Julie & Julia a la Alyssa – Host a party for the movie release!

Alyssa hosted a splendid event of lunch and a movie for the Julie & Julia movie release.  A movie based on two books first Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen, by Julie Powell and the second My Life in France by Julie Child and Alex Prud’Homme.  Guests were invited to bring a bottle of French wine  (I brought a Beaujolais Villages wine) or a French cheese and Alyssa prepared a splendid feast from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking for lunch.  We started with stuffed mushroom caps, followed by vichyssoise (cold potato leek soup).  Then the cheese and bread course, and then the Pièce de résistance, Crab Quiche served with a tossed salad and homemade vinaigrette.  She made the quiche while we were there, so it came out of the oven warm and perfectly set for eating!  Everything was sooo delicious!  We finished our meal with a wonderfully fragrant French tea, and these delightful little French Macaroons.  For an amazing food blog and great collection of Macaroon recipes visit this site:  http://www.mytartelette.com/search/label/macarons.  It is the kind of blog that makes me realize I’m such a hack as a foodie and blogger – and wished I had the creative energy to produce something so splendid.  After lunch we all went to the cinema to catch the flick!

I recently read Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen and I enjoyed it for what it was.  An easy read, with a bit of sarcastic humor (which I always appreciate), by someone who seems a little more disgruntled with the world than perhaps her apparent lot in life affords.  She makes herself look bad by being harsh with and about her seemingly saintly husband, but she wrote it herself, so I think it is intended to be self deprecating humor.  Julie’s description of Julia’s Oeufs en Cocotte (you can find the recipe here) in the book is so appealing I’ve decided I have to make them…so as soon as I find the appropriate ramekins I’ll get those whipped up.  There were parts of her struggle in life reaching thirty and being childless I have to say I identified with.  And because I love food, I just enjoy books right now that get me thinking about it.  But because of the humor and writing style, I definitely appreciate the opinion of some of my friends that the book just wasn’t that good.  What I haven’t read yet, but would like to pick up is My Life in France.  I enjoyed that the movie combined the two books playfully such that I didn’t feel I was just re-experiencing the book.  Both of the stars did an exceptional job at bringing life to their characters on the big screen, although I would say some of the sharp edges of Julie’s character were  shaved off by the script and Amy Adam’s performance.  I will be shocked if Meryl Streep doesn’t get an Oscar nod for her outstanding characterization of Julia Child…if you don’t realize how marvelous it is, watch a clip of Julia Child on youtube…and you will be amazed.

Check out Alyssa’s post on the event!  http://wherearethekeys.wordpress.com/2009/08/10/french-food/

So bring together some girlfriends with a flavor of French food experience and watch Julie & Julia.

Share your comments on the book, the recipes, or the event below.

four acres, five acres, six!

Six Acres
203 Carrall Street, Vancouver, V6B 2J2


At the corner of Carrall and Water Streets, the heart of Gas Town, is a quaint stop for drinks or a casual dinner (Tues – Saturday). They’ve got a small outdoor seating area but you’ve got be there on the dot when they open to secure a space. Sitting inside has a great ambiance as well as it is the “oldest brick building” in Vancouver. They boast one of the largest selections of beers in the city and have a fine selection of high balls and we enjoyed the Juniper Green Gin with tonic…a few times over. For tasty treats we enjoyed a plate with hummus uniquely adorned with mini tomatoes stuffed with hummus and the Gorgonzola Hot pot. The hot pot is sooo good you’ll need to ask for more warm bread to sop up ever last bite. They have a great selection of other food items, and although it looks like a little con’fusion with everything from Italian to Mexican, if what we had was indication the rest will be yummy for sure. What a great stop, another one we owe Alyssa for sharing! I’m giving Six Acres a Very Good and I’ll be back!


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Chopping Iron Chef Style

A couple of weekends ago Alyssa (whose hands are featured in the photo to the left) and I braved Vancouver’s pouring rain (and snow!) to improve our knife skills at the Cookshop. Under the guidance of Chef Eric we chopped, paysanne‘d, julienne‘d, and laughed. Alyssa has the best picks, that’s why I even have a tag for her suggestions ‘Alyssa’s Picks’, and this was no exception. I have always wanted to learn how to properly use knives. Knife skills are like golf skills, any idiot can pick up a set of clubs (or knives), but until you’re taught to do it properly your just a hack, getting by. And in this case not just hacking around a golf course, but with a dangerous weapon in hand. The things we learned were not intuitive, and will definitely require practice, so I am already seeing the benefits. Neither of us drew any blood, we enjoyed some very good food (that we did all the chopping for), and received a booklet of terms and recipes. Chef Eric makes cooking fun and shares valuable nuggets of information along the way. I’ve tried to sign-up for the Cookshop classes before and been disappointed because they fill up quickly, so keep your eye out and see if there is something that interests you. But Cookshop isn’t the only place you can gain ‘mad cooking skills’ check in your neighbourhood for cooking stores or schools that might offer similar courses. For example I know there is this one in Calgary, because I recently signed up for a course there. And if you find any you’d like to suggest make sure to post them in the comments box here!

Celebrating after a seaside run in the cold snowy Vancouver? weather…

Raincity Grill
1193 Denman Street, Vancouver


The perfect location to celebrate a cold and snowy run along the seawall on a Saturday morning. This is another pick I owe to Alyssa, and it is one I love to go to myself, and to pass along to friends. Raincity Grill is located in the west end with view of English bay and in the summer they have a lovely terrace, which is where we sat when we first visited. This weekend it was a chilly minus 6 outside, and surprisingly even snowy, so we enjoyed sitting inside sipping complimentary warm cider with a slice of pear and fresh croissant drizzled in warm chocolate. Our breakfasts were delicious and while I was tempted to venture into more experimental territory I stuck to the classic Benedict. My companions enjoyed the English breakfast and back bacon Benedict. We ordered a maple apple appetizer to share, which I would skip in the future. We enjoyed the mimosas though, such a civilized drink to have with breakfast. The ambiance inside is a classic restaurant with white linens and plates. Nothing witty to say about Raincity Grill, but do come and enjoy, you may pass it along to your friends as well. It was a perfect way to kick off the holidays in Vancouver and I must get back here for dinner someday. Great.


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Tall and Narrow – 7 days a week

Wild Rice
117 West Pender St.
If you’re looking for a good place to grab a cocktail or eat a solid Asian fusion meal this stop at the edge of Chinatown is your place. I owe this suggestion to Alyssa (she has some of the best restaurant picks!). The atmosphere here is good for a date or meeting up with friends. High ceilings, bar height tables, and modern furnishings give this place a contemporary feel that matches the food on the menu. When here a couple of weekends ago we shared a couple of dishes including the spicy kung po chicken with twice cooked peanuts (substituted tofu) – spicy, yummy, and such a large portion we shared it among three.  The food can be eaten family style, but those with food restrictions can find suitable options to eat alone. I love the use of mushrooms in dishes like the wild rice steam buns (a vegetarian option as well) and if you want to expand your vegetable portfolio try the gai lan & crisped shallots. They have an extensive and delicious martini menu and some great liquor on the bar including premium vodkas and tequilas (favs of mine). Open for lunch, dinner until late you’ll find this is a good place to put into your back pocket. I think it gets somewhere between a Very Okay and Very Good.

If you have been to Wild Rice share your rating using the stars below.

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