed by Rick Miller
Directed by Sean Lynch
Designed by Beth Kates
Wyrd Productions
Vancouver Playhouse
May 11-15, 2011

Vancouver, BC: Unlike reviewers in the international press I don't have smart writers coming up with headlines for my stories but  I could not resist the challenge in the MacHomer program where 12 of their favorite MacHomer headlines are listed. Since I loved the Vancouver show - and it is now closed.... well d'oh!

According to Rick Miller, MacHomer is "essentially a tribute to the creative vision of Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons) and the genius of William Shakespeare".

But it is also a hilarious and entertaining vehicle to showcase the vocal genius and on-stage charisma that Rick Miller has in spades.

From its casual origin in 1994 as a sketch for a MacBeth cast party, MacHomer in various incarnations, has toured  worldwide intermittently over 13 years, but somehow I missed seeing it until it came to Vancouver last week for a short run at the Vancouver Playhouse.

Goat cheescake bruleeLURE Restaurant and Lounge
at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Resort and Spa
45 Songhees Road

Victoria, BC
(250) 360-5873 or Reserve Online

Lure on Urbanspoon

Visiting Victoria for a meeting,  we booked a room for an  overnight stay at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe Hotel and Spa. After a ferry ride across the water, with  rain sapping all colour from sea and sky, we needed a  refreshing swim and a relaxing soak in the Jacuzzi. Then we were ready for an early dinner in Lure, the hotel restaurant.

Andrew Laurenson and chorus. Photo by Michael SiderBEUTFL PRBLMS - a collectively devised production written by and performed by Andrew Laurenson, with Lesley Ewen, Billy Marchenski and Emelia Symington Fedy.
Director/dramaturge Paul Ternes
Radix Theatre Society
The Roundhouse Community Centre
May 13 to 21, 2011

Vancouver, BC:  The premise of this new work - Garry Kasparov's loss of a chess series to a computer - sounded intriguing. I was eager to see the way in which Laurenson and his collaborators would create a spellbinding story from this event. In May 1997, chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, world champion for twelve years running, took on the challenge of beating IBM's Deep Blue Supercomputer. Of the 6 games played, Kasparov won the first game, Deep Blue the second, three were played to a draw and the final game was won by Deep Blue. Had technology triumphed over humanity? Well not really. Since Deep Blue was designed and programmed by a team of 5 IBM scientists and one International Grandmaster, it would be more fair to say that one man was beaten by a collective.

lamb with Geek salad and tsatsikiI had lunch in  the restaurant in the new Tapestry active senior living complex that recently opened in the Wesbrook Village on the campus of the University of British Columbia.

As we were shown to a banquette table I admired the airy open feel to the room.

The restaurant looks out onto a lovely patio area onto where parties can spill out from the dining area.

the six wines to be tastedcalamariAficionado Level - Grape Explorations
The Opimian wine society and BC Wine School
held at Simpatico Restaurant at 2222 West 4th

Since April, the local chapter of the Opimian wine society has run a series of short  introductory wine tasting courses for Opimian members, in conjunction with the BC Wine School. The Novice level course - Romancing the Grapes covered six major grape varietals and consisted of two 1.5 hour sessions.

I decided to attend the Aficionado Level - Grape Explorations in which we would taste 6 varietals, a combination of classic and other major varietals from around the world in one session. Since I drink far more white wine than red I was keen to find out more about some of the red wines we would be tasting such as Malbec, Tempranillo,  Carmenère.

Camille Mitchell as Mrs. Robinson. Photo by David CooperThe Graduate - adapted for stage by Terry Johnson
based on the novel by Charles Webb
and the screenplay by Calder Willingham and Buck Henry
Directed by Lois Anderson,
Granville Island Stage,
Arts Club Theatre Company,
Apr 14- May 14 , 2011

Vancouver, BC:  It is always an interesting anticipation when one  looks at an adaptation of a work in one genre into another form, whether book to film, film to musical or film to play. It becomes even more of an interest when the new work is adapted from an iconic original. 


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