Friday, May 31, 2013

Heirloom Organic Tomatoes? Pfffff!

Buy locally and in season. That's the bottom line. These looked and sounded amazing. They were watery and tasteless. Pffff!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Recent Shots from Toronto

They are, from top to bottom, left to right:

A parade calling for the legalization of medical marijuana. The smoke fumes were fun!

The ship channel off Cherry Street leads to a turning basin.

Spring tulips in St. James Cathedral gardens. There is one yellow tulip among all the mauve. I notice this discrepancy in all the masses of tulips the city plans in springtime, a planter's joke perhaps, or just the luck of the bulb draw? It's cute either way.

More tulips at the base of one of the downtown office towers.

The Lula Lounge, a great Latin-music club in the city.

Saucy bunnies in a Queen Street West window. At least they're getting their carrots.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BPG Winter 2013 Movie Awards

///UPDATED, because I forgot Lincoln!///

Again, this is a mixture of newly released and... newly discovered. This post is long overdue.

Least Annoying Supernatural Teen Romance Flick of the Past Few Years, Although That's not Saying Much

Beautiful Creatures (2013)

Lena: Ethan promise me one thing; it will be a perfectly normal human date.
Ethan: I swear. I won't even call you after the date.
Lena: Jerk.
Ethan: Witch

What do I remember about this? It's a supernatural teen love movie (ever heard of one of those?), which proves yet again that most British actors can't do good American-South accents. In this one it's the usually magnificent Jeremy Irons (who plays the teen witch's scenery-chewing dad), although I think the award for all-time worst southern accent goes to Charles Dance in China Moon (1994). With an impressive cast featuring Viola Davis, Emma Thompson and Eileen Atkins, the actress who plays Lena is Alice Englert, who happens to be Jane Campion's daughter. She's engaging and beautiful but not cookie-cutter, and I so wish she had been cast in the next movie I saw...

Movie Most Supportive of the Notion That When Something is in a Different Language, I cut it a lot of Slack

En kongelig affære  (A Royal Affair, 2012)

Based on the true story of the love affair between the wife of Christian VII of Denmark (1749 – 1808) and his doctor, this movie provided us with the most oohs and aaahs as we delved into our iPhones after the movie had ended. So much of it was based on history that I knew nothing about. That was interesting. Obviously it's a period movie, and it was stunningly art directed and filmed. But Alicia Vikander as the queen was cast obviously for her lovely face and her wan expression. I wish an actress like Alice Englert had been cast instead, someone with some range and fire. I think Vikander's blandness would have translated even worse had it been in English. Sometimes the removal of a different language and an unknown history lends a certain alluring mystery to something that otherwise would appear fairly ordinary. And on that note...

Most Pleasing Depiction of Piercingly-Blue-Eyed, Tanned, Almost-Naked men Laying Around and Squinting into the Relentless Sun

Kon-Tiki (2012)

Torstein: Why are you feeding the sharks our tomato soup?

Well, let me explain right off the bat. Kon-Tiki was filmed simulataneously in Norwegian and in English. So each scene was shot twice. This move was apparently made to secure international funding. I would never watch a dubbed movie (ironic purposes or drinking games aside) but this wasn't dubbed. However, I wish I'd had the option in Toronto to see it in Norwegian and subtitled. I can't help thinking that, for the lead actor, especially, it would have provided a little more emotional range. That actor is Pål Sverre Hagen and he played Thor Heyerdahl (1914 - 2002) who sailed his famous balsa-wood raft from Peru to Polynesia to support his theory that those islands were settled from the east and not from the west.

The production values are fantastic. Brooklyn of the 1940s is depicted with great care and obviously a great amount of money went into this. No wonder the producers wanted serious international backing. There are many heart-stopping moments (I was with my mother and grasped her hands many times, squealing in terror), and also plenty of delicious ones, as toned, tanned Norwegian or Swedish men, named Bengt, Erik, Thor and Knut (love those names!) lay around in the sun-baked doldrums of the Pacific Ocean. Truly, this film gives a great insight into the very fears they must have faced alone with no modern technology in the middle of that vast water. I highly recommend this film, in English or Norwegian.

Second-Whitest Makeup Used on an Actress

The Bourne Legacy (2012)

Byer: Jason Bourne was just the tip of the iceberg. 

I can't agree. Matt Damon as Jason Bourne was the iceberg. Jeremy Renner does a great job following up an unforgettable portrayal and the movie retains most of the stylish, timeless thriller atmosphere. A relief that David Strathairn is in it as my dad and I have a running gag about how we love it when he comes into the ops room or whatever and demands a 20-block lockdown. Also, David Strathairn is my secret boyfriend, just as Rachel Weisz is my secret girlfriend, and she's the female interest in the movie (but has some seriously overly white make-up on in the first few scenes at her house). Okay, so Jeremy Renner might not have taken off his shirt quite as often as a certain dear friend indicated to me (I'm looking at you Ms B!), but it was still nice when he did.

Most Eagerly Anticipated Movie of the Spring Which Got Ruined by Lousy 3D Side Effects

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013)

G: Yeesh, no more 3D for me!

Oh, how I wish I could you tell you more! Eagerly, I ordered my tickets weeks in advance, going for the 3D option. How excited we were as the cinema filled on opening night last Friday! How queasy we were not too far in, from the camera movement and the 3D lousiness! My companion M had to leave for a few minutes to settle his stomach. I had to take off my 3D glasses and watch the second half in blurriness. I think it was a really good movie, although it lacks the sweet surprises of discovering the new cast that we enjoyed in the previous film of this iteration. Sigh. Can't really say much else, except Benedict Cumberbatch is as strong as he always is. I might see it again to catch what I missed. Or I might not.

Most breathtaking art direction
Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln: Hmm. I reckon it's the speed that's strange to me. I'm used to going at a deliberate pace.

I know my pace, and I know my sleep patterns and how much snooze I need. But when, after a fantastic big Chinese meal, my friend suggested that we were certainly not too old to attend a 10:30 p.m. viewing of a movie, I was up for it! Except, I sort of wasn't. Chinese food + a dark, comfortable cinema = nap. Three naps. So I didn't see all of Lincoln. What I loved: THE CAST. Look them up - they were all superb. Also, the art direction was stunning. It didn't fall into the old Merchant-Ivory trap of making everything look the way we wished it had, the way we might imagine a previous time through our own romanticized glasses. I had a great sense of truth in the look, apart from the golden glow that always seemed to be shining in through drawn curtains, but that is a small detail. And all the other small details were brilliant, including - of course - Daniel Day Lewis's make up. Between that and his acting, it was an eerie recreation. My only quibble in the movie was the saintly aura in which Lincoln seemed to exist, and - with that brilliant makeup - it made him seem slightly apart. This might have been purposeful, but I didn't enjoy it. I relish a portrayal that is warts-and-all, one which shows the faults against which truly great people have to do their own personal battles. Of course, maybe that was in the movie and I slept through it. I'll see it again some time.

Most Friendship-Affirming and Most Likely to Make me Still Want to Live in a Repurposed Space

The Station Agent (2003)

Finbar: You said you weren't going to talk to me if I sat here, Joe.Joe: I haven't said anything in like twenty minutes.
Finbar: Nine.
Joe: You timed me?
Finbar: Mm-hmm.
Joe: That's cold, bro.

I always think this movie just came out about a year ago. I've been meaning to see it since it came out in 2003. It's scary how that time flew. This is a rare movie that I will want to see repeatedly. It's about the unexpected friendships and unexpected places that we might call home. In this case, an abandoned railway station. I've always harboured a dream to live in a home that has been repurposed from some other use. This movie is a gem.

Most Worth the Wait... But why did I Wait so Long???

The Producers (1968)

Roger De Bris: Ah, Bialystock and Bloom, I presume! Heh heh, forgive the pun!
Leo Bloom [to Max] What pun?
Max Bialystock: Shut up, he thinks he's witty. 

Yes, it's taken me this long to see it. What can I say? Brilliantly funny, with a cast that I can't imagine being excelled. Zero Mostel's great sad eyes and lugubrious face are such a perfect foil to Gene Wilder's neurotic twitchiness. I loved it. Last Sunday PBS aired a special on director Mel Brooks' career as part of the American Masters series. It was fascinating. The man is incorrigible, and so achingly funny. If you can catch this documentary, it's a great insight into the tortured, driven pysche of a true original. And it never occured to me that the bean-eating, farting scene in Blazing Saddles really paved the way for the vulgar humour that was to follow in film. Thanks, Mel! No, really, thanks. :) Of course he is much more than that. Young Frankenstein remains one of my top twelve.

Movie That Most had me Expecting Less Than Nothing, but Caused me to Come Away Pleasantly Surprised.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Gandalf: I'm looking for someone to share an adventure.

I was miffed to discover on opening night (I had tix all lined up with my three good movie pals), that The Hobbit had been made into three movies, which reeked to me of a cash grab... and that the extremely high-resolution film of this first instalment actually showed up the flaws in the sets and props. After a fun dinner at our favourite Giorgio's, we got in line for The Hobbit - and I had a great time! Yes, it's a bit slow, but there's lots of interesting stuff to look at. Yes that final chase scene in the caves was ridiculous and overlong but I'll be back to see the other two instalments, hopefully with the same little movie gang.

Most Unexpected and Haunting Sci-Fi Action Thriller

Looper (2012)

Abe: This time travel crap, just fries your brain like a egg...

This is why I need to blog more regularly. I saw this many months ago. So, yes, I've lost a lot of detail, but it stayed with me more than most movies. I believe it's the first science-fiction film to open the Toronto International Film Festival, and I suppose that's saying something about it, something about its thoughtfulness and a certain unexpected demand of the brain. Time travel is tricky. How to make sense of the effects of time, of being in the same moment as yourself from the future, or the past. God... imagine if you could meet yourself from another time, which would it be? I'll think on that later, although my immediate response would be to meet myself from the future, to learn from mistakes I am most apt to make, to try and avoid them. I'm intrigued by time travel, and rarely miss an opportunity to indulge in the many filmic and literary fantasies that explore it. Looper has some major spoiler opportunities, so I won't say much, just that the concept is fascinating, the acting is sharp, Emily Blunt (one of this blog's favourites) is riveting, and fine prosthetic work on Joseph Gordon-Levitt's nose goes a long way to making the story work.

Best Movie of the Year to Reference the Icelandic Sagas (and therefore Wagner's Ring Cycle)... oh Hell, it's just the Best Movie of the Year - Period

Django Unchained (2012)

Django: The D is silent.

Another great Tarantino, in this case a passionate, funny, gobsmacking, brutally violent homage to the spaghetti western, complete with rapid zoom shots, cheesy 60s music and a cameo by Franco Nero. Jamie Foxx is relentlessly virtuosic and intense in the lead role of a slave searching for his wife. Christoph Walz is overwhelmingly charming as his German companion who buys Django's freedom. One of the best movies of the year and a powerful hero quest. Unless you can't handle any sort of violence, SEE IT!

Whitest Make-up Used on an Actress... Plus Movie I Most Didn't Expect to Like, but I did, but I Sort of Wish I Didn't

Black Swan (2010)

Beth: Perfect? I'm not perfect. I'm nothing.

I didn't expect to enjoy this. I had managed to avoid seeing it. Then it was on television one evening, and I started watching. Half an hour later, I was sitting on the edge of my sofa, transfixed. I'm not entirely sure why. None of the cast interests me (except for Barbara Hershey), and the dramas of strung-out ballerinas is overplayed for the most part in most depictions on film. But in all the neurotic overwrought hysteria, there is something viscerally gripping and morbidly fascinating about this film. Even as I type this, my lip is curling a little in distaste. But... there's nothing else quite like it in my memory. I'm glad I saw it.

Most Surprising, Moving, and Unexpected Animated Film

Mary and Max (2009)

Max (to Mary): You are my best friend. You are my only friend.

The screenplay by director Adam Elliot is magic: eccentric, heartfelt, deeply human. The stop-start animation (claymation I guess) is in a washed out, almost greyscale colour scheme. The voices are beautifully cast in this moving tale of a little Australian girl and a middle-aged New York man, who come together as pen pals and take us on a journey into their - and our - hearts. As for the soundtrack, I'll never again hear the Humming Chorus from Madama Butterfly the same way.

So? Did you see any of these? Come on - I have lots of readers, but most of you are kind of shy I guess. I'd love to know your opinions!

And one more: don't bother seeing or even renting Hotel Transylvania. It has its sweet moments, and I had such high hopes, but in the end it's 91 minutes I'll never get back.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Fun with Shiny Things

As you can tell, I've been having fun with memory wire (for bracelets). The red bracelet was a gift for my mum, the other two are... er, mine... and then the necklace (also mine) is my first attempt to make a chain using silver wire and Swarovski crystals. Too much fun. If this goes on, I'll have to open an Etsy shop.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Bright Evening full of Promise

I finished a 14-hour work day last Friday, and now the recent super busyness is slowing. Now I can revel in these long, light evenings. Tonight I was at home and it felt so good. Django Reinhardt was my soundtrack. White daisies brought even more light in. Lemon poundcake perfumed my home. The cake is for work tomorrow. My treat was to lick the new red spatula.

(The old one was retired a couple of months back when a bit of it broke off into the batter I was stirring! The new one is shown with the freshly whipped butter and sugar. There are few more promising beginnings than butter and sugar together, except of course my favourite: onions softening in butter. My mouth just watered.)


Cream + chocolate + butter + scotch. I'll never tire of home-made truffles.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Downton Abbeython, part two

A recent convert to Downtonmania, last night was our second in the Downton Catchupathon. My friends and I watched the first EIGHT episodes of season two (all we have left of that season is the two-hour Christmas special). We started at 4 p.m., and  - with breaks to catch up with each other and take bathroom breaks - were done by nearly 2 a.m. We just... couldn't... stop... watching.

There were moments we had to replay, gasping with laughter or delight. Parts were so moving. I think I might have to own this on DVD. I have done a complete 180 degree turn from my scornful disinterest in the series. It is the most sublime soap opera.

Next Saturday... we finish season two and get through a chunk of season three. 


Recent Music, Theatre

The National Theatre presented This House, a new play by James Graham, which covered five years (1974 - 1979) in the House of Commons and, most particuarly, the offices of the party whips. I'm hopelessly ignorant when it comes to politics, but this was the play for me. The art of the possible was made furious, funny and fast-paced. Time flew and I laughed and gasped and ruminated over that very troubled time in Britain's history. Thank you to NTLive for making it possible to see in Toronto!

The ARC Ensemble is a blog favourite. I was lucky to see them in performance the week before they took the same program to Wigmore Hall in London. From the program: "The ensemble plays a leading role in unearthing repertoire that has been suppressed or ignored due to political circumstances, or shifts in musical fashion, and its work has received unanimous acclaim from the world's cultural press." Currently, the ensemble's "Music in Exile" series "explores the music of composers who were forced to flee Europe during the 1930s..." I have never attended a performance of this ensemble that wasn't absolutely riveting. I urge you to see them whenever you can. As for the performance I saw, we heard works by Weinberg, Laks, Mendelssohn (a manuscript fragment completed by pianist David Louie, an ARC Ensemble member), and finally Ben-Haim's Piano Quartet in C Minor (1921), which was, if I had to pick one, the highlight. ARC Ensemble CDs are Grammy-nominated and you can buy from links on here. The good news is that they've just recorded a new CD, entirely of Ben-Haim's work, which is due for release this summer. For more of the performance I saw, you can read an excellent review here, which says it all much better than I could.
Much community theatre in Toronto proves that it isn't necessary how much you spend on a ticket or whether or not your performers are paid... you will still see really good theatre! I had a wonderful time at Etobicoke Musical Production's The Drowsy Chaperone, an affectionate and witty musical homage to Cole Porter and the Gershwins. The story behind the making of this piece is worthy of a musical itself! Originally a stag-night sketch, it then moved to the Toronto Fringe Festival, then to a large-scale Mirvish production, and finally Broadway, where it won Tony awards for Best Book and Best Score! The show itself is froth and fun, and especially enjoyed if you know some of those classical shows. Outstanding in this production (directed by the virtuosic Mario D'Alimonte) was Man in Chair, the narrator of the piece, played by Trevor Cartlidge.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has been a big hit for the Royal Ballet and was a sell-out during both its runs here in Toronto at the National Ballet of Canada. I saw it in another HD transmission, and it was a riot.

Joby Talbot wrote the music for Alice, as he did for his Path of Miracles, which I saw performed by the virtuosic Elmer Iseler Singers a few weeks ago. Path of Miracles is performed a cappella and describes "the ancient Christian pilgrimage across Northern Spain to Santiago de Compostela, the city whose cathedral is the supposed resting place of St. James." The performance was preceded by a presentation from Barbara Manners, a woman who has done the walk and showed us slides that had me yearning to strap on some walking boots, even after she showed us one of an award-winning blister. The performance itself was mesmerizing. For those of you who don't live in Canada and haven't heard of them, they're a 20-voice chamber choir who record and perform widely - not to be missed if possible!

A group of us attended the launch of Eliana Cuevas's new CD, Espejo. Catch her if you can!

P. S. On the side, Eliana is also our Spanish teacher!

I indulged my opera appetite with three great productions at the COC this spring: Lucia di Lammermoor, Dialogues des Carmélites, and Salome (twice, as I had to see this blog's favourite bass-baritone, Alan Held, who didn't sing the first performance I saw, but sang later ones). Carmélites provided a lesson for me - on the importance of seeing any performance live. I watch the Met in HD and the National Theatre from London the same way because it's way cheaper than me flying there every few weeks! Let's face it - that's not going to happen. But when you see anything filmed, you are being told what to focus on by the broadcast director. I saw how this works particuarly with Carmélites, as the COC was performing the same production I had watched on DVD from La Scala. There is no comparison. The live experience was extraordinary, under the genius direction of Robert Carsen. I've seen this opera three times before, and it remains as powerful as ever. The ending is one of the greatest in all theatre.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Cherry Blossoms

Every year they're taller. This year, spring was late. But I had a sense when I should visit this little knoll on Cherry Street. We got there when the blossoms were at their fullest, fattest, whitest, most glorious. As you can see, the branches were thick with them, as though they were bursting with blossoms. I couldn't bear to leave. There were so many good pictures, and these are just a few.

After a return of blustery weather, it was three days before I went back and they were all gone. Chilly nights have returned, and yesterday morning on my way to work I wore a winter coat! But next week's forecast calls for warmer days. Hopefully... just in time for June.

Did I Just Take Drugs?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Spring Came Suddenly

Spring came overnight it seemed. One day I was on a train, and things looked like this.

The next day, it looked like this.

 Although... my iPhone claimed I was in the middle of Lake St. Clair, so maybe it was all a dream.

Lilacs and Honeysuckle... in the 'Hood

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Tea's Hot!

Anyone who knows me in person knows I'm a bit of a tea fusspot. Years ago I would make my own blend of Earl Grey and Assam. Then it was Earl Grey and English Breakfast. Then caffeine had to go so it was chamomile. Then it was rooiboss. Then peppermint, and I went off chamomile big time. Now it's rooiboss again. Blimey. I don't like to be a bother, so I've taken to carrying around my own bags so that no-one need worry about it. Even restaurants seem relieved.

Further to that is the quest for the right teapot. I'm so excited about my recent purchase from Rock Pond Pottery on their Etsy site. The pot in question is supposed to be drip resistant, and it has not dripped once! A built in strainer captures larger-leaved teas (like my lovely lemon balm, oh, yes, I didn't mention that). A clever ergonomic handle with separate thumb rest means that a full pot is not a problem to lift, even if the handle gets wet. The lid is designed to not fall out when the pot is tilted, and the lavendery/goldy colour quite literally calms me. I love its round sauciness. This pot has personality.

I HEART my new teapot! Here's a cuppa to many happy years. Only problem is... I have my eye on another one from the same site. Hee hee!

The Best News!


No Casino Toronto victorious as Toronto City Council votes “No Casino”

May 21, 2013

Toronto — A gruelling campaign launched by No Casino Toronto that remained focused on the facts and true to its grassroots beginnings more than a year ago can claim victory in defeating a proposed casino in downtown Toronto. A large majority of city councillors rejected the idea outright at a special council meeting today.

“The people have spoken loud and clear and a majority of councillors agree with the overwhelming public sentiment that a Toronto mega-casino is not where we want to take our city. We can do better,” said Maureen Lynett, co-founder of No Casino Toronto.

The campaign elicited a tremendous outpouring of public support that ranks among the biggest acts of civic engagement in Toronto’s history:

- A petition presented at council today included the names of 22,000 Torontonians opposed to a downtown casino
- An unprecedented coalition of faith leaders of all major religions spoke out in unison against the expansion of gambling in the GTA
- Social media activated widespread support and volunteerism
- Business leaders from major Toronto companies opposed a casino
- The Rotman School of Business at University of Toronto provided evidence-based research against a casino for downtown Toronto
- 3000 lawn signs were placed throughout the city

“We are so grateful for the willingness of so many Torontonians who spoke out against a casino and who committed many hours volunteering,” said No Casino Toronto co-founder Sheila Lynett.

No Casino Toronto was launched in the spring of 2012 by three women to oppose the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Commission’s aggressive attempt to spread gambling throughout the province and specifically, the stated goal of locating a mega-casino in Toronto. Numerous cities in the Greater Toronto Area and southern Ontario have also rejected the government agency’s entreaty to accept a casino in their jurisdictions, including Markham, Richmond Hill, Oakville, Burlington, Kitchener, Cambridge, Barrie and Collingwood.

“The OLG positioned this as a race among cities to win the prize of hosting a casino when in fact it turned out to be a race to the bottom – which loser city was going to be stuck with all the problems that are clearly linked to casinos, from preying on the most vulnerable to gutting local businesses, to the presence of organized crime,” said the third co-founder, Peggy Calvert.

The grassroots campaign had the hallmarks of a David versus Goliath battle, where citizens mobilized against the deep pockets of the Ontario Government under the direction of a previous leader, numerous Las Vegas casino operators and other interests.

“It went on longer than anyone expected,” affirmed Maureen Lynett after battling the casino for over a year. “We’re glad to see it over and especially gratified Torontonians, who already voted against a casino in a referendum some years ago, remain strongly opposed today.”

It's Back!

I read a book!

I got my reading mojo back!

Okay, so what's the big deal? Well, for some reason, I stopped reading about a year ago. It happened the third time I tried reading Diana Gabaldon's An Echo in the Bone. I got about 200 pages in three times, and gave up. I've enjoyed the Outlander series very much, and have really cared about her wonderfully written characters, but at this point I think a strong editor should have done some hacking and hewing. This inability to finish a lengthy book unnerved me. Then I didn't want to read anything. I literally haven't completed a book in over a year, although there have been some false starts.

But a few weekends ago, with eight hours of train travel to sit through, I read one whole book. World War Z. Yep. A zombie apocalypse novel. But if that's what it took, that's what it took. And I enjoyed it! It's a zippy read, and you can see why it's spawning a movie, although I have it on good authority (thank you Mr. E.) that it probably doesn't follow the book too closely. I don't see a role in the book for Brad Pitt, but I'm sure the producers were all over fixing that little problem... one of whom is... Brad Pitt!

Last night I finished the Booker Prize-nominated The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by actress/playwright/author (which makes her pretty darned amazing) Rachel Joyce. A retired man, numbed and dull in his lonely marriage, receives an unexpected letter from an old friend who is dying. He's in England's southwest, she's in the northern most town in England, just south of the Scottish border. He writes a quick, restrained letter and sets out to put it in the corner postbox. Except he doesn't. He walks to the next postbox, and then the next. He keeps walking. I won't say anymore, but I do urge you to read it. It's inspiring, moving, funny and left me in buckets of tears last night when I finished it just before midnight (yesterday's neck crick wasn't helped by reading so long in bed - woke to a full-blown spasm).

Thank you, Barbara, for lending it to me! And thank you, Laura, for lending me Audrey Niffenegger's novel, Her Fearful Symmetry. She wrote The Time-Traveler's Wife, which I raved about here. So I'm excited! I start it tonight.

Reading is a great expander of mind and heart. I am so happy and relieved I'm reading again.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Southen Accent, Art, Music

I was attending the opening of a friend's art show on Markham Street and when we came out, inspired and hungry, I saw the sign for Southern Accent a few doors north. I'd forgotten all about it; I guess the last time I'd eaten there must have been about 12 years ago at least.

The blackened chicken livers were recommended to me then, and I had them again. SO GOOD. Served with garlic toasts and swimming in butter. Yum. The interior of the restaurant is funky and comfortably shabby - my kind of place.

The following week, having a couple of hours to kill between a beautiful memorial recital in honour of the great accompanist Martin Issep, and a stunning concert by the Elmer Eiseler singers at St. Mary Magdalene's, I - er - returned. In the meantime, the weather had warmed up and we sat outside. I can still taste those livers... the warm, buttery, garlicky scent wafting up around me as I spread a perfectly tender liver over a garlic toast. Double yum.