Main Tabs


Time to Make the Dumplings

Have I ever told you that I LOVE dumplings?!
Like really love them...I can have a frozen bag from the grocery store or freshly made ones from Qing Hua.  Either way I am as happy as a clam.

Then Debbie Wong of Debbie Wong's Wok and Gong proposed we make our own dumplings.  What?!  Sign me up! Not only would I reap the reward of hard work done by eating a bowl full of dumplings, I was also going to take a bunch of the leftovers to keep in my freezer for future dumpling emergencies.

 The set up: premade wrappers from chinatown, a little bowl of water, the stuffing mixture featured pork, tofu, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and a mixture of dark and light soy sauce.  There in the bottom right corner was my glass of wine.  Let the wrapping begin!

fill a bit in the middle, and wet half of the edge with water, fold over, pinch to close

Dumpling party! Look how much fun we are having!

We have two techniques here, the scalloped empanada style closure and a simple version

YUUUMMM! After steaming, make saucy concoction that can be spicy, soy saucy, tanihi filled.  Whatever tickles your fancy.

Digging into some peashoots!
Simple quick and cheap, cheap, cheap
Like a little birdy


DJAB x En Masse

Your favourite art collective and mine (with love here), En Masse have been getting busy.  In fact they've been blowing up since their giant coming out party during Nuit Blanche that February of 2009.  More recently, members of the collective have returned to lend their artistic hands to La Maison Simons' streetwear division DJAB for their spring 2013 campaign.  Given the direction of a Japanime/manga smorgasbord, the artists veered from their characteristic black and white images to throw down a very colourful mural.

a composite of the mural (can you see the seam?)

RRAWR! Godzilla battle for Tokyo

Not quite Hello Kitty


Detail: steady hands, steady circles

Anyone remember the DJAB Escape Artist series?  It was a limited edition series of t-shirts designed by serveral grafitti/lowbrow/street artists back in 2008.  Many of these artists have also contributed their talent on En Masse walls. It all comes full circle sometimes...


Sergei Parajanov, FOFA Gallery

I did my undergrad in film production many moons ago.  In terms of cinema geekiness, I was and still am not the top dog.  My knowledge of Bergman was limited, I did not love Last Year at Marienbad (although am curious to see if my opinion has changed), and only saw my first Terrance Malick film when Tree of Life came out last year.  But I had and always will have the love of aesthetics, moving images and the use of so many elements and variables that come together in mammoth projects to convey ideas and visions.  Then there's that wonderful thing of discovering something new, and that was my modus operandi when I attended the first in a series of five screenings featuring the work of Sergei Parajanov.  Ummmm, who?!  Off I went to be enlightened.

Beginning last week and continuing over the course of the next four Saturdays, curator Marcin Wisniewski in collaboration with Concordia University's FOFA Gallery will be presenting screenings of Parajanov's work, a short lecture by a guest speaker and an accompanying short film that reflect themes and ideas that relate to the Soviet filmmaker.  Parajanov has been praised by and his work lives in the same realm as many of the great auteurs of cinema: Fellini, Godard, Antonioni and Tarkovsky. Andrei Tarkovsky was a strong artistic influence and close friend to Parajanov, but despite this he is seemingly overlooked in cinema history.

"...while Tarkovsky is to this day well known and much celebrated director [...] the link between Tarkovsky and Parajanov is also important; placing them in two simultaneous contexts not only that of art cinema or auteur cinema [...] but as representatives of cinema d'auteur in the Soviet Union and  the developement of the new politics and aesthetics of Soviet cinema at the time, however different they may be."
-Masha Salazkina, Soviet Cinema & the Poetic School, January 19, 2013

Upon watching the first film in this series "Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors" (1964), his first foray into poetic cinema, I felt a familiarity watching the surreal or absurdist tableaux go by.  They recalled to mind Fellini's Satyricon (1969) or Jorodwsky's El Topo (1970), films that contain very simple narratives surrounding a (life) journey or a mission and illustrated with dreamlike scenarios.

 A portrait of Parajanov, 1979, by Y. Mechitov, from here

Next Saturday's screening will feature Parajanov's most celebrated work Color of Pomengranates (1968); here are a couple of words from curator Marcin Wisniewski on the film:

"I was simply overwhelmed by the beauty coming at me from the screen. Here was art and cinema coming together in a beautifully poetic form to make ART CINEMA. It's like every shot was a painting and when they all came together they formed this overwhelmingly beautiful, cleverly crafted poem. I've always been a fan and a supporter of beauty -I know how grandiose it sounds-but i'm not talking about pretty things, I'm talking about beautiful things that challenge the viewer and their experience of the world."

More info on the screening here. Be prepared to have your senses ripped out and rearranged....


Ode to a Grilled Cheese Sandwich

I vaguely remember the first time I had a grilled cheese sandwich.  I was in high school and being introduced to all sorts of foods not present in my Filipino household.  My mom has THE cooking skillz.  That's right-she deserves the 'z'.  While sinigang and pinakbet were definite staples, she could also throw down a mean bolognese or an inspiring butternut squash soup with ease.  She always collected recipes, eager to try out new dishes, but even so, there were certain foods that never made it to our kitchen.

During high school, it was lunch time and after school hangouts with friends that led to the discovery of new foods.  Chili was one, reminiscent of spaghetti sauce, it was somewhat familiar. Packaged, processed, microwavable frozen foods like chimichangas and burritos were also new to me.  They were found in a friend's basement freezer and bought in bulk from the then named "club price."  But it was the grilled cheese sandwich, in its most humble form of nutritionally void sliced white bread and plastic singles cheese, fried up, and served with a squirt of ketchup, that remains a very fond food memory.

My, my, grilled cheese, how you've come a long way...

This tasty treat came from the recently revamped Arts Café.  Between the crusty bread (from Boulangerie Guillaume!) lived some cheddar, onion chutney and apple.  I ate it all.  My lunch date had the other grilled cheese on the menu, which had smoked cheese, pickled beets, walnut pesto. Yum!
For the lactose intolerant/vegan peeps out there: rice cheese is your friend and drizzle it with that Redstar nutritional yeast for extra goodness.

I leave you with an Instagram shot of a detail of the restaurant's decor.


Pierre Dorion MACM

Why I leave certain things to the last minute is beyond me.
I just squeezed in a visit to the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal to catch the current exhibits which end in a mere three days!  One of the shows on view featured a look at about twenty years of  the works by Pierre Dorion, a Montreal based painter.  At first glance the paintings are realistic-based on photographs.  Upon closer look (particularly at Dorion's minimalist works), they become abstractions, perfectly ruled and masked lines that don't represent the nicks, bumps and grooves of the "real world".  

 I had was a strange feeling of familiarity when I viewed Dorion's Untitled, 1999 (above left, from here) and I said to myself- "Hey! That's my bed!" (above right, from this morning.)

Well, of course it wasn't my bed- it was but a mere coincidence.  Dorion's unmade bed was featured in an important 1999 painting installation called Chambres avec vue, where site-specific canvases took their places in an empty apartment.  Intrigued? Want to know more?  Take a look at the macm's press release or the 1999 feature in Parachute magazine.