Aside from Chinese New Year a month ago and weekends where I’ve been out of the city, I haven’t had a remarkable weekend to blog about since mid-November. NPY laments stressful weekends that feel like work – but most certainly are not work – but I roll with it as a fact of life. Lazy weekends and/or great and fun weekends are not the default any longer. That’s why I cling like mad to the weekend morning hours I spend on my computer, catching up with the world, before the weekend and errands begin.
I guess I have to attribute some of the levity this weekend to it being a “birthday weekend” and it all started way back on Thursday. A friend who currently has a flexible schedule but many other priorities took the time to meet up with me for lunch. It wasn’t just a coincidence that he sought me out before my birthday so I was touched he remembered.
An invitation to dim sum lunch between a mentor and her mentee at work was extended to me and it was a nice opportunity to spend time with both of them away from the office. We will all be working a lot together. And it came to light that the mentor and I both have birthdays on the weekend! That brings the number of people I know in my service line with birthdays on March 10/11 to four.
Extending the girls’ events, two girlfriends met up with me downtown for dinner at Diva at the Met. It is just around the corner from work and I had been intrigued for a while about this place. Their five-course tasting menu was a total sensory treat with rich and premium ingredients and creations and delightfully creative presentation. I was in foie gras and truffle heaven!
The girls and I shut the place down – Diva was such a nice environment and we had a quiet corner table to talk and honestly share our opinions and support for each other as we are at a similar stage in life and all face big life events in the coming year.
When I got home after dinner, the family was up but playing games. NPY’s brother’s girlfriend was the “odd man out” and we got to chat for a while. It was a nice way to unwind at the house – like having a sister around – bounce ideas off her and commiserate a little about dating the brothers. ;-)
Saturday was a busy day where NPY and I enjoyed the sunshine while going on a whirlwind condo/townhouse tour where we checked out the Arbutus area. I loved the Arbutus Walk area when I used to run through it and it is just as exciting to see it in terms of potential neighbourhood … but I’m imaginative and can see myself in a couple other more accessible areas.
We knew dinner was a Chinese-style banquet so I tried not to eat after breakfast but just across the street from Michael’s where we did some shopping, Sha Lin was calling my name. I’ve wanted to try it again since it moved to new digs – the food was underwhelming but held us through until dinner.
Dinner at Fisherman’s Terrace was loosely based on a wedding banquet menu with substitutions bringing in far tastier dishes. This isn’t even all of the food by far – I didn’t photograph the fried pork chop in a sweet cream sauce, the fried rice dish, the fried E-fu noodles dish, and the cookies, mango rolls and taro-tapioca dessert soup.
It was nice to have an occasion to dress up – although I tend to dress less casually compared to the group – and see everyone else all around doing the same. At the end of the evening, we unwound and watched a movie at one of the guys’ penthouse.
While I had only experienced the system last week, NPY and his friends have known each other from high school and we followed an established, fair but lengthy voting process to pick a movie starting with as many nominations as there were people watching, “secret” voting with ranking all of the films and a second round of voting between the top two. After all was said and done, I was happy my nomination, Shanghai Calling, did not come in dead last and I was overall happy we watched Looper on account of it being a JGL film. But that film was so weird!
Sunday, I squeezed in a good chat with Mum before dim sum lunch with NPY’s family. It was so filling we needed to go to the mall to run some errands and feel better.
NPY arranged for me and him to go up Grouse Mountain a little ahead of our dinner reservation. I’ve been to Grouse Mountain so many times but realized that I’ve never been there during winter, when it is a ski/snow sport destination. Where we’d usually step out of the chalet and walk across grass towards the conservation and visit the bears, instead there were ski racks and people coming off the runs. Visibility was practically zero so we couldn’t appreciate a vista of the runs around us and snow-topped firs and we marveled how people could ski safely or enjoy skating through fog on the outdoor rink. We decided to go snowshowing later this month but at a more accessible mountain (that does not require a gondola ride to the base).
At first, NPY was a deflated that I had dined atop Grouse Mountain before but Altitudes Bistro is nothing like The Observatory. We ordered lovely meat-based dishes with a quail appetizer and lamb and beef short rib as our entrees. The fog did not let up before sunset but the clean, white light kept it so nice and bright in the dining room we could appreciate the great colour and variation on our plates. Fine dining does not always deliver but The Observatory was not a let down in the least. Even the butter served with the baguettes was tasty being herbed butter in olive oil and topped with coarse salt.
Life back in Vancouver has been challenging for me with adjustments, the pace I’m forcing upon myself with a busy schedule and “what it all means”. I’ve just been making it through, it seems at times. This weekend – which shall go down in the books as pretty epic – reminded me of the wonderful people around me who care about me if I just let them. I can’t and won’t be an island forever.
On this day..
- A dose of the arts in Maui - 2015