Monday, December 8, 2008
Art, Good Food, Some Shopping . . . must be a weekend
This photo is taken from the Vancouver Art Gallery website.
I've had such a good weekend, despite having to begin each day by working through a big pile of marking for several hours. Some productive Christmas shopping and some even better whoops!-I-guess-this-is-a-Christmas-gift-for-me shopping (I'll tell you later!), great long walks with Pater, a session of baby-sitting our new granddaughter (altho' Granddad Pater hogged her -- got her sleeping on his lap and wouldn't give her up), skirting the crowds at the Santa Claus Parade, some good meals at favourite spots, an Art Gallery visit, and catching some good movies. Very satisfactory indeed.
Vancouver Art Gallery: If you're in the neighbourhood, you really should check out the ambitious, impressive travelling exhibit (organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, curated by Connie Butler of The Museum of Modern Art, New York) called WACK, a show of feminist art from the 60s on. It takes up two floors of the VAG and surveys a comprehensive array of artistic approaches by women trying to represent women's lives and issues through the last four or five decades. Some of the conceptual art I admit to finding a bit tiresome -- once you've got the concept, the aesthetics of the work are generally exposed as ho-hum, even banal -- although I value very much the impact of this work at the time in moving feminist concerns into a societal limelight, getting them noticed. There's also work which has, for me at least, some inherent beauty or power that transcends immediate political efforts or statements -- Louise Bourgeois', of course, is an easy example, but there are many others. Go see!
And if you have energy and interest left after you see this massive show, go up one more floor and check out the Jeff Wall exhibit -- what this man (and others in the Vancouver school, especially) does with his huge, backlight, realist-documentary, colour photographs is very compelling. These images linger; I'm still viewing them in my own private gallery of closed eyes.
We're getting soooo predictable. Yes, we had grilled calamari at Taki's on Thursday night, again, and we enjoyed it very much -- but we've both decided that good as it is, we'll branch out next time and check out some other possibilities in the neighbourhood.
We're not trying to shake up our Saturday morning post-run breakfast routine, though -- we had our usual Number 5 with buckwheat, coffees, cream and waters (as our young friendly, Francophone server always rattles off when she seats us, checking to see if we'll finally go wild and switch to Number 3 or Number 4 or . . .)
And a lovely bowl of Pho up the road after dodging the Santa Claus parade crowds Sunday afternoon -- do all Pho places smell as wonderful? The Thai basil and lime in this tiny place made me want soap that smelled exactly like it.
Probably the best meal was at Rangoli, Vij's little cousin right-next-door to Vij's, where we stopped to break up our long walk to our daughter's after Sunday afternoon's movie. They sell sous-vide packaged entrées (of Vij food, renowned internationally) to fill the freezer with, and they've got room for about 16-20 inside and then a heated, covered porch area with room for another 20 outside. We could have had an inside table if we'd waited 20 minutes, but we decided to chance sitting outside where our server brought blankets (Pater declined but I was wearing a dress and gratefully draped the fleece over my legs). The cold air (within perhaps 6 degrees of freezing) just outside our shelter, the picnic-style romance of the blankets, the appetite we'd worked up walking, the seductive, inimitable smells of mingled spices, all this made us even more appreciative of the meal. A plate of pakoras to share, Indian-spiced pulled pork on a bed of greens for Pater, curried lamb with fragrant rice for me, deliciously chewy naam for both of us, a glass or two of Chianti (yes, a questionable wine to match with Indian food, but we enjoyed it -- we were really craving a red), and then a rice pudding redolent with Indian spices, cardamom notable among them.
I was glad we'd broken our walk at this more-than-halfway point -- Mt. Pleasant/Main is always a bit further than I start out thinking it is. As we walked the next section, Pater commented once or twice that his favourite noodle place was just a few blocks away, and actually started thinking how busy they might be -- I couldn't take him seriously, given that we'd just finished a meal, but he ended up phoning Shao-Lin from B&A's place (where we picked up our car that we'd lent them for the day) and picking up an order of eggplant and tomato, pork-and-dumpling chives, and green onion pancakes which he happily hunkered down with in front of the news when we got home. He did pack half away to bring for lunch today, but still . . . And the guy fits the same 32 waist pants he did when we started dating!
I'll tell you about the movies later. How was your weekend?