Monthly Archives: June 2012

Review: Da Vinci – The Genius

Something’s strange about the Mona Lisa, but I can’t figure out what…

This weekend, my husband & I went to Science World to check out their newest exhibit: Da Vinci – The Genius. We’ve always been interested in the Renaissance art and especially Da Vinci’s artwork. So we figured it was bound to be interesting, even though the last couple times we’ve been to Science World have been disappointing.

The exhibit focuses mostly on his inventions as well as his artwork. The exhibition does a wonderful job of recreating many of his inventions to full scale model. It’s amazing to see his inventions and resonances of them in many modern day items. For instance, Da Vinci has a drawing for an anemoscope in his notebooks which helps show the direction of the wind. This is exactly the same as weathervanes we see today. I always knew Da Vinci was obsessed with creating flying machines, but I didn’t know how many of his inventions were military ones, machine guns and tanks.

The exhibition’s artwork section focuses on Da Vinci’s most famous work: The Mona Lisa. This part of the exhibit focuses on some new discoveries about the Mona Lisa: the actual colours she was painted in of bright blues and softer pinks rather than the dark greens and browns of the painting we know now. From the close up details, we can see traces of the eyebrows that Da Vinci painted on her face even though now they’d faded/deteriorated away. We can appreciate new details about the background: the bridges and winding roads, the blue mountains in the far off distance.

Overall, it was a very educational and insightful exhibit. My husband & I spent almost two hours going over the exhibit and we both remarked how the time flew by. I thought the exhibit was quite large and very well done: much more impressive than I was anticipating.

Just one gripe I had about the exhibit: I wish it wasn’t held at Science World because of all the little kids running around. The first section of the exhibit had so many kids running around touching all the exhibits ¬†– even those clearly marked with a Do Not Touch sign. And so many kids without a parent in sight, letting Science World be the babysitter. It was distracting have so many children running around and creating chaos. I admit, I was annoyed and probably would have enjoyed the exhibit a lot more otherwise. Luckily, most of the kids seemed to get bored and were nowhere to be seen about a third of the way through the exhibit.

 

Da Vinci – The Genius
Science World (at Telus World of Science)
1455 Quebec St at Terminal Ave, Vancouver
Ph: 604-443-7440
April 29th to September 3rd

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Best Meatballs Ever

Yummiest meatballs ever! Ok not really.*

Just made some meatballs to go with our spaghetti tonight. These are seriously some yummy meatballs that I had to share the recipe, which I modified from this one I got off of allrecipes.

Ingredients:
1lb lean ground beef
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 medium onion
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
dash of Franks RedHot sauce
1-1/2 tbs Worcestshire sauce
1 egg
1/4 cup of grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup of Japanese panko crumbs

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with tin foil and lightly grease.

2) Place all ingredients in a large bowl and, using hands, mix together to combine. Use a 1/3 cup to measure out two meatballs. Place evenly spaced apart on baking sheets.

3) Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes. Flip halfway during cooking time. Meatballs are done when they are no longer pink in the centre. Serve over spaghetti and pasta sauce.

Yield: 16 meatballs

I’m quite impressed by this recipe, especially considering it only uses ground beef. Most meatball recipes require three different types of meat (pork, veal, Italian sausage) which I can’t afford all the time. Apparently these meatballs freeze well either raw or cooked which I’ll try out this week.

*Actually, the yummiest meatballs are from Pasta Amore Restorante in Burnaby.

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Review: The Fish House Restaurant in Stanley Park

The Fish House

A couple weekends ago, my husband took me out to The Fish House Restaurant in Stanley Park. We’ve always talked about going there sometime in the six years we’ve been together but only just now got around to doing so. So was it worth the wait?

A word of warning about getting TO the restaurant: you’ll want to take Beach Ave to get there rather than through Stanley Park via Georgia Street like we did. We were 10 mins late for our reservation because of that long drive. And as we were driving through the park, I was very sure we were going to miss it or already passed it. If you do take the Stanley Park route, just trust the signs and once you’re sure you’ve missed it, it should appear out of thin air, like an oasis in the middle of a desert.

Apparently, when we went, they got a new chef in the week prior and there were lots of new menu items. I had the Cannery Cod entree with the salmon carpaccio to start. Stuart had the prawn cocktail to start, followed by the Trio of Simply Grilled Fish. Both my dishes were divine. The salmon carpaccio was surprisingly yummy, especially with the capers. I half expected it to taste kinda like salmon sashimi but it really didn’t at all. So melt in your mouth delicious that I’ve been thinking about it since. And the Cannery Cod was also so good. Very buttery and flavourful, two words I usually don’t use to describe fish but there you go. I loved everything about it, especially the lobster oil* which I haven’t tasted since in years. Oh and another thing I loved: the portions were a good size. I never felt like there wasn’t enough. I couldn’t even finish my fish. Stuart also polished off both his dishes too which he was apparently very satisfied with. I didn’t taste them though as I was too busy gorging on my own food.

Aside from the amazing food, I had to comment on the excellent service we got from our server, Corwyn. He was very friendly and funny that I enjoyed chatting with him every time he stopped by. And every one of his recommendations were spot on. If only every restaurant we went to had servers like him!

Anyway, Stuart & I are definitely going to stop by The Fish House again, hopefully later into the summer when the weather is nice. Perhaps before catching Bard on the Beach or Theatre Under the Stars? I’ve also told everyone within earshot to definitely head there as well for an awesome dining experience.

*Yes, lobster oil! Like the fabled one at The Cannery before it closed down. Our server Corwyn told me that they were the sister companies which explains the similar menu items like the cod that I had as well as the Salmon Wellington. Anyway, same lobster oil which you can apparently still buy by the bottle like before. The lobster oil alone is reason enough to come back again and again.

The Fish House in Stanley Park
8901 Stanley Park Drive
Vancouver, BC
Ph: 604-681-7275

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Cookie Crisis

This weekend I wanted to do something nice for my husband who has been having a fairly stressful few weeks. So I decided to bake him a quick batch of chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies. Who could have known that this small task would turn into such a epic disaster?

As I was in the middle of combining the butter, sugar and eggs, my hand slipped while holding the electric mixer and it promptly broke (the mixer, not my hand). So I left having to try and mix everything by hand which would have been okay if I hadn’t already thrown the eggs in. Ugh. Not wanting to waste the butter and eggs, I mixed away using arm muscles I previously thought non-existant. A sludgy mess of ten minutes later, I remembered I had a hand blender given to us as a wedding present when we first got married (thanks again Jeff) and that I generally use to liquify soups. In a pinch it worked! Yay!

After that moment of triumph and relief, I chose to finally answer a text message. But my aforementioned arm muscles betrayed me and my phone slipped right outta my hands and into the gooey batter. Ack! Another ten minutes of cleaning up my phone later, I resumed the cookie baking.

After having formed and arranged the balls of dough on the baking sheets, I opened up the fridge to put away the rest of the dough for the time being. And that’s when I saw the ribs I had intended for dinner that night, innocently defrosting in the fridge. I was seriously vexed. This meant I had to stop the baking and get the ribs cooking asap since they needed at least 6 hours in the slow cooker (another wedding present, thanks Vicky!).

So two hours later I was finally done my “quick” batch of cookies and I was frazzled. All I gotta say is, these better have been worth it.

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How to Play Video Games With Your Non-Gamer Wife

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Yes, we had a Legend of Zelda wedding cake.

As you probably know, I’m married to an avid video-gamer. Stuart not only plays and collects various video games but also works in the industry. Our living room has far too many video games and video game consoles on display. And even more stored away,… somewhere. And yet, I barely play any video games at all.¬†However, in the last few years since we’ve been together, Stuart’s managed to get me to play a number of video games with him. The following are a few tips to Stuart which may (or may not) also help other gamers and their wives:

Easy controls
It’s hard enough for me to remember where A, B, X and Y are on the Wiimote. But then to remember where the X, circle, triangle and square are on the Playstation controllers? Forget it. And why is there a D-pad AND not one but TWO analog sticks? So forgive me if I don’t want to play anything that requires me to remember to push multiple buttons in sequence to do some sort of combo. I can handle two buttons and maybe a third later on once I’ve mastered the first two. Or maybe a racing game like Mario Kart that only requires me to go forward and turn once in a while using the D-pad (or analog stick if I’m feeling daring). Or a zombie shooting game where it’s point and shoot.

Be helpful rather than frustrated
One of Stuart’s favourite things he used to say to me when we played together was “Stop dying”. I think this is singularly one of the most aggravating phrases to say during gameplay. Because it’s not like I want to die. Most of the time, I’m barely even registering that I’m dying as I haven’t been looking at my health/life meter thing. But recently while playing Skylanders, Stuart told me to try standing back and throwing fireballs at the enemies rather than rushing up to them to kill them. It was like a lightbulb went off. It was obvious to him but to me, I couldn’t understand why I kept dying and what I was doing wrong or how else to approach the bad guys. But now I knew and I survived much longer before dying. By telling me precisely what I was doing wrong and what I could do to prevent it, my gameplay improved more than by commanding me to “stop dying”.

Low level commitment games
My attention span is low for video games. I usually can’t play video games for more than half an hour. One hour tops if I’m really into it. Stuart on the other hand will play for hours on end, well into the night. If we’re playing together, it needs to be a game with minimal commitment. Something I can join easy and drop out of easily if I get bored or frustrated with it. The dropping out part is important especially if I’m proving to be more detrimental than helpful to passing the level. Like when we were playing New Super Mario Bros on the Wii, I’d sometimes put myself into a bubble and essentially take myself out of play so Stuart could get past a particularly challenging section with me holding him back or getting in the way.

In the end, I’ve played a few video games, even finishing some all by myself. I’m not a gamer and probably won’t ever be one. But I’m learning to enjoy playing video games since it’s one way for us to spend time together.

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