Tag Archives: Champagne Wednesdays

How to Mac a Chick Pea

Hope you all had a nice weekend! Ever since Friday, when Ash and I served homemade Coq au Vin to our wonderful friends, I have been on a recipe rampage. Tonight I’m making Chana Punjabi with the spice kit my mother bought Ash from Vij’s Rangoli. I found the recipe on the blog,  The Wednesday Chef, who writes: “I have been rendered mute by a chick pea.” What a great sell.

Also, I read this post recently on the blog of food writer, Dorie Greenspan. Very Champagne Wednesdays, don’t you think? This weekend, for the first time in so long, we pulled our little grey, wicker loveseat out to our front patio to enjoy the spring weather with home-fried pot stickers and edamame. The sun, much like a good bottle, should never be saved. We find Stella Artois in our fridge hard to save as well.


Lastly, much excitement in our home about the recent purchase of one of these babies! I am hoping it means big things to come for Champagne Wednesdays and a few other projects we have in the works. That’s one of the things I love most about life with Ash – we have so many great ideas together, the best of which happened one year ago this week. 

No one wants to see pictures of snow (Lost Lake Trail and other things you’ll need to know about Whistler)


When it’s all sun and cherry blossoms in Vancouver, it’s hard to imagine that a short 1.5 hour drive away you could be faced with snow – and lots of it. All over the trail and in your way while you’re trying to be active so you can justify drinking more champagne.  That’s why in the pictures below we look terribly under-dressed for such arctic conditions, just so you know.

On Friday, we decided to head up to Whistler and walk the Lost Lake loop trail with Whiskey. We packed the following essential hiking supplies, none of which are available at MEC:

  • Tim Horton’s water – check
  • Unfinished squares of Mink’s PB & hint of J chocolate bar – check
  • Begging Strips for Whiskey – check
  • Half a bottle of champagne  – check

Luckily, despite the lake’s frosty appearance, it was really quite mild out. Even luckier, our trained eyes spotted the perfect opportunity to chill our champagne with a quick burial in the parking lot snow drift. Here are instructions for a lovely day and night in case you find yourself in a similarly distressing situation:

wolf blass burial

First, dig a hole.

Burying champagne in the snow

Second, place the champagne in the hole (bury it a little so other hikers don’t find it before you get back).

the border collie cross

Warning: your dog will look highly unamused at being delayed.


Once the champagne is secured in its bed of ice, commence hiking.


If the road looks treacherous, take some time to ponder your options.

Grandfather's Beard

We suggest finding some grandfather’s beard in order to look more ponderous than usual.


Whatever you do, do not fall into the ice. It is, afterall, called Lost Lake for a reason. Chances are no one will find you.

IMG_1747 Girl and her dog

Rest often.

When you finish the 5km loop, drink the champagne.  Don’t be afraid to pretend you hiked farther than you did. The champagne will taste better the farther you say you hiked.

Next, get a walk-in rate ($159/night; dog bed included) at the Whistler Hilton.  

Do not eat soup at the Mix at the Ric’s. Even if you are really, really poor and think soup will save you money, get the burger. Trust me.  

Finally, re-live your respective  pre-wedding parties like it’s 1999 at Buffalo Bills

Eat breakfast here if you care about things like bacon and hashbrown (and you should!).

Then, return home along the confusing new sea-to-sky (it’s so disorienting not to see the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal anymore) without ever once mentioning to your wife/girlfriend/buddy that she/he sleeps with their mouth open like a stoned caveman.

Strawberry fields forever

I’ve been reading a lovely book titled “Cultivating Delight” by Diane Ackerman for the past week or so.  It’s the kind of book you wade through with your pants tucked into your boots. A wild, hairy field of fact and latin names and rich descriptions you must pick over once or twice before ingesting.  It’s far less depressing than Revolutionary Road, which should NOT be read in the winter and especially not if you traverse any bridges on your drive home. No, this book makes you notice life. The best part of my read has taken place when the book is closed, examining the yards of the houses I pass on my walks home, taking note of the varying degrees of whimsy and neglect. And despite the cold (which broke the first green fuses of the daffodils in our courtyard), signs of new growth are abundant. Despite whatever monotomy the 9 to 5 might bring, there is a current of life surging benath it, a contstant factory of change that can be just as satisfying as any drama one can cook up.

I picked you these phrases to enjoy:

“There is an ecology to every life, and each family a garden, where sensitive family members grow in varying degrees of harmony.”

“There is nothing like wide thoughts in a small garden.”

“Unfortuantely the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t include all those wonderful words in other languages for which we have no English equivalent, words we desperately need, such as Tierra del Fuegan mamiblapinatapei, which means two people ‘looking into each other’s eyes, each hoping that the other will initiate what both want to do but neither chooses to commence’…Or the Russian word ostranenie, which is when an artist makes the familiar seem strange, so that it can be seen freshly. Or aware, the Japanese word for the special poignancy one feels while  enjoying ephemeral beauty. Or the Indonesian phrase bolopis kuntil baris, which summons extra strength for carrying heavy objects….”

PS: Last night’s Champagne Wednesday was marked by a visit from the flooring man (we had a mini flood) and a bottle of Blonde De Noirs. It’s the one with Marilyn Monroe oozing hints of strawberryhigh-notes and toasted scandal on the front label. Let me say this loud and clear: YUM, YUM, YUM, MORE PLEASE.  As this particular bottle was a gift from the Sambrooks, we had a harder time than usual opening it. At least three or four times it came out of the fridge and then went right back in as we wagered: did we deserve this bottle? On a Wednesday? With frozen Costco french onion soup and tator tots? Thankfully, we came to our senses and then “pop” went the evening. The rest is all happy birthday, Mr. Husband from there.

PS: photo via Design Sponge

Have a seat. It’s Wednesday.

Champagne Chair

What to do with all those leftover corks? Here’s an idea from Design Within Reach. Previously, DWR and I were in a big fight. I had ordered Ash a very high-tech air purifier for Christmas to cure all his allergy related ailments – and they never bothered to send it. And when I called, they really could have cared less. I ended up getting him a nice laptop bag from Banana Republic instead (leather, sorry Glenn!), but it just wasn’t the same. His nose is still stuffed. Whiskey-particles still account for 80% of our breathing air (the dog, not the drink). Ordering things online is such a leap of faith to begin with – and this was a serious letdown.  Lucky for them, this is a new day. There is a hint of Spring in the air. Renewal feels mandatory. Boycotts are being lifted all over town (my town).

So, I give you a few more of these cute little champagne chairs. It’s Wednesday afterall…

Enjoy. And shop with caution,


Let the champagne find you.

San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco  

Say you’re in San Francisco, it’s a Wednesday, and you feel like having champagne.  And you’re broke, or you’re not broke, but it’s not in your blood to drop $65 on a bottle of sparkling wine in a so-so restaurant.  And maybe you’re not even all that hungry. It’s 3 o’clock, and long before any kind of dinner planning happens, you are thinking that plush bed in the Fairmont on Nob Hill deserves a midday nap. From you. 

I understand completely.

That’s why it’s so nice to share with you what we’ve learned over the past 4 years…

San Francisco 

Sometimes champagne just happens.

It’s the sound of guitar music escaping out the door of a small wine merchant, who’s willing to pour you a glass on the side. 

And that is why it’s important to wander. Wherever you are.

The best glasses of champagne are enjoyed that way.  Trust me.

What’s next…

Lobster and Swan

This is what Vancouver looks like, though it is not Vancouver. I almost forget what it’s like to see things sharply. Every edge is rounded; shaded out of borders. A hand becomes a wand. A car becomes a roaming buffalo….earlier I cursed the cold, but I’ve decided the mist can stay one more day.

Lobster and Swam postcards

Thank you cards are coming. I like sitting at the kitchen table with Ash, writing each one and then reading it to him out loud. He looks at me like I am oh so clever. Like no one else could have thought to say thank you in such a clever way. I am relishing the practice of it. So, as I said, the thank you cards are coming.

Lobster and Swan ferry lights

My birthday is also coming soon. 28 on the 28th. I’ve heard that makes it my champagne birthday, which seems divinely fitting since I plan to drink champagne on my birthday (Wednesday or not).

But nothing is coming sooner than bed. That comes now. Night.

PS: All the pretty photos from Lobster and Swan. A nice place to go, because let’s face it: not many people can pull off interior fairy lights, but she really seems too. And I can appreciate that.

Feeling a little nostalgic today (aka looking for excuses to bring up the wedding when it is clearly over)

Wedding Favours

I really can’t imagine a better wedding favour than our little army of piccolos. This is such a good idea. My mom called a liqour store and got a bulk discount on 70. Then, I ordered some custom tags on Etsy. It was the first time I ever saw people come back for their favours. Plus, we grabbed all the leftovers for our hotel room that night!

Onwards…Saturday night we took a long, winding ride through the British Properties and sat atop Vancouver to celebrate Jen’s birthday at Fraiche.  Here she is pictured at our wedding (ha! sneaky me!). Jen is in the royal blue dress, and her lovely husband, Matt, is to her right.

Deep Cove

Unrelated…This cottage-house is for sale in Deep Cove for $599,000. I cannot buy it, but you or someone you know really should. It’s a dream. It smelled good. There is ocean right out your front window (not to skip over the pub, which is even closer). Yes, you should buy it and then befriend me.  Or, better yet, I will befriend you, with champagne – any day you like! I will never again buy property without carefully considering the view out of each window. I think what you see out of the windows of your home is part of your home. In the future, it will be my deal breaker.


Back to the wedding. I just love this photo. I do. I wish I were half as sultry in real life. Thank you Tobyn Ross. You take a mean still shot.




I have been quoted in the last four weeks saying things like:

“Otra de la mismo!”

(This means “same again, please” and can be used in reference to margaritas, mimosas, kisses)

“Do you think we’ve lost the ability to hold up our own heads?”

(17 days poolside at an all-inclusive will do that to you)

“Hi, husband. You’re hot.”

(Endlessly fun to say right now)

But never have I been more correctly quoted than on the appropriately sleek and rustic new website of Traflagars Bistro. Check out the pull-quote at the top of both their profile and community pages.

Now that deserves a glass of champagne!


Happy to be back.


Our second last…


…Champagne Wednesday as fiance and fiance , we plan to spend alone. 

I suggest you go to the Libra Room and listen to live Jazz over a Roasted Beet Salad with Boursin ($7) and a bottle of Il Mionetto ($18!).

As Ash tells me people in the smoky underground Chicago Jazz clubs say: 

That’s it Charlie. You got it Charlie.



Marriage and friends

The Crooks

The great thing about having a regular event like champagne wednesdays in our life is that sometimes people want to share it with us. People like the Crooks (Christina, I stole this picture from your blog).

Michael and Christina – a creative, smart, engaged couple we like spending time with – had us over last night for dinner. They even popped their engagement bottle of Henkell (a year into marriage, mind you).  Christina is a writer and asks questions like, “when do you make time to be creative?” – all things that make me like her very much. And Michael even shared a bit about what’s it’s like to be married. I found that comforting, talking about marriage, because sometimes the act of getting married feels like setting off on a long journey with a blindfold on. A blindfold, or maybe blinders. Because you’re not supposed to look into anyone else’s.

Henkell is not for everyone as it’s a bit on the dry side. But for me, just the sight of the bottle gives me a homey, Christmas morning feeling  since its been the Hargreaves’ drink of choice on Christmas mornings for as long as I can remember.

Finally, I make an open apology for the chocolate mousse, two of which I knocked over in their kitchen. It was really more like chocolate soup.

Bye for now, Jen