Chihuly – From Sand. From Fire. Comes Beauty.

My first encounter with Chihuly was in Boston. I walked into this building and there it was – a huge unknown sea creature hanging from the ceiling, composed of a thousand small, irregular, organic pieces of glass.

I didn’t know who Chihuly was but I was amazed by this sculpture’s mysterious light and color. So, when the Royal Ontario Museum announced the Chihuly exhibition last year, I made up my mind to go.

ROM displays his art works in the dark. The lack of background light allows the shining glasses to dramatically stand out – illuminated by some direct light and mostly by the sculptures’ own brilliance. I felt like I was watching a movie when I walked by each piece. I gazed at the color and the light. For a couple of seconds I fell into some stories that ran in my mind. Chihuly indeed created a surreal space perfect for one’s own imagination.

I couldn’t help but wonder – if we could reach the depths of the sea, would this be it?

 

“I want people to be overwhelmed with light and color in a way that they’ve never experienced.”
– Dale Chihuly

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The Corner On The Map – Contra Cafe

One of the fun summer moments of biking in Toronto is when I discover a new store. I challenge myself to take different routes as much as I can on the way to work.

The reason I fell in love with Contra Cafe is the location. Between Dupont Street and Bloor West, Contra Cafe opened at a corner of Shaw, a quiet and peaceful spot where tree shade covers the patio.

One day I finally decided to stop by. It was a warm afternoon but breezy under the trees. I saw young moms hanging out with kids, girls reading, and friends chatting. This corner is relaxing and owns its charm.

Contra Cafe: 1028 Shaw St. (Get Directions)

 

The Idea of North

The ocean is not just blue. The snow is not pure white. In Lawren Harris’s world, there are more than colors.

The Idea of North is truly an amazing exhibition and experience. I got to see all the colors closely. Lawren Harris mixed pink, purple, green, yellow and many others to make his palette of shadows vivid and alive. The different strokes he created on the canvas is another new world.  All the photos I took cannot compare to seeing the art works in person.

His idea of north is more than just landscapes. The spiritual meaning makes the paintings so beautiful and I stood in front of them feeling so small.

 

Roasted Cauliflower and Quinoa Salad

Summer is almost over. My ultimate goal of having a six-pack (with very minimum effort) in my bikini at the beach is over too. I’m disappointed in myself. I would love to have six, but so far I’ve only got one.

However, one of the non-disappointing things in my summer is this recipe.

I am a big fan of Food 52. While I am also a big fan of free online resources, I bought 2 cookbooks – Genius Recipes, and Vegan. This recipe is originally from the book Vegan. I changed a few things to make my life easier since some of the ingredients were hard to find.

This recipe takes 20 minutes to make. Simple, fast, refreshing and healthy. The most beautiful part of it is that I can make a bulk in advance, and serve it cold.

This serves approximately 4.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces.
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup dried currants or raisins
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Dressing:

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 ºF ( 220 ºC).
  2. Toss the pre-cut cauliflower  with 2 tbsp of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan, boil quinoa in 2 cups of water. The quinoa-water ratio is 1:2.
  4. Whisk the dressing until it’s all mixed.
  5. Let the cauliflower cool down, then mix the quinoa, cauliflower, lemon zest, and currants in a large bowl. Drizzle with the dressing and toss until it is evenly coated. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  6. Before serving, add the mint.