Bangkok Thai – A must enjoy if you go to Park City, Utah


My husband and I have been fortunate enough over the last 10 years or so to spend at least 2 weeks enjoying the skiing, the people, the scenery, and the food in Park City, Utah.

Home to the Sundance Film Festival, and some completely amazing ski hills, Park City hardly lacks in restaurants to enjoy. Unfortunately, many of them are seriously expensive – and during Sundance time – incredibly crowded. So every year we tend to stay out of the main city area during Sundance – but the one restaurant in Park City that we always make time to enjoy is the Bangkok Thai.

Main Street in Park City during Sundance is definitely a must see and a must walk. There are people everywhere, and outlandish dress is the norm. Fur is every where – as are high heels (in January – in Ski country?), there are celebrities to see, movies to watch, and lots of free stuff to grab. I particularly like the L’Oreal booth which offered free min-make-overs.

But this blog isn’t about Main Street and Sundance – it’s about our fab meal at the Bangkok Thai!

The restaurant itself is tiny, and normally seats maybe 50, but for Sundance they cram in extra tables – beefing up the number of people they can serve to around 100. Yes – it’s crowded, but never mind – the food is worth it.

The Bangkok Thai offers 2 tasting menus in addition to its elaborate menu. Feeling hungry, we opted for the 9 dish Signature menu since it had all the standard yummy dishes – including a to-die-for sea cod dish. We checked that they were willing to do the tasting menu – even during Sundance – and once we got an ok – we sat back to enjoy the meal.

First up was a lobster spring roll, delicate and light. Next was one of my favorite dishes – a tuna tartare – served on a crisp cracker. Yum. I also really enjoyed the Pad Thai, the Gentle baked Prawn, and the curry was outstanding – sweet and spicy at the same time. It was actually hard to be sure to leave room for the Sea Bass 3 ways – but I did. The only let down was the desert – which one has to wonder why they bother.

Service – given the crowded conditions and demanding clientele – was actually excellent. Fast when we wanted it to be fast – and slow when we started to feel full.

Bottom line – if you get to Park City – check out the Bangkok Thai – it’s definitely worth enjoying!

Bangkok Thai on Main on Urbanspoon

Tarahumara – Impossible to pronounce – but awesomely good Mexican


I’m in Park City, Utah – home of Sundance Movie Festival, Deer Valley Ski area – and some pretty incredible Mexican food. And the very best of the bunch is not located in Park City – it’s actually in Midway!

Located in a small shopping mall, this family run restaurant literally packs people in. We tried to go on a Friday night – too many people. We tried again on a Tuesday – and things were lots better – crowds had dispersed – and it was family night. There was a clown doing face painting – free – but you don’t go for the family entertainment.

Nope – you go for the food. On the blackboard over the simple counter is the list of intriguing options – from Mango and Pineapple Chicken Quesadilla to Mole Poblano, Scallops in Passion Fruit & Tomatillo Sauce to a selection of Burritos and Tacos.

You line up to order – get handed chips to carry back to your table, along with your table number. A quick trip to the 30 item salsa bar nets you a selection of different salsas – from ‘kids salsa (my favorite)’ to 3 fire versions that are clearly way hotter than I’m willing to try!

Weaving your way past table after table packed with families on a Tuesday night out, you finally score a table – make sure your number is visible, and wait. Sooner rather than later, your order arrives – more food than you can possibly eat at a price that makes you want to come back the next day. Can you say – Wow?

I got the Mango and Pineapple Chicken Quesadilla – and it was outstanding. Other dishes that appeared on our table included the Scallops, a Mole Pablano, and a yummy Ceviche. For dessert we shared the home-made cherry pie – gently warmed. And I picked up a giant-sized cookie to take skiing with me the next day.

Inexpensive, delicious, memorable, and fun. A prefect recipe for a repeat trip!

Tarahumara on Urbanspoon

Shen Yun – Interesting, but not Great


Heavily advertised with glorious pictures of flying dancers – Shen Yun has always been something I’ve been meaning to see. It comes to Montreal annually – so even though it’s gone on the greener pastures for this year – you can still catch it next year – or even this year if you live elsewhere.

All of which explains why I went – and why I’m blogging about the experience.

For those of you who haven’t seen the heavy-handed marketing efforts of Shen Yun – let’s me explain the concept. This is a 40 performer epic event staged at the big hall at Place des Arts. The marketing features lovely Chinese ladies in flowing outfits free leaping apparently in mid-air. I was totally expecting something out of Spider Man – or at least Peter Pan.

But the reality was just a bit different. First off – the staging is extremely centered – that means if you were on the sides, you got a cropped view. We solved that problem in the 2nd half by simply changing seats. Which gives you a good idea of the amount of vacant seats available. The row ahead of us was almost empty, as were all the lodges and as far as I could see – most of the balconies. Anyway – if you go – get centered seats!

And there are no flying feats. Lots of leaping – and some pretty incredible feet over head flying flips – but to convey the feeling of flying – they used the huge video screen behind the stage. Performers would jump off a raised area at the back of the stage – and disappear from view – only to re-appear almost instantly on the big screen. Their image would fly around – change shape, whatever – and then eventually the person would re-appear on stage. A modern adaption of the Laterna Magika , for those familiar with Expo 58.

Like the Laterna Magika – sometimes the magic worked – sometimes it didn’t. I particularly loved the segment with the Monkey King and the Evil Toad. The story is the traditional good conquers evil – but the character of the Toad was played with absolute stellar skill. And the movement between the stage and the screen made excellent sense.

Similarly – the story of Ne Zha Churns the Sea used the combination of Video and stage extremely well – the actor on stage would wave his magic hoop – the ocean on the screen behind him would react. Neat.

So there were bits and pieces that were outstanding – memorable, interesting, beautiful.

But no new ground was broken, and for the price – that seemed wrong. The stories were all short vignettes – which added up to a lot of theatre, but left one feeling a bit disoriented. A bit like going to a Juste Pour Rire Gala – some of the comedy is great – some just well – not so good.

Most disappointing to me personally however, were the two heavy-handed Falun Dafa sections. I know that this ‘spiritual meditation discipline’ (taken straight from the very expensive, tri-lingual program) is persecuted in China – but I found the black shirted ‘bad boys’ with their painted red hammer and sickle logo in poor taste. And I’m not a fan of heavily promoting any religion – so the dramatically staged final piece with Lord Buddha appearing left me cold. Similarly the 4 singing segments – clearly songs that resonate with Falun Dafa thinking, while well performed, were too heavy-handed because they were unexpected.

Would I go again? No. Would I suggest that you go? If you got seriously discounted tickets (free would be best), and you had no other option – then it’s not an unpleasant way to spend an evening.

But great? No.

Bistro 1843 – crazy location, awesome food


Who’d a thunk it? A crazily great place to eat on Ile Bizzard. I mean – I thought ile Bizzard was just about the golf courses – not about food.

But there I was – guests of a friend of ours who positively loves great food – and bring your own wine places. He’s clearly an ‘oeniphile’ – that’s someone who knows a ton about wine – with over 1000 bottles in his cellar – and he knows his food too.

So joining him somewhere new to you – but not to him – is definitely going to be good. And this was very very good.

The owners/chef are a bright young – completely bi-lingual couple – who just 6 months ago had their first child. The wife (Sara-Ann) is the hostess, waitress, and general friendly soul, while the husband (Karik) does the cooking – and great cooking it is. Meanwhile the baby is upstairs – with her night-nanny. Turns out the 2nd floor of the historic homestead turned gourmet restaurant is where they live. Talk about a seriously easy comute.

The restaurant has been open for 4.5 years – which just says that sometimes I’m incredibly slow at learning about new places. Our friends have eaten there dozens of times – and were greeted warmly by the hostess – who in addition to providing outstanding service – gifted us with an extra dessert. Given that our meal extended over 3 hours – and she locked up behind us – I’m pretty sure that extra dessert was our reward for last of the night!

Rumor has it that you must make reservations a month in advance – and our friends admit to thinking they have scored if they can get a reserveration with just a week’s notice – yes it’s that good, and that popular.

But I know you are waiting to hear about the food.

The menu is quite limited – as would be expected of a place with just 30 seats, and one chef in the kitchen. The Table d’hote – which just means off the menu – all the meals come with a soup or sald and dessert – had 3 offerings – of which 2 were outstanding. My friends adored their steak – one served with a bernaise sauce – made up to order since it wasn’t supposed to be served that way, and the other had the steak with the reduction of bacon and maple. Yummy. I positivied adored my meal – a completely yummy piece of cod served with figs. My husband’s lamb offering wasn’t quite as good as ours – so sorry dear.

The soup d’jour was a sweet potato ginger concuction that was a tad heavy on the giner – but not so heavy that my husband didn’t lick the bowl.

For entrees, following our friend’s suggestion – we ordered the scallops in curry. Oh my – that was easily the best dish of the evening.

Desserts were also excellent – well presented, and elegant. I tried the walnut tart – packed with walnuts and served with home-made ice cream. My husband had a blueberry upside down cake which he finished with joy. The free dessert i mentioned earlier was the flourless chocolate cake – heavy on cocolate and served with a maple ice cream that I loved.

So – good food, good wine, good friends – comfortable chairs, pleasant surroundings – and the feeling of being in a home – not a high turn over restaurant.

Great meals are made of this.

Bistro 1843 on Urbanspoon

Take a Trip on the WildSide! Well worth the $$


I know – it’s been over a month since I’ve done a post. And it’s not because I wasn’t busy doing stuff – it’s just plain old lazy if you ask me.

But tonight was exceptional – and it ends next week (Jan 15) – so you must hop right on this band wagon.

Billed as the hottest thing in Montreal in January (which given that today was a warm -7 – and yesterday was a much colder -30 is possibly true) – the WildSide Festival at Centaur has always had a warm and fuzzy place in my heart. At just $15 a show (down to $10 if you are a subscriber at Centaur – and buy the super pass) – it’s a steel. And this year two of the three plays we saw were absolutely outstanding.

V-card – which features 4 of Montreal’s most talented young performers wearing masks so that they portray over 20 different characters is a tour de force you do not want to miss. Not for the easily embarrassed – it’s a lively conversation about when you lost yours. And it’s fantastic. Go.

Iceland is even better if that’s possible. The 3 performers alternate telling a story – which starts off with a murder – and well – ends in an uproar. In between you get to meet the characters – who engage with the audience to tell their sides of the story. It’s a fab performance, brilliantly written to be both entertaining and enlightening. And trust me – you will come out the wiser for the experience.

Centaur – Wildside – Go!