Weekend Musings (13-Feb-2010)

It was quite an exciting week for me, to say the least.

It’s just having one excitement after another that is leaving me quite breathless — an totally drained at the end of each day. I have a feeling that this is gonna be this way for the next two weeks or so.

Some of you who follows me on Twitter, would know that I had my own 15 minutes of fame during the week. Firstly, my family and I was interview by the NHK (Japan Broadcasting) as part of their Olympic coverage. Then I had a 1-on-1 interview with the Chef Dan who is Director of Culinary Innovation of McDonalds. It was a very interesting meeting in which I took the opportunity to ask some hard hitting questions. I’ll blog about it soon.

The Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics

van_2010_logo-251x300It’s finally here! Wohoo!

It felt like just yesterday that the city erupted when we heard the very words “… is awarded to the city of … Vank-koo-var”.

We went to see the Opening Ceremony Dress Rehearsal on Monday. It was one of our most memorable experience and came away feeling great pride of being Canadian. That being a Dress Rehearsal, some elements of the ceremony was still top secret at that time.

We sat glued to the TV last night watching the Opening Ceremony and enjoying delivery from Bo Laksa’s. Vancouver 2010 got off quite badly. Suanne and I was totally shocked to hear of the Georgian luger who was killed just hours before the Opening Ceremony. Our heart goes to the family, team and the entire Olympic community. I think VANOC and IOC responded so appropriately to this tragic event within a few short hours but they must do everything to prevent another tragedy like this.

There was also a couple of miscues during the Opening Ceremony. Firstly,I could not understand how the First Nation chiefs could ever be late in welcoming the world. Then the cauldron glitch had to happen. And it had to rain too. Well, it is all in a day’s work.

Still at the end of the day, I ended up feeling proud being Canadian.

Eight Great Traditions of Chinese Cuisine

Song_Dynasty_Elegant_Party-150x150It is progressing … slowly and steady. We have a team now discussing on how to do this. Some very good ideas had been put on the table but we know there are still some ways to go.

I wanted to let everyone know that the planning team consists of FMED, KEEV and JOE. I am just glad that they had so enthusiastically pitched in with their knowledge and time because I know I can’t do it all by myself.

But we have a problem. None of us reads Chinese! We seriously need a volunteer who does to complement the team. Is there anyone out there who would want to help … and be part of the team of this exciting project? Just send me an email (ben@chowtimes.com).

There Is Such a Thing As a Free Lunch

Pinpin-Filipino-Restaurant-31-150x150Believe it or not. Someone contacted us offering to give Chowtimes readers a free lunch. First question in my mind was “what’s the catch?”

Just in case you think it is coming from a restaurant, no … it is not. This is coming from a regular guy and a truly committed foodie who simply wants to share what he has gotten.

At this time, it will be a … lunch for 10-12 chowtimes readers in a cuisine that is not common. So it will be an experience for many of you. I am so thankful for the generosity of this long time reader of chowtimes. I had not check with him about revealing who he is and so am gonna leave it as that for now.

I will let you know once we had figured out how we can do this.

Diversely Delicious Cookbook Update

Diversely-Delicious-2-150x150The chowtimes Diversely Delicious cookbook project is back on track. Suanne and I had a very productive meeting with Charlene today. There are a number of tweaks necessary to the cookbook before they are published.

Oh we brought the draft cookbook to the 12B dinner. That was the first time we had shown the cookbook to anyone. From the response, I think they were impressed. So, yeah, I think quite a few people will be surprised by the cookbook.

We decided not to rush this project and will launch it to coincide with the next big Richmond Community Kitchen event. This will be sometime in early April.

El Bulli Closing For Good

elBulli-La-Alqueria-Benazuza-61-150x150It was quite a shocker. I read yesterday that Ferran Adria’s el Bulli will be closing for good. It was just weeks ago when it was announced that el Bulli would just close for two years.

Now they are saying that El Bulli will be closing permanently!

el Bulli had been voted as the best restaurant in the world for the past few years. It is Suanne and my dream to be able to dine someday in el Bulli and taste Ferran Adria’s creations. We came close to doing it this summer when we were vacationing in Barcelona. Now we wished that we had taken el Bulli advise to travel the 120km to the restaurant at 3PM for a chance for a table.

At least Ferran Adria will still have one restaurant that he is personally involved in. Suanne and I had a fabulous dinner in the 2-Michelin star Al Laqueria restaurant in Benazuza near Seville (review here and here).

el Bulli is not going to close immediately. They will continue to serve dinners until December 2011. I can just imagine that the demand for a table at el Bulli is just going to get more impossible. I think that La Alqueria will also be impossible to get on also.

That’s it for this week.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

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  1. el_lobo_solo

    Looks like we were on the same page: I watched the ceremonies with my Bo Laksa King goodies too. It was the 3rd time to hit their dinner menu this week. So good.

  2. DylanK

    I’ll send you an e-mail about the 8 Great Traditions thing. I can pretty credibly read Chinese. It’s a shame that, really, almost all great writing about Chinese cuisine is still only available in Chinese. I can’t think of many really good books that try to tackle Chinese cuisine seriously or with any depth. They’re pretty few. There are thousands of years of food writing in China to read, almost none of it in English.

    I don’t know if you’ve checked it out, but I just flipped through The Globalization of Chinese Food, which covers a lot of ground. It has essays on Hong Kong cafes in Taiwan, Chinese food culture in Southeast Asia during the Qing Dynasty, a history of Central Asian snacks in Beijing, Chinese food in Yokohama’s Chinatown, yumcha in Australia. It’s really good!

  3. Yen

    Oh gosh. I wish I could help with the Chinese problem. Unfortunately, I happen to be an illiterate Chinese individual. Good luck though. : ) It sounds like it’s going to be a great event!

  4. trisha

    i didn’t watch the opening ceremonies but i heard some amusing stories about it… πŸ™‚

  5. Eat. Travel. Eat!

    I was semi glued to the TV two nights ago but still enjoyed it (and watched it yesterday again as I recorded it). The opening was quite interesting though with the video capture and the stage was very nice! Too bad so many mishaps happened on one day, but I could tell everyone was still very happy and feeling festive.

  6. Jenny

    I can read Chinese, let me know if you guys need any help πŸ™‚

  7. Michelle

    Hi Ben and Suanne,

    I just wanted to say it was nice meeting you and your family and MANY MANY THANKS to your sons — Arkensen and Nanzaro for the opportunity of a life time for my mother and I to watch the opening ceremony dress rehearsal. It was definately spectacular and it gave us a whole different perspective of the ceremony when watching it on TV. We thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Many Thanks,
    Michelle

    P.S – The reason why the First Nation’s Chief’s were late was due to security and transportation issues. I work for one of the Four Host Nations and in no way did they want to be late. This olympics has created a sense of pride and has pulled their community together in ways that could not have been imagined previously. Make sure you guys check out the Aboriginal Pavillion in the next two weeks!

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