Tonight is the Finale Night for the HSBC Celebration of Lights. Unlike previous years, this year’s finale night is a full competition featuring a new contender, Mexico.
The crowd started forming at 7pm. We went to watch from Vanier Park which is a great place for photographers because of the backdrop. By the time we were there, there were a lot of photographers already staked out their vantage point.
The fireworks are launched from the barge in the middle of English Bay. Many boats were already assembled around the barge. The reports said that there were 350,000 people on this night alone at the beaches around the English Bay.
I brought along a Kakuro to while away the almost 3 hours wait. Did a couple and failed to solve both! This is supposed to be easy. Saw where I did wrong … 7+4=12!! Duh!
Had to stop the Kakuro when the sun started to set over the bay. It was getting too dark.
The bright lights from West End looked beautiful from where we were. The fireworks started at 10pm when it was completely dark. It’s great having the sun start setting at 9pm. Sigh … a couple of months more, we’re back to shorter and shorter day.
We did not expect Mexico to do so well being first timers but we were quite blown away by their presentation. The fireworks synchronized so well with the music that was broadcasted. Compared to the other presentation we saw, China, they had more colours and much larger “bloom” which filled the sky.
After the end of the 25 minutes Mexican fireworks, there was another 6 minute finale presentation. If you plan on a visit to Vancouver in summer, I strongly suggest that you time your vacation during the fireworks nights. You will not regret it.
There are more fireworks pictures on the link below … hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I had taking them.
The HSBC Celebration of Lights is the largest fireworks competition in the world. This event had been held every year since 1991 in mid summer. From 1991 to 2000, the event was known as the Benson and Hedges Symphony of Fire until the city pulled the plug on sponsorship from the tobacco company.
I still recalled in 2001, the event was almost cancelled because the organizers could not find a sponsor for the event and also that the city hall were getting worried about organizing the event that large. HSBC came to the rescue in the nick of time with the funding and this event has since been known as the HSBC Celebration of Lights.
The musical fireworks event is held in the English Bay. Just the perfect setting for a fireworks event this big — with the North Shore mountains and the downtown skyline as a backdrop. The event is held on four nights over a two week period. We watched the fireworks from Vanier Park.
Because this is a food blog, we simply had to include the obligatory picture of food. This is the snack that Nanzaro bought for $7.50. It’s pretty expensive and the chicken strips were not too great — it’s just breaded chicken.
For the first time, there are 4 countries invites to compete this year. Previous years, there were three countries invited. The countries this year were represented by the leading fireworks manufacturer from Italy, China, Czech Republic and for the first time, Mexico.
We went for the China and Mexico show this year. The pictures below were shots taken from the chinese presentation.
The show started at 10pm and the local radio station broadcasts the music simultaneously. Let me know what you think of these pictures. It was pretty hard to get great shots.
Click of the link below for more pictures of the Chinese fireworks …
We have been seeing a lot of Diet Coke and Mentos reaction videos on YouTube and Google Video. When we went grocery shopping over the weekend, Arkensen said we should try the experiment.
For some reason, all the videos that we saw uses ONLY Diet Coke and Mentos … not any other soda. I guess the reason why Diet Coke is used is because it’s less sticky.
We were not sure how much we need and so we decided to pop in four mentos tablets into a 2 litre Diet Coke bottle.
Arkensen volunteered to have a go. He was very nervous and took some time to calm down his nerves before doing it.
The reaction was instantaneous. I stood a long distance because I saw on the video a geyser that is at least 18 feet high. The geyser was supposed to fill the entire frame of the picture below!!
Instead, it was just 6 feet high.
The bottle was left with just a third of the coke. And it tastes weird … with a strong mentos taste.
So, anyone know how to make a 18 feet geyser? More mentos or less?
We bought some longan from the T&T Supermarket last weekend. It has been a long time since we bought fresh ones. We normally have longans in cans with syrup. Our boys like that.
The longan costs $1.99 per pound. The pack below costs $5.33. Longans are grown on trees native to South East Asia from South China to Indonesia.
Surprisingly the longans actually smells like longan … you know, normally, you don’t smell anything until they are peeled of their skin but these does.
They are round with a thin, brown-coloured inedible shell. The flesh of the fruit, which surrounds a big, black seed, is white, soft, and juicy.
The word longan literally means “dragon eyes”.
Friends have told us about Trader Joe’s and raved about how different they are from other grocery stores. We don’t have TJ’s in Canada and have always planned to check out TJ’s the next time we’re near Seattle. We found one in Everett on the way to Seattle.
TJ’s products are private labeled. They are known for their low prices and boasted the fact that each and every item in the store are tasted by their own panel. Only items they like are sold to the public. If you don’t like the things you bought, you could always return them, with no questions asked.
Since we’re travelling we just bought a couple of snacks for the trip, although there are so many other stuff we wanted to buy too. We bought a bag of TJ’s Spicy Soy and Flaxseed Tortilla Chips for $1.99.
The tortilla chip is really good. It has a flaxseed (like sesame seed) embedded on the chips which gives it a nutty flavour. The spiciness was just right. We couldn’t stop munching them in the car.
We also bought TJ’s Very Chocolate Mini Meringues. Meringues are made from whipped egg white and sugar.
The meringues are dry and crisp. The chocolate on the insides were really rich. It’s a very light snack and you can take quite a few without feeling too full.
Have you ever been to TJ’s?
The Bite of Seattle is an annual affair held at the Seattle Center. The 2006 event is the northwest premier food festival and hosts more than 50 restaurants, 30 food product companies and other food and beverage related events. We were there primarily for the food.
When we got there at about 2 pm, there were already a lot of people. Couple with one of the hottest days, it was quite unbearable really. Our main grouse is that the organizers did not have a proper eating area with tables and chairs. So, most people ended up eating on the lawn under trees.
The below is Alligator Meat. It tastes a lot like chicken to me and do wonder if they really are alligator meat. A skewer costs $5 … it better had to be alligator meat for that kind of money!
The Louisiana Crab Cake costs $5 and is served over dirty rice and lemon garlic and tomato wine sauce. We’ve never tried this before but frankly, this does not stand up to Chinese style dish of the same sort. I guess we’re not used to having so much sauce drowning the rice.
The Salmon and Cream Cheese Piroshky is a Russian food very much described as a pocket pastry. It appears deep fried. It is crusty on the outside and has a pillowy pastry just under it.
The salmon and cream cheese went very well together. Each piece costs $5. Nice and warm.
We also bought some short churros. They always looks good but the normal length ones are simply too much for us. The two short churros was $2.
The Brats Special n Fries is a German specialty. Bratwurst is basically sausage with pork and beef. We like the real meat in the brats and the BBQ sauce is tangy and a little spicy. The fries was nothing to shout about … too soggy too. This one costs $6.
The elephant ears costs $4 each. Nice soft dough and is covered with cinnamon sugar. Always a favourite in any fair. We also gets sugar smuttered all over the face.
Our two boys absolutely must have noodles. This plate is from a Thai stall and costs $4. Nothing special really but it has too much vegetables and not enough noodles.
This is the best of all the food we tried. We went for two helpings of ribs. Each bone costs $1 only and we think it’s a good deal. The line-up for this was long as they could not keep up with the demand. They were moist and have the right bits of fat. Super yummy!
We also got a bag of freebies from some of the stalls.
There’s also a stall which happen to celebrate their 100th year anniversary with a 100 feet long hotdog.
So, what do you think of the food in the Bite of Seattle event? You know, I am pretty disapointed with the selection. I think it’ll be great if they have a more international selection of cuisines. Also, they should have put together proper places so that people can enjoy their food in comfort. Although the scale of the event is larger than the Richmond Nibbles-n-Bites and Vancouver’s EAT!, I think the local events were better organized and had wider selection.
It was a hectic week at work for me the past week. At the end of the week I was totally glad that it was the start of the weekend. So, Suanne and I went for a walk and wondered into the T&T Supermarket because the weather was so hot.
We stopped by the Chinese Cold Snacks counter in the supermarket because we wanted to get something to munch.
We selected the Marinated Beancurd because they look so appetizing, especially with the Thai Chilli granishing the snack. They tasted a bit chewy but do find that they are also too greasy or oily. It has a hint of spiciness from the Thai Chilli.
The large container weighing 0.8 lbs came up to $4.50.
The highlight of our trip to Kelowna is picking cherries. On the first day we were there we went to a cherry farm on Westbank. We had been to this farm before but were pleasantly surprised at the abundance newly ripe cherries on the trees.
Picking cherries is simple. You need to pick it with the stems on. This will keep the cherries fresh longer. The man in charge of the farm showed us how best to pick cherries — basically, you push the stem up and snap off the stem.
The cherries in the Westbank farm is free of pesticides but is a bit small compared to larger ones we see in the stores. They a bit soft and not crunchy.
You really need to climb ladders to get to the better fruit. The lower ones were gone very fast. We need to make sure that the ladder is stable. In all, we picked about 11 lbs of cherries from the Westbank farm. Each lb costs $1.25.
On the second day, we drive south of Kelowna to the end of Lakeshore Rd. There are a few popular farms there. These u-pick farms are more organized and the cherries were a class better than the ones in Westbank — they are bigger and crunchier. However, this farm uses pesticides.
The cherries in this farm is a bit more expensive at $1.50 per pound. We picked more this time — 15 pounds. Ha ha ha … it was so easy to pick but not we have to figure out how to eat all 26 pounds of cherries! :-)
There was this family we saw who picked 82 lbs! So, 26 lbs is not so bad after all, right?
Suanne is looking a recipes to make use of the cherries. She’ll blog about it the next few days. At the meantime, do you have any idea what we can do with so much cherries?
Here is a few shots around Kelowna we took. We had a good time just walking along the park and seawall.
“The Sails” is the centre point of Kelowna.
The seawall walk is very well maintained and very beautiful. Green on one side and blue water on the other.
We also saw some upscale apartments along the lake. Instead of a cars parked in front of the apartments, they have boats instead.
We also went up Knox Mountain which overlooked the entire Kelowna valley. It was a beautiful sight as we just sat and waited till the sun goes down.