Sunday, October 28, 2007

I heart Ethiopian coffee

After our visit to the David Kaye Gallery the other night, Diane and I went to Addis Ababa for an Ethiopian dinner. Since this is obviously a family-run establishment that is very popular in the neighbourhood (full on a Wednesday night), I feel guilty about saying bad things about it, but Lalibela really is miles better in quality, quantity, and price. Nevertheless, I thought that the coffee we had to finish the meal was excellent.

When you order coffee at an Ethiopian restaurant, they perform a serving ceremony for you. First, they roast the beans in a little tray and shake them around in front of you. Then, they brew the coffee and serve it in a gourd-shaped clay pot along with a burning sprig of Frankincense. You drink the coffee from little espresso-sized cups with a bit of white sugar.

I'm actually not a coffee drinker at all. I just wanted to see the ceremony and I thought that I would have a mouthful at the most, but I loved it. I drank three cups and wished there was more. It was delicious. This could be the start of a brand new addiction.

On previous visits to Ethiopian restaurants, when I was rubber-necking to see other people's coffee ceremonies, I thought that they served the coffee with popcorn. Does anyone know?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Kai Chan exhibit at the David Kaye Gallery

Tonight Diane and I ducked out early from work and made our way to the David Kaye Gallery to check out the Kai Chan exhibit called 'To Please the Eye: recent constructions'. Kai Chan is a Chinese sculptor who at one point was a visiting artist and professor at NSCAD in Halifax where my mom teaches. Apparently, he came over to our house in Cole Harbour for dinner, but I think I was already in Montreal at university by that time so I didn't meet him. David Kaye is also a colleague of my mom's so I have been meaning to go to this gallery for some time.

The gallery is a lovely, bright, and charming space on Dovercourt just off Queen Street (don't be confused by the Queen Street address; the entrance is on Dovercourt). The front area was occupied by a painting exhibit by David Wilcox. In the middle area was some showcases with jewelry and scarves and the back room housed the Kai Chan exhibit.

All of the pieces consisted mostly of natural tree branches that were painted, carved, etched, and arranged in different ways. A few of them were comprised of many slender branches that crossed and intertwined to create mobile-like structures. We wondered if he planned the design meticulously or if he just started arranging like a flower bouquet and improvised as he went along. The resulting sculptures look balanced and beautiful in a random but organized way the reminds me of a fractal or snowflake.

The painted and etched branches were amazing. The etching varied widely and included natural carvings that accentuated the wood grain, decorative and literal designs such as bugs and leaves, as well as abstract markings. On two of the sculptures, a glass bottle was fitted on the end of the branch which might symbolize something, but I just appreciated that unexpectedness of it. I'd never have thought of that.

I was worried that I wouldn't be allowed to take any pictures in there and I didn't know what the usual rules are in galleries. But, David was there and he said that it was fine as long as I wasn't making money off the photos since the artist owned the copyright to the work. Thankfully, I am nowhere near a professional blogger, so it's all cool. He was pleased that I was getting the word out about the show, which makes sense to me. Nevertheless, I'm always faced with people who don't want their work photographed (e.g. many vendors at the One of a Kind Show). So, I got lots of pictures. Hope you enjoy them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Sorry, Michael

My sincerest apologies for not blogging for almost 2 months! Michael, are you still there? My good friend Michael has been a faithful reader and I may have lost him due to my laziness. It was part laziness and part feeling uninspired, but not blogging makes me feel even worse so I'm trying to pick it up again.

Between when I left off until now, I ran the Scotiabank Half Marathon (and made some bad pre-race meal choices), went home to Halifax for Thanksgiving, and ate a lot of great food. Even though I haven't been blogging, I still took pictures so I'll try to catch you up on the best of everything I saw and ate in September and October.