Monday, December 29, 2008

Small Steps

Miss 604 has put out a challenge to let her know which of the 83,000 charities listed on the CanadaHelps website you would donate to and why; if your entry is chosen, she will give you a $25 gift e-card to donate to that charity. For her CanadaHelps Gift Card Giveaway, this is my choice:

The David Suzuki Foundation

I grew up in an environmentally conscious household with high school science teachers for parents. My mother was into recycling and composting before environmentalism became hip and my father has always been an avid outdoor enthusiast, as well as an accomplished taxidermist and entomologist. (I owe most of my topographical, ornithological, entomological and botanical knowledge to them). Many weekends of my childhood were spent gathering plant or pond water samples for my parents' high school biology classes. We often watched "The Nature of Things" and listened to"Quirks and Quarks" on CBC. After David Suzuki launched his foundation in 1990, my parents started making regular donations to help fund his fight to preserve Canada's oceans and forests for future generations; I want to continue my family's legacy.

I've always admired Suzuki's relentless activism in the face of extreme criticism; it's people like him who make profound changes because they don't give up the fight for what they believe in. I believe in Suzuki's push to re-examination of our lifestyle and how it impacts the greatest resource we have: the earth. If we pour toxins down the drain, they don't disappear; they poison the water supply. If we clear-cut forests, the top-soil erodes and the land is left barren. Everything is inextricably linked; what affects one thing affects the whole. I want to contribute to the whole.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

No Mo' Dadeo's

I'm sad by the recent demise of one of my favourite Edmonton exports: Dadeo's Cajun diner at 3305 Cambie Street. After almost two years in business, the Vancouver location no longer offers an inviting flood of light from the windows, only brown paper masking everything from view. A couple of weeks after it closed I was reassured by the hopeful sign announcing that Dadeo's was undergoing renovations and would open again soon. However, upon wandering past there last Friday on a quest to see the progress, I saw several posters pasted on the doors proudly stating, "Stella's Pub Opening Soon." Say it isn't so! No more Po' Boys, yam fries or fritters after spending the day at the beach.

The Edmonton restaurant has been a local favourite for years, the red 50s style diner booths always packed, people jockeying for elbow room at the counter when table space ran out. I missed it so much, it was the first restaurant I visited upon returning to Edmonton after a year abroad. Alas. At least the Black Frog still exists.

Friday, December 26, 2008


With Vancouver buried under a duvet of snow, I decided it was time to break out the Mission Hill 2004 Riesling ice wine that I've hoarded since last Christmas. I haven't sampled ice wine in quite some time, so I considered it a treat to savor it over a thick slice of pumpkin pie. The heady smell of raisin and spiced apples, and its rich golden colour reminded me of apple strudel. The silky smooth sweetness that washed over my tongue made me smile--delectable!

Ice wine is extremely high on the sweetness scale, so if you don't like port or liqueurs, you probably won't like it. I received this bottle as a gift; however, I do know that it runs for about $40 a bottle at Taylorwood wines in Yaletown. It comes in a lovely black cylinder, the perfect gift for anyone who's in for a bit of a wine adventure.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Have a Winederful Holiday

Well, it's Christmas Day and due to nature's stormy temper, I did not make it back to the flatlands for the holidays. So to console myself, I decided to have pizza and red wine for Christmas dinner; there's nothing better that indulgance to warm the heart. Earlier this afternoon I stopped by Firefly--one of my favourite wine stores--and asked one of the helpful staff to recommend a nice Chilean wine that was similar to my usual Santa Rita stand-by. He lead me over to the shelf and pointed out a sleek bottle of 2005 Chocalan Carmenere Reserve insisting it was the best bang for the buck. Feeling adventurous I bought the Carmenere Reserve (approx $20) and a bottle of the Chocolan Syrah 2007 (approx $15).

Just before dinner I uncorked the 2005 Carmenere Reserve and poured a generous glass. Swirling it I let the ruby-red whirlpool slow before I put my nose to the rim and inhaled the aroma of blackberries and cocoa (no saddle leather here). The taste was slightly biting, spicy and rich in berry flavor. It complimented the dark Lindt chocolate with chili (my newest addiction!) that I ate for dessert. I agree that this wine is certainly a good value for the money, but I must admit that I like the Vina Casa Blanca Syrah (2006) from Chile more; I found it silkier, smoother, more robust. I'll have to do a taste test comparison if I don't get distracted by the vast array of fantastic wine out there. Happy sampling!