Food + Drink

Saturday Smörgåsbord In Porto

street art in Porto

street art in Porto

I gave up on a more descriptive title for this post because today was such a mixed bag of activity that it defied a title. Our main plan was to check out the Festival Internacional de Marionetas do Porto (International Puppet Festival of Porto), but we wound up seeing a puppet show only at the end of the day and spent the rest of the time walking around and visiting the Centro Português de Fotografia (Portuguese Centre for Photography). There is always so much going on in Porto — all year — that I find it’s often easier just to show up around the centre and stumble upon events spontaneously than to try and fit them all in through rigorous planning.

These photos are just a smattering of what we saw (and ate) today, including street art, exhibits, churches, and Galician food. The rest you’ll find in the Autumn 2014 album.

heritage tram at Clérigos (Porto, Portugal)

heritage tram at Clérigos

heritage tram (Porto, Portugal)

Tram 22 on Rua de Santa Catarina

heritage tram (Porto, Portugal)

Rua de Santa Catarina

Rua 31 de Janeiro (Porto, Portugal)

Rua 31 de Janeiro

Praça da Batalha (Porto, Portugal)

Praça da Batalha

capoeira in front of Sáo Bento Station (Porto, Portugal)

capoeira in front of Sáo Bento Station

street art (Porto, Portugal)

Porto has no shortage of street art

pimento padron (Galician specialty) in Largo São Domingos (Porto, Portugal)

pimento padron (Galician specialty) in Largo São Domingos

(Porto, Portugal)

street cats and street art

(Porto, Portugal)

Clérigos and heritage tram

Igreja de São José das Taipas (Porto, Portugal)

Igreja de São José das Taipas

Igreja de São José das Taipas

Igreja de São José das Taipas

The rest of the photos are from Centro Português de Fotografia, where we happened upon the launch of two exhibits: TOET, The Other European Travellers, and a tapestry rug, which you’ll see further below (I’m still searching for info about this rug!).

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (21)

Centro Português de Fotografia’s courtyard doubles as a football pitch

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (13)

map of Europe, in photos (Exhibit: TOET – The Other European Travellers)

The TOET exhibit — The Other European Travellers — is a project of contemporary stories of mostly southern Europeans who left their homelands for countries further north in Europe to work. The travelling exhibition is a compilation of personal archives, from family albums and collections:

THE OTHER EUROPEAN TRAVELLERS is a photographic project developed by a selection of european photographers with the support of a group of experts and reknown artists.

This initiative – supported by EU Cultural Programme – aims to explore through a map of contemporary stories, the experiences of european citizens and their families who, for economic reasons, left their countries of birth to starting a new life in new lands.

TOET focuses on migrations between 1950 and 1980, mainly from south (Spain, Portugal, Greece and southern Italy) to central and northern Europe (France, Germany, UK and Belgium).

TOET aims to recover the memory and the collective imagination of these citizens, key figures in the construction of modern Europe, and also intending to offer an artistic and archival legacy for future generations, using the image as a vehicle for transmitting experiences.

TOET has been conducted by 1 coordinator, 3 co-organisers and a network of european cultural institutions.

As an expat and migrant several times over, this exhibit was very interesting to me. My favourite part was the one below, by Alberto Rojas Maza, of Spain:

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (14)

postcard magnets (Exhibit: TOET – The Other European Travellers)

Paint, Paint, Paint!

In 1958, and after finishing his studies of medicine, my uncle Enrique (1932-2009) left to Mannheim in Germany, where he started to do odd jobs until he could exercise his profession as a doctor in a hospital. He stayed there ’til 1965. Throughout this period, and in a permanent manner, he sent a series of postcards to his brother, Antonio (1930-1994), an artist who lived in Seville. The majority of the postcards depicted paintings from the museums he visited in his free time. Antonio “deposited” those postcards among the pages of an Art encyclopaedia, which I received years later through my father.

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (15)

magnetized postcards written by the artist’s uncle to his brother in Spain (Exhibit: TOET – The Other European Travellers)

The building that houses the centre used to be a jail back in the day… can you tell?

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (16)

artist’s opening

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (17)

artist’s opening

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (18)

taking in the views

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (19)

spy cameras

Centro Português de Fotografia (Porto, Portugal) (20)

Centro Português de Fotografia has a modern jailbird (hand by Paulo)

October 11, 2014
Album: Portugal [Autumn 2014]

International Chocolate Festival, Óbidos: Chocolate Sculpture Competition

International Chocolate Festival, Óbidos: Chocolate Sculpture Competition

The 12th annual International Festival of Chocolate is in full swing in the historic town of Óbidos, celebrating on weekends (Friday to Sunday) from March 14-April 6 this year. We attended last Saturday, doing our best to curb our appetites for chocolate by filling our bellies with a big lunch before going in. Note: this only works for a few hours!

The entrance fee to the festival is 7 euros (5 euros, ages 6-11), but if chocolate is not your thing, Óbidos has plenty of festivities, art, food and beverages outside the castle walls to keep people entertained.

While we were there, the TV show Aqui Portugal had set up in the main church square — a perfect people-watching opportunity. For a newcomer to Portugal, I find this show very informative as it’s a bit of a travelogue — a mix of entertainment, local commerce, and national pride, travelling around the entire country following festivals and events. Food, drinks, traditions, history, music, religion, and whatever local colour can be found in the villages and cities they set up in for that day are featured on the show. Watching video footage of the scenery — especially from the aerial drones — is for me what sparked curiosity for places like Nazaré, which we visited the next day. It’s easy to spot the show as they always have a stage set up with full lighting rig (I work on the production side of events so I notice these things first), performers, and several hosts taking turns interviewing the local businesses to talk about their products or services. The hosts also mingle with the crowd, which gives people a chance to say hello to their relatives overseas (RTP broadcasts internationally).

Lest I start looking like a PR person for Aqui Portugal, the reason why I’m mentioning them is because of the cultural value — they spotlight villages and cities equally. Of course, there are more festivals in the cities, but the villages don’t get left out. Coming from an enormous country like Canada where the population is very divided between the large cities which get lots of media exposure and everywhere else which gets minimal exposure or nothing at all, a show like this would be of great benefit. The closest thing I can think of to compare with Aqui Portugal is the CBC’s Rick Mercer roaming around the country, but he’s a one-man show who travels to the action and there’s more of a focus on him, whereas Aqui Portugal has several hosts — four? — and the show becomes part of the event.

Anyway, back to the CHOCOLATE. This videoclip (2:42) will give you an idea of what the event looks like:

Official site: http://www.festivalchocolate.cm-obidos.pt/
http://www.obidos.pt (also in English)

Esculturas em Chocolate

Theme for 2014: “Animal Kingdom” — inspired by animals at the Lisbon Zoo

The chocolate sculptures are works of art, created by the food crafters at the Centro de Formação Profissional para o Sector Alimentar da Pontinha and kept in a climate-controlled tent. The competition invites visitors to the display to cast their vote for best group, with ballot boxes at the end of the queue. I took as many photos as I had time for, which wasn’t much since everyone was trying to do the same thing while keeping the line moving through the tent. It was hard to decide between them all — the crocodile was impressive but I was also taken by the amount of detail on the primates. How does one choose??? In the end, Paulo and I voted for two different groups, and I’m assuming we won’t know who the winner is until the very end of the festival on April 6, or maybe afterwards.

Here’s the group list with credits; I’ve put the sculpture photos in no particular order.

O EXTREMO DO PLANETA TERRA / END OF THE PLANET EARTH
Chefes // Conceição Moura, Luís Carriço, Renzo de Marco

PARA ALÉM DO DESERTO / BEYOND THE DESERT
Chefes // Carlos Videira, Daniel Sousa, Rui Alves

O OÁSIS DE ÁFRICA / The OASIS OF AFRICA
Chefes // Carina Gomes, Elsa Costa, Rafael Gomes

A BAÍA DOS GOLFINHOS / DOLPHIN BAY
Chefes // Céu Carvalho, Ricardo Batista, João Ferreira

A SAVANA AFRICANA / THE AFRICAN SAVANNAH
Chefes // João Mateus, Ana Santos, Isadora Pereira

MUNDO DOS PRIMATAS / WORLD OF PRIMATES
Chefes // André Figueiras, Henrique Leitão, Inês Azevedo e Silva

OS ANIMAIS DA OCEÂNIA / ANIMALS OF OCEANIA
Chefes // José Cobra, Sara Martins, Rui Pinheiro

Coordenador // Chefe Vítor Nunes
Coordenador adjunto // Chefe Manuel Gomes

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March 15, 2014
Album: Portugal’s Central Coast

Let Them Eat (Cup)Cake

Kimberly + Gregory's wedding

“Everybody grab a cupcake,” I said. (Shooting time is bossy time, for me. It’s my job!)

Kim and Greg’s wedding didn’t have a traditional wedding cake, they opted for cupcakes on each of the guest tables instead, which meant there wasn’t going to be a cake-cutting. But I didn’t want to leave out the cupcakes, so I asked the wedding party to gather and we’d skip the cutting part and go straight to the feeding/eating part. As you can see, it’s way more fun when the whole wedding party’s involved!

Kimberly + Gregory's wedding

Kimberly + Gregory's wedding

Kimberly + Gregory's wedding

For more photos from Kim and Greg’s wedding, see their album.

Cookie Martinez Container Launch @ Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

My friend Natalia has a pop-up shop in Market 707 for the month of June, selling freshly-baked cookies, brownies, and ice cream sandwiches. Today didn’t feel like June temperature-wise, but it didn’t stop us from pretending it was ice-cream weather and scoffing the goods!

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Market 707 is Toronto’s only shipping container market, located at 707 Dundas Street West in front of Scadding Court Community Centre, across from Toronto Western Hospital and just east of the Bathurst intersection.

Market 707 on Facebook
Market 707’s page on Scadding Court Community Centre’s website
Cookie Martinez: official website
Cookie Martinez on Facebook

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

The appetite was in full force today, and I simply could not pass the Filipino eatery at Market 707 without putting in a couple of orders (not balut, though! but they carry it) before indulging in ice cream:

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

lumpia (Filipino egg rolls)

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

sisig fries — pork belly, sauces, green onions, crispy fries

Get a look at the size of the sisig fries! I shared with as many people who were willing to try it. On to the desserts by Cookie Martinez:

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

Cookie Martinez Container Launch at Market 707

If you’re a Cookie Monster like me, you won’t want to miss Cookie Martinez’s pop-up shop at Market 707 — especially the ice cream sandwiches! The four available are:

  • Vegan/Gluten Free Cookie with Vegan/Gluten Free Coconut Organic Ice Cream
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie with Strawberry Organic Ice Cream
  • Ginger Cookie with Vanilla Organic Ice Cream
  • Peanut Butter Cookie with Chocolate Organic Ice Cream rolled in roasted peanuts

There’s only a few weeks left in June, so get down there! Here’s a map.

The album is best viewed as a full-screen slideshow, or click through the set collage.

Recovery Sunday

Laura + Paul's wedding

I <3 this cake topper. Perfectly simple but simply perfect!

Post-wedding days are Recovery Sundays at the House of Fielding. These are the days when the cat is glad to have company after being “abandoned” for an eternity (Saturday), and I eat wedding favours for breakfast.

I’m supposed to finish filing my taxes right now, but I’m editing photos instead. That should tell you something.

Marin’s Surprise Birthday Party: The Album

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

three musketeers

Guess what I’m doing right now? If you guessed lying on a beach listening to the surf, adjacent to a sangria and an assistant who’s editing all my photos, *BINGO* you just read my wishful thinking. Delete all but the last four words, is more like it. I’m on my third editing project this week and I have a wedding on Saturday, so I doubt I’ll come up for air until next week month. In the meantime, I’m going to post an album that’s 99% finished and set aside for now, with lots of photos to look at (currently 105 if you have the guest pass, 61 if you don’t).

I’ve included some of my favourite pics here, starting with the one up top, which includes Marin’s oldest friend in Toronto — a momentous occasion since it’s going back something like 20 years, from the university days.

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

this is what surprised looks like

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

you can never have too much cake!

Buying these number balloons was one of the best ideas I had for decorating the party room, along with splurging for helium. Did you know that helium prices are *pun alert* on the rise? Despite the cost, the number balloons made such great props, and they’re reusable! Can you believe my original plan to make the pinata was to papier-mache these? I had to completely give up that idea since they were just TOO BIG.

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday PartyMarin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday PartyMarin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

There was, however, one partygoer who wasn’t particularly impressed with the balloons:

Marin's Surprise 40th Birthday Party

I give it another six months and he’ll be chasing after them.

As per usual, the album is best viewed as a full-screen slideshow (the only way to see all the photos; you’ll need a guest pass if you’re not in my Flickr list), or as thumbnails, or view a selection in the smaller slideshow below:

19th Century Literature Comes To Life On A Plate

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

This month’s One-of-a-Kind-Dinner was themed “The Count of Monte Cristo”, which brings to mind one thing for me: swashbuckling pirates. But this isn’t “Pirates of the Caribbean” the movie, this is a 19th century adventure novel by Alexander Dumas, and it is Chef Clint Rampold’s favourite book, he says.

We were not without swashbuckling pirates, of course.

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

From Wikipedia:

The story takes place in FranceItaly, islands in the Mediterranean and the Levant during the historical events of 1815–1838 (from just before the Hundred Days through to the reign of Louis-Philippe of France). The historical setting is a fundamental element of the book. An adventure story primarily concerned with themes of hope, justice, vengeance, mercy and forgiveness, it focuses on a man who is wrongfully imprisoned, escapes from jail, acquires a fortune and sets about getting revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment. However, his plans have devastating consequences for the innocent as well as the guilty.

Creating a multi-course dinner around the storyline of “The Count of Monte Cristo” is a rather tall culinary order, but Clint rose to the challenge. Here’s the menu:

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

And, the plates in all their glory. (I will add the course descriptions once I get the list.)

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Amuse-Bouche: Haydee, a Turkish Rose

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Soup: Isle of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Appetizer: Napoleon’s Letter

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Main: Betrayal in Marseilles

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Imprisoned In The Chateau D’If

The One-of-a-Kind-Dinners are known for more than originality, they are a celebration of the arts, including dance, theatre, and music.

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Maria Z

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Maria Z

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Sasha Z

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Equus Q

The Count of Monte Cristo Dinner

Andrew Lopatin

This is by no means all the pictures of the evening — check out the photo album as a full-screen slideshow or click through to view the smaller slideshow autoplay below:

full-screen slideshow
thumbnails

Where Art Meets Science Meets… Food

ArtScienceCamp2

extra-terrestrials are friendly

ArtScienceCamp2

marshmallow structure

Photos of Day 2 of #ArtSciCamp with marshmallows and people from outer space may mystify instead of clarify what on earth was going on during the unconference hosted by Subtle Technologies, but this article in Toronto Social Review should clear things up. [Update: Subtle Technologies has their blog post up now, too.] I’m still working on editing and uploading the batch, but I’ll slideshow the Day 2 photos by tag of what’s been added thus far:

I joined the post-unconference dinner at Sambuca Grill on Baldwin Street, then had to dash to make a birthday party. I picked up some red velvet cupcakes along the way:

red velvet cupcakes for the Birthday Girl

red velvet cupcakes for the Birthday Girl

Today I had dim sum with some wedding clients and I was so chuffed when they presented me with freshly-baked cookies that I completely overlooked photographing our dim sum dishes. It’s been absolutely ages since I had dim sum and I had every intention of documenting what appeared on our table with my phone camera, but this is all I got — the end of the dim sum parade:

lucky tea

lucky tea

Sad, considering how much food we consumed! But see the cup of tea? I was told that when a stick from a tea leaf is floating vertically near the surface like that, it means good luck. If I were remotely superstitious, I’d be out buying a lottery ticket.

Postcards From England, Part 2

in the ball pit wind machine

in the ball pit wind machine

When he gets older he’s going to protest how all his photos are with his face covered in food.

he loves his food

he loves his food

R and A

R and A

R

R

cousins

cousins

brothers

brothers

I went all out with cooking today — I made my from-scratch-but-never-the-same-twice lasagna, and this was hands down my best version ever. Uually it takes a day before the lasagna sets properly, but this time the texture was perfect right out of the pan.

my never-the-same-lasagna-twice lasagna

my four cheese lasagna

Loy Krathong

Loy Krathong on the Humber River

Loy Krathong on the Humber River

Last night was my first Loy Krathong, a Thai festival that my friend Marin celebrates every year and I seem to miss every year for one reason or another, usually because I’m out of town. I was determined not to miss this full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar… known to us western calendar folk as November.

What is Loy Krathong? Let’s ask Wikipedia:

Loi literally means ‘to float,’ while krathong refers to the lotus-shaped receptacle which can float on the water. Originally, the krathong was made of banana leaves or the layers of the trunk of a banana tree or a spider lily plant. A krathong contains food, betel nuts, flowers, joss sticks, candle and coins. Modern krathongs are more often made of bread or styrofoam. A bread krathong will disintegrate in a few a days and be eaten by fish and other animals. The traditional banana stalk krathongs are also biodegradable, but styrofoam krathongs are frowned on, since they are polluting and may take years to disappear. Regardless of the composition, a krathong will be decorated with elaborately-folded banana leaves, flowers, candles and incense sticks. A low value coin is sometimes included as an offering to the river spirits. During the night of the full moon, Thais will float their krathong on a river, canal or a pond lake. The festival is believed to originate in an ancient practice of paying respect to the spirit of the waters. Today it is simply a time to have fun.

Since this is my inaugural Loy Krathong boat and I haven’t been to Thailand in a LOOOOONG time, I did what any red-blooded internet user would do for tips on how to make one: I did a Google image search. Isn’t Loy Krathong gorgeous?

There’s no way I’m going to attempt that. First of all, this ain’t the tropics. I don’t have a banana tree in my backyard. Flowers are expensive. So I did what any red-blooded consumer would do: I found the cheapest biodegradable boat material that I could find in 10 minutes and wouldn’t mind sinking in the cold river. What did I find?

Ice cream cone cups. After all, they hold ice cream, right? Ice cream is a liquid, sort of, eventually.

I hope the fish don't mind the lack of ice cream

I hope the fish don't mind the lack of ice cream

So what are those two tall things sticking up that aren’t incense sticks? Why, ear candles, of course. Not because I wanted the weirdest boat in the flotilla, but because I found beeswax candles WAY too expensive. This alternative was cheap yet aesthetically pleasing. I am proud to say my little barge exceeded all expectations for buoyancy and made it all the way down the Humber River to the waterfall where it perished along with the other boats that made it that far (maybe half?).

Marin was quite prepared this year, wielding a blowtorch for speedy lighting and a pair of rubber boots to get the boats offshore and into the river’s guiding current.

lighters just won't do for Loy Krathong

lighters just won't do for Loy Krathong

the flotilla

the flotilla

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Saturday in November than to hang out with friends, eat tasty Thai food, and construct edible and biodegradable boats to float down the nearest river, sending away the bad karma and making wishes for the year to come.

The photos are best viewed as a full-screen slideshow, or thumbnails, or watch the smaller autoplay slideshow below.

Read More»

Carnival Of Venice: The Album

my crazy Venetian mask

my crazy Venetian mask

grilled figs

Grilled figs with prosciutto on fig and fennel seed crostini, spiced mascarpone foam

down the hatch!

down the hatch!

Asiago and crab tortellini, saffron cream sauce

Asiago and crab tortellini, saffron cream sauce

dance performances

dance performances

tiramisu

tiramisu

lady of Venice

lady of Venice

masquerade and costumes

masquerade and costumes

Carnival of Venice Menu by One of a Kind Dinner
www.oneofakinddinner.com

Chef: Clint Rampold
Sou Chef: Isaac Guillen

Cold Appetizers

  1. Pumpkin puree panada with goat cheese mousse
  2. Watermelon gazpacho shooters
  3. Neapolitan pate, black truffle, bufala, tomato on crostini
  4. Cucumber cup of lime/fennel mousseline, feta, black olive tapenade
  5. Grilled figs with prosciutto on fig and fennel seed crostini, spiced mascarpone foam
  6. Beef carpaccio on parmesan crostini

Hot Appetizers

  1. Vol-au-vent : puff pastry fondue with Radicchio
  2. Carnival Calzone: sweet dough and savory filling
  3. Squid on soft polenta with ink sauce
  4. Sauteed scallops on a spoon with garlic flower
  5. Asiago and crab tortellini, saffron cream sauce

Dessert

  1. Dark cherry bourbon chocolate truffles
  2. Tiramisu
  3. Mint granita
  4. Fruit cups

Best viewed as a [full-screen slideshow], or view as [thumbnails].

A smaller slideshow will autoplay below (I’ve capped the slideshow at 100 photos to reduce load time):

Read More»

Carnival Of Venice Dinner: The Preview

the mask with the most feathers of the evening

the mask with the most feathers of the evening

Just a teeny-tiny preview of the visual feast that was the One-Of-A-Kind-Dinner hosted by Clint and Lisa, based on the annual Carnival of Venice (see Google’s carnival images here).

I’ve got an engagement shoot in a corn maze in the morning, I’ll post more Carnival of Venice Dinner pics and the full menu later!

beef carpaccio on a parmesan crust

beef carpaccio on a parmesan crust

the ladies of Venice

the ladies of Venice

vol-au-vent: puff pastry fondue with radicchio

vol-au-vent: puff pastry fondue with radicchio

I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl

Sunday afternoon food groups: nuts and jelly beans

Sunday afternoon food groups: nuts and jelly beans

I have to pick up patients at 7am for their 8am chemo appointments, so I’ll leave this post extremely brief but loaded with calories. After the cupcakes in the last post, it was more sugar on the brain while editing these photos of cakes and desserts and jelly beans.

sweet gifts

sweet gifts

guess how many?

guess how many?

my weakness: cookies!

my weakness: cookies!

And on a related note, if I could be reincarnated, I would come back sounding like this — Chanda Rule covering Nina Simone’s song of the title:

Sneak Peek: The Bridal Shower That Got Showered

Jessica's Fan Club

Jessica's Fan Club

Maybe it’s because I lived in Vancouver, but I don’t think rain is such a big deal if you’re covered. But tell that to people throwing a summer party… on second thought, don’t! The forecasters may have been totally wrong yesterday at Niagara-on-the-Lake, but they were more than right (can you be more than right?) north of Toronto. It poured for hours! However, not at the beginning nor the end of the bridal shower when people were arriving or leaving, so there’s that.

It goes without saying, any Italian party is going to have obscene amounts of food, and today was no exception. I’m going to post some of those and a few of my favourite portraits before I pass out from one of the busiest (non-travelling) weekends of this year. I’m actually looking forward to Monday!

one of four dessert tables

one of four dessert tables (two with two tiers)

one of the three (?) cakes

one of the three (?) cakes

Jessica + Krys

Jessica + Krys

Angie + Jess

Angie + Jess

smiles

smiles

Happy Happy Birthday Birthday

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Who knew I would be totally preoccupied with birthdays for two days straight??? (Not even me.)

Last night was a super-late dinner at Spice Thai Cafe at Queens Quay to celebrate E’s birthday, and it continued through the night and rolled on to 6am. I didn’t have my camera with me, but I got a terrific shot with E’s point-and-shoot digicam of a streetcar streaking by at Queens Quay, and the lights on the boat behind it are still visible. I’ll have to see if I can get the file.

Tonight there were two birthdays including two cakes, plus bellydancing and platters of Argentinian meat at Malbec.

Some edited pics before I crash. The set thus far can be found here.

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This photo cracks me up! The adults with their eatin’ irons and the kid munching away.

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Fat Tuesday

Somehow Shrove Tuesday doesn’t have the same ring to it when I’m posting photos of food.

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Went out for a short-notice dinner with some friends and their friends, a Japanese/Korean place named Ho Su Bistro that’s pretty handy to my office. If you’ve ever been to a Korean restaurant, you’ll know never to eat anything beforehand — between the little appetizer plates and the big bowl/platter of the mains, you can skip a couple of meals afterward and won’t even notice.

It’s also International Women’s Day, so I took some portraits of Neesa at the restaurant and futzed about with body positioning so I could get her lit properly. (Restaurant lighting is usually too dim. Spotlights are also unflattering.) Neesa got a free makeover today because it’s IWD and I wanted to photograph her with her “new” face and hair…

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After dinner the others were planning to see Adjustment Bureau at the cinema nearby but I had work to do, so I parted ways after rolling out of the restaurant and took some pics of the CN Tower with my nifty-fifty f/1.4 on the way home:

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The journey took a little longer since the streetcar short-turned a couple of stops from my house, so I shot a few more at a neighbourhood shoe shop. While I was standing there with my camera, a guy spotted me taking photos and picked my brain for advice on purchasing a camera. It happens fairly often and it always amuses me that the simple act of just holding a DSLR breaks down a social barrier and emboldens people to ask questions of complete strangers.

“I knew it was worth asking you!” he said, thanking me for my advice. “I’ve been wanting to buy a DSLR to use with my SLR lenses and I didn’t know what to do.” (For the record, I advised him to buy used and the previous generation DSLRs without video, after I asked him about it.)

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Wedding Cheese Cake

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I have STACKS of photos to go through before I can post a proper preview of Saturday’s wedding, but I wanted to show you their cake first… it’s made out of a variety of cheese wheels and mmm-m-m-m, do I love cheese! (One reason why I don’t think I could become a vegan.) The emcee (bride’s uncle) took great pains to avoid announcing, “It’s time to cut the cheese!”

Between the cheese cake(s) and the 11pm poutine, I was in cheese heaven!

Wedding Poutine

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Can it really be 6am?!?! I am so wound up after shooting a wedding all day I end up downloading, archiving, and going through the photos when I get home instead of sleeping like normal people do. What can I say, it’s a sickness. But I’m driving to Niagara-on-the-Lake in about five hours and sleep will be necessary so this will be brief.

But I just had to post one photo of my poutine made fresh at the 11pm poutine station (yes, that’s right — forget a carving station, let’s have poutine!). Genius idea, Groom!

If you’re not familiar with poutine, it was Montreal’s idea of the perfect food that is bad for you: fries, gravy, and cheese curds. Quebec has the best cheese curds, in my humble opinion. But I highly recommend not getting addicted to poutine because it will likely give you a heart attack if you eat it more than on the rare occasion.

But at 11pm after shooting for many hours non-stop (some of that outdoors), it is heaven!

Ricoh Coliseum Ice Skating Party

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So last night I had this bright idea for us to wear hats at Ricoh Coliseum this morning while we were shooting a company ice skating party. (Actually, it’s my company, which I refer to as The Firm.) Byron wore the elf hat:

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Most of the party was entertainment for little kids, of which there were many! There were inflatable bouncy castles, face-painters, balloon artists, pony rides, a Mad Science show, a gingerbread cookie-decorating station, mini electric cars, a caricature artist, hockey, and general skating time. But I’m only going to post photos of the food, of which there was a great abundance:

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Next year I’m going to pile up a big plate and put it by the portable photo printers so I can print and eat at the same time! Here’s something I found handy while shooting this event: put people in front of the white snowman made of inflatable balloons to set white balance. Thanks, snowman!

More Cupcakes!

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The bride’s mother’s homemade cupcakes for tomorrow, yum! I’m also looking forward to the Indian food, the Big Band, and the ceremony in the theatre…

A few photos from the rehearsal:

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Tandoori rotisserie chicken is enough to keep me being a carnivore.

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I like the bride’s style — I haven’t seen her dress yet, but I’m sure it will be beautiful!

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Front yard bokeh.