Saturday, August 30, 2008

NAIG and other delights

A couple of weeks ago I went to the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG); it turned out to be quite a day of abundant flavours. Harvey, a friend from the Tsawout band, my son Iain, and I packed into a van and headed up-island. We got to NAIG and were immediately drawn to the stalls full of handicrafts; in the midst of Harvey's conversations with friends and relatives, we made some good purchases. Our main goal was to price cedar hats, but we only did so half-heartedly, preferring to just admire them, due to their high cost ($250-3,000). Instead, I purchased a wrist band of woven cedar with a clasp made from an Indian Head nickel. We then headed to the food stalls and had Scow bread, salmon and Indian tacos (venison chilli over fry bread and topped with cheese).

After meeting Vince from Hot Springs Cove at a soccer game, we headed back home; on the way we stopped by OrganicFair and were very impressed by their operation. This idyllic setting rewards the visitor for embarking on the circuitous route: I repeatedly thought, I would love to live in a place like this. After walking through rows of lavender reminiscent of Philip Craig's Lavender Fields, we arrived at the store. I looked forward to trying some more of their offerings after my previous mixed-review. The Kashmir and Maple Leaf bars were good but not great; their flavours clashed with one another. However, the lemon in Little Italy perfectly complemented the espresso chunks and chocolate, bellissimo! I was pleased with their Sinfully Spiced Coffee, and reminded of Fusion's Focus Blend . Unfortunately, they were out of Hedonist Hot Chocolate, but their homemade strawberry ice cream was excellent.

After getting into Victoria, we dropped my son off at home and went to Cafe Marrakech (2551 Quadra) for dinner. As soon as I walked in and had to engage the hostess, I suspected that the service would be bad. Shortly after our arrival, my suspicion was confirmed by the abrupt departure of a couple after the hostess/waitress got their order wrong; actually it wasn't that abrupt because she took five minutes to process the transaction for their appetizers. Hopefully some better staff will have been hired because the food was excellent. We started with salads, but it wasn't until the main course that things got interesting. I had Bestella Moroccan, two pies made of shredded chicken; each pie was the shape of a hockey puck and twice the size. The chicken was encased in crisp layers of a pastry similar to phyllo, and topped with cinnamon and sugar; the resultant combination of salt and sweet was rich and distinctive. Harvey had a lamb couscous, which looked good.

Then we buzzed down to the IMAX to watch Shine a Light. The sixty foot images and excellent sound left me applauding a couple of times; however, I stopped in embarrassment as soon as my rational brain realized I was in a movie theatre.

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