December 2008

The restaurant has a spectacular location, high above the city with a great view. We were seated at a comfortable sized table. I took the banquette seat looking outwards. My companion faced into the restaurant where she could watch the tables rapidly filling up. They have a large open kitchen area where one can observe the action. Doug, our server, was knowledgeable and attentive without being intrusive. He had worked in Vancouver and we shared perspectives on the incredibly abundant restaurant scene in the city.

Dire warnings from Environment Canada greeted me when I woke up the morning before I was to catch a plane to Toronto and then later to Cancun. “Snowfall overnight, expect delays on your morning commute.” Hmmmm, I thought. With an early morning flight I did not want to find me and my taxi in a ditch while my plane took off into the clouds. The scene adjacent shows my destination - you can see why I did not want to be delayed getting there!

On my last visit to Toronto during another cold, snowy spell, we visited Omi Restaurant in its old location on Church Street and had our first introduction to their Omakase meal. Omakase essentially is a chef's selection of dishes based on high quality fresh ingredients available on that particular day. On that first visit we were so impressed that we actually went back a couple of days later to try it again. Then it closed.

I have been a fan of German Rieslings for years. Raised eyebrows, quizzical or even somewhat patronising looks and comments about sophisticated palates and  full bodied red wines would  wash over me. I just smiled to myself as I picked up my Rhine or Mosel  Riesling at the BC Liquor Store for a very reasonable price, and prayed to Dionysus and Bacchus (depending on whether I felt more Greek or Roman that day) that these wines would not become too "fashionable."

Vancouver, BC. Well folks here is another little gem of a production to brighten our rainy December scene. I have been a fan of  contemporary American playwright Rebecca Gilman, since I saw her play, Spinning into Butter in Chicago two years ago. So I was excited and curious to see this production of one of her newer plays.

Vancouver, BC: If you are looking for a feel-good evening at the theatre, check out  David Adams's gentle  version of Joseph, the world's most famous, yet usually overlooked father.  How would you react when your newly betrothed virgin bride announces that she is pregnant and that you-know-who is the father? This Joseph takes it all in his stride. He delivers the baby in a cave where they have taken shelter, deals smartly with the three "wise men"  who have come to worship the new "king of the Jews", and carts his family off to safety out of  reach of the long arm of the current king,  Herod. He raises this first born son plus a passel of  younger brothers only to see the eighteen year old Jesus leave home for good, and ultimately of course, be crucified. Dowie wisely stops the narrative there so we don't get to hear what Joseph, the pragamatist who does not even acccept the ideas of astrology,  would have made of the events that followed. 

The December Man ends on a note of such painfully tragic dramatic irony that on  the night I saw it the audience sat silent for a seemingly endless time before the applause began. Colleen Murphy's powerful play shows us in stark simplicity that the devastation wrought by violence extends far beyond those who are, at first glance, the only victims.