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September 2011

Approaching Nanaimo ferry terminalPROLOGUE

My heart beat faster as I saw the invitation.  A Cooking Contest to be held over two nights on Vancouver Island - and I was invited to be one of the judges. I sipped my freshly-brewed coffee and watched the lights across the waters of False Creek blink out as the morning sky lightened. Perhaps it was the caffeine because my dreams were certainly not opium-induced but my thoughts took off and "ran down pathways measureless to man"....

antipasto platterCuckoo Trattoria & Pizzeria
Coombs,
Vancouver Island
Ph: 1 (250) 248-6280

Cuckoo in Coombs Trattoria & Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

I was visiting Vancouver Island for a weekend get-together that included a friendly Cooking Challenge,  with foodie friends from...

Clam chowder and BLT specialRocking Horse Pub
2038 Sanders Road
Nanoose Bay

Nanaimo District, BC
Ph: (250) 468-1735

Rocking Horse Pub on Urbanspoon

As we drove up to the Rocking Horse Pub, I saw what  looked like a large house standing amidst green fields. The exterior did not hint at the comfortable English pub ambience that we encountered when we entered. Six of us were seated at a nice sized table....

Samantha Hill & Adrian Marchuk; Photo by David CooperLight in the Piazza
Music and lyrics by Adam Guettel
Book by Craig Lucas
Direction and musical staging by Peter Jorgenson
Musical Director Sean Bayntun
Patrick Street Productions
Annette and Norman Rothstein Theatre
Sept 15 to  Oct 9th, 2011

Vancouver, BC: In musing about my response to the show, I finally concluded that I really admired the production but...

It was down to the last three Fringe performances that I could fit into my insanely crowded schedule, and the day was grey and rainy. Did I really want to take the ferry across to Granville Island and stand in lineups in the rain?  Luckily the skies cleared and by the time I needed to leave it was dry and quite pleasant.  I packed my umbrella into my knapsack and set off to the ferry dock for a quick ride over to the island, and was really glad I did. I had been looking forward to hearing Melanie Gall sing...

Warren Kimmel, Caitriona Murphy and Eric Morin. Photo by David CooperNext To Normal
Music by Tom Kitt
Book & lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Directed by Bill Millerd
Musical Directors Bruce Kellett and Ken Cormier
An Arts Club Theatre Production,
Stanley Theatre Industrial Alliance Stage
Jan 27 to Feb 27, 2011

Vancouver, BC:  Go and see Next to Normal. It's powerful stuff yet poignant, at times comedic and the characters will grab at your empathetic emotions...

Tuesday I was back on Granville Island for more Fringe Festival performances. I picked two shows at Studio 1398 on Cartwright Street at 5:15 and 7:45 and what a treat they both turned out to be.

 Dianne & Me
Playwright: Ron Fromstein
Director : Luke Brown
Studio 1398 at Festival House
RT: 55 min
Remaining shows Sept 16, 17.

Dianne & Me is a delightful look at the bond between mother and daughter seen through the eyes of...

a medium and large tagine on the stovetopFor the first of what I hope will be many Cookbook Critiques on this website, I enlisted the help of my fellow foodies of our SASSY Supper Club to try out a range of recipes from Pat Crocker's "150 Best Tagine Recipes."

Since we were simultaneously trying out recipes from Camilla Saulsbury's  "Piece of Cake!" cookbook, ...

Raspberry Sour Cream CakeThe desserts designated for the first Cookbook Critique event were cakes from the second cookbook that I have for review. It's called Piece of Cake! by Camilla V. Saulsbury, and the recipes are all designed to be "one bowl, no fuss , from scratch cakes." In other words not to belabor the point, theoretically the recipes should be "a piece of cake" to make. But could they also satisfy the discerning palates of the SASSY foodies and cake-baking...

150 Best Tagine Recipes
by Pat Crocker
240 pages with 16 colour photos
Publisher: Robert Rose Inc.
ISBN 978-0-7788-0279-2
Cover price US$ 24.95 Can 27.95

When I first examined the brightly coloured cover of this paperback cookbook, my attention was caught by the description of the author as a culinary herbalist. I assume that the herbs and spies that are so widely used in the cuisines of the North African countries of the Maghreb (Algeria, Libya, Morocco...

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