New Friends, New Activities, New Restaurant

On Sun­day I went to a pic­nic on the beach. Well, I was at a pic­nic on the beach for about 45 min­utes (Darn!).

The Van­cou­ver Blog­gers Meet­up (boy, if that does­n’t sound nerdy, then I guess you are a geek, dear read­er), had a pic­nic at Jeri­cho Beach. I had nev­er been there, and it takes a short bus ride to get through Kit­si­lano to that area, fre­quent­ed by sail-board­ers and vol­ley­ball play­ers. The day was warm, but not uncom­fort­ably so, and I met some new friends (and missed some oth­ers by hav­ing to leave so ear­ly in the day). The plan was for every­body to bring their own food, so I went to Granville Island before­hand and got some bread (Thanks to a neigh­bor, just dis­cov­ered Ter­ra Breads — wow!) , some nice coun­try liv­er­wurst, some cheese, fruit and juice. ‘How Euro­pean!’ remarked Heather, who has a nice blog which she calls ‘Freak­ish­ly Prompt’. I was amused an flat­tered, I think. As I said, I just don’t fit the US cul­tur­al mold.

So, why was I only at this love­ly pic­nic for a stingy three-quar­ters of an hour? Onward to the next week­end com­mit­ment; Game­lan Rehearsal! I met Tony, who took me to my first rehearsal with the British Colum­bia Game­lan, which took place at Simon Fras­er Uni­ver­si­ty (way up on Burn­a­by Moun­tain — quite a dis­tance from the beach!)

Dur­ing the 3 hour or so rehearsal, I real­ized that I had­n’t played in a Game­lan in near­ly 20 years, and I was just a bit rusty, to say the least. I was­n’t a total dis­as­ter, but it will take some time for me to get back my kenong chops. (the last time was at Cam­bridge Uni­ver­si­ty, where I did it main­ly as a way of becom­ing an enter­tain­ment at the May Balls, so I could crawl from par­ty to par­ty as the night became morn­ing, as a beard­ed and sil­ly grad student).

The day end­ed with a dis­cov­ery of a bistro just at the east­ern edge of Kit­si­lano, The Smok­ing Dog — with much bet­ter food than the name would sug­gest. Pam had a deli­cious minty herbed pas­ta and veg­etable entrée and I had a bunch of appe­tiz­ers (Vichysoise, Prawns in 2 superb sauces, and a pip­ing hot and but­tery Alsa­t­ian Onion and Leek tart that was just about the best I’ve ever had). Now, I have a rule that often a mediocre restau­rant can have real­ly great appe­tiz­ers. The Chef can often splurge a lit­tle on ingre­di­ents when you know the por­tion is going to be a small one. How­ev­er, I’m will­ing to bet that the oth­er entrées, much of them bistro clas­sics like my appe­tiz­ers, are also first-rate. We’ll just have to go back and see. If any­one else has been there, let me know. I was sur­prised and a lit­tle wor­ried to see that on a Sun­day evening at about 8:30, the place was near­ly emp­ty, despite the fact that it was obvi­ous­ly an estab­lished venue, and had live music (a pleas­ant Brazil­ian guitarist/singer). Ser­vice was friend­ly and help­ful — I got a good sug­ges­tion on a glass of white wine to go with these dish­es. The decor is well aged and there’s a beau­ti­ful (and from what I could tell, well-stocked) semi-cir­cu­lar bar. Food and ambi­ence this good back in Boston would have result­ed in a packed place on a Sun­day night.

Like the rest of my day, I was hap­py but want­i­ng more. Prob­a­bly a good thing at this point in time.