Vancouver International Wine Festival

Wine lovers unite.  The International Wine Festival is back!

Outside JOEY (Bentall One) at launch party.

Enjoy an amazing selection of world class wines from May 16-22, 2022 at the Vancouver Convention Centre and other venues around the city. See link below for tickets and more info.

Photo: John Moe

Feeling worldly? Not only will you be able to sample wines from all over the world, you can buy your favourite wines at the onsite BC Liquor Store and bottle check them throughout the tasting session.  Then pick them up when you’re ready to leave or have your purchases sent to your nearest store.  How very convenient of them.

Of course remember never to wine and drive. The festival is providing a free Compass ticket on the way out to take local transport or have someone pick you up.  Because let’s face it, even if you taste and spit you’re probably going to be sipping enough to affect you.  I’m a bit of a lightweight when it comes to drinking wine and tend to get lightheaded very easily.  But I enjoy a lovely glass of wine and a bottle (or two) with friends on occasion so at an event like this you can sample several varietals you might otherwise never get to try.

our greeter upon entry
She was pouring this really nice bubbly

The festival kicked off with a VanWineFest media launch party at JOEY on Burrard.  I met some very nice people.

With Christine Blanchette.

Christine is the Host + Producer of  “The Closing Act” (conducting in-depth interviews with musicians, songwriters, producers and CEOS in the industry) on Arts + Entertainment Channel and “Run with It” (a monthly show on running, fitness and nutrition interviewing experts and celebrities who work out or follow a healthy lifestyle) on Healthy Living Network.  We have a few things in common being that she’s half Irish, is from Quebec and she’s also a runner. But I’m not in the same running league because she runs Marathons including the elite Boston Marathon. I’ve run 3 half Marathons and said that’s enough. I admire anyone who runs full marathons as it’s hard on your body and well; a longer run than I have the stamina for.  But getting back to our mutual friend JOEY

Not only was there a selection of delicious participating festival wines, also yummy globally-inspired snacks from executive chef Matthew Stowe.  The sliders (both meat + vegetarian) were excellent, along with surprisingly delicious sushi (I say that because I never expected them to serve sushi) and the tastiest dips like hummus and even guacamole – something for everyone.JOEY restaurants are a premium casual family-owned chain created by Jeff Fuller and looking to expand throughout North America.  I cannot believe that this was my first time here even though they’ve been around for quite some time. I was impressed by the quality of food and the extensive cocktail list looks tempting – for another time.

2022 countdown presented by VIWF Executive Director Harry Hertscheg (L),  Bard on the Beach Artistic Director Christopher Gaze (R) and Group Sommelier Jason Yamasaki (middle).

It’s exciting that events like this are opening up again.  It’s also a bit overwhelming because there’s all of a sudden so much going on other than wine tasting…in dining, music, art shows, theatre…

After a long hiatus it’s enjoyable to be able to get out there even if we have to ease ourselves into the social scene. Although I must admit as much as I like going to these social events I’m also pretty comfortable being a homebody.  How about you?

Cheers!

How to Buy Tickets

https://joeyrestaurants.com/

JOEY Espresso Martini – for another time

 

 

 

 

More Art Vancouver

A shout out to Art International Vancouver for a successful turnout over the past weekend at Vancouver Convention Centre West.

Another sprinkling of photos taken at last Friday’s opening.

this one speaks to me

Photos: d. king

ART Vancouver

Uniting Nations through the Power of Art

As the evening starts to open up.

The Aim of Art is not to represent the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance” – Aristotle.

Art Vancouver, Western Canada’s most prestigious art fair is back this year at the Vancouver Convention Center West. Featuring reputable galleries and artists from across Canada and around the world. May 5 – 8th 2022.

Ron Art Mania

I attended the opening with my friend Megan last night. It was an overwhelming feast for the eyes as we wandered around and visited all the exhibitors.  There is truly something for everyone’s taste – well almost.  No booth is alike.

Reinvent by David X – Mixed Media of Elon Musk

What I realize from having visited various art shows and galleries is that we can appreciate a painting, sculpture, photograph and other mixed media works of art for the sheer ingenuity each of these artists put into their work as well as the power of a message, whether you like the piece for yourself or not.

Maybe you don’t find a work visually appealing or perhaps it doesn’t go with your décor, but we can still try to accept and welcome all the different styles, imagination and heart put into the work  – and as this show went to prove, there’s plenty of inventiveness out there, and overall…that goes to create an incredible event.

Industrial Design Artist German Aguirre Reder

Lisa Wolfin – Director’s Foreword:

Whether it be with a piece of clay, brush, or pencil, we all have the capacity to create love.  To say something through a full scale of colour or none at all, it is art which gives a voice to anyone who wishes to use it.  And it is only when you have the courage to share and admire these gifts that an event like Art Vancouver is made possible.  Surrounding ourselves with original art in our homes, the loving energy used to create the art emanates into our space.”

 I took tons of photos so as I’m sharing some today, I’ll post more next week.  Let me know what you think.

We loved a lot of what we saw

Still; if you’re focused on a very specific style for a set area of your home, you may or may not find what you’re looking for, even at a show of this calibre.  Art is so subjective.  You have to fall in love with your personal choice and it has to evoke some emotion. Art for art’s sake is not enough.

I highly recommend Art International Vancouverthis weekend.

Photos: d. king

https://www.artvancouver.net/

Sky Lilah and her wonderful collages and sparkly dress.
James Darin Corbiere Waabshki Makwa (White Bear) – Cowichan Bay, B.C.
Bones & the Residential School of Doom.

Marc Hazel (in mask) with Quynh Nguyen in artistic dress.
Erik Markovs, Portland, USA. Using vintage wallpaper and other materials to create unique and beautiful mosaic wall art.

By Freakshow. And yes; it was!

Wine is an art unto itself and I might add very personal too. I’ll sample this one at the upcoming International Wine Festival (May 16-22) – also at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see” – Edgar Degas.

Wines of Portugal

Good Wine Makes a World of Difference

The next best thing to physically being in Portugal is discovering the wines of Portugal.  Lucky me; I was able to attend a grand tasting the other day at the Coast Plaza hotel in Vancouver.  Always a pleasure to discover unfamiliar and delicious tasting wines and meet nice new people.

I’ve tried wines from Portugal before but most of the ones at the “Wines of Portugal” tasting are not yet available for purchase in Canada (or elsewhere in North America for that matter).

I didn’t realize their scope of native grape varieties are so plentiful – 250 different kinds to be exact! 

The prized and distinct grapes are considered a national treasure and have been savoured by generations of Portuguese wine lovers.  Wine drinkers elsewhere in the world will discover fresh new flavours when they sample.

Here are some fun facts:

Portugal is home of the first Demarcated and Regulated wine region in the world – The Douro Valley, now a Unesco World Heritage site.

The Portuguese were the first to bring European wines to the Americas and to Asia.

Love these labels

Portugal has the highest density of native grape varieties in the world.

*Jancis Robinson, in a 13 year tasting, ranked Portuguese red wines the highest.

*(British wine critic, journalist and wine writer. Jancis currently writes a weekly column for the Financial Times, and writes for her website JancisRobinson.com, updated daily. She also provides advice for the wine cellar of Queen Elizabeth II).

Portugal was elected for the 3rd consecutive year as “Best Destination in the World” by the World Travel Awards and in total won 39 awards.

The wine region of Lisbon was considered by Wine Enthusiast one of the “10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2019.

Forbes magazine elected the best wines of 2019 and in its list there are 3 Portuguese wines in the first 12 places.

And of course there’s the PORT:

In Portugal you can even buy Port in convenient size cans.

It’s important to not drink too much on an empty stomach. 

Don’t ask me how I know this

 Luckily the room had plenty of tasty appies to choose from.


For wine enthusiasts this was an excellent event.

DISCOVER:

https://winesofportugal.com/en/portuguese-wines/wine-styles/

Photos: d. king

Spring is in the Air

At times like this I wish I owned a boat…or better still; a yacht!

The Royal Vancouver Yacht Club (RVYC) is one of the world’s premier yacht clubs.  You must be a member to have lunch or dinner there or to go to any of the events.  I’ve been many times before but the last time I stepped inside was almost five years ago.  At that time it was not my most pleasant experience.  This time I danced.

Brochure for Fashion Show “Yes we Cannes”

Last week a group of us (courtesy of our mutual friend Tammy) sat together for a Ladies Spring Fashion Event which included a lovely dinner, cocktails, fashion show and dancing to DJ music.

L-R: Tammy, Janice, Isabel, Debbie, Stephanie + her mom Julie.  (Jennifer + Randi not shown).

A wonderful evening with fresh French fashion (think Isabel Marant) to wear perfectly on some boat, good company, food, champagne and energy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Gorgeous backdrop

Of course we Cannes!  But what we cannot do is leave a whole cookie intact for too long.

It was delish!

Vancouver’s California Wine Tour

Soaking up the Sunshine indoors

Who would’ve thought that someone could experience all the wine regions in California under one roof?  I just came back from an extraordinary wine tasting trip right here in Vancouver at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.

About The California Wine Experience!

Other regions not shown: Sonoma, Lodi + Central Coast (including Monterey +Santa Barbara).

California Wines and the Consul General of the US, D. Brent Hardt, invited us to take an exploratory trip to California Wine Country and discover the many vintners and wineries of the Golden State.  

For wine lovers this was an educational, immersive walk-around tasting event that showcased more than 400 wines from the Golden State.

Coppola Vineyards – we learned a few fun facts on the history of film & winemaking.

Bonterra wines are all Organic and also reasonably priced – win win!

During the three hour experience, we sampled wines from many regions and appellations and met with winery representatives to learn more about what makes their wines so special.  A sample below:

he he…..good thing!

I hope they do this every year!

Photos/Videos: d. king

More Canadian Dates:

 

 

Side Dish for Easter / Passover

ZUCCHINI GRATIN WITH YELLOW SQUASH

Hasn’t it been a minute since I’ve posted a recipe?  Seems my cooking skills have taken a little vacay and I’m slowly getting back to the kitchen.  Easter/Passover has crept up on us and if you’re looking for a tasty side dish that most people (unless someone has an allergy or aversion to zucchini or squash – I don’t know anyone who does) will enjoy – this is it!  This one is too easy and delicious to pass up.

And who doesn’t love a good casserole?

Zucchini Gratin with Yellow Squash is a luscious creamy cheesy medley of zucchini, yellow squash, onions and garlic. It is quick and easy to prepare.  It will make a summer squash lover out of you!  OK, it’s not quite summer yet but  despite the name you may find yellow zucchini in most markets year round.  If you cannot find it you can always substitute for winter squash like Butternut or Acorn which is readily available year round. By the way, did you know that zucchini is a summer squash? Yup!

In addition, yellow squash and zucchini are good sources of vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber, as well.

This delectable Zucchini Gratin takes about 15 minutes of your devoted time and then it is in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes making it very doable for a weeknight meal or holiday side dish. This recipe will bring out a passion for zucchini and squash that you never knew you had!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion thinly sliced
  • 1 small zucchini sliced in rounds 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (please see notes)
  • 1 small yellow squash sliced in rounds 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (please see notes)
  • 2 large cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 cup shredded smoked gouda

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
  2. Melt butter in oven proof skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until the edges start to brown approximately 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for additional 1 minute. Add cream and simmer until bubbly and starting to thicken. Slowly stir in parmesan. Add zucchini and yellow squash and cook an additional 4-5 minutes.
  3. Sprinkle with smoked gouda and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
NOTES

The zucchini used for this recipe was on the smaller side. Some zucchini are much larger. For those I would double the cream and the Parmesan. The large zucchini are sometimes a little tougher and may require additional simmering and/or baking time.

Original Recipe + Photo taken from: smalltownwoman.com

 

 

 

 

Green & Glam

I’ve been seeing green lately.  I think women are ready to embrace colour for Spring.

Photo: d. king

Kelly Green ruled the runways in New York, London and Fashion Week on El Paseo in Palm Desert, where these photos were taken. The rich color is a bold departure from the LBD.

Photo: d. king

I always thought the term Kelly Green had a starry eyed meaning – thinking it was named after Grace Kelly because it was her favourite colour.  But no; there’s a more down to earth version. This tone of colour green was named Kelly green because of the influx of Irish immigrants coming to America who were celebrating the St. Patrick’s day parade.  While that is not so romantic sounding, the shade is a colour of renewal, nature and energy, associated with growth and the environment. Plus it’s pretty, even if you’re not a redhead!

Photo: d. king  

Get ready for the LGD; the shade will enjoy its moment in the sun this Spring.

Photo: d. king

Photo: whowhatwear – the more casual way to wear it

 

Fashion Week Re-cap

Indulging our inner (and outer) fashionista

A few highlights from two world class fashion events that took place end of March in Palm Desert.

The first set is a selection from the shops on El Paseo showcasing some of my favourites.  Taken from the Diva front row section courtesy of Design Diva of the Desert Tracy Turco.  I meant it when I said we can never hope to fill her shoes, but we can sure hope to fill her seats.  I thank her very much for the experience.  Tracy was also one of the sponsors.  It was a fabulous evening.

Fashion Week on El Paseo was held March 19-26, at The Gardens on El Paseo celebrating 15 years of style at the West Coast’s largest consumer fashion show.

Every show provides an inspiring, immersive fashion experience and features cocktail receptions, trunk shows, celebrity meet-and-greets, and much more. Highlighting fashion trends and showcasing a who’s-who of the country’s top design talents (including some stars of tomorrow), Fashion Week El Paseo takes one of the world’s most relatable art forms and brings it to you in style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

one of the sponsors


On Saturday, March 26th, two women I know put together the first high-end vintage collective sale and informal fashion show in Palm Desert.  It was held outdoors at Image Galleries on a very hot day…but that didn’t interfere with attendance and an overall good time with an amazing vintage selection. Not to mention the art gallery…where art and fashion intermingle.  I mean what can be better than that?

Tracy Turco looks good no matter what she wears – always.

Yes; it appears that GLAMOUR IS indeed BACK!  At least in Palm Springs/Palm Desert.  After almost two years in sweats and pajamas it’s a welcome shift.

Photos: d. king

“Glamour is Back” photo: taken from Gay Desert Guide.