Entertainment/Food: Encore

Everybody appreciates a good ENCORE

Yes please!

The latest concept in entertainment/club dining is at Rogers Arena.  I was lucky to be a guest last Friday night for Stevie Nicks, the legendary Fairy Godmother of ROCK on her 

24 KARAT GOLD TOUR stop in Vancouver.

I knew I was invited to the show but never expected the space to be so impressive.  And it’s a really good thing I didn’t have dinner beforehand because they said there would be food but…they never mentioned there would be so much. The new large room suite is only one month old. It is a complete renovation, redesign and upgrade of the former “Centre Ice Grill” with premium service and all the fine touches exclusive membership has to offer. Such as:

Our sushi chef
Our sushi chef
Our wine
Our wine at the well lit bar
a few of the available platters


Picture this – you’re sitting in the comfort of a wide-back chair with a plate of food and a glass of wine in front of you while watching and listening to the best entertainment to pass through Vancouver, B.C.  It really doesn’t get much better!

dessert table
dessert table

The area has comfy leather sofas to lounge on, walled fireplaces, tables overlooking the arena and four chef attended stations offering an abundance of mouth-watering dishes.  The club is open for monthly/yearly membership and included in the exclusive fee package is fresh & exquisite rotating menus.  Wine & Liquor is extra.

Oh wait…as an added bonus to an otherwise perfect evening the Pretenders opened up for Stevie Nicks.  I forgot about how many great songs they have.  And Chrissie Hynde’s voice is a good as ever – love her voice!

Come again? Encore is the perfect name for the watering hole because once you come here you definitely want to repeat the experience. It’s the rock concert equivalent of flying First Class.  Once you experience it you cannot don’t want to ever go back.

The thing about music is that it evokes so many memories and the thing about all the other stuff is:foodart1

stevie1Now I’m ruined for all other concerts.

Her ENCORE (following Rhiannon) is one of my favourite songs “LANDSLIDE“.  And she, as beautiful as ever.  (If you want to see a video clip please visit my Instagram feed @ https://www.instagram.com/girlwhowouldbeking/

Coffee ART: a delightful disappearing ART

You might want to linger over your mocha or lattes by Melannie Aquino, a barista at the  Elite Audio Coffee Bar in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood. Mostly because as you can see from the following photos, they’re dazzling masterpieces in a cup.

With a side of Ice Cream
I’ll have my latte with Ice Cream on top

Melannie uses a metal skewer and a pot of chocolate to draw remarkably detailed sketches of everything from sweet-faced pugs to London’s Big Ben atop the frothy foam. Aquino, who grew up in Hawaii and moved to San Francisco 10 years ago, was recently named the best coffee artist in the world by Mashable. Without question she’s the best in San Francisco.barista1I thought that was a really bold statement…” Aquino says. “I may be one of the best, but I don’t think I’m the best. It’s a lot about perception.”

Most coffee art is made by “free pouring” steamed milk into a shot of espresso and adjusting the pour to create certain patterns and designs. The drawing method, Aquino says, is unique and she knows of only a few other “drawing” artists through Instagram.

“With a latte, the picture starts degrading after a few minutes,” she says. “Whereas with a mocha it sticks together for about 20 minutes.”barista7

Whole milk works best, while almond doesn’t cooperate.barista2


Corgi dogs are currently the most commonly requested, and unicorns were popular for a while. R2D2 is also a favorite because a video of her creating the droid was featured on Instagram on Star Wars Day. She won’t do portraits or company logos. Once a girl used one of her creations to ask a boy out to prom. “While he was in the bathroom, she ordered his drink and asked me to write ‘Prom?'” she says. “He said yes.”barista6Aquino has always been a doodler, but she says her ability improved when she was studying film at the Academy of Art and required to take a drawing class.

“I’ve always been doodling throughout my life, but that class really showed me the basics of shape and shadowing and that’s where I learned to make my drawings a little more refined,” she says.

Moving to San Francisco and going to art school wasn’t what Aquino’s parents had in mind for their daughter. “It’s one of those things where they wanted me to go to college and get a stable job,” she says. “And they wanted me to stay in Hawaii.”barista4

But now that Aquino has over 22,000 followers on Instagram, websites calling her the best at her craft and people from all over the world coming to Elite to order her creations, she says her parents are proud, and most importantly she’s happy with what she’s doing.barista5

When I’m next in San Francisco I can’t wait for my JiaJia (he’s my sheltie dog) latte ooops, I mean mocha with whole milkbarista3

Source: Amy Graff for SF Gate