Sunday, February 28, 2010

Avocado and "Bacon"

This shiny creature is a new type of avocado purchased at the always delicious 4 Life in Kensington.
It's very creamy and a little citrusy, plus a paler green than the normal Haas avocadoes - I wondered why they had all these unripe ones at new discoveries...
It went very well in a "BLT" yesterday - the bacon being some "Smoky Tofu Bacon" made by Ying Ying Soy Foods of Oakville - purchased at Essence of Life - also in Kensington...scarily good stuff...smoky, crunchy goodness.
We are in the midst of hockey fever today - everyone glued to their TVs to watch the gold medal game - Canada vs. U.S. - even Neil Young is there! Will he perform at the closing ceremonies? So far 2-1 for Canada.
Tonight's menu is Sweet Potato soup (with peanut butter) and a green salad....
A little bragging - apparently my review of the Sea-U Guest House in Barbados has had 100 looky loos on Trip!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Sundar Viswanathan at Chalkers

Sundar is having a CD release with a great band on Sunday February 28th at Chalkers - Dave Restivo on piano, George Koller on bass and Larnell Lewis on drums. Sundar himself has taken up vocals in addition to his alto, soprano and flute duties....I have enjoyed the samples I've listened to already. Check out Shows at 7:00, 8:10 and 9:20 plus listen live on - a wonderful resource for musicians, thanks to Jai Jai. Tonight, may brave the snow/wind to check out trumpeter Jeremy Pelt at the Rex. Great fun as always listening to Dan Bodanis trio at Azure...see you next week guys...hopefully with more jazz fans...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Not jazz but folk my other music passion.
This handsome man is Ben Harper - he is doing a special concert at the Edmonton Folk Music Festival on Wednesday August 4th - the Wednesday evening headliner event is a new addition - before the festival officially kicks off the next night. You may think that's a long time away and you shouldn't be concerned about tickets yet - but guess again....Folk Fest is extremely popular....P.S. the concert is a fundraiser.
For more info visit Thank you Richard Stuart, my dearest friend.
Went to an interesting meeting about the improvements to our own Fort York - which I can see from the condo window...they're putting in a smashing new visitor centre and other improvements to coincide with the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Louise Pitre read accounts of that time - love her (great job in the Toxic Avenger Louise) - Louise also hails from my hometown Welland. The effervescent Olivia Chow our MP for Trinity Spadina was there - I am proud to have her "represent" - the evening concept was her idea. There were cookies and beverages (baking made onsite) and NFB shorts including the moving "Robes of War" and the delightful cartoon "From Far Away" and in the inspiring "Rosies of the North" - about WWII era women building planes in Fort William (now Thunder Bay) and making us proud...I read a novel based on those endeavours recently - "The Factory Voice".
All in all exciting developments - suffice to say the groundhog homes are also still alive and well. It's pretty special to have such a historic site so close - I am hoping to suggest having more music and other events to bring the community in when the brainstorming session happens in May.

Danica Leigh at Bread and Circuses

Well, as much as I liked supporting Canadian theatre - I realized why I stopped going to some productions and particuarly Factory - please, please lighten up on the material - I know everyone wants to be taken seriously, however they also want to be entertained. I appreciated the performances in George Walker's "And So It Goes" and the writing....however, would love to see say some Stewart Lemoine. Not heard of him? He is a wonderful Edmonton playwright who is a little obsessed with 30's and 40's era movies and particularly musicals. I had the pleasure of seeing numerous productions when I lived out west. Also, how about Conni Massing another wonderful playwright? Canada does extend beyond Ontario borders... With that rant out of the way now for a rave...the fabulous Danica Leigh - not only is she a lovely person inside and out - she is a fabulous, assured vocalist - I predict big things for this young lady. She was appearing at "Bread and Circuses" a venue I haven't checked out before in Kensington - and you know how I love Kensington. There's a cabaret space at the back where music is presented. Danica's band included "Jazzology" guests Tom Ionescu on guitar and Ben Young on bass...I reminded Ben I need his list (he is this week's guest)..thanks for checking out the blog! Gorgeous work all - particularly on "Blame It on My Youth" one of my fave standards - Tom and Danica. Guess who was there? Why Jazz FM's man about town - Jaymz Bee. Mr. Bee is having Danica as special guest performer on an upcoming Jazz Safari. Today is Peanut Butter Cookies and later a trip down to Fort York for some celebration....anniversary? Cynthia Dale is involved....

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Junior Jazz Fans

Dan has mesmerized some pajama clad listeners at posting is up on the Jazz FM website, so here's hoping for more traffic to the lounge...couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
Congratulations Virtue and Moir - exquisite routine - you made us proud, plus your costumes were tasteful....whereas Russians/former Soviet Bloc countries - you need an intervention with Stacey and Clinton from "What Not to Wear".
Loved the "reveal" of la dame Francaise - Isabelle - started out as strapless black and voila - sequins underneath - tres chic - how very French!
Tonight - George Walker play at Factory - "And So It Goes"...will try and see Danica Leigh's group over in Kensington at Bread and Circuses - since I missed meeting her for "Jazzology"....if not, needs must trek up to York U.

Monday, February 22, 2010

"Christmas" blossom

This spectacular bloom came out a couple of days ago...and well, today it is Christmasy with snow coming down - 4 inches or 10 cm expected...

As Pee Wee said "It's snowing! It's snowing! Did I mention it was snowing?"

Tonight going to see "Intimate Apparel" at Canstage and making Egyptian Lentil Soup and Tabbouleh for din-din.

I would love to get my paws on Absolutely Fabulous season 4 - I was reminded of an old episode with Bettina and Max - Edie and Patsy reminiscing about visiting their minimalist pad in the 60s - no furniture or was it clear? It was hilarious nonetheless - I understand there is a follow up in the more recent series. This came into my brain because of the excessive decor at the "Dream Home" in the Home Show....

Bought Alicia Silverstone's "The Kind Diet" - have been using numerous recipes including to die for "Peanut Butter Cups" and Lemon Arborio Rice with Succotash - simple and delicious!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

White Lotus restaurant revisited

This image is from " The lotus is a beautiful flower, and blooms from the mud a great inspiration....there is nothing muddy about the White Lotus veg restaurant though. Scrumptious food and charmingly warm service again. The "shredded pork" salad rolls, Lemon chicken - heavenly (#13) and #32 the Beef Stew were all divine - I am glad I have leftovers of the stew dining partner and I wolfed them down after a walk from the Home Show - boring except for a complimentary glass of wine. Don't get me started on the decor in the "Dream Home" the first two rooms....ghastly! I guess the new movement is excessive and tacky? Go figure...I am a minimalist the clean lines... Back to the food - please vegetarians go and support this place - 303 Landsdowne Avenue - conveniently located between Dundas or College Streetcar routes...I am planning on going back very soon. They even had what looks like a kumquat tree decorated with lucky money envelopes...Chinese New Year.... Thanks again to Dan, Lee and Kieran for a great evening at Azure - go check it out jazz fans - Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5:30 - 10:30, Intercontinental Hotel on Front Street. Decadent desserts, extensive drink list, great frites...I should speak to them about another veg option on the menu....thanks to the staff as well. I hope to blog about it on the Jazz FM website...we shall see. I even have pics..if not they will end up here.... Tonight - going to make Ani Phyo's "Baja Taco Filling" and putting it lettuce leaves, Kristen's "Cheezy Hemp Nacho Sauce" - scrumptious - some corn, tomatoes...mmmm...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lenny Solomon at the Old Mill

What a lovely concert last night. Lenny Solomon is amazing - able to swing and tug at the heartstrings with the exquisite "My Funny Valentine" - turned the Old Mill into a Paris boite....great band too. Mardi Gras today....should I make pancakes? Perhaps I will... I watched the pairs figure skating last night and was overjoyed the Chinese pair, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo won gold...their long journey is over and a great New Year present for them and China. Wanted to also share a new find - for me anyway - bought some great jeans at "Here and Now" on Queen East, a great soft and cozy charcoal grey sweater by LiliBleu (one of my favourite lines) and this cool, asymmetrical wrap jacket...Harold the owner was great. I am happy to find great and affordable fashion always.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Atlanta visitors at Pulp Kitchen and my view on the Olympic Opening Ceremonies

Gung Hey Fat my lame attempt at Chinese I wish you Happy Chinese New Year...yesterday I celebrated by having some dim sum goodies at King's Cafe in Kensington including dumplings which I was craving...yummm... I am a Tiger myself. This morning I ventured east to Pulp Kitchen and had scrumptious French toast with almond crust, a V6 juice and a latte - my dining companion had the Strawberry Banana Waffles...also good. I haven't been to the venue since the most and it was high time....Marie Crawford is doing her usual stellar job. We even got heart shaped cookies at the end...nice. Sunday is of course popular brunch time in T.O. and especially today because it's Valentine's Day - love to everyone reading and lots of chocolate of course. It was particularly gratifying to overhear the conversation of a couple from Atlanta who were obviously enjoying sampling the fine veg fare of the GTA. (Found out about through the wonders of the interweb). Marie also gave them a Veg Directory and I boldly introducted myself on behalf of vegetarians in T.O. and a TVA member. Don and his wife (whose name I have forgotten..I'm terribly sorry - how Canadian is that, apologizing, but I am bad at remembering names) had been to Fressen, Full Moon etc but not ventured into the fab Kensington Market - so I 'm sure they will now check this out. I also discovered them to be jazz fans and they have been listening to our very own Jazz FM on their car radio - natch, I let them know my connection and about our festivals...not thinking to let them know about clubs, however in listening to the station and surfing the web, they may know that already....welcome, Atlantans!! There are 9 veg places in Atlanta so I think we can be justifiably proud - I think we have certainly come a long way in terms of choice and acceptance. and of course As for the opening ceremonies, in spite of minor glitches I was proud to be Canadian - I felt the visuals were beautiful and loved the orcas "swimming" across the stage, complete with spume! The pillars become trees, then glittering....the aerial ballet to Joni's "Both Sides Now", the grunge fiddlers, k.d.lang!!!, Sarah's necklace - loved that! (oh and her performance)...who are they going to bring out for closing? Diana K? Michael Buble? Celine?

I confess not being fond of the "O Canada" treatment..what was going on there...I wish it would be "jazzed up" and I mean tempo more often. One of the best versions I heard was by the's a march, people.

Making Almond Crusted Seitan Cutlets, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Steamed Greens later...maybe photos and hopefully off to hear Fern Lindzon at the Rex.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Patti and Mandy

Wow...this was an incredibly entertaining show last night - these two are consummate professionals with great chemistry - you can see why they enjoy working together. It was great theatre - laughter, poignancy, joy...well, worth my splurge. I can't believe I've never been to a show in the lovely Royal Alex.... Highlights: some tunes I've never heard before including Patti's "A Quiet Thing" by Kander and Ebb - gorgeous - about how falling in love doesn't necessarily mean all the cliched thunderbolts and fireworks. The rapidfire delivery of "Everybody Says Don't" with Mandy, a "dance" in office chairs on "April in Fairbanks" - hilarious. The stirring "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" - Patti's inimitable "Evita" signature....and Mandy's beautiful "Some Enchanted Evening"..... Only a few days left so GO!!

River - Care2 eCards, Free Online Animated Greeting Cards

River - Care2 eCards, Free Online Animated Greeting Cards Great e-cards and an opportunity to donate to worthy feel good all around...check out the "I Like You"!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Ooh, I hate when this happens ( to err is human, to forgive divine as the Bard said) but as for the father/son duo at Azure their last name is spelled Guerrette....and Darlene says she did not sing on Thursday night but would have liked's hoping...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Cairo Time

Saw this wonderful movie last night - and now dear readers, I want to go to Egypt!! I have always been fascinated by ancient Egyptian history at one point in my childhood absorbed with the idea of becoming an archaeologist.. You will fall in love with the visuals of this amazing country. Patricia Clarkson is beguiling as Juliette a magazine editor meeting up with her husband, an UN envoy who gets delayed in Gaza - enter his former employee and now cafe proprietor the handsome and seductive Tareq (sp?) played by Alexander Siddig. He acts as her guide and rescuer in one instance to the fascinating land - the prolonged "courtship" and yearning are exquisite. On another note (to make a bad pun) here is an article about Dan Bodanis - savvy businessman and musician....more to like...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Melissa Lauren

More great music this weekend - a wonderful singer Melissa Lauren and the always amazing Nathan Hiltz on guitar. I wonder if the traffic disruption is playing havoc at Gate 403...we were a small but enthusiastic audience for the duo. Again the effervescent Darlene Stimson was good company and sang me a clever blues tune - I think it was "You Can Have My Husband, but please don't take my man"....or words to that effect. Melissa sang "Crazy" and "Walking after Midnight" (I always welcome Patsy) and did a lovely "Once Upon a Summertime" and "Corcovado" and boppin "Devil and the Deep Blue Sea". She even (apologetically) accompanied herself on piano for "Sunday Kind of Love" - no apologies necessary, my dear. Melissa's voice has a bit of Stacey Kent mixed with Julie London. I believe she may have this gig the first Sunday of the month from noon - 3. Please visit the Gate 403 website - I have provided a link to the right of the posts....

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Azure like it

This handsome gentleman sat in with the band and a now a new favourite spot of mine- the Azure lounge at the Intercontinental Hotel at 225 Front Street (Front and Simcoe). Dan Bodanis trio entertains there every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5:30 - 10:30 p.m. with the great Bernie Senensky on piano/keyboards and Steve Wallace on bass. Dan drives the band behind the drum kit and does the emceeing. Dan is very warm and welcoming, and has had the gig since April. I sat with bubbly Darlene Stimson - who got up and sang with the band the previous night. The aforementioned looker is one Gregg Arthur, Australian vocalist, who happens to be in town to perform at the Dragon Ball tonight. Apparently, on Thursday after he arrived he came down to the bar, heard the band, sent over a request and generous tip and things progressed from there... I'm not sure if he is sitting in tonight as he may be otherwise engaged but he is a wonderful vocalist - his silky tones were perfect for "Quiet Nights" and "Gingi" and a beautiful rendition of "My Funny Valentine". He is a charmer - would be nice for someone to give him a concert here so that even more people could enjoy his talent. Sources say he has been here a few times - flown in at the request of Toronto's Asian community for events. I do believe they are onto something... Check out his website The band sounded wonderful, they were having particular fun with Monk's "Off Minor" and to my delight had guests sitting in with them...that's what music is all about fresh and fun and a communal experience. Singer Jen Sagar did "There Will Never be Another You" and Carlo Schwarzenegger (not his real name just what Dan jokingly referred to everyone as.....) Sinatra's "Come Fly With Me". Not to be outdone - 13 year old drummer Daniel Guerrette and his dad George on trombone (apologies if I'm not spelling that correctly). Daniel was stellar and completely at ease behind the drum kit (much joking around about Dan snatching the drumsticks back from "the kid") George also did a lovely solo on "My Funny Valentine".... Visit Dan on Facebook and see who might be dropping in - last week it was the guys from K.C. and the Sunshine Band - sorry to have missed that since I was a huge fan in my never know, but even if it's just the band it's a lovely way to spend some time (and be out of the cold).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Shells and Snickerdoodles

Lime coconut squares and Snickerdoodles from 101 Vegan Baking Recipes....
The scent of cinnamon and toasted coconut...mmmm....
Some shells I found on the beach in Bathsheba...including a sea urchin...there are a lot in the water there, I understand from surfers..a bit of a hazard, stepping on their spiny bits..
Tonight is the Humber Latin Jazz night...a little warmth for a grey day (s)....

Monday, February 1, 2010

Kurt won!!

On his website, he dedicates his win to his fans....and I am one as you know....
Yes, folks Kurt Elling finally won for Best Jazz Vocal Album - his tribute to Johnny Hartmann and John Coltrane...I am very happy!
And now back to more fantasy...
This is the beach at Accra/Rockley
Yet more gratituitous photos from tropical climes as it is windy and cold again here today, albeit sunny...
A little backtracking to the first 4 days in Hastings including me on the boat trip out to the sub, the beach at Accra and schools of fishes...

There is a barracuda somewhere in the vicinity...

Tonight I am making Russian Cabbage Soup - goes with the weather - a great recipe from Marion Kane who is former food editor for the Toronto Start...miss you Marion!