One Week until Dining Out For Life 2017

Next Thursday, March 30th, 2017, do good by dining out. Dining out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner during the annual Dining Out For Life from White Rock to Vancouver helps support people living with HIV/AIDS in your community.

It’s easy as ABC,  book a table on March 30th at places like Ask For Luigi, Burgoo,  Charlie’s Italian or any of the dozens of restaurants from White Rock to Whistler and places in between. Visit the Dining Out For Life website to see all the participating restaurants near you.

You can give just by eating, dine out at one of the participating restaurants in your area who in turn donate 25% of their day’s food sales to A Loving Spoonful.  The proceeds of Dining Our For Life go towards providing A Loving Spoonful’s free programs and services like delivering meals to those affected by HIV/AIDS, nutrition and meal planning, Family Pantry Program, Snack Packs and more.


Refuge – a powerful play at Firehall Arts Centre

Refuge - Firehall ArtsBalancing a fair refugee system and public safety are especially topical subjects with the current global debate on immigration.    Halagonian Mary Vingoe’s play, Refuge, reminds us that even a country as diverse as Canada has been touched by class, culture and sectarian violence as well as blemishes in our treatment of refugee claimants.

A powerful and relevant work, Refuge is a based on actual transcripts from an award-winning CBC Radio documentary “Habtom’s Path” about Eritrean asylum-seeker Habtom Kibreab.  Using the radio factual radio script as the centre of the story, changing the character’s name to Ayinom, Mary Vingoe has dramatized the rest of  his time in Canada.  Director Donna Spencer, has staged and cast the play nicely to keep the intimate story centred in the realism of the radio interviews with the rest of the staging kept sparse leaving focus on the human drama.

Pamela Ross (Sangeeta Wylie) & Saul Ackman (Robert Moloney)
Photo: Emily Cooper

Refuge feels a bit like a mystery, through the past vignettes we get clues to piece together the story being referenced in the radio interviews.  Although Ayinom is the central character, he never appears in the play, perhaps reflecting his uncertain refugee status. His limbo-like status is referenced by Pamela Ross (Sangeeta Wylie), the Halifax-born half-Indian woman who helps Ayinom’s mother Amleset (Angela Moore) learn English. Pamela learns of Ayinom’s plight and enlists her ex-boyfriend, human-rights lawyer Saul (Robert Moloney) to take his refugee case.

Interviewer (Nicola Lipman) & Mebrahtu (Aadin Church)
Photo: Emily Cooper

Brought together by the case, Pamela and Saul work through their own personal baggage, much involving the Air India bombings, and her family. Pamela’s husband Allan, played by Frank Zotter, is the voice of caution and fear of the unknown foreigner in his spare room. Perhaps a healthy dose of jealousy is nudging Allan to take the counter-argument to Saul as he sees his wife drawn to her human-rights activist past. Allan’s character is perhaps the least likeable character but also offers up dialogue that could be heard on any current-day debate on immigration.
Since Ayinom is never present but ever-present,  his friend and interpreter Mebrahtu, (Aadin Church) becomes his surrogate as he reads from his diary and shares his own first hand recollections. As the soft-spoken gentleman, Aadin’s performance offers up the most emotion and emotional scene of the 90 minute play.

See Refuge at the Firehall Arts Centre until April 1st, 2017 (dark on Mondays). Runtime is 90 minutes without intermission.

Picks of the Week – March 22, 2017

Finally, Spring is here! At least we can hope for something resembling spring to come along.
Let’s see what the Picks of the Week find for us to do

Dance: The last weekend of the Vancouver International Dance Festival finds even more entertaining dance throughout the city.

Stage: The award winning drama Angels In America: Part One takes centre stage at The Arts Club Theatre Company’s Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage

Amusement: Playdome, the annual Spring Break tradition returns to BC Place, filled with rides and amusements until Sunday

Fashion: Vancouver Fashion Week, Fall/Winter 2017 hits the runway at Chinese Cultural Centre on East Pender Street, until March 26th.

Pop: Singer Ariana Grande belts out her catalogue of power pop at Rogers Arena on Friday night

Country: The Vogue Theatre welcomes country duo Dan + Shay on Saturday night

Solo: UK singer-songwriter, musician Passenger takes the stage at The Orpheum on Saturday night

Vancouver Foodster 2017 Grilled Cheese Sandwich Challenge – recap

The Vancouver Foodster 2017 Grilled Cheese Sandwich Challenge has come to a close with the People’s Choice and Judges’ Winners being announced.

Before confirming the winners let’s recap the tasty challengers.
It was a hard task to evaluate the individual Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, they were all excellent.  Grilled Cheese Sandwiches like any comfort foods are compared as much on the emotional memories they evoke as the flavours they combine.

Each of the five participating Chefs created memorable handheld flavours.

In order of tasting, the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Challenge entries were:

Sandwich: So Gouda
Melt City Food Truck at Nat Bailey Winter Market
The tiny bright yellow Melt City trailer, packs a lot of flavour. So Gouda is a soft, with just the right amount of crust on the Sourdough Bread, with gooey Gouda melted nicely around the Caramelized Apple and Bacon ingredients.  The side of Squash soup made for a nice dip for the savoury sandwich, add a bite of the tart dill pickle for a mouthful of flavour. 

Sandwich: Eye of the Tiger
La Grotta Del Formaggio, 1791 Commercial Drive &
The Drive Coffee Bar, 1670 Commercial Drive
As you’d expect from the classic East Van Deli, La Grotta Del Formaggio this sandwich packed a load of flavour between two pieces of Marble Rye; 
Canadian Cheddar, Parmigiano Grana Padano, Blue Cheese sauce, Balsamic roasted Gala Apples, sweet Caramelised Onions, and toasted Chopped Walnuts grilled in a Panini press with Garlic Butter.

Sandwich: All Beef Hot Dog Grilled Cheese
Dunn’s Famous, 827 Seymour Street
Childhood on a plate, just looking at this entry from Dunn’s Famous took us back to being an 10 year old.  White Bread, All-Beef 1/4 lb Hot Dog, Caramelized Onions and Cheddar Cheese combine for a classic melted memory.

Sandwich: Cheese Steak Supreme Holy Smoked
Cheese Crust Food Truck at Kit & Ace West 7th
The big personality of Cheeses Crust, is matched in the size of the Cheese Steak Supreme sandwich.  A unique inside out sandwich, the cheese is on the outside, creating the Cheese Crust, then the Supreme is triple layered with Canadian AAA Steak, Bacon,  a blend of Cheddar, Jack and Mozzarella, Grilled Onions and sweet Red Peppers on Sourdough Bread served with Dill Pickles.

Sandwich: The Village Grilled Cheese Sandwich
West Village Cafe, #160 – 5620 152nd Street
This bustling, stylish new cafe, in Surrey, is home to a great, classic Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Grilled Sourdough holding melted Cheddar & Swiss Cheese, Sweet Garlic Sauce, Fresh Basil & Black Pepper may sound simple but the combination is a perfect bite.

The Judges Choice Winner is: Melt City Food Truck’s So Gouda

People Choice Winner is: West Village Cafe’s The Village Grilled Cheese

For the rest of the rankings visit

While the Grilled Cheese Sandwich Challenge is over Vancouver Foodster still has the 2017 Pizza Challenge on until March 26th and the Best Pie Challenge runs until April 2nd

4th Annual Capture Photography Festival Returns

The Capture Photography Festival returns to Metro Vancouver April 1 – 28, 2017 for the fourth year.  Celebrating photography and lens-based art Capture Festival features over 100 free exhibitions, public art projects and events throughout the lower mainland. All events are open to the public with an aim of increasing awareness of the cultural importance of photography in all of its forms.

The non-profit, Capture Photography Festival, is the largest in Western Canada and the first of its kind in British Columbia.

This year’s Feature Exhibition, opening Capture on April 1st, Song of an Open Road, is presented in partnership with Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) running at the CAG until May 15). Taking its title from a poem by Walt Whitman, the group exhibition is presented across multiple platforms, both inside and outside of the gallery.

Robert Arndt, Pursuit, Plunder & Fleece, 2015, Courtesy of the artist and Macaulay & Co. Fine Art, Vancouver.

Capture also presents major public art projects again this year. Works include a large scale, site-­specific piece installed on the facade of the BC Hydro Dal Grauer Substation by artist Alex Morrison.

Capture Canada Line Project – 2016

The Capture Canada Line Project, in partnership with Canada Line InTransit BC, will show photo-­based artworks from multiple artists on the theme On and Off the Road installed on the exteriors of seven Canada Line stations, from Waterfront to Marine Drive.

The Capture Billboard Project, presented in partnership with Pattison Outdoor, is a series of large-scale public art installations by Barb Choit, Anne Collier, Annette Kelm, and Evan Lee placed on 17 billboards throughout Vancouver.

If the public art projects and Feature Exhibition aren’t enough, Capture Photography Festival also presents photography at 70+ venues throughout the city, including over 100 different exhibitions, tours, films.  Other events include the inaugural Vancouver Photo Book Fair (in partnership with Vancouver Art Book Fair), a weekly Speaker Series with artist talks and panel discussions each Tuesday in April at Inform Interiors, as well 2017 Capture also introduces the new Open Program, an unjuried, open-call opportunity for photographers and lens-based artists to exhibit in the Festival in venues throughout the community

Capture Photography Festival runs April 1 – 28, 2017, visit to plan your itinerary and see what’s on during the Festival.

2017 Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival

The 2017 Vancouver Cherry  Blossom Festival takes bloom March 30th to April 23rd, filling the city with vibrant colour and entertainment.

With this year’s prolonged winter, we might be a bit behind on the main attraction but with the onset of spring, the city’s Cherry trees should be in full bloom during the Festival’s run.

Once again the Festival kicks off with the Cherry Jam, a free concert downtown at the Burrard Station concourse. Emceed by CTV’s Coleen Christie the event features music by Uzume Taiko, South Asian Arts, Lions Gate Sinfonia Brass Sextet with West End Chamber Choir and Son de Maple.

Sakura Days Japanese Fair at Van Dusen Botanical Gardens returns April 8th and 9th.  Enjoy Japanese Traditional Tea Ceremonies, Food, Sake, Haiku readings and Tree Talks and Walks through the gardens, and wrap up the day with a Lantern Walk at 6:30pm.

Other events happening during the Cherry Blossom Festival include; Haiku Invitational writing competition, The Big Picnic in Queen Elizabeth Park, Spring Lights Illuminations celebrating Canada 150 in Queen Elizabeth Park,  Photo Competitions, Bike Tours, Lantern Workshops.

Another highlight is the Sakura Night Gala at Stanley Park Pavilion. The gala fundraiser celebrates asian inspired menus from eight of Vancouver’s top restaurants. Urbanity presents the Oleana Spring Collection a line of Norwegian knitwear featuring a Cherry Blossom theme.

The Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival runs all over the city from March 30th to April 23rd, 2017 visit the website for the full line-up of activities.  Follow the Festival on Twitter @OfficiaVCBF, on Instagram @cherryblossomfestyvr and on

Early Bird – Tasting Plates North Vancouver – April 26

Vancouver Foodster’s next edition of Tasting Plates takes us to North Vancouver on April 26th.

In past visits to The North Shore, the chefs and restaurants of North Vancouver have brought out their best to impress those that venture across Burrard Inlet.  From fine dining, bistros, market stalls, coffee houses and more, North Vancouver has a vibrant variety of dining option which mean Tasting Plates patrons get the pleasure of sharing in the diversity.

As with all Tasting Plates, chefs in North Vancouver will offer patrons a tasting plate or tasting cup that best represents their restaurant.  Checking in at the first stop will get tasters their Tasting Plates card-map which will show them what’s on offer for the evening, then head off and taste. Bring your friends and family to make a leisurely evening of it as you explore the flavours of the neighbourhood.

Restaurants for Tasting Plates North Vancouver will be announced in early April but right now Ultra Early Bird Tickets are on sale via Eventbrite for just $29, until March 31st

Sights / Sounds / Sports / Style / Socializing