Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Golden Age - Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester

Picture yourself in your best attire - a slinky satin gown or impeccable tuxedo, enjoying a cool glass of something illicit relaxing at a nightclub table surrounded by Art Deco fixtures. A suave, slim figure glides onstage clad in his signature white tie and tales - he turns to the orchestra in behind him, nods and an effervescent cascade of champagne vocals emerges.

This the delightful experience of listening to Max Raabe, the German baritone who has immersed himself in the glamourous period of the Weimar era of 1920s era Berlin. According to the press release he first fell in to love with the period in his teens and sought out all the old 78s he could get his hands on. He intitially went to Berlin to study opera but his evening activities of singing these classics in nightclubs sent him on a different path - lucky for us. For over a decade he and the Orchester have been entertaining audiences at sell out concerts worldwide.

This morning while baking cookies - cinnamon if you must know - I was transported back to that glittering time between the wars via the new recording "Golden Age" a mixture of recorded and live performances. Of course there are the classics - Berlin's "Cheek to Cheek" and Cole Porter's "Just One of Those Things", a yearning "These Foolish Things" but for me some of the lesser known material was just as compelling. The teasing "Though You're Not the First One" by Walter Jurmann, the slightly cheeky "Love Thy Neighbour", the lovely "Youkali" by the great Kurt Weill to name but three. Since these songs were the popular tunes of the day, in the mix are two pop tunes of our day given the Max Raabe treatment " Oops...I did it Again" and "Sex Bomb"!  

I think this would be marvelous to play at a dinner party perhaps while enjoying a cocktail or two or escape to that heady time in transit to wherever you're buys life leads.  The group is embarking on a 6 city U.S. tour - one of the stops at Carnegie Hall. How I would like to see them in Toronto!

For more info - www.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Majesteas and Bella Bio


True to my British roots - I do love a good cuppa...I discovered this Leslieville tea shop at the Tea Show at the Reference Library a little while ago. The staff were lovely and welcoming and I ended up sampling teas and purchasing an Edinburgh Breakfast , because really I love anything associated with Edinburgh.

I braved the Polar Vortex last Friday and decided to check out their shop on Queen near Carlaw. It's a wonderfully cozy spot and there is lots of opportunity to sniff out your favourite teas without asking someone to haul down a large tin from the top shelf. Although they are very welcoming and helpful if you have questions.  I fell in love with French Blend a mixture of teas with jasmine, lavender and a hint of vanilla      - since I am a sucker for teas with rose in them and also an Earl Grey Rooibos because I fall in the camp of Earl Grey lovers - Bergamot can be very polarizing!


I settled in at the front window table and basked in the welcome warmth of sun - the tastefully upholstered chairs are comfy and the staff person or perhaps proprietor assured me that it is now unknown for people to catch 40 winks in that spot. I enjoyed a delicious Matcha Latte with soy and noticed a letter from Buckingham Palace thanking the shop for the Royal Wedding Tea - apparently the owners have a friend in high places which allowed the gift to reach Will and Kate!


They also have treats and a beautiful selection of teapots, cups and accessories. So get some comforting tea and settle in to watch "Coronation Street".

On Sunday we went on an excursion to Toronto's only vegan Italian Restaurant "Bella Bio" - we had heard good things about this space on Mt Pleasant Road so were eager to check it out. The owners were very warm and gracious as I would expect of Italians - I do love all things Italian and the restaurant also has a number of things to purchase including organic pasta from Italy - so you know it's good - homemade sauces,  soups, giardiniera (that's picked vegetables to us mangiacakes) tiramisu and a wide selection of organic and vegan imported Italian products such as an artichoke spread and a variety of seitan - from cutlets to roasts and something called "Muscolo di Grano" yet another type of vegan protein.

We had a tasty and simple kale salad, penne with peas and seitan and a Margherita pizza. I indulged in a perfect cappuccino with soy. Some pasta, giardiniera and artichoke spread came home with us. The business has been in operation 7 months - it would be lovely do have some takeout when the weather finally warms up and take it across the street to the park.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

My Contribution

The Music Industry’s Most-Loved Albums Of All Time Part 20 | That Eric Alper:

'via Blog this'

I wrote about this a while back as Eric was looking for contributions. Nice!