Review: Kaya Bistro with YVRFoodies, January 2016

Like I did with a previous meetup at East is East on West Broadway, I had a great time with the YVRFoodies meetup group. Ricky Shetty was again a great organizer and host.

I had to arrive late, so I missed out on a course or two. But I can report that the seafood bouillabaisse was terrific. I’m sometimes skeptical of Malaysian food, as it can be very sweet, but Kaya tones down this aspect. The texture, the flavours, the combinations–I can’t remember a seafood soup I have enjoyed as much as that one.

My food photography rarely does the food justice, but I’ll give it a try again. There’s an exquisite coconut-milk base here.

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I noticed Kaya was very respectful and helpful with the various dietary restrictions that my fellow diners had.

Apart from the lovely food, we had a great evening hearing from several presenters. Again, I think I may have missed someone, so I’ll just report those I heard from.

Teen Across Canada: Teenager Anastasia and her mom and dad are in the midst of a cross-Canada trip. Much of the trip has centered around food, and not surprising to me, the Maritimes including Newfoundland have provided star memories for both food and friendliness.  Read more about their adventures here at http://www.teenacrosscanada.com.

Hot Arusha (aka Iqbal Ishani): What a cool guy (to mix temperatures). Iqbal is a great drummer too, and he got us moving in between courses. He also wants to preserve the culinary heritage of his family with these wonderful hot sauces (most of which are not that hot, but very flavorful and savory). I particularly loved the garlic one, which I tried a few days later. Iqbal was born in Nairobi of Indian parents. His website is iqbalance.com/.

Feeding the 5K (with Elaine Cheng): We know a huge amount of food is wasted every year. It could make you cry to think of it. Elaine sets up a dinner that feeds thousands where all of the food would otherwise have been discarded. Read more at http://feed5kvancouver.com/.

Theresa Nicassio, Ph.D (Yum Food for Living): Theresa is a psychotherapist who focuses on eating issues and disorders. At dinner we discussed having daughters who had adopted a vegan or vegetarian diet as preteens. Theresa supported her daughter in this choice, and when Theresa later found she had celiac disease, she also had to make her diet gluten-free. But rather than be limited by these restrictions, Theresa has used them to focus on creating a terrific cookbook suitable for anyone, but completely vegan and with substitutions that allow each recipe to be gluten-free. This cookbook is available at http://yumfoodforliving.com/. It’s gorgeous with delicious-sounding recipes and I am going to try it out this weekend. Theresa also talked about emotional eating, and how it is universal and should not be a source of self-denigration. But she also suggested looking at other ways of achieving satisfaction, such as through music, art, play, and so forth.

Thanks again, Ricky Shetty, who did a great job coordinating the speakers, the music, and encouraging us all as bloggers. We had a wonderful time!

 

 

Fado Camané at VanCity Theatre: A great film and evening

Fado Camané official trailer: 

First, remember that VanCity Theatre has Music Mondays. Keep an eye on their schedule. Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Joan Baez, and numerous other luminaries have featured in documentaries. Last night’s film was $7, including the complimentary food and wine described below, although you will have to get an annual $2 membership if you don’t have one.

When I saw that VanCity Theatre was showing Fado Camané, I had to see it. As you might guess, Camané is a Portuguese singer who performs fado. The film focuses on the process of making an album. It’s about collaboration, and the creativity of technicians, the singer, supporting musicians, the poet/songwriter, the producer all juxtaposed in a state of pleasant tension as they work through artistic dilemmas. Much has been written how the work of the individual “genius” is highlighted above all others, when in fact almost any innovation or invention  you can think of has been a collaboration, even if hidden. This film demonstrates that creative fact very well.

Before the film, the Portuguese consulate generously provided us with cod fritters, shrimp dumplings, and egg tarts, all delicious and enjoyable. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the port, the red wine, the white wine all from Portugal either. This reception provided a lovely start to the evening.

Listen to Camané for yourself!

Portland, Theatre, and “Radical Hospitality”

I recently had a great trip to Portland, which I will summarize like this:

  • Clinton neighborhood – fantastic! I used AirBnB and got to stay in this great neighborhood, which I actually prefer to NW.
  • Chocolate shops – Cacao and Moonstruck Chocolate. Great drinking chocolate and many exquisite options for purchase (although I didn`t).
  • Restaurants – La Panza (New Mexican), Bete-Lukas (Ethiopian), Karam (Lebanese)
  • Conference – LavaCon – Many great insights by lots of smart, engaging people.
  • Theatre – Saw “Sans Merci”, a production by Badass Theatre Company. Wonderfully and sensitively done.
  • Music – Bassouke Kouyaté, a Malian musician playing along with his family (wife, two sons, and brother). He specializes in the traditional ngoni. Just a fantastic show. At the lovely Alberta Rose Theatre too.

Badass Theatre Company’s founder, Antonio Sonera, introduced the theatre before the show began. He explained the theatre`s concept of “Radical Hospitality”`. Essentially, this amounts to finding ways to ensure that people who do not have a lot of money or indeed no money can still see theatre. There are $10 seats for people under 35 and for artists, reserved free seats for those who need them. The ticket price is capped at $20. The guiding principle is that cost should not be a barrier to anyone attending theatre.

In Vancouver, BC (to distinguish from the `Vancouver` right near Portland), no theatre has quite such a generous policy, but various similar options abound. The Firehall Arts Centre has pay-what-you-can options for various Wednesday matinees, many theatre productions have at least one pay-what-you-can night, preview nights are often half-price or even free, discounts are sometimes offered on Facebook or Twitter, Tickets Tonight often offers half-price tickets, and so on. Many theatre productions often need volunteers to do things like ushering, and these volunteers get free tickets. It`s true that it`s not easy to get a cheap ticket to a show like `Wicked`, for example, but you can enjoy any number of locally produced shows for a very reasonable price with some investigation and work. Of course, just about every theatre production company in town just about can greatly benefit from full-paying theatre goers and from donations (my impression is that most productions require a donation or a grant or both to ever get off the ground in the first place), So, if you can, introduce your friends to theatre and consider theatre tickets as a very environmental gift that will not take up precious space in anyone`s cramped apartment.

EAT.DRINK.PLAY. at Firehall Arts Centre, June 19

Sounds like a fun, tasty, and cultural evening.

The Firehall Arts Centre presents

EAT.DRINK.PLAY.

Proceeds go toward helping the Firehall bring cutting-edge theatre and dance to Vancouver

 Date: Thursday June 19th, 2014, 7-10pm

Venue: Firehall Arts Centre

Tickets: $31 regular/ $16 artists (includes food, drink tastings & drink on arrival)

Tickets & Information: 604.689.0926 or www.firehallartscentre.ca

Vancouver, BC – On June 19th, from 7-10pm, the Firehall Arts Centre present its annual fundraiser EAT.DRINK.PLAY, an unforgettable evening that celebrates locally produced food, drink and performance.

The event showcases a selection of food from Gastown and Railtown’s burgeoning food scene graciously provided by 11 local restaurants – Lily Mae’s, Peckinpah, Cadeaux Bakery, The Irish Heather, Salt Tasting Room, Bitter, Hogan’s Alley Cafe, Deacon’s Corner, Mahoney & Sons, Elephant and Castle, and Scent of a Sandwich. Tastings of micro brewery Parallel 49’s seasonal offerings will be available, plus vodka and crème de cassis from Odd Society Spirits, a newly opened small-batch craft distillery in the heart of East Vancouver.

 This celebration of all things local will also feature a ‘taster flight’ of live theatre, dance and music performed around the Firehall building including an acoustic performance by rising theatre star and three-time Jessie Award nominee Kayvon Kelly (Chelsea Hotel) and a performance by Proud star Emmelia Gordon.

 The excitement doesn’t end there. All evening you can place your bid on a fantastic range of items in a silent auction generously donated by local businesses, including; Van Dusen Botanical Gardens, TELUS World of Science, PuSH International Performing Arts Festival, Vancouver Fringe Festival, SPUD Urban Delivery and Modo Car Co-Op.

The Firehall would like to thank the evening’s sponsors: Lily Mae’s, Peckinpah, Cadeaux Bakery, The Irish Heather, Salt Tasting Room, Bitter, Hogan’s Alley Cafe, Deacon’s Corner, Mahoney & Sons, Elephant and Castle, Scent of a Sandwich, Odd Society Spirits, & Parallel 49 Brewing.

 About the Firehall Arts Centre

Located in a heritage fire station built in 1906, the Firehall Arts Centre produces a season of eclectic theatre, dance and interdisciplinary performances and acts as a host to visual arts exhibitions in its intimate gallery/lounge.  Each year the 31-year-old organisation hosts over two hundred performances for an audience of 30,000 people.

 

Macaron Madness, Round 4 – Faubourg

Round 4 of Macaron Madness is here! Apologies for the wait, but I promise it’ll be worth your while!

Faubourg Exterior

Today, we go to Faubourg, one of the many new bakeries that have recently taken root around Vancovuer. Subtitled Paris, I originally mistook it as a chain from the titular city, in the vein of Ladurée or Pierre Hermé, but this is apparently not the case. Ladurée actually served as the inspiration for owner Franck Point, who started up his line of stores in 2011. Having expanded from one to three locations in the Lower Mainland over the last three years, he quite clearly has found a following, and success, in the Pacific Northwest.

Arriving in Vancouevr with French techniques from the Institut National de la Boulangerie-Pâtisserie, Point had to retool his approach slightly upon landing. He realized early on that the gluten content of flour from this continent tended to be higher than that in France, resulting in pastries that would have more cohesion, and if baked for long enough more of a hard, crunchy shell, quite at odds with many of the light flourishes that Parisians are known for in their confections. Working with his bakers in Vancouver for a few months prior to opening the first Faubourg, he brought them to a level of familiarity with our inputs that is fleeting even for homegrown artisans. It shows in the results – freshly baked baguettes have that lightness in the interior crumb (the sort interior of the loaf). Croissants have that harmony matching the thin, flaky layers of dough with the luscious texture of butter. These products, and others, have that distinct balance of substance and air that makes French pastry world-renowned.

Faubourg’s macarons start at $1.79 per individual, but there are progressive discounts as you go further, be it $16 for 9, $31 for 18, and so forth. You might wonder about whether such large numbers are needed, but as you can see, the selection is simply huge!

That's a lotta macarons! The unmarked flavor is lychee rose.

That’s a lot of macarons! The unmarked flavor is lychee rose.

Continue reading

Macaron Madness, Round 3 – Kitchening & Co. and Urban Tea Merchant

Onto round 3 of macaron madness!

So far, we’ve only been looking at macarons from top chocolatiers in Vancouver, but these pastries are not just sold in small artisanal establishments. Indeed, we’ll be looking at larger bakery chains that have also set up shop, as well as other places you wouldn’t expect to find the colorful mouthfuls.

So then, let’s go on to a grocery store, and a tea merchant!

Mmm... macarons...

Mmm… macarons…

The bakery aisle at Whole Foods is always replete with delicious, beautiful desserts, but I was fairly surprised to see macarons on display. Then again, Whole Foods is the supermarket where fancy items abound, and one can spend their paycheque on, among other things, cold-pressed olive oil (the author remains silent on what he may have bought there before). Continue reading