. . the Pumpkins are coming, the Pumpkins are coming . . .!

look what has been growing in the fields around our house ! Just a couple weeks ago they were still green and hidden under the leaves. But then the sun came out for a few warm days and Presto ! . . .Pumpkins.

These certainly look like the ideal pumpkins for Halloween . . .bright orange, smooth surface, nice and round. But shape doesn't really matter when using pumpkin in recipes. I mean, does the pumpkin pie really concern itself with how it was shaped beforehand? Probably not. Still, the nice shape and lovely fall color do inspire me to be creative in the kitchen. Pumpkin Pie anyone?


Last night, Mr. Dashing and I decided to go out for dinner. In itself, not a big deal, but dinner out together usually means more than one stop. We like to restaurant hop, which allows us to try out a few different restaurants and atmospheres throughout the evening, Sort of like bar hopping, but much swankier.

We decide to take the train downtown, since we agreed there would most likely be bubbles and neither of us wanted to drive. Besides, parking in Vancouver costa a small fortune.

We started at Ensemble, which is the focus of this posting. Ensemble is the brain child of Top Chef Canada winner Dale Mackay. We sat at the bar and swapped stories with the bartender and sipped on muddled cocktails. With these we enjoyed a honey beet salad, as well as buffalo mozzarella with watermelon and balsamic reduction. Oh, and crab cakes. All three plates were very good and nicely executed, but it was the cheese / melon / balsamic that really stood out for us. The sweetness of the watermelon off set with the tang of the balsamic was a little bit of bliss. The buffalo mozzarella helped ensure each bite was something different; some smooth with just a hint of sweetness, others creaminess with the bite of the balsamic.

There is a mixture of lounge-y bar atmosphere alongside sit down dining; giving the room an overall warmth. Or maybe it’s just because it’s a small room on the corner of Thurlow and Haro. Or that Mr. Dashing was rather amorous and flirty. Either way, it was a great way to start off our evening, and we intend to return soon to try more of Chef Mackay’s dishes.

Afterwards, we went to Coast for oysters and bubbles (well, Mr. Dashing had the oysters, we both had the bubbles), then to Gyoza King for ….gyoza, ebi mayo and sake, to Cin Cin for dessert and more bubbles. Finally, a little stop in at Thierry for macarons before heading home.

So $300.00 lighter, the evening was a big success. Until I broke one of the heels on my favourite pair of boots on the way home. First world problems, I know.
Looking forward to our next night out.

Boots for a Fall Friday

It may be September, and the weather may still be warm . . but oh, how I crave these GORGEOUS boots from Rene Caovilla !
. .like pumpkin and spice and everything nice about fall !

September is for Sapphires !

I am a Diamond girl. That is to say, I was born in April, thus making my birthstone Diamond. Which really, I have no complaints about. However, if I were to choose a gemstone to pair with my diamonds, it would have to be the wonderfully hued Sapphire, the birthstone for September. This regal corundum mineral is generally thought of as the truest of blue in gemstones. Hence the phrase “Sapphire Blue”. But sapphires can be nearly any color except red (since those are called rubies, which are chemically and structurally the same). Sapphire is also the Zodiac stone for the constellation of Taurus the Bull. (which, being a Taurus, I can appreciate)

The Logan Sapphire from Sri Lanka (above left) is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in the world, weighing 422.99 carats. It is currently on display at the Natural Museum of Natural History.

The Hall Sapphire Necklace (right) was designed by Harry Winston, Inc., and features thirty six matched Ceylon sapphires from Sri Lanka, surrounded by four hundred and thirty five white diamonds. That's right . . . four hundred and thirty five. The Hall Sapphire Necklace is on display at the Smithsonian Institution's American Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

Sapphires from Sri Lanka and India are well known, and excellent examples are also found in Tanzania and the Kola Peninsula of Russia. In addition, sapphires are found in many places throughout the world, including North Carolina, Montana, Brazil, and China. 

But I think the best place to find them should be in my jewelry box . . .

Sapphire is also the traditional gift for a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary. (my advice? instead of celebrating a 25th anniversary with paltry silver, opt to celebrate five times your 5th and receive five sapphires) If somehow you make it to your 65th wedding anniversary, then the traditional gift is the rare and pleasantly peculiar star sapphire (left).

Of the four classic gemstones (diamond, ruby, emerald and sapphire), these beauties are the most sophisticated, and yet the most understated. They don't scream "look at me, look how flashy I am." like emeralds or rubies tend to do. No, sapphires are content to sit back, hang out with their pals the diamonds and let people be drawn into them. They are not attention seekers, yet gain much admiration whenever they are worn. Like a high bred lady of society, they don't shout out their wealth, yet everybody in the room instinctively knows who they are and what they are worth.

And that is what I find makes them so intriguing.

Paraiba Green Sapphire