Tag Archives: Toronto

House of Gourmet: A Chinatown Staple

Have you had the experience of walking aimlessly in town looking for a place to eat? This was what happened to me and my family in Chinatown on Spadina Street in Toronto recently. There were so many Chinese restaurants and we did not come here often enough to have a restaurant to always go to. What saved us was the rule of thumb that never failed: only go to a place to eat if there are a lot of people there. We peeped inside the House of Gourmet and this was what we saw:

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“This is safe to go in,” said my husband. Unlike some busy restaurants where we had to wait indefinitely for someone to show us where to sit, we were ushered to our table promptly, and the waiter came with the tea and the menu.

Another rule of thumb I use when I go for a Chinese meal is to pick what I do not normally make at home. For the four of us we ordered steamed eel with garlic and black bean sauce, stir fry neck of pig, roast duck and stir fried vegetables (tong choi) with bean curd.

The complimentary soup of the day, melon soup, was tasty, and so were the dishes we ordered. The eels were served steaming hot and the neck of pig was stir fried to perfection, bringing out the texture of the meat that it was known for. The skin of the roast duck was crispy and the meat tender. The vegetables were freshly in season. We enjoyed the food with plain rice and were utterly content.

When we left the restaurant, we were aware of its traditional setup with the take-out counter, where one could buy barbecue pork, roast pork and roast duck on one side and the open kitchen preparing noodles and dumplings on the other.

I shall feel comfortable to return to the House of Gourmet next time I look for a restaurant in Chinatown or to buy take-out. I may even consider it to be my Chinatown staple.

The House of Gourmet, 484 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

House of Gourmet on Urbanspoon

Hiking on Toronto Islands

If you are looking for a place for a walk or hike in downtown Toronto, you should go to Toronto Islands. Toronto Islands are a group of small islands off Toronto Harbour. The islands are off-limits to public traffic and are accessible only by ferries from the pier at the base of Bay Street, south of Union Station.

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This is where our journey begin. My hiking group takes the vehicular ferry, which carries services vehicles and cyclists across to Hanlan’s Point. I look back at the city and get a good view of how the CN Tower dominates the skyline. The sky is blue and it is a beautiful day for a hike.

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We approach the Hanlan’s Point docking area and on landing, the statute of Edward Hanlan in his swimming trunk and holding his rowing paddle greets us to his home. (I have since looked up on who Hanlan was. He won five world sculling championships consecutively between 1880 and 1884 and therefore probably deserved to be remembered by this larger than life-size statue.)

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Our group head across the grass towards the sandy path which takes us to Hanlan’s Point Beach.

During this hike, we either walk on the beach on the south side Centre Island, the biggest of the islands or keep to any path that runs along the shore, which sadly has taken the toll of erosion due to its exposure. Slabs of stone are piled up on some beaches to break up the waves as a preventative measure.

When we reach the “clothing optional area” (aka the nudist section of Hanlan’s Point Beach), we hurry on so as not to disturb the naturists who are sunbathing on the beach. To be honest, I much prefer the view towards the horizon.

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We are back walking on the path (Lakeshore Avenue) and shortly after we pass Gilbraltar Point Lighthouse, the look-out pier is in sight with its stone dyke –another measure to protect the shoreline.

This is time for a break–we stroll on the viewing platform and enjoy our packed lunch by the ponds in the garden.

Then it is time to pick up the pace again. It is a pleasant walk on the Broadwalk, which leads us to Ward’s Island at the far eastern end of the islands. From this direction, I can see planes taking off and landing at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, which is used by private aircraft and Porter’s Airline.

On Ward’s Island is one of the two residential areas–the other is on Algonquin Island–on Toronto Islands. It is disappointing to see some houses that badly need attention and repairs, but one has to look into the history of the governance of the properties on the Islands, an anomaly which will shock many people.

But don’t drag me into politics; let me enjoy and complete my hike. It does not take long to reach the ferry dock at Ward’s Island, and I can take a ferry for passengers. By now, the sky has changed and is clouding over. I am glad our group has completed our hike under the best condition one could hope for.

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Related Post for another city hike:
Hiking on City Trails in Oakville: https://opallaontrails.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/hiking-on-city-trails-in-oakville/

Sunday Post: URBAN DESIGN

I like to participate in Jake’s Sunday Post, because his themes often allow the bloggers to use both photography and writing the express their views. This week’s theme is Urban Design.

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Recently I took a ferry to Toronto Islands from downtown Toronto to Ward Island and as I looked west towards the City with the CN Tower rising majestically above all the buildings surrounding it, I noticed the changes that had taken place on the east side of town. I could not help myself from reflecting on the efforts towards urban design, or more precisely, the lack of it, in the City of Toronto.

The buildings along the shore of Lake Ontario are older buildings, some residential, and some commercial. High rise residential condominiums are burgeoning in the background. In fact, what lies between separating these developments is the Gardiner Expressway, which is the topic of debate in the City, for its lack of maintenance and failure to provide a thoroughfare to handle in increase in traffic of the City. The design of the City regrettably cannot pass the “functional, attractive and sustainable” test mentioned by Jake.

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Looking west towards the City on my return ferry taken from Hanlan Point back to town, the new buildings that encircle Roger Centre (formerly known as Sky Dome, home of our baseball team the Blue Jays) again make the point. My blog friend Barbara recently made a trip downtown and drove on the Gardiner Expressway. She liked looking at the buildings along the way but did not like the drive. She was lucky to make it at the speed of 100Km/hr. Often I crawled at 50Km/hr.

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The urban design of Toronto, especially downtown Toronto can be described as haphazard at best, and at its worst chaotic. Planning is piece-meal, short-sighted and good ideas are sometimes abandoned due to local protest. What is lacking in the mentality is a commitment to the good of the City rather than individual selfish interest. This is a picture looking from the City toward Toronto Island. There are redevelopment plans for the industrial land along the lake shore. Again, the Gardiner Expressway is in the way. (Photo from Wikipedia.)

Among the places I have travelled, I rank the effort and achievement in urban planning of Singapore top on the list. I have visited there in my pre-blogging days, and I really appreciate blog friend Sydney for writing about it.

Choral Music with Voices: Bach to Basics

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I have written that my favourite composers are Bach, Beethoven and Brahms when I describe myself on the acceptance of some blogging awards . Understandably, how could I resist a concert that presents the choral music of these three composers performed in the fitting setting of a church?

Voices, under the artistic direction of Ron Ka Ming Cheung, had chosen the Anglican Church of St.-Martin’s-in-the-Field in Toronto to be the venue of their year-end concert. The Church celebrated many beautiful architectural features such as stain glass windows, a hand-carved oak sanctuary imported from Belgium and wooden sculptures. I was particularly interested in the organ,  described to be “a two-manual with twenty-one stops by Casavant Freres”. This Church is renowned for its acoustics, and it is written that Glen Gould and Ofra Harnoy have made recording there.

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About ten minutes before the beginning of the concert, Ron Cheung came out to speak to the audience. He gave an introduction to the music which the choir would be performing, and he did it with interesting details and anecdotes that I seldom found in many programme notes. For example, when describing the Mass in C Op. 86 by Beethoven, he mentioned that it was a creative departure from Haydn and he dedicated it to the Prince Nicholaus Esterhazy. At the end of the performance, the Prince came up to Beethoven and exclaimed, “What have you done!” Beethoven took it as an insult and left Vienna immediately. He dedicated the Mass to someone else. (Wikipedia noted that this was Beethoven’s public disgrace.) However, Ron Cheung opined that it was probably Beethoven’s misunderstanding, because given the beauty of this piece, the Prince’s remark was likely one of amazement and praise. The choir presented Kyrie and Angus Dei, true to the spirit in Beethoven’s words, “gentle, with an overall serenity”.

The other work by Beethoven sung by the choir was the Hallelujah chorus from Christ on the the Mount of Olives Op.85. It was a less popular piece compared ot Handel’s chorus from the Messiah. Thanks to the conductor’s for pointing it out, one could catch the reference to Handel’s work in the accompaniment.

Brahms’s works were sung next. The Missa Canonica was the only Mass written by Brahms, based on a canon-like (“round’) form and worked on the melodic 7th interval, and conductor Cheung mused that it was like an exercise for counterpoint. This piece was not discovered until the last century. The choir sang the Kyrie, Sanctus & Benedictus, and Agnus Dei.  Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen from Ein deutsches Requiem Op. 45 completed the first half of the concert. It was a moving performance which mesmerized the audience.

It was all Bach after the intermission. The choir began with three chorales: Allein zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ; Dein Will gescheh, Herr Gott, sugleich; and Verleih uns Frieden gnadiglich.  They sang Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied BWV 225, Excerpts were chosen from Bach’s huge works Mass in B minor BWV 232, and St. Matthew’s Passion BWV 244. The choir rearranged the members to present the two-choir pieces. Meticulous care in programme planning was reflected by having the Kyrie I and Dona Nobis Pacem to echo Beethoven’s beginning pieces, like “book-ends”, according to Ron Cheung.

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Interspersing the choral music was either a cello solo or an organ solo by pieces of the three composers. Organist John Stephenson provided an excellent solo performance and a brilliant accompaniment the entire evening.

Voices had chosen very challenging pieces to perform this evening. They took full advantage of the acoustic of the Church and sounded powerful for a choir with twenty members. I noticed that they had to work hard with the two-choir pieces after a long evening singing in a warm evening without air conditioning. I left the concert feeling that Voices had affirmed their reputation as one of the finest community chamber choirs in Toronto. By showcasing the 4th movement of Brahms’s Requiem, they have given a sneak preview of their calibre as it is their plant to sing the entire work at Easter next season.  I hope I’ll be among their audience.

Church of St, Martin-in-the-Fields, 151 Glenlake Ave., Toronto, Ontario

English Afternoon Tea at the King Edward Hotel

English afternoon tea often leads one to imagine an elegant surrounding, fine china and expensive cutlery. One sips the tea, served with delicate pastries, sandwiches, and scones with clotted cream and jam. This is exactly what the Victoria’s at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto offers to its patrons.

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We were seated in a spacious room with large paintings on the wall. Service was attentive  and never intrusive. While we studied the menu, the waiter left us with a box of tea to sample our choices. I selected my favourite, Lapsang Souchong, while my companions chose Darjeeling and Assam, respectively. We also settled for the King’s Tea, deciding that we did not need the other option with champagne included.

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Our tea was served in Wedgewood china. The sandwiches arrived next and the selection included beef, salmon, egg and chicken. I was slightly disappointed that cucumber sandwich was not included. A three-tier tray arrived with the scones, lemon macaroon, maple tart, cheesecake  and strawberry mousse. They were delicious. My companions and I relaxed and chatted. Quite naturally our discussion also touched on what is the proper way to hold a teacup, and whether to put milk into the tea first. My blog friend Janet has written an interesting post about that recently too. The Victoria’s  had given us a leisurely break from the busy world outside.

Architectural Splendour of a Hindu Temple in Toronto

I had the rare opportunity of visiting the BAPS Shri Swaminaragan Mandir in Toronto with a friend from India.

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Situated on an expansive ground off the highway was this white marble building with the most intricate carvings on its pillars and domes. It was hard to believe that I could see such architectural splendour of a Hindu Temple without setting foot on India!

We were greeted by a very enthusiastic guide, who told us that he was a volunteer and did the presentation for us as a service to the community. We learned that just as there were different denominations in Christianity, there were also different branches of Hinduism. BAPS is the organization promoting spirituality of the individual with prayers and promoting harmony among individuals. The design and the construction of the temple were the efforts of innumerable volunteers. Marble was imported from Italy, limestone from Turkey and sandstone from India. True to the Vedic architectural tradition, there was not a single steel structure to support the building, nor a single nail to secure the joints.

After we had removed our shoes, we were shown into a big hall with ornamental wooden pillars and ceiling. Photography was forbidden inside the building, but the website of the temple had some pictures to offer. We went on a Sunday and the place was alive with activities.  In another hall, worshipers were watching a video of a religious gathering taped earlier in the day in India.

The guide took us upstairs to the main worship area. Before entering he told us to close our eyes, jokingly saying that he was expecting a “wow” reaction from us. Indeed, when we opened our eyes, the beauty and serenity of this great hall took our breath away. Wow!

(Photo from BAPS Shri Swaminaragan Mandir website)

The splendour of this hall was beyond belief. The lighting changed colours continuously projecting an ethereal sense of mystery and awe. At the far end on both sides of the room were shrines revering the many Hindu deities and early spiritual leaders of the religion. They were dressed in ornate clothing that were changed three times a day, following their “meals”.

There was a museum that we could not visit because we were running out of time, but it would be an excellent reason to revisit the temple on another occasion.

Real Thailand Restaurant Re-visited

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I have not eaten out in the area near Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue in downtown Toronto as much as I used to in recent years. The other night, although we were in a hurry, my husband and I felt we should dine at the Real Thailand Restaurant, one of our favourites,  to relive some flavours we missed. I did not notice any difference in the decor when I walked inside. There was an open dining area, and ethnic Thai decorations.

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We ordered Green Curry Chicken (Kang Kheaw Wan Kai) and Stir Fry Asparagus with Shitake Mushrooms in a chili garlic sauce (Pan Nomai Sod) to go with white rice. We told the waitress that we had to leave by a certain time, and service was prompt.  The meal was delicious. I liked the green curry because even with coconut milk as an ingredient, it did not taste too sweet. The taste of the asparagus and mushrooms was an interesting combination.

I really wanted to stay longer and order my favourite Thai dessert, the sticky rice. However, we had to go and I had to promise myself that I should return before too long. Their Pad Thai used to be my staple at lunch time. Their shrimps and duck dishes were also top on my dinner selections.

The Real Thailand Restaurant is known to all the locals, from students and staff of the University of Toronto, workers downtown near the Bloor and Spadina area and residents in the neighbourhood. Prices are affordable and services friendly. If you have never been there, it is definitely worth a try, and you will probably keep returning to it.

Real Thailand Restaurant, 350 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

Real Thailand on Urbanspoon

Sporting Life 10K: Racing with 27,000 Athletes on Yonge Street

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About a year ago, I wrote my first blog post with a picture taken by my walking coach Lee Scott at the start line of the Sporting Life 10K race. This year, on May 12, 2013, I was standing behind the same start line with the banner over me. I was among the 27,000 participants getting ready to race down Yonge Street to raise funds for Camp Oochigeas, a camp in Muskoka for children with cancer.

The cold air that snapped back in mid-Spring did not chill the enthusiasm of the participants most of whom were dressed appropriately to come out early in the morning, warm enough to stand around waiting and yet not to get overheated when they were well into the race. There was a mix of short sleeves and long sleeves, plus of course, the cut-out garbage bags, which would be discarded along the way.

Athletes started to arrive around 7 a,m. They either huddled under the  scaffolding of buildings or went into the Sporting Life shop or a Starbucks nearby to stay warm. By 7:45 a.m. everybody lined up at the corral to which each person was assigned based on expected finishing time.  I was a walker and so I waited in the Orange corral. The gun went off at 8 a.m. for the first wave of elite runners and those who intended to finish under 48 minutes (Red and Yellow corrals) to be followed by the Blue, Green, Purple and Orange waves, the last of which waited until 8:40 a.m.

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We started from between Eglinton and Lawrence, headed south and then turned west at Richmond. All the streets were closed to traffic. The sense of ownership of the roads without  cars was unspeakable. At the club district, we turned south along Peters Street, which looked asleep in the morning hours. We went west again on Front Street, then south on Bathhurst and the Finish Line was on Fort York Blvd. just west of Bathurst. We had live bands entertaining us at each kilometre mark.

After crossing the Finish Line, we were gathered at Coronation Park, where volunteers handed us the medal, and where refreshments were waiting. This year, Nike gave each participant a sticker that they could put on the Nike Wall, and Nike would donate $1 for each sticker, up to the amount of $10,000. This year, Sporting Life aimed to raise 2.4 million dollars for the Camp. The Sporting Life 10K now reigns as the second largest running race in Canada and the race with the largest charitable donations.

Fusion Family Dining at Momofuku Daisho

Chef David Chang opened his three Momofuko restaurants (The Noodle Bar, Daisho and Shoto) in Toronto last Fall to raving reviews. My family and I had an occasion to celebrate and we picked Daisho to be the venue for our gourmet adventure. It was situated on the third floor and we chose to walk up the stairs by going through the Noodle Bar and caught a glimpse of the kitchen before entering the restaurant.

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The glass windows extended from floor to ceiling providing an unobstructed view of University Avenue. There were patrons already occupying the window seats and I did not want to intrude their privacy to take my own photo of the street view. Hence I have used and I acknowledge the photo from the Globe and Mail below.

The view from Daisho’s dining room, (Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail)

(Source: Moe Dorin, The Globe and Mail, November 24, 2012.)

From where I sat, a spacious bar area and a well-lit wine cabinet separated the dining area from the kitchen. The decor was simple, refreshing and modern.

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The menu breathed fusion. Japanese Kanji (Chinese characters) were the headings of the dishes, which were in English. Our knowledge of Chinese helped us understand the conceptualization of the menu planning with a bit of imagination. When my daughter made the reservation, she already pre-ordered a porchetta for our party of five under the category called “Kung Fu Dishes”, which could be interpreted as the “Strength or Power of the House”. Depending on the size of the party, Diasho recommended a main dish to be shared, family style.

First arrived the tongs and then the pickles, several bowls of sauces and mustard (apple, Saskatoon berries, and honey) and the warm white buns. We were eager to start when the succulent aromatic pork arrived.

The pork was flavourful. The rind, the fatty ring and the meat offered variations in texture and taste.  The hint of sweetness in the bun cut into the saltness of the meat and balanced the fat. We all went for more helpings.

To complement the porchetta, we ordered under Winter the black salsify (a root vegetable) with white cocoa, steelhead roe and grains of paradise. This was an ingenious invention that wakened the taste buds.

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For Carbohydates, the black rice juk came with bone marrow, an egg and diced celery. “Juk” sounded like “congee”  in Chinese, but this “juk’ had a stickier consistency; interesting all the same.

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We also tried the hanger steak which came under Lettuce Wrap. It was a self-explanatory in dish that the steak was eaten wrapped in lettuce together with kimchi and onion.

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We were quite full by now, but it was decision well-made to order the Chocolate-Five different textures for dessert. It was a quintessential display of culinary craft from taste, texture to plating.

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Given our positive experience at Daisho, I will look for an opportunity to try The Noodle Bar and Shoto.

Momofuku Diasho, 190 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.

Momofuku Daishō on Urbanspoon

Map of Business

Handel’s Messiah for Holy Week at the Knox Presbyterian Church

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The Senior Choir of the Knox Presbytarian Church in Toronto presented an impressive performance of The Messiah before Christmas last year under the direction of Roger Bergs. They sang Part I of the oratorio and ended the concert with Life up your heads, O ye gates (#33) and the Hallelujah chorus (#44).

As we entered into Holy Week, my husband and I were among the audience for the Passion part of The Messiah. The church combined the concert with a worship service on Palm Sunday, thus signally in the most important week in the Christian calendar for Christians all around the world.

Last year, we arrived at the church in darkness. This time, I was better able to take a picture of the church while it is still light outside.

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We found seats nearer the front and had better acoustics and closer view of the performers. The solo vocalists selected from among the ranks of the choir members were the same as those from last Christmas, and there were only had a few changes for the guest instrumentalists. They all put forward a well co-ordinated performance. Music director Roger Bergs was on crutches, but this did not deter him from energetically moving to the lectern to introduce the music and repeatedly standing up to conduct and sitting down to play the harpsichord.

The program began with the chorus Behold the Lamb of God (Part II, #22) and ended with the Worthy is the Lamb chorus in Part III. There were read commentaries from Understanding Handel’s Messiah by Mariano Di Gangi, a former minister of the church. They excerpts enhanced the spirituality of the evening.

Chelsea Säuer-Peckham delivered a superb performance of He was despised and rejected of men (#23) with a gentle sorrow about the pains and suffering Jesus endured, but not without allowing an inner strength to shine through. I definitely preferred this interpretation to one performance I remembered in which the solo vocalist pronounced  “despised” and “rejected” with such emphasis that it was excruciating painful (pun intended) to listen to. Säuer-Peckhem’s duet with Kenzi Yango, tenor, was also beautiful. Tenor Jason Lamont gave a credible and commanding performance in the recitative He that dwelleth in heaven (#42) and aria Thou shalt break them with a rod (#43). Soprano Anna Casurella had excellent control of her range and definitely would have given a more convincing performance given better enunciation of the words. It was regrettably a more disappointing evening for baritone Patrick Twaddle in Part II, but fortunately he regained his composure in Part III.

It was a solemn evening highlighted by the singing of Jesus’s suffering and death, but we also left the church with feelings of comfort and hope from the belief in the significance of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection.

A Christmas Messiah at Knox Presbyterian Church

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The very fact that a church choir of about 30 vocalists can showcase a concert to the public of Handel’s Messiah is a testament of the calibre of its singers and their choir director. I am speaking of the Senior Choir of Knox Presbyterian Church in downtown Toronto. After I had purchased tickets for The Messiah in Burlington with the Brott Music Festival 2012, my daughter invited me and my husband to the Messiah performed at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Toronto. I cannot be more thrilled with my second live performance of this beautiful oratorio composition this Christmas season.

The Knox Presbyterian Church was built in early 1900 and the Church officially moved to this site in 1909. The architecture of the building encompasses the simplicity yet decorative splendour of the Gothic Revival and Romanesque Revival style.

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I looked around: the beautiful vaulted ceiling, the stained glass windows, the beautiful Casavant organ and the Christmas wreathes. I felt ready to enjoy The Messiah.

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The evening began with a short worship with prayers and hymns, which we sang to the accompaniment of the the orchestra. The Handbell Ensemble of the church gave a performance of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.The bells came in different sizes and the players sometimes switched bells to ring out the right notes with impressive agility.

The programme included reading of commentaries in between the recitatives and arias of the Messiah. The texts were based on the book entitled Understanding Handel’s Messiah by Dr. Kariano DiGangi, a former minister of the Church. I had not come across the book before; I liked the comforting and reassuring words. The choir delivered beautifully. I want to single out the duet for Alto (Chelsea Sauer) and Soprano (Anna Casurella) in He Shall Feed His Flock Like a Shepherd. The vocalists sang with professional calibre and their voices were so compatible with each other that their parts coalesce into one duet. Choir Director Roger Bergs conducted from the harpsichord. This certainly was a feat, especially the instrumentalists were guests invited to form the orchestra, and it was understandable that on the odd occasion the coherence of the choir impressed more than the orchestra.

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Only half of the Messiah was presented, and the concert ended with the chorus Life Up Your Heads, O Ye Gates and the Hallelujah Chorus. It was an evening of a musical as well as spiritual journey. After a short prayer and the hymn The First Noel, we left the church and walked into the winter night, ready to welcome Christmas.

It was also announced that the Easter portion of the Messiah would be performed next Spring. I will mark the date on my calendar.

KnoxDay     Knox Presbyterian Church, 630 Spadina Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.

The Color, Aroma and Taste of a Nine-Course Chinese Dinner

“Color, Aroma and Taste” are the three essentials ingredients in Chinese cooking. Fantaxia (this is not a misspelling) Restaurant in North York offers all this in their Private Menu nine-course dinner. The Private Menu means that the dishes you order do not appear in the printed menu of the restaurant. Instead, you make your reservation at least a week in advance, and the restaurant recommends a menu put together for your party, depending on seasonal availability. The menu given to me is written in fancy Chinese calligraphy. It is customary for Chinese restaurants to have a handwritten customized menu, even in ink and brush, in some places. Fantaxia Restaurant is certainly following the tradition. They have also given each dish a poetic though cryptic name, which refletcs either the ingredients or the style of cooking. Part of the fun is to appreciate the name of the dish with the food in front of us. ( I have put in the fancy names in parentheses for your enjoyment.) 1. Winter Melon Soup (Aromatic Elixir from Heaven) Winter Melon is available only in the summer. The broth is steamed inside the winter melon with many delicious ingredients.Our soup contains lotus seeds, shredded dried scallop, fresh scallops, shrimps, mushrooms, crab meat (displayed first as garnish and then submerged into the soup before serving) and slices of melon. The presentation is stunning, and the soup smells and tastes as good as it is named. 2. Stir Fry Scallop and Conch (Lotus Fairy) This is a very colourful dish. The fresh scallop and conch slices are stir fried with enouki mushrooms and button mushrooms, and garnished with tomato and vegetables. 3. Prawns and Fried Garlic (Treasure Box) These are deep fried king prawns served with deep fried garlic. The aroma is enticing. The texture and the taste demonstrate the superb control of the chef in this preparation. If you love garlic (like I do), this is the dish for you. 4. Stir Fry Broccoli and Pork  (Jade Flower and Meat) The broccoli is the jade flower. The pork is the meat at the neck of the pig and this is known for its firm bite–neither chewy nor crispy–which is determined by the temperature and amount of time it is stir fried. Once again, the chef did it with panache. 5. Crab with Spinach and Asparagus Sauce (Treasure in a Lotus Pond) You can sit there just to admire the presentation. This is a paste or thick soup with finely chopped spinach and asparatus, goji seeds, lotus seeds, crab meat, baby scallops and egg white. The hint of sweetness from the goji seeds is a delight. This is a rare and precious dish. 6. Mixed Vegetables (Bamboo Shadow on a Lattice) This is a delicious dish with an imaginative name.The base of the dish consists of baby bok choy, gai lan  and oyster mushrooms, with a clear gravy. The “Bamboo shadow” in the name refers to bamboo shoots, and the lattice is the shreds of black fungi, which is thinner than angel hair and the Chinese call it “hair veggie”. 7. Deep Fried Stuffed Chicken (Pearl Chicken) The chicken has been deboned and stuffed with cooked glutinous rice and diced Chiense sausages before is is deep-fried. To appreciate the name, a cross-section can give you the answer. 8. Fried Rice The rice is fried with scallion and egg white and shredded dried scallop. A simple dish but appropriately seasoned. The rice is light and it is good to clean the palate in preparation for dessert. 9. Milk Custard Light and smooth and tasty. This is the house specialty and the dessert experience  sums up an evening of memorable Chinese cuisine.

  Fantaxia Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Fantaxia Restaurant is situated at Unit 5, 3555 Don Mills Road, Toronto, ON.