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My sister is an avid urban farmer and her hobby is beginning to look more and more like an urban hobby farm than patio garden. Currently, she is breeding rabbits for meat and her female has five babies. Who knew you could raise rabbits for meat in a condo on the 27th floor in Yaletown?

I have been playing around with the latest VSCO film pack 3 and watermarking in Lightroom 4, so please bare with me if you find it over-processed/stamped.

Enjoy!

Here is my feeble attempt at some street photography inspired by Stephen Shore, for my photography elective that I’m taking. I decided to go heavy with the VSCO film presets on this one too for fun and to give it a more retro look. I’m actually not unhappy with the results.

I just picked up my camera and went for a walk around downtown Halifax, which really is only 2 streets (Spring Garden and Barrington). As I take more photographs and get into the “groove” while shooting, it becomes easier and easier to disregard how crazy I must look. I usually end up just going for the shot I want and don’t pay attention to how people feel about me taking their photo. Thus far, I haven’t been met with any hostility and people usually look like they feel guilty about “interfering” in the shot by ducking or sheepishly smiling as they walk by.

Reza in the studio, test.

I’m taking a photography course at school and the current assignment is rephotography. Halifax has a decent amount of history (relatively speaking for Canada) and we are supposed to retake historical photographs and then merge them together.

The next assignment involves animation so I was immediately reminded of the beautifully animated GIF’s by Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg co-creators of the “cinemagraph” that Alison turned me onto.

Here is my first attempt at a cinemagraph. It took me about 30s to set up the scene: “ok reza, stay completely still then look at the camera and turn back.” Shot done. About 30 minutes of tutorial shopping, I settled on one from netmagazine which I found the easiest to follow. Then about an hour of actually making the clip, adjusting animation, deleting frames to get filesize down etc.. and here we are!

Short video of UBC Pharmacy while I was assisting architectural photographer Marc Cramer shooting for HCMA and Saucier + Perrotte.

This is my first video I’ve made on my own. It was shot over 2 days, and a day of learning FCPX and uploading. Next step is to start getting into the technical side of recording. I’m not terribly happy with the quality of what I got out of my 5dmkii which I think can be greatly improved with some simple adjustments.

Shooting video is much different than photos but I’m keen to learn the process and get a grasp on how to piece footage together.

Enjoy!

The Architect & Photographer from Ryan Nelson on Vimeo.

After a good night’s sleep and a leisurely rise, we made our way down to Stumptown Coffee for a scone and coffee before heading out. By the way, Stumptown makes amazing coffee. I usually just go for the drip but they only french press or espresso, really nice stuff.

After coffee we strolled around to get a sense of the city. It’s quite well layed out by quadrants, north-west, north-east, south-west, south-east. The only interruption is the north end on the east side of the Willamette River where it bends and offsets the grid. Streets are easy to navigate, avenues run north south and are numbered starting at the river and streets are named a-y (doesn’t reach z) running north from well, Burnside is the major boundary. Not sure what the plan was for streets south of Burnside… at any rate, on to the food!

Of course, Portland has a well established food cart/truck industry that is just awesome. Entire city blocks are lined with carts of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, styles, and generate quite a bit of traffic. Apparently Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson visited Portland a few years ago and that’s the reason why Vancouver is starting to introduce food trucks. We’re big fans of Guy Fieri’s show Diners Drive-ins and Dives , yeah we know it’s terrible but it’s so fun! One episode he visited Portland and recommended a few places. One that interested us the most was Euro Trash. I ordered the escargot and A ordered the calamari baguette. The snails were drenched in butter, which is definitely not a bad thing, and came with some toasted garlic bread. A’s calamari came in a toasted baguette with a delicious wasabi dressed cole slaw. We carried our lunch to the nearest square and sat down to eat. Such a great start to our vacation!

After the arduous journey around the corner for lunch, we wandered around a bit more to tour some of the shops. I had been searching for a new camera strap to replace the one that comes with the camera. I found a few and a Portland leatherworker made one I liked. We found the shop and checked it out. I bought the strap!

Thanks A for the photo.

random bearded guy wearing a pink dress.

All this walking made us hungry… we almost felt guilty for more or less going from restaurant to restaurant but hey, we were on vacation and dammit we were going to enjoy it!

Most restaurants in Portland have a happy hour between usually 3-6 so we decided on oysters at The Parish for an appetizer before dinner. The service was excellent! We read some reviews complaining about the service and food, but it seems it must have just been a rough start because we enjoyed every moment! Both the servers were very knowledgable about the food and were able to identify each oyster. Our favourite were the Chelsea Gems from Washington, sweet and salty with no fishy flavour and finished clean. Of course you have to pair oysters with vodka martini’s too.

We asked the server to recommend a pizza place and she recommended “oh there’s a place around the corner, I think they make pizza.” Yes, they do make pizza. Delicious, wood-fired, hand made, artisan pizza. That place is Oven & Shaker. I’m a fan of the simple and fresh margherita so that’s always my basis of comparison for good pizza. I was SO happy to see a wood forno oven in Oven & Shaker’s open style kitchen and so we were looking forward to some great pizza! A ordered the bianca. Both were perfectly cooked with a nice crispy bottom and the dough was chewy and soft.

We’ll be back…

Eurotrash (Food Cart) on UrbanspoonOven and Shaker on UrbanspoonThe Parish  on Urbanspoon

I’ve finally gotten around procrastinating my procrastination to edit the photos instead of doing school work, which I’m already neck deep in because of procrastination. Enough is enough!

We were on the YVR – PDX train at 6:40am and on our way to Coffeeland!

We arrived mid-afternoon and decided we could just walk from the train station to the Ace Hotel where we were going to be staying. Portland is a great city for walkability and the walk only took about 15 minutes to get in. We chose to stay at the Ace because, well it’s super hipster and we figured it would be a fun experience. When in Rome.

After checking in and dropping our gear off we did a bit of research to see where we could grab a bite to eat and start checking out the city a bit. We saw that the Deschutes Brewery was nearby and decided to check it out. In Vancouver we do get lots of beer from all over the world but pacific northwest craft beer is a big thing so we do get some Deschutes and Elysian often. It was nice to be able to check out the brewery and pub though!

We got an outside table, it was still fairly nice out and warm enough to still be comfortable in shorts and a tshirt. We picked a flight of beer for each of us to get a good sampling of what Deschutes has to offer! I read on Urbanspoon that the elk burger is a must so I went with a medium rare elk and Alison went with another burger on special.

After dinner we went on a leisurely stroll around a few blocks to start scoping out places we wanted to go. We didn’t arrive with a plan, which was the kind of vacation we needed. Neither of us wanted to have a stressful jam-packed adventure that took us anywhere and everywhere with no time to stop and smell the roses. Our trip started blind and we just went with the flow.

After walking around a bit, we stopped into Whole Foods to pick up some beer (gotta love that you can buy beer from Whole Foods). I’m a big fan of pumpkin beer and we noticed that the New York brewery Southern Tier already had one out! We picked up a bottle of the Pumking Ale (and a few others) and headed back to the hotel to unwind for the night.

Excellent, low-stress start to our vacation!

Alison and I are in Portland, Oregon taking a well-deserved vacation before I head back to Halifax to finish my masters. We’re staying at the awesome Ace Hotel!

We’re busy eating, drinking and soaking up the amazing city! Lots more posts to come all about our visit!

We’ll be here until the 1st and I’ll be posting when we get back. Can’t wait to share!

R.

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My first impression of Fable was made on a quick lunch with a couple co workers. I had walked by a few times on my way to pick up beer and wine for the weekly “happy hour” at work and always wanted to give it a try.

I was drawn to the farm-table premise. I’m a big advocate of not only local food but of food awareness. I believe farm fresh food is the best way for us to reconnect with our food and I believe it is very important that we make that connection meaningful.

A large portion of my childhood was spent at my grandmothers home in Wilson’s Creek on the Sunshine Coast. I never knew the property/hobby farm as my dad knew it in all its fruit/veggie/chicken/duck and pig glory but my fondest memories as a child were spending time among the raspberry bushes, under the pear tree, pulling up carrots and potatoes, or on the outskirts of the garden picking wild huckleberries. My personal favourite was going out to the chicken coop to pluck warm and fresh eggs from under the resting hens while grandma prepared ingredients to make waffles.

These are very, very deeply rooted memories for me and food plays the central role. I understand that I had some opportunities that some other suburban kids didn’t have and I’m grateful for every one. I was able to see the fruits of my labour. I planted, nurtured, raised, harvested and consumed. Now, almost 30 years later I look back and these memories are the ones that seem most meaningful. Nevermind my ninjaturtles and transformers (which are still awesome) it’s the food that invokes the strongest feeling in me.

I believe it’s important for people to understand food. Understand that meat comes from living, breathing, creatures; that berries come from bushes; apples come from trees; and carrots come from the earth. I know people understand on an empirical level but without experience you cannot really get it. You don’t know what the leaves look like on an apple tree, or the colour of the ant that drops on you when you pick the apple, or the strange wasp-looking fly that hovers by your elbow in the garden.

This is turning out to be more a post on my food beliefs than Fable Restaurant… I’ll get right to it but I must say: Kudos to you Trevor Bird in bringing the farm to the table.

I made reservations for my wife and I on her birthday. It was a tuesday evening and they were already booking up a week in advance. Good news. During my previous visit, we were told of a chef’s taster menu for $45. I’m all in!


So my wife and I arrive a bit early (maybe a little eager) and were seated by our pleasant host at a small 2 seater table in the main part. I expressed interest in the chef’s menu and our server mentioned that it was best enjoyed from the bar at the front of house in front of the main cook stations. While we waited for a spot to open at the bar, we enjoyed some Farmhand Ale from Driftwood Brewery and a couple starters. We ordered both the starter specials too. An heirloom tomato salad with aged balsamic, olive oil and house made goat (I think?) cheese and also the salmon tartar with quick-pickled cucumber and pickled horseradish.


The tomatoes were full of life and depth, nothing like what we’ve grown used to from grocery stores. And the salmon was cool and refreshing. I would highly recommend both.

Following our starters, we were seated at the bar by the salad station. Greeted warmly by the chefs upon our arrival, we immediately felt welcomed and I was anticipating a pleasant dining experience. Shortly after sitting down we were welcomed by chef Trevor Bird and after a couple comments and laughs we let him get back to work.

Our first course from the taster menu were Sawmill Bay oysters with pickled horseradish and grapefruit wedges. I’m a huge fan of oysters and don’t like them to be overloaded with extra fixings. Keep it simple! Which is what these were, the flavour of the fresh local oysters (harvested by Bowen Island outside of Vancouver) was allowed to shine with the support of the light and sharp garnishes.

Second course was our favourite. Chickpea falafel with curry mayo. The fritters were well formed and perfectly cooked but the main event was the curry mayo. Best every, really. It was sweet, sour, spicy in all the right ways, not too salty… amazing. Get this one while you can.

Third course was a twist on an old staple: canned tuna. We learned after dinner that this dish came about during construction when Trevor was unloading empty mason jars from a box. The idea struck him to reinvent (i.e.: make edible) canned tuna. With a layer of potato and tomato underneath the tuna, it’s slow-poached in olive oil with some lemon. It’s served with crustini’s and a small spoon of salt. You’re intended to mash it all together to mix the ingredients together and then spread it on the bread. Well done sir, well done… The tuna is cooked to perfection and melts along with the oil, it’s a salty, citrusy and oily smack of flavour.

Fourth course is pan seared halibut with chorizo sausage over a bowl of mussel chowder. The chorizo is cut into thin strips so that you can cut through it with a spoon and not mash up your piece of fish. My fish was well cooked and balanced well with the heat of the chorizo and the creaminess of the soup.

Fifth course, the main, was medium rare flank steak with a black pepper jelly. The steak like butter. It melted in your mouth. Trevor is very clever in his seasoning. The steak itself was very lightly seasoned, which let the flavour of the meat come through, and the pepper jelly was spread on the plate underneath the steak itself. This way, the diner wasn’t obligated to eat the jelly and could put on as much or as little as he or she wanted. Nice touch.

During my first lunch, we ordered the pot de crème with gin foam and lemon granita and I haven’t looked back. I love custard and would love crème brûlée more if it didn’t have that hard sugar! (yeah I know that’s the “best part” but I don’t like it) I’m not a huge fan of super sweet desserts either so the pot de crème was perfect for me! So I requested that we get one of those for our dessert and the server was nice enough to comply AND brought us another dessert on top of that! The second dessert was chocolate pudding with walnuts, cookie bits, anise foam, and mint garnish. I love chocolate but hate SWEET chocolate, this dessert was a nice compromise of sweet and bitter and turned out to be very nice.

During dinner we chatted with the friendly chefs and serving staff, who all seemed very very interested in the food being served. It’s a relief to be served something by someone who can explain a bit more about the food than just the ingredients… like where the meat is from, how long ago the oysters were harvested, and even how to make the cheese.

At the end of the night we were offered a complimentary glass of Muscato wine to top of an extremely pleasurable evening filled with good conversation and great food. I would recommend the chef’s menu and to sit at the bar for a really unique experience.

Keep up the great work Trevor, I’ll be back!

Fable Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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