food critic

veal, rabbit & duck terrine with apple and rhubarb preservesThis week I attended an special benefit event hosted in a private home  as a fund raiser for Blackbird Theatre's upcoming production of Samuel Beckett's "Waiting for Godot." Godot is scheduled to run from December 27 to January 21, 2012 at The Cultch.

Blackbird Theatre  is a professional Vancouver theatre company that is dedicated to staging classic works. In their words, their mandate is "to present Canadian interpretations of classic plays to contemporary audiences." With over 2000 years of theatrical history to chose from, the range of plays produced so far has extended from Euripides' Hecuba (written around 428 BC) to a new adaptation by local prof, Errol Durbach, of Charles Dickens "Great Expectations"  staged earlier this year. Their first production,  Schiller's Mary Stuart  in September 2005,  introduced me to Schiller's work which I had neither read nor seen before.  From 2006 onwards as a writer for Immediate Theatre, I  reviewed several of Blackbird's early productions. I saw Pinter's The Birthday Party, Ibsen's Peer Gynt and Marivaux's The Triumph of Love  and enjoyed them all immensely.

You may wonder why a story about a theatre company is illustrated by pictures of food but read on and all will become clear.

Dungeness crab salad in buttermilk crepesDiva  Restaurant and Bar at the Metropolitan Hotel,
645 Howe Street, Vancouver
Phone (604) 602-7788  or Reserve Online

Diva at the Met on Urbanspoon

For our pre-show dinner, before seeing Bridge Mix 2011, a site specific theatre production at the Metro Parkade on West Pender, we went to Diva at the Met Restaurant.

It was a pleasant twenty minute walk to Granville and Howe, and we noticed that on a few of the boards covering broken windows from the previous evening's mayhem, people had written comments expressing the anger at the rioters and support for the city and our  Canucks.

Foie gras amuse boucheHidden Tasting Bar and Social Lounge
433 Robson Street,
Phone (604) 647-2520 or Reserve Online

Hidden Tasting Bar and Social Lounge on Urbanspoon

Tucked away in the Westin Grand Hotel on Robson Street, is a little gem of a restaurant, appropriately named Hidden. Re-named form the original Aria restaurant, the menus and dining format  were changed a while ago to reflect a lighter style of tasting menu and Tapas.

We were going to see Death of A Salesman at the Vancouver Playhouse, a couple of blocks away. It is a stunning production - do not miss it.

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.

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.

grilled peppered shrimpWest  Bank Cafe,

407 West 42nd Street

New York

Ph: 212-695-6909  or Reserve Online

West Bank Cafe on Urbanspoon

While I was picking up my tickets for The Screwtape Letters I asked the box-office person for a few suggestions for somewhere to have dinner.  One recommendation was for the West Bank Cafe, a block away from the theatre, so I strolled back along 8th Avenue and turned west on 42nd Street to check it out.

tuna tartare with quail's eggVox Populi,
755 Boylston Street, Boston.
Ph: (617) 424-8300
On the Autumn East Coast Dance Cruise, our ship, the Queen Mary 2, called in at Boston harbour for a day. After taking one of the Boston Duck tours, a friend and I went shopping. I was hoping to find an elegant black and white dress for one of the formal nights on board.
I do not enjoy shopping but it certainly worked up my appetite so we wandered around to find somewhere for a light lunch.


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