“My Unapologetic Love Affair” – Sevilla, Spain

24 06 2014

Day 6 – 10
June 20 – 24, 2014

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At this very moment I am sitting on the bed of our hotel, waiting for f to finish packing; we are leaving Sevilla and headed for Cordoba. While I am excited to see the next city, I am truly saddened to leave Sevilla. From the moment we arrived here, I fell in love; so much so that I didn’t even have a moment to blog! I was too busy breathing in the culture and beauty of this place that I didn’t want to leave her for a moment. The streets are filled with the colourful buildings, full of character and charm. People are friendly and the air smells like fresh baked bread with a pinch of sugar. How can anyone not fall in love with Sevilla.
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Rather than break down everyday, I will give you the highlights and the essence of these last few days. Of course we did all of the sightseeing that one should when on foreign soil. Our hotel actually provided us with a free walking tour, held by ‘feel the city tours’ which was fantastic. Our tour guide was named Mara and she really did feel the city! We saw the cathedral (largest gothic cathedral in the world, and 3rd largest overall), the Giralda tower, plaza del Toro, Real Alcazar, University of Sevilla and a bunch of others… all beautiful and filled with so much history. The tour was awesome because we really did learn so much. We learned that when Catholics took over, they made all of the gypsies, Jews and Muslims leave the city or convert to Catholicism. After a while, even the converted had to leave Sevilla because they weren’t ‘pure blood’ Catholics. These four different religions were all sent across the river to Triana. Triana is also the city were Flamenco was born… a form of dance created to express the devastated emotion of the forgotten people. Ohhh check out Plaza De Espana if you can. It is gorgeous!! It was used as Queen Amidala’s palace in Star Wars! I could go on about all of this, but google probably knows more. Fascinating stuff though isn’t it?
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When we weren’t sight-seeing, we were sitting on a patio, doing our most favourite thing… eating and day-time drinking. I have definitely had my fill of sangria and cava over these last few days. It has been wonderful!! These really have been our most memorable and enjoyable moments. I don’t even know how much weight I’ve gained in this short time, but I’m telling myself that each 1/2pound is a testament to the enjoyment I’ve been experiencing! My belly is chalk full of churros&chocolate, alcohol, cheese & bread (which sevillans love by the way) and of course… gelato!! While I am sitting here typing this, I am realizing what made these moments so rich and intoxicating. When all of your senses are being so positively stimulated, it is a high like no other and there is no reason you would ever want it to end.
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I love that it’s world cup season right now because pretty much every single restaurant and bar has been playing every futbol game non-stop. Of course it probably helps to have an appreciation for futbol, but even if you’re not a die hard fan, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the moment and want to be apart of the action. Last night after we finished watching our second flamenco show (amazing show btw, check it out if you can. We went to Casa Del Flamenco and Casa De La Guitarra; the latter was more authentic but both were great) we walked down the street, pulled up a couple of chairs outside on the curb of a tapas bar and watched the last 10 minutes of the Brasil vs. Cameroon game. Go Brasil!! After the game, we went next door to get some gelato and walked home on a brightly lit street still full of people just hanging out. To make our last night even more perfect, my gelato flavours were salted caramel and Maria Biscuit. Can you believe it… Maria biscuit is an actual flavour! And it was delicious or muy buenisimo as you say in Spanish!!
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Some helpful things to know if/when you travel to Sevilla…. stay at a hotel in the centre of the city. We stayed at the Rey Alfonso X on Xeminez Encisco. Absolutely perfect location and great hotel as well. It is in the heart of the Santa Cruz district and walking distance from all of the important monuments, For the ladies, leave your high heels at home. I am the queen of wearing heels and even I had no use for them here. With all of the walking you will be doing on the narrow cobble stone streets, you will be a happier person if you’re roaming in a cute pair of flats instead.

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 Every place we ate at was marvelous so you really can’t go wrong wherever you stop.On our first day in town, we happened to dine at the Horno San Buenaventura bakery, which is now a franchise but started out in the San Francisco district (on carlos &canal and bilbao street) as the very first bakery in Europe. Along with yummy baked goods, they also serve a great selection of paella and other savory items. There is a yummy pizza place on the corner of Alfalfa street called ‘Al Natural’ – they make your pizza on the spot… fresh and hot! Super thin crust and mouth watering gooey cheese ontop regardless of the kind you choose. If you are interested in having a drink at a nice lounge with a rooftop patio before you head out, try ‘Diez y Siete. Very cool and trendy vibe.

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 No matter how sunny and beautiful the forecast reads, take a sweater and some warm clothes because the weather can be tempermental. Hot and steamy one minute and then a gust of wind will swoop and push you around for an hour so you may as well be prepared. One of my favourite tourist things we did was going to the top of the Giralda Tower. This is the best spot to see all of Sevilla from an aerial view and truly admire her beauty. Thanks to my curious hubby for wanting to do this because I was a bit cranky about having to walk up a ramp of 36 floors to get there. But let me tell you, it was well worth it.

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The best advice I can give you is this: Do your best not to get so caught up in being a tourist. Yes of course you will want to see the major sites as we listed above. But don’t worry if you don’t make it to all of them, or any of them for that matter. Sevilla can only be truly appreciated by letting yourself be in it and just enjoy. Walk the streets aimlessly; leave your map at home for a day and get lost a few times; eat at random places you’ve never heard of (which will be just about everywhere if you’re north American); speak some broken Spanish; spend the day sitting on patios and trying as many tapas as your belly can hold!!
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One day I will be able to tell my grandkids that Sevilla is the city where I fell in-love with their grandpa all over again. It is where we shared many magnum moments (as explained in my Morocco entry) and got to know each other as if it was our first of many dates. Purely magical.
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Goodbye my dear Sevilla, you will be missed; hopefully we will see each other again one day.





Hurry Up And Wait…

15 06 2014

Day 1 – Travel Day

June 14-15, 2014

Calgary – Amsterdam – Morocco – Spain

The next few entries will be all about our travel experiences for the above named places. The original plan was to leave from Calgary, stop over in Amsterdam for an 8hr layover, then Morocco for 5 days and Southern Spain for 10.

So this day naturally started off with loads of excitement and anticipation for our long-awaited trip. In typical Dash style, we were both up until 430am the night before, packing and getting sorted. I actually don’t even think F slept at all.

Our flight was set for 3:20pm so we aimed to be at the airport by 1:30pm; plenty of time to check-in, have lunch and just take our time.   We get to the front of the KLM counter and the attendant says ‘would you like to volunteer to postpone your flight until tomorrow for a $600 credit?’ I started to lose my my mind before I could even get the words out of my mouth. ‘No I don’t want to volunteer to mess up my vacation and all of our plans for yet another day, but thanks for asking.’  Now I have learned a thing or two since my impulsive teenage years, so I kept my belligerent commentary to myself  in my head and simply said ‘no thank you.’  Three minutes later the KLM manager comes up to us and says  ‘I’m so sorry but this flight has actually been oversold and there are no longer any seats available. We can get you on the next flight out at this time tomorrow. ‘ Now this may not seem like a big deal to some of you, but for me it was like the sky was falling. I kept thinking about being in Amsterdam at a cute little cafe having cute little ‘brownies’ and cute little ‘coffee’ (when you’re as mad as I was, everything out of reach becomes cute and even more desirable than they otherwise would have been).  ‘ We can offer you a $600 credit as well as this is completely not your fault.  KLM oversells their tickets by 10 customers for every flight, thinking at least 10 will not show up. Today everyone showed up and you are part of the last 10’, he says.

My response: ‘ How is this our problem? I want a full refund for both tickets and a flight to our destination, that is compensation, not $600 that won’t even cover the cost of the loses we’ll endure for the next day.’  (My inside voice was no longer inside by the way… There is only so much I could learn between my teenage years and today. Maybe I’ll get it right by the time I’m 80.) Anyway, to make what has already been a long story a bit less long, after I walked away from the counter so my calm and more rational half could deal with this situation, KLM managed to re-route us through London and Amsterdam for quick stop overs so we could make our flight to Marrakech. The original plan for the extended stop over in Amsterdam was no longer an option but anything was better than delaying our vacation for an entire 24hrs. I guess our authentic ‘coffee shop’ experience will have to wait for the next trip.

To be honest, the entire journey from Calgary to Marrakech was a bit of a nightmare. For the first leg of the trip there was an ear-piercing screaming child sitting two rows ahead of us . For the second half there was a nuance 4 yr old sitting behind me, kicking my chair as if it just tried to steal his toy. When I would look at his dad to display my irritation, he would look at me with an expression that said ‘aw shuks, kids eh? So adorable. Boys will be boys. Smilie face.’ My expression back said ‘ Your child is the spawn of chucky and I am pretty close to taking him out if you don’t get some control over him. You imbecile.’ I know I should be more sensitive towards parents and their children on planes given that I have 100 nieces and nephews now since all of my friends have babies; but in this moment, I was not an aunt or a lover of children. I was a childless woman in her mid 30’s, wanting to get a little shut-eye before my big adventure starts… everything in me wanted to toss those kids right out the window.  Thank goodness they were just thoughts.

Our stop overs in London and Amsterdam were just as brutal… bad service, abandoned baggage, attendants who didn’t know what they were doing, time wasted rushing around only to wait and wait. I could go on and on but I won’t keep boring you with all that because in the end, we made it and it was definitely worth the ride. First stop Marrakech, Morocco.

 





Who Is To Blame?

21 10 2012

Amanda Todd died by suicide on October 10, 2012.

Working in health care, one of the first things I learned in suicide training is that it is inappropriate and incorrect to say one ‘committed’ suicide.  Like many people, I questioned the truth of this statement at first, until I truly began to understand what exactly it meant and how it applied to the population I am speaking about now. To ‘commit’ something is to assume one has a choice in the matter and is purposefully engaging in an act, there is some accountability involved.  People commit murder, they commit crimes, they commit adultery, they don’t commit suicide. A person who dies by suicide usually does so because in their view there is no option, there is no hope, there is no future, there is no life left to live. It’s a sad and dark state of mind to be in and nobody chooses to feel this way, nobody chooses for their mental health to be compromised to such an extent.

I know some people may disagree with my comments above; some feel that everyone has a choice and that Amanda is no different, that she had a choice. While I completely disagree, I can let it go and agree to disagree with those who may have an alternate belief. (I just think those people don’t get it and may do well with a little mental health education, that’s all 😉 ).

So ‘Who is to blame?’ Some say her bullies are responsible; maybe her parents; or the parents of the bullies?  Her teachers…her classmates? My vote – Ignorance.  Watching a young girl tell her awful story on you tube, and then continue to comment and bully her after her death?  That is ignorance at its best. To have the gall to make a video of yourself pretending to drink bleach and then reference Amanda is disgusting to me. People have said that she made bad choices and brought it upon herself. So does that mean it’s unacceptable for someone to make a human error? Does that mean that it’s up to the rest of the world to ‘teach her a lesson?’ What exactly gives them the right? That is what I’d like to know. Get over yourselves boys and girls, I’m sure if walls could talk, your less than perfect track record would be aired for the world to see as well.

I wish people understood what the impact of bullying really has on another human being; I wish people cared enough about how their own actions can directly affect another person for the rest of their lives. I wish parents paid more attention to what their kids were doing and were taking the time to educate them, to educate themselves.  I wish… I wish.

The bottom line is that we as a society need to smarten up and fast. I think it’s great that the government wants to take action now; but it’s going to take a lot more than campaigns and internet fire walls to stop bullying. It’s about building solid relationships with our children, so they feel secure enough in themselves to not feel the need to bully other children. It’s about parents being curious about their kids and trying to understand their world a bit better.  We need to teach ourselves and our children compassion and at the same time, how to cope with sadness and tragedy.  This issue isn’t just going to go away… we need to step up and make this world better.

If you remember anything from this post, remember the 3 C’s I just mentioned… teach them Compassion; equip them with a Coping toolbox and be Curious…  always be curious.





How Do You Know When You’ve Found The One?

31 08 2012

No matter how much we evolve and develop our understanding of the human mind and human emotion, this is still a burning question that runs through every person’s mind at some point in his/her life.    And I love that the answer is always ‘you just know?’ blah… what does that even mean? How do you just know? Does a little birdie fly down from the sky and whisper it in your ear? Do angels infiltrate your dreams and say ‘Eh, that person you met today… he’s the one papi, get ready!’ And if you ‘just know’ please explain to me why there is so much divorce in the world? If everyone ‘just knew’ when they met ‘the one,’ shouldn’t that feeling be everlasting? I mean people don’t usually say their ‘I do’s’ if they don’t believe someone is ‘the one’ right?

This post was inspired by a conversation I was having with my good friend, James a few weeks ago. As we were people watching at Cowboys, James sees me wave over at my hubby who is a few feet away from me. He turns to me and says ‘How do you really know when you’ve found the one?’ It just didn’t feel authentic for me to say ‘Oh James, you just know…. you’ll know when you know…blah blah.’ So I said what to me felt like the truth. I said ‘Well, you don’t always know. Sometimes you just gotta take the plunge and hope for the best.’ He says to me ‘ummm, that’s a pretty big risk to take.’ I couldn’t really argue with that – it is a big risk to take. But that’s what life is all about isn’t it?  Everything is about taking a risk, hoping life will turn out exactly as you hope for in your dreams and all of that fluffy stuff. But in real life, there is sadness, there is pain, there is grief, loss, uncertainty and the list goes on. No matter how much you want to believe you ‘just know’… sometimes those things can get in the way of that – that’s real life. Does it mean you don’t move forward in life, or build a future with someone? – no of course not.  It just means that sometimes in your relationship you will experience these things… it’s not reason enough to pull the plug on it just because you aren’t 100% sure what the future holds.  You just have to hope for the best.

As James and I were having this chat, I said to him ‘Now, make no mistake about what I’m saying. Don’t go marry the first pretty girl that comes your way – that’s just foolish. As cheesy as it sounds, everytime I kiss Farhan, it feels like magic, and whenever he sends me a text and says ‘I’m on my way home!’ – I get so excited. I never get bored of being in his company. I like being around him… all of the time. Even when we have to go grocery shopping, or he is trying to boss me around and get me to clean my car (that is already so spotless btw), or we have to run 101 errands or visit our parents. I could watch paint dry with him and I think I would be able to enjoy the silence. I guess that’s how I know. Lame? Maybe. Cheesy?  Sounds like it. Real life? Definitely.’

I always like to do a little research before I sit down to write an entry and for this post I came across an article that really resonated with me. The author of the article was in her 30s (best decade of life!) and while she loved her fiancé more than anything, knowing there was so much uncertainty in the future scared her. And to be tied to uncertainty and possible unhappiness forever was a tough pill to swallow. I can’t really blame her. Legally binding yourself to someone and changing your name all in the name of ‘I’m not sure’ ? – that would mess with anyone’s head. Then her fiancé said to her… ‘Let’s try and not fast forward 40 years. Why don’t we just take this one year at a time? Do you think you can commit to one year?’ the author agreed happily… 1 year was less intimidating than 40. Then her fiancé said “and every year on our anniversary, we will ask each other – How has this last year been? Do you want to give it another year?’ – that couple was still married 12 years later.  While they didn’t know for certain it was going to work… they loved each other enough to try.

There may be some sadness and uncertainty in our future.  And there are likely going to be times when Farhan and I fight, and I like him a lot less than I normally do… like when he has one beer too many and gets that glossy eyed ‘oooh shiiiiit, imma get kicked out of this club in three minutes if you don’t get me to a bathroom’ look. I can honestly say that on those days, I want to throw him in the garbage. And as difficult as it is for me to believe, I know he feels like putting cotton in his ears and closing his eyes around me sometimes too. Likely, on those days – neither of us feel the other is ‘the one.’ But… four years later, we’re still together and I think I have laugh lines from smiling and laughing so much when I’m around him.  Sometimes you don’t always know… but if you can imagine watching paint dry together, it might be worth it to just jump in with both feet and see what happens.





Incendiary:

12 04 2012

Causing or capable of causing fire.

Racism; Homosexuality; Transgender Identity; Religion, Equality.

These are all the most incendiary of topics two people can discuss. And what makes them so? Well, most of us have grown up with some sort of belief system around these issues, influenced by our parents, teachers, relatives, whoever. We have been taught to have strong opinions and beliefs, and that there is a right or wrong way to think about these subjects. It is our core values and beliefs about the world and how we view it that shape us and make us who we are. They guide us in making big decisions about our careers, our life partners, where our children will go to school and who we vote for in the next election. They even impact little decisions like where we shop or the food we eat. I have a friend who refuses to shop at lulu lemon because of her fundamental belief in the equality of men and women regardless of shape or size. Lulu Lemon only goes up to size 12 which therefore automatically caters to a specific size and eliminates more than half of the population.  You may not agree with that which is okay because you are free to have your opinion, and she is free to have hers.  The reality is that where my friend shops has no barring on you whatsoever. You can still shop wherever you want. It’s when opinions start to impact human rights, feelings of safety, equality…  so many of the freedoms that we should actually be able to take for granted (in an ideal world)…this is what I take issue with.

This particular post was inspired by a conversation I had a few months ago with some friends who I love and respect dearly. And while they say ‘birds of a feather flock together’ our opinions couldn’t have been more opposing about this particular subject matter.

So what was our hot topic of conversation?  “Why do people who are of the minority, the same people who are fighting for equality,  always feel the need to be ‘celebrating’ the very part of themselves that sets them apart. ” Whether we’re talking about the NAACP awards for African-Americans or the Gay-Pride parade that’s celebrated around the country, some views within this conversation were ‘Enough is enough. Nobody cares! You say you want equality, yet you feel the need to have an entire street shut down so you can parade around how special and different you are? Okay, You’re gay. Great!  Hope that works out for you. You don’t see me screaming ‘I’m straight,’ from the rooftops.’ 

Another opinion: ‘While it’s true that African-American’s endured slavery for years , the people who are going on about equality now are not the ones who suffered that. They were born into a world where they have just as much opportunity as the next person. They have a black president for pete’s sake. It doesn’t get more equal than that.’ I have to say, I struggled with this conversation quite a bit, even moreso after it was over and I had some more time to reflect on it. My response at the time was ‘So people want to celebrate being gay or being black… who cares! Why can’t they celebrate. Let them.  African-American people have had an extremely trying history. So now they are in a place where they can celebrate and be proud of who they are, what’s the big deal?’

There was an opinion or two I do feel had merit; she said ‘Well we as Ismaili Muslims have had a pretty sad history as well, as many races have I’m sure, but we don’t have awards and big celebrations like that.’ I didn’t disagree. What I do think is that we are still evolving and just because we have reached a place where people may be free to choose their sexual orientation without being globally chastised for it, and white people aren’t the only people on t.v. anymore, that doesn’t mean we still don’t have a long way to go. And to be honest, that’s actually my point. If we stop celebrating our differences, we actually stop celebrating equality, we stop celebrating change, we stop celebrating growth and acceptance and we start being complacent, we start accepting ignorance. Again, this is what I take issue with.  Sure it would be great to have East Indian Awards, and South East Asian Awards… but the answer is not to take away the change and progress we have made. We have to continue to celebrate the change that has happened in hopes that we keep moving in that direction because we have certainly got a long way to go. We can’t stop now.

When I think about the fact that America has a black president, as great as it is, my reaction is more of the tune ‘ 43 white presidents, 1 black president, 0 South East Asian presidents, 0 South Asian presidents….0, 0 , 0…’ – that’s a far cry from equality people. It’s a good start, and it’s a sign that we are getting there… but we’re kidding ourselves if we think that because America has 1 black president under their belt and Canada has had their first Muslim Mayor (yeah Calgary!), and we have a parade to celebrate sexual autonomy, that we have reached a paragon of a completely equal and tolerant society.  Oh and since I am Canadian, I should add that of Canada’s 22 Prime Ministers, all 22 have been White. Of those 22, 1 was actually female, albeit she was designated as opposed to elected, and she was only in office for 4 months and 1 week; but at least Kim Campbell has put women on the map! So Canada has had the 1 female leader and the U.S. has the 1 black leader… yep that screams equality; our work is done (insert eye roll).

I actually began writing this entry a few months ago but with every week that past I would hear or see something that just reaffirmed by beliefs that now more than ever we need to be celebrating our differences.  In early March this year, Farhan and I went to see a play called ‘Race’ by David Mamet. The story took place in a law office where 3 attorneys – 2 black and 1 white contemplate taking a case to represent a wealthy white man who was charged with raping a black housekeeper in a hotel. He swears he didn’t do it but the evidence says otherwise. The premise behind the play is to highlight how human beings view others based on their skin colour as well their own. The issue with the case… if they accept it and try to get the guy off, black people will think they are a racist and unjust firm;  if they don’t take it, white people will think they are being a ‘pro-black’ firm instead of doing what’s right ‘. It’s a lose-lose situation and somewhere in there, the truth about whether a human being actually was raped and/or a potentially innocent man is being accused of something he didn’t do is lost.

What stood out for me about this play was that racism is still very much alive; ignorance is still very much alive. In 2012 these issues are in the media and affecting human beings every single day. Without even realizing it, we will make comments and judgements about people because of their skin colour. If this man had been accused of raping a white girl, it would have been a sexual assault case. But because she was black, it became about racial superiority. The fact that she was still a victim of rape somehow became secondary and almost irrelevant.

I’m sure you’ve all heard about the Trayvon Martin case by now (if not, please crawl out from under your rock and turn on the tv or google him). How can we possibly feel that this is a safe world to live in when a volunteer watchman can just shoot another human being because he was wearing a hoodie and the sound of his skittles packet made guy fearful? What does that even mean? Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old black kid, unarmed, wearing a hoodie with a packet of skittles in hand. Geraldo Rivera comments on this case by saying ‘To all of the Latino and black boys out there, stop wearing hoodies. The hoodie is as much to blame as George Zimmerman.’  This is the mentality of so many people in our supposed just world… blame the hoodie! I’m not going to regurgitate all of the outrage that has been plastered all over the internet… it’s clear how people who are for and against Zimmerman being brought to justice feel. The fact remains that issues like this still exist. Racial profiling is very real and when we turn a blind eye to this we are no better than the guy pulling the trigger (okay maybe that last line was a bit dramatic, but you get my drift).

There is so much I could say about this topic and controversial issues in general… im sure you will see more posts on this very topic in the near future.

My final message for now…  Wear hoodies. Cheer on the parade. Promote the awards.  Read more. Accept more. Stop the ignorance. Celebrate the differences… oh and while you’re at it, please try to save the whales ;).





Champagne In The Morning…

18 02 2012

Lately when I hear people talk about Valentine’s Day, it seems like the new thing to say is ‘I hate valentines’ ‘ Ugh it’s so overrated’ ‘V-Day is just a commercial day meant to take your money.’ Oh and my favourite : ‘It’s really pathetic that people go out and pretend to care about each other one day of the year and treat each other like garbage the rest of the year.’  Gawd… why are there so many haters out there? Relax people!! It’s just another day! It’s an excuse to celebrate and hang with your boo in a crazy busy time when we’re all caught up with work, school, family, friends etc.  And let’s be real, for all those people who say ‘Well I think everyday should be like Valentine ’s Day’ to that I say ‘Child please! Who the hell has time to go out for fancy dinners and get each other cute little cards with hearts on them every other day? NOBODY! So I say… go out, live it up, celebrate. Buy cute cards, share a heart-shaped box of chocolates wrapped in red velvet ribbon, go for a nice dinner… buy each other presents! Doesn’t mean you treat each other like junk for the other 362 days of the year (not including your birthdays. Obviously you’re nice to each other on those days), it just means you get to slow down and take the time to celebrate each other… I love this day!!

Farhan and I celebrated on a Saturday the 18th since actual Valentines landed on a work day. Our Valentines consisted of a full day of events with brunch,  a matinée musical, mani/pedi’s,  some shopping,  ordering in some Chinese for dinner and ending the evening with some yummy  wine, cheese and shisha! It was a great day!

The main purpose of this post was not really to give you a lecture on Valentine’s Day (even though it started that way), it was to tell you about the fabulous brunch that started our fabulous day! We enjoyed the most amazing three course brunch I’ve had in a very long time at a place called ‘Jacqueline Suzanne’s Bistro’ in Inglewood.  JS’s is a quaint little place that has actually been open for the last 9 years. 9 Years! I’ve lived in Calgary for just about my whole life and I have never heard of this place. Yay for groupon!

Typically when we go for brunch (my favourite meal of the day), I usually roll out of bed, throw on some lulu’s with a hat and some kicks, and off I go (not before brushing my teeth and combing my hair of course). Since we were celebrating ‘love day’ however, we both dressed like we were actually going on a date. Good thing we did too because JS’s, while not super fancy fine dining, it’s still a cute place that requires one to make some effort in her appearance. I mean we had to make a reservation for jim’s sake. Definitely not your everyday ‘Cora’s’ joint. The decor could either be mistaken for my grandmother’s kitchen or a classy little mom n pops restaurant from the 60’s… antique is the word that comes to mind. There was an element of tackiness with Christmas lights draped on the banisters, the damask burgundy velvet table cloths and bright purple beads hanging from the ceiling, but still an aura of class all at the same time.  I loved hearing the classical music in the background and eavesdropping on the cute 70+ year old friends sitting next to us, talking about a boat show and trying to figure out ‘why he thinks the way he does.’  Ha! I guess it doesn’t really matter how old we get…we’ll always wonder.  I actually felt like I was on vacation and not even in Calgary. For a couple of hours we were back in London, England having afternoon tea at a hotel somewhere in the west end. Heaven.

Our first course… he had a delicious breakfast martini and me a yummy morning mimosa. Nothing like starting the morning off with a little Champagne to toast to. The actual brunch menu was simple, unlike most diners that leave me pondering and changing my mind for 20 minutes before I attempt to order. There were about 6 items to choose from  and it was really all we needed. I mean there are only so many ways one can order eggs, bacon and French toast.   I found a variation of my favourite eggs benny, with a side of aged cheddar, and Farhan had the ‘crepe du jour.’ While everything sounds good when you say it in French, his dish really was to die for (obviously I had to try a few bites of my hubby’s meal J). Given that I have the biggest sweet tooth on the planet, our third course, the dessert, was naturally my favourite.  Any restaurant that serves bread pudding is an automatic winner in my books.  Warm, moist, sweet cake baked just enough to create a light golden glow around the edges, laced with creamy white chocolate and a caramel drizzle glazed on top. With a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on the side, it was a perfect bite everytime. Now if for some bizarre reason bread pudding isn’t your thing, Farhan’s chocolate bailey’s cheesecake was also pretty fabulous.

Would I go back? Absolutely! I was so perfectly satisfied by the end that I didn’t want to risk being ‘uncomfortably full’ by having the specialty coffee I had had my eye on the whole morning. Made with crème de banana, frangelico, caramel syrup, espresso and steamed milk… my ‘Toffee Coffee Latte’ will just have to wait till next time.





2012 Has Arrived… Resolution Time!!!

13 01 2012

Back!

It has been a while…  a long while. So as the New Year starts and resolutions are naturally (almost forcefully) whirling through our minds, I can’t help but hope to rejuvenate and make some game changing moves. None as bold as the Cammalleri trade, but little things like… avoid run on sentences, use ‘…’ less when I write, finish a full glass of beer, wear nicer pyjamas to bed (right now its oversized concert t-shirts and fluorescent capris)… blog more.  Okay fine, maybe they aren’t ‘game changing’ per-se, but at least they are attainable.

Last year I had made a huge list of resolutions. Learn to speak French, take lessons in a winter sport… snowboarding, and a summer sport… tennis,  bikram yoga 3x a week, read 1 book a week. I may as well have written ‘climb mt kili’ or ‘save all of the children of Haiti.’  I had so many things on my list, I spent more time rearranging the time frames and scheduling this stupid list than I did actually tackling it.

With every year that passes, I may not follow through with my resolutions, but I do feel like I gain a little wisdom. This year as I have just begun my 32nd year of life, my goals are simple, cheesy yes, but simple nonetheless.  Make time to do lots of nothing, recognize everything that I do already and do more of it since I obviously enjoy it.  Eat more burgers, drink more wine. Appreciate my fabulous life.

 

Go Heat Go!